DIVA TALK: Divas on TV and CD plus Diva Tidbits

News   DIVA TALK: Divas on TV and CD plus Diva Tidbits BROADWAY ON TV Last season it was announced that the newly-formed Broadway Television Network would begin filming Broadway shows to air on a pay-per-view cable basis once the shows had finished their stage runs. Not since the advent of the original cast album have theatre fans been so delighted: The possibility of watching and recording favorite shows for future viewings is extremely exciting, and on Sept. 10, the first show taped will begin airing. Admittedly, Smokey Joe’s Cafe was more a tourist crowd-pleaser than a big hit among die-hard theatre lovers, but I sincerely hope that all theatre aficionados will order the event so producers will be willing to continue this burgeoning tradition. It does make one lament all the shows in the past few decades that were not preserved in such a way. Can you imagine being able to watch Patti LuPone’s closing night in Evita or Betty Buckley singing all those great, high-belting songs during Carrie’s last performance, or Bernadette Peters acting and singing the hell out of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song & Dance - not to mention more recent divafests like Side Show and Sunset Boulevard. Alas, we can’t turn back the clock, but we can look to the future and pray that this Broadway pay-per-view idea will catch on with the masses!

BROADWAY ON TV Last season it was announced that the newly-formed Broadway Television Network would begin filming Broadway shows to air on a pay-per-view cable basis once the shows had finished their stage runs. Not since the advent of the original cast album have theatre fans been so delighted: The possibility of watching and recording favorite shows for future viewings is extremely exciting, and on Sept. 10, the first show taped will begin airing. Admittedly, Smokey Joe’s Cafe was more a tourist crowd-pleaser than a big hit among die-hard theatre lovers, but I sincerely hope that all theatre aficionados will order the event so producers will be willing to continue this burgeoning tradition. It does make one lament all the shows in the past few decades that were not preserved in such a way. Can you imagine being able to watch Patti LuPone’s closing night in Evita or Betty Buckley singing all those great, high-belting songs during Carrie’s last performance, or Bernadette Peters acting and singing the hell out of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song & Dance - not to mention more recent divafests like Side Show and Sunset Boulevard. Alas, we can’t turn back the clock, but we can look to the future and pray that this Broadway pay-per-view idea will catch on with the masses!


Watching the screening copy of Smokey Joe’s Cafe I was recently sent, I felt pretty much the same way I had when I saw the show live. It’s a pleasant enough evening, featuring some great singing, but it’s not a show I would want to watch again and again. I was glad, however, that the producers reassembled the show’s original stars (with the exception of Patti Darcy Jones, who was the show’s weakest link and is here replaced by a member of the original London cast, Deb Lyons), a group of talented singers, notably B. J. Crosby, who scores with “Fools Fall in Love” and “Hound Dog”; and Victor Trent Cook, whose passionate rendition of “I (Who Have Nothing)” is, perhaps, the most moving offering of the evening. Other highlights include Brenda Braxton’s comical “Don Juan,” which also seems to be a favorite of this night’s audience, and, of course, the four ladies singing the Leiber & Stoller anthem, “I’m a Woman.” I was also very impressed with the quality of the filming. The picture is as sharp as can be, and Broadway Theatre Network employed the most advanced high definition video and audio techniques available, boasting as many as 15 cameras positioned throughout the theatre and 5.1 Surround Sound . . . On the Aisle at Smokey Joe’s Cafe begins with a pre-show at 8:30 PM, and show time is 9:00 PM. The cost is $24.95.

TWO FROM DRG
On June 9, 1983, an Off-Broadway musical entitled Taking My Turn opened at the Entermedia Theatre. The musical, which focused on the joys and hardships of growing older, had a starry cast that included, among others, Marni Nixon, Margaret Whiting, Cissy Houston and Tiger Haynes. DRG has just released (on CD) the original cast recording of this work by Gary William Friedman (music) and Will Holt (lyrics). The recording is a very pleasant listen, featuring several bouncy, melodious tunes and some very toe-tapping moments. It’s not the type of score I would listen to over and over, but if you’re looking for a light, easy listen, this is quite enjoyable . . . On Aug. 22 DRG will release another cast recording, this one from the season just past: The Green Bird. Although the Julie Taymor-directed piece lasted but a few months on The Great White Way, the score by Elliot Goldenthal has been preserved on this single CD. Featured in the cast are Tony nominee Derek Smith plus Didi Conn, Edward Hibbert and Reg E. Cathy.

