Bruce Judges Nude Contest; Edna and Wilbur Take To Broadway!

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New York Post

Michael Riedel is on vacation. His column today was to have been written by Bruce Vilanch, now playing Edna Turnblad, Baltimore housewife, in “Hairspray” at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Vilanch was a judge yesterday at the Mr. International Nude Chorus Boy Competition and forgot to file. Through the magic of e-mail, he arranged to have it written by Mrs. Turnblad:

FROM Baltimore to Broadway in less time than it takes Amtrak to put a lemon in my Tab! Such amazing things can happen to you if you believe in yourself — and stay on your medication.

I hadn’t been to Broadway since they opened “Hairspray” a few years ago. They only invited me because my lawyer (the one I got off the TV commercial) threatened to sue if they didn’t. Besides, my husband, Wilbur — he runs a joke novelty shop — wanted to come up to New York and check out the new line of plastic vomit. So up we came.

There isn’t much to do in New York except go to the theater. There are some big museums, but that requires a lot of walking, and the one on Fifth Avenue that looks like a Jell-O bowl is just one long ramp, so that’s not for me.

At least they took down those orange gates, which didn’t lead to anything but more orange gates. I don’t know how they clean the flags hanging from those things. I wouldn’t want to run that laundry.

Besides, there’s nothing like settling into a tight little seat at a theater and taking in a show.

That very nice Michael Feinstein, I mean Harvey Weinstein, I mean Harvey Fierstein, who played me when “Hairspray” opened — well, I always suspected he was Jewish but now he’s doing a show where he just can’t hide it.

He plays a milkman in Russia at the turn of the century with a bad chest cold. He has five daughters to marry off, and don’t I know what that’s like! (I thought our Tracy would never get out of the house once she broke up with that no-good rock singer.)

Anyway, we really enjoyed “Fiddler on the Roof,” the show with all the singing and dancing Jews. We also had a good time at “Avenue Q,” “The Lion King” and Jackie Mason’s “Freshly Squeezed,” although as a rule, puppets are not my favorite thing. However, I have never seen a Jewish one, and so funny, too!

I have always been a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz,” so we went to see “Wicked,” but it was something of a letdown, as Judy Garland was not in the show that night and not even her daughter would try to replace her.

I was told to check out a new musical whose title is something like “Go Light on the Pizza,” but it sounded like one of those Jenny Craig commercials, so we were relieved to see it hasn’t started previews yet. [Editor’s note: Mrs. Turnblad is probably thinking of “The Light in the Piazza,” which starts previews March 17 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.]

So many shows, so little time! To help sort things out, I went online (I keep the computer near the ironing board since Martha taught me about multi-tasking) and went to one of those Broadway chat rooms where everybody knows everything. Here’s what I read:

I heard a rumor Kathleen Turner is going to do “King Lear.”

She’s doing it right now, only it’s in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

That is an insult to a great actress. I loved her in that John Waters movie where she killed people with no fashion sense.

If I wait at the stage door for an hour in the cold, will Norbert Leo Butz sign my left breast?

Somebody who should know just told me that Barry and Fran Weissler are going to tour in “Private Lives.” Why not? They’ve revived everything else.

They should revive “Wonderful Town.” That was a great show.

“Good Vibrations” was a lot of fun. But who are the Beach Boys?

I just heard that Glenn Close is doing a Mamet play and he named it after her.

Why didn’t they tell me “obstructed view seating” meant I’d be sitting behind Bruce Vilanch?

It was an awful lot to absorb. We have one more night in New York and it’s between Dame Edna and Billy Crystal.

Wilbur has an irrational dislike of royalty — he won’t even let me watch “King of Queens” — and Billy Crystal is a nice Jewish boy who speaks well of his mother.

After a week on Broadway, I need a laugh.