As we head into the new millennium, Julie Andrews is one busy lady. On Nov. 28, the Sound of Music superstar will team with James Garner for the CBS-TV movie "One Special Night," where she portrays a recently widowed doctor. On Dec. 1, as previously announced, PBS will air "My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies," a celebration of some of the musical theatre's multi-talented women that Andrews hosted about a year ago. And, Andrews stars in an upcoming feature film, "Relative Values," which is an adaptation of a play by the late Noel Coward. In next week's "TV Guide," Andrews is the subject of a revealing interview with theatre writer Patrick Pacheco, and I thought you would enjoy reading some of her candid remarks.
about regaining her faith
"It [a recent view of a solar eclipse in the Isle of Man] was absolutely wondrous that this strange event should occur because of some extraordinarily exact mathematical measurements between the earth and the sun. I just felt that there were forces way, way out there mysteriously keeping the world in a kind of balance. I thought, 'Ah, there must be a God.'"
about the aftermath of her vocal surgery
"The thing with the voice was very devastating -- is very devastating. It's very difficult to talk about it because [my voice] has been my stock-in-trade, something I could always go back to. And now I'm asking, 'Who am I? What do I do? Will people mind that I'm not singing? Will they accept me just as an actress? And is there something to be learning from all this?'"
about her marriage to Blake Edwards
"No marriage that lasts this long ever is [easy], but it's either worth it to stick together or it's not worth it, and in our case it is worth it. . .There is something to be said for all that water under the bridge -- knowing someone so well and still loving them, more deeply than ever before, for all their foibles. Some days I want to kill him, and sometimes I look at him, so handsome, so loving and so amusing, and it's 'Ooohhh' all over again."
"What are the songs that will bring tears to our eyes when we're older?" That was the question posed by actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci at the beginning of her new show, "Our Songs. . .1965-1985," which she premiered earlier this week at the famed Oak Room of New York's Algonquin Hotel. Marcovicci explained that her parents' generation still gets misty over such gems as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "As Time Goes By," but she believes her generation -- the Baby Boomers -- produced its own set of standards, and her newest act (with musical direction by Shelly Markham) celebrated several of these works from a diverse group of composers.
I've seen Marcovicci perform live nearly a dozen times over the past decade, but her professionalism was never more evident than during Wednesday evening's 9 PM show. Despite a winter cold or perhaps overtaxed vocal chords that left her chest voice sounding raw and her head tones a bit uneven, she still managed to connect with the audience and move us with several of the evening's songs. Marcovicci is such a skilled interpreter, staying so focused on the words she is singing, that she can get to the heart of a song even with a voice not at full throttle. She began the evening with the Beatles tune "In My Life" and then offered Billy Joel's "Summer Highland Falls (Sadness and Euphoria)." Marcovicci then sauntered through the room, singing verses of James Taylor's "Secret Of Life" to several members of the intimate room.
What is always a high point of any Marcovicci evening is her informative and humorous patter. The chanteuse is probably more skilled than anyone in the cabaret field at putting together a themed show -- her past offerings have included "Marcovicci Sings Movies," salutes to the music of Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin as well as a World War II show and an evening devoted to the songs of Mabel Mercer. And her tribute this evening to the songwriters of the 60's, 70's and 80's was equally well-planned and executed. Her generous set also included a slowed-down, touching rendition of the Tony Hatch/Petula Clark classic "Downtown," John Denver's "I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane," Jimmy Webb's "If These Old Walls Could Talk," Paul Simon's "59th Street Bridge Song," plus Stevie Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair," Peter Allen's "It's Good To Be Undone Again," and one from her muse as a young adult, Joni Mitchell. Marcovicci also delivered heartfelt readings of two of the most-recorded songs of the past few decades -- Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" and Marilyn and Alan Bergman's "The Way We Were" -- and concluded the evening with "Time in a Bottle." She returned with two encores: Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot" and a soothing "Dream a Little Dream of Me."
Marcovicci continues her Algonquin run through Friday, Dec. 24. Performances of "Our Songs. . .1965-1985" are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 9 PM, with dinner arrival at 7 PM (dinner is required at the 9 PM show). There is a $15 minimum and $45 cover charge. For her late show -- 11 PM Friday and Saturday evenings -- Marcovicci will perform songs of the 40's, a return to the world of music that this artist loves, including such nostalgic tunes as "We'll Meet Again," "Moonlight Serenade" and "As Time Goes By." For reservations, call the Algonquin (59 West 44th Street) at (212) 840-6800.