QUOTABLE QUOTES


Ben Brantley, in a recent New York Times article about London theatre, had this to say about the new musical The Witches of Eastwick, now onstage at the Drury Lane Theatre:
“The show's true magic is generated by the witches themselves, played by Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman and Joanna Riding, and Mr. Dempsey and Mr. Rowe find their original voice when they are writing for them. Ms. Friedman's Sukie, who has a delightful, self-defining tongue twister of a number about being tongue-tied, emerges as the evening's most complete creation. The other two are undeniably appealing, though, with Ms. Arnaz's easy, earthy sensuality, and Ms. Riding giving appetizing bite to the cliche of the prim woman who takes off her glasses and becomes a sexpot. They are all at their strongest in their numbers together, deftly proving the show's rather labored point that sisterhood can indeed be powerful.

In an upcoming Playbill article by Harry Haun, Linda Lavin comments on Marjorie, the character she plays in Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, which reopens on Broadway in October:
“It’s important to think of [Marjorie’s speeches] as arias because she lives off the drama in her life. It keeps her going. Some of us are like that. We get addicted to chaos. Drama extended to chaos is when your life’s out of control. It’s like Mama Rose in terms of being a musical of great dimension. I feel that way about Marjorie. Suddenly, she’s doing Tosca.


IN OTHER NEWS Congratulations to Audra McDonald, who announced at the end of her recent concert at the Ravinia Festival that she is pregnant! McDonald, who will marry bass player Peter Donovan in three weeks, said that the baby is due on Valentine’s Day 2001 . . . Rumor has it that Betty Buckley’s upcoming concerts at the Donmar Warehouse may be recorded for CD and possibly for video. Stay tuned for more! . . . Due to scheduling conflicts, Barbara Cook’s Christmas CD, which was announced in this column last week, won’t be available in time for this holiday season. Let’s hope we can celebrate the 2001 holidays with a new Cook disc . . . Everyone’s favorite standby-to-the-stars in Sunset Boulevard, Karen Mason, currently stars in a short film by Joseph Moran. Titled "Sleeping Dogs Life," this short recently won the Silver Award in Comedy at the WorldFest in Houston. Mason plays a judge in the comedy, which will receive its New York premiere screening on Sept. 9 at Clearview Cinemas, 239 East 59th Street at 4PM. By the way, Mason returns to the cabaret stage of Arci’s Place (450 Park Ave. South, NYC) on Sept. 6 for a six-week run, where she will sing such songs as George Gershwin’s “How Long Has This Been Going On,” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “The Wave” plus tunes from Mame, Company and, of course, Sunset Boulevard. Call (212) 532-4370 for reservations . . . One of this column’s favorite ladies, Alix Korey, will join Lina Koutrakos, KT Sullivan, Ann Marie and Capathia Jenkins for Purpose of Love: A Tim Di Pasqua Songbook on Mondays, Sept. 11 and 18 at 8 PM at the Triad, 158 W. 72nd St., NYC. Also performing the work of DiPasqua, a Bistro Award-winning singer/songwriter, will be Stephen Schwartz, Tom Andersen, Phillip Officer, Michael Levesque, David Gurland and Scott Coulter. There is a $25 cover charge and a two-drink minimum; for that price, attendees get the show and a CD of his DiPasqua’s musical Synchronicity. Proceeds will go to Broadway Cares; call (212) 362-2590 for reservations . . . That sultry chanteuse, Ute Lemper, will perform Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins from Sept. 28 through Sept. 30 at the Kennedy Center. Lemper, who made her Broadway debut in Chicago, will be backed by the National Symphony Orchestra; tickets range from $19 to $66 . . . On the London scene: Now at Pizza on the Park, London’s foremost cabaret space, are K. T. Sullivan and Mark Nadler through Aug. 19. Steve Ross plays there from Sept. 4-16, and Morag McLaren finishes the summer/fall season from Oct. 2-7. Also, Kim Criswell will appear in a production of On the Town at London’s Royal Festival Hall from Oct. 1 through Oct. 3. Criswell is also slated to star in Guys and Dolls there on May 9, 2001 . . .

