It's always more than a pleasure to speak with the multi-talented Florence Lacey, who has one of the biggest voices around as well as a heart to match. Lacey is thrilled about her upcoming run in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre's production of A Little Night Music, which will be directed by Gary M. English and begin performances at the Harriet S. Jorgensen stage on June 4. This Tony Award-winning musical features a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler and follows several interesting characters through a "weekend in the country."
Lacey, who is best known for her record-breaking run in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita as well as her long-time association with composer Jerry Herman, informed me that this will be her first Sondheim musical, and she is looking forward to interpreting what has perhaps become Sondheim's best-known and most-recorded song, "Send in the Clowns." She's even more excited to play some of the show's humorous and touching scenes. "I think most people know how wonderful a score the show has," says Lacey, "but I think people forget how funny the scenes are. They're really great to play, and I hope we can bring out the farcical elements of the show." Lacey will also get to wrap her golden voice around "You Must Meet My Wife," Night Music's first-act duet between Desiree (Lacey) and Fredrik.
This production of A Little Night Music will run through June 19, the first of three musicals being offered during the 44th Nutmeg Summer Series. Following Night Music will be Once On This Island and Forever Plaid. Performances for each production are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets range from $20 to $22, with a $3 discount for students and seniors. (The entire series may be purchased for $48 or $54). Call the box office at (860) 486-4226.
Don't miss your chance to hear one of the theatre's great voices sing one of the theatre's greatest songs. It should be a perfect match, and I know I'll be there to see Lacey in action.
On June 29 Eartha Kitt will release her first-ever hits collection in the U.S. on the new 7N label. Entitled "Eartha Kitt: Purr-fect Greatest Hits," the recording features hits from Kitt's classic RCA period from 1952 to 1957. The 22-track compilation boasts songs from several albums -- including her Top 4 hit "Santa Baby" -- as well as a full-color booklet with a detailed biography of the actress/singer's life. The legendary performer will promote her newest recording this summer; already lined up is an appearance on the NBC news program "Dateline" in July. Stay tuned for more Kitt appearances . . . What follows is a complete track listing of "Purr-fect - Greatest Hits":
"Just an Old-Fashioned Girl"
"Je Cherche Un Homme (I Want a Man)"
"I Want to Be Evil"
"Let's Do It"
"C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)"
"Annie Doesn't Live Here Any More"
"My Heart Belongs To Daddy"
"Under the Bridges of Paris"
"I Wantcha Around"
"Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell"
"Uska Dara (A Turkish Tale)"
"Proceed With Caution"
IN OTHER NEWS At this week's "Plotnick & Rudetsky" comedy show, Ragtime's Marin Mazzie will be the two comedians' special guest. Mazzie is scheduled to sing a Stephen Sondheim medley and will also appear in a comedy sketch that pokes fun at her career. Jack Plotnick and Seth Rudetsky's act begins at 6 PM this Sunday, May 23 at Caroline's, which is located at Broadway and 50th Street. Call (212) 757-4100 for more information . . . There's a great picture of Bernadette Peters in the June issue of In Style magazine. Photographed in her dressing room at the Marriott Marquis Theatre, Peters relates that she decorated her dressing room with the help of friend Joel Grey. "[He] has the best taste of anyone I know," Peters explains, adding, "This is the first dressing room I've decorated, and boy, does it make a difference." The June issue of In Style is available on newsstands now. . . "Claiborne Cary has a warm, wispy delivery that invests love songs with a heart-tugging vulnerability. But she can also be very funny." So says The New York Times about singer/comedienne/actress/songwriter Claiborne Cary, who will bring her newest cabaret act to Danny's Skylight Room (346 W. 46th Street) beginning Thursday, June 3 at 9 PM. Show times thereafter will be Fridays June 11, 18, and 25 at 9 PM; Saturdays June 5, 12, 19 and 26 at 9 PM; and Sundays, June 13, 20 and 27 at 6:15 PM. There is a $15 music charge plus a $10 food/drink minimum. Call Danny's at (212) 265-8133 for reservations . . . I was very happy to read that the up n-coming young singing actress Angela Covington received a rave review for her role as the Mistress in the current tour of Evita. Backstage West had this to say about Ms. Covington's performance: "Though the role of Peron's Mistress has always been ill-defined, Angela Covington scores, bringing pathos and a clear singing voice to her one solo, 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall.'" . . . Add Karen Mason to the starry list of performers who have performed at The Public Theater's Joe's Pub. Mason will take to the small stage of the intimate cabaret on June 13 and 14. Reservations may be made by calling (212) 260-2400. All seats are $25 . . . Hope you caught the always-elegant Angela Lansbury on Monday's "Rosie O'Donnell Show." Lansbury spoke about last night's TV movie as well as the musical that will finally bring her back to Broadway in the year 2000 -- a musical based on The Visit. Lansbury also acknowledged that she and Bea Arthur will be presenters on this year's Tony Awards telecast . . .
