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Inside Bebe Winans’ new musical ‘Born for This’

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Monday, at Feinstein’s/54 Below, four-time Grammy winner BeBe Winans previews his coming musical “Born for This.”

Me to him: Ugh. Another jukebox Broadway thing?

BeBe: “No, ma’am. I lived in New York 10 years and saw every musical ever made. I was Harpo in ‘The Color Purple,’ and a Broadway school taught me to write. I’ve written what’s important. I added new songs. I talk about my family. And Roberta Flack said I had to put this on Broadway.

“Mine’s a story of rejection. Of faith. Survival. God’s love. Of becoming involved with Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker .”

Minister/televangelist Bakker, married to the late church singer Tammy Faye, was front-page in the ’70s. A little scandal, a little bad stuff brought him a little jail time. In those red-hot days of his Praise the Lord network followers considered Bakker the Second Coming — and BeBe was part of that ministry.

“To audition for them in Charlotte, NC, my mother took me and my sister south on a Greyhound bus. They wanted my sister, not me. I ended up working in a grocery. But then Bakker heard me sing — and that was my beginning.

“Understand, fame — and fear and failure — are like drugs. You need faith to handle celebrity or success. All of it’s a struggle. You conquer that with the only true power there really is — trust in God.

“Bakker became my parent. He said I’d be a somebody. The man’s alive and kicking, and in 2016 when I tested this in Atlanta, he was at the opening. When I got my star on the Walk of Fame, he was the first person who called. And Jim Bakker will be at the official Broadway opening of this show.”
Leave Lana alone

Palm Beach Daily News, grittier than the sand between your toes, chopped Lana Marks, who has shops wherever anyone can afford “her Cleopatra clutch, worn by actress Helen Mirren to the Oscars, made from cream-colored American alligator.”

They admit Marks is “known for her six-figure handbags, clutched by red-carpet celebrities like Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie and Kate Winslet,” but then draw attention to alleged wrongdoing.

Lana has overnighted in my apartment. Born in South Africa, word is — despite their reporting on reported lawsuits — she might get the ambassador’s post to South Africa.
Jackman’s running fast

Hugh Jackman barely breezed through the premiere of “The Front Runner.”

He was quickly trotting to Long Island for “Bad Education.” “Front Runner” is the true story of that once-upon-an-affair of presidential hopeful Gary Hart and his overcooked Donna Rice. Hugh’s next true story film is about ex Roslyn Schools Superintendent Frank Tassone, who did a bit of embezzling. Jackman digs the art of con. Double lives. What hucksters go through.

“Tassone went to jail. In 2006, he got four to 12 years. His story’s fascinating. I’m interested in how things turn. How someone so beloved starts to change. What makes that happen. It’s a good look at the education system.”

Then this front-runner was off and running.
Down, but far from out

Monday LeFrak City’s Francine LeFrak, wearing flats, tripped on a city street, was rushed in extreme difficulty to emergency, had her knee drained, was injected with pain-relief medication, is heavily bandaged, in a brace, maneuvering with crutches, diagnosed with a fractured kneecap, endured pins placed in it — yet — armed with a footstool and pillow, insisted on attending the McKittrick Hotel’s magical “At the Illusionist’s Table” on Halloween.

My housekeeper, Nazalene, said what Juicy, our 3 ¹/₂ -pound Yorkie, was having for dinner: “Chicken and sweet potatoes.”

Oh, OK. And then I asked what was I having for dinner, and she said: “Chicken and sweet potatoes.”
 

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