DIVA TALK: Evita, Madonna and Patti -- June 17

DIVA TALK: Evita, Madonna and Patti -- June 17 EVITA, MADONNA and PATTI!
Hope you caught the "Making of Evita" program on MTV June 13 (it will be replayed a few times next week as well). The star of the upcoming film of Evita, Madonna, was interviewed on location, and a few clips were shown, including very brief portions of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "A New Argentina."
Visually, Madonna looks great in the role. There is a striking resemblance between her and the real Eva Peron; however, as we all know, it's the singing and the acting that matter. It's difficult to judge from 15-second clips (which may have actually been rehearsal shots and not the finished product), but in the brief sections shown, Madonna's singing was unexpectedly undramatic. I would have thought that once the keys were lowered she would be comfortable enough to make the songs comes to life. Admittedly, clips shown out of context often don't do justice to the film or show as a whole, so let's hope that this is the case.
More interesting than the clips, however, was the fact that Madonna related that she and Patti LuPone study voice with the same teacher in New York, a woman who is also Betty Buckley's teacher. What a job--to get paid to listen to Patti and Betty sing!

EVITA, MADONNA and PATTI!
Hope you caught the "Making of Evita" program on MTV June 13 (it will be replayed a few times next week as well). The star of the upcoming film of Evita, Madonna, was interviewed on location, and a few clips were shown, including very brief portions of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "A New Argentina."
Visually, Madonna looks great in the role. There is a striking resemblance between her and the real Eva Peron; however, as we all know, it's the singing and the acting that matter. It's difficult to judge from 15-second clips (which may have actually been rehearsal shots and not the finished product), but in the brief sections shown, Madonna's singing was unexpectedly undramatic. I would have thought that once the keys were lowered she would be comfortable enough to make the songs comes to life. Admittedly, clips shown out of context often don't do justice to the film or show as a whole, so let's hope that this is the case.
More interesting than the clips, however, was the fact that Madonna related that she and Patti LuPone study voice with the same teacher in New York, a woman who is also Betty Buckley's teacher. What a job--to get paid to listen to Patti and Betty sing! MORE RAVES FOR BETTY

Thought you'd be interested in a few excerpts from a review that ran in the June 14 USA TODAY.
BUCKLEY'S STAR SOARS AT BENEFIT CONCERT
by David Patrick Stearns
"Sometimes there are watershed moments in the careers of performers, when they emerge from a body of distinctive work to become major entertainers.
Such a moment occurred this week for Sunset Boulevard star Betty Buckley at Carnegie Hall . . . Buckley also emerged as a charismatic performer on the level of Julie Andrews or Elaine Stritch.
. . .The gala event showed how Buckley has outgrown the modest venues she played until recently. Now, she needs space. Once the owner of a reedy soprano, she now belts over a 55-piece, Las Vegas style orchestration of "Hello Young Lovers," her vibrato alternately vulnerable and diabolical.
. . .when Buckley has fresh material and a great character to play, as in "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy, a seamless synergy makes both role and performer soar in stature.

REMEMBERING NANCY LaMOTT
That red-headed dynamo, Maryann Lopinto, always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needs it in the cabaret community, has organized the third in her "Cabaret on the Record" series. A two-night event that boasts some of the best cabaret performers in the business will also celebrate the memory of the late Nancy LaMott, who possessed one of the most glorious voices in or out of the cabaret scene.
The concerts, which will take place Monday, June 17 and Friday, June 21 will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Colitis Foundation of America, two organizations in which Nancy LaMott was heavily involved.
The roster of performers for the 8 PM show on June 17 includes: Tom Anderson, Alison (March of the Falsettos, The Secret Garden) Fraser, Claiborne Cary, Martha Lorin, Joel Silberman, Tom Postilio and the wonderful Julie Wilson. On June 21 at 10:30 PM, you can expect to see Steven ("Call him Barbra") Brinberg, Charles Cermele, Lorna Dallas, Tommy Femia, Jeff Harnar, Karen (Sunset Boulevard) Mason, Weslia Whitfield and that dynamic belter of belters Alix Korey.
Cabaret on the Record, Volume III will be held at the Triad at 158 West 72nd Street. For more information and reservations, call 212-799-4599. There is a $15 cover and $10 food/drink minimum.

RANDY GRAFF
Randy Graff made her Broadway debut in the heavyweight role of the doomed Fantine in the Boublil/Schonberg epic Les Miserables, where she delivered a terrific rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." Although it's doubtful anyone will ever top Patti LuPone's original version, Graff did invest the song with a lot of emotion, and in the theatre she was especially moving. After Les Miz, Graff went on to show us her comedic talents in such shows as City of Angels and the current Moon Over Buffalo, opposite Carol Burnett and Philip Bosco.

And now she has recorded her first solo album, Doing Something Right, for Varese Sarabande. It is fitting the Graff has chosen an all Cy Coleman program for her debut solo venture, since of the highlights of Coleman's City of Angels was her knockout rendition of "You Can Always Count on Me."
While her voice is not on the same level of some of the grandest of our divas, Graff does possess a clear, no-nonsense instrument that can be soft and subtle or loud and brassy. Highlights of this recording include a winning version of "Come Summer," which has lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, and a touching version of the title song from the Coleman-Dorothy Fields musical Seesaw. Graff imbues much of the album with a comical, tongue-in-cheek sensibility, and she also reprises her aforementioned Tony-winning number from Angels, combining it with "Nobody Does It Like Me," for, as she calls it, a "Codependency Duet."

That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!

-- By Andrew Gans
(My e-mail address is andrew_gans@playbill.com.)