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To The Theatre - Celebs Take To The Boards (And Beaches)

Originally Posted: January 13, 2010

Jennifer Tuesday

E.L. Doctorow releases a new book. (PatrickMcMullan.com)

Southampton - Those cheers and whistles you are hearing up and down the Main Streets of the East End are real estate brokers celebrating the record breaking windfalls that Goldman Sachs and Bank of America will bestow on their hardest working - or at least most successful - dealmakers. Though much of the big six to eighth figure bonuses will come in the form of stock that can't be touched immediately, there is nothing like a fat portfolio to make cautious mortgage lenders open up the taps full throttle. Expect a lot of our prime realtors to be very busy in the coming weeks as the execs start getting the news of just how fat a paycheck they'll be seeing soon.

There might also be some good news in this for local not-for-profits who for the last two years have had to do without those $25,000 and $50,000 gala tables the banking boys liked so much. Word is Goldman Sachs, for one, is asking its top guns to dig a little deeper into their pockets for charity's sake - if not for good public relations.

One of Sag Harbor's leading literary lights will be taking to the stage at the Prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music. E. L. Doctorow will be the star attraction in BAM's "Eat, Drink and be Literary" series moderated by Daniel Menaker on January 21. Doctorow has had many popular literary triumphs since his first work "Welcome to Hard Times" in 1960. He later earned critical acclaim with "The Book of Daniel," a fictionalized account of alleged traitors Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and has gone on to write 20 additional works, including award-winners "Ragtime," "World's Fair," "Sweetland Stories" and "Creationists." His latest novel "Homer and Langley" released last September details the lives of the notoriously eccentric millionaire Collyer Brothers, the male version of our own Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, who lived in Grey Gardens-like squalor in a mansion in Harlem.

Angela Lansbury gets some company on the boards.

Edgar, as Doctorow is called, (named after Edgar Allan Poe) is not the only famed Hamptons writer to be represented on the stages of New York soon. The late author and Bobby Van's habitué Kurt Vonnegut's words are currently being adapted for the stage for a new musical. This week Josh Felderstein with the support of the Kurt Vonnegut Trust will present a reading of Vonnegut's "Between Time and Timbuktu" for the Broadway producing community. The show features book and lyrics by Andrew Barrett and music by Ira Antelis and directed by Jeremy Dobrish.

Characters and stories from Vonnegut's best known works - "Cats Cradle," "Happy Birthday, Wanda June" and "The Sirens of Titan" among others, have been adapted into an original musical about the power of imagination. It tells the daring story of a man who leaves his comfortable home to seek a life he never got to live.

The cast of the reading of "Between Time and Timbuktu" includes some serious Broadway talent: Sandy Binion "Jane Eyre," Matt Cavenaugh of "West Side Story" and "Grey Gardens" fame, Tony Award winner Robert Cuccioli "Jekyll & Hyde," Drama Desk winner Gregg Edelman and Tony nominee Anita Gillette, among others.

Speaking of books, kudos to the brilliant marketing whiz Andrea Hoffman whose company Diversity Affluence is changing the way luxury firms perceive the growing African-American and Hispanic markets. She now has a new book coming out with co-author Leonard Burnett entitled "Black is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African-Americans" from Palgrave MacMillan. Hoffman is definitely onto something as this community currently has estimated buying power of $87 billion - a figure that will jump to $1.1 trillion in 2012! The duo outlines how companies such as HSBC, Aston Martin, Gucci and Sony have all jumped on the bandwagon in selling to this highly affluent market.

Bad girl Lindsey Lohan.

News from luxury design house Emanuel Ungaro has Lindsay Lohan staying on as artistic adviser to the tony label despite the fact Mounir Moufarrige, president and chief executive of the French fashion house, has resigned just over two months after the widely panned first collection by Lohan. It was Moufarrige who brought LiLo in to shake up the design focus - and I guess she shook a little too much. But Ungaro execs are standing by Lindsay who they believe is an incredible fashion icon.