Following is Brightman's "One Night in Eden" U.S. concert tour schedule:
June 2 Temple Buell Theatre in Denver
June 3 Delta Center in Salt Lake City
June 5 Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall in Las Vegas
June 6 Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles
June 7 The Orpheum in San Francisco
June 12 Chateau Ste. Michelle in Seattle
June 15 Chicago Theatre in Chicago
June 16 Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI
June 22 and 23 City Center in New York City
June 25 N.J. Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ
June 27 Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
June 28 Symphony Hall in Boston
June 29 Center for the Performing Arts in Providence, RI
July 1 Wolf Trap in Washington, D.C.
June 2 and 3 Sands Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ
A host of new concert dates follows. The list is continually growing, so check the Betty Buckley website on PBOL for the latest changes.
June 5 Myerson Symphony Center--Obelisk Awards in Dallas, TX
June 7 PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
June 10-13 Theatrefest in Montclair, NJ
June 29 Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA
July 20 Point Lookout in Camden, ME
July 27 Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, PA
October 9 Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY
October 22 (class); October 23 (concert) Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Foellinger Great Hall in Champaign-Urbana, IL
October 24 Sangamon Stage University Auditorium; Springfield, IL
November 6 State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ
November 14 Cincinnati, OH (venue to come)
December 6-7 St. Barths Church in New York, NY
December 17 City Center in Coral Springs, FL
December 18 Atlantic University Auditorium in Boca Raton, FL
December 31 Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT PATTI LuPONE
LuPone will join opera star Bryn Terfel for a concert version of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. The performers will be backed by the New York Philharmonic, and the event, which will be recorded, will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday.
The songstress will perform at the Bradstan Inn in White Lake New York on June 20, and on Sept. 25 KM will perform in concert to benefit Dallas Children's Theatre Fairmont Hotel, Dallas.
Following are a a handful of upcoming Paige concert dates in Sweden, which are listed below:
June 10 Ulriksdal (as part of the Royal Ulriksdal Palace Festival) in Stockholm, Sweden
June 12 Finspang Palace in Finspang (outside of Norrkoping), Sweden
June 17 Sofiero Palce in Helsingborg, Sweden
June 19 Tradgardsforeningen Botanical Gardens in Gothenburg, Sweden
Paige will also appear as the special guest of Cliff Richards at his concerts in Hyde Park, London, on July 16, 17 and 18. Tickets are available from First Call: 0171 420 1000. And, don't forget, EP will make a special appearance in New York City in May when she will perform at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation's spring gala on Wednesday, May 5 at the New Christie's Auction House in the city. The event is being hosted by Barbara Walters, and Paige--who is expected to sing a handful of her biggest hits -will be accompanied on the piano by Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch. For more information about this worthy event, contact The Breast Cancer Research Foundation at (212) 572-4249.
Bernadette Peters currently stars on Broadway as Annie Oakley in the revival of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. The show's cast recording was recently released from Broadway Angel.
DIVAS AT THE DONMAR
Patti LuPone is the first diva at the Donmar Warehouse, performing her new concert act, "Matters of the Heart," from Aug. 9 through Aug. 21. Audra McDonald's reign runs from Aug. 23 to Aug. 28, and Sam Brown will open on Aug. 31 and close Sept. 4. The performance schedule is Monday through Saturday at 8pm with matinees on Saturday at 4pm. Tickets go on sale Monday, May 17; call 011 44 171 637 9041 for reservations.
DIVAS IN SAN FRANCISCO
This summer's San Francisco Pops series will include appearances from Patti LuPone and Marin Mazzie. La LuPone will perform her new one-woman show, "Matters of the Heart," on July 1 and 2 with Rob Fisher as musical director. On July 10, an evening entitled "Rodgers and Hammerstein and Friends" will feature performances by the husband-and wife team of Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. Tickets are available through the San Francisco Symphony Ticket Service (415) 864 6000) or by visiting the symphony's website at www.sfsymphony.org. . . . Also, two of cabaret's finest performers, Andrea Marcovicci and David Campbell, will appear together on June 11 and 12 at the Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary Street). Tickets, which are priced at $35, are available by calling Star Classics (415) 552-1110.
THE DIVA SERIES
The Public Theater's Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) celebrates the best of Broadway and cabaret in a new series devoted to the women who scat, swing, belt and croon. Lea DeLaria was the first in the series, and she was followed by Mary Cleere Haran. Ann Hampton Callaway is now up at bat (May 21 and 22) and Ute Lemper follows (May 26, 27, 28, June 3, 4, 5 and 7). All shows are at 8:30pm . Call (212) 239-6200 or (212) 539-8777.
Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
by Andrew Gans
e-mail me at
Diva Talk is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard, 1976- 1998.