DIVA TALK: Odds ‘n’ ends from Divaland

News   DIVA TALK: Odds ‘n’ ends from Divaland ODDS ‘n’ ENDS and OTHER NEWS
That always incandescent singing actress Bernadette Peters will not appear in the San Francisco production of Annie Get Your Gun as has been rumored. Peters’ next stage role will be Mama Rose in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Gypsy as previously announced. The two-time Tony winner is also busy with her many concert engagements as well as several appearances on ABC-TV’s “Live with Regis,” and she is also in discussions for a new movie. Stay tuned for more . . .
Speaking of Annie Get Your Gun, I was recently sent a two-track CD promoting Reba McEntire’s arrival (tonight!) in the Broadway company of that award-winning Irving Berlin musical at the Marquis Theatre. McEntire sings my two favorite songs from the show on this sampler, “I Got Lost in His Arms” and “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” and she delivers them both extremely well. She seems more suited to the rhythmic nature of “Gun” than the sweet ballad “I Got Lost in His Arms,” but her belt and phrasing are impressive in both. In fact, from the opening lines of “Gun,” - “Oh, my mother was frightened by a shotgun they say” -- with her country twang, you know you’re in very capable hands. McEntire also sounds like she’s having a lot of fun singing Berlin, and if she’s not up to Peters’ level of perfection, she certainly sings rings around the two other Broadway Annies: Cheryl Ladd and Susan Lucci. The latter offered perhaps the worst vocals I’ve ever heard on Broadway, although she acted the role well. After hearing McEntire’s sampler, I’m quite looking forward to catching this latest country-star Annie Oakley . . . Another dazzling Tony winner, Patti LuPone, will return to her home-away-from-home, The Hollywood Bowl, this summer on August 3 and 4. LuPone, who was last on that famed stage in a concert with Audra McDonald, will perform the songs of George and Ira Gershwin this summer . . .
Next Friday night, February 2, Barbara Cook returns to Carnegie Hall for what promises to be another legendary concert at the renowned hall. The concert program is entitled “Mostly Sondheim,” and Cook and Sondheim fans will no doubt be in a state of pure bliss. A few other Cook dates have just come in: Feb. 12 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall (a master class); in concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA on Feb. 23 and 24 (with Michael Feinstein); in concert in Palm Desert, CA on April 21; and at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL on July 9 . . .
Carol Channing impersonator Richard Skipper is hosting An Evening with Carol Channing and Friends, which will benefit TOPA, Towards Older Person Awareness. Scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 30 at 9 PM at Don’t Tell Mama (343 W. 46th Street), the evening will star, of course, Skipper as Channing and will also include performances from cabaret’s Aaron Lee Battle, Sandi Durell, Audrey Lavine, Jeanne McDonald, Kristopher McDowell, Carolyn Montgomery, Georga Osborne and Scott Samuelson. There is a $20 cover charge and a two-drink minimum; call (212) 757-0788 for reservations . . .
In other cabaret news, singer/dancer Courtenay Day will present her new cabaret act, Take Me to the World, at Don’t Tell Mama on Tuesdays, Feb. 7, 21, 28 and March 7 at 7 PM. Day’s show will feature such songs as “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home,” “Dissertation on a State of Bliss,” “Good Thing Going,” “Not a Day Goes By” and an Irving Berlin segment that the singer describes as “everything that Berlin wrote for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for the movies -- we’ve distilled it into a dance theme medley that’s about six minutes long!” Former Nancy LaMott musical director Christopher Marlowe will accompany Day on piano; call (212) 757-0788 for reservations . . .
Also, Forbidden Broadway star Christine Pedi, who was one of the highlights at this year’s Gypsy of the Year Competition, will perform her evening of Forbidden Divas on Feb. 4 and 11 at 7 PM at New York’s FireBird Cafe on Restaurant Row. There is a $20 cover charge and a $15 food/drink minimum; call (212) 586-0244 for reservations . . .
On this Sunday’s radio program, Everything Old Is New Again (9 PM on WBAI 99.5 FM and on the internet at www.wbai.org), you can expect to hear a salute to cabaret legend Hildegarde. The program will celebrate the singer’s 95th birthday with Hildegarde’s renditions of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “Now It Can Be Told” and, of course, “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.” Listeners will also be treated to four versions of Gladys Shelley’s “How Did He Look,” as sung by Hildegarde, Eydie Gorme, Mel Torme and Kevin Mahagony . . .
Jazz diva fans will definitely want to catch this Monday’s installment of Ken Burns’s “Jazz” series on PBS (9 11 PM), which includes segments on two late, great ladies of jazz: Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. In fact, in Fred Mitchell’s “Music Guide” in TV Guide, he writes, “Monday’s look . . . includes a 1957 TV performance by Holiday -- her strength sapped by drug addiction -- that moves those in a network control room to tears.” . . .
Many of the e-mails I receive each week ask for advice on finding CDs that aren’t available in local Tower or HMV stores. I always suggest either Colony Records (212-265-2050) or Footlight Records (212-533-1572). Both are in NYC and do mail-order business as well. Happy hunting! . . .
And, finally, this past week The Rocky Horror Show’s Lea DeLaria sat down with New York Times critic Stephen Holden for an informal chat at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, part of Holden’s ongoing series interviewing Broadway divas. DeLaria admitted that she is working on a solo album for Warner Bros. Records, which is scheduled for release in the beginning of May. The CD will consist of relatively contemporary Broadway songs in diverse jazz arrangements. You can expect to hear DeLaria warble City of Angels’ “With Every Breath I Take”; Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”; a 70’s funk version of Kander and Ebb’s “All That Jazz”; plus two songs from the Broadway Wild Party, “Welcome to My Party” and “Low Down Down.” DeLaria also spoke about her run in Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and said that Rudnick once asked her, “Do you know what they’re naming the old-age home for theatre queens?” Rudnick quipped, “Karen Akers.” Ba-dum-bum . . .

