Though her Broadway show opens with a video retrospective of her illustrious career, Dame Edna’s life will get an even closer look, April 25, when "60 Minutes II" broadcasts a feature devoted to the diva. The weekly program airs 9-10 PM (EST) on CBS-TV.
“I haven’t yet seen the segment,” show spokesperson Kevin McAnarney told Playbill On-Line (April 25). “They just taped the last part on Thursday. I do know that both Barry Humphries and Dame Edna were interviewed, and that `60 Minutes’ has been working on the piece for many weeks, taping footage inside and outside the theatre and at Sardi’s.” Robert Simons is the “60 Minutes” interviewer.
Showered with rave reviews and blessed by good box office numbers, Dame Edna looks to be a fixture on Broadway through the summer, though her touring schedule will eventually pull her away from American soil. Weeks ago, Toronto, Canada's Royal Alexandra Theatre announced that Dame Edna: The Royal Tour will be part of their subscription season and arrive November-December 2000.
Other cities are also being added to the roster, with finalized dates expected imminently. According to production spokesperson McAnarney, all the cities are in place, though final word on start dates is still expected in the days ahead. Look for Edna to wave her gladioli in Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle in a tour that will last -- with occasional breaks -- nearly a year, from October 2000 to late summer 2001. Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, features the comic creation of Australian comedian and British sensation Humphries. The show began previews Sept. 14, 1999, and officially opened October 17.
The show is presented by Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Jonathan Reinis. Designing the show are Kenneth Foy (set), Stephen Adnitt (costumes), Jason Kantrowitz (lighting) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).
Accompanied now and then by two leggy "Ednaettes" (Roxane Barlow and Tamlyn Brooke Shusterman) and a pianist, the silver-haired, bespectacled Edna entertains American audiences with talk of England's Royal family, baby sitters, the lifestyle choices of her children (ushering in the song, "I Never Thought I'd Meet So Many Friends of Kenny...") and her late husband's prostate difficulties. She also tends to remark on audience members' clothing choices and home decorating skills, but only "in the most loving way." Former Monty Python extra Ian Davidson contributed additional material to the evening, subtitled "The Show That Listens."
Humphries created Edna -- described as a "Melbourne housewife-chanteuse swami monstre sacre" -- in 1956. The character first made a splash in Britain with the 1969 show Just a Show. Subsequent London ventures have included A Night with Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance and 1996's Look at Me When I'm Talking to You.
For tickets and information on Dame Edna at the Booth Theatre call (212) 239-6200.
-- By David Lefkowitz