Celebrity Grapevine [p. 24]

THE TRANSITION of Roni Duani - known to pop fans as Roni Superstar - between adolescence and womanhood will be put put on display in an upcoming campaign for Pnina Rosenbloom's U-Girl, a new cosmetic line targeted at young women. Instead of the somewhat hyperactive Duani familiar from the singer's dance-heavy music videos, the U-Girl promos show her as sexy and sophisticated, a new woman altogether. The new new make-up line is just one of Rosenblum's new ventures. The bottle blonde bombshell, who grew up in poverty, is always on the lookout for more ways to make money, and she's now joined forces with supermarket king Rami Levy to start up a new company called Unique Lingerie. Styled along the lines of Victoria's Secret, the sexy but comfortable undergarments will be on sale in department stores - and in Levy's chain of supermarkets.
  • ROCK SINGER Aviv Geffen and his wife, Shani Pridan, are on the path to parenthood, despite Geffen's declarations in his younger days that he had no plans to be a father. Now that he's 33, the "Mahar" singer has apparently changed his mind. Pridan, who is Geffen's second wife, is due to give birth early in the summer. Geffen's first wife, Ilana Berkowitz, became a mother last year.
  • RUMORS THAT Channel 2 news head Shalom Kittal will be leaving his post have been circulating for quite some time. But after a long period of uncertainty, staffers were finally notified last Wednesday that Kittal, who has been at the Channel 2 helm for seven years, really will be leaving in the near future. Kittal came to Channel 2 after a high profile career at Israel Radio.
  • SEVERAL PEOPLE associated with Fact, Channel 2's hard-hitting investigative news show, have had their homes burgled, but the only item of value take in each case has been a laptop computer. With even Ilana Dayan, the show's host, targeted by the thief, the mystery is whether the thief is someone with a high profile reputation to protect, or someone from one of Fact's rival shows. Either way, the thief hasn't accomplished much besides breaking the law: the show's reporters have long known to keep back-ups of their work. The theft of the laptops may have caused inconvenience, but it hasn't meant the loss of information to be used on the influential and occasionally controversial TV show.
  • IN THE world of theater, the word "premiere" generally refers to a play's first staging. The word has a more flexible meaning at the Yiddishpiel Theater, where official premieres are sometimes held after as many as a dozen performances of a new production. That's the case with the current production, The Travels of Benjamin the Third, which stars Sassi Keshet and Ya'acov Bodo and will have its "premiere" at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. This premiere won't take the form of a nighttime gala, but will instead take place at noon on Friday. The guests of honor will be Nina and Natalya Mikhoels, daughters of the late and legendary Moscow Yiddish State Theater artistic director Solomon Mikhoels, and Ala Zuskin-Perelman, daughter of the great Yiddish actor Benjamin Zuskin. The Travels of Benjamin the Third had its premiere - in the regular sense of the word - well over half a century ago, with the elder Mikhoels and Zuskin in the two lead roles. Written by Mendele Mocher Sforim, the play is more or less a Jewish version of Don Quixote. The Yiddishpiel ensemble was dealt a bitter blow late last month with the sudden death of one of its foremost actors, versatile performer Karol Markowitz, who spent 22 years with the Yiddish State Theater in Romania before his arrival in Israel in 1977. Markowitz acted with the Habimah and Cameri Theaters from 1979 to 1986, joining the Yiddishpiel in 1997. A talented singer, the actor had been a cast member of The Travels, performing in the new production as recently as the week preceding his death.