Rockettes headed to TV

Special will air on NBC at end of the year

A CROWD of 370 girls waited in the rain near Radio City Music Hall the other day, all for the Rockettes’ annual audition. Out of this group, they hired only two. The famed creator of TV’s “60 Minutes,” one Don Hewitt, told me he suddenly realized no one had ever done a real film examination of the Rockettes and the Christmas show. So he called owner Chuck Dolan asking if there was film of the Rockettes? Dolan said, “No, I wouldn’t let anyone within a mile of my girls. But maybe in your case, I’ll make an exception.” The independent Hewitt Group is now filming with nine cameras in high definition. This special will air on NBC before the Yuletide. I asked Hewitt if he, like others who are not Christians, objected to the religious ending. The veteran TV giant laughed: “If Christmas and Easter were good enough for Irving Berlin, then they’re good enough for me.”

THEY ARE putting up the caricature of British star Michael Sheen in Sardi’s. The “Frost/Nixon” star has played both David Frost and P.M. Tony Blair to great acclaim and we ain’t heard the end of him yet…. Go see the film of “Hairspray” if only for one reason – John Travolta at the top of his experimental and daring-to-do-anything game and his Fred and Ginger dance love song with co-star Chris Walken. … Drop into the Helen Hayes Theater and sit down to 90 minutes of belly laughs with Broadway’s musical “Xanadu.” Cheyenne Jackson, who I once dubbed the sexiest man on B’way, is still just that. Wow. He plays a hunk of an earthling in this funny farce about nine Greek muses arriving on Earth via roller skates. Kerry Butler is fabulous as Kira. Tony Roberts delicious as Danny and Zeus. This is a riotous trip to summer “camp.”

CAN THIS rumor be true? Prince has offered a helping hand to Michael Jackson, supposedly suggesting that Michael begin a series of “unplugged” concerts in Las Vegas — just Michael and the mike. No smoke, mirrors, or costumes. …

“SHE’S REGAL and down-to-earth at the same time. She’s this generation’s Twiggy, with a bit of Holly Golightly.” That’s one of Hollywood’s top producers on the subject of — please sit down — Victoria Beckham. This producer thinks the former and future Spice Girl would be a big hit on screen, especially perfect, he says, as the star of a romantic Disney comedy about Tinkerbell, the fairy of Peter Pan fame. … But the Beckhams have actually been in the United States for months already and have been pronounced flops. The whole Posh/Beckham thing seems so … desperate. She and husband David have come to represent a kind of uncontrolled (and unnecessary) mania to achieve success in the United States. It’s not appealing. … Disney execs might be better served looking to the cover of August’s issue of Vogue for Tinkerbell. There she is, at 35, looking 10 years younger than her age, Winona Ryder. Ryder has several films on the small and serious side.

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)