Liz Smith: Will Broadway Ever Shout, “Yo, Adrian!?”

Sly Stallone: Broadway bound?

And more from our Gossip Girl: Chaz Bono — becoming a man

“ROCKY – A Knockout!”

Could this be a future headline in the Theater Arts section of newspapers and on the web?

Well, the other night I found myself in a very good orchestra seat (courtesy of producer Whoopi Goldberg), at the opening of Broadway’s “Sister Act.” This was certainly a special occasion, and I already wrote a rave for the show.

To my right sat the one and only Patti LaBelle, vastly talented singer, one of my favorite celebrities. She was dressed all in white chiffon, like a great gardenia. Behind me was the relatively new head of the Jujamcyn Theaters, the creative young entrepreneur Jordan Roth. A guy I just adore.

On my left, behaving like giggling teenagers, were two longtime pals of one another (and of me) – Julie White, who made herself famous as the obstreperous female agent in “The Little Dog Laughed,” and her friend from adolescence, Cady Huffman. You’ll remember this sexy broad, who starred in “The Will Rogers Follies” and “The Producers.” (These two veterans recollected that people sometimes thought they were “married” because when Julie and her husband had a baby, the two girls would wheel her about and people always thought she looked as if she were Cady’s child, with Julie as the nanny.)

And, right in front of me, was a very familiar silhouette — that of show biz star Sylvester Stallone. At the intermission, Sly told me he was there because the German backers of “Sister Act,” who had already been so successful with that musical, had invited him to look in. They are his hoped-for potential backers for a long a’borning musical of “Rocky.”

Sounds like a mighty good commercial idea to me. I can just imagine all those toned biceps and firm abs in trunks, dancing around onstage in the confines of an irresistible story of an aspiring heavyweight in Philadelphia.

Sly looks great. He snorts at the idea of personally being in a Broadway musical, but he does own most of the franchise and he reminded me that I helped him get “Rocky Balboa” (also known as “Rocky 6”) onto the screen when others were throwing up roadblocks.

Well, knowing these famous people is lots of fun, helping them occasionally is another thing; let’s just say I have seldom made any money from such enterprises. But money isn’t everything.

* * *

HEY, RELAX! Next Sunday, Andy Rooney will be back on “60 Minutes.” I can tell you’ve been worried about that and missing him.

* * *

A NUMBER of years back, Chastity Bono dropped the “tity” from her name and became plain old Chaz, the all-American transsexual guy who issued originally from the loins of the inimitable Cher and the late Sonny Bono.

Chaz is not happy that doctors have not quite mastered creating a functioning penis for transgender folks like him.

But, he now has a beard, muscles, a formidable stomach and finds himself with a ferocious sexual appetite. He is still living with his lesbian girlfriend who sleeps in a separate room, now that the gay girl she allied herself with has become, for most intents and purposes, an authentic male.

Chaz is no freaky loser. He will be seen soon chatting with ABC’s “Nightline” on May 9th. Chaz impressed reporter Cynthia McFadden with his determination to become an effective spokesperson for all those struggling with gender identity issues. The documentary that chronicles his transformation is titled “Becoming Chaz” and will debut on Oprah’s new channel on May 10th.

Even Cher, who first had to cope with a butch gay daughter and then a sex-change daughter-to-son, has come around. Cher was always honest that she found it all quite difficult — and surprised at how difficult she did find it!

Although Cher still slips and calls Chaz “her” at times, she has come to terms with the fact that the little blonde baby girl she used to carry onstage with her in the Sonny and Cher years, is becoming an M-A-N.

Chaz Bono is a very nice guy and he is definitely not what is wrong in the world.

