DIVA TALK: Betty's Birthday, Patti and Elaine on TV

DIVA TALK: Betty's Birthday, Patti and Elaine on TV BETTY BUCKLEY
It was a real honor and thrill to be a part of Betty Lynn Buckley's 50th birthday bash last Thursday night at the just-opened Restaurant 147 on West 15th Street in New York City.

BETTY BUCKLEY
It was a real honor and thrill to be a part of Betty Lynn Buckley's 50th birthday bash last Thursday night at the just-opened Restaurant 147 on West 15th Street in New York City. The celebration was a joyous event, which included cocktails, dinner and even an impromptu performance by the Tony winner herself. The room was filled with family members, colleagues and old friends, who all had one thing in common, their love for the Forth Worth native who never fails to impress with her combination of love, talent and charm. I had the chance to speak with both Buckley's lovely mom, Betty Bob (who recounted her singing appearance on a local radio station years earlier), and her charming brother Norman, a noted film editor who flew in from California for the big event. There were also two former Joe Gillises in attendance, Alan Campbell and Forbidden Broadway's Bryan Batt.

After dinner, the 100 or so friends in attendance sang a spirited happy birthday to the birthday girl, who beamed as she blew out her candles. Betty then requested her friend, Rohn Seykell (who joined her onstage at Carnegie Hall last year) to sing, and he delivered a jazzy rendition of the Fats Waller classic, "Honeysuckle Rose." After we all chanted, "Betty! Betty! Betty!" the inimitable Buckley finally consented to sing a few tunes as well. First up, was a syncopated "Undecided," where she was joined by Jamey Haddad, who improvised some percussive rhythms on a large salad bowl. Then, Betty showed us why audiences thrill to her singing, by delivering a trumpeting, soulful "You Made Me Love You" that was almost too big for the restaurant to contain. It was a wonderful evening for Buckley, her family and her many friends. Happy Birthday, Betty. . .may the next 50 years be as thrilling as the first!

* While in San Francisco for her upcoming concert on July 18 (8 PM at Davies Symphony Hall; call 415-864-6000), BB will take part in the "Conversation" series that benefits the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum. The SF PALM is an independent, non-profit organization that is dedicated to "collecting, preserving and making available materials on the live performing arts," focusing primarily on the performing arts heritage of the San Francisco Bay Area. The "Conversation" series features one performer, in this case the Tony winning Buckley, who will be interviewed by writer Sheryl Flatow.

There is a $5 admission charge for the July 17 event, which begins at 6pm at Star Classics, 424 Hayes Street. Immediately following the "Conversation," Ms. B will be available for an in-store autograph signing. For more information about the "Conversation" program or for reservations, call PALM at 415-255-4800.

PATTI LuPONE
For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting some exciting LuPone news, here comes something that should put a smile on your face. An Evening with Patti LuPone, which was taped last year at the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, California, will begin airing on PBS stations across the country in August. The concert features our Evita gal performing an act similar to her Broadway concert, Patti LuPone on Broadway, including songs from her many Broadway and London hits.

Featured in the broadcast are such LuPone standards as "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables, "Anything Goes" from Anything Goes and "As Long As He Needs Me" from Oliver. Sunset Boulevard fans can also rejoice, as LuPone will deliver her passionate rendition of that show's "As If We Never Said Goodbye," the first time she has sung anything from that musical expressly for American television audiences.

LuPone fans can also expect to hear Stephen Sondheim's "Being Alive," Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," Irving Berlin's "Heatwave" and a host of other classic tunes. An Evening with Patti LuPone will be broadcast nationally on August 20, and what follows are the premiere dates in select cities across the country. Check your local listings for times. . . Patti's back!!
Albany August 11
Atlanta August 17
Baltimore August 17
Boston August 13
Cleveland August 24
Dallas August 17
Hartford August 26
Indianapolis August 11
Los Angeles August 20
Miami August 11
Milwaukee August 22
New Orleans August 24
Philadelphia August 18
Sacramento August 14
San Diego August 20
San Francisco August 10
St. Louis August 14
Syracuse August 17
Tampa August 11
Washington August 16

ELAINE PAIGE

I received a screening copy of Elaine Paige's triumphant U.S. concert debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra, which will be broadcast on PBS stations across the country on July 28. As soon as I arrived home last night, I popped the video into the VCR and was once again wowed by the talents of Ms. Paige. The 25-minute segment is so good in fact that I watched it again later in the evening.

