The Bolshoi Ballet is coming to L.A. That cold-war-thaw hot ticket is being brought by the Nederlander Organization next spring for three weeks, cultural insiders tell us. One of the world's pre-eminent ballet companies, Bolshoi in Russian means big--and it will certainly be one big draw ticketwise. . . . Not faring so well is the bi-coastal Joffrey Ballet, currently in its spring run at the Music Center. Two Music Center sources said that the Joffrey is playing to houses with around 30% paid attendance. Michael Zande, the Joffrey manager, said attendance was indeed that low at some performances, "but we are building steadily. It is looking much better for the weekend and, by the end of the run (May 18), it will be doing well." Zande blamed low attendance partially on other dance companies' appearances--like the upcoming Kirov Ballet (May 21), the American Ballet Theatre back in March, and the current performances in Pasadena of the Dance Theatre of Harlem--"and that's more than we've had to contend with before." . . . The Joffrey will be faced with more dance competition from the Soviet Union during its fall appearance. To be announced soon, an appearance by the Moiseyev, the folkloric dance troupe.
JOYOUS KICKOFF--Danny Thomas couldn't resist the line. His buddy George Burns was missing the kickoff for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital gala because "he's having a root canal. Wants to preserve his teeth. He's only 90." He pulled a laugh from Margie Durante, widow of Jimmy Durante. Across the room, Sid Caesar laughed at the punch line of Morey Amsterdam's joke, while photographers rushed to grab shots of Tempest Storm and Margie Hart Ferraro, accompanied by the fellow who's getting known as the husband of the year, Councilman John Ferraro. Thomas estimated that he's raised "about a billion dollars" for the Memphis facility, opened by Thomas 24 years ago. Helping to put a dent in this year's $50-million budget will be the Aug. 30 benefit at the Century Plaza, honoring Rams' owner Georgia Frontiere and Buddy Rogers. Caesar is set for the show, as are Peggy Lee, Tony Martin, the McGuire Sisters, Jan Murray and Bob Newhart, among others. This year's a special celebration for Thomas and the amazingly energetic Rose Marie--their 50th wedding anniversary. So instead of a party, they are using the gala to celebrate. "Instead of presents, our friends will buy tickets," Thomas said. One last landmark--it's the last dinner for soon-to-retire Maury Foladare, who has done the public relations for St. Jude's, as he puts it, "since Danny made the promise."
BOOK BREAK--Guess the former junior Gov. Edmund G. Brown's book-writing chores are going well. Seems he's taking off for China May 28, as the guest of the Institute of Foreign Affairs, a close source tells us. Going along--Nathan Gardels, who's director of Brown's Institute for National Strategy, and Roger Carrick, who will have finished up his chores at Hands Across America the weekend before. Bon voyage.
HOT DAIS--When the Women in Film hold their annual luncheon May 30 at the Century Plaza, the dais will feature some real brand names. Honorees Quincy Jones, Sally Field, Marion Dougherty and songwriter Marilyn Bergman. And their good friends--Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty, James Garner, directors Sydney Pollack and Martin Ritt, Valerie Harper and "The Color Purple" author Alice Walker.
DOWNTOWN DOINGS--Guess all this redevelopment is really doing something to perk up downtown. The keys to the $23-million California Plaza home of the Museum of Contemporary Art get turned over Wednesday to William Kieschnick, chairman of the museum board. The partners in the $1.2-billion California Plaza provided the $23 million for the building construction--and contributed an additional $1 million for programming . . . . The Friends of the School Volunteers Program of L.A. host their annual theater party May 22 at the L.A. Theatre Center. They get a chance to see Luis Valdez's comedy, "I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges" after a reception. The chairpersons--Ethel Bradley, Nanette Fabray, former California First Lady Bernice Brown, Dolores Wong and Carmen Zapata. Putting it together--Betty Anderson, the group's president. The money raised helps to support programs involving the DOVES--Dedicated Older Volunteers in Educational Services
POLI-SIGH--His buddies have been getting letters from UC Regent and rainmaker Sheldon Andelson. One asked that they attend a $1,000-a-head cocktail party at Trumps May 19 to benefit Assemblyman Richard Robinson's race for the 38th congressional seat in Orange County. The other is for a $200-a-head lunch at his Bel-Air home May 17 to benefit the already fat war chest of "my personal and political friend Gray Davis," giving up his Assembly seat to run for controller. OK, $1,000 just gets cocktails, but $200 gets a lunch. Guess it's what the traffic will bear.