Hello, diva lovers! I'll be out of the office all next week, but you can send e-mails beginning Monday, August 30. Have a great week, and enjoy the diva news. . .
Wasn't Ms. B a charming host for this week's PBS broadcast of "Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley"? The thoroughly entertaining program, which focused on the songwriting careers of Ann Ronnell, Dana Suesse, Kay Swift and Dorothy Fields also enabled Buckley to sing the hell out of such vintage tunes as "Just the Way You Look Tonight" and "I Feel a Song Coming On." The Tony winner is currently in rehearsals for the upcoming Hartford Stage production of Camino Real, Tennessee Williams's epic fantasy running September 9 through October 10 at the famed regional theatre. Directed by Michael Wilson, the play will also star Obie and Emmy Award-winning actor Rip Torn as Casanova and James Colby as ex-boxer Kilroy.
Camino Real is set in a fictional port that resembles Casablanca or Tangiers, and the theatre's official press release further explains that the Williams play is "populated with heroes and dreamers of literature and history, including Kilroy, Camille, Casanova, the arch-romantic Don Quixote and the poet Lord Byron. Williams' surreal flight of imagination sparked controversy when it premiered on Broadway in 1953 for its departure from the conventional plays of the era. Now, on the verge of the millennium, the play is capturing America's imagination, receiving four notable stage productions this year in the Northeast." Wilson, the play's director, recently commented that Camino Real "is a marvelous fiesta of song and dance, color and activity. At the same time it contains some of Tennessee's most moving poetry and touching descriptions of heartache and longing. It is a theatrical banquet and one of the largest productions I have directed. I am particularly happy," he added, "that James Colby is returning, and that two truly remarkable artists, Betty Buckley and Rip Torn, are playing two of the most famous lovers of all time."
For tickets to this production, call the Hartford Stage box office at (860) 527-5151. Tickets range from $17.50 to $43 and go on sale this Sunday, August 22. PATTI LuPONE
Patti LuPone received raves from the London critics for her one-woman show, Matters of the Heart, which concludes its run tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Donmar Warehouse. I thought you would enjoy reading quotes from two West End reviewers:
Patrick O'Connor in the Daily Telegraph:
". . .As someone who began as a straight actress, with a repertoire stretching from Dario Fo and David Mamet to episodes of 'Frasier,' her diction and timing, and her ability to keep up the tension and hold the stage, are all first-rate . . ."
Clive Davis in The Times:
". . .[LuPone] leaves behind the bombast and kitsch [of Sunset Boulevard and Les Miz] and goes for quality and intimacy, with only a piano for company. The result is genuinely startling. LuPone and director Scott Wittman have concocted a celebration of love -- not to mention lust -- that largely avoids fake tears and tinsel and goes, if you will pardon the pun, for the heart of the matter. . .Sometimes she comes across as a lovable gamine, an overgrown Ally McBeal in an evening gown. On 'Being Alive' the facade crumbles and she is left almost haggard. . ."
***And, don't forget, our Evita gal will take part in a CD signing on Friday, Sept. 24 at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Lincoln Triangle (1972 Broadway at 66th Street). LuPone will sign copies of her "Matters of the Heart" CD beginning at 7 PM.
Last week I previewed the track listing for "It's No Secret Anymore," Linda Eder's upcoming album on the Atlantic Records label, scheduled for release on Sept. 28. I also recently received several concert reviews from Eder's "Baby Tour '99," and what follows are excerpts from some of the former Jekyll & Hyde star's many glowing notices:
Bill Kohlhaase in the Los Angeles Times Calendar jazz review:
". . .The best measure of Eder's ability, however, came on songs Wildhorn didn't write. Backed only by pianist Jeremy Roberts, Eder took 'Over the Rainbow' to new heights in the first concert of a sold-out three-night stand. Another Judy Garland-associated song, 'The Man That Got Away,' came with an assertive defiance and a bit of Garland's entrancing growl. Eder presented all her selections in dramatic fashion but without overbearing theatrics. Some songs, including 'Over the Rainbow' and Wildhorn's 'Someone Like You,' showcased her silky high range."