The program, Boston Pops: An Evening with Elaine Paige, contains all but one of the songs (her encore of "Grow Young") that she performed for a sold-out audience at the Pops this past May. Paige begins her set with her second-act show-stopper from Sunset Boulevard, "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and then launches into a song from Evita, the show that set her star soaring 20 years ago. After a heartfelt "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," Paige invites the audience to journey with her to Paris, to a time when "people still smoked cigarettes and drank tap water." Three songs from the musical play Piaf followed, including "Ballad of Poor Old John"; "If You Love Me," which found Paige in terrific voice (just listen to the way she sings "If you love me, really love me, then whatever happens I won't care"--her voice just pours out of her); and "No Regrets" in the original French. Paige finished her set with another of her signature tunes, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Memory," and then the audience rose to its feet to applaud the British star. This is a not-to-be-missed concert for all lovers of the musical theatre. Be sure to set your VCRs--it is a performance you will want to watch again.

What follows are the debuts by city of the upcoming Paige concert. (The official airdate as mentioned above is July 28, in most cities, and will repeat broadcast throughout August and September.)
Akron July 30
Alabama July 28
Albuquerque August 2
Atlanta July 30
Baltimore July 28
Bloomington July 28
Boston July 28
Chapel Hill August 3
Chicago August (to be announced)
Cincinnati July 28
Cleveland July 28
Columbus July 28
Dallas August 11
Denver August (to be announced)
Detroit July 28
Hartford July 28
Houston August (to be announced)
Indianapolis August 9
Iowa July 28
Kansas City July 28
Long Island September (to be announced)
Los Angeles July 28
Memphis July 28
Miami July 27
Milwaukee July 28
Minneapolis August 1
Nashville July 28
New Orleans July 28
New York July 28
Orlando August 2
Philadelphia August 3
Phoenix July 28
Pittsburgh July 28
Portland July 28
Richmond July 28
Sacramento July 28
Salt Lake City (to be announced)
San Antonio July 28
San Diego July 28
San Francisco August (to be announced)
Seattle July 29
St. Louis August 3
Tampa July 28
Trenton September (to be announced)
Urbana/Champaign July 28
Washington August (to be announced)
West Palm Beach July 28
Wichita August 3

DEBBIE GRAVITTE
Add Debbie Gravitte's name to the list of performers who will appear in the fourth volume of Maryann Lopinto's "Cabaret On the Record." The fourth venture of this highly successful program, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will occur on Thursday, July 24 at 8pm at the Triad. Others ladies who are scheduled to perform include Karen Mason, Mary Cleere Haran and Lorna Dallas. And there will be some male performers as well: Tom Andersen, David Campbell, Bill McKinley plus a few surprise guests. The Triad is located in New York City at 158 West 72nd Street. There is a $15 cover and a $10 food/drink minimum; call 212-799-4599 for reservations.

DIVA CHALLENGE 1 (THE ANSWERS)
Following are the answers to last week's Diva Challenge. Hope you enjoyed the first of the series....

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." (EVITA)
(2) "It is I who should thank you." (SUNSET BOULEVARD)
(3) "All the signs are showing up now. Nervous laugh and furtive glance." (SONG AND DANCE)
(4) "She haunted many a low resort." (CATS)
(5) "I've lost half a pound since Tuesday." (SUNSET BOULEVARD)
(6) "I don't always rush in like this." (EVITA)
(7)"If we were perfect strangers, how perfect life would be." (THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD)
(8)"They'll argue till they fade and whisper things and grunt." (SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE)
(9) "He tucks it right under his chin." (1776)
(10) "But I won't let tomorrow find me back this way" (THE BAKER'S WIFE)
(11) "Open your heart" (CARRIE)
(12) "I'm their saviour; that's what they call me" (EVITA)
(13) "Knowing I want you, knowing I love you does not explain..." (CHESS)
(14) "I could take up knitting." (PROMISES, PROMISES)
(15) "Some Tuesday, Thursday, April, August, autumn, winter, next year, some year." (MACK AND MABEL)
(16) "I remember how those boys could dance." (CARRIE)
(17) "You come from God in heaven." (LES MISERABLES)
(18) "Take the hurt out of all the pain." (SONG AND DANCE)
(19) Character in this show admires a young man's face, profile and torso (THE BAKER'S WIFE)
(20) "So who needs roses and stuff like that?" (MACK AND MABEL)
(21)"No one is me. We do not belong together." (SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE)
(22) "The next guy who hits on me is in for a shock." (THE GOODBYE GIRL)
(23) "Go, while the going is good." (PROMISES, PROMISES)
(24) "Plymouth Rock would land on them." (ANYTHING GOES)
(25) "Any minute now I'm sure he'll show up; any minute now I'm gonna throw up" (BILLY)
(26) "What's going on around me is barely making sense" (CHESS)
(27) "There are times when life is so frightening." (CARRIE)

REMINDERS:

BERNADETTE PETERS
Bernadette's appearance on VH1's "RuPaul Show" will first air on Monday, July 14 at 11pm, with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, July 15 at 7pm, Saturday, July 19 at 11pm and Monday, July 21 at noon. Set those VCRs!
FLORENCE LACEY
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
LINDA EDER

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.

That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me at andrew_gans@playbill.com