SO THERE I WAS, sipping a soda at Bar Centrale, having just seen the fabulous re-do of “The Pajama Game,” starring handsome Harry Connick Jr., gorgeous Kelli O’Hara and the warm and wonderful Michael McKean. I had one of the best times in the theatre ever. Revivals, even those with great scores like this one, can be tricky. Why is this production so great? The answer arrived in the shape of a lovely lady who sat beside me. Kathleen Marshall is one of the best choreographers and directors on the Great White Way. “Was it difficult to direct Connick in his Broadway debut,” I ask? “Not at all. He’s a natural showman and a honey to work with,” offered Kathleen. “He instinctively knows how to be real. ” At that moment Connick himself sat down on my other side! … Harry is as appealing as he is on stage. I couldn’t wait to ask him a very serious question. “Harry, those scenes where you and Kelli wear pajamas, she the top and you the bottom, only. Wow! What abs! Then you two kiss. I’ve never seen a kiss on a stage like that, ever. It’s so real the audience gasps. Are you two an item?” “No,” said Harry grinning sheepishly, “It’s all in the direction.” … As for Marshall, you can see her great accomplishments at NY City Center Encores! production of Kander & Ebb’s “70, Girls, 70,” starring Olympia Dukakis making her debut in a Broadway musical, Ronn Carroll, Carole Cook, Bob Dishy, Anita Gillette, George S. Irving, Charlotte Rae and Carleton Carpenter. Five performances only starting March 30.

WASN’T IT only yesterday that Britney Spears was everybody’s adorable fledgling music goddess? Didn’t Madonna herself anoint her as successor? (That fabled MTV kiss) Yes! But in the twinkling of an eye it seems, Spears’ image has taken a drubbing from which many insist she’ll never recover. Spears’ two marriages — one hasty, one ongoing but a veritable train wreck of low-rent gossip, her sometimes careless habits, her refusal to starve herself back to her “pre-pregnancy body” have combined to leave Spears hung out to dry. Still, maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. Spears is rumored ready to pursue Quincy Jones to help revamp her musical sound into something funkier, more mature. And she was recently spotted shopping at Prada and Gucci. She loves her flip-flops and cutoffs, but…

SHARON STONE will be back on the big screen March 31 returning to the ice-pick, ice-goddess role that made her an icon — Catherine Tramell in “Basic Instinct 2.” But in case you want to bone up on the original, Lionsgate is releasing an “ultimate edition” DVD of “Basic Instinct” on the 14th. In the “extras” Sharon gives an interview where she once again is obliged to discuss that scene and how she didn’t know it was going to look that way. She describes herself as “shocked, stunned and mind-blown” when she saw the film for the first time. She slapped director Paul Verhoeven. … Ben Gazzara is in rehearsals for the revival of Clifford Odets’ 1935 play, “Awake and Sing!” It starts previews this month. Ben and his wife Elke just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with two parties — one given by art collector Robert Towbin and Lisa Grunow at Robert’s Fifth Avenue apartment and another tossed in Primola by P.R. guy Jim Mitchell. … At the Towbin party, a guest of honor was the Gazzara dachshund “Maxie” who goes everywhere, also Gloria Steinem, Nan and Gay Talese, singer Douglas Ladnier (opening this April at Danny’s skylight Room), and Jane and David Halberstam.