Hello, diva lovers! As you already know, this Sunday, June 4, is the biggest night for theatre lovers around the country, when the 54th Annual Antoinette Perry Awards will be broadcast on PBS (8-9 PM) and CBS (9-11 PM). It will be a great evening for diva lovers, too, with performances from several leading ladies of the musical theatre and highly competitive races in both the Leading Actress and Featured Actress in a Musical categories. Last year’s winners in those two fields were Bernadette Peters (Leading Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun) and Kristin Chenoweth (Featured Actress in a Musical for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown). Let’s take a backwards glance at their emotional acceptance speeches:
Bernadette Peters: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know I’d be so emotional, but... Laugh it up and talk to yourselves a little bit ... Thank you for this wonderful honor. I want to thank my manager of 30 years, Tom Hammond, because I wouldn’t be standing here without him, and my husband, Michael Wittenberg, for his love and support throughout this and Graciela Daniele -- see I’m getting myself back -- our director for being the spirit and the force behind Annie Get Your Gun and for actually creating an atmosphere of such creativity -- please wrap it up [she reads on the monitor] -- and closeness that we were allowed to just have this whole thing come together. And Peter Stone and Tom Wopat, a great, great leading man who I adore. And Fran and Barry Weissler, our producers, who I adore and the cast and my dad, who’s watching at home, and my family. And, last but not least, I want to thank my mother who 48 years ago put me in show business. And I want to finally say, officially say to her, ‘Thank you for giving me this wonderful experience and this journey.’ Thank you Ma.”
Kristin Chenoweth: “I’ve never changed my clothes so fast in my life! I have two families to thank. B.D. Wong, Ilana Levine, Roger Bart, Stanley Wayne Mathis and Anthony Rapp. I love you guys likes brothers and sisters. Michael Mayer, I’ll work for you anytime. Andrew Lippa, for writing me a great song. All the producers that believed in our show. Clark Gesner, Charles Schulz, Jay Binder, my agents at Richard Baum and Associates. Mom and Dad, you drove to me to many, many hours of ballet and dance classes. I hope you feel it’s worth it now. My brother, you sat through all those recitals. You’re the man for doing that. My fiance, Mark, I love you. Thanks for holding my hand through all this. My mentor, Florence Birdwell, from Oklahoma City University.”
As that belter of belters, Linda Eder, continues her concert tour, there are several other Eder items worth mentioning. First, on June 11 Eder will be a special guest at “Broadway Bares X: Once in a Lifetime,” the annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This year’s event will be held at the Roseland Ballroom (239 W. 52nd Street, NYC), and tickets begin at $35. To order tickets for either the 9:30 PM or midnight shows, call (212) 840-0770. In August, Eder will be featured in Self Magazine, which will include an interview with the singer that was held earlier this month at her horse farm. And, on October 23 the former leading lady of Jekyll & Hyde will be presented with the 2000 Shining Star Award during the 13th Annual Jane Elissa Extravaganza to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event will be held at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York (Madison & 45th Street), and tickets range from $90 to $1,000; for more information call Jane Elissa at (212) 245-7070 or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at (212) 448-9206, extension 27. CD REISSUES
There are a plethora of older Broadway cast recordings now being reissued on CD. Currently in stores is the fourth series of digitally remastered and restored recordings from Columbia Broadway Masterworks. The titles included in this set of musicals include Bye, Bye, Birdie; Finian’s Rainbow; Kismet; The Pajama Game; and the 1962 studio cast revival of Show Boat, starring Barbara Cook and John Raitt. All the titles contain previously unreleased bonus tracks of interest to any show-music collector . . . Also now in stores -- to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary -- is a remastered version of the original cast recording of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s The Fantasticks. The special deluxe CD booklet includes an introduction by Jones, rare artwork and designs by Schmidt, a detailed history of the show, synopsis of the famed musical and original cast photos. The Fantasticks has been reissued on the Decca Broadway label . . . And, coming to stores on June 6 are reissues of the original Broadway cast recordings of Half a Sixpence and Saratoga. The latter featured music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and starred Carol Lawrence and Howard Keel. Set in New Orleans and Saratoga in the 1880’s, the musical boasted such songs as “Petticoat High,” “Getting A Man,” “Goose Never Be a Peacock” and “A Game of Poker.” Half a Sixpence was the vehicle that brought a 28-year old British pop star, Tommy Steele, to America in 1964. The score, which featured music and lyrics by Irma La Douce’s David Heneker included such songs as “Flash, Bang, Wollop!,” “Money to Burn” and “If the Rain’s Got to Fall.” Both Half a Sixpence and Saratoga will be reissued on the RCA Victor label.
