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Neeson, ‘Crucible’ get Tony nods

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Neeson, ‘Crucible’ get Tony nods

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play “The Crucible” has garnered six Tony Award nominations. The show, which stars Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Brian Murray, is a powerful allegory for the McCarthy witch hunt of the 1950s, and is an absolutely riveting evening of theater. And we’d say that even if Liam Neeson didn’t take his shirt off during the first act. No siree, that didn’t influence us at all. (Though they really should give an award for best bare chest . . .)

What were we talking about? Oh, yes, the Tonys, and the nominees.

In the category of Best Revival of a Play, “The Crucible” is up against

“Morning’s at Seven,” “Noises Off” and “Private Lives.” Competing with Neeson for the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play are Alan Bates, “Fortune’s Fool”; Billy Crudup, “The Elephant Man”; Alan Rickman, “Private Lives,” and Jeffrey Wright, “Topdog/Underdog.”

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play pits the terrific Laura Linney (who plays Neeeson’s wife) with Kate Burton, “Hedda Gabler”; Lindsay Duncan, “Private Lives”; Helen Mirren, “Dance of Death,” and

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Mercedes Ruehl, “The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?”

In the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, Brian Murray will compete with Frank Langella, “Fortune’s Fool”; William Biff McGuire, “Morning’s at Seven”; Sam Robards, “The Man Who Had All the Luck,” and Stephen Tobolowsky, “Morning’s at Seven.”

Best Lighting Design nominees include Paul Gallo, “The Crucible”; David Hersey, “Oklahoma!”; Natasha Katz, “Sweet Smell of Success” and Brian MacDevitt, “Into the Woods.” Best Direction of a Play is a four-man race between Richard Eyre, “The Crucible”; Howard Davies, “Private Lives”; Daniel Sullivan, “Morning’s at Seven,” and Mary Zimmerman, “Metamorphoses.”

Win Tix to see Shane MacGowan & The Popes at Roseland

As if it weren’t exciting enough that Shane MacGowan and The Popes will make a rare appearance at NYC’s Roseland Ballroom this Friday night, May 10, at 8 p.m., we’ve heard that local faves Seanchai & The Unity Squad will be the opening act. At the risk of confirming our status as a rabid fan, we can’t help quoting one of their songs: this much we know: it’s time to go.

Front man Chris Byrne and the band will play support for MacGowan for the entire tour, which begins tonight at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club ([202] 265-0930) and continues on Saturday, May 11, at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia ([215] 627-1332). The rest of the schedule includes: Sunday, May 12, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence ([401] 831-4071); Monday, May 13, Paradise Rock Club, Boston ([617] 562-8820); Wednesday, May 15, Lee’s Palace, Toronto ([416] 598-0720); Thursday, May 16, St. Andrews Hall, Detroit ([313] 961-8137); Friday, May 17, House Of Blues, Chicago ([312] 923-2029; Saturday, May 18, Luther’s Blues, Madison, Wis. ([608] 257-1184; Monday, May 20, First Avenue, Minneapolis ([612] 338-8388).

We’ve got a VIP table for four to give away to the show. All you have to do is tell us the title of your favorite Shane MacGowan song. (There’s no right or wrong answer to this, so relax.) Answers on a fax with your name, address, evening phone number and e-mail address to “Dirty Old Contest” (212) 686-1756 or enter via e-mail at contest@irishecho.com. The subject line must contain your last name, first initial and the word Shane. E-mail without name, address and phone number will be disqualified (sorry!) Deadline is TODAY, Wednesday, May 8, at 4 p.m. (and not a minute after). The winner will be notified Wednesday evening via telephone, so remember: if we can’t reach you, the prize goes to the lovely runner-up. You’ve been warned.

Bryan: in the lap of, well . . .

There’s trouble in paradise. And, apparently, it’s wearing a G-string.

Fewer than six months after they tied the knot, Westlife heartthrob Bryan McFadden and his missus, ex-Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona, are reeling after a lapdancer alleged that she did more than dance at Bryan’s stag night last year. The dancer, Amy Barker, revealed that the Westie hunk offered her _15,000 to keep her mouth shut about their close encounter.

Kerry, understandably shocked and upset by the allegations, immediately flew back to the UK from the set of her new TV show in Las Vegas to demand the truth. According to press reports, Bryan confirmed her worst fears.

“This is just about the worst experience I’ve been through,” Kerry told the Daily Mirror.

“Bryan knows he’s done wrong, but we’re going to try to put it all behind us,” she said defiantly.

Bryan, for his part, sees the whole thing as an attempt by the media to “take him down.”

“The press build you up and they love making you a success,” he whinged on a British chat show. “But as soon as you’re there and there’s no more they can do for you, they just want to take you down.”

