Elaine Stritch On Sondheim’s Advice, Rock Hudson & Her One Female Crush


By Michael Musto

Plus: k.d. lang on joining the cast of After Midnight

Photo by Matthew Murphy


From the most seasoned theater vet, we now go to someone who’s just lost her Broadway virginity—namely k.d. lang, who’s joined the slick and entertaining Cotton Club-style revue After Midnight, following in the heels of the mighty Fantasia. I wasn’t aware that k.d.’s black, LOL, and she actually had the same concern, but the show’s creators explained to her that, this being 2014, they could do whatever they wanted. So there she is, singing the same four numbers Fantasia did with her own fabulously sultry stylings, abetted with cropped hair and an array of Isabel Toledo-designed tuxedoes that bring a wonderful butch allure to the proceedings. (Toledo’s costumes throughout the show are surely headed for a Tony.)

I hear k.d. wanted to sport a moustache for her playfully scatty showstopper “Zaz Zuh Zaz,” but the idea was shot down, which is nuts; I bet Mark Rylance was allowed to wear a merkin in Twelfth Night! But one bit that did get in is a quick sapphic dance with one of the female backup dancers during “On The Sunny Side of The Street.” (Fantasia had two men.) It comes off like something that spontaneously happened at rehearsal and was kept in, thank God. Well, at a dinner for k.d. at Bond 45, I asked the singer about that bit and she sure enough replied, “It happened at rehearsal and it stuck.” Hey, it works—and they don’t even have to burp at the end.

Two days later, I was set to attend an open rehearsal/meet-and-greet for another 1920s musical, Bullets over Broadway (based on the Woody Allen movie), but the day before that, I got a call from a beleaguered-sounding publicist. It seems 30 marketing partners were suddenly invited to the event and therefore they couldn’t possibly sit press people like me, the New York Times, and AP, so we were disinvited! (Certain types of press were going to be admitted, mind you, but not moi.) I’m sure this had absolutely nothing to do with the media nightmare surrounding the fact that scandalous accusations against Woody have the show’s producers “sweating Bullets,” as a daily scribe put it. Oh, well. The same reporter (who wasn’t invited either) said he heard it went well.

Fortunately, I wasn’t uninvited from the dazzling fashion show at Milk Studios by the Blonds (David and Phillipe), who turned out glittery socialites, fabulous transgender icons, and feathery club kids—and that was just the audience! And then the show started and topped off the whole experience with a dizzying array of bejeweled, bedazzled costumes, done with kitty cat motifs that were purrfectly smart and sexy. This is their best (fe-)line yet, even if the ladies weirdly didn’t sport moustaches. Well, most of them.

Meanwhile, guess what’s for sale again? The Fire Island Pines! Eighty percent of the commercial real estate in that summer resort—including the Pavilion club, the Botel, and the Blue Whale and Canteen restaurants—is angling for a new daddy. Don’t look at me. I’m not even in for a penny.