READY, STEADY, GODOT: The most eagerly anticipated show in New York’s new theatrical season is the teaming next month of Robin Williams and Steve Martin (with co-stars F. Murray Abraham and Bill Irwin, under Mike Nichols’ direction) in Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic, Waiting for Godot. Williams wants it known that he’ll keep his prodigious skills at improvisation in check for the occasion. “I don’t think you can take off on the text,” Williams said during an appearance at the Deauville Film Festival. “I don’t think Beckett’s the kind of guy you could call up and say, ‘Hi, Sam. Listen, I just want to do a little riffing.’ You just don’t go off on Godot. It’s the same with Shakespeare. Even though I know Shakespeare must have told the guy playing Hamlet before opening night, ‘Your father’s dead and he’s a ghost. Do it! Go with it! Just put on the tights and do it!’ ”
A MOVEABLE FEAST: During the three months she spent filming her recent HBO movie, Steal the Sky, in Israel and Italy, actress Mariel Hemingway insisted on nursing her baby daughter, Dree Louise, now 9 months old, between takes. “We worked 16 hours a day. Back then, she had to be nursed every two hours—she wanted to eat all the time,” says Mariel. “The production crew wasn’t too pleased about it. Occasionally, I think they didn’t tell me when she was hungry, and when I’d go into the trailer, she’d be screaming. I got the feeling [the crew’s silence] was going on longer than it should have. I kept asking, ‘Is she okay?’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, yeah, she’s fine.’ They just wanted to get the shot done and figured she’d be all right, but when you’re 9 lbs. and growing at astronomical speeds, you need nutrition when you want it.”
CASTING HIS PREDICTIONS: Though he had a series on CBS last spring—Eisenhower & Lutz—that lasted all of 13 episodes, it is not as if Scott Bakula is a household name. Ditto for Alison Fraser, his co-star in the Broadway musical Romance Romance, though both were nominated for Tonys. “Alison and I were fortunate that the producers went with us for this show,” says Bakula. “In fact, we both always joke about who’s going to star in it when they do the movie or take the show to L.A. Alison will throw out Kevin Kline’s name to me, and I’ll respond with Bernadette Peters. They’re talking about other people out there. I’ve found out they’ve already thrown around big TV names, so we only half-heartedly joke about it.”
SEX IN ANY LANGUAGE: Best-selling author Judith Krantz, the prolific princess of rags to romance and riches novels, says that reading her own books in other languages translates to enormous displeasure. “I have 23 foreign publishers, and I’m just grateful that I could only read the French translations of my books,” says Krantz, whose latest steamy offering is Till We Meet Again. “It’s horrendous to read your books in French or German because those languages are much longer than ours and, to save space, they make these unmerciful cuts in the text. I certainly wonder what’s being written in them when I see some of those foreign covers. The Japanese cover for I’ll Take Manhattan [whose protagonist, Maxi Amberville, has black hair] has Princess Daisy [the blond title character from another Krantz novel] on the cover.” Madame Author, aren’t we splitting hairs here?
IT’S A GAS, GAS, GAS: Gordon Getty, the billionaire heir to the Getty oil fortune, doesn’t mind fueling doubts about the gasoline that bears his name. He says that as a teenager, he asked his father, J. Paul Getty, about the merits of the family brand. “At the time there was a lot of money spent on advertising his gas. In those days, all of the oil companies advertised the superiority of their gasoline,” says Getty. “I remember asking my father what were the differences between all of the brands of gas, and Dad said, ‘Frankly, none, son.’ ”