Hello, diva lovers. As of this week, "Diva Talk" will run on a weekly basis. Enjoy the gals...
Few possess a voice like Judy Kuhn, the three-time Tony Award nominee who made her name in three back-to-back eighties musicals: Rags, Les Misérables and Chess. Kuhn's voice can soar to a rich, rangy soprano, but it is probably the big, Broadway belt that she employed in Chess and King David that most excites diva lovers, this one in particular.
Kuhn, who recently received an Obie Award for her work in the Off-Broadway Laura Nyro tribute Eli's Comin', will make a rare concert appearance on March 23 in the acclaimed American Songbook series, which is devoted to the popular American song. Kuhn will perform two shows — at 8 and 10 PM — in this Lincoln Center series, which will be held at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse (165 W. 65th Street, Rose Building, 10th floor) in Manhattan.
Under the direction of Jeff Klitz, Kuhn's program will feature an eclectic mixture of tunes by an array of American composers. Audiences can expect to hear Kuhn's lush, vibrato filled tones on two Joni Mitchell tunes, "All I Want" and "Let the Wind Carry Me"; Tom Waits' "I Don't Want to Grow Up"; Kurt Weill's "Susan's Dream"; two Harold Arlen classics, "Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home" and "Come Rain or Come Shine"; and other works. (Maybe Kuhn will offer The Baker's Wife's "Where Is the Warmth?" or "Meadowlark" as an encore, since she recently performed in a concert version of that Stephen Schwartz musical.)
Tickets to Kuhn's concerts ($45 for the 8 PM show and $30 for the 10 PM program) can be purchased by calling (212) 721 6500. (Cabaret singer Mary Cleere Haran will perform "The Memory of All That: Gershwin on Broadway and in Hollywood" the night before, also at 8 and 10 PM.) BERNADETTE PETERS
I had the pleasure of attending this week's launch party for Bernadette Peters' new solo CD, "Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein." With Jonathan Tunick on piano, the ever-youthful Peters performed a song from the recording for the jam-packed crowd at New York's Angus McIndoe Restaurant. Peters offered a wonderful rendition of "Some Enchanted Evening" just after it was announced that the two time Tony winner would make her solo Radio City Music Hall concert debut on June 19. Backed by a full orchestra under the direction of Jonathan Tunick, Peters will perform all 13 tracks from her Rodgers and Hammerstein recording as well as several R&H tunes that didn't make the recording. About the genesis of her new recording, Peters recently told me that the idea was brought to her by "my producer, Richard [Jay-] Alexander. I've always loved Carousel. It was the first Broadway show I ever heard on record, but I didn't know if I wanted to sing any of the other music. I always sang "Mister Snow" and "If I Loved You" in [voice lessons], but when I started reinvestigating the music, I found myself connecting a lot to the songs, and then Steve Sondheim told me Oscar Hammerstein believed everything he wrote, so I found great truth in the songs. I never thought I'd sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'but it's just gorgeous and the sentiment is just beautiful...and "Some Enchanted Evening"...and "It Might As Well Be Spring" is such a perfect song." For my complete interview with the former Into the Woods star, go to http://www.playbill.com/cgibin/plb/feature?cmd=show&code=111351.
FOR THE RECORD:
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY
A few years back, pop singer Melissa Manchester released a wonderful recording aptly titled "Tribute," which paid homage to some of her singing mentors throughout the years: Judy Garland, Dionne Warwick, Eydie Gorme . . . . Broadway and cabaret star Ann Hampton Callaway has followed that lead with her newest recording, "Signature," a set of 12 standards, each of which pays tribute to a man or woman who has influenced her career.
Callaway recently explained, "I’ve learned a lot of what I know about life through singers. . . I’d like to be somebody who could get people excited about the great standards. I want to celebrate the legends of song." Some of the legends that she honors on her seventh solo recital include Sarah Vaughan ("Tenderly"), Billie Holiday ("Good Morning Heartache"), Frank Sinatra ("In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning") and Tony Bennett ("The Best Is Yet to Come"). High points of Callaway's recording for N-Coded Music include a swinging version of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's upbeat "The Best Is Yet to Come"; a plaintive reading of Bob Hillard and David Mann’s "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"; the Walter Gross-Jack Lawrence classic, "Tenderly"; and the bluesy "Good Morning Heartache."
The complete track listing for Callaway's "Signature" follows:
"You Turned the Tables on Me"
"A Kiss To Build a Dream On"
"The Best Is Yet to Come"
"For All We Know"
"In the Wee Small Hours of the Evening"
"Is That All There Is?"
