Rosie O'Donnell is still at the top of her game when she’s doing comedy in front of a large crowd.
Tuesday night was no exception as O’Donnell took the stage at Radio City Music Hall as part of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour. Other acts on the bill included Indigo Girls, Regina Spektor, Margaret Cho, The Clicks and the B-52s.
Rosie’s 15-minute set was designed to be part of her testing of material for a one-woman show. She told me she’ll be trying out various elements of it on the True Colors tour until she has the sequence right. Later this year, she’ll take it to other cities before bringing it to Broadway in 2009.
The best bit by far, though, was about her experience on "The View." Rosie told the audience, "It started out as a tea party and wound up like a women’s prison movie. There were shivs out on the table."
Barbara Walters likely will emerge as the warden in that story.
O’Donnell’s other big moment in her set came when talking about her mother, who died at age 39. Recently, O’Donnell went and found her mother’s friends to ask them questions and reconstruct her history.
"Tonight was only the second time I’ve told that story. The first time I cried on stage. Tonight it was hard for me to hold back the tears," she said.
But later in Lauper’s set, Rosie got with the program. She sang back-up on Lauper’s new song, "Rocking Chair," from her new album, "Bring Ya to the Brink," and played drums rather convincingly on "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
And while all the acts were top notch, it was Lauper who stole her own show. She wore a silver-and-black-striped pants suit designed for her by Nicole Miller. Every bit of Lauper’s abbreviated set (thanks to one of Radio City’s many odd rules — see last week’s "Sex and the City" premiere) was a lesson in fine musicianship.
Her voice never has been better, the arrangements never punchier. No one works a crowd like Lauper, not even Madonna. Rather than show indifference to her fans, Lauper embraces them. The result is a party atmosphere with the coolest, most gifted hostess ever.
P.S. Cyndi performs live on June 13 in Bryant Park as part of the "Good Morning America" outdoor concert series. It’s not to be missed.
"Entertainment Tonight" still hasn’t retracted its story from last week claiming that Angelina Jolie had given birth to her twins.
The syndicated show even had the babies’ names … wrong.
Someone duped the show, and its sister program "The Insider." Nevertheless, they went full force into it, plugging their "scoop" everywhere. All the tabloid magazines went crazy trying to follow them, except People.
Why “ET” didn’t get it about People remains a mystery. People is the unofficial tabloid outlet for Jolie and Brad Pitt. If anyone knows when those babies are due, it’s the accountant at People. He or she has to have the check ready for photos when the big moment comes.
How “ET” got duped is one of those great inside stories that no doubt stems from their history of paying for scoops. After two years of sending bags of cash out to folks in the Anna Nicole Smith story and others, they probably figured for the right money they’d get this one, too.
But more importantly: how is it they still haven’t admitted the mistake? If for some strange reason (incarceration could be one) you only watched “ET,” you’d think Brad and Angie already had week-old twins at home. It’s not like the show ever had much credibility, but “ET” executive producer Linda Bell Blue should concede at this point.
And here’s the funny PS: when the hoodwink happened, there was almost no one to call one way or another. Both stars have dropped their publicists. They have no official spokesperson. As one of their associates told me the other day, “since the stories about them have reached tsunami stage interest, why bother denying anything?”
Meantime, watch for betting pools to develop now over Angelina’s actual due date. Is it August 19, as she’s said, or a month earlier (more likely)?
Wednesday morning, we’re greeted with the news that Paramount is folding its Vantage mini-studio into the larger business. These are the people who turned out several quality films last year, including “Into the Wild” and “There Will Be Blood.”
This comes right after Warner Bros. announced it was closing New Line Cinema and also wiping out Picturehouse (“La Vie En Rose”) and Warner Independent.
If the folks at Universal Focus are smart, they’ve already starting sending out resumes. “Atonement” didn’t quite make it, and “Lust/Caution” failed to turn up the heat.
That should leave just Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight and Disney’s Miramax as vestiges of the big studio efforts to replicate the original Miramax game plan. Just like that, it’s all gone. We’re back to square one. It’s almost like it never happened.
What will happen without the “mini” studios? For one thing, smaller actual indies like The Weinstein Company and Lions Gate suddenly become more important than ever to producers and filmmakers.
Maybe that’s as it should be. The big studios were never really interested in “quality” pictures to begin with. They only got into it because the original Miramax was grabbing all the Oscar nominations. Perhaps in the long run this is best: let the big guys go back to making “Indy"'s and the small guys can re-focus on “indies.”
Who knows? Maybe art houses will come back!
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