Exciting news on the LuPone front this week. La LuPone, who recently concluded her run in the London production of Terrence McNally's Master Class, will return to the concert stage of the Hollywood Bowl this September. On September 5, 6 and 7 our effervescent Evita gal will take part in a tribute to Broadway that will also include a section devoted to the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Patti will be joined onstage by fellow Broadway performers Davis (The Phantom of the Opera) Gaines and Rebecca (Show Boat) Luker. The trio will perform songs from Chicago, Candide, Ragtime, Rent, Titanic, Evita, Sunset Boulevard, The Phantom of the Opera and other Broadway hits. For information and tickets, call 213 850-2000.
And, more news. . . LuPone will reprise her role of defense attorney Ruthie Miller on an episode of NBC's "Law & Order" for the new television season. LuPone received great notices when she made her first guest appearance on this series a year or so ago, and she is currently in the process of filming her second guest shot.
LuPone was also recently taken to task by columnist Liz Smith for expressing her dismay at the film of Evita and the director's efforts to make a saint out of the Eva--"taking away the guts of that character." In today's Liz Smith column, LuPone clarified her comments: "Well, all my life I've had a big mouth, and people have been telling me to shut up. I thought I might calm down as I got older. I guess not. The words are out of my mouth, and there they lie, getting me in trouble. I'm the classic verbose Italian. But really, I didn't mean to dis Madonna, who I think is an admirable woman, and I didn't know the movie was coming out on video. But I guess. . . 'Evita' is such a part of my life, that it's hard to be dispassionate, and not have a strong opinion. It's not jealousy or sour grapes, honestly. It just looks to me like they -- and I mean the director - soft-pedaled Eva's harsher side. But, I think Madonna sounds better than she ever has in her life. I may never end up liking the movie, but the girl can sing!"
LuPone also told Smith that she is currently working with Scott Whitman, who conceived her last one-woman show, to put together a new act. Says Patti, "This time, I want to sing songs not associated with me- I've done 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' enough, you know?" One song that has piqued Patti's interest is Cole Porter's "I've Got My Health," which was originally sung by the Merm in Panama Hattie. "Isn't that the greatest song," Patti asked Smith, "And its funny, because whenever I get myself in trouble by talking too much, or too candidly, I always think, 'Ethel Merman never shut up, and she did damn well!'" And so have you, Patti... Also, don't forget to watch LuPone's dynamic one-woman show, An Evening with Patti LuPone, which will be broadcast on PBS stations across the country this month. The concert, taped last January in Palm Desert, will include LuPone's sensational rendition of the aforementioned "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" as well as the Sunset Boulevard aria "As If We Never Said Goodbye." About performing songs from her controversial run in Sunset, LuPone recently admitted she would prefer not to sing the tunes, but "I'm not allowed to stop. I've asked them [concert promoters], and they said, 'We want you to sing Sunset Boulevard.' And I said, 'But why?' And they said, 'Because people want you to sing [those songs].'" LuPone also says that "After Sunset Boulevard, it took me a year to recover. . .I had vocal surgery, and I had detached retinas in both eyes. I think it was a physicalization of the mental and emotional abuse I was going through." Well, we're glad Patti's back in tip-top shape and hope she continues to sing her sensational version of the Sunset tunes. Why shouldn't she sing them? She created the role and sings the hell out of the tunes. Personally, we think she should begin her concerts with "With One Look," in the original key, of course!
Following are the city-by-city broadcast dates for the hour-long PBS special, An Evening with Patti LuPone:
Albany August 11
Atlanta August 17
Baltimore August 17
Boston August 13
Cleveland August 24
Dallas August 17
Hartford August 26
Indianapolis August 11
Los Angeles August 20
Miami August 11
Milwaukee August 22
New Orleans August 24
New York August 14
Philadelphia August 18
Sacramento August 14
San Diego August 20
San Francisco August 10
St. Louis August 14
Syracuse August 17
Tampa August 11
Washington August 16
Following rave reviews for her recent San Francisco concert, two more dates have been added to Betty Buckley's critically-acclaimed concert tour. Those dates are Oct. 3, 1997, at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (513-421-3888) and Nov. 15, 1997, at Walt Whitman Hall in Brooklyn, New York (718-951-4500). For a complete listing of BB's tour, check out her website, which can be accessed from Playbill On-Line's home page.
