Hello, diva lovers. Just a few items this week. Enjoy . . .
B>DIVA NEWS: If you’re in need of a good laugh — and who isn’t these days? — get yourself to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre where Noises Off is currently in high gear. Michael Frayn’s backstage farce is the perfect antidote to the never-ending apprehension that is slowly pervading the entire nation. But for two hours and twenty minutes, you can sit back and have some great laughs thanks to a near-perfect cast led by Tony winner Patti LuPone and her former Pal Joey, Peter Gallagher. Other notables include Faith Prince as Belinda Blair, who insists the show must go on no matter what, and Katie Finneran in a breakout performance that will probably earn her a slew of award nominations later in the season. It was a Pattifest this past Wednesday night: After catching her riotous performance live, I went home and watched her splendid work as Mrs. Lovett in the PBS presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. . .
Two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters is currently completing her latest CD, which will be devoted to the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Peters will cover such standards as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “If I Loved You” and “It Might As Well Be Spring,” as well as lesser performed works like “The Gentleman Is a Dope” and “I Haven’t Got a Worry in the World.” The CD will also contain a solo composition by Richard Rodgers, “Something Good.” Produced by Richard Jay-Alexander and Jonathan Tunick and featuring arrangements by the latter, the CD is due in stores in March. There are also plans for the recent Annie Get Your Gun star to perform concerts of this R&H material throughout the country . . . In other R&H news, The Juilliard School will hold a gala benefit on February 4, 2002, honoring Mary Rodgers and the Richard Rodgers Centennial. Hosted by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the gala event will feature Jonathan Tunick leading the Juilliard Orchestra as well as performances from Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Karen Ziemba, Michael Feinstein, Marvin Hamlisch and others. The event will be held at the Juilliard Theatre, and tickets are available by calling Buckley Hall Events at (212) 573-6933 . . . Summer of ‘42, the musical version of the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, will open at Off-Broadway’s Variety Arts Theatre on January 10, 2002, following a run at the Rich Forum in Stamford, CT. Featuring music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum and a book by Hunter Foster, the coming-of age tale will include Ryan Driscoll, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Bill Kux, Jason Marcus, Greg Stone, Brett Tabisel, Megan Valerie Walker, Erin Webly and Kate Jennings Grant. You can hear a preview of one of the show’s big tunes, “Losing Track of Time,” on “Unsuspecting Hearts,” Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner’s second duets CD.
It looks like all Jewish Brooklyn-born divas are releasing Christmas CDs this season. First comes La Streisand’s, and now there is word that Jane Olivor will release her own holiday disc entitled “Songs of the Season” this month. Included on the 11-track recording are two new songs by Stephen Schwartz, “Spirit of Christmas” (co-written by Jason Darrow) and “The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights)” (co-written with Steve Young). Other titles on the Varese Sarabande release include “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Ave Maria,” “Elusive Butterfly,” “The Christmas Song” and a medley of “Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” . . . Three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who recently took part in the star-studded Dreamgirls anniversary concert, will return to Princeton’s McCarter Theatre for a one-night-only concert on Tuesday, March 9. Tickets will be available shortly; go to www.mccarter.org for more information . . . Rock-n roll Hall of Fame diva Darlene Love, who co-starred in Broadway’s infamous Carrie musical, will be making her annual N.Y.C. holiday appearance on December 21 and 22 at the Kaye Playhouse. . .
In Matt Wolf’s recent New York Times article, “The Butler Did It (Got to Broadway),” Andrew Lloyd Webber joked about an upcoming autobiography: “I’m just doing the ‘Sunset Boulevard’ portion of my autobiography, and I’m telling you, the ‘Sunset’ chapters are going to be far too painful for the public to read.” Lloyd Webber also had this to say about the current touring production of Sunset in England: “We all know shows can be very, very simple and look wrong, but if something actually looks right, then you’re away. ‘Sunset’ on the road in England now, for instance, looks better, and therefore the material sings better. It’s much less monolithic and has got a much greater lightness of touch. There are so many musicals that people have perhaps forgotten about, which, for various reasons, have not worked, which do work again.” . . .
The upcoming performances of Jamie deRoy and friends on Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 will be held at the West Bank Cafe’s Laurie Beechman Theater at 407 W. 42nd Street. The Nov. 8 performance will feature Heather MacRae, Kim Cea, Marta Sanders, Sal Viviano and Rick Skye; Nov. 15 attendees will see Laine Edwards, Steve Hayes, Dan Martin, Michael Biello, Rose McGuire, Maria Schultz and the musical comedy vocal group Modern Man. Reservations can be made by calling (212) 695 6909; there is a $20 cover and a one-drink minimum . . . DeRoy will also release her third volume of Jamie deRoy & friends this month. The Harbinger Records CD includes a slew of cabaret and theatre favorites: Anne Runolfsson, Dee Hoty, Jeff Harnar, Stephanie Pope, Sal Viviano and Craig Rubano singing, respectively, “River,” “The Twelve Days After Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Christmas Song” and “Just in Time for Christmas.” DeRoy can be heard singing the holiday classic “Silver Bells.”
That Tony-winning dynamo, Betty Buckley, has just released a new slate of concert performances, which follows:
November 10 at the Naperville North Central College Performing Arts Center in Naperville, IL (with Michael Feinstein)
November 14-18 at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret in Uncasville, CT
November 24 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ (with Michael Feinstein)
December 6 at Abravenal Hall with the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City, UT (Xmas program)
December 7 at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in Logan, UT
December 27 at the Verizon Regional Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA (with Michael Feinstein)
January 4 & 5, 2002 at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, CT
March 15 & 16, 2002 with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh, NC
March 30 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA
April 12 and 13 with Marilyn Horne at Michigan State University’s Warton Center in MI
April 26 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA
June 5-9 and June 12-16 at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC LINDA EDER
Eder in concert:
Nov. 3 at the Youngstown Symphony Center in Youngstown, OH, (330) 744 4269
Nov. 16 and 17 at Jacobs Symphony Hall in Jacksonville, FL, (877) 662 6731
Dec. 1 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA (610-252-3132)
Dec. 5 at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, (973) 376-4343
Dec. 11 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA, (617) 266-1492
Dec. 14 and 15 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, (800) 444-1324
The Tony and Olivier Award-winning actress has also just released a whole new slew of concert dates, which follow:
February 9, 2002 at the Tilles Center with the Long Island Philharmonic (“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”)
February 22-23, 2002 at the Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY with the Buffalo Philharmonic (“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”)
February 28 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY (“Coulda Woulda Shoulda”)
Nov. 3 at the Keneseth Israel Hall in Philadelphia
Nov. 21-25 at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco
Jan. 4, 2002 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
Jan. 6 at the Barbara Mann Hall in Ft. Myers
Jan. 7 at Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota
Jan. 9 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach
Jan. 10 at the City Center in Coral Springs
Apr. 5-6 at the OCPAC in Costa Mesa
Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!
By Andrew Gans