THE “AUSTRALIA” premiere invite said “7.” You know what that usually means–the stars don’t arrive until 7:30 and the milling crowd takes another half hour to stop carrying on as if they’re at a cocktail party. But Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the stars of “Australia” decided to break with tradition. While the movie still didn’t begin on time, it was no fault of Nicole or Hugh. They were in the Ziegfeld Theater at 7 sharp. On the second floor lobby of the theater, Kidman had a hard time breaking away from her admirers. And this is a woman who cannot disappear in a crowd. She towered over most mortals in high heels — all swan neck, and gazelle legs, in a glittery little dress. We were entertained by a quartet, dressed in tuxedos, playing classic 1940s ditties. (“Australia’s” action takes place in 1941.) I must say, this was charming, and unusual. So were the ladies dressed in sexy little cigarette-girl outfits, sauntering up and down the aisles, handing out candy. However, by the time the band had swung into “Waltzing Maltilda” and “Thanks for the Memories” the natives were getting restless. But as if on cue, Tom Rothman, the co-chair of 20th Century Fox, appeared at the front of the theater to give a mercifully brief speech. Jackman told an amusing story about his father, who was in the audience. Nicole did not speak. “She’s very shy,” said Hugh. Indeed, Kidman kind of hung back. Baz Luhrmann also spoke, fast.
SPENT THANKSGIVING getting acquainted with a famous family — the man was David Rabe, the playwright whose impressive classic, “Streamers,” is back at Lincoln Center… his beautiful wife Jill Clayburgh, she of two Oscar nominations and many awards… and their daughter, Lily Rabe who had been in rehearsal just three days for a new play starring Mercedes Ruehl — “The American Plan.” Lily is young, blond, gorgeous and talented. Daddy is quiet but impressive. Mama is funny and friendly even though the TV starrer she was on — “Dirty Sexy Money” — had just shut down in L.A. Jill just laughed about “losing” her job, saying how happy she was to be back in New York. Everybody has to join hands and go to see Lily when previews begin on Jan. 2. (Opening night is Jan. 22.)
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN opens at the Regency with his 15 piece orchestra presenting “The Sinatra Holiday Project” from today through Dec. 30. Maybe Michael will play one of his favorites, “I’m Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica.” Or maybe he’ll just stick to Frank’s famous stuff.