NOW HERE’S a saga of how things happen in little old New York, where just getting to lunch is sometimes an expedition. The Oliver Stone movie “W.” arrived in town with all attendant PR fare and genuine interest because of the director and his famous subject. The Lionsgate premiere of the movie was to be at the Ziegfeld Theater, which holds 1,100 people. But Moveon.org had been given 100 seats…and promptly invited 400. The producers went crazy. They started calling the Museum of Modern Art to get them to give up several empty screening rooms, but MOMA boasts many devout Republicans on its board. Even after Oliver Stone personally spoke to MOMA head Glen Lowry, he said that first, their movie guy, Raj Endra, would have to see the film. Raj looked at the second half of the movie, but MOMA insisted he’d have to inspect every single frame. There was a blizzard of emails going back and forth. Oliver screamed, “But Liz Smith loved the movie! Can’t you accept her verdict?” “Curators have a rule that no film can be shown until Raj has OK it.”) Finally Raj saw the first half of “W.” Then he said OK. Now I hear that MOMA hopes some generous donor will buy a copy of “W.” for their archives. Lionsgate, are you listening?
* * *
THE OTHER EVE I went to the theater, and although the first night crowd for “All My Sons” was short on proper dress and glamour, I did see two big celebrities in the audience — Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan. This may surprise you because most of the press didn’t see them. But maybe it figures, for they attended in the guise of TV icon Barbara Walters and gossip icon Cindy Adams. They had very good seats way down front so they could peruse Katie Holmes’ hair, makeup, physique and acting chops. One of them liked her very much and thought she was beautiful and accomplished; the other one was indifferent. One of them said, “Katie’s arms are too ‘toned’ and firm, and women didn’t bother to exercise back in the 40s!” The other shrugged. “Her arms look A-OK to me!” Later, at Joe Allen’s theater pub, I glimpsed them again. They were giggling like school girls and they have been doing this “act” for years. “Barbara” and “Cindy” signaled from their table and appealed to me and my associate Denis Ferrara for ready cash, promising to pay us back if only we’d advance enough to cover their dinner; seems they were short on dollars. In the end, the restaurant set up a charge account. They were definitely the most interesting celebrities on tap that night.
* * *
IT’S ABOUT time the Theater Hall of Fame added the one and only Nathan Lane. Joining him Jan. 26 at the Gershwin will be playwright Alan Ayckbourn, producer Emanuel Azenberg, choreographer Patricia Birch, actor Richard Easton, composer Marvin Hamlisch, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and posthumously — Roscoe Lee Brown.