O’Donnell Says She’s Just One of the Gang

Witty and self-deprecating, Rosie O’Donnell made a hit with the theater crowd when she swept into Diva restaurant in Costa Mesa on Tuesday night.

Fresh from her performance as Rizzo in “Grease” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, O’Donnell--sporting white tennies, slacks and blazer--said she loved her Segerstrom Hall dressing room: “It has a beautiful couch; I don’t have to put a bedspread on it because it’s new .”

Her favorite moment in the show? “When my solo’s over,” she said, laughing. “If you go to this show expecting to be vocally stimulated, you will. There are fabulous musical talents performing in it.

“But you won’t necessarily be titillated by my vocal aesthetics. I’m just a part of an ensemble who is supposed to be funny, and that I’m comfortable with.”


The co-star of “Sleepless and Seattle” and the upcoming “The Flintstones” is excited about “Grease” opening on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on May 11. “I can’t wait,” she said.

The party buzz: the musical’s “moon shots.” (Yup, one of the Greasers actually drops his drawers a few times).

“Thank goodness it was in profile,” said a smiling Susan Strader, who attended the performance with her husband, Timothy, and their children, Stephanie, and Patrick.

I didn’t see anything--just a moon,” said Timothy Strader, the center’s vice chairman of the executive committee.


Said Ben Harris: “Mooning wasn’t a ‘50s thing. I think it was something out of the ‘70s.”

Harris was more concerned about the Greasers’ hairstyles. “Where were the ducktails?” he wondered. “And those guys would’ve been laughed out of high school in those jeans. They should’ve been rolled up!”

Shari Esayian thought the mooning segments were a little racy. “ I wouldn’t have dated that guy in high school,” she huffed. “I was a good girl.”

For Susan Wood--who played Sandy--the production is about having a blast. “Every moment of the show is so much fun,” said Wood, who wore a little black dress to the party.

During one musical segment, “Sandy” sits on stage and sways back and forth with the cast, swinging her honey blond hair.

“I watched a lot of Farrah Fawcett movies to learn how to do that,” she said. She wasn’t kidding. “Farrah knew how to swing her hair and then freeze it. I had to learn how to stop my hair once it got going. It was hitting people in the face.”


Around the world in 28 days: Pacific Symphony philanthropist W. William Dultz of Newport Beach has donated a 28-day private jet tour around the world for the grand prize drawing at the orchestra’s Symphony of Jewels ball on May 7 at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Trip value: $83,990.


Dultz, who last year donated a $1.4 million oceanfront lot in Laguna Beach to the orchestra, is president of the Travcoa travel agency in Newport Beach. Opportunity drawing tickets are $100 each. For ball reservations (at $175 per person), call (714) 755-5788, ext. 264. You do not have to attend the ball to purchase an opportunity drawing ticket.


Lunch with Jack Jones: Peggy Goldwater Clay (her pop is former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater) of Newport Beach met with singer Jack Jones over lunch in Palm Desert last week to discuss the May 20 benefit for the House Ear Institute Children’s Center of Orange County.

Jones was too busy to come to Orange County, so Goldwater Clay and Gloria Osbrink--president of the institute’s Associates support group--treated him to lunch at La Trattoria restaurant at the Hyatt Grand Champion.

Goldwater Clay is chairing the Le Meridien Newport Beach event, which will feature Jones (his hits include “The Impossible Dream,” “Wives and Lovers” and “Love Boat”) and a four-course dinner. Tickets are $125 per person. Call (714) 644-6390.

*'GREASE’ Don Shirley reviews. F1