17 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    Sly on Broadway? Well, stranger things have occurred. But I tend to think of him (in my experience) in action based films. I just wonder how they are going to make anything blow up on the stage because that is Sly at his finest. He may need to concentrate on a few vocal lessons as he tends to mumble his words on film, with dialog intricately caught by a nearby boom. He comes to Broadway (and please correct me if I am wrong) with virtually no recent stage experience (but neither did Elizabeth Taylor in 1981’s Little Foxes and she marveled at it). Sly is getting older now, and is outgrowing the Rocky, Rambo films. He does show his age. He is still very muscular (though steroid enhanced, I am sure) for an older man. He is probably just getting sick of being blown up in every other scene, in films. Will Broadway be his venue? His film dialogs tend to be very monosyllabic and it is very hard for me to envision him providing a ten minute theatrical monologue. He’s never used his wings in this area. If he does catch on, of course, I would see him. But I just have an instinctual feeling that he already knows that this may not be his forte. Maybe after a few non-action packed silver screen grandfather films would make this transition more believable. The proof is in the pudding. Now, for all of the open mindedness of Cher, when we found that when Chastity announced that she was gay, it was indeed Cher who was the least supportive and had to take time to adjust. It is hard to believe that a mother, with the worldliness of Cher, did not know that Chastity was gay before she announced it. A great number of Cher’s fans are gay, and she should have been OK right away. And, now…during this gender reassignment issue, again Cher finds it hard to accept. Chaz needs all the support that he can get right now. The penis issues goes with the territory for all of the obvious reasons and he presents himself as a rather heavy set, outspoken, honest man. I did not see the documentation of his transition but I would like to. It doesn’t matter if he is partnered with a gay, straight, man or woman, or some variation of such. Those are his decisions and should feel no need to justify who he ‘loves’. But even with a life of privileged, he has to be therapeutically followed-up, as suicide attempts in this relatively small population runs high. Higher still if he did not get the reassignment surgery. Again, he needs Cher’s support…publically and privately. Though it does sound strange to the ear, he also needs a working penis. Biology is calling.

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Rocky the Musical?  I’ll pass. But others won’t so he may end up making the investors rich.

    I am uncomfortable reading about someone’s penis not functioning and I suspect Cher is uncomfortable as well. But, well, all I can say is probably what she would say which is quite a few men’s penises don’t function.  It’s not all about the penis Chaz.

    There was a urologist years ago who fixed the non-functioning penises. A little pump. Quite a few famous men came to Houston to get “pumped up.”  Chaz just hasn’t found the right doctor. Here’s hoping he does. If not, well, again, it’s not all about the penis. One of the great myths of modern America. Promoted of late by the makers of Viagra.

    What would Sonny say? He would probably tell everyone including Cher to get over it.

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      I was thinking about you this weekend, so in honor of your clever posts, I have changed my avatar for this week. Hope you are well!

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        And here I was trying to remain anonymous! Now I can’t go anywhere. Someone will recognize me! 

  3. avatar Paul Smith says:

    There is an element of the grotesque involved, admit it.  Even facelifts can venture into the carnival.  The lopping off and adding of genitalia is nothing less.

  4. avatar rick gould says:

    I think as a person, Cher is entitled to whatever reaction she wants, as long as it’s an honest one. It has to be hard, even if your public image is cool and hip, to deal with accepting your daughter, first as a butch lesbian, and then as a man. Publicly. With the tabloids. The mocking Internet. And the daughter/son documenting it thru books and film.

    Cher herself has been increasingly reclusive since the early ’90s after being tabloid fodder for eons. She does have a reticent side, actually. There’s nothing wrong with an honest reaction of ambivalence and working toward acceptance than the usual Hollywood on-camera political correctness.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      DEar Rick…she has a very reticent side.   The real life Cher is quiet, serious, modest.  She loves old movies.    She’s not a wild and crazy girl.  And wasn’t even back in the day.  She’s one of the genuninely nice people I’ve ever met in this business.

      I admired the fact that she was honest enough to say she had a hard time dealing with Chaz’s various transformations, and that she was more than  a little disturbed at her own reaction. 

      My own mother, to  whom I was not especially close, did express a fairly relaxed attitude toward homosexuality–she knew many gay people as a young woman.  But when it came to me–who had given off flagrant smoke signals for years–she was distraught.  In the end, close to her death,  she came back around.  But the years in-between had not be pleasant.

      Cher’s doing okay.

      • avatar Richard Bassett says:

        I am so happy that Cher has remained so publically reticent regarding Chaz’s reassignment sexual surgery, hormone side effects, and a very painful ongoing recovery time. Now, maybe with Cher’s complacency others may actually emulate Chaz instead of committing suicide. Oh, didn’t Cher almost wear ‘nothing’ for her video, “If I Could Turn Back Time”?

  5. avatar Lisa Cornell says:

    I fell off my chair laughing so hard when I read Chastity Bono, who dropped the “tity” from her name. That’s not all where she dropped it. That said, I hope Chaz finds peace and joy from his decisions, and I applaud his mother for her usual straightforwardness and honesty.

