'Designing' May Be Broadway Bound

'Designing Women' on Broadway? | Felicity Huffman | CMA Awards | Rachel Hunter

TV's 'Designing Women' May Be Broadway Bound

It's just a rumor, but it's pretty solid all the same.

I hear that Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is hard at work updating her hit TV series, "Designing Women," for Broadway.

And that's not all. The original cast — Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart — are said to have signed on to recreate their TV roles.

Burke was on Broadway recently in "Steel Magnolias," and Carter has been a regular on the cabaret circuit for some time.

The word is that producers Anita Waxman and Elizabeth McCann, two of Broadway's most venerable and successful "designing women," will put the show on the boards beginning next summer.

So what will the play be about? For one thing, sources tell me that Bloodworth-Thomason has updated it in real time, so the women will have aged the 15 years that it's been since they were last on the air.

But the play will also be topical, with room left for changes week-by-week, depending on the news of the day.

If this works — and it seems like a lock to do just that — my guess is we will soon see plays based on shows like "The Golden Girls," "Soap," "All in the Family" and other television classics. The audience is certainly built in, and people know what they're getting up front.

It's all good fun, but it does kind of make you wonder how fast Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill are spinning in their graves.

Full Frontal — and More — for a 'Desperate Housewife'

Felicity Huffman picked up an Emmy in September for her role on "Desperate Housewives." The show is supposed to be cutting-edge, right? Well, you ain't see nothing yet, as they say.

Felicity stars in a independent film called "Transamerica," which will open in time next month for her to get Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG award nominations.

And look out, because "Transamerica" is hot stuff. Felicity plays a pre-operative transsexual, meaning she's playing a man who's dressing as a woman as he anticipates a sex-change operation.

But a week or so before the operation, Felicity's character, Stanley, discovers he fathered a son 17 years earlier. The boy (Kevin Zegers) is also a male hustler in Manhattan.

Stanley, who calls himself Bree now, goes there to get the kid and rescue him from jail before the operation.

They wind up on a cross-country drive that I promise you makes "Tumbleweeds," "Anywhere But Here" and "Thelma and Louise" look innocent.

Fionnula Flanagan — who could wind up as Best Supporting Actress — and the underused Burt Young (best known as Paulie from the "Rocky" movies) play Bree's horrified parents to the hilt.

In fact, just at the point that "Transamerica" could veer into something incredibly distasteful, this pair comes along and transforms the movie. I also loved Bree's sister, the appropriately named Sydney.

Huffman gets to show off her considerable acting chops, as well as her body, which is more than Lynette on "Desperate Housewives" would ever do. Luckily, "Transamerica" is co-produced by Huffman's real-life husband, award-winning actor William H. Macy .

Huffman is utterly convincing as Bree, and so winning that she overcomes some of the coarser moments in the low-budget film (and I mean very, very low).

Who knows what this Oscar race is going to look like to the average American this winter, what with a pre-op transsexual in this movie and gay cowboys having sex in "Brokeback Mountain." This much is certain: it won't be boring.

CMAs Are D.O.A. in NYC Late at Night

I don't know how the Country Music Awards did in ratings, but the parties after the show on Sunday night were dreadful affairs.

Nearly 3,000 people got free tickets for an "exclusive" soiree at Marquee on Tenth Avenue. We skipped that one.

Over at the Gotham Hall near Macy's, Sony BMG put Kenny Chesney and the Van Zant brothers in a private room so no one could see them, then stocked the main hall with a couple hundred people I have never seen before in my life. It was not exactly A-list.

The worry about Chesney, of course, was that someone might ask him about Renée Zellweger. Gretchen Wilson was also at this shindig, but the girl running the door of the VIP area was so clueless she didn't know what was what.

Down at a new club called Duvet, which used to be the legendary Tramps, at least some celebs showed up for Universal's hoedown.

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora dropped by, and Kid Rock also did the rounds.

Inside the club, Lee Ann Womack danced up a frenzy, jumping from vinyl couch to vinyl couch. George Strait , who as it turns out, is quite short, hid in a corner protected by some loutish Nashville music execs. Yee-hah!

Standing outside of Duvet, though, was Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John. Yes, you can joke that he was in the right place at the wrong time, but wearing his beret, Dr. John looked great.

We talked about his hometown of New Orleans and the several recordings he's made recently, which are about to be released. He was resplendent in a kind of three-piece suit with a red vest.

But there's a reason there's no country station in New York: This is not country country.

I felt kind of bad for the people who were shipped in. They looked like they could have been anywhere, and wanted to be someplace else. Like Vegas. Or Nashville.

Rachel Hunter, Several Stories Up and Other Stories

There's only one reason we took a makeshift elevator 58 stories into the sky on a rainy night in a not-yet-finished building: to see Rachel Hunter, the former Mrs. Rod Stewart, as she checked out Gary Barnett 's new Orion apartment tower on 42nd and 9th.

And there she was, decked out, and examining the spectacular views of Manhattan while disco music pulsated.

She did get to meet interior designer Ben Chasin, who just put the finishing touches on a new apartment for "E.R." actress Julianna Margulies, among others.

And no, there does not seem to be a bursting of the real-estate bubble, at least in this city: Barnett tells me nearly all of the 529 units have been sold.

TravelSavvy magazine's November/December issue — edited by Jill Brooke — is out, and it's a hit.

Not only do we get some fun lists of favorite places from Chris Rock, Liz Hurley and Sofia Coppola, but also some cool holiday stuff, such as the five brightest menorahs you can see in the U.S. (two of them are in Texas, go figure) and the five most exotic churches outside the country.

The photos are great, the pages are lively and filled with lots of useful info.

I am absolutely fascinated by the piece on ice hotels. I still can't figure them out, but they look very cool ... pun intended.