Opinion

Jennifer Hudson is a natural to play Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin

She’s Queen in her soul

Jennifer Hudson: “Aretha Franklin’s music was always there for me. I grew up in a church singing and didn’t realize until I researched the film how much her music was a blueprint in the gospel we were singing. Her faith was important in the film and my faith got me through making it.

“You can’t just wake up and say ‘I’m going to be Queen of Soul.’ It takes big preparation. I know her and that helped. Caring for her is how I portray her. I give her respect.”

“Respect” is in theaters now.

So, either old is old, or old is new, or new is old. But now for the old to be re-told again means yet again we get a new “Addams Family” series. The thing came out of TV’s womb 1964. On ABC. It’s now to be disinterred, rescued from the graveyard of black-and-white small screen TV — to be reborn on Netflix.

It’ll be titled “Wednesday.” And it’s Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia.

Not filmed, not fiction, but true is a Russell Simmons memory:

“A load of years ago, when I was a kid street dealer, I fired a gun at a thief who robbed me. Two weeks later he came back to do it again.”


Unfriended

Just sayin’: When trouble hits, a Page One name loses 90 percent of their friends. They blame others. Go broke. Properties, businesses, connections don’t renew. Assets get liquidated. Ex Page One names stare at what’s become a criminal charge. They face enormous costs of lawsuits. Legal guys do not rep losers for free.


They’ve always been saucy

Patsy’s West 56th Street Italian restaurant — red sauce, checkered tablecloths, veal parmigiana — opened 1944. Three generations owned it: Grampa Pasquale (“Patsy”), then son Joe, then Joe’s son Sal.

Using a hidden door, Sinatra played stickball and pinochle between shows, Mario Lanza took home loaves of bread. There was Dorsey, Krupa, Borgnine, Jackie Mason, Buddy Rich, Buddy Hackett, Joey Adams, Rush Limbaugh. Broke Rosemary Clooney never paid for two years. Later, she wanted to buy their first table when you walk in. “Because,” she said, “it’s where Sinatra tried to make me.”

Many are gone. Patsy’s stays. The pandemic’s made it tough.

Sal Scognamillo: “It’s a nightmare. We closed. Then opened indoor at 25 percent. They closed us again. Now open again Thursday through Sunday. Just dinner. We limited hours because we can’t get workers. Some help’s been with us 40 years. It’s rough. Even closed it’s still bills for ConEd, insurance, taxes, a special bipolar ionization air-conditioning plan like in hospitals. We’re putting our own money into it to keep it afloat. Outdoor dining didn’t work for us. It’s 10 pages of regulations and we got so many fines.”


Not so write

A word about New York Magazine’s this week article on me. The writer’s insecurities were apparent. Those insecurities were paraded further. A snarky article I understand. It helps anyone not famous get yet another assignment. But welcome to my new reader, who apparently learned how to last week.

Note to a magazine editor: Pick a writer whose insecurities are less obvious.


Broadway is tuning up. Backstage and onstage some cast members are starting to rehearse.

One stand-in watched a music show’s orchestra tuning up and asked, “What were the boys in the band doing in the meanwhile?” Answer: Most were playing poker. Another question: “But to get set weren’t they rehearsing?” Answer: Yes. But no matter how much they rehearse, they can only win when they deal.”

Only in New York, kids, only in New York. 


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