rambling reporter

On B'way, Schreiber is 'Talk' of the town

Liev Schreiber has received the kind of rave that actors can only dream about, and from the powerful New York Times at that. Critic Ben Brantley assessed Schreiber in the recently opened Broadway interpretation of Eric Bogosian's "Talk Radio" as "the finest American theater actor of his generation." Well deserved, too. Schreiber gives a searing performance that jolts an audience as if the theater seats had been electrically rigged. He is now the one to beat if any other lead actor has an eye on a Tony in June. … Schreiber's opening night Sunday at the Longacre drew an especially enthusiastic crowd, including such Broadwayites as Bernadette Peters, Alan Alda, Elizabeth Ashley, Cynthia Nixon and Brian Dennehy, who on Saturday night had done his final performance as Alfred Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. Also watching Schreiber live: Natalie Portman, Kristin Davis, CBS' Harry Smith, former New York Mayor David Dinkins, Anna Paquin and, of course, Schreiber's best friend Naomi Watts. It was also a heady night for Bogosian, who wrote the play and starred in the original 1987 off-Broadway production and in Oliver Stone's 1988 film version. He took a bow onstage with the cast at the final curtain. The post-opening party, jammed to the rafters, was at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, Flay being the husband of Stephanie March, who is excellent in the play as Schrieber's leading lady. … Meanwhile, downtown, the LAByrinth Theatre Company's production of Bob Glaudini's new play "Jack Goes Boating," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, is such a success at the Public's Martinson Hall that it has been extended three weeks, to April 29, the power of a good, provocative play and a much-respected, Academy Award-winning star heading the cast. … Big doings Monday in Manhattan: As part of the Academy's East Coast screenings of Oscar-winning films in their Lighthouse Theatre, Sidney Lumet will appear for a Q&A in conjunction with a screening of his "Network," a brilliant satire when it was released in 1976 that now plays like a documentary on the state of today's television news. It's deservedly in the Oscar books for many reasons (10 nominations, four wins) plus the fact it's one of only two films in Oscar's 79-year history that has won as many as three acting awards: best actor Peter Finch, best actress Faye Dunaway, best supporting actress Beatrice Straight. (The other is 1951's "A Streetcar Named Desire.") No film has won all four acting awards. … Also on Monday, the 12th annual "Nothing Like a Dame" show and fundraiser will be held at the Marquis Theatre, presented by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefiting the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors' Fund of America. Among the Broadway ladies who will participate are Bebe Neuwirth, Lynn Redgrave, Lee Salonga, Maureen McGovern, Julianna Margulies, Sutton Foster, Jill Eikenberry, Melissa Errico, Liz Callaway and Victoria Clark. … Neuwirth also will be among those saluting the late Vincent Sardi Jr. at a memorial at noon today at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, along with Elaine Stritch, Harold Prince and others. The famed restaurateur, who with his father made Sardi's on West 44th a Broadway institution, died Jan. 4. The memorial is open to the public.