DIVA TALK: Patti’s Back & Other Diva News!

DIVA TALK: Patti’s Back & Other Diva News! PATTI LuPONE
Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy in The Last Five Years.
Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy in The Last Five Years.

PATTI LuPONE

It’s an exciting weekend for Patti LuPone fans, as our Patti will begin performances of her acclaimed Matters of the Heart concert act this Sunday evening at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. La LuPone will sing her heart out on Sunday and Monday nights through Dec. 17 with an official opening on Nov. 13; tickets are available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning performer will also participate in Lincoln Center’s popular meet-the artist series, Platforms, which returns for its third season next month. The series takes place in the lobby of the Beaumont Theater on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:15 PM. Admission is free; however, seating is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6 PM. La LuPone will take part in this informal series on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Other participants include Contact’s Boyd Gaines, who will kick off the series on Nov. 8, and Tony-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein on Nov. 29.

BETTE MIDLER

Hope you caught the premiere of “Bette,” CBS’ new sitcom starring the one-and-only Bette Midler. Midler also graced the cover of this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and what follows are several of the Divine Miss M’s candid quotes from that article, which was written by Lynn Hirschberg:

About her decision to work in television:
“I always said I’d never watch anything stupider than me. And a lot of TV is really stupid. But movies are over for me. There’s nothing there for me. It was so hard to get a picture. My agents could only get me these cameos and I said, ‘What am I doing these cameos for?’ And I saw that all my compatriots, all the girls I had come up with -- I never say women, I always says girls -- were not doing so good. So rather than wait for the ax to fall completely, because I like to work and I think I have a lot to offer, I said, ‘That’s it. Let’s try television.’” About her parents and the message they instilled in her:
“In the seventh grade, I was accused of having a superiority complex. But I told my teacher, Mr. Bryce Omar-Todd, that it was really overcompensation for an inferiority complex. And that’s me. I have always been on my own. My mom and dad, who were children of the Depression and World War II, always said, ‘It’s best not to count on men.’ They never told me I wouldn’t get married, but they told me I must learn to be independent, that I must support myself, that I must not think that anyone would support me. Maybe they thought I was so unappealing that I would never get married, but for whatever reason, that was their message: ‘You can only count on yourself.’ And it took.”

About her TV role, which mixes fiction with her real life:
“My real concern is playing the character. If I don’t stand outside myself and watch myself, I’ll be O.K. I have to remain unself-conscious, and I’m playing someone like myself. The problem is not so much technical as emotional. There’s a lot of scrutiny in television. The medium is so powerful, and I don’t really like to be talked about. The scrutiny and the conjecture and the people coming out of the woodwork to say, ‘Oh, she stepped on my foot once.’ If I can keep this show away from myself, then I can weather it.”

About the demanding work schedule:

“When they say this is a dream job, they lie, lie, lie. I staggered all week. I was dying. I was dead on my feet. I had no idea. No idea. I’ve worked hard before, but never this hard. I am dumbstruck. . . But don’t misunderstand, I do love working. I mean, I must. I derive an enormous amount of my sense of self from what I do.”

ON CD:

I had heard so much about cabaret singer Lisa Viggiano that I was very excited to receive her first solo CD in the mail this week, “One Private Moment: Live From Don’t Tell Mama.” That, plus the fact that her show was directed by Scott Barnes with musical direction by Christopher Marlowe -- the team partly responsible for Nancy LaMott’s success -- added to my enthusiasm (the CD also boasts liner notes by David Friedman, who wrote many of LaMott’s hits). Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high: Although Viggiano possesses a good, strong voice -- one capable of sweet and belty moments -- I wasn’t as bowled over on first listen as I had expected. Admittedly, as is the case with most cabaret singers, they really need to be seen live to get the full experience, so that may have been part of the problem. Another error is the inclusion of several comic songs that fall a bit flat on disc -- Company’s “Getting Married Today” and “I’m Not My Mother,” one of Alix Korey’s signature tunes (Korey’s version remains definitive). That said, however, the more I listened to the disc throughout the week, the more and more I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to catching this up-n-coming singer during her next New York stint. Highlights of her debut album include the Fields/Kern rarity “You Couldn’t Be Cuter”; a bittersweet ode to teen-age romance and grown-up realities, “Virgil and Me”; Viggiano’s sweet tones on one of the more lovely tunes from Baby, “I Chose Right”; the title tune, “One Private Moment,” by Christopher Marlowe and Annie Dinerman; and a beautiful song that was new to me, “Until You Let Go,” by David Zippel and Marvin Hamlisch. Viggiano also includes three David Friedman tunes: the aforementioned “I’m Not My Mother” and the three ballads “[Not] What I had in Mind,” “We Can Be Kind” and “What I Was Dreamin’ Of.”