A host of additional concert appearances were recently announced for the singer with the multi-octave range. These new dates follow:
Dec. 11 & 12 Holiday performance with the U.S. Army Band Orchestra, Army Chorale and Army Chorus at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
Jan. 22, 2000 "Sondheim & Jazz: Side by Side" at the UCLA Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA
Jan. 23 at the Mentor Performing Arts Center in Mentor, OH
Feb. 11 & 12 "Valentine Pops" with the Baton Rouge Symphony at the Centroplex Theatre for Performing Arts in Baton Rouge, LA
Feb 18 & 19 at the La Mirada Theatre for Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA
March 5 & 6, 19 & 20 with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops in Philadelphia, PA
March 17 "An Evening with Maureen McGovern featuring pianist Lee Musiker" at Purchase College-SUNY in Purchase, NY
March 24 & 25 "An Evening with Maureen McGovern" with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at the Rose Hall Stage in Oklahoma City, OK
Marilyn Caskey delivers a focused, moving performance in the current production of Rags at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. This former star of The Phantom of the Opera and a Norma Desmond standby in the Canadian production of Sunset Boulevard tackles the lead role of Rebecca in the Stephen Schwartz/Joseph Stein/Charles Strouse musical with finesse. Blessed with a rich, rangy soprano, the actress delivers a thoroughly touching portrayal of a Jewish immigrant who comes to America and is forced to quickly face several challenges.
As Rebecca, Caskey is assigned the bulk of the score and handles it well: She is particularly sweet in a duet with her son entitled "Nothing Will Hurt Us Again," and shines in solo moments as well-- a soaring version of the rangy "Blame It on the Summer Night" and an earnest, intense "Children of the Wind." Equally outstanding was Jonathan Andrew Bleicher in the aforementioned role of Rebecca's son, David. A recent Chip in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the young actor possesses a clear, strong voice and his obvious exhilaration of being onstage is not only readily apparent to the audience but also infectious.
If she doesn't erase the memory of Judy Kuhn's performance of "Rags" on the 1987 Tony Awards, M. Kathryn Quinlan does well with the show's title tune and is a winning presence throughout. Maureen Silliman offers fine work as the Landlady, who spends most of her time trying to win the affections of Avram Cohen (portrayed by Christopher Bishop). While one wishes the book to Rags was, at times, a bit more compelling, the beautiful score and performances make this production well worth a trip to the Paper Mill Playhouse. (Rags runs through December 12, 1999.)
Liza Minnelli discusses her upcoming Broadway run in Minnelli on Minnelli in Harry Haun's article for the December issue of Playbill:
"Really, it's been on my mind for a couple of years to do Minnelli on Minnelli. I wanted to do it because I realized how much pleasure his musicals gave people, myself included. It's something I share with everyone, and this seems like the right thing to do right now."
Barbara Cook discusses theatre at the end of the millennium in the current issue of In Theater:
". . .You're talking to an optimist; I'm not a doom-and-gloomer. I've never been one to say, 'Oh, this is dying, and that is dying.' I feel there's something you can get in a theater that you can't get anywhere else. You're sharing something with the people on stage and the people around you. You can't manufacture that, and I think it's important to enough people that it's not likely to die out."
IN OTHER NEWS "Name a Broadway diva who is personable, conversational -- and whose high notes are the kind that can shatter glass. Although she has visited other venues in Cincinnati, Betty Buckley raised the decibel level for the first time with the Cincinnati Pops in the Music Hall Sunday night. She hardly needed amplification for her Ethel Merman-style voice, which she belted over her own four-piece combo and the Cincinnati Pops." So says The Cincinnati Enquirer's Janelle Gelfand in a recent review of Betty Buckley's concert with the Cincinnati Pops. Gelfand goes on to say, "Through her two-hour, one-woman show, [Buckley] knew how to deliver lyrics. 'Meadowlark,' for instance, from the failed musical The Baker's Wife, was both joyous and emotional. . . But it was her Broadway hits, and the way she could inhabit a song -- and a personality -- that held the crowd of 2,765 in rapt attention. She sang two arias from her stint as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' was stylish and powerful, and its lush orchestration was the evening's best arrangement.". . . Patti LuPone, who make her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut tonight, Friday, Nov. 19, has just agreed to perform at a one-night-only gala celebration at the Union County Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey. This performance will occur on May 12, 2000 at 8 PM, and tickets range from $40 to $60. Call (732) 499-8226 for reservations . . . As speculated here months ago, it was confirmed this week that Elaine Paige will, indeed, star in a revival of The King and I in the West End. Paige's co-star will be Jason Scott Lee, and previews of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic will begin on April 18 with an opening date set for May 3. It should be a thrill to hear Paige belt out "Hello Young Lovers" and "Getting To Know You." . . . Sarah Brightman's Angel Records release "Eden" has been certified gold by the R.I.A.A. Sales of this album exceed 1.1 million copies worldwide! . . . And, finally, Karen Mason will perform her Christmas show, aptly named "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!," on Dec. 12 and 19 at 7 P.M. at Arci's Place, 450 Park Avenue South. There is a $25 cover charge and $15 food/drink minimum, and reservations can be made by calling (212) 532-4370. Mason's new CD, which bears the same name, is also now available from Zevely Records.
