Mamma Mia! Is Ruining Broadway

Talking with all-around Broadway fanatic Seth Rudetsky! Plus Charles Busch.

Busch is moving his nun comedy The Divine Sister to a larger theater, and he's thrilled about it because "the habits are so flattering. I always want to work in a wimple—they cover everything!" He said he wrote the play when the Lifetime TV movie he was scripting didn't pan out. That was no joke—Lifetime really approached him, and, as Busch remembered it, "I said, 'Really? Has the entire roster of the Writers Guild been decimated?' " It turns out they were dead serious, though they ultimately rejected his script with a note saying, "It's just a little too Charles Busch.' " "But I am Charles Busch!" was his sensible response.

The lady in question was Judy Holliday at the Fringe Festival's Just in Time: The Judy Holliday Story, about the tremulous-voiced blonde who beat Gloria Swanson for the Oscar ("For a comedy!" as Swanson bitterly exclaimed). The loving play is a winner, using some interesting storytelling techniques—a taping of What's My Line? surreally turns into the HUAC hearings—and Marina Squerciati and the cast are tops, and not just for a comedy.

Living divas appeared as their alter egos in large portraits displayed at Mike Ruiz's "Transformations" show opening at Leslie/Lohman. Who's the Logo star's favorite subject of all? "Me!" Ruiz exclaimed without pause. (That's mine, too. Me, that is.) "Adam Lambert is great," he added. "He's a sweet, unassuming guy, and then he opens his mouth and it's like, 'Who are you?' And Kathy Griffin is sweet and generous and nice and . . ." "Stop right there," I advised. "You'll ruin her career."

Rudetsky: "People will always love live performances."
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Rudetsky: "People will always love live performances."

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Meanwhile, Vanessa Paradis is très giving, too (which is good news for Johnny Depp). At a dinner for the fluffy French comedy Heartbreaker, director Pascal Chaumeil told me that Paradis called him four weeks before shooting started and generously declared, "The ending is not good." But she was right, he swore; things needed to wrap up faster and funnier, so he promptly added some zing. As Chaumeil told me this story, the dinner itself was reaching a fast-paced climax. The film's other femme, Julie Ferrier, was grabbing croutons from the communal Caesar salad by hand, while the male lead, Guy Pearce look-alike, Romain Duris, was exclaiming across the table, "Jerry Lewis is a fucking brilliant actor." Ah, the French. Au revoir. I'm off to see The Lion King again. I hear they have a new meerkat.

musto@villagevoice.com

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