Tribeca blooms in Gotham

GOOD MORNING from New York where everything’s coming up roses and daffodils and tulips carpeting Park Avenue and garland-ing bases of all trees on Madison Ave. The town’s breathing a new spring life with movies and theater. Generations of moppets and seasoned performers are filling the screens and stage as well. F’rinstance Tribeca got off to a cheering start with kids, escorted by their moms and grandmoms who screamed for Elvis and Frank Sinatra now ditto’ing for Hilary Duff in “Lizzie McGuire.” And in the theater it’s the kids who help bring the audiences to their feet in “Gypsy” and “Nine.” Among those on hand for Tribeca’s preem of “Lizzie McGuire” were Lisa (Birnbach) and Steven Haft and their daughters. Steven has two features of his own readying for release this year — Ray Romano’s first feature, “Eulogy,” and the all-star Mel Gibson “Singing Detective.” Haft brought both in for under $10 million — of course Gibson deferring his salary … At the Shubert Theater, Bernadette Peters enters down the aisle to thunderous applause. It’s tough to decide whether the entrance or her curtain bow receives the greater hand. In either case, it is a triumph for her. Backstage, she is no longer mama Rose, but the demure Bernadette we all know and love. Among those also congratulating her were Donna Karan and her family. Bernadette had been visited in previews by her movie father-in-law (from “It Runs in the Family”) Kirk Douglas. She said she loved working with him, Michael, Cameron, Diana — the entire Douglas family in the movie. I asked whether a new movie version of “Gypsy” is in the works – after all, Harvey Weinstein is one of the producers. Meanwhile, she is under pact to play a year on stage.

THIS WEEK, TRIBECA FEATURES today’s bow of “Down With Love.” Costar David Hyde Pierce, at Orso’s after “Gypsy,” returns to “Frasier” filming in August, this being the final year for the show, he’s certain. … Antonio Banderas demonstrates a terrif singing voice in “Nine” at the Eugene O’Neill and we visited backstage after he, too, received a huge ovation. His wife Melanie Griffith was not on hand – she was in L.A. rehearsing “Chicago” in which she’ll play Roxie Hart on the stage of the Ambassador across the street from the O’Neill and Antonio in “Nine.” He told me his contract is due to wind Aug. 10 – but with his wife bowing July 11 – he’ll want to stay on and thus have the family (three children) together. Monday night brought the bow of “The Look of Love” to the Brooks Atkinson. The revue stars the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David who were on hand to take a bow at the finale. Later, at the supper party at the Bryant Park Grill, the composer and lyricist told me a new song they’d written for the finale, did not make the final cut, the decision being to better finale with “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” That new tune, “Beginnings,” will be recorded by London’s Cilla Black, who did their original platter of “Alfie.” On hand for this opening with Corky Hale and Mike Stoller. One of Leiber and Stoller’s music publishing companies is close to being sold – it does not, however, contain Leiber and Stoller’s own songs. Also there, Judy and Gordon Davidson and Broadway producer Bill Haber and wife Carole. Also there, John Kander, whose version of “The Visit” (with Fred Ebb) is being readied to star Chita Rivera, now also getting a wild ovation in “Nine.” As always, Elaine’s is jammed into the early morning hours. Among those on hand, HBO’s Colin Callender with director Gus Van Sant, whose “Elephant” competes at Cannes. Also there, Robin Kramer, producer of the Off Broadway hit, “Our Lady of 121st Street,” with one of the show’s stars, Felix Solis. With them were actress Pamela Shaw who plays Hedda Hopper in Peter Bogdanovich’s “Natalie Wood” mini, and her husband, Victor Syrmis, partner in the new worldwide distribution company Arclight. And — Cindy Adams and Liz Smith waving from separate but equal tables. … On Monday, lunching at Michael’s: Regis Philbin with Helen Gurley Brown and his daughter Joanna. Also Sam Cohn, Herb Allen, David Ford, Nancie Ryder, Jamie Niven, Elaine May and ICM and CAA agents, of course, at separate tables.

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