Get ready, folks: Rosie O'Donnell is coming to Broadway. And she's not fooling around.
O'Donnell -- who's already producing Boy George's London musical Taboo for the next Broadway season -- is developing her own show in which she will star. Find Me, based on her best-selling nonfiction book, will be a two character play. The search is on for another actress to play opposite O'Donnell.
As an added twist, O'Donnell has enlisted Cyndi Lauper to write and perform the music in the show. Lauper is putting together a bunch of her lesser known songs and new works as well to underscore O'Donnell's vision. The pair has been working together for some time, hatching the idea.
No director has been named, but I've heard a name -- and I am sworn to secrecy for the moment. But if the contracts are signed, O'Donnell and Lauper will have a big deal theater type with maximum respect shaping the show for them.
Find Me will likely find a place on Broadway by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, O'Donnell continues to branch out as the one year anniversary of her leaving her talk show approaches. She recently showed off her paintings at an art show in upstate New York near her home. This afternoon she'll host a children's charity here in New York.
As for her old show, have you noticed how Caroline Rhea -- O'Donnell's successor -- has come into her own? Rhea seems much more relaxed and in control than ever. Her rapport with her bandleader is excellent, and the audience has finally calmed down as well. I think there's a long run in her future, although it would be nice if WABC in New York would move her to a daytime slot.
The Fox411 was allowed into polite -- or is it impolite -- society last night, and it was a hoot. No movie stars, just social X-ray types and lots of plastic surgery.
The occasion was the publication of Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni's excellent biography of legendary movie mogul Sam Spiegel. From hither and yon, very tony types were summoned to Diane Von Furstenberg's studio-party space in the waaaay West Village. No, Barry Diller was nowhere to be seen, but DVF -- in one of her own signature wrap dresses -- had enough glamour for two.
The DVF space is really two large ground floor rooms that are like lofts, with big walls and high ceilings. DVF projects art objects on the walls, which is wiser and cheaper than having real paintings.
At the center of the room: the original social X-ray (as Tom Wolfe defined it), a rail thin and spindly Nan Kempner, who looked as though she'd been unleashed from the dinosaur room at the Museum of Natural History. Kempner knows where all the bodies are buried, and if she doesn't, her companion for the night does. That would be Aileen Mehle, otherwise known as Suzy, the doyenne of all gossip writers.
Mehle wore the thickest, most lush fur stole I've seen in some time, and didn't take it off all night. She and Nan held court, and the many serious partygoers paid their respects.
Among the beautiful people: perfumerie Carolina Herrera and husband Reinaldo; movie producer Donald Rosenfeld; writers Patricia Bosworth, Steven M.L. Aronson and Billy Norwich; Avenue magazine editor Jill Brooke; socialite Maria Snyder, Vogue fashion maven Andre Leon Talley, New York Times editor Eden Lipson and reporter Michael Specter, and a most elegant British woman who I think was named Betty Pollack. When I asked her what restaurants she preferred in her hometown of London, Pollack replied: "I like to bring my own cook wherever I go, you know."
It was that kind of event. Natasha Fraser, the author of the Spiegel book, merited it. Her mother is Lady Antonia Fraser, the famed British writer, which makes her stepfather playwright and actor Sir Harold Pinter. Her uncle, Thomas Pakenham, wrote a famous book called The Boer War, that I highly recommend. Her aunt is the novelist Rachel Billington. Her father, Hugh Fraser, was a member of Parliament until his death in 1984. So there.
Natasha, who is very lovely, told me she got the idea to write about Spiegel because, she went to work for him when she was 19 years old. That was when Spiegel produced his last film, in 1983, Betrayal, which was written by Pinter and starred Ben Kingsley. (It's the Pinter play/movie that goes backwards.)
Spiegel was just 80 and had two more years to live, but the producer of The African Queen and Lawrence of Arabaia left an indelible impression.
You had to laugh, though. The cigar chomping movie mogul would have stuck out like a sore thumb in this group of swells. He wasn't terribly refined, according to Fraser. But he did, in a way, get the last laugh.
Later, we stopped by the St. Marks Church on East 10th Street, where a bunch of actors and musicians performed the Kerouac haiku --- the same ones I told you about the other day. (In stark contrast to the DVF event, at the door to the church a man who looked like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings , with a long gray beard, a scrunched up face and braided unruly hair spied the guests as they shuffled back and forth.)
Among the participants was Soprano's star John Ventimiglia (Artie Bucco), Jimmy Fallon, George Morfogen (one of the really good character actors from Oz), plus musician David Amram and elegant author of the Kerouac book Regina Weinreich. Joyce Johnson, author of Minor Characters: A Beat in A Memoir, was also in the audience. There was a reception afterward. No one brought their own cook, but it was OK nevertheless.