By Eileen Murphy
It’ll be “Law and Order” this month on the high seas — or, at least, on the Hudson — when the Irish Repertory Theater takes to the water for its ninth annual gala. Lending the proper air of gravitas — and a heady boost of star power — to the event will be the evening’s special guest host, Sam Waterston. And if we were pressed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God, we’d have to admit that we keep a picture of Sam in our “secret dreamboat” file, right between Eddie Vedder and Robbie Williams. So you can imagine how excited we are about the upcoming cruise.
But back to the business at hand.
The supper cruise, dubbed The Sunset and Evening Star, will take place on Monday, June 17, on board the World Yacht Princess. Boarding starts at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 departure at Pier 81, West 41st Street and the Hudson River.
Waterston, star of the long-running and top-rated NBC series “Law and Order,” will be joined by two honorary “captains” — actors John McMartin and John Cunningham, who captained ships in the recent Broadway productions of “Showboat” and “Titanic,” respectively (and yes, there will be a full World Yacht crew on hand to do all the actual ahoy there, matey stuff). “Showboat”‘s Michel Bell, whose rendition of the musical’s signature song, “Ol’ Man River,” will be on hand to perform, as will the Rep’s dazzling cast of company members and supporters, including Milo O’Shea, Kitty O’Shea, Frank McCourt and Rusty Magee (plus plenty of famous faces that just happen to “pop in” every year).
The gala will be held against the breathtaking backdrop of New York City: Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and, most poignantly, Ground Zero. The performers will sing songs and recite appropriate works to acknowledge each landmark.
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The evening will include an open bar, dinner and performances. Individual tickets are $250, and tables of 10 are available, but going fast. The Irish Rep’s gala is always a great night, and this year, in particular, it sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Especially since we’ve decided to dress up like a pirate queen and force Mr. Waterston to be our love slave or walk the plank (Oh, only kidding, Sam. The Rep people insist that there’s no plank. Darn it.) For tickets and information, call (212) 255-0270.
You’ll have to excuse us now — we’ve got to round up an eye patch and a parrot. For our shoulder, silly.
They’ve got friends in high places
The Corrs, they of the chiseled cheekbones and the soaring harmonies, are on cloud nine this week. Not only are they the only Irish band scheduled to play at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Concert — apparently, Prince Charles is, like, a major rabid fan and had a word in the mammy’s ear — but to make things even cooler, he’ll be sharing a stage with one of music’s legendary talents, quirky genius and former Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
The darlings of Dundalk are still pinching themselves over the way they’ve gotten the — dare we say it? — royal treatment.
“We’re absolutely blown away by how we’ve been treated,” Andrea gushed to the Sunday World.
“It was such a thrill to get an invitation to be a part of a huge occasion like this,” she continued. “It’s a big honor.”
As thrilled as they are to be performing with Wilson, the Corrs’ manager, John Hughes, says that the feeling appears to be mutual.
“Brian was very happy with the Corrs,” said the manager happily.
“Then again, he loves female voices,” he added. And, of course, we’re sure performing with the three highly photogenic Corrs sisters (oh, yes, and brother Jim) beats singing “Help Me, Rhonda” with a bunch of guys in board shorts any day.
Though the band has yet to make a definitive dent in the American music market other than last year’s ubiquitous single, “Breathless,” he says he’s pleased with the band’s progress to date.
“[They] have done it all now,” he said. “The White House, the Vatican . . . [and] Buckingham Palace.” Can Madison Square Garden be far behind?
In more Corrs news, we hear that 36-year-old swinging bachelor Jim is off the market again. The eminently eligible musician is currently dating — make sure you’re sitting down for this one — a fashion model named Faith Barnet. Which should make a nice change from his former girlfriend, Andrea Roche. Wait — scratch that — she’s was a former Miss Ireland and fashion model. Not that we detect a pattern or anything.
To mark the 30th anniversary year of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland, the Irish Arts Center will host two screenings of the powerful drama “Sunday.”
The film, written by Jimmy McGovern and directed by Charles McDougall, is a dramatized reconstruction of the events surrounding the 1972 tragedy, in which 13 civilians were shot dead by British paratroopers during a civil rights protest. Directly after the screenings, there will be a discussion featuring the film’s producer, Jim Keys, and Geraldine McBride (nee Richmond), who witnessed the killings of two victims.
The screenings will take place on Sunday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at the Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51 St., NYC. Admission is $5. For tickets and information, call (212) 757-3318 or e-mail email@example.com.
Well, we almost had a week go by with no Westlife dish. But, frankly, we couldn’t face all the faxes and e-mails we’d get from heartbroken fans — especially the ones up in Yonkers (and you know who you are), so here goes.
We found two interesting items this week, which seem to contradict one another. First, we hear that the boys have been ordered to go on diets in preparation for making their big splash in America (apparently, the record company prefers their acts to execute smooth swan dives instead of belly flops). A British tabloid claims that the entire band — Kian, Shane, Mark, Brian and Nicky — have been put on a strict five-week diet-and-exercise program.
Predictably, the boys have dismissed the story as a silly rumor.
“We had a good laugh over the story because it’s complete rubbish,” smirked the svelt Kian. “Our weight’s never been an issue.”
In fact, says Kian, the band’s in fighting form at the moment.
