Keira Knightley's Hot New Screen Lover

Doing Atonement over platefuls of shrimp with James McAvoy. Jodie Foster goes out on the town, finally.

On Broadway, the cracked family album called August: Osage County is Tracy Letts's hilarious and lacerating situation tragedy—sort of like Mama's Family if it had been written by Eugene O'Neill. When the line "[Dad] killed himself" brings down the house, you know you've entered a wondrous world of precisely rendered seriocomedy. It's all so deftly done you don't even mind the Native American character who symbolically lives in the house to offer silent wisdom and stop child abuse, or the relative who has an 11 o'clock speech on the order of "Brace yourselves, kids. Forty years ago I. . . "

On opening night, I overheard a whole other situation tragedy in the audience when Shubert Organization head Gerald Schoenfeld approached Alan Rickman to say with failed humor, "So you're in town? Common decency commands that you should call me!" "I would," said Rickman, awkwardly. "But you didn't!" replied Schoenfeld. Rickman squirmed a bit in his seat, but Schoenfeld carried on his nutty needling. "Are you here on business?" he asked. "Yes, we're promoting the Sweeney Todd movie," Rickman responded. "There's a movie?" said Schoenfeld in all seriousness. (Not much of a reader, I guess.) "Are you playing Sweeney?" "No," said Rickman, " Johnny Depp is Sweeney. I'm Judge Turpin." "Oh," said Schoenfeld, finally getting with the program as he mock-slit his own throat.

A demon barber must have feathered the cast's hair for Growing Up 70s, the retro revue at the Theater at Ha! starring The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams and some young hoofers clearly having their first taste of polyester. A well-meaning spoof that strings together every imaginable disco-decade pop reference into a pastiche that makes The Brady Bunch look like August: Osage County, it has Williams admitting, "For many people, the Brady Bunch is like the family that just won't go away." True, but sadly, I did at intermission.

Brit player: Atonement's James McAvoy with Keira Knightley
Brit player: Atonement's James McAvoy with Keira Knightley

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LISTEN TO LA DOLCE MUSTO

The braided bunch goes to Cazwell's Project Wednesdays at the hellish Small's Kitchen—I mean smallish Hell's Kitchen—gay spot Posh. The party is multiculty and lively, except for the douche who cornered me to say I need to make a scene instead of just observing everything and saying banal things on TV. "Like, I've been making a scene tonight," he crowed. And what was that, pray tell? "I took off my shirt and I've been dancing funny," he boasted. Wow, that's not banal, is it?

And neither is this bit of clothes-removing: I hear that advertising guy Donny Deutsch has been chasing after Brit socialite Ann Dexter Jones (the ex of Foreigner's Mick Jones) and they supposedly had a date recently. I guess he wants to know what love is.

I'm also hearing that once he fully achieves atonement and gets out of the clink, Michael Alig wants to live in L.A. Whew. I just dodged a bullet—literally. Now I'll be able to grow up and become Vanessa Redgrave.

musto@villagevoice.com

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