Betty Buckley and Ben Vereen will be the guest singers for an upcoming NBC ice-skating program on Nov. 28 (from 4-6 p.m.). The two Tony winners will take part in the "StarSkates on Broadway" program, which will be a broadcast of an event taped on Nov. 20.
A host of new concert dates have recently been announced for the multi talented actress and singer.
December 13-14 St. Barth's Church in New York, NY
December 17 City Center in Coral Springs, FL
December 18 Atlantic University Aud. in Boca Raton, FL
December 31 Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT
February 5, 2000 Stillwell Theatre in Kennesaw, GA
February 6 Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Marin, CA
February 8-9 Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall in Las Vegas, NV
February 11 Center for the Arts at George Mason Univ. in Fairfax, VA
February 12 Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY
March 18 Folly Theatre in Kansas City, MO
March 19 Macomb Center for the Perf. Arts in Detroit, MI
April 24 Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance in Fort Worth, TX
April 26 Coronation 2000 in San Antonio, TX
May 4 Poway Center in Poway, CA
May 5-6 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA
May 7 Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, CA
May 8 Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA
Here is Cook's upcoming concert schedule:
Nov. 19 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA; call (617) 482-2595 or (617) 482-3208
Nov. 22 at The Plaza Hotel in New York, NY (gala dinner honoring Cook, Paul Taylor and Will Barnet with the 1999 Kitty Carlisle-Hart Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement)
December 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY (All-Star cast for The Noel Coward Centennial Gala); call (212) 980-3026 or (212) 247-7800
December 31 at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA; call (215) 893 1956 or (215) 893-1999
January 27-30 at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA (with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony); call (412) 392-4900
From February 1 through February 14, our Evita gal will perform on the stage of the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; February 18 will bring her to the Phil. Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida, and on February 19, LuPone will take to the stage of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida . . .Tickets are also now on sale for the upcoming New York Philharmonic production of Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. Starring LuPone and opera singer Bryn Terfel, the event, which will be recorded, will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday. Tickets range from $75 to $250 and may be purchased by calling (212) 721-6500 . . .
Already announced McGovern concert dates:
November 19 "Great American Songbook " at the Marsee Auditorium in El Camino, CA
November 26, 27, 28 with the Baltimore Symphony at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD
December 1 "Tree of Life & Festival of Lights" in Los Angeles, CA
December 17 - 18 "Holiday Pops" at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, OH
December 30 - 31 "New Year's Eve Millennium Gala" with the Detroit Symphony at the Orchestra Hall in Detroit, MI
What follows are some upcoming worldwide Paige concert dates:
January 21 and 22, 2000 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah
LINCOLN CENTER'S AMERICAN SONGBOOK
"Always: Celebrating 100 Years of American Song" is up next in this series and features such theatrical luminaries as Patti LuPone, Judy Kuhn, Howard McGillin, Alton White, cabaret's Mary Cleere Haran and Susanah McCorkle and more. This program is set for Dec. 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., also at Alice Tully Hall. Other titles in the series include "Who Wrote That Song," on March 23, 24 and 25 (cast to be announced) at the Kaplan Penthouse and "Round About: Dawn Upshaw," which features the gifted soprano singing the songs of Vernon Duke, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gershwin, Sondheim and more. Upshaw will perform on May 17, 19 and 20 at 8:30 PM at the John Jay College Auditorium . . . Call (212) 721-6500 for tickets.
Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
by Andrew Gans
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