Exciting news on the Betty Buckley front this week. BB's newest album for Sterling Records, Much More, has already hit record stores in and around the New York City area. The CD--which features such classic songs as "Come Rain or Come Shine," "The Man That Got Away," "Cry Me a River," "Autumn Leaves," "Skylark" and others--will hit stores across the country in the next two weeks. Much More joins Buckley's four other recordings for the Sterling label: Children Will Listen, With One Look, The London Concert and An Evening at Carnegie Hall.
Hope you caught Ms. B on Thursday's "Rosie O'Donnell Show," where she chatted with everyone's favorite morning talk-show host and then delivered a tune from her current Broadway musical Triumph of Love. Buckley sang "Serenity," her first-act showstopper, with music by Jeffrey Stock and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. The Tony winner was in great voice and delivered a powerful rendition of this beautiful song that explores her character's search for peace during the turbulent times of her youth and the years that followed.
You can catch Buckley, F. Murray Abraham and Susan Egan nightly at the Royale Theatre in the new musical comedy Triumph of Love, which officially opens on Oct. 23. Tickets are available by calling 212-432-7250 or 1-800-447-7400 and may also be purchased in person at the box office of the Royale.
The new air date has been set for the episode of "Law & Order" in which La LuPone will reprise her role as defense attorney Ruthie Miller. Be sure to set your VCRs for Wednesday, Oct. 15 (NBC) to catch Patti in action. It was also announced this week that tickets for The Old Neighborhood, the new David Mamet play that will bring LuPone back to Broadway, will go on sale on Oct. 19 through Tele-charge (212-239-6200). Previews will begin on Nov. 11 at the Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street) with an opening night scheduled for Nov. 19. Neighborhood, which is being described as a "drama of domestic relationships," will be LuPone's latest Broadway outing, after her critically-acclaimed turn in Terrence McNally's Master Class. It seems that LuPone is a force to be reckoned with in both genres of theatre, musical and non-musical. Of course, we always knew that!
And, if all this isn't enough, LuPone is currently filming a featured role in the upcoming independent film 24 Hour Woman, which is being directed by Nancy Savoca (True Lies, Household Saints). The movie also stars Academy Award nominee Rosie Perez and Marie Jean-Baptiste.
One of the more regal performers around, Donna Murphy (who can currently be seen on the new CBS series "Michael Hayes"), a woman who seems to exude class, is set to co-host The Little Orchestra Society's 50th Anniversary Benefit Concert on Monday, Oct. 20 at 7pm at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. The concert will be followed by a star-studded Gala Benefit, which will be held at The Plaza Hotel and will celebrate this unique organization.
The Little Orchestra Society was founded in 1947 and runs various arts and community outreach programs in an effort to bring classical music to people of all ages. Some of the programs run by the organization include "Sound Invitations--Imaginative Concerts for Adult Listeners" and "Happy Concerts for Young People." Tickets for the upcoming Golden Jubilee Concert and Fantasy Ball are available by calling 212-704-2100. Tickets, which are priced at $500 and $1,000, are also available by mailing a check and self-addressed stamped envelope to The Little Orchestra Society, 220 West 42nd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036.
I was delighted, as usual, to receive the latest copy of the Elaine Paige newsletter, Front Paige News. In this issue the editor of the newsletter, Alan Vince, relates that in addition to a brand-new album, a compilation album of Elaine's work will soon be available, probably in Nov., on the Camden label. Entitled From a Distance, the CD will be a mixture of tracks from two previous albums, Romance and the Stage and Love Can Do That, as well as a few live concert tracks. As is customary with the EP newsletter, the one-and-only Paige always includes a personal note. Thought you would like to read her latest message:
My stay in NYC flashed by--in fact so much so that I only got to rollerblade in Central Park on my last day! I had a great time and once again want to thank you all for making it such fun there, by travelling such a long way to see me, sending me wonderful letters and gifts and of course greeting me at the stage door. The end of 'Sunset' was a time of mixed emotions for everyone concerned--I felt sad to leave such a tremendous team of people, all so professional and committed, who had helped make me so welcome for my debut on Broadway.
