The songbirds who flew into NY's Carnegie Hall for "My Favorite Broadway - The Leading Ladies," a Sept. 28 benefit, helped feather the nests of two major charities. Proceeds from the concert raised $50,000 for the AIDS organizations AmFAR and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, according to an AmFAR spokesperson.
The event was hosted by Julie Andrews (who, still recovering from an operation on her vocal cords, did not sing). Nell Carter, Lea DeLaria, Jennifer Holliday, Ann Kendrick, Judy Kuhn, Priscilla Lopez, Dorothy Loudon, Marin Mazzie, Andrea McArdle, Audra McDonald, Liza Minnelli, Debra Monk, Rosie O'Donnell, Faith Prince, Chita Rivera and Karen Ziemba also took part in the benefit.
The show will be recorded for release on CD and on video for PBS' "Great Performances" series. No record label or release date for the CD has been announced.
* According to Tony Adams (Sept. 20), producer of the Andrews vehicle Victor/Victoria, Andrews is getting better daily, and she's already booking concert engagements -- yes, singing concert engagements -- for next year.)
A member of the Theatre Hall of Fame, Andrews' credits including My Fair Lady and Camelot. Andrews' last Broadway show was Victor/Victoria, a run hampered by vocal troubles that nixed her participation in a mini-tour of the musical. Rivera's credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman and a current touring show that may still be Broadway bound. Buckley appeared in Triumph of Love and will play Mama Rose in Paper Mill Playhouse's upcoming Gypsy. Reinking choreographed and starred in the current Broadway hit revival, Chicago, and is helping shape the Broadway bound dance revue, Fosse.
Scott Ellis 1776 directed "The Leading Ladies" event, which was presented by Continental Airlines.Co-producer Tony Adams told the NY Post "What we're really excited about is that this is the beginning of a whole series of the best and brightest of Broadway... Conceivably they could last several days to a week or more."
Why Carnegie Hall? Producer Newman told Playbill On-Line, "Finding a Broadway theatre was logistically difficult, plus the cachet and status Carnegie Hall [2,800 seats] brings just with its name is enough to put this program at a level where it should be. We're talking about some very classy, stylized women and music." Tom Thompson wrote narration for the show.
Asked about future plans for the series, producer Newman said, "It's too early to plan at the moment, but of course, we're considering a "Leading Men" version, and I'd like to try a Rhythm & Blues version. Still, the title would always be "My Favorite Broadway," and it would be songs that are audience favorites and the performers' favorites.