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New & Noteworthy:A Beaut of a night

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Well, the original Druids may have worshipped trees and assorted shrubbery thousands of years ago, but last week, their modern-day counterparts were the objects of worship – this time, by stars. We refer, of course, to the triumphant Broadway debut of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” which was produced by Galway’s Druid Theater Co. in association with the Atlantic Theatre Company.

The play, a dark comedy by celebrated English playwright Martin McDonagh, stars Marie Mullen as the spinster daughter of a crazy, conniving old woman, nastily played by Anna Manahan. Brian F. O’Byrne is Pato, the love interest, and Tom Murphy is his clownish, excitable younger brother. The sets have a perfect back-of-the-beyond dreariness, and the whole affair is satisfying, albeit nightmarish.

Since the best part of any first night is the after-party, we hurried over to the Supper Club restaurant to get a jump on celeb-spotting. We weren’t disappointed. As we walked in the door, we spotted legendary New York City cultural patronness Kitty Carlysle Hart (some will remember her from the old TV show “To Tell the Truth;” others will know her as the widow of Broadway composer Moss Hart). Carlysle Hart looked as glamorous as ever in an elegant red suit and discreet walking stick as she made her way over to congratulate the show’s producers.

There were plenty of well-known Irish and non-Irish faces scattered about: around one corner was director and screenwriter Terry George (“In the Name of the Father,” “Some Mother’s Son”), while right behind us was Mick Lally, who, even if he were to win the Nobel Peace Prize and discover a cure for the common cold, will be forever known as Miley from the Irish soap “Glenroe.”

Seated in a red velvet booth behind a grand piano was Hollywood’s blonde babe of the moment, Heather Graham, who seemed to be discussing the merits of the show with a pair of equally glam brunettes (not that we were eavesdropping). Wandering back out to the balcony which overlooked the main floor, we spotted Marisa “My Cousin Vinny” Tomei – who’s actually really tiny in real life – chatting with a couple of cute guys. We waved frantically (yet, we hoped, discreetly) at our photographer, who was taking pictures downstairs, hoping to get his attention (and a great candid shot of Marisa. What we got was a friendly man next to our photographer who kept nodding his head and waving back to us. Oh, well.

Had the distinction of rubbing elbows – literally – with the most amiable of “Friends,” Jennifer Aniston. We encountered the girl with the most famous hairdo since Farrah’s bleachy blond flip at the bar, when we were both vying for the bartender’s attention. (Surprisingly, she got served first.) We almost didn’t recognize her, because her famous tresses were braided and pulled back, in a look that only the very beautiful can pull off. We didn’t have a chance to ask her what she thought of the play, but she seemed happy. And, of course, why wouldn’t she? Her new movie, “The Object of My Affection” is doing well at the box office, and Rachel (her “Friends” character) should get Ross back pretty dern soon. Life is good.

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Much as we enjoyed the party, it came time for us to brave the driving rain to get a cab. Unfortunately, the rest of New York had the same idea at the same time, so we were waterlogged by the time we actually got a cab. As we sheltered (as best we could) under a scraggly old NYC tree while we waited, we wondered if the original Druids worshipped all trees.

Wilde times

Though it seems like one can’t swing a cat by the tail without smacking into an advertisement for something that has to do with Oscar Wilde – Liam Neeson will play Oscar in “The Judas Kiss”, and Stephen Fry stars in the new movie “Wilde” – Oscar hasn’t had so high a profile since his heyday 103 years ago. But there have been people who’ve worked hard to keep the Irish playwright’s memory alive, and their work has paid off handsomely.

The New York Post reports that Tina and Bill Flaherty have put up most of the money to restore the Wilde family home in Dublin’s Merrion Square, which will be site of the American College of Dublin. The building, a Georgian mansion, is where Oscar and his mother, Jane “Speranza” Wilde, ran a famous literary salon. (Yes, kids – that’s how people amused themselves in the days before “Jerry Springer.”) Tina Flaherty, by the way, has just finished her second book, “How to Talk Your Way to the Top” which Oscar probably would have found too, too amusing.

Chelsea & The Chieftains

We hear that Chelsea Clinton and some friends went to see (or is that hear) The Chieftains at a recent Stanford, Calif. concert. By all accounts, the First Daughter enjoyed the craic (and why wouldn’t she?) No word on the Secret Service reaction . . .

Briefings

There’s nothing like a red velvet rope to bring one’s ego crashing down to earth. At the Vanity Fair party that took place after the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (yes, where the president and Paula Jones wound up in the same room), the bouncers were pretty selective. According to the New York Daily News, people who had trouble getting in the door included “Primary Colors” author Joe “Anonymous” Klein, Barbara Walters’s date, John “formerly Mr. Liz Taylor” Warner, and Linda Tripp.

Sailing past the bouncers, however, was Edd “Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb” Byrnes, star of the old TV show “77 Sunset Strip.” VF editor Graydon Carter, who was a big fan of the show, said that he invited Byrnes personally. “I knew that every guy over 40 would get off on him. And they did.”

Meanwhile, Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Sean O hUiginn and wife Bernadette, looking resplendent, were seated beside Sharon Stone and her journalist hubby. Ah ’tis a long way from Mayo….

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