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Delta Burke to Star in Broadway's 'Steel Magnolias'

Delta Burke, who made her Broadway debut last year in Thoroughly Modern Millie, is set to return to The Great White Way in the Broadway bow of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias.

Liz Smith reports that Delta will play beauty salon owner Truvy, the role portrayed in the film of the same name by Dolly Parton. The gossip columnist also confirms that Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole will be part of the Broadway company; Ebersole is set to play M'Lynn. The four other female roles remain to be cast.

The play will open on Broadway April 4, 2005, at a theatre-to-be-announced.



Jean Smart's 'A Very Married Christmas'

Jean Smart stars with Joe Mantegna and Charles Durning in A Very Married Christmas, a lighthearted holiday drama where a man's orderly life begins to fall apart when he learns shortly before Christmas that his wife is having an affair and wants a divorce.

Frank Griffin (Mantegna), a computer IT consultant, is used to a quiet, uneventful existence with his wife, Ellen (Smart), and their 8-year-old daughter, Zoe (Jordy Benattar). Stunned by Ellen's sudden announcement that she's fallen in love with an auto mechanic, Frank refuses to accept it and remains steadfast in his desire to keep their marriage and family from falling apart. Hoping it will cheer him up, Frank lets a charismatic volunteer Santa named Ozzie (Durning) sign him up as one of the Santas who pose with children at the local mall. Another reason Frank agrees to the task is so he can spend time with the attractive Santa photographer, Donna (Kari Matchett), a young mother who is also hoping to work things out with her estranged spouse. It begins to look like only a true Christmas miracle can restore happiness to Frank and Donna's families, which causes Frank to wonder if there's any merit Ozzie's unwavering desire to spread hope for a mystical, magical world with miracles.

A Very Married Christmas will be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

**Source: CBS Worldwide Publicity


Annie Potts Joins 'Joan of Arcadia'

Annie Potts continues to appear in a recurring role on the CBS drama Joan of Arcadia. Annie plays the devious Lieutenant Lucy Preston, the new boss of Joan's father, Will (Joe Mantegna).

Joan of Arcadia airs Fridays at 8pm ET/PT on CBS.


Jean Smart Stars in 'Center of the Universe'

Jean Smart stars with John Goodman (Roseanne) in Center of the Universe, a CBS comedy centering on a family man who, by default, is the go-to guy for his eccentric extended clan.

The official CBS description:
John (Emmy-Award nominee John Goodman) and Kate (Emmy Award-winner Jean Smart) Barnett are still very much in love after 20 years of marriage and are looking forward to the next 20. Only one thing interrupts their bliss: Johnís family. His sex-obsessed father, Art (Emmy Award-winner Ed Asner, Lou Grant), and his loopy mother, Marge (Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, Moonstruck), have a penchant for coming over unannounced, ready to stir the pot. As the owner of a security company, John just hired his gleefully oblivious brother, Tommy (Diedrich Bader), who is having trouble wrapping his mind around the concept of "office hours." Johnís sister, Lily (Melinda McGraw), is a therapist who is her own best patient. If thatís not enough, their 12-year-old son, Miles (Spencer Breslin), has the makings of a perfectly nutty third generation Barnett. As the family patriarch, John fights an uphill battle with Kateís help to keep the peace while his oddball family spins around him.

Center of the Universe airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS.

**Sources: Smart Stuff: Officially Jean Smart

  POSTED JULY 26, 2004

Dixie Carter Returns to Cafe Carlyle

Dixie Carter will kick off the fall season at the Carlyle September 17. The singer-actress, who recently played Mrs. Meers in Broadway's Thoroughly Modern Millie, will reside at the Carlyle through October 9.

The Cafe Carlyle is located within the Carlyle Hotel at Madison Avenue and 76th Street. For reservations, call (212) 570-7189; visit for more information.

  POSTED JULY 10, 2004

LIFETIME Presents TV Movie Superstars with Delta and Annie

This summer, LIFETIME brings together top television movie superstars to share the stories behind their most memorable roles in TV Movie Superstars: Women We Love.