Daryl H. Miller in the Los Angeles Times Calendar section:
"A voice like Linda Eder's is rare, the sensitivity to use it to its fullest rarer still. . .[Wildhorn's] propulsive pop anthems are perfectly calibrated to set off her vocal pyrotechnics, and she delivers them with a keen sense of when to drop to a dusky whisper, when to open up full. In one of the evening's most thrilling pairings, she conveyed hushed yearnings in 'J&H's' 'Someone Like You,' ending in a high, pure pianissimo, then roared through the lusty 'Bring on the Men,' cut from the Broadway version of that show..."
Steve Parks in Newsday:
". . .But the band is never in danger of upstaging Eder, who, even as she holds her protruding belly, soars into vocal flights that overmatch the accompanying clarinet in aural intensity. Eder tried out 'Romancing the Blues,' a prospective number for her new CD (the adoring audience loved it before they heard a note), as well as a couple of songs from 'Havana,' a new project by her husband, plus 'Starlight,' a song she wrote herself as a teenager. . ."
Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune:
". . .With a voice that's as immense as Garland's and, in its own way, as sensuous as Fitzgerald's, singer Linda Eder does more than extend glorious and distinctly American vocal traditions. She proves that, despite changing tastes in pop music, a voice as enormous and as sleekly managed as hers always will be welcome on the concert stage. More elegant a phrase-maker than Celine Dion, more vocally accomplished than Bette Midler and more intelligent a song interpreter than Barbra Streisand in her prime, Eder stands unchallenged as the next great voice in the non-rock tradition. She has underscored the point in previous Chicago performances, but never more strikingly than she did Saturday night in the Shubert Theatre. . . "
IN OTHER NEWS I was quite excited to learn this week that the title tune for Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner's upcoming Varese Sarabande CD is a duet from the cult-favorite Carrie. The stellar Side Show stars have recorded "Unsuspecting Hearts," which was originally performed on Broadway by Linzi Hateley and Darlene Love. The Ripley/Skinner album, a follow-up to their critically-praised "Duets" CD, is set to include nine duets as well as three solos from each performer; songs range from Broadway standards to tunes from upcoming productions, and the target release date is Oct. 5. Also, according to Daily Variety, Skinner and Ripley will be reunited again this season in the Off-Broadway production of James Joyce's The Dead, which will feature the two as sisters (not Siamese ones, though) . . . Victoria Clark is currently giving the most moving and thrilling performance of the new company of the award-winning production of Cabaret, now ensconced at the infamous Studio 54. As Fraulein Kost, Clark -- who also sparkled in the Broadway company of Titanic -- makes the most of each of her brief scenes as the down and-out prostitute in pre-war Germany. And, her singing of the Act I finale "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is as disturbing as it is vocally exciting. Michael Hayden also does a wonderful job as writer Cliff Bradshaw, bringing a boyish ruggedness to the role that is completely charming. If I missed Alan Cumming's incomparable Emcee and Natasha Richardson's vulnerable Sally Bowles (Michael Hall and Susan Egan are still finding their way with those parts), the production remains a thoroughly moving, often dark -- but exhilarating -- experience, one worthy of your attention . . . Tony winner Faith Prince and Olivier winner Ute Lemper will return to Joe's Pub this fall for a series of concert performances. Prince will take to the small stage of the intimate cabaret on Sept. 13, 20 and 27, and Lemper will concentrate on Weill and Berlin cabaret songs on Oct. 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Call (212) 239-6200 for tickets or visit the Public Theater box office at 425 Lafayette Street (between E. 4th St. and Astor Place) . . . Five-time Grammy winner Sandi Patty and award winning vocalist Kathy Troccoli have recently released a new album entitled "Together," which features a re-creation of the classic Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand pairing of "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again." Other classic tunes covered on this Monarch Records release include "The Man I Love," "Summertime," "Embraceable You," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and others. . . "And your audiences are by far better than ours -- more vocal, more into it. It's not that people don't enjoy it in England; it's almost like they don't want to disturb us. I also love the way everybody knows everything about theater over here: who's playing what, who's doing what." So says Ruthie Henshall to writer Melissa Rose Bernardo in the current issue of In Theater magazine . . .
