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Stevens bash one for the record books

THE ONLY person missing from the party Meredith and Tom Brokaw tossed for their Washington pal, George Stevens Jr., was Art Buchwald. But in Gotham there was glamour on the hoof. Two of the best and brightest of stars — Christine Baranski, who is about to open Jerry Herman’s “Mame” in Washington at the end of May – and Glenn Close, who was with her brand new husband, David Shaw. They married recently in Maine. … This party was classic. Everybody admires George Stevens, son of a famous director and one himself. Founder of the American Film Institute, writer, producer, and architect of the annual Kennedy Center Honors with 11 Emmys, two Peabodys to his credit. George and his Liz welcomed a legion of Manhattan pals: The head of the Kennedy Center itself, Steve Schwarzman, Alexandra and Arthur Schlesinger, Lynn Nesbit, Jennet Conant and Steve Kroft, Ken Auletta, Joanna Simon and Walter Cronkite, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Shelley Wanger and Stanley Mortimer, Helen Gurley and David Brown, Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris, Phyllis Newman. Also noted Hannah Pakula whose book on Madame Chiang Kai-Shek winging to completion, playwright John Guare and his Roman spring wife, Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Calvin Trillin taking bows for his New Yorker piece about his late, much-loved wife, and director Sidney Lumet taking bows for bringing out Vin Diesel’s acting talent in “Find Me Guilty.”

I’VE MADE over 30 movies since ‘Swamp Thing,’ but it’s one of the films people always remember. I just wish I looked better than the monster.” That’s actress Adrienne Barbeau, writing with typical wry realism in a coming autobiography, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” She has written an extremely entertaining and touching memoir. And it is just bitchy enough to amuse the shallow among us. In town to star off-Broadway in “The Property Known as Garland,” she summarized her career as “I went from being a musical comedy performer to a sitcom actress to a scream queen to a mother and a TV talk show host and a book reviewer and a voice-over performer and then back to stage and back to musical comedy and back to television and concert halls and more films and even into the recording studio for a CD and into my office to write this book.”

TUCKED INTO the window table at Chez Josephine on West 42nd St., we are between the matinee and evening performances of “The Pajama Game,” just down the street. My tablemate is Kelli O’Hara who plays “Babe” in this delicious revival. Ever since O’Hara left what she calls the wilds of Oklahoma, her young life has been filled with difficult career choices. Now she is the cherished co-star of a hit musical, yet she started out differently. “I arrived in New York as an opera singer. Within four days I made the decision to work on Broadway in ‘Follies’ and then in ‘Dracula, the Musical’ and then in ‘Sweet Smell of Success.'” “The Light in the Piazza” placed her in the spotlight.

ROCKER CHRISSIE Hynde, who has some mouth herself, loves Faye Dunaway. Last week performing at the Hard Rock Cafe, Chrissie dedicated the Pretenders “Brass in Pocket” to Faye, who was on the premises. When the number ended, the regal Dunaway literally bowed to Chrissie. … Producer/director Irwin Winkler is in Spokane, Wash., putting Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Jessica Biel, Curtis Jackson and Brian Presley through their paces in “Home of the Brave.” This is a story about Iraqi war vets returning home after their tour of duty. Winkler hopes this will equal the Vietnam screen drama, “Coming Home.” He’d also like to hark back to William Wyler’s classic tale of troubled World War II veterans, “The Best Years of Our Lives.” … The grand documentarian, Jean Bach, has a new DVD out of her film “A Great Day in Harlem.” (The film came about because Jean discovered an historic picture of 59 jazz musicians standing on the steps of a Harlem brownstone. ) Jean’s documentary was nominated for an Oscar in 1995 and saluted by almost every jazz and music great in the world.