Caron's creativity finds an Emmy-worthy outlet

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NEW YORK -- In case you didn't pay close attention to those talented stalwarts who took home trophies during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony Saturday, I do hope you noticed that one of the champs was the magnificent Leslie Caron, named over some ultra-stiff competition for outstanding guest actress in a drama series. (Leslie won for her superb work as woman with a torturous secret in last season's "Recall" episode of "Law and Order: SVU.") In from her Paris home for the festivities, Caron gave the photographers a field day, too; these adjunct Emmys don't often include someone with her star power and credentials, which include two Academy Award nominations (for 1953's "Lili" and 1963's "The L-Shaped Room"); the star spot in two best picture Oscar winners (1951's "An American in Paris" and 1958's "Gigi"); plus the long list of other classic films she has on her credit sheet, including "Fanny," "Is Paris Burning?" and "Father Goose," all the way to the more recent "Chocolat" and "Le Divorce." The important thing is that a) this particular award brings back to the forefront an extremely talented actress who should be working in these parts much more often, and b) it reaffirms how astute Neal Baer and his "SVU" group have been in casting both underused talents and current headliners in meaty roles. (Marcia Gay Harden was one of Leslie's competitors for that Emmy, also for her work in an "SVU" episode.) If you missed seeing Caron on Saturday -- wearing a dress she designed, by the way -- she'll be one of the presenters on the main Primetime Emmy Awards telecast Sunday. ... On Sept. 18, some prominent New York ladies will be paying tribute to the late, great songwriter, screenwriter, performer and wit Betty Comden, who died Nov. 23. Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, Christine Ebersole, Audra McDonald, Phyllis Newman, Mary Testa, Leslie Uggams and Lillias White along with Lypsinka and several surprise guests will be performing in a one-hour memorial to Comden called "Great Women Salute a Great Woman: Betty Comden -- In the Words of Comden and Green." It's being sponsored by Comden's family, ASCAP, the Leonard Bernstein Office, MGM and the Shubert Organization, with Craig Urquhart, Lee Mindel and David Zippel producing and the latter two also directing. It'll begin at 2 p.m. at Broadway's Majestic Theatre and will be free and open to the public. ... Two changes: "Rude Awakening," the 25th anniversary edition of Gerard Alessandrini's long-running "Forbidden Broadway" series, is delaying its opening at the 47th Street Theatre until Oct. 2 in order to add more new material, and Tony Martin has canceled his plan to do dates in the fall at Feinstein's at the Regency. It has nothing to do with his age (94) but with some health issues wife Cyd Charisse is having. ... Prevues begin Thursday at the Biltmore on the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Theresa Rebeck's new play "Mauritius" (pronounced "more-ISH-us") with a cast headed by Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, following its world premiere last year via the Huntington Theatre Company. On Friday, the prevue process begins on the revival of Terrence McNally's 1975 comedy "The Ritz," this time at Studio 54 (the perfect setting), directed by Joe Mantello and headlining Kevin Chamberlain, Rosie Perez and Lenny Venito.
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