REMINDERS:

SARAH BRIGHTMAN
U.S. Concert Schedule:
Sept. 19 in Portland, ME
Sept. 20 in Rochester, NY at the Auditorium Centre
Sept. 22 in New York, NY at the Theatre @ MSG
Sept. 23 in Atlantic City, NJ at the Mark G. Etess Arena
Sept. 24 in Wallingford, CT at the Oakdale Theater
Sept. 26 in Providence, RI at the PAC
Sept. 27 in Lowell, MA at the Memorial Auditorium
Sept. 29 in Philadelphia, PA at the Mann Center
Sept. 30 in Washington, DC at the Patriot Center
Oct. 2 in Norfolk, VA at the Scope Arena
Oct. 4 in Miami, FL at the AA Arena /Nat. Car Rental Arena
Oct. 5 in Tampa, FL at the Ice Palace
Oct. 6 in Atlanta, GA at the Civic Center
Oct. 8 in New Orleans, LA at the Saenger Theatre
Oct. 9 in Dallas, TX at the Reunion Arena/Starplex Amph.
Oct. 10 in Houston, TX at the Aerial Theatre
Oct. 13 in Columbus, OH at the Nationwide Arena
Oct. 14 in Detroit, MI at the Palace
Oct. 15 in Cleveland, OH at the CSU Convocation Centre
Oct. 17 in St. Paul, MN at the Minn. Wild Arena
Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand
Oct. 21 in Santa Barbara, CA at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Oct. 22 in San Diego, CA at the SDSU Open Air Theatre
Oct. 24 in Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre
Oct. 26 in Sacramento, CA at the Arco Arena
Oct. 27 in San Jose, CA at the San Jose Arena
Oct. 29 in Portland, OR at the Rose Garden
Oct. 31 in Seattle, WA at the Paramount/Key Arena
Nov. 5 in Spokane, WA at the Arena
Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Delta Center
Nov. 8 in Denver, CO at the Magness Arena
Nov. 11 in Chicago, IL at the Chicago Theatre
Nov. 13 in St. Louis, MO
Nov. 14 in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena
Nov. 15 in Milwaukee, WI at the Riverside Theatre

BETTY BUCKLEY
Several new concert dates have been added to BB’s always-growing schedule:

Aug. 21-Sept. 3 Donmar Warehouse in London, UK
Sept. 9 & 10 Robert Park Auditorium in Taunton, MA
Sept. 15 Southern Theater in Columbus, OH
Sept. 16 Stranahan Theatre in Toledo, OH
Oct. 6 & 7 Scottsdale Center for the Arts Theatre in Scottsdale, AZ
Oct. 28 Univ. of Texas Cowan Fine & Perf. Arts Center in Tyler, TX
Nov. 10 & 11 University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
Jan. 5, 2001 Koger Center for the Arts (Univ. of SC) in Columbia, SC
Jan. 6 Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 19-28 Florida Condo Tour in Florida
March 3 at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
May 12 at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
June 17 at the Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA BARBARA COOK
Cook’s concert itinerary follows:

Sept. 14 at the Poway Center for the Perf. Arts in Poway, CA
Sept. 21 & 22 at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia
Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 at the Orange County Perf. Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
Oct. 20 & 21 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
Dec. 5 at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ
Feb. 2, 2001 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Feb. 23 and 24 with Michael Feinstein at the Cerritos Center for the Perf. Arts in Cerritos, CA

LINDA EDER
Eder in concert:
Aug. 19 at the John Drew Theater of Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY (631) 324-4050


