Kathleen Turner will come to town to star in the world premiere of the one-woman play Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins with the Philadelphia Theatre Company.

The play, by journalists/sisters Margaret Engel and Allison Engel and directed by David Esbjornson (The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan) has a run set for March 19 to April 18 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, replacing Mauritius on the schedule.

Red Hot Patriot is based on the writings of Ivins, the brassy, Texas-bred syndicated columnist who died of breast cancer in 2007. She and Turner share a striking resemblance.

Turner, the film star whose last Broadway role was a Tony-nominated turn opposite Bill Irwin in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2005, did a staged reading of the play in August at Arena Stage's temporary theater in Arlington, Va.

Reality stars

Another season of ABC's The Bachelor will start Jan. 4, and at least one Philadelphian is said to be in the hunt for Jake Pavelka's hand: Ashley Elmore, 30, a teacher and Ph.D. candidate who shuttles between Philly and Washington - and is the younger sister of Philly lawyer Erin Elmore, a contestant on The Apprentice's third season in 2005. No comment from the Elmores or ABC. Meanwhile, Reid Rosenthal, the Rittenhouse Square Realtor who was sent home on The Bachelorette last season, was asked to be on The Bachelor this time out, says his attorney, Chris Cabott, adding that they couldn't agree on terms.

Dan Payson-Lewis, a 2003 grad of Berwyn's Conestoga High, will turn up at 8 p.m. tomorrow for a four-episode NBC series, The Sing-Off, an a cappella competition hosted by Nick Lachey. He's a tenor in the SoCals, one of eight groups competing for an Epic Records/Sony contract.


Diddy - the mogul born Sean Combs - stopped at two State Stores on Monday to thank staff for strong sales of Ciroc, the vodka he promotes. He rolled up to Franklin Mills and 1218 Chestnut St. during rush hour in an entourage that included a bus, panel truck and two Navigators.

State records show that the Franklin Mills store sells more Ciroc than any other store in Pennsylvania - 734 cases in the last 52 weeks. The Chestnut Street store is in the top 40 among the state's 618 stores. The Philadelphia region accounts for more than half the state's Ciroc sales, at $30.99 to $59.99 a bottle.

Vick makes it official

Philly's Kijafa Frink was surprised by friends Friday night in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton hotel with a 29th birthday party. Then her longtime beau, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, got down on one knee. A variation of the "wildcat" offense? No, a proposal, with a sizable diamond ring. Though the two had long identified themselves as engaged, this act sealed it.

Roberts' farewell

Dave Roberts marked his Action News finale on Friday after 31 years, surrounded on the set by his family: wife, Patti, of nearly 49 years; daughters "Bo" and Beth; son David Boreanaz; and grandchildren Cali, 15; Griffin, 12; Jaden, 7; and Bardot, 3 months. "It was the most exciting live broadcast I've ever done," Roberts told me, recounting how his other family - colleagues - kept filing into the studio. "I didn't think I could hold it together, but thankfully I had Jim [Gardner] next to me," he said. Asked what he would do next, Roberts chuckled and said, "I can do what I want, whenever I want to."

Sundance times two

Two shot-in-Philly films have been selected for next month's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the premier event for independent American cinema.

Night Catches Us, shot in July in a house on Harvey Street in Germantown, is Philly filmmaker Tanya Hamilton's period piece about former Black Panthers trying to put the past behind them. The drama, whose working title was Stringbean & Marcus, stars Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, and Philly preteen Jamara Griffin. Hamilton, a 2004 Pew Fellow who started working on the screenplay in the late 1990s and workshopped it at the Sundance Institute, says it's just about finished.

Blue Valentine, shot almost entirely in Scranton and at the Radisson Valley Forge in King of Prussia, is director/writer Derek Cianfrance's portrait of a failed marriage (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams).

Radio activity

Hit-music station Q102 is getting a three-for-one deal by hiring Tim Herbster, who was "Romeo" at a previous stop, Z100 in New York, and even went as "Booker" years ago in Detroit. Herbster, starting tomorrow, will become program director (replacing Tracy Austin, let go Friday), director of digital content for Philly's Clear Channel stations (replacing Jim Bullotta, also let go Friday), and afternoon host (replacing Joey Brooks, who quit last month).

Bob Charger is on Wibbage again. Charger, the nighttime DJ on WOGL (98.1), has a side gig hosting 6 to 9 a.m. at the Jersey Shore oldies outlet WIBG-FM (94.3), whose style resembles that of the '60s Philly station. Wibbage is streamed at wibg.fm.

The circuit

Doc Watson's, the landmark pub on 11th Street across from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, is down to its final month. Owner Barry Sandrow, who opened in 1971, is selling the building and business to a partnership that will transform it into a veddy English pub called Sherlock's Tavern. Buyers expect to get the keys in January. Sandrow, who employed some of Philly's future surgeons, boxer/actor "Tex" Cobb, and comedian Dom Irrera, says the deal is pending approval of the liquor license.

Photog Chris Gabello is out with a 2010 calendar featuring 12 local women done up as "Varga Girls," in the style made famous in the 1940s by artist Alberto Vargas. Gabello took inspiration from George Anni, owner of Varga Bar at 10th and Spruce Streets, which has that very theme. Calendars sell for $15 at the bar.