Category: Archive

New & Noteworthy: Rosie & Tony’s Millennium date

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Those of you who’ve been sweating the fate of the Tony Awards can ease up on your worry beads. Rosie O’Donnell has confirmed that she will return next year to host the theatrical extravaganza.

The theater-lovin’ O’Donnell, whose Tony hosting stints have brought the annual broadcast a much-needed ratings boost, will not headline this year’s show. She has previously cited scheduling conflicts and the need to concentrate on her daily chat show as the reasons for bowing out this year, but — to paraphrase Yoda — there is another: Rosie doesn’t like the fact that the show has moved from fancy-schmantzy Radio City to a regular old Broadway house.

“The show belongs in a big place, with screaming fans outside and fans inside the theater,” O’Donnell told the Daily News. The 1,300-seat Gershwin Theater is “too small,” she said.

“Fans can’t go,” she said. “It’s bad enough that most people in America will never see a Broadway show or never come to New York. I didn’t want to be hosting something feeling that fans might not be able to relate to it. Radio City is big and splashy. People relate to that.”

Now, this line of reasoning leaves us kinda confused. Is Rosie saying that people can’t relate to Broadway shows if the awards are handed out in a Broadway theater? Is big and splashy always better than small and intimate?

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And does she realize that the screaming fans outside aren’t actually having as much fun as she imagines? We’ve been there, and trust us, half the screaming stems from being squashed behind police barricades. The other half is frustration at not being able to get inside.

But like swallows to Capistrano, the awards will be back at Radio City next year, as will O’Donnell. But if you need a Rosie fix, watch this year’s show carefully — she’ll be there as a presenter. In what category?

“Any one they want me to present,” she said.Kennedy magic

Belfast has produced many of today’s greatest Irish artists — Van Morrison, Kenneth Branagh and Liam Neeson spring to mind — and now there’s another star on the ascent. Singer Brian Kennedy was described by Q magazine as having “a voice to charm the angels,” and by Van the Man as having “a huge pair of lungs.” High praise indeed, particularly from a mag that can only afford one letter in its name.

Those of you who want to hear Brian for yourselves are strongly advised to catch “Star Treks: Brian Kennedy” and “Brian Kennedy — Live on Stage.” These shows will be broadcast on Tuesday, April 27, on WLIW Channel 21, at 9 and 9:25 p.m., respectively.

Kennedy, who has spent years touring the world with Van Morrison, is concentrating on his career as a solo artist. His work has brought him many accolades, including the title of “Best Irish Male Artist” in last year’s Hot Press/2FM awards.

We saw him a few years ago with Van at Madison Square Garden, and he really does have an amazing voice (and he’s easy on the eyes, too).

Ch-ch-chain . . .

Living down the country has its charms, we’re sure — plenty of fresh air, friendly neighbors and green, rolling fields. However, we suspect some of the women of Mayo, Offaly and Wexford would trade that bucolic bliss for the chance to stick a fiver in a young hunk’s g-string.

Unfortunately, they won’t get the chance. We refer, of course, to the decision by top venues in those counties to ban performances by the popular Dublin male strip show, the Chain Gang. According to the Sunday World, the beefcake brigade can’t find one suitable hall or theater that’s willing to give them proper exposure.

“We have staged successful shows all over Europe and Ireland,” fumed the group’s manager, Tommy Egan. “And now we come back to Ireland to be told we can’t perform here. It’s ridiculous!”

Venue owners have deemed the show “unsuitable.”

Counters Egan, “These towns are just starving their women of what we have to offer.”

The performers themselves are ready to bare their, er, souls to the media to dispute reports that the show is “raunchy.” After all, they say, they only strip down to swimwear.

“It’s the kind of show you could take your granny to,” sniffed 22-year-old stripper Gary Palmer.

Well, as long as granny has her reading glasses on her nose and a handful of folding money, that is.

Tart as ever

The Cranberries are back this month with a new album, “Bury the Hatchet,” and a happier, healthier Dolores O’Riordan. The Limerick-born singer, who’s suffered a series of health problems during the band’s last tour, is fighting fit. If you don’t believe us, just ask Andrea Corr.

O’Riordan was asked if she felt that the Cranberries had paved the way for the Corrs. Dolores bristled.

“I don’t like their music,” she said. “I don’t like people who put skid-li-ay into rock or pop. . . . To me, it has to be either trad or rock. Mixing things is like, uuuuugh. I hate it.”

C’mon, Dolores, tell us what you really think.

“It’s a bit cheesey to do that,” she opined. “Trad is trad, and that’s it.”

Excuse us a second while we run our hands over our CD collection. Hmmmm, the Pogues, Sinead O’Connor, the Waterboys, the Prodigals, Black 47 . . .

Remembering Charles Comer

Charlie Comer’s death two months ago from complications related to diabetes both shocked and saddened his legions of friends and admirers. As someone who had the good fortune to be both, we found it hard to believe that someone so filled with energy joie de vivre could be gone. There would be no more messages on the answering machine, no more cozy Monday evening chats, no more exhortations to give his regards to Broadway.

The legendary publicist first made his mark by working on the Beatles’ first American tour, and went on to work with such stars as the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Elton John, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Marley, Grace Jones and the Chieftains. Charlie was also actively involved with American Celtic Television.

His larger-than-life persona, steel trap mind and imposing 6-foot-4 frame made him a force to be reckoned with. Even after two strokes slowed him down, Charles kept up on all the news, and was great at placing items and granting exclusives.

Charlie’s friends will have the opportunity to reminisce this Sunday, April 25, at a memorial service. There will be a high Mass at the Church of Saint Agnes, East 43rd Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues, NYC. The Mass will begin at 12:30 p.m. When the Mass finishes at 1:30 p.m., there will be a special eulogy for Charlie, followed by a complimentary luncheon generously donated by Eamonn Doran’s restaurant, Second Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets.

Charlie’s body was flown home to native Liverpool, where he was cremated. During the New York service, Charlie’s sister Mary will fulfill his last wish, which was to have his ashes scattered in the Mersey River.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Irish Physically Challenged Youth Team, Avondale Drive, Wexford, Ireland.

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