DIVA TALK -- April 30, 1996
For those of you who are planning a trip to see Betty in Sunset Boulevard before she leaves the show on August 24, you should know that the divine Ms. B will be taking her final vacation from the show following the June1 performance. She will be out of the show June 2-June 16, and will return for the Monday night performance on June 17. During this time, Buckley will most likely be preparing for her Carnegie Hall concert, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that will take place on June 10.
Also, Betty B will perform in The Director Company's spring benefit titled Stephen Schwartz: A Musical Celebration to be held at the Lambs Theatre 7 PM Sunday, May 19. The Directors Company is a not-for-profit theatre company dedicated "to the development and presentation of directorial talent." Tickets to the event, which will no doubt include Buckley's riveting rendition of Schwartz's "Meadowlark" (from The Baker's Wife) and possibly a song from Pippin (she starred in the show later in its run) range from $50 to $250.
Other performers who will sing songs from such Schwartz works as Godspell, Pippin, Disney's Pocahontas and the upcoming The Hunchback of Notre Dame include Stephen Bogardus and Barbara Walsh (both from Falsettos), Didi Conn, Aspects of Love's Ann Crumb, Dick Latessa, Marcia Lewis, Kathy Najimy and others. For more information contact The Directors Company at 212-246-5877.
La LuPone's Broadway concert finally received the acclaim it has deserved all along. The Outer Critics Circle Award gave its award for Outstanding Solo Performance to Patti for her Patti LuPone on Broadway concerts this past fall. And now, as we all know, LuPone is preparing for her Master Class takeover in July. NANCY LaMOTT
A copy of Commentary, a neo-conservative magazine with a right-wing spin was sent to us this week containing a wonderful article about the late Nancy LaMott. Headlined "Mourning Nancy LaMott," Terry Teachout's five-page article is a highly personal tribute to LaMott, who was one of the greatest singers of our generation. If you can find a copy of the magazine, check it out.
Here are a few choice quotes: "Nancy's unabashedly romantic performances of the old-fashioned songs she loved were nonetheless bringing her, after a quarter-century of scuffling, the kind of national exposure no other baby-boom cabaret artist had yet received. When she died, she was on the verge of real fame--not the small-time celebrity of a New York club singer, but something bigger and far more reaching."
"Many of our conversations were about music. Nancy had thought hard about her art, and had the clearest possible understanding of what worked for her as a singer. It had little to do with received ideas about cabaret: she preferred wistfulness to rue, and hope to high tragedy. "I'm a major-chord singer," she liked to say, and certainly she was the only cabaret singer in New York, if not the world, who preferred Rodgers and Hammerstein to Rodgers and Hart."
All five of LaMott's recordings are available on the Midder Music label and can now be found at stores throughout the country: "Beautiful Baby," "Come Rain or Come Shine-The Songs of Johnny Mercer," "My Foolish Heart," "Just in Time for Christmas" and her last, "Listen to My Heart."
Well, yes, another Sunset Boulevard recording has arrived. Like Betty Buckley's, this is a selection of songs preserving another take on the character of Norma Desmond. Petula's single has only three tracks (Betty's has four)--"With One Look," a solo version of "The Perfect Year" and, of course, the show-stopping second act epiphany, "As If We Never Said Goodbye."
Although I had heard not-so-great reviews of Clark's performance in London, I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed this recording. Admittedly, Clark doesn't possess the pipes she once had, and she never really had the voice of a LuPone, Buckley or Paige; however, the flaws in her voice do add to the character's frustrations and longings. She puts her own trademark vocalisms into "With One Look" and "The Perfect Year," and her "As If We Never Said Goodbye," at least on disk, is quite wonderful.
Just listen to her scream "This time will be bigger and brighter than we knew it." You can hear the desperation in her voice. Judge for yourself, and let me know your opinions. . . And, as we all know, you can't have too many Sunset recordings!
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
(My e-mail address is email@example.com.)