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New Sondheim number in works for Oscar show

GOOD MORNING: Oscar nominees, have a nice lunch, and here’s something to whet your appetites for the Oscar show on the 21st: Stephen Sondheim has written new lyrics to “Putting it Together” from his Pulitzer- and Tony-winning “Sunday in the Park With George” to be sung by Bernadette Peters, choreographed by Debbie Allen and film-clip-directed by Chuck Workman with all the behind-the-camera people who put together movies (get it?) — the theme of this year’s Oscars. It’s an elaborate tribute-number … In order to clarify the many calls about TriStar’s two “Philadelphia” song nominees –“Philadelphia” is written and performed by Neil Young and “Streets of Philadelphia” is written and performed by Bruce Springsteen — TriStar sent out a videocassette featuring a musicvideo of Springsteen’s tune and a clip from the movie containing the final scene in the movie in which Young’s “Philadelphia” is heard. Lyric sheets for both songs were also enclosed. Now, Acad members should be able to hum what they’re voting for … Youthful (19) Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar-nominated for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” won’t be eating with fellow nominees today, as he’s busy basketballing in N.Y. for “Basketball Diaries” with Marky Mark and four N.Y. high school teams. When the movie company moves about the schools, security will be high, notes Liz Heller, who produces with John Manulis. The ($ 4 million) pic will omit the hard-core elements of the Jim Carroll book — like drug use — in order to get an R. Lorraine Bracco plays DiCaprio’s mother and Patricia Scanlon plays the addict-prostitute … On the sunnier side of the street: Sara Gilbert’s back in town on spring break from Yale to tape two “Roseanne” segs. And she gladly says, “I’ll stay on the show as long as they’ll have me.” They usually tape scenes with her in a N.Y. West Side stage on her weekends off Yale. Gilbert modestly admits, “I feel so privileged, so grateful to be there (Yale). Everyone there is someone special. It’s intimidating.” The “SNL” seg she hosted was the highest-rated show of the season … Helen Hunt hosts next week’s “SNL” (following this week’s Nancy Kerrigan stint) with musical guest Snoop Doggy Dogg.

LOOK FOR DISNEY TO OPEN feature animation studios in Vancouver — that’s for different bigscreen projects than those at its Glendale feature studios and TV cartoon studios in Japan, the Far East and Australia. That’ll give you an idea of the future foreseen by Disney for animation on the information/entertainment highways …”The Specialist” started with a bang — Jerry Weintraub’s mobile trailer on the set went up in smoke Monday — as Weintraub and Sylvester Stallone were about to enter for a script confab. Cause of the strange conflagration is under investigation … Rebecca Broussard tells me she is now planning a full return to acting — the Nicholson children are 4 and 2 years old , respectively — and she’s represented by Sandy Bresler, Jack’s longtime friend and agent. Nicholson laughingly describes the “Wolf” photo of him on the cover of Vanity Fair as “a combination of an Edwardian gentleman and a — maniac”… Under consideration for an upcoming Vanity Fair issue is a (large) excerpt from Paul Alexander’s book on James Dean, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”– about a hidden, homosexual life … Kay Thompson’s planned Liza Minnelli birthday party, described as “a Radio City Musical extravaganza,” for Friday at the Plaza, is postponed — Kay’s in Lennox Hill Hospital suffering from pneumonia … And talking RCMH, my friend the purple dinosaur, Barney, is not only an enormous hit “live,” but WMXV, the N.Y. radio outlet of his “Bedtime With Barney” series, wants the show to expand from once weekly — to five, to further sweet-dream the small fry. This’ll give ’em even sweeter dreams –“Barney’s” bigscreen bow rolls in April. His NBC special airs April 27 at 7 p.m. followed by “The Sound of Music” for an all-night family viewing.

ADD FAMILY FARE: Catherine Bach’s off to D.C. to lobby for passage of legislation in support of rhino conservation. She’s a spokeswoman for the World Wildlife Fund. She’ll also be honored with her Family Channel series “African Skies” and will show the film in the Senate building … And Jackie Bisset, just back from Italy, now takes off for North Carolina and NBC’s “Leave of Absence” with Brian Dennehy, Blythe Danner and Polly Bergen … Jonathan Tisch hosts the 10th anni of N.Y.’s “Power Breakfasts” today — at the Regency, natch … And Monday, over at Tisch’s Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, a wild lobby chase led by Keenen Ivory Wayans — for a movie, natch, Caravan’s “A Low Down Dirty Shame”… WIF celebrates Intl. Women’s Day tonight at the DGA honoring: Tiana (Silliphant), Akosua Busia, Doris Leader Charge and Betty Friedan.

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