Sarah Brightman's complete U.S. tour listing follows:
September 4 in Reno, NV at the Lawlor Events Center
September 5 in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand
September 6 in Phoenix, AZ at the America West
September 8 in Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheater
September 10 in Santa Barbara, CA at the Santa Barbara Bowl
September 11 in San Diego, CA at the SDSU Open Air Theater
September 14 in San Jose, CA at the Center For Performing Arts
September 16 in Seattle, WA at the Opera House
September 17 in Portland, OR at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall
September 19 in Sacramento, CA at the ARCO Arena
September 21 in Denver, CO at the Temple Buell Theater
September 23 in Chicago, IL at the Chicago Theatre
September 25 in Detroit, MI at the Opera House
September 26 in Akron, OH at the EJ Thomas Hall
September 28 in Pittsburgh, PA at the Benedum Center
September 29 in Cincinnati, OH at the Aranoff Theater
October 1 in Buffalo, NY at the Sheas Theatre
October 2 in Hartford, CT at the Bushnell Auditorium
October 3 in Portland, ME at the Civic Center
October 6 in Newark, NJ at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center
October 8 in Boston, MA at the Wang Center
October 10 in State College, PA at the Bryce Jordan Center
October 12 in Washington, DC at the Constitution Hall
October 13 in Greensboro, NC at the War Memorial Auditorium
October 15 in W. Palm Beach, FL at the Kravis Center
October 16 in Tampa, FL at the Ruth Eckerd
October 17 in Miami, FL at the Jackie Gleason Theater
A host of new concert dates have recently been announced for the multi talented actress and singer.
August 20, 1999 Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV
September 24 Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, PA
October 2 South Street Theater Company in Morristown, NJ
October 9 Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY
October 23 Foellinger Great Hall in Urbana, IL
October 24 Sangamon State University Aud. in Springfield, IL
October 27 Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, NY (Benefit dinner)
November 6 State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ
November 12 Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE
November 14 Music Hall in Cincinnati, OH
December 13-14 St. Barth's Church in New York, NY
December 17 City Center in Coral Springs, FL
December 18 Atlantic University Aud. in Boca Raton, FL
December 31 Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT
February 5, 2000 Stillwell Theatre in Kennesaw, GA
February 6 Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Marin, CA
February 8-9 Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall in Las Vegas, NV
February 11 Center for the Arts at George Mason Univ. in Fairfax, VA
February 12 Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY
March 18 Folly Theatre in Kansas City, MO
March 19 Macomb Center for the Perf. Arts in Detroit, MI
April 24 Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance in Fort Worth, TX
April 26 Coronation 2000 in San Antonio, TX
May 4 Poway Center in Poway, CA
May 5-6 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA
May 7 Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, CA
May 8 Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA
And, "Bravo Profiles: Betty Buckley," an insightful documentary that includes an interview with the Tony Award-winning actress as well as footage from Buckley's recent sold-out Bottom Line concert will air on Bravo November 1 at 10 p.m.
LuPone will join opera star Bryn Terfel for a concert version of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. The performers will be backed by the New York Philharmonic, and the event, which will be recorded, will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday.
Mason's Christmas album, simply titled "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!" will be available this fall. The busy chanteuse will again join Greg Edelman for a European tour of Broadway music that will play Stockholm (September 1-4); Birmingham, England (September 5); and the Barbican in London (September 8). . . Also, on September 25 Mason will perform in concert to benefit Dallas Children's Theatre Fairmont Hotel, Dallas.
MM concert dates follow:
August 19-20 Midway Stage at 1776: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
August 23 Kenley Centennial Amphitheater in Layton, Utah
August 24 SCERA Amphitheater in Orem, Utah
September 5-6 Jerry Lewis Telethon (check local listings)
What follows are some upcoming worldwide Paige concert dates:
October 30 and 31, 1999 at the Sun City Superbowl in South Africa
November 5, 1999 at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town, South Africa
January 21 and 22, 2000 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah
Bernadette Peters in Concert, the thrilling performance taped live in London, airs on PBS stations around the country this month. And, of course, Peters currently stars as the gun-toting Annie Oakley in the acclaimed revival of Annie Get Your Gun at the Marquis Theatre.
DIVAS AT THE DONMAR
Patti LuPone is currently onstage at the Donmar Warehouse, performing her new concert act, "Matters of the Heart," through Aug. 21. Audra McDonald's reign runs Aug. 23 to Aug. 28, and Sam Brown will open on Aug. 31 and close Sept. 4. The performance schedule is Monday through Saturday at 8pm with matinees on Saturday at 4pm. Tickets go on sale Monday, May 17; call 011 44 171 637 9041 for reservations.
Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
by Andrew Gans
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