By Eileen Murphy
We just love spring, both because the weather’s getting warmer and the Broadway season reaches its climax. Many shows open as close to the end of April as possible, to squeak in under the Tony Awards eligibility deadline. This strategy worked beautifully for playwright Martin McDonagh, whose new show, “The Lonesome West,” garnered nominations in the Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress categories.
Unfortunately, the late season timing didn’t help Conor McPherson’s Broadway debut, “The Weir,” which, despite critical raves, didn’t get one nomination. We were surprised by the shutout — the performances are terrific, and the writing’s really good. Sigh. We expected Jim Norton and Brendan Coyle, at least, to be nominated. No accounting for taste . . .
This is quite the Irish year on the Great White Way. In the best actor in a play category, Brfan F. O’Byrne (“Lonesome West”) is up against Brian Dennehy (“Death of a Salesman”) and Kevin Spacey (“The Iceman Cometh”). Finbar Lynch (“Not About Nightingales”) is up for the best featured actor in a play, and Dawn Bradfield (“Lonesome West”) has been nominated as best featured actress in a play. Designer Bob Crowley is nominated twice — for “Iceman” and “Twelfth Night” — for best scenic design. Director “Lonesome West” Garry Hynes, who won a Tony last year for her work on “Beauty Queen of Leenane,” is nominated again, as is Martin McDonagh.
We’ve told you that Rosie O’Donnell won’t host this year’s awards, much to the chagrin of the Tony organizers. The committee has decided against pitting another host against O’Donnell’s ghost (particularly since she’s vowed to return in 2000), so this year, there will be a group of hosts. No names have been announced yet.
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Boy, were we red-faced last week. Actor Jim Norton, who’s starring in “The Weir” on Broadway, was a guest in the “Echo Chamber,” so we faxed a copy to the show’s publicist, Beth Stevens. Beth called us back a few minutes after receiving it.
“There seems to be a little editing error in the piece,” she began.
Uh-oh, we thought. Did we put in a wrong answer? Misspell his name? Misspell the show’s name?
“Read question three,” she laughed.
We glanced at the answer: Kathie Lee Gifford. “That’s what he wrote,” we replied.
“Right. Now read the question,” she said.
Yikes! The question Norton had answered was “Who would you want in the kitchen doing the washing and cleaning up after a dinner party?” Unfortunately, the question we printed in the paper was “If the house were on fire and you could save only one thing (other than a person or a pet), what would you take with you?”
Your questions answered
This whole business of Sinead O’Connor becoming a member of the clergy, which we reported last week, has prompted an avalanche of questions from worried readers. As a public service, we will try to address the ones which most amuse . . . er, concern you.
Q. Didn’t you report that Sinead was a bishop? Now I hear she’s a priest. Has she been demoted already?
A. Last week, Sinead called herself a bishop, but then she clarified her position: she really prefers being a priest, but will take up bishoply duties if needed. Until then, she feels her role is “getting down on the street, rolling up [her] sleeves and getting covered in [rhymes with spit] and snot.”
Q. Don’t priests have to be men? Or did they change that rule when they started allowing altar girls at Mass?
A. It’s big leap from altar girls to women priests, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Catholic Church is planning to change its mind in the foreseeable future. Mother Bernadette’s priesthood is recognized only by one splinter sect — though that won’t stop her from wearing standard priestly garb.
Q. So is she really a priest?
A. Let’s put it this way: Sinead’s a priest in the same way Col. Sanders is a military man. She says so, Bishop Cox says so. Who’s gonna argue?
Q. Don’t you have to go to school for years and years to be a priest? Did Sinead undergo some kind of Evelyn Woods-type, super-speedy vocational training?
A. The $150,000 donation that Sine . . . Mother Bernadette made to the charity controlled by her mentor, Bishop Cox, seems to have facilitated her training. Mother Bernadette denies that she “purchased” her priesthood, and later rescinded the donation, though she says she plans to donate large sums to Bishop Cox’s travelers’ mission. We also hear that she plans to purchase her own collars.
Q. Will Sinead take a vow of celibacy? As in, no more nookie?
A. Ummmmm….. not really. She did say, last week, that she planned to remain celibate for the next three years, but then she got this really cute new boyfriend and, well, you know. As she told reporters last week, “He would like me to take a vow of celibacy . . . but like maybe in 25 years’ time.”
Q. When she says she can perform the sacraments, does she also mean confession? And if so, how can we be sure she won’t tell the world that I made my brother eat dog yummies when he was 8 years old?
A. Mother Bernadette says that she’s able to perform all the sacraments, so if the spirit moves you, ‘fess up. Of course, you’ll have to do it via letter to her record company, making sure to mark that letter with a cross. Your confession will no doubt be “heard” by one of the company secretaries. God forbid you needed Last Rites . . .
Q. Is she really going to wear that Roman collar all the time? If so, will this begin a fashion trend, like baggy pants and “Flashdance” sweatshirts?
A. Yep, she plans to wear it from now on. And yes, we’re sure that the fashion industry will pick up on this hot new trend. Expect to see it soon on teenage girls at a mall near you.
Q. Any chance for advancement in her new career?
A. Well, it’s hard to say. We hear that Paddy Powers bookmakers in Ireland is offering odds of 10,000 to 1 against Mother Bernadette making it to the popehood. The odds on her being made a cardinal are much better: a sporting 1,000 to 1. The Irish Times reports that one person has already placed a _1 wager. Hey, you gotta be in it to win it.
Q. Tell the truth — is this all just a big publicity stunt?
A. O ye of little faith! Just because Sine . . . Mother Bernadette has gotten a little media attention in the past by shaving her head, tearing up a picture of the pope, refusing to allow the U.S. national anthem to be played before a concert, etc., etc., everybody thinks she’s just hogging the spotlight . . .
Q. Assuming it’s not a publicity stunt, how can I become a priest like her?
A. Got $150,000 burning a hole in your pocket?