Dating the Basketball Team

Last fall’s rumor mill hinted that heavy-hitting Liev Schreiber would star in a Broadway revival of Jason Miller’s “That Championship Season.” But “Season,” which sketches former basketball buddies some 25 years removed from their glory days, was deemed “dated” by Schreiber, and his roll went to the actor/comedian Jim Gaffigan.

“Dated.”

It’s certainly a word worth considering here — the characters’ rampant racism and anti-Semitism firmly plant the play in a decidedly pre-PC era. (That awesome, retro tube-TV helps, too.)

As for perspective: “Season’s” formula (sublimated anger + alcohol + eaaaarly morning) is a pretty standard and workable setup. Just look at classics like “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “The Iceman Cometh,” or “The Seafarer” — angry, boozy, sleepy people are pretty mesmerizing.

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If You Loved Me You’d Vacuum: The Real Housewives of the French Riviera

The past five months have seen Kelsey and Camille Grammer engaging in a particularly juicy cross-pollinating, media hijinks.

Grammer recently wound up a Tony-nominated turn in Broadway’s “La Cage Aux Folles.” Swathed in sequins and silk, the “Frasier” star crooned mid-Atlantic through this tale of French Family Values.

Mrs. Grammer, meanwhile, was shooting the deliciously catty “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” the most fabulous iteration of Bravo’s endlessly fascinating “Real Housewives” empire. By turns “delusional” and “vindictive” (to quote her many “fans”), Camille gave this show its Botoxed, diamond-bedazzled heart.

Camille’s relationship to her star husband was always at the center of “Housewives:” “It’s time for me to break out of my husband’s shadow and shiiiine” went her weekly opener. But as revelations about the Grammers’ dying marriage elbowed their way into the “storyline,” this reality show took on a whole new dimension.

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Vanessa Redgrave Waxes Poetic

Broadway’s silver fox Vanessa Redgrave got a little confused in yesterday’s New York Times, mixing up “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” with another, delightfully invented title:

“Let the Light Come in From the Dark, Superman.”

Give that woman (another) Tony!!

Belarussian Update

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Dozens of governments pledged more than $120 million in aid to opposition groups in Belarus.” The US and EU recently implemented sanctions against this former Soviet State’s officials. (In December Belarus enacted violent crackdowns on dissidents following its corrupt presidential election.)

Last week I wrote about a peaceful protest held several blocks from the Belarussian Mission to the UN. Spearheaded by the Public Theater—where the peresecuted group “Free Belarus” was performing “Being Harold Pinter”—the demonstration was well-behaved but heartfelt. It’s encouraging to think that that protest may have been some small part of the renewed interest in Belarus’ rocky relationship with free speech. Maybe it, um, made a difference?!

Here’s hoping prosperity, freedom, and great art emerge out of this development.

Jeevay Belarus, indeed!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside; or, Get Thee to a Nunnery!

Dropping his contagious Mother Superior drawl, Charles Busch of The Divine Sister broke character during last night’s curtain call. In reference to New York’s perversely glacial response to global warming, Busch commended the audience for showing up.

Here’s an all-too-insufficient approximation of Mother Busch’s appreciative finale:

“I asked our lovely company manager if there would be anyone at the show tonight. ‘Oh yes,’ she responded, ‘there’s good walkup traffic.’ I couldn’t believe it. ‘Walkup traffic on Vandam Street?! Nobody’s been on Vandam Street since the Dutch!’ ”

Nobody, that is, but me and sixtyish die-hard theater lovers. And their good boots.

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