DIVA TALK: "Nothing Like a Dame," Round 3

DIVA TALK: "Nothing Like a Dame," Round 3 BETTY BUCKLEY
In addition to her upcoming concerts at the Bottom Line in Greenwich Village on Feb. 13, 14 and 15, Betty Buckley will take part in two upcoming benefit performances. The first is a salute to playwright Terrence (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, Ragtime) McNally that is being presented by The Drama League during its annual winter benefit this Monday, Jan. 26. The event will be held in the Pierre Hotel's Grand Ballroom, and the $375 ticket will include dinner as well as appearances by Buckley, Rita Moreno and others. Call 212-302-2100 for more information. . . BB will also be one of the many stars performing in the third annual Nothing Like a Dame extravaganza (see item below) on Feb. 23. Buckley dazzled in the two previous Dame events, bringing down the house with her rendition of "Over You" at the first and last year with "Since I Fell for You."

BETTY BUCKLEY
In addition to her upcoming concerts at the Bottom Line in Greenwich Village on Feb. 13, 14 and 15, Betty Buckley will take part in two upcoming benefit performances. The first is a salute to playwright Terrence (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, Ragtime) McNally that is being presented by The Drama League during its annual winter benefit this Monday, Jan. 26. The event will be held in the Pierre Hotel's Grand Ballroom, and the $375 ticket will include dinner as well as appearances by Buckley, Rita Moreno and others. Call 212-302-2100 for more information. . . BB will also be one of the many stars performing in the third annual Nothing Like a Dame extravaganza (see item below) on Feb. 23. Buckley dazzled in the two previous Dame events, bringing down the house with her rendition of "Over You" at the first and last year with "Since I Fell for You."


PATTI LuPONE
Due to the recent Presidential developments, Patti LuPone's appearance on the "Charlie Rose" show this past week was postponed; her interview will now be aired on Feb. 4. La LuPone will speak to Rose about her current role in David Mamet's The Old Neighborhood as well as her other theatrical triumphs. LuPone will also be a guest on the "Rosie O'Donnell Show" this coming Tuesday, Jan. 27, so set your VCRs. For those of you who need a live dose of Patti, be sure to check out The Old Neighborhood at the Booth Theatre. Call 212-239-6200 for tickets.

Also, a reminder that on Feb. 14, La LuPone will sing at the Kravitz Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (tickets available by calling 561-833-8300), and from Feb. 26 through March 1, she will perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Tickets for the those concerts, which range from $30-$48, are now on sale by calling 412-392-4900.


BERNADETTE PETERS
More raves continue to pour in for Bernadette Peters' recent Australian concert debut:

Bryce Hallett in The Australian:
". . .Peters' Australian concert debut at the Sydney Festival was a hugely entertaining and rewarding occasion. The second half . . . revealed her thrilling ability to interpret the emotional and intellectual landscape of Stephen Sondheim's repertoire, effortlessly and with due appreciation of the composer's tantalizing paradoxes and quirks. In quietly dramatic, almost austere, moments, Peters revealed an instinctive prowess to make meaning of songs when extracted from their wider theatrical context, particularly her selections from Into the Woods, where she deftly evoked the clawing spells of the Witch and the character's resonating plea for children to listen.

In the eyes of an exceedingly loyal, generous constituency, Peters could do no wrong and her humour, generosity and, yes, sweetness, were repaid in
three standing ovations. . . And the encore--a spare, poignant rendering of 'I Honestly Love You,' dedicated to her late friend Peter Allen, with whom she once toured--was truly moving. Here with fine support from her musical director Marvin Laird on piano, the artistry of the Broadway 'baby' soared."--

And, our diva lover from down under, had this to say about BP's concert:

"Bernadette Peters proved to Australia why, without doubt, she is one of
Broadway's top talents. To most Australian fans, who have only seen and
heard her on CD and video, her live concert performance was a complete
revelation. The range of her performance, both vocally and emotionally, was nothing short of breathtaking. She gave us the tender and heart breaking: 'No One Is Alone,' 'Johanna'; rousing dramatic ballads: 'Time Heals
Everything,' 'Being Alive'; passionate and rapturous: 'Unexpected Song'; and some hilarious satire that brought the house down: 'Making Love Alone,' 'Raining In My Heart,' the latter with a chorus of four local boys and
their 'learnt-in-one-day' umbrella choreography. She mixed the styles and switched between them with ease, taking us on a roller-coaster ride of
emotion.

Special mention should be made of 'Broadway Baby,' which she started in Betty Boop style, then built to an ending that just about blew the famous
roof of the Sydney Opera House, and 'Faithless Love,' which she started singing in the blackout of the previous song--with just her voice emerging
from the darkness. I've never known an auditorium full of people so silent.