“One Private Moment” is available from LMVoices, LLC (415-380-9871) or at Colony Records, NYC. The complete track listing follows.

“The Spark of Creation” (Schwartz)
“I’m Not My Mother” (Friedman/Robinson)
“Virgil and Me” (Sommer/Harman)
“This Could Only Happen” (Dinerman/Marlowe)
“One Private Moment” (Dinerman/Marlowe)
“You Couldn’t Be Cuter” (Fields/Kern)
“Mountain Greenery” (Hart/Rodgers)
“Until You Let Go” (Zippel/Hamlisch)
“Getting Married Today” (Sondheim)
“I Chose Right” (Maltby/Shire)
“Folks Who Live on the Hill” (Hammerstein/Kern)
“The Way You Look Tonight” (Fields/Kern)
“What I’d Had in Mind” (Friedman/Robinson)
“We Can Be Kind” (Friedman)
“What I Was Dreamin’ Of” (Friedman)

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Betty Buckley discusses the closing of Cats in an interview with Robert L. Pela in the Phoenix New Times:
“I was trying to make up clever things to say about how I felt about it, but nothing came close. The truth is, I was overwhelmed with melancholy. Even though I did the show for 18 months back in 1982, part of my continuity as a theater performer was connected to Cats. Nothing has changed about the quality of my existence, but it’s strange to be in New York and not see that marquee. It’s like an umbilical cord has been cut from me and musical theater.”

A q&a from Audra McDonald’s website: “Are you the type of person who likes to know when family or friends are in the audience? Does it push you to give a better performance or does it make you nervous?”
“No!!! I hate knowing ahead of time. It makes me more self-conscious. I want to give the same performance for anyone. Regardless of who is in the audience and I think knowing makes that impossible. You keep thinking, ‘I wonder what so and so is thinking right now?’”