(And, really, it’s no fair putting frisky lapdancers right he’d find them. Why, that’s just asking for trouble.)

“You’ve just got to learn to live with it,” he continued. “You’ve got to learn to be yourself and keep your private life and work life separate and ignore anyone else. It is tough but . . . it’s all part of the job. It’s what we ask for.”

Kerry, who definitely didn’t ask for it, says that the whole situation has been really tough to take. Though she’s hurt and angry, she says that the couple is determined to patch things up for the sake of their daughter, Molly.

“We’re not the first couple to have problems and we won’t be the last,” she said. “But this situation is more than just Bryan and me. There’s a baby involved who we love very much.

“The worst part,” she says, “is everyone out there knowing about it.

“Bryan and I will survive, but I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy.”

Though she’s feeling quite forgiving toward her errant hubby, Kerry is more a Kitten with a whip when it comes to the bodacious Barker’s bid to make money by selling the sordid tale to the tabloids.

“That woman is just a cheap horrible gold-digger,” hissed Kerry. “I hope she can sleep at night because she’s caused a lot of pain in our lives.” Quick — someone remind Kerry that Barker had a little help . . .

In more Westlife news (as if anything could follow a story like that) we hear that the band is finally poised to crack the notoriously tough American market. They’ve signed a deal with record label RCA that has the potential to make them a household name in the U.S., along the lines of *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys.

Manager Louis Walsh is, understandably, over the moon about the deal.

“We’ve tried it in the past, but the people we were working with at the time didn’t do a proper market job,” Walsh told the Sunday World.

RCA producer Bob Jameson “was blown away” by Westlife when he caught their show in Newcastle last week, said Walsh. “He reckons they are going to be massive in the States,” Walsh said.

Westlife’s first American single will be “World of Our Own” — which must take on new meaning for Kerry and Bryan these days.

For Ronan, life is a roller-coaster

Don’t talk to Ronan Keating about the pressures of solo fame. The former Boyzone heartthrob is jumpy as a cat about the success of his new album.

“I’m really nervous about [it],” he said recently. “I mean, it has to live up to 4.5 million copies that the last album sold and this time it’s not on the back of Boyzone’s success.”

Ronan regards the new venture as merely another chapter in his life as an artist, rather than a reinvention.

“I’m not trying to be a new person. This is not the new Ronan,” he insisted. “This is [just] the next step for me. It’s the best piece of work I’ve ever done.”

Those of you who have been waiting with bated breath for more new Ronan songs will be happy to hear that he feels he “can stand proud with these songs. It’s the first record I’ve made that feels like a body of work.”

Part of the problem, says Ro, is that people have never seen the real him. The him behind the spiky blond hair. The him behind the chiseled cheekbones. The him behind that expensive dental work.

“I want people to see me for who I really am,” he insisted. “All you can give them is your music, turn out there and be yourself.”

Focused as he is on his solo career, Ronan says that he is grateful for the running start at fame he got as a member of Boyzone.

“I would really hate to be starting out all over again,” said the singer. “I won’t deny anything about Boyzone — it made me who I am and gave me the opportunity to do this.” Hmmm . . . are you listening, Keith Duffy?

Oasis: Teed off at TOTP

Really, it wouldn’t be a normal week without a fun story about those cranky geniuses in Oasis. We just heard that the boys are fuming — fuming! — over what they consider ill treatment at the hands of Britain’s “Top of the Pops” TV show.

The band agreed to appear on the show to promote their new single, “The Hindu Times,” from their upcoming album. Unfortunately, they immediately butted heads with the show’s technical crew.

“It was [bad word] dreadful. They were so unprofessional, a bunch of [bad word] amateurs,” Noel huffed to the Sun newspaper.

At issue is the staff’s method of editing the clip of the band’s performance.

“They cut six seconds from one song,” Noel said incredulously. “I know they are used to doing [bad word] pop groups but if they can’t hack it then why bother? We will never play ‘Top of the Pops’ again.”

A spokesperson for TOTP was unperturbed by the Gallagher rant.

“Oasis already had their own sound guy at the studios. So if Noel doesn’t like any of the sound, it is his own fault — he chose to mix it,” said the flack. “But there are no hard feelings on our side. I’m sure once it has calmed down they will come back.

After all, he pointed out, “they are only one band. They need us more than we need them.” Ouch!


I am still amazed at how big, how enormous a love and mystery God is, and how small are the minds that attempt to corral this life force into rules and taboos, cults and sects. Mercifully, God transcends the church.”

— Bono, commenting on the book, “They’ve Hijacked God” by Northern Ireland author Adam Harbinson.

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