Every few months I receive an e-mail from All Music Services, a mail order record shop that has an abundance of interesting recordings. I thought you would be interested in a few of the items that are currently available through this San Francisco-based service, which is run by Michael Mascioli. All Music Services can be contacted by calling (415) 864-8222 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. What follows is a list of some diva-related items:
Judy Garland, Judy Speaks Two-CD set culled from the notorious Judy Garland private tapes, which have been circulating for years in the Judy underground but which have only come to light recently, thanks to Gerald Clarke's new Judy bio. These private recordings capture the sordidness, sadness and madness of Judy's later years -- and even some of the wry humor of the lady herself, $15.99.
Elaine Stritch, Cakewalk Dramatized play (not a musical) from the prestigious L.A. Theater Works, with the great Stritch starring as playwright Lillian Hellman; co-starring Bruce Davison. Cassette only, $19.99.
Original Cast, Working Two-CD complete recording of L.A. Theater Works' production of this rare musical, previously only available in abridged form on a single LP, long out of print. Songs about the American spirit of the common man by Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor ("Millworker"), Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Craig Carnelia, etc. Starring Orson Bean, Harry Groener & Eileen Barnett, $24.99.
I Sent a Letter To My Love Megan (“Will & Grace”) Mullally fans who enjoyed her debut solo CD will be delighted to hear about I Sent a Letter To My Love, a musical by Jeffrey Sweet & Melissa Manchester, starring Manchester, Mullally and Stephen Bogardus. This two-CD set is a staged reading of the play with all the songs, $24.99.
New Spanish import CD reissues of ultra-rare, collector's-item songbird recordings of the fifties at a domestic price ($15.99):
Marjorie Lee, “Remembering”
Nancy Wright, “You Make Me Feel So Young”
Julie Wilson, “Love”
Dorothy Carless, “The Carless Touch”
Claudia Thompson, “Goodbye To Love”
Fran Warren, “Hey There! It's Fran Warren”
Pat Dahl, “We Dig Pat Dahl”
Yvonne De Carlo, “Sings”
Pat Thomas, “Jazz Patterns”
Janet Blair, “Flame Out”
Lorrie Raine, “Interlude With....”
Miss Gulch Returns: The Wicked Musical Recent reissue (with two bonus tracks) of Fred Barton's hilarious one-man/woman show about the “Wizard of Oz” villainess, with charming, funny songs like “I'm a Bitch,” “Pour Me a Man,” “Give My Best to the Blonde,” $15.99.
Various Billy Barnes Divas A charming collection of special material by the composer of “Something Cool” and “Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair,” tailored to the specific talents and lives of -- and performed by -- his talented L.A. lady friends, like Karen Morrow, Nancy Dussault, Kay Cole, Barbara Sharma, Carole Cook. These gems, usually performed by the women in their club acts, were bound for eventual oblivion until this album, $15.99
IN OTHER NEWS This Monday, June 5, John Kander and Fred Ebb will be honored with The York Theatre Company's 11th Annual Oscar Hammerstein Award at its gala benefit at the Gramercy Theatre (127 East 23rd Street). A stellar list of celebs will honor the musical theatre duo, including Lea DeLaria, who will sing "One of the Boys"; Olympia Dukakis, who will warble Zorba's "Only Love"; Christiane Noll, who will wrap her silky vocals around "A Quiet Thing"; Ann Reinking, who will perform a solo version of Chicago's "Nowadays"; and Annie Get Your Gun's Valerie Wright, who will duet with Charles Busch on "The Grass Is Always Greener." Others scheduled to appear include Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Robert Cuccioli, Charlotte Rae, George S. Irving, Barbara Cook, Maureen McGovern, Mario Cantone, Jane Connell, Eddie Korbich, Marc Kudisch, Heather MacRae, Mark Nadler and AIDA's Sherie Rene Scott. Tickets to the concert and post-show champagne supper with the cast range from $300 to $1,000. Tickets to the concert only are $125; for information and reservations, call (212) 935-5820 . . . For those who are fans of the American popular standard, be sure to tune in to Jonathan Schwartz’s new radio show on WNYC (93.9 FM/820 AM). Schwartz, who was responsible for bringing the music of Nancy LaMott to a larger audience, can be heard on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 PM . . . Speaking of Nancy LaMott, the late singer is thanked in Kathie Lee Gifford’s new CD, “Born for You” (On The Lamb Records). In the liner notes of her new recording, Gifford writes, “I want to thank my dear friend, Nancy LaMott, even though she’s not here to hear the words, for ‘teaching me to sing.’ We all miss you so much.” In fact, the morning talk-show host has recorded several tunes that LaMott sang over the years, including “Help Is on the Way” (the David Friedman anthem that was written for LaMott), “Moondance,” “Not Exactly Paris,” “Child in Me” and “On My Way to You.” The disk also includes songs by John Bucchino (“Sweet Dreams”), Irving Berlin (“I Got Lost in His Arms”), Jerry Herman (“Before the Parade Passes By”) and more . . . While we’re on the topic of Gifford, two Sally Bowles from Cabaret, Joely Fisher and Lea Thompson, will appear on “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” next week. Thompson, who is the star of the touring production of the Kander and Ebb classic, will appear on the June 5 show, and Fisher, who joins the Broadway company today for eight weeks, will chat with Regis and Kathie Lee on Thursday, June 8 . . . And, finally, don’t forget to set your VCRs this Sunday for the long-awaited interview with Betty Buckley on CBS’s “Sunday Morning News with Charles Osgood.” In other BB news, the Tony-winning actress will sing with the New York City’s Gay Men’s Chorus on June 12 (7:30 PM) at their 20th Anniversary Gala Benefit.
