DIVA TALK: Gypsies, Camp and Divas

DIVA TALK: Gypsies, Camp and Divas THE GYPSY IN THEIR SOUL
Twice a year I’m completely awed by the talents of the Broadway gypsies: first in the late fall in The Gypsy of the Year Competition and then in the spring in The Easter Bonnet Competition. And this year’s Gypsy event, which benefits the many services of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, was no exception. In fact, during the first ten minutes of this high-energy production, I was both thrilled and moved as current Broadway dancers paid homage to the now 25-year-old A Chorus Line with reworked lyrics to the Marvin Hamlisch/Edward Kleban tune, “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love.” As Broadway’s young dancers finished their inspirational routine, out came a dozen or so members of the original company of A Chorus Line who were greeted with cheers and a standing ovation. It was a particularly poignant moment as those now in the ranks paid homage to a show (and its performers) that had probably inspired many of them to enter the world of the theatre.

THE GYPSY IN THEIR SOUL
Twice a year I’m completely awed by the talents of the Broadway gypsies: first in the late fall in The Gypsy of the Year Competition and then in the spring in The Easter Bonnet Competition. And this year’s Gypsy event, which benefits the many services of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, was no exception. In fact, during the first ten minutes of this high-energy production, I was both thrilled and moved as current Broadway dancers paid homage to the now 25-year-old A Chorus Line with reworked lyrics to the Marvin Hamlisch/Edward Kleban tune, “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love.” As Broadway’s young dancers finished their inspirational routine, out came a dozen or so members of the original company of A Chorus Line who were greeted with cheers and a standing ovation. It was a particularly poignant moment as those now in the ranks paid homage to a show (and its performers) that had probably inspired many of them to enter the world of the theatre.


Other highlights of the two-and-a-half hour program included two young tykes from the company of Beauty and the Beast singing about the woman (a “wrangler”) who takes care of them backstage (“If My Wrangler Was Married”); an homage to both Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse as three members of Fosse performed a dance the late choreographer had created for Verdon for a 1968 Bob Hope special that hasn’t been seen on a stage since; the four members of Off-Broadway’s recent revue, Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, bemoaning the fact that their customers only want to hear Weill’s “Mack the Knife”; an unlikely pairing of Aida’s Adam Pascal with End of the World Party’s Jim J. Bullock that included other actors from both shows; the many children who were born to cast members of The Phantom of the Opera during that show’s 13-year-run; and an extremely moving offering from the company of Miss Saigon, which reunited cast members from that show throughout its decade-long reign on Broadway. And, the program ended in cheers when Lily Tomlin -- in the guise of Ernestine the Operator -- announced that this year’s event had raised a whopping $2,056.66.07 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Congratulations to all those who made the event such a success.

HEARTS THAT SING
Lainie Kazan of My Favorite Year fame will host Our Heart Sings, a concert celebrating the launch of Jerome Records, a new label, and benefiting The Genesius Guild, a non-profit company dedicated to the creation of new theatre. Those performers expected to strut their stuff this Monday, Dec. 11 at 8 PM include Alice Ripley, Donna McKechnie, Emily Skinner, Paige Price, Diana Canova, Deborah Tranelli, Donna Lynne Champlin, Georga Osborne, Angela Decicco, Laurie Krauz plus James Alexander, James Beeks, David Gurland, Mark Nadler, Sal Viviano and several others. The event will be held at Second Stage Theatre (307 West 43rd Street), and tickets are available by calling (212) 724-3566, ext. 3.

QUOTABLE QUOTES
Barbara Cook, who performs in concert this Tuesday at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, discusses “new music” (from Robert Strauss’ article in the New Jersey Weekly Desk):
“I guess I've always worried about getting old. It's nothing new, but I try to make it a point, at least, of trying to keep up with new music. Unfortunately, whenever I look at MTV, there is always something I want to hear, but I don't want to slog through 14 other unworthy songs to hear it. So I go back to listen to classical music. Still, I always try to have something new. It's a wonderful way to keep young.”