Aug. 25 with Feinstein at The Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL; go to www.ravinia.org
Aug. 26 Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser at The River Center w/ Michael Feinstein in Minneapolis, MN
Sept. 26 at the Jones Hall w/Houston Symphony in Houston, TX; call (713) 224-7575
Nov. 4 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334 0800
Nov. 17 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ; call (732) 246 SHOW
Nov. 18 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA; call (610) 252-3132
Nov. 19 at the Strand-Capitol Theatre in York, Penn.
Jan. 12 & 13, 2001 in Charlotte, NC at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; (704) 372-1000
Jan. 21 in Naples, FL at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts; (941) 597-1900
Feb. 1 & 2 in Phoenix, AZ at the Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; (202) 467-4600
March 8 in Clearwater, FL at the Ruth Eckerd Hall; (727) 791-7400
March 9 in Sarasota, FL at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; www.vanwezel.org
March 10 in Melbourne, FL at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts; (407) 242-2219
May 31-June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Hall; call (412) 392-4900

PATTI LUPONE
Several concert dates have been added to Patti LuPone’s ever-growing schedule. What follows are La LuPone’s confirmed concert appearances as of this week:
Sept. 9 ("Matters of the Heart") at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo, Ohio; (419) 242-2787
Sept. 23 at the University of Maine in Orono; (800) 622-8499
Oct. 7 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham, Alabama; (205) 458-8401
Nov. 3 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky (502) 583-4555
April 8 ("Matters Of The Heart") at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina; (919) 684-4444
Jan. 5-7, 2001 at the Morton J. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX (214) 871-4000

KAREN MASON
Aug. 18-19 Returns to the DeSisto cabaret in Stockbridge, MA
Sept. 6 - Oct. 15 Returns to Arci’s Place, 450 Park Avenue South; NYC; (212) 532-4370
Oct. 17 Appearance at ASCAP evening at the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, NYC
Nov. 1-12 Appearance at The Plush Room in San Francisco’s York Hotel; (415) 885-2800
Dec. 6-10 Karen performs her Christmas Show at Davenports in Chicago, IL (773) 278-1830

AUDRA McDONALD
Audra McDonald’s most recent concert listing follows:
Sept. 28-30 with the National Symphony Orchestra
Oct. 7 in Atlanta, GA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 14 in Hershey, PA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, CA at UCLA’s Royce Hall
Oct. 22 in San Diego, CA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, TX (venue to be announced)
Dec. 30 in West Palm Beach, FL at the Kravis Center

MAUREEN McGOVERN
A few McGovern concert appearances follow:


Aug. 18 on the Eccles Stage in Sundance, Utah
Aug. 27 at Boardman High School Benefit (McGovern's alma mater), in Boardman, OH
Sept. 3 & 4 Jerry Lewis Telethon in Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 6 Tribute to Mel Torme at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 8 to Oct. 14 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, NY
Oct. 23 Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation Benefit Concert with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Dec. 8-11 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Portland, OR
Dec. 12 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Salem, OR

BERNADETTE PETERS
The two-time Tony winner will conclude her run in Annie Get Your Gun on September 2, when she will begin a U.S. concert tour:
Sept. 15 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City (with symphony)
Sept. 22 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
Oct. 6 at the Einsenhower Hall Theatre in West Point, NY
Oct. 7 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
Oct. 13 at the OnCenter War Memorial in Syracuse, NY
Jan. 5, 2001 at PAC in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with symphony)
Jan. 11 at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee
Jan. 13 at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
March 29 at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY
April 6 at the Bass Perf. Hall in Fort Worth, TX (with symphony)
April 7-8 at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX
April 19 at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto (with symphony)
April 28 at the Pasquerilla PAC in Johnstown, PA
May 11-12 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN (with symphony)
May 18-20 at the Myerson Hall in Dallas, TX (with symphony)

CHRISTIANE NOLL
Former star of Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde, Christiane Noll will be hitting the concert circuit, performing throughout the USA. Noll will join other Broadway names in this concert tour, backed by some of the world’s greatest orchestras. Her complete schedule follows:
Sept. 22 with the Nashua Symphony in Nashua, NH; (800) 639-3101
Oct. 14 with the Cape Symphony Orchestra at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, MA (508) 362-1111
Dec. 2 with Doug LaBrecque and Michael Maguire and the New London Symphony in New London, CT
Dec. 7-17 The Magic of Christmas with the Portland Symphony in Portland, ME; (207) 842-0800

Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!

By Andrew Gans