IN OTHER NEWS As of press time, those scheduled to perform in Monday’s City Center concert, My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs, include Broadway Inspirational Voices, Michael Crawford, Linda Eder, Jeffry Denman and Joan Hess, Peter Gallagher, Robert Goulet, Heather Headley, Nathan Lane, Rebecca Luker, Barry Manilow, Marin Mazzie, Michael McCormick and Michael Mulheren, Bebe Neuwirth, Adam Pascal, Ron Raines, Chita Rivera, Brent Spiner, Three Mo' Tenors and Tom Wopat. The evening, which will be taped for future PBS broadcast, is being hosted by Julie Andrews, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS . . . Two Australian divas, musical theatre star Judi Connelli and opera singer Suzanne Johnston will take on New York as a duo, starring in their new show, Perfect Strangers. Their eclectic cabaret act will be performed at The FireBird Cafe (365 W. 46th Street) on Oct. 10, 11, 17 and 18, and on Oct. 23 they will bring their show, which includes songs from their ARIA award-winning duet CD of the same name, to the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel (59 W. 44th Street). Reservations for the FireBird can be made by calling (212) 586-0244; for the Algonquin, call (212) 840-6800. . . Jamie deRoy will celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Jamie deRoy & Friends” on Nov. 6 at Florence Gould Hall (55 East 59th Street, NYC). The all-star evening will benefit Variety-The Children’s Charity, and those scheduled to perform include The Accidentals, Lisa Asher, Brent Barrett, Roger Bart, Stephen Bogardus, Scott Coulter, Daisy Eagan, Ellen Foley, Eric Michael Gillett, Julie Gold, High 5 Vocalworks, Dee Hoty, Karen Mack, Heather MacRae, Christiane Noll, Deborah Tranelli and Michael Winther. Tickets range from $50-$125 and may be purchased by calling (212) 760-2777 . . . Cabaret singer Elaine St. George will perform her new show, Do Re Mi Democracy, at Judy’s Chelsea (169 Eighth Ave., NYC) on Oct. 22 and 29 and Nov. 3, 10, 13 and 17. St. George’s program mixes songs from the stage and screen with campaign tunes to celebrate this election year. She will also be joined by several special guests: Deian McBryde (Oct. 22), Margaret Dorn (Oct. 29), Sidney Myer (Nov. 3), Leslie Anderson (Nov. 10), James Beaman (Nov. 17) and Mark Nadler (Nov. 13). There is a $15 cover and a $10 food/drink minimum; call (212) 929 5410 for reservations . . . And, finally, how exciting that one of this column’s very favorite ladies, Florence Lacey will be returning to Broadway this season in The Rhythm Club, which is currently debuting out of town at Arlington’s Signature Theatre. Lacey, who co stars with Jeremy Kushnier, Lauren Kennedy and Barbara Walsh, portrays Anna Wolff and gets to wrap her fiery vocals around two numbers: “They Taught Me Well,” a duet with Walsh, and the reprise of “What’s There To Lose?”

REMINDERS:

SARAH BRIGHTMAN
U.S. Concert Schedule:
Oct. 13: in Columbus, OH at the Nationwide Arena
Oct. 14: in Detroit, MI at the Palace
Oct. 15: in Cleveland, OH at the Gund Arena
Oct. 17: in St. Paul, MN at the Minn. Wild Arena
Oct. 20: in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand
Oct. 21: in Santa Barbara, CA at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Oct. 22: in San Diego, CA at the SDSU Open Air Theatre
Oct. 24: in Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre
Oct. 26: in Sacramento, CA at the Arco Arena
Oct. 27: in San Jose, CA at the San Jose Arena
Oct. 29: in Portland, OR at the Rose Garden
Oct. 31: in Seattle, WA at the Paramount/Key Arena
Nov. 5: in Spokane, WA at the Arena
Nov. 7: in Salt Lake City, UT at the Delta Center
Nov. 8: in Denver, CO at the Magness Arena
Nov. 11: in Chicago, IL at the Arie Crown
Nov. 13: in St. Louis, MO
Nov. 14: in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena
Nov. 15: in Milwaukee, WI at the Riverside Theatre

BETTY BUCKLEY
Oct. 19: Maurice Levin Theatre in West Orange, NJ (Charity Event)
Oct. 22: Helen Hayes Theatre in New York, NY (1 Song as part of Gala Benefit for the Theatre)
Oct. 26: Don’t Tell Mama in New York, NY (Special Guest for “Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Chatterbox”)
Oct. 28: Univ. of Texas Cowan Fine & Perf. Arts Center in Tyler, TX
Nov. 4: The American Theater in St. Louis, MO (Fund Raiser for the Rep Theater of St. Louis)
Nov. 10 & 11: University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
Nov. 19: Symphony Hall in Boston, MA (Performing with Michael Feinstein)
Nov. 27: The Millennium Broadway and Hudson Theater in New York, NY (Presenting Award at the “Music Has Power” Awards)
Dec. 6: Seminar Center in New York, NY (6:30-9 PM)
Dec. 31: The Cuillo Center for the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL
Jan. 5, 2001: Koger Center for the Arts (Univ. of SC) in Columbia, SC
Jan. 6: Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 19-29: Florida Condo Tour in Florida
March 3: Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
May 12: College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
June 17: Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA

