WENT DOWN to the East Village to have a brief visit with Dame Helen Mirren who was perched there ready to take off for a promotion trip to London. Her new adventure movie with Nicolas Cage, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” is an exciting departure for the vivacious Brit who has portrayed three different English queens in the last decade, as well as being the voice of The Queen in two animated films. “I can’t go on being royal, can I? Have to have a little sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll in my acting life!” Helen said. … Soon she will travel to New Mexico to join husband Taylor Hackford who’ll direct her in “Love Ranch.” She will play a madam. … She also presented me with her new book, “In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures.” This is already a smash hit in Great Britain and Simon & Schuster will bring it out in March. Crammed with photos and candid opinions, it is an unusual work of art.
RICHARD BELZER appeared in 22 episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” last season but has been cut to 13 this year. Queried, Belzer says he doesn’t know what happened. “It’s mystifying to me. And I have to admit my feelings are slightly hurt. But I do feel flattered that my fans miss me!” Perhaps the addition of Adam Beach as the new partner of Ice-T and the placement of Belzer inside headquarters has something to do with less exposure for Sgt. John Munch. … Belzer is busy with the 81-year-old Jerry Lewis on a musical version of “The Nutty Professor” and working on a mystery novel called “I am Not A Cop,” in which he will star as himself.
TARGET is underwriting Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater lineup for 2008: June 3 — Charles Busch’s hilarious “Shanghai Moon,” starring Julie Halston and Charles himself; beginning July 8, Alec Baldwin and Kate Burton in “Private Lives,” directed by Jack Hofsiss; then on Aug. 5, the music of Fats Waller in “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” … The Madonna gang (Ingrid Casares, Carlos Leon, etc.) and other off-B’way eclectics are applauding Xiomara Laugart in “Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz,” an explosive musical featuring the songs that made the Cuban icon an international star. In fact, Madonna herself danced in the aisles at New World Stages while seeing the show.