No Tony gray area for 'Gardens' co-stars


NEW YORK -- This week's big Broadway opening is "Grey Gardens," Thursday at the Walter Kerr, and from reports out of the prevue crowd, Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson are every bit as superb in this upsized Main Stem version as they were in March in the musical's world-premiere engagement off-Broadway for Playwright's Horizons. Which leads one to suggest that maybe the Antoinette Perry award committee should just hand both ladies Tonys on Friday for best actress in a musical and best supporting actress in a musical and not bother other hopefuls with having to go through the frustration of "will I-won't I" next year. ... There was supposed to have been another big opening Sunday with the official launch of the first part of Tom Stoppard's three-play epic "The Coast of Utopia" at the Vivian Beaumont, but heels must be cooled for this biggie until Nov. 27, when Richard Easton will be back in the cast after an ailment, joining his illustrious castmates Jennifer Ehle, Brian F. O'Byrne, Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Martha Plimpton and Josh Hamilton, and directed by Jack O'Brien. ... Tonight, Lorenzo Lamas makes his New York debut as a cabaret attraction at Feinstein's at the Regency, with a full contingent of family (including mother Arlene Dahl and stepdad Marc Rosen), friends and fans there for support. Those who heard L.L. sing in his recent engagement at Los Angeles' Gardenia, or at any of the several David Galligan STAGE benefits on the West Coast, know what a good singer he is -- something that comes naturally because his dad, Fernando Lamas, and his mother were no slouches when it came to the art form. But neither got many chances to show it except in a few movies such as "The Merry Widow" and "Rich, Young and Pretty" (his) and "Three Little Words" and "Here Come the Girls" (hers). ... When Andrea Marcovicci begins her annual winter engagement Nov. 14 at the Oak Room of the Algonquin, it will mark her 20th anniversary at the legendary venue, and she will be delivering an all-new A.M. show. This one will honor the singer famously known as "the incomparable Hildegarde," who dominated the New York supper club scene in the golden era, when such nightspots as the Persian Room at the Plaza, the Empire Room at the Waldorf, et al., used to dot the Manhattan scene. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who dubbed Hildegarde "the first lady of supper clubs"; the plucky singer died last year at 99. ... Meanwhile, another plucky one, the one-of-a-kind Elaine Stritch, continues at the Cafe Carlyle through Nov. 11, and she couldn't be better than she is this time around. No one can hold a candle to Stritch when it comes to dominating a Broadway stage, where it is her tigerish ferocity, along with a pair of great legs, that keeps you fascinated. Not so in this current Carlyle gig. She is no less commanding, even with the gams covered, but this is a Stritch who is warm, comfortable, friendly, charming, amusing, still wildly entertaining but also (using a word one never expects to use in connection with Stritch) adorable. Before the evening ends, she delivers a whammo rendition of Sondheim's "The Ladies Who Lunch," a song she introduced in the original "Company" (1970). With this one, she still packs a wallop that would do Muhammad Ali or any Raging Bull proud.