Category: Archive

New & Noteworthy:”Kiss” of depth

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Celebrities were thick on the ground last Wednesday night at the Broadway opening of “The Judas Kiss.” The main attraction was, of course, the return of Irish actor Liam Neeson to the New York stage in the role of playwright and raconteur Oscar Wilde.

The play, by David Hare, debuted last month in London’s West End before moving, kit and caboodle, to the Big Apple (and squeaking in just u nder the Tony nomination deadline). In addition to Neeson, it also stars Tom Hollander (last seen in “Some Mother’s Son”) as Lord Alfred Douglas, and Peter Capaldi as the loyal Robbie Ross. The sets and costumes were designed by Tony-winner Bob Crowley, who captured the sense of elegant decay central to the story.

After the performance and repeated curtain calls (the night we saw the play, the actors had to take four bows), the star-studded crowd repaired to Tavern on the Green for a bit of a knees-up. Rosie O’Donnell, herself no stranger to greasepaint after starring in “Grease” a couple of seasons ago, was there to cheer on Neeson, who had guested on her chat show the day before. Film actress and Broadway diva Glenn Close (late of “Sunset Boulevard”) came in for her close-up, as did fellow luminaries Winona Ryder and Harrison Ford. Legendary artist Al Hirshfeld (he of the “Ninas”) rubbed shoulders with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”).

Liam made a suitably dramatic entrance, accompanied by his wife, actress Natasha Richardson. In the tradition of the old saying about the family that does plays together stays together, each is starring on Broadway at the moment. Natasha’s been nominated for a Tony for her lead role in the hottest musical in town, the revival of “Cabaret.”

Most interesting appearance of the night (for us) was that of cult diva/restaurateur Nell Cambell, almost as famous for her eponymous nightclub (where Cher was once turned away) as for her starring turn as Columbia in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

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The play’s gotten rave reviews so far, and we were betting the farm that Liam & Co. would feature prominently on the Tony nominations list. (Instead, they got shut out. Go figure.) If you get a chance to go, run, don’t walk. It’s a rare opportunity to watch a fine actor create a complex, maddening, frustrating, fascinating character. And, of course, it’s Liam. Up on stage. In person. Sigh.

Love to loathe ya, baby!

They say you can only hate the ones you love or is that, you can only love the ones you hate? (Well, who can remember stuff like that we haven’t even seen Liam Neeson in “Les Miserables” yet?) Anyway, the always obliging scribes at the Sunday World decided to poll a bunch of average Irish punters to find out which celebrities they love to hate, and the results, while not surprising, are extremely amusing.

Lots of familiar faces made the list, and some made the alternate list of most beloved, which is pretty confusing. We won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Though, really, how someone could anybody hate some of these people is beyond us . . .

1. Charlie Haughey (tie) Former taoiseach, good friend of Ben Dunne, and the country’s most mysterious millionaire. Earns our ire as the rumored “Sweetie” in a well-known gossip column.

2. Gay Byrne (tie) Host of the “Late Late Show in Ireland” and the most annoying broadcaster ever to lauch spittle at a microphone. Good interviewer, though, especially with tongue-tied Rose of Tralee contestants.

3. Gerry Ryan Irish broadcaster sometimes referred to as the “Howard Stern” of Irish radio. Hmm. Maybe when he starts having guests like Hank the Angry Dwarf . . .

4. Eamonn Dunphy The sports commentator who seems to upset Irish people whenever he utters a syllable. We know him as the guy who wrote the U2 hagiography, “The Unforgettable Fire.” How do you spell puff piece?

5. Pat Kenny The Irish seem to love and loathe their broadcasters all at the same time. Seems inoffensive to us, though maybe that’s the problem . . .

6. Daniel O’Donnell How anybody could hate this clean-cut Irish boy with his perfect hair and lovely voice is beyond us. If drinking tea and loving one’s Mammy are crimes . . .

7. Brendan O’Carroll The comedian best known for his use of four-letter words should be more $%#^&*! popular than that, eh?

8. John Bruton Former taoiseach. Seems inoffensive enough to us.

9. Gerry Adams Leader of Sinn Fein.

10. Dick Spring Former Labour Party leader. They probably have never forgiven him for being from Kerry.

11. Sinead O’Connor Where do we start? People either love or loathe the singer/actress/activist, and she’s never too busy to cause a little controversy, whether it’s tearing up the pope’s headshot or swearing like a stevedore while playing the Virgin Mary. Sings like an angel, though.

12. Bertie Ahern Present taoiseach. Oy, people just love to hate politicians. Seems nice enough to us, and he did put on the Planet Hollywood jacket during his campaign . . .

13. Mary Harney Tanaiste. Yep, they hate politicians.

14. Albert Reynolds Former taoiseach who has the misfortune of hailing from the Midlands. People love to refer to him as the dance hall king or the dog food manufacturer. We like him because of the Longford bypass.

15. Michael Flatley Former taoiseach, former Riverdancer, present Lord of the Dance. How could they like someone who’s American, blond, confident, talented and extremely rich, especially when he got extremely rich via Irish dancing?

16. Charlie McCreevy Finance minister. Politician. Oh.

17. Larry Goodman Lawyer. Enough said.

18. Dave Fanning Rock and roll journalist who helped launch U2. He gets our thanks, but many will never forgive him . . .

19. Mary McAleese President. It bears repeating: nobody loves a politician. Plus, she beat out poor wee Dana, who promised to bring all kinds of everything to Aras . . .

20. BonoWhat list, whether love or hate, could be complete without Ireland’s preeminent rock god? In most peoples’ minds, U2 were brilliant until they became popular, which is when they became crap. Bono’s grand pronouncements and smelly cigars don’t help, though . . .

Well, you know what they say about the begrudgers. And just in case you were wondering, the top 10 best liked celebrities were:

1. Gay Byrne

2. Bertie Ahern

3. Pat Kenny

4. Mary Robinson

5. Gerry Ryan

6. Mary McAleese

7. Marion Finucane

8. Christy Moore

9. Daniel O’Donnell

10. Ronan Keating

What, no Bono? No Liam? No Pierce? No accounting for taste.

U2 guys bare their souls on FOX-TV’s “The Simpsons”

Those of you who were out having a life (something we only dream about) last Sunday evening were treated to a special episode of “The Simpsons.” The irreverant FOX-TV show and its creator, Matt Groenig, celebrated the 200th appearance of everyone’s favorite dysfunctional clan with a funny storyline involving U2 and Homer’s campaign for the office of sanitation commissioner (don’t ask).

Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam supplied their voices, along with their manager Paul McGuinness and longtime band insider Susie Smith. The guys even serenaded Homer with “The Garbage Man,” a parody of the old Sammy Davis chestnut, “The Candy Man.”

We were happy to see that the band could lampoon their ever-so-earnest image. When Homer pre-empts their concert, Bono calls the crowd to attention: “He’s talking about waste management, people!” he intones gravely. Meanwhile, Edge and Larry decide to go off to Moe’s Tavern for a beer. When Adam asks if he can go, too, they think about it for a second. Then Edge tells him no.

Adam’s reply? We’ll just say it rhymes with bankers.

Keep an eagle eye out for reruns.

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