December 13, 2018 at 11:51 am PDT | by Billy Masters
Awards season takes off and other taudry bits

Eden Espinosa, Max von Essen, and Nick Adams, Falsetto’s sexy new cast is coming to the Ahmanson April 16-May 19. (Photo by Marc J. Franklin from courtesy Ahmanson)

“It would not have been possible without the help of the president, who not only gave us the impetus for this reboot but provided us with fresh fields to plow daily that Diane English and our superb writing staff have cultivated fearlessly and with unique wit.” — Candice Bergen graciously accepts her latest Golden Globe nomination for playing “Murphy Brown.”

As last week drew to a close, Kevin Hart said he was hired as host of the upcoming Academy Awards. Then the gays protested him as host of the Academy Awards (I’m not going to recap why – look it up for yourself). Then he resigned as host of the Academy Awards. Am I the only one who thinks it a bit, dare I say, queer that all this news has come from Hart himself and not the Academy? Maybe I should announce that the Academy asked me to host, but I’ve pulled out (as if). Here’s another thing I’m wondering about — is there a height restriction for hosts? I say if you’re not tall enough to ride Space Mountain, you can’t host the Oscars. But you can ride me. That’s all.

I typically wouldn’t have a Fayewatch item this early in the column. But trust me, this is no normal Fayewatch. Then again, there is no such thing as a “normal” Fayewatch. For the past few years, Miss Dunaway’s professional output has been limited to a curious extended commercial for Gucci and shuffling onstage at two consecutive Academy Awards, thus ensuring her spot when it’s time for the inevitable “In Memoriam” segment. 

That was all a warm-up for her grand return to Broadway. Ah, the Great White Way.  Faye hasn’t appeared there since 1982 — I believe she was 82 at the time. And she’s finally found a vehicle to harness her unique talents, such as they are. She will star in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman show about…brace yourself, Katharine Hepburn! Well, when you think of people suitable to play dead grand dames, who else? 

The press release indicates that the run will take place sometime next summer and will be a “strictly limited engagement” (I will refrain from the obvious joke). Here’s something the press release doesn’t say – the first choice for the role of Miss Hepburn was the divine Charles Busch!  And I should know: I was there. Back in 2011, Busch starred in a one-night-only performance of Matthew Lombardo’s revised play, which was a benefit for the Ali Forney Center. Needless to say, he was magical. Charles was courted for a full run, but Busch marches to the beat of his own drum and declined. 

So, essentially Faye is replacing a fella in a frock. How curious – usually it’s the other way around.

I’m more than a bit intrigued by the cast of the national tour of “Falsettos.” One might think that Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells would be hard to top — well, not that hard.  Then it was announced that the tour will star Max von Essen and Nick Adams, and more than my ears perked up. First off, they’re both gay, which is always a plus. And Max is a leading man of the first order. He’s been the stand-by for some great people (Ricky Martin in “Evita” and virtually everyone in “Les Misérables”) and, for a while, he was in the running for the real-life role of Mrs. Neil Patrick Harris – but that’s another story. Nick, on the other hand, is more known for his body than his body of work – although that’s mighty impressive as well. 

So for him to flex his thespianistic muscles in this role is a tantalizing prospect, indeed.  Fingers crossed he’s up to the challenge. With Eden Espinosa rounding out this luxurious cast, you have a great show that’s not to be missed when it comes to a city near you.

CNN is gonna take another stab at making magic work between Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be DVRing (and scanning) because faithful fans know I always ring in the New Year with loved ones watching not one, but two Lindsay Wagner movies.  This year we have two new films – the Hallmark Channel’s “Mingle All The Way” (which has virtually the same plot as every other Hallmark Channel flick) and “Samson”, where Lindsay plays the Biblical hero’s mother. That Bionic Woman’s got range!

Time for another installment of “Billy’s Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions.” This week, we’re delivering the perfect 2019 calendar. I am happy to once again spotlight the work of the Warwick Rowers. This group of hot athletes has been raising funds through their calendar since 2009. Obviously the men change, but the standards remain high. The gay and straight rowers have twice been named UK Charity Calendar of the Year by whomever votes on these things…presumably a bunch of Brits. This year’s calendar features a special guest – two-time Olympic rower Robbie Manson from New Zealand. 

And let’s just say his openly gay oar is prominently featured. 

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