The special includes Delta Burke and Annie Potts, along with Meredith Baxter, Cheryl Ladd, Judith Light, Kellie Martin, Donna Mills, Markie Post, Stefanie Powers, Connie Sellecca, Jane Seymour and Jaclyn Smith, and includes endearing leading men such as Barry Bostwick, Stephen Collins, Michael Nouri, Jack Scalia and Jack Wagner.

Showcasing a diversity of films and actresses, the special recounts the stories of women who make being bad look good like the damaged and lost survivor Laura Bancroft in Going for Broke in which Delta Burke movingly portrays a desperate woman who loses everything to her gambling addiction.

"I didnít know what would happen," recalled Burke as she tearfully watched the emotional attempted suicide scene. "To shoot that scene was hard."

"We are thrilled to be celebrating such an enduring television genre," said Allison Wallach, VP of Original Programming for LIFETIME. "It is so much fun to watch the talent react to their ever changing hair and fashion styles, share their on and off screen memories and marvel at the topics that broke ground and are still very relevant today."

TV Movie Superstars: Women We Love premieres Monday, July 19 on LIFETIME Television. For more information and additional airdates, visit

  POSTED JUNE 22, 2004

Annie Potts Joins Showtime's '!Huff'

Annie Potts will be joining Showtime's drama !Huff this Fall for a limited run. The oddly punctuated series (that exclamation point is there on purpose) follows psychiatrist Craig Huffstodt (Hank Azaria) in the midst of a midlife crisis.

Annie has been cast as Doris Johnson, the angry, yet guilt-ridden mother whose teenage son killed himself in Huffstodt's office shortly after coming out as gay.

  POSTED JUNE 1, 2004

Judith Ivey Joins 'A Little Night Music' in L.A.

Judith Ivey has joined the cast of the Los Angeles Opera presentation of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, set for a limited July 7-31 engagement.

Los Angeles Opera productions are performed at the 3,086-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Music Center of Los Angeles County, located at 135 North Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, call (213) 972-8001 or visit the website at

Two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey, who was actually inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March, can currently be found directing a stage presentation of Steel Magnolias at the Alley Theatre in Houston through June 5.

Judith has also joined the cast of the upcoming Dirty Tricks, where she will play key Watergate figure Martha Mitchell. Dirty Tricks, which will be part of the 2004-2005 season at The Public Theater in New York, tells the story about the wife of Richard Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell who took on the powers that were. Subscriptions to the upcoming season at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, are currently available through the company's website at


  POSTED JUNE 1, 2004

Dixie Carter Featured at Whitman-Walker Clinic's AIDS Benefit

Broadway stars Dixie Carter, Bea Arthur and Elaine Stritch belted out musical-theater favorites for the Whitman-Walker Clinic's "Divas of a Lifetime" benefit on May 26th.

"Look at Me, I'm Twenty-Seven," Miss Carter teased as she opened the Whitman-Walker Clinic's "Divas of a Lifetime" benefit at the Mayflower Hotel Wednesday night with a hilariously vamped spoof revealing the true ages of various entertainment-world luminaries. The rest of her performance featured a sentimental journey with "I'm Old Fashioned" and "When the World Was Young."

The youngest of the three vampy divas, Dixie celebrated her 65th birthday as part of the sold-out event which raised an estimated $600,000 from private donors.

**Sources: Washington Times,, Whitman-Walker Clinic

  POSTED JUNE 1, 2004

Gerald McRaney in New WB Series

Gerald McRaney will be co-starring in Commando Nanny -- new on this Fall's WB schedule.

The series stars Philip Winchester as a 20-year-old ex-commando for the British Special Forces who moves to Beverly Hills and takes a job as a nanny for three spoiled rich kids. And if you think this sounds like a ridiculous premise, it's actually based on the unusual real life experience of megaproducer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice).

The official WB description:
Meet Miles Ross, the young commando whose new barracks are the guest room of a Beverly Hills mansion. Tycoon Ben Winter (Gerald McRaney) has no intention of hiring the young soldier, but Ben's new, younger wife Lizzie sees something in Miles, and offers him a challenging new mission: Monitoring Seth, a 5-year-old in desperate need of attention. Accepting what he intends to be a short-term nanny position, Miles becomes an army of one as he and Ben battle in a daily test of wills. Complicating the agenda are Seth's older siblings. Katie, a very mature teenager, flirts with Miles while plotting behind his back with her surly brother Steven to drive the new recruit AWOL. From the bunkers to the bunk beds of Beverly Hills, Miles Ross is in for his toughest detail yet when he enlists as the resident Commando Nanny.

