Mel mulls ‘Producers,’ pic projects

GOOD MORNING: Mel Brooks sounded excited about news his “Producers” stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will cohost the Tonys on June 3. The musical has a 3 p.m. matinee that day and the curtain falls 5:30, giving the duo (plus other members of the show participating in the Tonys for which “Producers” will undoubtedly get multiple nominations) barely enough time to get from the St. James to Radio City Music Hall. No doubt “New York’s Finest” will help make that happen. Among celebs in to see “The Producers” were Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt; she doesn’t return to “Ocean’s 11” until June. He had the day off “Abandon” shooting in Canada. Carl Reiner will see the show May 28 and Brooks says, “I want to sit next to him.” Brooks will be winging back to N.Y. after a visit to his Brooksfilms offices in L.A. next week. He’s still hoping to film a “$100 million” epic, “Sunrise at (the battle of) Hastings,” which he promises will have “a gorgeous love story” as well as enormous battle scenes. He reminds that Brooksfilms does serious pix; “That’s why the name Mel” is not on ‘Brooksfilms,’ ” he claims. Among the company’s serious pix were “The Elephant Man” and “Frances” (Farmer). Of course it also gave us such pix as “To Be or Not To Be,” in which Brooks again comicalized Hitler and the Nazis … And talking about Reiner, the 28th Carl Reiner pro-celeb golf and tennis tourney at La Costa benefiting the Kayne-ERAS Center will be held May 25-28. Sid Caesar stars in the gala, Saturday night of the Memorial Day weekend event. Call 310-737-9393 for details.

SUZANNE PLESHETTE AND TOM POSTON will marry in New York (where they first met 30 years ago) May 16 and a reception will follow May 26 in L.A. … Eddie Fisher is deeply grieving the death on Easter Sunday of wife Betty. He told me she awakened with a violent cough and was taken to the hospital where X-rays revealed she had cancer. “She did everything for me — and a lot of other people,” he said sadly. “She was a wonderful person and has a wonderful presence.” They were married 11 years. He will visit L.A. from their SanFran home next month, to discuss the Eddie Fisher biopic at WB … Julie Andrews departed for Dallas Monday ayem to honor an appearance she’d promised the S.M.U. theater arts division before she’d set “On Golden Pond,” CBS’ “live” TV’er that aired Sunday. She lingers for a speaking date, and booksigning of her (and daughter Emma Walton’s) two children’s books Wednesday. Julie told me she’d like a return to B’way (not in a musical); meanwhile, husband Blake Edwards has completed the book for a musicalized “Pink Panther” and Leslie Bricusse now has it to musicalize. Edwards has also completed a comedy feature script, “Slings and Arrows.” Ian Fraser, who conducted Andrews’ special medley for the Society of Singers, will baton an all-girl orch for SHARE’s “Some Like It Hot” “Boomtown” show, May 12. Fraser will conduct in drag, complete with wig, etc. And the band won’t be all-female: several of the “girls” will also be blond-wigged male tooters. Ah, it’s all for good causes, y’know … Among the must-see items at the Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai Antique show is Berry-Hill Galleries of New York’s Judy Garland Folies-Bergere Collection. It consists of over 100 original costumes and set designs produced for the Folies during the 1920s and ’30s. It was once-owned by Judy and has never before been exhibited. I saw it in New York at Berry-Hill’s galleries and it is fabulous! The show at the Barker Hangar previews May 3 and the show runs through May 6.

PLAY BALL!: After the critical success for HBO’s “61*” and Cinemax’s “Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” the story of the Dodgers’ “Sweet Lou Johnson” is coming to the plate. The father-son producing team of Joe and Michael Sutton are readying the story of the Dodger who went the way of too many athletes — drugs — but who recovered to take a position today as a member of the Dodger speakers’ bureau. In a dramatic moment, his World Series ring was recovered by the Dodgers who bought it from one of Johnson’s then-drug dealers. I spoke to the Dodgers’ Bob Daly, who met with the Suttons and told me, “I hope this project (feature or TV) goes forward; he (Johnson) is a very good guy.” By the way, Daly’s seen “61*” and “Greenberg” and gives both a “high five.” The Suttons are also developing the Hattie McDaniel story and Harvey Keitel’s novel “The Tsar’s Engraver,” about pogroms in the early 1900s. And Sutton, fils, is partnered with restaurateur John Kim to revive the Hollywood Canteen with a gala opening of the boite (1006 N. Seward) targeted for young Hollywood, May 8. Co-hosting the bow will be Glamour mag’s Samantha Kluge (John’s daughter) and model Georgina Grenville; deejay’ing will be Ethan Browne, Jackson’s son … CBS pilot time: Despite all the changes, “Late Boomers” taped its pilot smoothly Sunday night at CBS Radford, with Scot Bakula, Markie Post and Adam Arkin joining the previously set Robert Urich and Joe Regalbuto. CBS also piloted “Ellen Again” at its Stage 12, starring Ellen DeGeneres. Cloris Leachman who costars, costars in the pre-B’way musical-legit reading of “Great Expectations” at the Renberg Theater May 13-14. Richard Jay-Alexander will direct; he helmed Barbra Streisand’s farewell tour and Polly Bergen’s terrif return with her one-woman show.

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