You’ve got to give some credit to the Rolling Stones. They’re not going to go out with a whimper, but a bang. A bigger bang, I guess you could say.
Late yesterday, I was told — right before the announcement went out — that Ronnie Wood was heading into rehab. His stint has thrown the Stones’ world tour into upheaval, with dates being changed and rearranged. They may now pick up where they left off in Milan in mid-July.
Wood apparently has been partying with Keith Richards, even after the latter’s fall from a tree in Fiji on April 29 and his subsequent surgeries.
Sources from the Wakaya Club resort on Fiji — where room rates range from $1,900 to $7,600 a night — tell me that Richards and Wood consumed massive amounts of wine during their stay, and that even after Richards’s accident, Wood continued on by himself. “Cases and cases” was the way the wine volume was described to me.
The Wakaya Club, which has hosted lots of stars from Demi Moore to Oprah Winfrey and Russell Crowe, is owned by Canadian David Gilmour, who also owns the popular Fiji bottled water.
According to my sources, there is also now a sign where Richards fell out of his coconut tree that reads: “Beware Falling Stones.”
There’s nothing more that Grace Rwarmba wants than to marry Michael Jackson.
The former pr assistant who was promoted to nanny for Jackson’s kids several years ago has never made a secret of her desire to wed the former King of Pop.
Now word is spreading that the marriage may occur, if only so Jackson can present a unified “normal” family when ex-wife Debbie Rowe tries to gain joint custody and increased visitation with her two children, Prince and Paris. She gave birth to them while married to Jackson in the mid 1990s and let Jackson have full custody.
But now that a California appellate court has restored Rowe’s parental rights, Jackson is said to be worried about an upcoming legal battle. Marrying Grace, in his mind, might solve the problem.
But Jackson is said to be mostly unaware that Rwarmba had an affair with his brother Jermaine in 1999-2000, sources tell me. If he were to find out, insiders say, that could be the end for the nanny’s expectations of nuptials.
Not only that: Rwarmba is widely disliked in the Jackson camp by nearly all of his family members and his remaining two or three employees. They see her as a social climbing gold digger who wants what’s left of Jackson’s money.
Last year, I told you that many in Jackson’s inner circle worried that Rwarmba was drugging Jackson and keeping him isolated from family and friends. Rwarmba has been with Jackson and his three kids (including the youngest, nicknamed Blanket, who was dangled from a hotel window in 2002) since they left the U.S. a year ago for Bahrain. Family members and business associates who want to speak with Jackson must call the nanny, who decides what calls are put through to the abundantly weird singer.
Yes, that was “Marie Antoinette” star Kirsten Dunst with two girlfriends at last night’s performance of “The History Boys” on Broadway. Dunst slipped quietly in a side door and then into third row seats to watch the new Tony-winning best play. Most of the audience didn’t even see her.
Dunst wasn’t the only interesting person at the play. There were also several members of the much-ridiculed Hollywood Foreign Press in attendance. Fresh from their freebie trips to the Cannes Film Festival, the HFPA junketeers are now in New York getting the royal treatment. How seeing a Broadway play is part of their assignment and important to their mandate is beyond me, but it’s a good life.
Meanwhile, “History Boys” — written by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner — really is a wonderful play. The title makes it sound a little dry, but the material is far from that. It’s very funny and sad, and it’s just raunchy enough to be “edgy.” The play combines some video pieces and great New Wave music from the early 1980s.
Not enough can be said about the acting, starting with stars Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour as teachers in an English grammar school. Their students — particularly actors Dominic Cooper and Samuel Barnett — are memorable and ingratiating. This is one terrific night in the theater, and hopefully it will have a good long run.
And here’s a bit of news: “History Boys” has already been made into a film by Hytner, Bennett and the stage cast. Fox Searchlight will release the feature this fall, making it the fastest turnaround ever for a legit play’s transformation into a movie. Look for the nine young men who play the students to get a lot of publicity when that happens. And Griffiths could wind up with an Oscar nomination — he’s that good, a real heir to the late Peter Ustinov’s legacy.
The ongoing saga of Jesse Hilsen, former manager and shrink of the rock group Kiss, continues today in Brooklyn bankruptcy court. Hilsen fled the U.S. in 1994 and didn’t return for a decade rather than pay alimony or child support.
He’s filed two bankruptcies (one in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn) that actually contradict each other regarding his assets — said to be in the millions. A separate hearing on June 26 in Family Court should be wild, with creditors and parties suspected of harboring or hiding his funds all being subpoenaed.
The major players in that hearing should be New York therapist Joan Packles Margolis and her husband, Dr. Richard Margolis, who will be grilled like hot dogs about their roles in allegedly hiding Hilsen’s funds. Today’s hearing, equally important, is to make sure his bankruptcies remain active until his ex-wife, Rita, who’s lived in a shelter for 10 years, can get some satisfaction…
…Meanwhile, on a real soap opera, a second second-generation star has joined the cast of “As the World Turns.” First Jennifer Landon, daughter of Michael, came aboard and won an Emmy award. Now Kelsey Grammer’s daughter, Spencer, is coming off like a seasoned pro after just a couple of weeks. She’s a beauty, too. “World Turns” continues to be the best of the remaining soaps, with the strongest ensemble cast and excellent writing. They must have a good casting director, too…
…and classical pianist Jeffrey Biegel unveils his Billy Joel project on June 24 in Greensboro, N.C. at the Eastern Music Festival. Biegel tells me, “With Billy's approval, I took four of his classical pieces from his solo compilation 'Fantasies and Delusions' and transcribed them into a wildly virtuosic and Romantic reflection of composers gone by into the new concerto. Master orchestrator Phillip Keveren created the orchestral parts around my piano part, which Billy approved of.”
Stuart Malina, who won a Tony for his orchestrations of Joel’s music in the Broadway show “Movin’ Out,” will conduct the orchestra in North Carolina and at a July 7 show in Indianapolis with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Maybe he’ll run into my cousin Michael Borschel, that orchestra’s accomplished assistant principal clarinetist!