NEW YORK – Rosie O'Donnell is ending her talk show tomorrow singing "Give My Regards to Broadway."
At least in spirit.
The guests on her final, live show — set to broadcast from her studio in Rockerfeller Center — will include stars Nathan Lane, Christine Ebersol and the casts of half a dozen Broadway musicals.
Some "surprise" going-away messages from celebrities — perhaps from Tom "Cutie Patootie" Cruise and/or Barbra Streisand, O'Donnell favorites who've appeared on the show — are expected.
But it is O'Donnell's famous love affair with the Great White Way that will be center stage for her last-ever live Rosie O'Donnell Show (The show has been stockpiling taped shows for months so that it could continue to air new episodes through the end of June.)
The casts of Broadway's Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, Beauty and the Best, The Producers, Phantom of the Opera and 42nd Street will all participate in an elaborate production paying homage to O'Donnell — in what's expected to be a retrospective hour of laughter and tears.
John Lithgow (Sweet Smell of Success), Brad Oscar (The Producers), Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods) and Sutton Foster (Millie) will also be featured in the song-and-dance routine.
The Broadway link is significant — since O'Donnell is credited with helping revive interest in The Great White Way by featuring many Broadway acts and production numbers on her show over the years.
She also hosted The Tony Awards several times, calling further attention to Broadway productions.
The Rosie O'Donnell Show debuted in June 1996 and was an immediate hit, garnering O'Donnell the nickname of "The Queen of Nice" for her fluffy approach to celebrity interviews and pop-culture happenings.
O'Donnell announced last year that she would leave the show to devote more time to her family, which includes children Parker, Chelsea and Blake and galpal Kelli Carpenter.
Carpenter, who is pregnant, will be at tomorrow's Rosie finale, according to O'Donnell's publicist.
O'Donnell has handed the reins over to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch co-star Caroline Rhea, who will host The Caroline Rhea Show beginning in September.