Debra Messing stars in ‘Birthday Candles’ on Broadway

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An onstage ‘Birthday’

Debra Messing. New Yorker. Born in New York. Lives in New York. Educated at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Now starring in American Airlines Theatre. The show? “Birthday Candles.”

“I stayed shut in my apartment during the whole pandemic. Depressed. Mourning. I thought this show I’d have no opportunity to ever do. We lost one actor. Gratefully, we have the rest of the company. I’d worked on this play five years. The director was my school classmate. We tested it in Detroit, Chicago, did a reading in New York. I was literally crying. I thought, ‘Please let me do this.’

“To lift up I taught myself a new skill. With 10 online books, I learned to play the piano. My gift to me to survive.

“Memorizing’s hard. Doing a sitcom helped hone my skills. Once, onstage an entire 90 minutes, never leaving, I’ll never forget how I forgot. Berkshire Festival. Still a student. I was onstage. Alone. And I literally froze. Nobody to help. Trust me, that fear never goes away.

“Now I use an online learning app. Put in every word of your play. You then can re-hear it all, all ways. Over and over. You repeatedly intake the preceding words of what prompts your speech. Even in bed, you can be rehearsing your lines. Because of that one experience 30 years ago this is how I memorize.

“Actors must be flexible. Rehearse all day. Work all night. You’re using different muscles. Different hours. It’s an adjustment for sure.”

Opening night: Sunday.

Ladies eyeing some Mall space

Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR: The gents have taken Washington Mall. Legislation’s passed, New York money’s being raised — as we speak — for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. Next meeting’s July at the Washington Mall.

The lengthy advisory council includes counselor Mary Boies, designer Tory Burch, actresses Rosario Dawson and Lynda Carter, Billie Jean King, former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and the Walton family’s Alice Walton. Barbie and I are — so far — not among the collection.

The Smithsonian will open a museum dedicated to American women’s history.
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She never left

Hillary. Over the Hill? No. If not gearing up, she’s sure not running down. Or off. She’s thinking. Prepping. Readying. Congress’ Carolyn Maloney is holding an event for her this month. As the saying goes, Hillary hath no fury like a woman scorned. She’s becoming active. Putting the finger in age. Having supported Maloney, next Tuesday Maloney’s supporting her. A luncheon. HRC is the guest of honor.

Ruthian work

Library of Congress asked if Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s committed her papers to any institution. They collect all areas of Americana and culture, particularly in the world of psychology and women’s and gender history. Their collections include Sigmund Freud, Margaret Sanger, Margaret Mead, Rosa Parks and maybe soon Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Dr. Ruth
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a renowned sex therapist.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Post pandemic, people are waking up again. This man ordered a martini “extra rare.” The bartender said: “You mean ‘extra dry.’ ” The man insisted: “I mean extra rare. I’m having it for dinner.”

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

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