TONY SOPRANO’S BACK GETS WHACKED

On ‘The Sopranos’ nothing could take down Tony Soprano. Not the New York mob or Russian hookers or even Uncle Junior, who shot him in the stomach.

But at yesterday’s matinee performance of ‘God of Carnage,’ James Gandolfini got wacked. It happened in a scene where Marcia Gay Harden, who plays his wife, jumps on him. Audience members could hear Gandolfini’s back crack. Apparently, the look of pain on his face was very real.

‘I thought, boy he’s good,’ said movie director Armando Iannucci, who was there as Gandolfini’s guest. Iannucci just directed Gandolfini in a terrific new satire, a film called ‘In the Loop’ which opened at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. It co-stars Mimi Kennedy and David Basche on the American side, and Brits Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, and Gina McKee on the UK side.

Iannucci went backstage as soon as the show was over, to congratulate Gandolfini and remind him of the opening night screening and party. ‘But you could see he was in real pain,’ the director said after receiving well earned kudos at his party, sponsored by the upscale Quintessentially.

‘He said, I really did it,’ reported Iannucci. And so Gandolfini, who always complains tongue in cheek about his terrible movie career, missed his best opening night so far. ‘In the Loop’ is a deft, trenchant, and very, very funny send up of the American and British governments as they decide to launch a war in the Middle East. (Sound familiar?) There are no sacred cows, everyone gets the you know what taken out of them. Gandolfini plays a five star general who never sees battle and is anti-war. His scenes with Mimi Kennedy are priceless.

Now the big question over at ‘God of Carnage’ is whether or not Gandolfini will be back for Tuesday night’s show. ‘God of Carnage’ is playing at an average 95% capacity, making the biggest hit play on Broadway right now with co-stars Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. So producers will be sending masseuses and heat packs to Gandolfini’s house today, and crossing fingers that he can walk on Tuesday night. My advice: lie flat on the floor with two big pillows under your head and under your knees, Jimmy. It’s boring, but it works. That, and a couple of good muscle relaxers!

ROSIE TWITTERED BY HER OWN MRS. KRAVITZ
Remember Gladys Kravitz? She was Samantha and Darren’s nosy neighbor on ‘Bewitched.’ She was always spying on them, and then trying to report it to her uninterested husband. Thank goodness she didn’t have Twitter!

Last week, Rosie O’Donnell and her wife, Kelli, got a taste of Kravitz from Julia Allison, a self-promoting Twitter addict who’s on a campaign for fame at any cost. She heard the O’Donnells fighting in their apartment, then sent the world out a Twitter blast. (If there’s a coop board in that house, I wonder what they’ll make of this.)

Rosie and Kelli are non plussed. They’re used to it. Tonight, Rosie’s Broadway Kids has a big fundraiser at New World Stages, Kelli is working on her seven day family cruise from Seattle to Alaska in July. (Check out www.rfamilycruises.com.)

Says Rosie, with a laugh, via email: ‘we r ok
life with 4 kids in the spotlight isn’t easy / but we always come thru.’

She says of Allison, who came to the O’Donnells’ door with at midnight with ‘a bottle of wine and a puppy’: ‘I wouldn’t know her to look at her’Creepy.’

JULIET, WHAT LIGHT THROUGH YONDER THEATER BREAKS?; DEPP DOORS; GOODBYE MAUDE
It looks like Gary Winick’s ‘Letters to Juliet’ has its leading and maybe a Romeo. Amanda Seyfried will play the former, and the word is that Rupert Friend will be the latter. More casting is to come, as this production shoots in Italy (nice gig!) starting in June for Summit Entertainment’How do we know Rupert Friend? Depending on whom you believe, he is either engaged to or engaged with Keira Knightley
‘Director Tom DiCillo reports that Johnny Depp will in fact be doing the narration for his Doors documentary. Let’s hope it’s soon. DiCillo himself filled in for the Sundance showing, and the movie was very well received. Once Depp is done, the world can see this wonderful chronicle of Jim Morrison and his pals’
Bea Arthur was a powerhouse of an actress, an icon but also a standard bearer for women. She proved you didn’t have to be dainty, a wallflower or ing’nue to win over an audience’s hearts. Rarely has an actress left such a indelible mark on the culture, but through ‘Golden Girls,’ ‘Maude,’ and her vast theater work, she will never be forgotten’

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