David Rockwell designed the sets for “Lucky Guy,” opening April 1, and “Kinky Boots” opening April 4. He also designed 2009’s Academy Awards set. He’s designed everything but my kitchen.
“ ‘Kinky Boots’ takes place in a modern Northhampton, England, shoe factory. It’s rooted in believing how shoes are made. There’s a grittiness. Every part of the set does something. Through movement, shoe racks show how they worked 20 years ago and then later on. A conveyor belt becomes a runway to dance on. Rivets — 1,200 LED lights — light up a 40-foot factory. It’s all one environment.
“Director Jerry Mitchell went to England and brought back pictures. I checked photos from other shoe factories. We made all real working machines. It’s 1,000 fragments forming one environment. Finding beauty in an industrial world. The environment dances and moves.
“The top of the set is airy. Panes of glass backlit let the light out. Building the whole thing took two years. I went to fitness industrial places to see if gym equipment would work. It didn’t because the dancers dance to different rhythms. We had to build a conveyor belt ahead of time to rehearse and try.”
And what if all that gear goes poop?
“It happened at our Chicago tryout, so we have contingency plans if the machinery doesn’t work. Some is actor-driven. Upstage is the not-automated office. Actors move that two-tier rolling platform. We practiced over and over at tech rehearsals so all lands at the same place all the time.
“And everything changes at the end to a sleek black look.”
OK. So the Tom Hanks play?
“Minimal set. New York, 1985. The scenery’s a bar or a sea of newsroom desks in a smoke-filled tabloid newsroom. I went to every current one, checked every historical picture. There’s desk clutter. Overhead ceiling. Compressed space that moves and has projections on it. It’s messiness. Early monitors on the desks. Shifting images. Graffiti-filled world. Changes go from early to later years.”
So far Rockwell has nothing in May.
NORTON Herrick, who’s producing “Very Good Girls” with very good girls Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen, plus “2 Guns” with big guns Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, has also produced thoroughbred Animal Kingdom (2011 Derby winner) to take Dubai’s $10,000,000 World Cup March 30. For 3-year-olds, 1 ¹/‚„ miles on synthetic surface, Meydan Racecourse is the world’s richest horse race.
OUR richest restaurant, I don’t know. NYC’s best Greek one, I know. Periyali. Been there 27 years. Owned by Steve Tzolis and Nicola Kotsoni. The moussaka, taramosalata, spinach pie are so good, you can’t figure why the country’s busted . . . Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s ringmaster is Andre McClain. His pants, shoes, top hat and 25-pound jacket outshine eight elephants. They glitz with 4,000 Swarovski crystals.
IN David Mamet’s HBO movie yesterday, Al Pacino played jailed record producer Phil Spector. Helen Mirren played his lawyer Linda Kenney Baden. The fake Spector and real lawyer had never met. Al, no table-hopper, didn’t hop over when both were at Michael Lomonaco’s Porter House restaurant. I hereby report he was thrilled when Linda went to him.
SEN. Robert Menendez, allegedly embroiled in an alleged sex case allegedly, frequents New Jersey’s West New York restaurant Son Cubano. Sits at the bar. With company. Not allegedly . . . The Lunt & Fontanne musical “Motown,” opening April 14, already has a $10 mil advance . . . April 15 is coming. Taxpayers paying their share of the Biden and Obama family trips. Every time your ship comes in, our First Folk unload it.
RISE Stevens, opera’s once golden voice, left us this weekend. I knew her. Not well. She didn’t exactly rush to my house for Passover or anything. But I repeat our conversation after her 1990 Kennedy Center honors:
“I wore my good-luck 25-year old beige gold-studded gown, which I’d worn when the old Met, built in the 1800s, closed. Then I weighed 125. Now — 140. It once hung on me. Now, not. But a Dior’s a Dior. I’ll never give away my closetful. I’m determined to fit them again.
“The old Met’s backstage was appalling. Dressing rooms smelled. No showers. No storage for scenery. Sets stayed outside even if it rained. Once the paint smeared and came off on my new white velvet gown. Oh, such a misery.”
LISTEN, let’s everyone stop chopping Mike Bloomberg. Yes, there’s an A-1 slate of possibles vamping for his job — but the man’s an A-1 supervisor, businessman and executive. Nobody can please us all in this town. We’re fat, thin, rich, poor, panhandlers and aristocrats. We’re foreign-born, we’re third-generation Yanks. Mayor Bloomberg is the best.
THREE-time bride: “Such excitement with my first marriage. I went all out. Engraved monogrammed silverware. His initials intertwined with mine. Came our divorce. The husband got dropped. The silverware got kept. I buffed his initials off.”
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.