"It is truly obscene what they're charging for tickets to 'Merrily We Roll Along' on Broadway. $500 to $800. PLUS$40 a ticket 'handling charge.'"Kevin Chamberlin voices his outrage at the price of Broadway tickets. Imagine a couple with two kids driving into Manhattan for dinner and a show. You might as well take out a second mortgage.
Let's start with the good newsthis is a Jada-free zone. Instead, let's go to a truly important story. Not the lingering strike. Not even the war in the Middle East.
You may recall a month ago, I had a traumatic experience trying to buy a single original glazed Krispy Kreme donut from a large, surly clerk. I went public with my plight because one of my best friends always says, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." I didn't get the grease, but I did get a letter last week.
Gilberto in Krispy Kreme Guest Care wrote me the following (via snail mail, if you can imagine): "Dear Billy. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your feedback. We are sorry that we fell short of your expectations this time and have shared the details of your experience with Krispy Kreme management to ensure we get it right next time. We would be honored if you were willing to give us another chance. Enclosed you will find a coupon for Free 1 Dozen Original Glazed." Not a bad return on my investment.
Let's move onto that old woman. Not Nancy Pelosi. Not Elizabeth Warren. I'm talking about Madonnawho, admittedly, looks good for her age...if you have the right filters and sit in the nosebleeds. Otherwise, you know, she's a 65-year-old pop star...but good for her. The reviews from her long-awaited tour are generally good, and the audience is receptiveonce the show actually starts. But woe be unto you should you attend one of the many shows that start late.
At some UK venues, people missed the last few songs: "Rain," "Celebration," "Music," "Bitch, I'm Madonna," among others. Why? Officially, the technical pre-show check ran late and the venues have very strict ending timeswhether the show is over or not. Except people spied Madonna showing up at some venues long after the start time. Her devoted fans are not surprised. The Rebel Heart Tour routinely started almost two hours late, while the Madame X Tour was usually only 90 minutes late. But give Madonna a breakit's hard to find the stage wearing an eye patch! Maybe now she's just busy tuning her guitar!
Like many of you, I watched the opening night on TikTok. I was particularly moved by her rendition of "Like a Virgin." But when she sang "touched for the very first time," I wondered if she could remember that far back. Perhaps she's given up Kabbalah and has taken up Past Life Regression! Personally, I didn't mind seeing her kids. But when did Madonna stop being the queen of reinvention and start copying others? She's no longer a trailblazer, pushing the limitsshe's a copycat, pushing a walker! If you can't lead, at least find a way to keep up.
I wholly identified with her story about the early poor days in NYC. She'd go home with cute boys if it meant she could clean up. "Blowjobs for showers," is how Madge described it. In my time (which, as we've established, was only slightly after Madonna's time), the boys didn't have to be so cute. But I was known to pretend to fall asleep so I could get to spend the night in a bed. Eh, I've never been so picky about where I slept.
From Madonna to "It's Britney, bitch" (OMG, she even stole that). Spears has a memoir coming out this week called The Woman in Me. So everyone is waiting to see what Justin has to say. I can't confirm this, but I believe his first reaction was, "Bitch couldn't even READ a book!"
Justin had good reason to be concerned. Britney reveals that Timberlake got her pregnant, and insisted she have an abortion. Why? "Justin definitely wasn't happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren't ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young." He was probably rightthey probably weren't ready to have kids at 21. Heck, I'm not sure who cleared either of them to have kids now. I must have missed a meeting.
But imagine an alternate universe where they had a kid and got married (not necessarily in that order). How much would have changed? For instance, I seriously doubt we'd be calling the kid "Tater Tot Timberlake." Another revelation is she claims to have almost been cast in the film "The Notebook." Brit says it came down to her and Rachel McAdams to play opposite Ryan Gosling. Again, picture an alternate universe with her having sex with Ryan Goslingdoggy style. Finish up picturing it before moving on.
Cher recently did a few interviews about having two records drop in short succession. This quote amused me: "My life seems to be longer than any other human being ever. I feel like I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for this. And I'm still going! My great-aunts were 101 and 104. I never thought about getting this old and still having a job." And, "I remember I had a conversation with Barbra Streisand once on a telethon we were doing. She leaned over and said, 'Cher, why are you still doing this?' And I said, 'Because there's going to come a day where I can't do it.'" And I don't want to have thought that I could have done my art longer, and chose not to."
So much to unpack herestarting with Barbra and Cher doing a telethon together. Were they answering phones? "Hello, this is Cher...yes, that Cher!" And you know Barbra wasn't touching strange phones. "I'll coordinate," is how I believe it went. I definitely don't remember either of them sitting down with Jerry's Kids. Plus, the Jerry Lewis Telethon was Maureen McGovern's turf.
Turns out the telethon in question was Hand in Hand, which helped victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. And there really is a photo of Cher and Babswith Billy Crystal between them. I found this amusing anecdote from the telethon in question. A cameraman said that Barbra came up to him before the event and asked him to only shoot her from her good side. He took a long look at her left profile, and then her right profile. He then asked, "I'm sorrywhich side would that be?"
Just because we're not talking about Jussie Smollett, doesn't mean there's nothing to say. He's been in and out of Chicago courtrooms trying to get an appeal and/or overturn his hoax hate crime verdict. Jussiegive it up. It won't change anyone's mind. The people who believed you set it up will still believe that. And those who support you will stay by your side. Of course, they could have a meeting in a two-seater...and still have room to pick up a hitchhiker, but that's another story. Just to hedge his bets, Jussie checked himself into rehab while the jury deliberates.
Could it be that a certain Broadway boy has a secret pain? During his short-lived television career, he was told by a notable TV exec that he'd be more successful on the small screen if he were a bit...er, smaller. "You're just too big"and not in a good way. This led to years of an eating disorder that he's only recently gotten under control. While his physical appearance hasn't changed all that much, he's looking more confident when he struts. Success will do that to you. In this case, revenge was a dish best served cold...ice cold.
When our blind item ain't so funny, we've definitely come to the end of yet another column. One thing's for sureI ain't sharing my Krispy Kremes with our frosty fella. But I'll probably have a few while I'm updating www.BillyMasters.com the site that's always looking for its next subject. If you have a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before I ask Gilberto for a pic of his cruller! Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.