Dreamgirls, the musical based loosely on the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes, has been on Broadway for nearly three years. But Diana feels that people still misunderstand her feelings about the show. Although she didn’t help create it and still hasn’t crossed the theater’s threshold to see it, Ross’ opinion about Dreamgirls is rather generous, actually. Says she, “I know that musically Dreamgirls has made a big difference on Broadway. It made it possible for black kids to work in the theater. But I guess I was bothered because I never got consulted. I just wish it could have been done neater. There were so many happy, wonderful times that I know they don’t present in the show.”
Kenny Rogers told a Tallahassee, Fla. concert audience about his plans to team up with Tom Selleck for a third film suggested by his hit song The Gambler. Obviously, Kenny plans to squeeze every last bank note out of that tune. “I can just see it now,” he said. “In 10 years it’ll be Rocky 27 fighting it out with The Gambler 23.”
Brooke Adams starred in Days of Heaven, Daniel Stern played a lead in Diner, but Ed Koch, New York City’s show-bizzy mayor, only had one line in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Now Hizzoner will get another acting credit with Adams and Stern in Key Exchange, the film version of the hit off-Broadway play about romantic bicyclists. When he ran into the Key Exchange crew filming on his city’s streets, the mayor yelled out, “Hey, do you need an extra?” A bit of a politician himself, director Barnet Kellman immediately concocted a scene in which Koch would be interviewed by an actress pretending to be a newswoman. “Of course, New York is in much better shape now than when I took over the position of mayor,” Koch adlibbed before the actress even asked him a question. As it happens, such free publicity has its price. Because of the role, the Mayor’s name now appears on the Screen Actors Guild “must join” list. If it forces the issue, he owes a $637.50 initiation fee.
All those Ewoks, R2D2s, He-Men and Crystar monsters better get ready to battle for their top spots in the children’s doll market now that a new superhero is entering the fray. His name is Jesus Christ. Produced by Houston’s Wee Win Toys, the Jesus dolls and other Bible figures, including Samson and David and Goliath, form a new line called “Heroes of the Kingdom” and come with Bible stories on cassettes. Wee Win exec Jim Flanagan criticizes much of the competition, charging that some of today’s toys “are responsible for murders, suicides, kids leaving home and who knows what else.” Jesus and friends (priced at $9.95 each) appear in religious shops this month. Soon to come are Christian-oriented stuffed animals, such as the Born Again Bunny ($12.95). Flanagan sees a real need for these toys: “You’ve got to give children the Word of God before they reach puberty,” he says. “After that, you can’t do anything with them.”
According to M*A*S*H’s creator and co-producer, Larry Gelbart, his show made its greatest contribution to prime-time TV simply by presenting people’s emotions. “There wasn’t a lot of feeling around then, nor is there now,” Gelbart told a crowd at Manhattan’s Museum of Broadcasting. “To get any feeling out of your television set these days you have to touch it when you’re wet.”
The thoroughly modern rock band Devo claims that an unusual experience inspired its recent remake of the Jimi Hendrix rock classic Are You Experienced? “Hendrix came to us in a pink cloud and told us it was our genetic imperative to do a rendition,” says lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh. “At first we were hesitant, but we tried it anyway and were surprised.”
Cher offered a variation on an old adage when asked whether she enjoys her new goldy-locks. “Blondes,” she said, “have the potential to have more fun.”
As host of an L.A. awards ceremony given by the Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Artists, Harvey Fierstein felt almost as privileged as when he received a Tony for writing Broadway’s La Cage aux Folles. “It’s so nice to have an awards show where I get to kiss all the men,” he said.