"Good Morning Heartache"
"Pick Yourself Up"
IN OTHER NEWS Those "Dames" scheduled to appear on Monday, March 18 at the 7th annual performance of Nothing Like a Dame include Bernadette Peters, Bebe Neuwirth, Cynthia Nixon, Kathleen Turner, Phyllis Newman, Chita Rivera, Sandy Duncan, Polly Bergen, Lea DeLaria, Ann Reinking, Heather Headley, Audra McDonald, Lillias White, Jennifer Holliday, Michele Lee, Hannah Lea Dunn, Susie Essma, Amanda Green, Julie Halston, Joan Hamburg, Ann Harada, Michela Marino Lerman, Debra Monk and honorary Dames Tony Randall and James Naughton. Also on the star-studded bill are The Radio City Rockettes, the women of One Mo' Time and many more. The annual event benefits The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors' Fund of America. Tickets to the 8 PM performance at the St. James Theatre (246 W. 44th Street) are available by calling(212) 840-0770. . . . Original Cast Records has two new releases of interest for diva lovers. "Come Back Little Sheba," a musical version of the famed William Inge play, features a score by Clint Ballard, Jr. and Lee Goldsmith and a cast led by Tony winner Donna McKechnie and Mark Peters. Also on the Original Cast label is a solo CD from June Angela, the Shogun Tony nominee who was also the youngest Tuptim ever in a Broadway production of The King and I. Angela’s disc features six tunes from Shogun as well as songs from Sing to the Dawn, Sayonara and The King and I . . . It seems to be a great year for the legendary Barbara Cook, whose Mostly Sondheim concert will return to Lincoln Center in June. The Tony-winning Music Man star will also be honored by the New Dramatists at its 53rd Annual Benefit Luncheon on May 14. The "nation's oldest non-profit workshop dedicated to the development of new playwrights" will honor Cook at its annual spring luncheon, which will be held in the Broadway Ballroom of the New York Marriott Marquis. Director Harold Prince will present the gifted soprano with her award, and he and Stephen Sondheim will serve as the event's honorary chairs. Tickets for the luncheon are $200, a portion of which is tax deductible; call (212) 757-6960.
Betty Buckley in Concert:
March 15 & 16, 2002 with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh, NC
March 30 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA
Barbara Cook in Concert:
April 3 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA (Mostly Sondheim)
April 9 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY (June Lebell series: The Sound Of Broadway)
April 12-13 Marilyn Horne and Barbara Cook at the Wharton Center at Michigan State University in MI
April 18-28 at the Mohegan Sun in CT
May 14 Cook receives the New Dramatists’ Lifetime Achievement Award at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, NY
May 19-20 with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA
June 5-9 and June 12-16 at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC
June 23-Aug. 26 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, NY (Mostly Sondheim)
July 5 at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts in Long Island
August 14-18 at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC
Oct. 11 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Oct. 19 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA
Nov. 17 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ Maureen McGovern in Concert:
March 21-22 at Scullers Jazz Club Boston, MA
March 23 Wall to Wall Richard Rodgers at Symphony Space, New York
March 24 Airmen of Note Guest Artist Series - DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC
April 30-May 6 & May 8-May 13 Cinegrill Grand Re-Opening, Los Angeles, CA
May 17-18 "Works of Heart" Seminar - New York, NY
June 22 "Music by the Lake," Lake Geneva, WI
June 29-Aug. 17 Dear World at Sundance Theater, Sundance, UT
July 4 at the Caramoor Center for Music & the Arts at the Venetian Theater, Katonah, NY
Sept. 1-2 MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon, Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 20 - 22 Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, MI
Sept 26-29 North Carolina Symphony, Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC
Oct. 30-Nov. 3 American Music Therapy Association Conference in Atlanta, GA
Nov. 19-Dec. 1 at the Plush Room in San Francisco, CA
Dec. 6 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA
Dec. 8 at Poway Center for the Performing Arts in Poway, CA
Dec. 9 Laurie Strauss Leukemia Benefit, Carnegie Hall in New York City
Dec. 12 - 14 at Orange County Performing Arts Center Founders Hall in Costa Mesa, CA
Bernadette Peters in Concert:
April 5-6 at the Orange County Perf. Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
April 13 at the Providence Perf. Arts Center in Providence, RI
April 20 at Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis, MO
April 26 at the Hilbert Circle in Indianapolis, IN
May 18 at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA
Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at the Morton H. Meyerson Hall in Dallas, TX
Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!
— By Andrew Gans