ODDS ‘n’ ENDS and OTHER NEWS
That always incandescent singing actress Bernadette Peters will not appear in the San Francisco production of Annie Get Your Gun as has been rumored. Peters’ next stage role will be Mama Rose in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Gypsy as previously announced. The two-time Tony winner is also busy with her many concert engagements as well as several appearances on ABC-TV’s “Live with Regis,” and she is also in discussions for a new movie. Stay tuned for more . . .
Speaking of Annie Get Your Gun, I was recently sent a two-track CD promoting Reba McEntire’s arrival (tonight!) in the Broadway company of that award-winning Irving Berlin musical at the Marquis Theatre. McEntire sings my two favorite songs from the show on this sampler, “I Got Lost in His Arms” and “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” and she delivers them both extremely well. She seems more suited to the rhythmic nature of “Gun” than the sweet ballad “I Got Lost in His Arms,” but her belt and phrasing are impressive in both. In fact, from the opening lines of “Gun,” - “Oh, my mother was frightened by a shotgun they say” -- with her country twang, you know you’re in very capable hands. McEntire also sounds like she’s having a lot of fun singing Berlin, and if she’s not up to Peters’ level of perfection, she certainly sings rings around the two other Broadway Annies: Cheryl Ladd and Susan Lucci. The latter offered perhaps the worst vocals I’ve ever heard on Broadway, although she acted the role well. After hearing McEntire’s sampler, I’m quite looking forward to catching this latest country-star Annie Oakley . . . Another dazzling Tony winner, Patti LuPone, will return to her home-away-from-home, The Hollywood Bowl, this summer on August 3 and 4. LuPone, who was last on that famed stage in a concert with Audra McDonald, will perform the songs of George and Ira Gershwin this summer . . .
Next Friday night, February 2, Barbara Cook returns to Carnegie Hall for what promises to be another legendary concert at the renowned hall. The concert program is entitled “Mostly Sondheim,” and Cook and Sondheim fans will no doubt be in a state of pure bliss. A few other Cook dates have just come in: Feb. 12 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall (a master class); in concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA on Feb. 23 and 24 (with Michael Feinstein); in concert in Palm Desert, CA on April 21; and at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL on July 9 . . .
Carol Channing impersonator Richard Skipper is hosting An Evening with Carol Channing and Friends, which will benefit TOPA, Towards Older Person Awareness. Scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 30 at 9 PM at Don’t Tell Mama (343 W. 46th Street), the evening will star, of course, Skipper as Channing and will also include performances from cabaret’s Aaron Lee Battle, Sandi Durell, Audrey Lavine, Jeanne McDonald, Kristopher McDowell, Carolyn Montgomery, Georga Osborne and Scott Samuelson. There is a $20 cover charge and a two-drink minimum; call (212) 757-0788 for reservations . . .
In other cabaret news, singer/dancer Courtenay Day will present her new cabaret act, Take Me to the World, at Don’t Tell Mama on Tuesdays, Feb. 7, 21, 28 and March 7 at 7 PM. Day’s show will feature such songs as “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home,” “Dissertation on a State of Bliss,” “Good Thing Going,” “Not a Day Goes By” and an Irving Berlin segment that the singer describes as “everything that Berlin wrote for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for the movies -- we’ve distilled it into a dance theme medley that’s about six minutes long!” Former Nancy LaMott musical director Christopher Marlowe will accompany Day on piano; call (212) 757-0788 for reservations . . .
Also, Forbidden Broadway star Christine Pedi, who was one of the highlights at this year’s Gypsy of the Year Competition, will perform her evening of Forbidden Divas on Feb. 4 and 11 at 7 PM at New York’s FireBird Cafe on Restaurant Row. There is a $20 cover charge and a $15 food/drink minimum; call (212) 586-0244 for reservations . . .
On this Sunday’s radio program, Everything Old Is New Again (9 PM on WBAI 99.5 FM and on the internet at www.wbai.org), you can expect to hear a salute to cabaret legend Hildegarde. The program will celebrate the singer’s 95th birthday with Hildegarde’s renditions of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “Now It Can Be Told” and, of course, “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.” Listeners will also be treated to four versions of Gladys Shelley’s “How Did He Look,” as sung by Hildegarde, Eydie Gorme, Mel Torme and Kevin Mahagony . . .
Jazz diva fans will definitely want to catch this Monday’s installment of Ken Burns’s “Jazz” series on PBS (9 11 PM), which includes segments on two late, great ladies of jazz: Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. In fact, in Fred Mitchell’s “Music Guide” in TV Guide, he writes, “Monday’s look . . . includes a 1957 TV performance by Holiday -- her strength sapped by drug addiction -- that moves those in a network control room to tears.” . . .
Many of the e-mails I receive each week ask for advice on finding CDs that aren’t available in local Tower or HMV stores. I always suggest either Colony Records (212-265-2050) or Footlight Records (212-533-1572). Both are in NYC and do mail-order business as well. Happy hunting! . . .
And, finally, this past week The Rocky Horror Show’s Lea DeLaria sat down with New York Times critic Stephen Holden for an informal chat at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, part of Holden’s ongoing series interviewing Broadway divas. DeLaria admitted that she is working on a solo album for Warner Bros. Records, which is scheduled for release in the beginning of May. The CD will consist of relatively contemporary Broadway songs in diverse jazz arrangements. You can expect to hear DeLaria warble City of Angels’ “With Every Breath I Take”; Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”; a 70’s funk version of Kander and Ebb’s “All That Jazz”; plus two songs from the Broadway Wild Party, “Welcome to My Party” and “Low Down Down.” DeLaria also spoke about her run in Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and said that Rudnick once asked her, “Do you know what they’re naming the old-age home for theatre queens?” Rudnick quipped, “Karen Akers.” Ba-dum-bum . . . Next week: My thoughts on Liz Callaway’s new recording, “The Beat Goes On,” and more . . .