BARBARA COOK
Cook’s concert itinerary follows:
Oct. 20 & 21: at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
Oct. 24: through Nov. 25 at Feinstein’s at the Regency in New York, NY
Nov. 1: at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY (“The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner” with June LeBell, Peter Howard and others)
Dec. 5: at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ
Jan. 12, 2001: at Alice Tully Hall in New York, NY (“The Music of Arthur Schwartz” with Maureen McGovern, John Pizzarelli and more)
Feb. 2: at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Feb. 23 and 24: with Michael Feinstein at the Cerritos Center for the Perf. Arts in Cerritos, CA

LINDA EDER
Eder in concert:
Oct. 29: at Symphony Hall in Boston, Ma. (617) 266-1492
Nov. 3: at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA (215) 572-7650
Nov. 17: at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ; call (732) 246-SHOW
Nov. 18: at the State Theatre in Easton, PA; call (610) 252-3132
Nov. 19: at the Strand-Capitol Theatre in York, Penn.
Dec. 6: at the Ordway Center for the Perf. Arts in St. Paul, MN (651) 224 4222
Jan. 12 & 13, 2001: in Charlotte, NC at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; (704) 372-1000
Jan. 20, 2001: with the Boca Pops at Florida Atlantic Univ in Boca Raton, FL; go to: www.bocapops.org
Jan. 21: in Naples, FL at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts; (941) 597 1900
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
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:
Oct. 15-Dec. 17: (“Matters of the Heart”; Sunday and Monday evenings only) at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, NY; (212) 239-6200
Nov. 3: ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky (502) 583-4555
April 8: ("Matters Of The Heart") at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina; (919) 684-4444
Jan. 5-7, 2001: at the Morton J. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX (214) 871-4000 KAREN MASON
What follows is Mason’s up-to-date performance schedule:
Now through Oct. 15 Returns to Arci’s Place, 450 Park Avenue South; NYC; (212) 532-4370
Oct. 10: Karen joins editor Sherry Eaker at book launch party for the Cabaret Artist’s Handbook at Don’t Tell Mama
Oct. 16: Gala Opening of the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, NYC
Oct. 17: Appearance at ASCAP evening at the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, NYC
Nov. 1-12: Appearance at The Plush Room in San Francisco’s York Hotel; (415) 885-2800
Nov. 5: Special appearance at MaraLago in Palm Beach, FL
Dec. 6-10: Karen performs her Christmas Show at Davenports in Chicago, IL (773) 278-1830
Dec. 15-17, 22-23: Karen celebrates Christmas with conductor John McDaniel and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, MO
March 17: Appearance at 92nd Street Y with Craig Carnelia in New York, NY

AUDRA McDONALD
Audra McDonald’s most recent concert listing follows:
Oct. 14: in Hershey, PA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 21: in Los Angeles, CA at UCLA’s Royce Hall
Oct. 22: in San Diego, CA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 28: in Fort Worth, TX (venue to be announced)

MAUREEN McGOVERN
Now through Oct. 14 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, NY
Oct. 23: Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation Benefit Concert with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Dec. 8-11: Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Portland, OR
Dec. 12: Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Salem, OR

CHRISTIANE NOLL
Former star of Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde, Christiane Noll will be hitting the concert circuit, performing throughout the USA. Noll will join other Broadway names in this concert tour, backed by some of the world’s greatest orchestras. Her complete schedule follows:
Oct. 14: with the Cape Symphony Orchestra at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, MA (508) 362-1111
Dec. 2: with Doug LaBrecque and Michael Maguire and the New London Symphony in New London, CT
Dec. 7-17: The Magic of Christmas with the Portland Symphony in Portland, ME; (207) 842-0800

BERNADETTE PETERS
The two-time Tony winner will conclude her run in Annie Get Your Gun on September 2, when she will begin a U.S. concert tour:
Oct. 13: at the OnCenter War Memorial in Syracuse, NY
Jan. 5, 2001: at PAC in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with symphony)
Jan. 11: at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee
Jan. 13: at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
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