Dame Edna Everage, who will soon bring her show, The Royal Tour, to Florida discusses that state’s inhabitants (in an upcoming Playbill article by Patrick Pacheco):
“I've been looking at brochures [of Florida] and I've noticed something. There are an awful lot of women who look like me there. Clones. They've obviously seen me in New York, and I'm their role model. They're longing to see me. They need me. They are suffering from EDS, Edna Deprivation Syndrome. And I must cure them.”


Chanteuse Mary Cleere-Haran, who will soon be appearing at New York’s Cafe Carlyle, discusses her thoughts when interpreting a lyric (in an upcoming Playbill article by David Drake)
“I’m intrigued by who wrote the lyrics [to these older songs], who these lyricists really were. It tells you so much about what you’re singing. Because songs are not arias -- they’re songs. And in that, there’s a simplicity, a straight-forwardness that has a Populist feel to them which, ultimately, -- is what makes them so wonderful.”

IN OTHER NEWS Exciting news for Patti LuPone fans! It looks like La LuPone and George Hearn will repeat their starring roles in Sweeney Todd in Concert in several cities around the country, including San Francisco. Stay tuned for details . . . Two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters, who recently ended her triumphant run in the hit revival of Annie Get Your Gun, will be the final diva presented in this year’s acclaimed series “Broadway Divas and Gay Icons” held at New York’s Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Peters will be interviewed by New York Times writer and critic Stephen Holden on Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 PM. There is a $10 suggested donation for this event; for more info go to www.gaycenter.org . . . Angela Lansbury was one of the select few who were recently feted at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D. C. The program, which was taped for television, will air on CBS on Wednesday, Dec. 27. Those Broadwayites who were there to honor the Tony-winning star of Mame included Karen Ziemba, Donna Murphy, Nathan Lane, Len Cariou and Marin Mazzie, who sang a selection of tunes associated with Lansbury . . . Barbara Cook’s upcoming concert at Carnegie Hall on February 3 will be recorded live for DRG Records . . . I recently received a handful of new Linda Eder concert dates, which follow: Dec 11 with the Broadway Gospel Choir at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT (860 444-7373); Dec. 18 with the Broadway Gospel Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY (212-247-7800); March 17 at the Thomasville Cultural Center in Thomasville, GA (912-226-0588); and April 29 at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA (978-232-7200) . . . Opera diva Julia Migenes will star in a one-woman show entitled Diva on the Verge from Dec. 9 through Jan. 6 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. Migenes’ show will take the audience on a kaleidoscopic roller coaster ride look at the world of opera, both onstage and behind the scenes. Tickets are available by calling (310) 477-2055.

REMINDERS:

BETTY BUCKLEY
Dec. 29 at the Bottom Line in New York, NY
Dec. 31 The Cuillo Center for the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL
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. 19-29 Florida Condo Tour in Florida
March 3 Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
May 12 College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
June 17 Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA

BARBARA COOK
Cook’s concert itinerary follows:

Jan. 12, 2001 at Alice Tully Hall in New York, NY (“The Music of Arthur Schwartz” with Maureen McGovern, John Pizzarelli and more)
Feb. 2 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:
Jan. 12 & 13, 2001 in Charlotte, NC at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; (704) 372-1000
Jan. 20, 2001 with the Boca Pops at Florida Atlantic Univ in Boca Raton, FL; go to: www.bocapops.org
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. 3 at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek, CO; (888) 920 2787
Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; (202) 467-4600
Feb. 23 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334 0800
Feb. 24 at the Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ; (973) 539-8008
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:
Now through Dec. 17 (“Matters of the Heart”; Sunday and Monday evenings only) at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, NY; (212) 239-6200
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
What follows is Mason’s up-to-date performance schedule:
Now through Dec. 10 Karen performs her Christmas Show at Davenports in Chicago, IL (773) 278-1830
Dec. 15-17, 22-23 Karen celebrates Christmas with conductor John McDaniel and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, MO
March 17 Appearance at 92nd Street Y with Craig Carnelia in New York, NY

MAUREEN McGOVERN
Dec. 8-11 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Portland, OR
Dec. 12 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Salem, OR

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:
Dec. 7-17 The Magic of Christmas with the Portland Symphony in Portland, ME; (207) 842-0800

BERNADETTE PETERS
The two-time Tony winner, who recently concluded her run in Annie Get Your Gun, is now on a U.S. concert tour:
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)

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

By Andrew Gans