  6. avatar D C says:

    I don’t think having gay friends, being supportive of those who are Lesbian, Gay or Transgendered or being “hip” would make it any easier for a parent to accept the changes their child is going through.  Most people who have (give birth to) children are heterosexual.  They grew up thinking certain things about being male or female, and when they have children, they can’t help but push those same expecations on their children.  I had a daughter, and dressed her in pink and flowers and polkadots and, when she demanded for a time, “only dresses that twirl!”  I had two boys, and took great delight in blues and sports and trains and such.  And even when they were toddlers, I imagined what it would be like some day to watch them get married, and become parents themseles.  When your child does not grow up to be what you expected, it’s an adjustment.  Nobody should fault a person for admitting to a tough adjustment, and we certainly shouldn’t expect it to be any easier for Cher just because she has a large gay fan base. 

    The only way it’s going to get easier for parents to adjust to their children not turning out the way they expected, is for the whole world to get adjusted to the fact that being gay or lesbian or transgendered is not a lifestyle or a choice, but is, in fact, they way you were made in the womb, and then our expectations will be different from the start.  We’re not there yet.  Not anywhere close. 

    • avatar Richard Bassett says:

      Fortunately, this issue is about Chaz and not Cher, despite the fact that she is the child’s mother. Being open minded, as is Cher’s reputation, certainly should make it easier to adjust to this situation. For her LGBT following, she is most likely exposed to these situation more frequently that Mrs. Owens from LaPurt, Iowa. As parents, you have them, raise them, and then let them go and live their lives…despite the expectations of others. Chaz would have completed this gender process even if Cher was dead set against it, but…to be realistic; she is given an adjustment period as that is only human. I do not think that there will ever be a world that is universal in accepting of alternative lifestyles, born or by choice, but that will never stop the evolution of this population because, at the end of the day…they are alone with their own selves and it is their self-acceptance is the most important belief.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I’ve already gone off on Governor Goodhair who wants to “ban” transgendered people in Texas from having heterosexual relationshps afterwardss and *gasp* getting married.

        Richard. Repeat after me.  Being transgendered is not a lifestyle. Any more than being gay or lesbian or bisexual or even straight is a lifestyle.

        • avatar Richard Bassett says:

          You must really put the wine away now, Baby. NOWHERE did I say a sexual reassignment surgery case was thought forth from an external lifestyle. If you were mistaken, then I am sorry. Though I will say this: to assimilate into being gay or lesbian in our culture is really no different than living a straight life. Issues may pop up, but as time goes by…they are addressed and we eventually get our rights. Being transgendered if like living in torment for a very long period of time. Sociological and psychological issues are counseled by those in the social service industry (such as myself), indicative only for that population. It is suggested that one lives the preferred sexual preference before surgery is considered. So, yes…in a way there must be an altering in lifestyle before a reassignment decision is made but certainly not anything out of the norm. Medical professionals and psychological professional need to obtain some confidence in the fact that reassignment surgery is the right thing to do, at that particular time. It takes more than going into an urgent medical center for a broken finger.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            I do not think that there will ever be a world that is universal in accepting of alternative lifestyles, born or by choice, but that will never stop the evolution of this…….


            Your words. Not mine.

          • avatar Richard Bassett says:

            If I remember correctly, we were talking about transsexuals/transgendered regarding the alternative lifestyle (Chaz) that I was referring to. And it is a change of lifestyle. Going from living the life of a woman to a man or a man to a woman… is a choice. Some never explore their alternative side, some choose hormones only (for fear of surgery causing insensitivity), some choose complete gender reassignment surgery (and merely wait for funding), and some will go so far as to just put on a dress or a suit, but identify as the opposite sex (so you do not confuse transvestites to this category) As I have said, not only is a change of lifestyle needed but it is necessary in some cases for the process to move along, if that is what the client wants. This is when choice is used to an advantaged. Most ARE born with this but are not sure how to deal with it. These poor souls usually commit/ or try suicide. Some discover this aspect to themselves at a young age when engaging in typical socially acceptable behavior. That is the reason that there must be options. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. Please keep this in mind when meeting others who identify as such. As for alternative lifestyles for gays and lesbians, that is a heterosexual term to distance themselves from homosexuality. To me, gay, straight, man, woman…nothing is alternative about any of that. And it is VERY obvious that you were ‘born this way’.

  7. avatar Rho says:

    Thank you for telling us about Andy Rooney, I really was concerned.  Glad he is coming back.

  8. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    My grandmother is screeching at me from the cosmos. Along with others. “Functional WHAT?”