DIVA TALK: LuPone Brings Down the House

DIVA TALK: LuPone Brings Down the House Hello diva lovers! Just a few items this week, but enjoy . . .

PATTI LuPONE
I would have to give Patti LuPone "Best Sport of the Year" award for her participation in The Old Neighborhood's entry in this year's Easter Bonnet Competition. LuPone took the brunt of some good-natured ribbing presented by two fellow cast members of Neighborhood. In this hilarious take-off of Mamet's distinct writing style, Kelly Maurer and Mary McCann complain about having to learn so many "f***in' lines for that f***in' Patti LuPone." Standing at a nearby podium was another Neighborhood cast member, Jim Frangione, who bleeped out each of the women's countless expletives. In light of the recent celebrity skiing accidents this past winter Maurer and McCann -- both of whom have understudied LuPone's role -- plot to off the actress, and one suggested presenting her with a pair of skis. When the other woman revealed that she had already given this gift to LuPone, La LuPone appeared onstage, looking like the victim of multiple skiing accidents (wearing a caution sign and mangled ski poles) and proclaiming, "It's going to take more than a f***n' skiing accident to take this role away from me!" Needless to say, she brought down the house. As usual, the Easter Bonnet Competition was one of the most enjoyable, funny, moving and uplifting productions of the year.

Hello diva lovers! Just a few items this week, but enjoy . . .

PATTI LuPONE
I would have to give Patti LuPone "Best Sport of the Year" award for her participation in The Old Neighborhood's entry in this year's Easter Bonnet Competition. LuPone took the brunt of some good-natured ribbing presented by two fellow cast members of Neighborhood. In this hilarious take-off of Mamet's distinct writing style, Kelly Maurer and Mary McCann complain about having to learn so many "f***in' lines for that f***in' Patti LuPone." Standing at a nearby podium was another Neighborhood cast member, Jim Frangione, who bleeped out each of the women's countless expletives. In light of the recent celebrity skiing accidents this past winter Maurer and McCann -- both of whom have understudied LuPone's role -- plot to off the actress, and one suggested presenting her with a pair of skis. When the other woman revealed that she had already given this gift to LuPone, La LuPone appeared onstage, looking like the victim of multiple skiing accidents (wearing a caution sign and mangled ski poles) and proclaiming, "It's going to take more than a f***n' skiing accident to take this role away from me!" Needless to say, she brought down the house. As usual, the Easter Bonnet Competition was one of the most enjoyable, funny, moving and uplifting productions of the year.

LuPone fans will also be happy to learn that the original London cast recording of Les Miserables, which stars PL as Fantine, will be re released in a newly re-mastered version from Relativity/First Night Records. The London cast also features Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean and two London musical theatre stars, Michael Ball (as Marius) and Frances Ruffelle (as Eponine). About this new recording, John Craig, president of First Night Records, has this to say: "Thirteen years have passed since this recording was originally released. In that amount of time, the advancements made in audio technology have been formidable, and we thought that the original version of this musical was worthy of a complete overhaul to bring the sound quality to 1998 standards. The difference is truly stunning and I think all 'Les Miz' fans will be as thrilled as I was when they hear it."


BERNADETTE PETERS
Hope you caught BP this past Saturday night looking wonderful and singing even better at the Quincy Jones tribute on ABC. You may also be able to catch Peters in person in the next few months. A slew of new concert dates have just been scheduled, and the list follows:

April 25 in Greensburg, PA at the Palace Theatre
May 9 in Knoxville, TN at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum
May 17 in Purchase, NY (venue to come)
May 30 in Phoenix, AZ at the Orpheum Theatre
June 2 in Toronto at the Roy Thomson Hall
July 4 in St. Louis at the Fair Saint Louis
July 17 in San Francisco at the Louise Davie Hall
August 11 in Philadelphia at the Mann Music Center
Sept. 11-12 in Nashville, TN at the Andrew Jackson Hall
Oct. 10 in Spring, TX at the Centrum
Oct. 16-17 in Atlanta at the Rialto Theatre
Feb. 13, 1999 in Birmingham, AL (venue to come)
Feb. 20 in Toledo, OH (venue to come)
April 9-10 in Kansas City (venue to come)
Dec. 31 in Colorado Springs, CO (venue to come)

BACK TO BACHARACH
Although the Burt Bacharach revue that was supposed to come to the Roundabout Theatre this summer has been postponed, you can still get a healthy dose of the composer's work on a new album from Varese Sarabande. Simply titled The Burt Bacharach Album, the highly enjoyable recording spotlights many of the composer's greatest tunes, including "A House Is Not a Home," "The Look of Love," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and many others. A host of theatre and pop divas can be heard on the CD, including Susan Egan, Jane Krakowski, Christiane Noll, Shauna Hicks and Helen Reddy. The complete song list follows:

"What's New, Pussycat?" sung by Jason Graae
"Are You There (with Another Girl)?" sung by Farah Alvin
"I'll Never Fall in Love Again" sung by Guy Haines
"My Little Red Book" sung by Melba Joyce
"One Less Bell To Answer" sung by Christiane Noll
Bacharach at the Movies ("The Blob," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Hot Spell," "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head") sung by The Plaids
"Alfie" sung by Michelle Nicastro
"The Look of Love" sung by Jane Krakowski
"Anyone Who Had a Heart" sung by La Chanze
"Whoever You Are, I Love You" sung by Susan Egan
"Window Wishing" sung by Alet Oury
"A House Is Not a Home" sung by Linda Purl
A Bacharach Love Story ("Magic Moments," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Close To You," "Wives and Lovers," "Make It Easy on Yourself," "Promises, Promises") sung by Shauna Hicks
"That's What Friends Are For" sung by Helen Reddy


IN OTHER NEWS
Nell Carter,
The Tony-winning star of Ain't Misbehavin', will perform in concert April 28 through May 3 at the just opened Basin Street West in the Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs, California. The new club is owned by a plethora of celebrities including Hal Linden, Jack Jones, Larry Gelbart, Jerry Vale, Monty Hall and others. . . Robin Lyon, who recently performed the role of the Narrator opposite Donny Osmond in the tour of Joseph, will return to the cabaret stage of the Triad on Tuesday, May 19 at 7 PM in a show featuring songs by Frank Loesser, David Friedman, Michael Orland and others. The Triad is located at 158 W. 72nd Street; for reservations call (212) 799-4599.


REMINDERS:
BETTY BUCKLEY
Betty Buckley has been nominated for two MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards, one for Major Female Vocalist of the Year and the other for Major Artist Recording of the Year (for Much More on Sterling Records). The MAC Awards will be held this Sunday, April 19 at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street. Call (212) 465-2662 for more information.


CHESS
Chess will be performed in concert next month on May 10 and 17. The two Sunday performances will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and will be held at the John Houseman Theatre at 450 West 42nd Street. Currently on sale, tickets may be purchased by credit card by calling 212 354-2220 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Included in the cast will be an array of some of Broadway's finest talents including Alice Ripley, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Cerveris, Christiane Noll, Miller McLeod, Carl Anderson, Danny Zolli, Raymond Jaramillo, David Clemmons and Robert Evan.


BARBARA COOK
For those of you who have yet to see the legendary Barbara Cook live, you can get another chance during her current run at the chic cabaret room of the Cafe Carlyle (Madison Avenue at 76th Street). Call 212-744-1600 for reservations.


JUDY KUHN
The beautiful-voiced star of Les Miz and Chess is just one of the many talented performers who will star in the upcoming production of As Thousands Cheer for the Drama Dept. At this point, others in the Irving Berlin/Moss Hart musical comedy revue include Howard McGillin, Mary Beth Peil and B.D. Wong. Performances are scheduled to begin on May 27, and the production will be directed by Christopher Ashley and will feature choreography by Kathleen Marshall.


ELAINE PAIGE
Tickets are available to The Misanthrope by calling 011-44-171-287 0464. . .On June 7 and 8 EP will take part in the charity concert Hey Mr. Producer, which will celebrate the work of another legendary Brit, producer Cameron Mackintosh. . . .And, Paige will appear in concert at the Hampton Court Palace Festival on June 19. Tickets may be purchased by calling 011-171-344-4444


A SWELL PARTY
A plethora of performers will unite this June for a three-evening extravaganza that celebrates the art form that is called cabaret. Titled "A Swell Party," the celebration will take place on June 8, 9 and 10 to benefit The Mabel Mercer Foundation. On the first evening, June 8 at 6 PM, a host of newcomers will be welcomed onto the stage of Town Hall. The second evening will pay tribute to the legendary Cole Porter, and those who will warble his songs include Ann Hampton Callaway, Claiborne Cary, Paula Laurence, Marcia Lewis, Marin Mazzie, Liliane Montevecchi, Patricia Morrison, Sidney Meyer, Abe Reybold, Steve Ross, Jon Soleather, David Staller, Elaine Stritch, Margaret Whiting, Julie Wilson and Gretchen Wyler. The final evening commemorates what would have been Gertrude Lawrence's 100th birthday. Donna Murphy will be joined by Jeff Harnar, Celeste Holm, Alix Korey, Andrea Marcovicci, Patricia Morison, Christian Nova, Phillip Officer, KT Sullivan and many others. Ticket orders are accepted only by mail ($10 per performance; send checks made out to "The Mabel Mercer Foundation" to Finell Enterprises, 301 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021), and further information is available by calling (212) 980-3026 or (212) 980-3109 during regular office hours.


JULIE WILSON

Julie Wilson is currently performing at Michael's Pub at 57 East 54th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues) in NY. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 9 and 11 PM. There is a $20 music charge Tuesday-Saturday, $25 Friday and Saturday and a $15 food or drink minimum for all performances. Call (212) 758-2272 or (212) 355-0243 for reservations.


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

-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me at andrew_gans@playbill.com