After a month or so seeing all the theatre there was to see in New York and catching up with the shows pre the Tony Awards, I was off to Boston. The Pops concerts were most enjoyable: a great orchestra, a young and lively conductor, Keith Lockhart, with lots of personality and a very welcoming audience. (They even laughed at my jokes!) If you're in the States at the moment I believe the programme is being broadcast so I hope you enjoy it.
Well, this summer has been a time of revisiting favourite roles. In Copenhagen I was able to tread the boards again, with my great friend Tommy Korberg, in the role of Florence in 'Chess' (over 10 years since I had last sung the role!). And now I am busy rehearsing and recording the video of 'Cats' for future release, as Grizabella the Glamour Cat. When not working I have been able to take a well-earned rest, to enjoy the summer and think about my next project, a new album. I'm hoping to go into the studio some time in the autumn to start recording--more news on this to come. . . Here's hoping you had a good summer. It's lovely to be back in London but to all my new friends in the States, I miss NYC and look forward to returning soon. Lots of love, Elaine."
Exciting news for those of you looking to expand your diva range. Judi Connelli, one of Australia's premiere theatre and cabaret stars, will be returning to the U.S. for two concerts at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall at the end of the month, plus appearances at the Algonquin Hotel (Oct. 16 at 9:30 pm) and Eighty Eights (Oct. 17, 18 and 24 at 11pm; Oct. 19 at 3 pm) cabaret in the West Village. For those of you Sunset watchers, Connelli was actually one of the final contenders for the role of Norma Desmond in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, a role that eventually went to Debra Byrne. No stranger to the musical theatre, Connelli, a native Australian, has starred in The Three Penny Opera, Into the Woods, Chicago and Simply Irresistible and can be heard on three solo albums, the most recent of which is On My Way To You, which includes "With One Look" from SB.
It was only two years ago, in Oct. of 1995, that Connelli brought down the house at the annual Cabaret Convention at Town Hall. It was shortly after that mesmerizing appearance that Connelli was in a tragic automobile accident that saw her fighting for her life. Now fully recovered, Connelli will bring her talents to the stage of the Weill Recital Hall on Oct. 30 and 31 for two special concerts. Tickets, which range from $30-$35, are now on sale at the Carnegie Hall box office and through Carnegie Charge (212) 246-7800.
Tony Award winner Liliane Montevecchi (Nine, Grand Hotel) will join forces with another legendary French star, Jean Pierre Cassel, for what promises to be an exciting evening of cabaret on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7 and 9:30 PM. The two performers will be part of the 92nd St. Y's annual "Cabaret in Concert" series, held in the Y's Kaufman Auditorium at 1395 Lexington Avenue.
The evening will be divided into three sections and will include songs in both French and English. The first part of the evening will spotlight Montevecchi as she performs songs that were originally "made in France," but later crossed the Atlantic. Following "La Lesson Francais" is "Fred By Myself," which will feature the French film star Cassel in a tribute to another film legend, Fred Astaire. Astaire introduced many wonderful songs by such composers as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, and these songs, plus a few dance routines, will be offered during this second segment. The final portion of the evening, "Paris-New York" will include both performers while featuring such songs as "I Love Paris" and "Un Homme et Une Femme."
Tickets range from $30-$35 and are available by calling Y-Charge at 212 996-1100.
Ellen Green, who starred Off-Broadway and in the film of Little Shop of Horrors, is wowing audiences as Nancy in a production of Oliver! at the North Shore Music Theatre in Massachusetts.
Florence Lacey continues her world tour of Evita, now starring at the Schiller Theatre in Berlin from Oct. 15 through Nov. 23.
Bernadette Peters will star in two 10th anniversary reunion concerts of Into the Woods on Nov. 9 at the Broadway Theatre.
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
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