FIRST YOU DREAM: A TRIBUTE TO COURAGE:
A host of celebrities will make an appearance at First You Dream: A Tribute to Courage, a one-night-only gala performance honoring Christopher Reeve and Bran Pace. Those names scheduled to appear at The New Amsterdam Theatre on Monday, June 12 (at 7:30 PM) include Glenn Close, Richard Gere, Liza Minnelli, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelly Preston, Dana Reeve, Chita Rivera, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, Robin Williams, Scott Wolf plus Bryan Batt, Julio Boca, Kristin Chenoweth, Margaret Colin, Blythe Danner, Rosemary Harris, Heather Headley, Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, Sharon Lawrence, Tsidii Le Loka, Marin Mazzie, Idina Menzel, Sherie Rene Scott, Claudia Shear, Amy Spanger and cast members of Kiss Me, Kate; The Music Man; AIDA; Annie Get Your Gun; Riverdance; Fosse; Beauty and the Beast; Chicago; The Lion King; Contact; Footloose; Saturday Night Fever; and members of The Broadway Gospel Chorus. The evening will benefit The Actors’ Fund of America’s Catastrophic Care Program and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Tickets range from $50 to $2,500 and may be purchased by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 121.
June 12 with the Gay Men’s Chorus at Carnegie Hall
June 30 & July 1 John Drew Theatre (Guild Hall) in East Hampton, NY
July 24 Martin Theatre (Ravinia Festival) in Highland Park, IL
August 21-September 3 Donmar Warehouse in London, UK
September 16 Stranahan Theatre in Toledo, OH
October 6-7 Scottsdale Center for the Arts Theatre in Scottsdale, AZ
October 28 Univ. of Texas Cowan Fine & Perf. Arts Center in Tyler, TX
I recently received a few new concert dates for theatre/cabaret legend Barbara Cook, which follow:
June 13 at the Playhouse Theatre, Hotel Dupont in Wilmington, Del. (302) 656-4401
July 28 and 29 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA
September 14 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts in Poway, CA (619) 748-0505
September 21 & 22 at the Sydney Opera House (in concert with David Campbell) in Sydney, Australia 011-61-2-9250-7777
September 28-October 1 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA (714) 556-2787
Eder in concert:
July 8 with Michael Feinstein & The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA; (404) 733-4801
July 14 with Feinstein at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA; (206) 628-0888
July 15 with Feinstein at Schnitzer Hall in Portland, OR; (503) 274 6564
July 16 with Feinstein at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, CA; (415) 551-2000
August 5 at the Wildflower Music Festival in White Mills, PA
August 6 with Feinstein at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ; (732) 335-0400
August 8 with Feinstein at the Mann Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA (215) 336-2000
August 9 with Feinstein at the Wolf Trap Filene Center in Vienna, VA; (703) 218-6500 or 1-800-955-5566
August 19 at the John Drew Theater of Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY (631) 324-4050
August 25 with Feinstein at The Ravinia Festival in Chicago, IL; go to www.ravinia.org
August 26 Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser at The River Center w/ Michael Feinstein in Minneapolis, MN
September 26 at the Jones Hall w/Houston Symphony in Houston, TX; call (713) 224-7575
November 4 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334-0800
November 17 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ; call (732) 246-SHOW
November 18 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA; call (610) 252-3132
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:
June 8-11 at Theatrefest/Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ; (973) 655-5112
July 8 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA (with Audra McDonald and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra); (323) 850-2000
January 5-7, 2001 at the Morton J. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX (214) 871-4000
May 26-27 Mason opens the Cabaret series at the Berkshire Theatre Festival
June 1-3 Theatre concert at the new Metropolis Theatre in Arlington Heights, IL; call (847) 577-2121
June 5 Opening night of the San Francisco Cabaret Convention
June 7 The Plush Room in San Francisco; call 415-885-2800
Sept. 5 - Oct. 14 Arci’s Place, 450 Park Avenue, New York, NY; call (212) 532-4370.
June 12 Marilyn Bergman salute at the Pierre Hotel July 18-23 World Premiere of White Christmas at the St. Louis MUNY Opera June 25 The Bradstan Country Hotel in White Lake, NY (914) 583 4114
September 5-14 at Arci’s Place in New York, NY (212) 532-4370
Scheduled concert dates for McDonald follow:
June 12 at Town Hall, NYC (Benefit for GMHC; call 212-367-1514)
July 8 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA (with Patti LuPone and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra); (323) 850-2000
Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!
By Andrew Gans