I've received many e-mails about purchasing tickets for Ms. B's upcoming return to Broadway,Triumph of Love. It was announced this week that tickets (previews Sept. 23; opens Oct. 23) will be available beginning Sunday, August 17 by calling Telecharge at 212-432-7250 or 1-800-677 1164. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Royale Theatre box office (242 W. 45th Street) beginning Monday, September 8. Buckley will portray Hesione in this Michael Mayer-directed musical by James Magruder, Jeffrey Stock and Susan Birkenhead. The cast also stars Susan Egan, F. Murray Abraham and comedienne Elayne Boosler in her Broadway debut.
Buckley's latest CD for Sterling Records, her fifth for that label (Children Will Listen, With One Look, The London Concert and Live at Carnegie Hall), is now scheduled for a fall release, probably in October, to coincide with the official opening of Triumph of Love. Entitled Much More, the recording includes many of the songs Buckley previewed to great response at Maxim's a few months ago ("Come Rain or Come Shine," "The Man That Got Away," "Much More". . .) Stay tuned for a complete song list . . .
November promises to be a tremendously busy month for the curly-locked wonder from Ozone Park, Queens. On Nov. 2 the long-awaited remake of Cinderella, which casts Peters as Brandy's evil stepmother hits CBS; on Nov. 9 Anastasia, in which Peters lends her inimitable voice to this animated film hits the silver screen; on Nov. 11 the Disney home video of Beauty and the Beast, also featuring Peters' distinctive sound as an angel, hits video stores; and on Nov. 23, Peters will star in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "What the Deaf Man Heard," which casts her as a mother in the 1940's and also stars Matthew Modine, James Earl Jones and Tom Skerrit.
If all this weren't enough, Peters is still contemplating her recent offer to star in the revival of the Irving Berlin classic Annie Get Your Gun. If everything falls together, it looks like BP will be back on Broadway where she belongs, singing such classic tunes as "They Say It's Wonderful," "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "I Got Lost in His Arms." Just think, we could have a Broadway season with Betty (Triumph of Love), Bernadette (Annie Get Your Gun), Patti (a new one woman show) and Elaine(Piaf)!
According to an item in Patrick Pacheco's column in Newsday, Judy Kuhn, the Broadway star of Chess and Les Miserables, is currently taking part in a workshop of a new musical comedy by Willie Reale. Entitled Once Around the Country, the musical concerns the "vicious 80's real-estate boom." Mark Linn-Baker, recent star of the revival of A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum, directs the workshop, which is being held at the New York Stage and Film Coal Bin Theatre at Vassar through Sunday. Perhaps this will be the vehicle that brings Judy Kuhn and her thrilling voice back to Broadway. For those of you who need a quick fix of Kuhn, be sure to obtain a copy of the live recording of Disney's King David, which features her wonderful singing--a highlight of the CD is definitely her sublime rendition of the Menken/Rice tune "Never Again."
Karen Akers will be the featured vocalist for two upcoming concerts at the Hollywood Bowl (Aug. 22 and 23) when the City of Lights comes to the Bowl in August (conducted by John Mauceri). Tickets for Vive La France! can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 213-480-3232.
Florence Lacey, Lee Roy Reams and Jerry Herman in An Evening with Jerry Herman will continue at the Westport County Playhouse through August 2. You can also catch the threesome at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME (Aug. 4-16) and at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA (Aug. 18-30).
A host of singing dates are lined up for the multi-talented McGovern. MM will take part in a benefit at Carnegie Hall on September 29, sing with the Arkansas Symphony on October 4 and then return to Carnegie Hall on Oct. 24 for the New York Pop's season opener. . .
The Boston Pops concert featuring our English diva continues to play on PBS stations across the country. Be sure to catch EP's thrilling renditions of "As If We Never Said Goodbye," "Memory," "If You Love Me" and more. . .
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
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