REMINDERS:

BETTY BUCKLEY
Following is Buckley’s most recent, ever-growing concert schedule:
Now through Jan. 28 Florida Condo Tour in Florida
Feb. 10 Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, CA (fundraiser)
March 3 Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
March 11-12 at the Geary Theater in San Francisco, CA
March 16-17 at the Bottom Line in New York, NY
April 1 at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA
April 16 at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, TX
May 12 College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
May 24 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA
June 17 at the Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA
August 25 at the Great Waters Music Festival in Wolfeboro, NH
October 6 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ (with Michael Feinstein)
November 24 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ (with Michael Feinstein)
December 6 at Abravenal Hall with the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City, UT (Xmas program)

LINDA EDER
Eder in concert:
Feb. 1 & 2 in Phoenix, AZ at the Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 3 at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek, CO; (888) 920 2787
Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; (202) 467-4600
Feb. 23 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334 0800
Feb. 24 at the Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ; (973) 539-8008
March 8 in Clearwater, FL at the Ruth Eckerd Hall; (727) 791-7400
March 9 in Sarasota, FL at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; www.vanwezel.org
March 10 in Melbourne, FL at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts; (407) 242-2219
March 17 at the Thomasville Cultural Center in Thomasville, GA (912 226-0588)
March 22 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA
April 29 at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA (978-232 7200)

May 31-June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Hall; call (412) 392 4900

PATTI LUPONE
Several concert dates have been added to Patti LuPone’s ever-growing schedule. What follows are La LuPone’s confirmed concert appearances as of this week:
April 8 ("Matters Of The Heart") at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina; (919) 684-4444


KAREN MASON
What follows is Mason’s up-to-date performance schedule:
January 29 “Cabaret on the Record” benefit at Arci’s Place in New York, NY
March 17 Appearance at 92nd Street Y with Craig Carnelia in New York, NY
May 9-20 at Davenports cabaret in Chicago, IL

BERNADETTE PETERS
The two-time Tony winner, who recently concluded her run in Annie Get Your Gun, is now on a U.S. concert tour:
March 29 at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY
April 6 at the Bass Perf. Hall in Fort Worth, TX (with symphony)
April 7-8 at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX
April 19 at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto (with symphony)
April 28 at the Pasquerilla PAC in Johnstown, PA
May 11-12 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN (with symphony)
May 18-20 at the Myerson Hall in Dallas, TX (with symphony)

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

By Andrew Gans