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Monday, March 12, 2007


Opening Night at Talk Radio

Opening nights on Broadway are really...well, to be completely corny about it, they're like a dream. Suddenly, you're there, with paparazzi and red carpets, too much champagne and actual celebrities. We're not talking reality show losers; our head count last night at Talk Radio included Naomi Watts (in a beautiful simple blue dress), Natalie Portman (a vision in silver, replete with headband), Bernadette Peters, Alan Alda, Anna Paquin, all of the Culkins, and dozens of cast members from the Law and Order franchise, including Mariska Hargitay, Chris Meloni, B.D. Wong, Chris Noth, Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Tamara Tunie and Richard Belzer. We entered right behind Kristin Davis, who had a small S&TC reunion with Noth and Cynthia Nixon (and Cynthia's wife). Running lower profile were Oscar-winning director Rob Marshall (Chicago) and artistic director of the Public, Oskar Eustis...not known quantities to the fame seekers, but I quivered in their presence like an overheated schoolgirl.

Entering the theatre, my charming date (Mikey Busillo, shout out to a future star!) and I sat across the aisle from a completely nonplussed Brian Dennehy and watched in awe as Bernadette Peters shook her famous red tresses not three feet from us. The lights went down as I wondered, for the first time, if Kieran Culkin was gay. If not, he certainly seemed...happy.

The play flew by, and Mikey and I soon found ourselves with VIP passes to the swanky after-party at Bar Americain. We would have pushed our way to the food line for some steak and pilaf, but the casting agents, who seemed to number in the thousands, had scavenged it all before most guests arrived. Instead, we made do with two glasses of pinot noir and more celeb sightings. We congratulated the talented Sebastian Stan on his performance, and I did manage to get in a "great job, Liev" to the man of the hour as we met heading to the bar. Rubbing shoulders again with Bernadette at the party caused Mikey to go into a near-catatonic state; she had that affect on most of the men, straight or gay, all night. (Another realization: Chris Meloni is ever hotter in person. Had he asked, I would have disrobed immediately, right there in the party. I have no standards where Meloni is concerned. I am, now and forever, his love slave.)

After an hour, we coasted out on a cloud of stardust, and walked in the unseasonably warm air down to the corner of 52nd Street before parting ways. For a show queen like myself, I won't deny that it's a great thrill to be invited to the ball. Whether a Culkin is gay, a Meloni is sexy, or a Bernadette is a goddess, it's still important to realize one thing: that you've been in the coatroom, rifled through their wallets, and checked the labels in all their coats.

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