Faith: Broadway Has No You-Know-What in Me

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Former exotic dancer, champion of the arts and seven-time D.C. mayoral candidate Faith is recovering at George Washington Hospital from a case of pneumonia -- brought on, says her husband, when the 83-year-old performer was denied her chance for a Broadway comeback.

Faith Dane was 36 years old when she landed the role of Mazeppa in the legendary 1959 Broadway musical "Gypsy," starring Ethel Merman. The burlesque-style dancer wowed producers at her audition with her hilarious horn-blowing striptease -- which concluded with her bending over and blowing the trumpet between her legs -- and brought down the house in the "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" number: "If you wanna stump it, bump it with a trumpet."

She repeated the role in the 1962 movie, but was never cast in the musical's many revivals. Faith made a name (she legally changed it to just "Faith") as a colorful political activist in the nation's capital. When she learned of a new production of "Gypsy" with Patti LuPone at New York City Center this summer, she asked to reprise her signature role. No response.

Husband Jude Crannitch said his wife was distraught by the rejection, which he believes contributed to her illness. "Nothing," he told us yesterday. "Not even the courtesy of a response." Crannitch said his wife -- despite her age -- still deserves the part. "I sent pictures to them showing how good she looks," he said. They attended a 2003 "Gypsy" revival in New York and met the three actresses playing the musical's strippers: "They looked like schleppers compared to Faith."

Last month, Faith filed an age discrimination complaint against the theater and casting company with New York State's Division of Human Rights. "Faith feels it's her child, her artistic work that's being butchered," Crannitch said.

Jack Viertel, artistic director for the City Center production, said there was never any attempt to prevent her from auditioning. Actors Equity rules require open auditions, which Faith could have attended, and producers had no obligation to grant her a private audition. A rep from the Division of Human Rights could not comment on specific cases, but said the investigation to determine probable cause for the complaint would be completed by late fall.

Crannitch still believes his wife should get another chance: "There's a helluva lot of people who would love to see the original Mazeppa."

Hey Isn't That?

Special depths-of-August edition: While everyone else flees D.C., we salute those VIPs who can't seem to get enough of it this time of year:

· Dave Chappelle taking his wife and kids to the Spy Museum on Saturday . . . then taking them to Clyde's of Georgetown for lunch yesterday, where his wife told staff they picked the restaurant because they saw it on a rerun of Rachael Ray's "$40 a Day" show.

· Jon Voight, fresh from our multiple sightings of him earlier in the week, dining at Acadiana on Monday night with none other than Bob Novak and some other folks in a private back room. The Oscar winner left what looked like a black Corvette with the valet; wore a windbreaker in the 90-degree heat.

Quote

"There's baggage attached to coming out publicly on stuff, but there's baggage -- in my view, more damaging baggage -- to goin' . . . on Jay Leno's show, philosophizing about 'Uncle Buck' or whatever you're hawkin'. "

-- Actor Sean Penn, who just returned from a visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, talking about the backlash against his political activism, in the September issue of Esquire. Sure, but why pick on poor John Candy when he's no longer around to defend himself?

This Just In

· Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab, according to several published reports -- this time in the posh Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah. Named one of the nation's best dry-out programs by Town & Country magazine, Cirque's regimen lasts a minimum of 30 days and costs a minimum of $30K. Her reps declined to comment.

· Placido Domingo will voice his own cameo in a Sept. 30 episode of "The Simpsons," the Los Angeles Times reports. The artistic director of the Washington National Opera will take tips from Homer Simpson on how to hit a high note.

· A man who claims Busta Rhymes and his crew beat him up last summer has filed suit against the rapper in Manhattan. Roberto LeBron said he was kicked in the head during a fracas with Rhymes and his nine bodyguards after LeBron spit on one of their cars. Not that we condone violence, but -- dude, what were you thinking?


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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