DIVA TALK: A Very Jerry Tour for Florence; Betty's Big Mac

DIVA TALK: A Very Jerry Tour for Florence; Betty's Big Mac Hello, diva lovers! Just a few items as we go into the weekend. Enjoy!

Hello, diva lovers! Just a few items as we go into the weekend. Enjoy! FLORENCE LACEY
There's very exciting news for all of you Florence Lacey fans. Lacey, one of the greatest Evitas to have graced the stage, will take part in a six week tour of the music of Jerry Herman this summer. Lacey, reached by phone this week, explained that "Jerry Herman will be playing the piano, and Lee Roy Reams and I will be singing, tracing [Herman's] career."
As for what the golden-throated Lacey will be singing, she relates, "I know I'll be doing 'If He Walked Into My Life,' 'So Long, Dearie,' 'Times Heals Everything'. . .We did a version of the show at Rainbow & Stars, and then we expanded it and performed it at a theatre in Dallas, and now we're getting ready to put it back together again." Be sure to catch Lacey in action this summer; it promises to be an evening of thrilling singing. The tour dates follow (tickets can be booked beginning in June for most summer playhouses):
July 21-August 2 at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT
August 4-16 at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME
August 18-30 at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA

BETTY BUCKLEY
Congratulations to Betty Buckley, who won a MAC (Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets) Award this week for her latest recording, An Evening at Carnegie Hall (on Sterling Records). Buckley picked up her award in person at Monday night's event at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and spoke about how cabaret audiences sustained her during the period where she had difficulty landing a Broadway show.
BB has a few upcoming concert dates next month. First, the woman whose voice was described as "having the power and subtlety to seduce an audience into slavery" will perform on May 17 at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. Showtime is 8 PM, and tickets are available by calling the box office at (203) 325-4466. And, on May 30 and 31, Buckley will perform with a full orchestra in Santa Ana, California. Tickets for these two evenings may be purchased by calling the box office at 714 556-2787, ext. 260.
Buckley also makes an appearance on a CD that was released this week entitled Prom Queen's Unchained. This is the first recording of the musical that opened in 1991 at the Village Gate with lyrics by Larry Goodsight and music by Buckley's former musical director, Keith Herrmann (Romance/Romance). The recording, which is available at Footlight Records and other stores, features Buckley singing a song titled "Corsage."
There was a brief mention of BB in John Simon's theatre column in this week's New York Magazine. Simon writes: "Catching a program of eighteen songs that Betty Buckley gave at Maxim's, I reflected on how stupidly our theater wastes its resources. Here was a supreme singing actress at the zenith of her far-ranging artistry, but where was the producer to cast her in the proper showcase? It could be a new musical or a long-overdue revival of, say, Lady in the Dark, to do justice to her talent, to the theater, and to us." I couldn't agree more.

PATTI LuPONE
Two weeks from today La LuPone begins previews in the West End production of Master Class. For those of you who will be lucky enough to get to London during LuPone's run, here is some information to order tickets in advance. LuPone begins previews as Callas on April 18, with an official opening at the Queens Theatre (Shaftesbury Avenue) on May 6. The performance schedule is Monday through Saturday at 8pm and Saturday at 3pm. Tickets range from £7.50 - £30.00, and the box office telephone number is 0171-494-5040.

ELAINE PAIGE
My favorite recent gossip column item appeared in the March 26 New York Post in Neal Travis's column. Travis writes, "My spies at Entertainment Weekly's Oscar party at Elaine's [Restaurant] report that not all the conversation was about the movies. Broadway producer Manny Kladitis was seen huddling with Elaine Paige. I'm told Kladitis is weighing a national tour of Evita, and thinks Paige (who exchanged kisses with Betty Buckley, a fellow Sunset Boulevard lead) would be perfect." Okay, so does Travis really not know that Paige created the role of Evita onstage in London? Of course she would be perfect! She won a S.W.E.T. (which eventually became the Olivier) Award for her performance. Actually, we doubt that Paige would tour with this show, but we all can dream, can't we? . . .
I spoke with Elaine's press rep this week, and I can't divulge anything yet, but there are some major EP performances in the works . . . And, don't forget Paige will perform with the Boston Pops on May 7 and 12, to be televised on PBS this summer. Paige will sing tunes from her many theatre hits, including Evita, Cats, Sunset Boulevard and Piaf. For more information and for tickets to "Evening at Pops with Elaine Paige," call Symphony Charge at 617-226-1200.

BERNADETTE PETERS
Last week, in response to Bernadette's appearance on the "Rosie O'Donnell" show, where she admitted she may soon be returning to Broadway, I speculated on some musicals that might be candidates for her return. Another show has popped up this week as possibly the show in question: Annie Get Your Gun. Irving Berlin's classic was a vehicle for the one-and-only Ethel Merman, who got the chance to warble such Berlin classics as "They Say It's Wonderful" and "There's No Business Like Show Business." Should our Song and Dance gal get the chance to star in this musical, she would also get to sing these other Berlin tunes: "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun," "Doin' What Comes Naturally," "Moonshine Lullaby," "I'm an Indian Too," "Lost In His Arms," "Sun in the Morning" and "Anything You Can Do." I'll keep you posted as I hear more about BP's eagerly-awaited return to The Great White Way.

That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!

-- By Andrew Gans

e-mail me at andrew_gans@playbill.com