“We’re in pretty good shape because we’re performing every night,” added Kian. And, presumably, they’re laying off the Walnut Whips. You know what they say, guys: a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips . . .
But as much as they claim to be getting a workout onstage during their current tour, we hear that the lads have taken to being smuggled on and off stage during their concerts in boxes. They say it’s to keep them safe from rabid fans, but, you know, a quick sprint would burn off those pre-show snacks.
However, band insiders insist that the boxes are the only way to transport the guys easily.
“Westlife’s stage is round and in the middle of each venue,” the source said. “We have to hide the band in these large boxes that look like stage equipment which are then pushed to and from the stage each night.”
The only drawback so far is that band member Shane Filan suffers from claustrophobia, which causes him to get stressed out when he’s inside his compartment.
Louis Walsh might want to consider the box thing as an alternate way to transport the band between venues. Imagine the savings if he sent them as freight.
And, this just in: potty-mouther rapper Eminem has taken a few nasty swipes at boy bands in general, and at our boys, in particular.
The rap star, whose song catalog includes ditties about tying up his (understandably ex-) wife and tossing her in the river, has no patience for the more sentimental warblings of boy bands.
“Boy bands are just [bad word]!” he exclaimed. “Singing about love and [bad word]. Who cares?”
Eminem pretended not to be a fan of Louis Walsh’s Irish army.
“Who the [bad word] are Westlife?” he demanded. “Some boy band [bad word]? You tell me they’re a pop band. Well, to each his own.”
Yes, indeedy, young master Eminem. Although we think the rapper doth protest too much — we have a sneaky suspicion that behind closed doors, he spends many a Saturday night standing in front of a full-length mirror, crooning “Bop Bop Baby” into his hairbrush.
And Westlife, don’t be too broken up, will ya? After all, how seriously can you take the criticism of a guy who’s named after a chocolate candy product? And, given your diets, why would you want to?
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she realizes that time has, indeed, marched on and has taken — nay, dragged! her dewy youth along with it. Sometimes, the signs are subtle, like when you no longer get proofed when buying alcohol. Sometimes, they’re not so subtle, like when that cute guy at the video store ignores your flirtatious banter and addresses you as Ma’am. For Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, the sign was of the 10-foot-tall, flashing-neon variety: the firebrand singer was recently mistaken for mellow New Age chanteuse Enya.
Sinead’s moment of blinding clarity occurred as she partied at exclusive Dublin nightspot Lillies Bordello last week. A fellow patron, noting O’Connor’s crop of glossy black hair, excited asked her if she were Enya. So much for the new hairdo, thought Sinead.
“I’ve been trying to let [my hair] grow,” the singer explained to Showbizireland.com. “But [when] someone came up to me in Lillies and asked me was I Enya, I was so shocked . . . that the minute I got up on Monday I shaved all my hair off.”
O’Connor’s new look is really a throwback to her original cueball hairstyle, which attracted huge attention from the press back in the early 1990s. Of course, that was back before shaved heads, tongue studs and tattoos became as common as shaved legs. Looking back, O’Connor’s shiny pate and army boots seem almost quaint. But back to the story.
“I now look exactly like I did when I came into the pop business first,” bragged Sinead. “Which is kind of ironic as I have just finished my latest traditional style album, which is called “Sean nos nua.”
Sinead says that she has an extra reason to be proud of her chrome dome.
“It is also cool as I have just recorded a song with Moby, who is a fellow skinhead,” she giggled.
We think it’s a safe bet that, back in the days when his family was barely subsisting on handouts from the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Limerick, Frank McCourt never dreamed that he would someday be granted an audience with the pope. But last week, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir “Angela’s Ashes” found himself in Vatican City, waiting his turn to meet the holy father himself.
“I stood in a small queue — behind Jimmy Rogers, mayor of Belfast — wondering ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ ” McCourt told the Sunday Independent.
McCourt, who was accompanied by his wife, Ellen, wondered frantically what he would do when he was actually introduced to the pontiff. But when the moment came, he went on Irish Catholic autopilot.
“I thought I’d just shake his hand and move on,” McCourt said. “But the little Irish Catholic boy in me took over. The next thing is I’m bending down and kissing his ring.”
McCourt was astounded by the range of emotions he felt after meeting the pope.
“I felt like the kid back in Limerick, emerging from the confessional in a state of grace,” he said. “It just proves the power of the church, the conditioning, the wonder. I couldn’t talk for an hour.”
Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly reports having had a meeting of the minds 10 years ago when she ran into former Taoiseach Charles Haughey during a stroll on the windswept Blasket Islands.
Connolly, 31, who recently won the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in “A Beautiful Mind,” says that she was visiting the Blaskets in 1992 when the chance encounter took place. Though Haughey was involved in highly publicized wiretapping and financial scandals at the time, the young American tourist didn’t recognize him.
“I’m walking along and I’m reading — I think it was a book of plays by Synge,” said Connolly. “And this man comes over to me and says, ‘What are you reading?’ ”
“Synge,” she replied.
“Oh, wonderful, wonderful,” Haughey replied.
The two chatted amiably before Haughey continued on his way. A passerby, witnessing the exchange, told Connolly, “That was the prime minister.”
The actress was astonished, both by Haughey’s friendliness and his approachability.
“[He was] just a man on an island, on his own,” she recalled. “It was incredible. I had no idea.”