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‘Children’ star pulling double duty

GOOD MORNING: Thanks to “All My Children’s” exec producer Julie Hanan Carruthers, Tonya Pinkins says she can continue her role of Lydia Frye Cudahy on the soap by winging to N.Y. on Mondays from her starring role at the Ahmanson in Tony Kushner’s “Caroline, Or Change.” The series will combine several of her segs in one day so Tonya can return to the legiter on Tuesdays. Pinkins, who was Tony-nominated for this performance on B’way last season, says the L.A. bow at the Ahmanson “is the mountatintop of my experience.” And she’s been with the show since its bow in a 250-seat Gotham house. “This is a dream come true — and we get much more response here than in N.Y.” … Gordon Davidson had long sought to bring the show to L.A. and when “Wonderful Town” fell out, he brought it in — until Dec. 26. … The ever-busy Pinkins, a single mother of four, had also doubled onstage in “Jelly’s Last Stand” when doing “Children.” She’s also writing “Get Over Yourself,” will teach weekends at the Omega institute and will star in a one-woman show for the Harold Arlen Centennial at Lincoln Center. She says her role models are Larry Kramer, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine. She’s met the first three and hopes to meet MacLaine “to talk about spirituality” … Tony Kushner, who winged out for the L.A. bow, said he is “enormously proud” of the company and the production in L.A. He is back in N.Y. and working on another musical with “Caroline’s” Jeanine Tesori. It’s set in New York in the early 20th century. Kushner is also working with Steven Spielberg on the screenplay of the aftermath of the massacre of the Israeli Olympic athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

THERE WASN’T A DRY eye in the house at the Acad preem of “Finding Neverland.” The terrif film’s bow also brought in $200,000 for the Milo Gladstein Foundation for Bloom’s Syndrome. Producer Richard Gladstein said the money will go for research on the disease, which has stricken his son. The Gladsteins are expecting a second son in April. As with all products (plays, films, etc) involving “Peter Pan,” a beneficiary is the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to which creator H.M. Barrie bequeathed copyright — with the stipulation they never disclose the amount of the licenses. I spoke to Kit Palmer, administrator for the Peter Pan Foundation in London, and she confirmed, noting, “It’s formed a very important part of our fundraising. She was present during the filming, has see the film in London and agrees with me (and Daily Variety‘s Todd McCarthy) that the movie is “aces” in all categories, starting with star Johnny Depp and director Marc Forster. The 100th anni of the bow of “Peter Pan” will be celebrated onstage “with celebrity readings of the play — possibly at the Duke of York theater Dec. 19. … Producer Gladstein next tackles “The Fourth Hand,” the comedy about a newscaster who receives a hand transplant when his own is bitten off by a lion. The widow of the hand donor retains visitation rights and — you’ll have to see the rest.

SHADES OF THE BLACK LIST: Orson Bean, who plays a black listed Communist sympathizer — and, of course, a murder suspect — in CBS’ “Cold Case” airing Sunday, will be in N.Y. Sunday appearing at Avery Fisher Hall. He’ll be at the event honoring Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle, with whom Bean appeared for seven years on CBS’ “To Tell The Truth.” He had been barred from TV work for a year because of accused Communist sympathies — so he hied to B’way and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter” with Jayne Mansfield. He’s had no dearth of work lately — three films, “Mattie Fresno and the Holoflux Universe,” “Follow Your Dream,” and “The Novice” — and all the Pepperidge Farm voiceovers … The Creative Coalition brings its 2004 Spotlight Awards and Ultimate Gift Gala to L.A. Dec. 7 at the Luxe Hotel celebrating the incentives to bring film production stateside. Honorees are Barry Levinson, Taylor Hackford, Frank Oz, Lawrence Bender, Variety‘s Peter Bart and Charles Koones. A tribute will also be paid to the TCC’s late past president Christopher Reeve.

UCLA’S LIBRARY HAS acquired a major donation — the complete papers, scripts and photos of writer Harry Crane — 50 years of comedy with every major comedian in showbiz. Crane’s unmatched wit and wisdom has been donated by his daughters Stephanie Crane and Barbara Gilbert Cowan, wife of Warren Cowan who is a Bruin alum and a member of the dean’s advisory board in the School of Theater, Film and Television. Crane’s credits include Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Jackie Gleason, Martin & Lewis, Lucy, George Burns, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Danny Thomas, Andy Williams, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Joey Bishop, Perry Como, Alan King, Jimmy Durante, Groucho Marx. Also scripts for the Academy Awards, Emmys and more. … Shelley Berman is honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Friday at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. Mort Sahl, Richard Lewis Gary Owens and Hal Kanter are among the toasters (roasters).

LAUREN SHULER DONNER WAS introduced to the needs of the Hollygrove Children’s Orphanage by Kathy (Mrs. Tom) Freston four years ago and this year the ladies and friends have created a special online auction of unique movie and TV memorabilia at http://www.hollygrove.org/auction. Items are from Marilyn Monroe, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Will Farrell, Tim Burton and include preem tickets, Grammy tix, etc. … Bob Wagner, who guestarred in three segs of “Hope & Faith,” (one airs Friday), was inked for three more as the gals’ dad … David Talbert, who bowed his “Love On Layaway” as part of his Soul Theater Series Wednesday at the Wilshire, will have it out on DVD in February at Blockbuster, Target and Wal-Mart. Next play is “Love Makes Things Happen” with Kevon Edmonds and Joe Torry — music by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.

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