Bernadette appeared after the interval in a black velvet dress with the famous curls tied back, and delivered her superlative Sondheim interpretations, including some not normally performed by women: 'Johanna,' 'Hello Little Girl' and a very effective 'Later,' sung to, rather than by, the cellist.

The audience was on its feet after her final song, 'Move On,' and she returned for the first of two encores, a deeply moving tribute to her late Australian friend, Peter Allen, 'I Honestly Love You', accompanied only by cello and piano. 'I'll Be Seeing You', her final encore, was also given a simple emotive treatment. By then the audience was on its feet again, the stage was filled with streamers and the Broadway Baby had triumphed."

NOTHING LIKE A DAME
The third annual production of Nothing Like a Dame will take place on Feb. 23, 1998, at the Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street. The event supports the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors' Fund of America, a program that is committed to the health concerns of women in the entertainment industry. At this time the impressive roster of performers includes Lucie Arnaz, Lauren Bacall, Laurie Beechman, Joy Behar, Betty Buckley, Jane Connell, Blythe Danner, Lea DeLaria, Joan Hamburg, Linda Lavin, Karen Mason, Rita Moreno, Bebe Neuwirth, Phyllis Newman, Christine Pedi, Jane Powell, Chita Rivera, Kate Schindle (Miss America 1998), Liz Smith, Elaine Stritch, Mary Testa, Kathleen Turner and Lillias White. Female cast members from The Lion King, Chicago and other Broadway shows will also take part in what promises to be a thrilling evening. Some of the many writers, directors and choreographers who will contribute to the event are Zoe Caldwell, Gillian Lynne, Phyllis Newman, Daisy Prince, Ann Reinking and Wendy Wasserstein.

Tickets for Nothing Like a Dame begin at $40 and include seats priced at $100, $200, $500 and $1,000. The $1,000 seats also include a post-show cast party with the dames at John's Pizzeria Times Square. For more information and for tickets, call the DAME-LINE at 1-888-DAME TIX (1 888-326-3849).


IN OTHER NEWS
Jekyll & Hyde's Linda Eder will bring her thrilling vocals to Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 8pm. Tickets are now available through TicketMaster at 212-307-7171. . .Dixie Carter, the last to portray the diva of divas, Maria Callas, in the Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Master Class, will return to the Cafe Carlyle (Madison Avenue at 76th Street) on March 10. Reservations can be made by calling the cabaret at 212-744 1600.


ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I will be singing at Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street) for my annual cabaret act on Feb. 14 (at 6pm) and Feb. 19 (at 9pm). The show is titled "Ordinary Miracles" and includes songs by David Friedman, Craig Carnelia, John Bucchino, the Bergmans, the Gershwins, Sondheim and more. If you come, please be sure to say hello after the show. Reservations can be made by calling 212-757-0788.


REMINDERS:
EARTHA KITT
The legendary Eartha Kitt continues at Cafe Carlyle on Madison and 76th Street through March 7. Performances are Tuesday through Saturdays at 8:45 and 10:45, and there is a $50 cover with no minimum.
BERNADETTE PETERS
BP's concert schedule follows:
Jan. 24 in Houston, TX at the George R. Brown Convention Center
Feb. 7 in Richmond, VA at The Mosque
Feb. 8 in Emporia, VA at the Emporia Elementary School
Feb. 11 & 12 in Boca Raton, FL at the Florida Atlantic Univ. Auditorium
Feb. 14 in Providence, RI at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Feb. 24 in Milwaukee, WI at The Bruce Hall
March 6 & 7 in Costa Mesa, CA at The Orange County Performing Arts Center
March 12 in Akron, OH at the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Univ. of Akron
March 14 New Brunswick, NJ at the NJ State Theatre
March 15 Springfield, MA at Symphony Hall
March 27 & 28 in Dayton, OH at the Dayton Convention Center
TRIBUTE TO MERMAN
Patti LuPone is just one of the sensational performers lined up for the upcoming tribute to the legendary Ethel Merman. Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Elaine Stritch and special guest Bette Midler will all take part in what promises to be an extraordinary evening saluting one of Broadway's finest performers ever. Entitled "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly,"the divafest will benefit Gay Men's Health Crisis. Tickets range from $75 $1,500 and can be purchased by calling GMHC at 212-367-1111. The event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 West 46th Street.
ANNE RUNOLFSSON
Cyrano star and acclaimed standby in Victor/Victoria, Anne Runolfsson will sing in L.A. at the famed Cinegrill fFeb. 10-14, 1998. That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!

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