**Source: Warner Bros. Television

  POSTED JUNE 1, 2004

Jean Smart Speaks at Alzheimer's Association Benefit

Jean Smart recently appeared as the special guest at the Alzheimer's Association's 17th annual Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala at The Field Museum in Chicago. Having recently lost her father to Alzheimer's, she shared her personal connection to the disease with over 800 guests. The event raised $1.2 million for Alzheimer's research. In addition, Jean spoke out in a recent article for USA Today, available at her Official Website, Smart Stuff: Officially Jean Smart and at USA For more information on the disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association website.

**Source: Smart Stuff: Officially Jean Smart


Dixie Succeeds Delta in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'

Dixie Carter steps into the role of Mrs. Meers, the corrupt and funny landlady of Thoroughly Modern Millie, February 23, making her the second "designing woman" to do so in the Broadway hit.

Dixie takes over the role from Delta Burke, who exits the Marquis Theatre February 15.

Carter, who won praise for Broadway's Master Class, will soon don Oriental drag to play the has-been/never-was actress masquerading as Chinese hotel proprietress, Mrs. Meers, who runs the Hotel Priscilla, secretly arranging for young women tenants to be sold off into "white slavery."

The role was originated by Harriet Harris, whose performance won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Standby Terry Burrell will appear as Mrs. Meers Feb. 16-22.

Tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie are available through



Sundance Entry Starring Jean Smart Is Picked Up

Fox Searchlight Pictures and Miramax Films have aligned with one another to create an unprecedented Sundance joint acquisitions agreement for the worldwide distribution rights to Garden State, the directorial debut feature from Zach Braff (Scrubs), who also wrote the screenplay.

Garden State, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, stars Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Jean Smart, Method Man, Ian Holm and Rob Leibman. The film is a romantic comedy about a guy who returns to his hometown for the first time in 10 years to attend the funeral of his clinically depressed mother, a journey of self-discovery that reconnects him with the world he left behind and gives him a chance to find love in an unexpected place.

**Sources: Smart Stuff: Officially Jean Smart,


'Women on Fire' Receives Another Extension

Two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey continues to shine in Women on Fire. The new play by Irene O'Garden -- which recently played at the Cherry Lane Theatre -- reopened at the same space for a second extension on Jan. 7 for a stay through Feb. 8.

The work is described as "an evening that celebrates contemporary women, diverse in calling and character, each on fire in her own way, burning with pain, passion, fear, wisdom, faith, a sense of justice, and even the desire to shop."

Tickets can be purchased by calling (212) 989-2020.

Meanwhile, Judith Ivey's next New York stage role may be Martha Mitchell, the outspoken Watergate figure, in the John Jeter play Dirty Tricks. If all goes according to plan, the play will go up August or September 2004 at a New York nonprofit.

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.


Delta Burke Named Spokeswoman

Delta Burke -- one of the stars of the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie -- is serving as the official spokesperson for the 2004 SEASON OF SAVINGS outreach, which features a special edition Playbill that includes easy-to-use discount coupons for up to 50% off the ticket price for 20 Broadway shows, as well as special offers on 14 Off-Broadway shows, parking, transportation and hotels, Times Square restaurants and attractions, and more. The SEASON OF SAVINGS discounts are valid for performances from Sunday, January 4 through Thursday, March 18, 2004.

For all offers, ongoing news and promotional updates included in SEASON OF SAVINGS, visit


Gerald McRaney to Host Mississippi Inaugural Gala

Gerald McRaney will be co-hosting a pre-inauguration gala for Mississippi Governor-elect Haley Barbour in Jackson on Monday, January 12. Barbour will entertain lawmakers and the media in two separate events before his gala at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

McRaney and WLBT anchor Maggie Wade host the gala, which features country music stars Kenny Rogers, the Gatlin Brothers, and Steve Azar, along with comedian James Gregory. Ticket prices for the gala are $40 for reserved floor seats and $25 for the mezzanine and the upper level. The event is dressy casual and food is free.