"I will be forced to be in a position where I will have to openly say how I feel about the film and go against you, my mother and this film publicly."Lisa Marie Presley's e-mail to director Sofia Coppola after reading the script for Priscilla.
Streisand's autobiography, My Name is Barbra, finally hits the streets on Tuesday. And it promises to have...almost no revelations.
Don't believe me? Let's compare it to Britney. Did Barbra have an abortion? Or dance with a python? Did Diana try to have her declared incompetent? Who wouldn't wanna hear Barbra scream, "I won't be nuts for you!" Oh, wait...she did that already.
But unlike Britney, we'll be hearing a lot from Barbra. She does her own audio book. Didya know it clocks in at 48 hours and 15 minutes? You could walk from New York City to Los Angeles listening to it and only be up to her divorce from Elliott Gould!
She'll also do a few interviews, but most of them are tightly scripted and pre-taped. Gayle King? In the can. Stephen Colbert (who never does pre-taped interviews)? Done. The wild card is a live sit-down with Howard Stern. If he's anything like he was in 1994 when he interviewed Roslyn Kind (who he insists on calling by her legal name, "Barbra Streisand's Sister"), we might get something juicy. You can see his chat with Roslyn on BillyMasters.com .
People have asked me what I would ask Babs if I had her on Billy Masters LIVE (it's only a matter of time). I do have one question nobody else would askis there any truth to the rumor that her understudy when she did Funny Girl on Broadway was Liza Minnelli? Yes, it sounds preposterousand, it would have happened over Lainie Kazan's cold, dead body!
But the story comes from Judy Garland herself. In May of 1964, Judy was touring Australia and an interviewer asked her about Liza. "She's now understudying Barbra Streisand in a Broadway show." Funny Girl opened on Broadway on March 26, 1964. It bears noting that in 1964, I'm not sure Judy Garland knew where SHE was, let alone where Liza was! You can also see this interview on our website.
Lest anyone think this is Streisand's swan song, think again. While she recently released two collections of old music, she hasn't recorded any new material since "Walls" in 2018. As we went to press, a little birdie told us that the 81-year-old is headed back in the studio in Januaryand could even perform again. Stay tuned...
A few fans wrote me saying they were disappointed that Melissa Manchester missed a number of performances of the national tour of Funny Girl (she is playing Mrs. Brice). Turns out, Melissa had an injury and said the following: "A few days ago on my way to the theater, I took a fall and injured my knee, which will unfortunately require surgery and time for recovery. I am heartsick to be away from my beautiful castmates, as well as the exquisite world of 'Funny Girl'. I am sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping to see me in this historic production. I can't wait to return to work and rejoin our beautiful world at the earliest possible moment!"
Speaking of divas, Cher has made yet another curious career turnand this is even stranger than her decision to release a line of gelato (called "Cher-lato"), and put out a Christmas album. Get ready...Cher is going to be in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The only thing that could make this better is if she's riding the Underdog float!
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cher was asked about a quote from 1991where she called Madonna "mean." "I said a lot worse than that. It's not a beef. I actually like her. But, come on...she can be! We buried that hatchet a long time ago because I called her something so much worse, and she forgave me."
Back in 2002, Kristin Chenoweth had a difficult decision to make. She had to choose between being in a musical by Stephen Sondheim and one by Stephen Schwartz. The Sondheim show was Bounce (previously called Wise Guys). The other turned out to be Wicked. She made her choice, and Sondheim wrote her the following. "Thank you for the thoughtful and generous note. I, too, was disappointed, but I understand completely. I hope that 'Wicked' turns out to be everything you want it to be (and that Steve wants it to be, too)." The rest is history.
Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford are set to leave this terribly misguided revival of Sweeney Todd on January 14th. One would think that the show would simply shutter and slink away, left to become a sad, little footnote in some Broadway annals. But, nothe show must go on (must it?). If you thought Josh Groban was a curious choice for the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, what do you think of Aaron Tveit? Should a "Sweeney" have abs of steel? His Mrs. Lovett will be the fantastically talented, and yet equally miscast Sutton Foster. I know there are roles Sutton covetslike Mama Rose. But did she learn nothing from The Music Man?
What about a musical staring John Travolta and Katherine Heigl? And again, I know what you're thinkingdid he learn nothing from Hairspray? Or those T-Mobile commercials? And who has Heigl on their radar? If there's anything less plausible than a musical starring this pair, it's that the name of it is...and I couldn't make this up if I tried: That's Amore!
The writer says, "John and Katherine are fantastic together, and during rehearsals they had so much chemistry. We're not breaking into big production numbers, but I wanted to try something a little different. We've recorded about seven songs so far with a full orchestra, and he's just a magical person. One of the numbers is a real throw back to Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly." I don't look at Travolta and immediately think of Astaire or Kelly.
Someone who would like to return to Broadway is newlywed Chris Evans. He told the crowd at New York Comic-Con that he hopes to find a project soon. "I'm looking. I'd love to actually try and find something next year, but it's tough because you find something that you are kind of into that could be cool, but like I said, once you're in it, you are in it. It usually runs three, four or five months. So, it's got to be something that you don't just love, but it's got to be something that you're ready to explore from different angles every single night for a very long time." How amusing that he considers 3-5 months to be a long time. After 3-5 dates, I'm bored and have forgotten their names.
Tragedy struck Brooke Shields when she was at L'Artusi restaurant in NYC on a break from her show "Previously Owned by Brooke Shields." Hands? Anybody? She had been drinking lots of water, and her friends said she looked "weird" (with friends like that...). The restaurant tried to track down her husband, and then the sommelier got in touch with Bradley Cooper. Fun factBrooke and Brad starred in the 2008 film "The Midnight Meat Train"a detail neither seems to acknowledge. I'll let Brooke tell you the rest: "I thought to myself, 'This is what death must be like.' You wake up and Bradley Cooper's going, 'I'm going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,' and he's holding my hand. And I'm looking at my hand, I'm looking at Bradley Cooper's hand in my hand, and I'm like, 'This is odd and surreal.' I flooded my system, and I drowned myself. And if you don't have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure. I was drinking too much water because I felt dehydrated because I was singing more than I've ever sung in my life and doing a show and a podcast. So [the doctors] were just like, 'Eat potato chips every day.'" Helpful hints from Brooke Shields!
When we can start and end with stories about Andre Agassi's exes, we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. This Shields incident would have never happened to Streisand'cause Babs loves chips! Our column ran so long, we had to cut portions of that riveting Brooke Shields story. More salty stuff can be found at www.BillyMasters.com the site that'll leave you thirsty for more. If you've got a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Bradley brings Babs a bag of chips. Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.