Liz Smith: Behind the Scenes

Glenn Close Tells Us “What Happened to Monday?” … Also — Michael Riedel … Donny Deutsch … The Atlantic magazine.

“HOW LUCKY I am to be in a profession in which I get to collaborate with such passionate artists!”

So says, Glenn Close, to your Liz.

WHEN writing my column, I find it’s always best to go to the horse’s mouth and deliver something that you know is undeniably true. But usually we ink stained wretches can’t reach the celebrity or star we are writing about.

Liz Smith: Behind the Scenes

Glenn Close as Norma Desmond.

We recently reported that Glenn Close would open in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Sunset Boulevard” in April 2016 in London.

The great star responded with a charming — and informative! — note: “I loved what you sent me about Norma and ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ I’m very touched by what you wrote and by the response you’ve gotten. I consider it a great luxury to be able to revisit a character like Norma Desmond after what will be 21 years. My molecules are different now, so hers will be as well.”

Glenn is now back in the United States from Romania where she was making a film called “What Happened To Monday?” with Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe and my old friend Robert Wagner.

This futuristic sci-fi film, directed by Tommy Wirkola, is about identical septuplets, all with distinctly different characters. In an apparently overcrowded world where families are allowed only one child, the adult septuplets fight for survival. Miss Rapace plays all seven siblings. According to Glenn, who refers to her fellow actress as “wildly gifted,” Noomi is “amazing” in the role.

Robert Wagner appears as a reporter in this movie, sharing screen time with Glenn. I can’t wait to see it!


IF I remember correctly, acerbic remarks about theatre folks were always being uttered, way back in the day by people like playwright George S. Kaufman … critic Alexander Woollcott … Dorothy Parker (whose middle name was “acerbic.”) … the fabled columnist Walter Winchell, and that strange man of many talents, Oscar Levant.

But many of today’s scathing theater observations are offered by one of my favorite reporters, Michael Riedel. He is much to be feared in the theater — not as a critic but as a gleaner of the ongoing Broadway scene.

Michael Riedel tells it like it is. For instance, last Thursday, he gave hell to the famous Al Pacino who he says can’t remember his lines on stage in the new, yet to open, David Mamet drama “China Doll.” To me, it’s astounding to think that anybody would verbally spank a star such as Pacino so forthrightly — even in today’s loosey-goosey world of candid language — but that is Mr. Riedel for you.

According to Mr. Riedel, ” Al Pacino needs teleprompters for lines in terrible new Broadway play.”

Liz Smith: Behind the Scenes, Razzle-Dazzle, the three tomatoesI like Mr. Riedel — “the new king of Broadway.” And I have been meaning to write about his new book “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway” which tells the underground and over ground story of the Shuberts, the late director Michael Bennett and the musical “A Chorus Line” and much more! (One review trumpets that the book “pulls back the curtain on the theater’s stars, producers, and mega-hits.”)

ON NOVEMBER 3rd, one of my favorite guys — ad man /adorable TV personality/pundit and sex-symbol Donny Deutsch — will appear at the Cinema Society’s Manhattan premiere of his new USA comedy series, titled (what else?) “Donny!” (There will be a swell party after at the Rainbow Room.)

The show looks like fun, and it appears that Donny is sort of spoofing himself, or more accurately, his image. (Much as Matt LeBlanc does on “Episodes.”)

The series — on which Donny plays a talk show host — will have guest stars such as Christie Brinkley, Michael J. Fox, Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Russell Simmons, Matt Lauer and but of course Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. (Donny served time as a regular on “Morning Joe.” He was refreshingly non-partisan, although he says he is a Democrat — and often made Mika uncomfortable. She does not care for much in popular culture, and Donny is all about the zeitgeist.)

I wish Donny well with this new venture. I’ll always remember interviewing him for the first time. He was so handsome, funny, beautifully dressed and his hair was damp, as if he’d just showered. And in fact, he had just showered. It’s always nice when people make an effort.

I’M a little late recommending what follows but so be it! I want you to think about getting the “Tech issue” of the magazine The Atlantic for November 2015. This incredible publication is just full of scientific but understandable information about this new age we are living in … a further study to add to what we talked about last week (life on Mars) … “How to Thwart a Drone” and the future uses and misuses of this invention … invasions of privacy … Bill Gates on how to change the world … especially pertinent in this coming election year of why American voters prefer their presidential candidates to be inexperienced!!!! … and readers answers to the question of what sci-fi invention would be most valuable in real life … among other fascinating things. (Readers voted for “the teleporting TARDIS from “Doctor Who” or the transporter from “Star Trek” or some kind of Time Machine for transporting ease.

And no, I don’t have stock or editorial or any interest in The Atlantic except as a reader.

There are a lot of great pieces in this publication other than the ones mentioned. I paid for my subscription to P.O. Box 37565, Boone, Ia. 50037-2565 or go to THEATLANTIC.COM


ON NOVEMBER 6th, New York’s monthly All Madonna Dance Party at Rockbar (185 Christopher Street) welcomes author Matthew Rettenmund, signing copies of his new “Encyclopedia Madonnica 20.” Doors open at 9 p.m. and I assume the dancing and merriment go on until the wee hours. Well, it’s a Friday night. Stay out late, carry on and get into the groove. Over the weekend, everybody can be — as Madonna would sing — an “Unapologetic Bitch.”

Read Liz Smith daily at the New York Social Diary.

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