Clearly, the negative reaction to her first collection with Ungaro hasn't hurt her stock within the fashion community one whit. Lindsay continues to grow her fashion empire and has expanded her leggings label, 6126, to a full contemporary line for fall 2010. The following year, she plans to add cosmetics, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Lindsay has already filmed ads to begin airing in the Spring. Maybe, she has really turned over a new leaf - whatever we are delighted that the Long Island born lass seems to be getting it together.

It's starry, starry nights all over the New York stages this season with some of film and TV's brightest talents honing their craft in theatres large and small. I don't recall such a plethora of bold faced names taking the smaller paychecks to do Broadway and Off-Broadway but it is a boon to producers and regular folks like us who love to see our faves in the flesh. The huge crowds outside the theater where Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were performing "A Steady Rain" was a clear indication that the public can't get enough of their beloved film and TV stars.

Theatre man Hugh Jackman.

Now we have Oscar winning actress Catherine Zeta Jones paired up with the incomparable Angela Lansbury in "A Little Night Music;" Scarlett Johannsonand Liev Schreiber in a much praised revival of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge;" Carrie Fisher a/k/a Princess Leia spilling her guts in "Wishful Drinking;" Brit hottie Hugh Dancy in rehearsal for the downtown drama "The Pride" and former "Boston Legal" star James Spader, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington and one time "The Waltons" star Richard Thomas tackling controversial issues in David Mamet's sizzling new courtroom drama "Race."

Superstar Denzel Washington returns to his theater roots to star in the first Broadway revival of August Wilson's "Fences" as Troy Maxson, an African-American struggling with racial barriers, betrayal and life's disappointments.

Anthony LaPaglia and Tony Shalhoub better known as detectives to television audiences, pair up for a revival of the wacky "Lend Me a Tenor" at the Music Box Theatre and though it is still having some re-write problems "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" at Broadway's Hilton Theatre will bring us the lovely Evan Rachael Wood. The late Charles Addams of Westhampton will be represented on the Great White Way with "The Addams Family Musical" featuring Nathan Lane and former "Fraser" star Bebe Neuwirth. "Ugly Betty" star Vanessa Williams, a knockout musical theater performer, will join the legendary Barbara Cook and others for a new look at "Sondheim on Sondheim" in the next few weeks. And let's not forget hunky John Stamos and Gina Gershon in "Bye, Bye Birdie."

Surprisingly a number of Hollywood's younger ladies are taking the leap to tread the boards - often despite the advice of their LA agents who have little use for New York and the smaller paychecks. Besides Johansson a number of other actresses more familiar with lavish movie sets are now working the often dingy theater spaces in Manhattan.

Abigail Breslin slated to play Helen Keller.

Elia Kazan's granddaughter Zoe Kazan whose prolific career in just the last three years includes roles in the films "The Valley of Elah," "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," "Revolutionary Road" and "It's Complicated" will co-star with the magnetic Christopher Walken in Martin McDonagh's new play "A Behanding in Spokane" slated to begin previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in mid-February.

Alison Pill so sweet as a lesbian activist in "Milk" tackles one of the most difficult roles imaginable - that of caregiver Annie Sullivan in the revival of "The Miracle Worker" at Circle in the Square. "Little Miss Sunshine" herself the delightful Abigail Breslin will portray the role of Helen Keller opposite Pill.

Daytime fans have their chance to catch a great mix of soap stars in the upcoming intimate concert versions of the new musical comedy "Queen Bea: A Soapsical!" on February 9 and February13 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. The concerts will star "One Life to Live" cast members Bree Williamson, Jason Tam, Chris Stack and Beth Ann Bonner of "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" fame with Sasha Weiss, Kevin Michael Murphy and Amy Burgess.

"Queen Bea: A Soapsical!" was penned by Gena Oppenheim and Daniel Lincoln. The musical, according to insiders "recounts the rise and fall, and rise, and fall and rise of daytime TV's greatest diva. Michael Roberts will direct the evening with musical direction by the show's composer, Daniel Lincoln.

So whatever your fancy, there is a star out there for you - and tremendous discounts for the savvy theatergoer as Broadway tries to struggle though the dark days of winter.

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