Hello diva lovers. Just a few items this week as we go into the Fourth of July holiday. Enjoy. . .
Bernadette Peters, the curly-locked wonder of stage and screen, graces the cover of the latest issue of Show Music magazine. In an article entitled "Songs of Bernadette," writer Eric Grode discusses Peters' multi-faceted career with the Tony-winning star. Peters speaks candidly about her many stage productions, and I thought you'd be interested in some of her thoughts on these shows:
about the many incarnations of Mack and Mabel:
"I think they should take new writers and say, 'Look, here's the background on Mack and Mabel. How would you write the story? Here's the music. Where can you make them fit? Don't even read the other book!' That's the way I think they should do it, with some young, hip writers that just find the comedy in these two people. They should rewrite the book totally, not just try to patch it, and see if the existing music fits. And then Jerry [Herman] can fill in here and there if he needed to."
about her tongue-twisting opening number in Sunday in the Park with George:
"[Sondheim's] thinking about the girl's frustration at that moment. George is making her stand there, and she's getting more and more frustrated. It was a great acting thing to do at that moment. It turned out to be such a good number because of that.
Sunday in the Park had a lot to offer. Here was a woman who loved a man--she knew they should be together and yet shouldn't be together. It's painful. She was too smart to stay; she knew she had to go and make another choice."
about the unconventional premise of Song and Dance:
"They were trying to explain to me from London what the show was, and I thought I was hearing wrong. They kept saying the character was the only one in the first act. I said, 'What do you mean, there's nobody else on stage with her? She has no other characters?' What a challenge! So I had to do it." about her favorite moment in Into the Woods and thoughts about Sondheim:
"When Into the Woods came along, I accepted it because I thought, 'I'll learn about life again.' And the part I used to wait for in that show was again at the end--it was 'Children Will Listen.'
Steve's always talking about something that touches a note deep inside, so it's interesting to work on and sing and talk about. I think the same holds true for the audience, because they 'get it,' too.
He's a great thinker, and he comes to great conclusions. He explores things and comes out the other side. And he teaches. He explores each subject thoroughly, even in something like Assassins. He's like a great, great actor who knows the inner workings of the characters. And he's a good person."
*And, a reminder that Bernadette's appearance on VH1's "RuPaul Show" will first air on Monday, July 14 at 11 PM , with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, July 15 at 7 PM, Saturday, July 19 at 11 PM and Monday, July 21 at noon. All times are Eastern Time. Check local listings for times elsewhere.
Hope you were able to catch Linda Eder on the "RuPaul Show" this week. Eder sang her big number from Jekyll & Hyde, "Someone Like You," and then chatted briefly with the towering RuPaul. Fans of Eder will get their chance to speak with the wonderful singer this summer, as she is scheduled to appear on QVC some time in the next month or so. Eder will perform a song or two from her new album, Just in Time (Atlantic Records), and will take calls from fans as well. Stay tuned for more details.
And, don't forget Eder will make her first New York concert appearance since she began her run in Jekyll & Hyde. Eder is slated to perform at the Supper Club in New York City on July 17, backed by her usual combo plus a horns section. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster or by calling the Roseland box office at 212-307-7171.
SAIL ON. . .
Even though Titanic doesn't boast any real diva parts (although Victoria Clark definitely scores high marks in a comic role), I think the score is so great that it deserves some special attention. With his score for Titanic, I believe that Maury Yeston joins Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and a select group of others as one of the great theatre composers of his generation. This composer/lyricist won the 1982 Tony Award for Best Score for his work for Nine, which included such great songs as "Unusual Way" and "Be On Your Own," and received the same accolade this year for Titanic. Yeston has also composed a song cycle for cabaret chanteuse Andrea Marcovicci, entitled December Songs, as well as an acclaimed version of Phantom.
His score for Titanic is extremely melodic, and the opening number as the passengers board the ill-fated ship is one of the most glorious pieces of writing in recent theatre memory. What is so appealing about the score is the great use Yeston makes of the entire cast there is beautiful choral singing that swells to climactic finishes throughout the entire piece. The score is also aided by an extremely talented cast, with high praise going to Brian d'Arcy James's beautifully sung Frederick Barrett and the aforementioned Victoria Clark's delightful comic turn as second-class passenger Alice Beane. Some highlights: d'Arcy James in "Barrett's Song" and his Act I duet with Martin Moran, "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive"; Jennifer Piech and company singing of a new life in America in "Lady's Maid"; "No Moon," which leads into the dramatic Act I finale; the haunting "We'll Meet Tomorrow" as only a portion of the passengers are able to board the lifeboats; and Larry Keith and Alma Cuervo's declaration of love in "Still." Orchestrations are by the Tony winning Jonathan Tunick: Titanic, available on RCA Victor, is a must for all musical theatre devotees.
DIVA CHALLENGE 1
See if you can name the diva-related show that each lyric (or dialogue) is from. Answers next week. . .
(1) "No one else can fill it like I can."
(2) "It is I who should thank you."
(3) "All the signs are showing up now. Nervous laugh and furtive glance."
(4) "She haunted many a low resort."
(5) "I've lost half a pound since Tuesday."
(6) "I don't always rush in like this."
(7) "If we were perfect strangers, how perfect life would be."
(8) "They'll argue till they fade and whisper things and grunt."
(9) "He tucks it right under his chin."
(10) "But I won't let tomorrow find me back this way"
(11) "Open your heart"
(12) "I'm their saviour; that's what they call me"
(13) "Knowing I want you, knowing I love you does not explain..."
(14) "I could take up knitting."
(15) "Some Tuesday, Thursday, April, August, autumn, winter, next year, some year."
(16) "I remember how those boys could dance."
(17) "You come from God in heaven."
(18) "Take the hurt out of all the pain."
(19) "Look at him, what a face, what a profile to admire."
(20) "So who needs roses and stuff like that?"
(21) "No one is me. We do not belong together."
(22) "The next guy who hits on me is in for a shock."
(23) "Go, while the going is good."
(24) "Plymouth Rock would land on them."
(25) "Any minute now I'm sure he'll show up; any minute now I'm gonna throw up"
(26) "What's going on around me is barely making sense"
(27) "There are times when life is so frightening."
BETTY BUCKLEY Buckley just celebrated her 50th birthday with a lavish party in New York, and she will be singing in concert in San Francisco on July 18. Come September, she stars in the new Broadway musical Triumph of Love.
La LuPone completed her run in the London production of Master Class on June 28. Stay tuned for upcoming LuPone projects, including the PBS broadcast of her dazzling one-woman concert. . .
Boston Pops: An Evening with Elaine Paige will begin airing on PBS stations across the country on July 28. The program captures EP's spectacular U.S. concert debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Lacey will take part in a six-week tour of the music of Jerry Herman this summer. 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
Mason will also star in the second part of Maryann Lopinto's Cabaret-On the Record Volume IV, which will take place on Thursday, July 24 at 8pm at the Triad to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. There is a $15 cover and a $10 food-drink minimum. Call the Triad at 212 799-4599 for more information.
Summer plans for McGovern include a tribute to Doc Severinsen on July 8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. MM will also be part of the Bel Air Jazz Festival on July 5 in the Catskills.
That's all for now. Have a great holiday, and happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org