DIVA TALK: Putting It Together

DIVA TALK: Putting It Together BETTY BUCKLEY
As Buckley continues rehearsals for Nicky Silver's The Eros Trilogy (previews begin Jan. 21, 1999 at the Vineyard Theatre), Sterling Records has announced a special holiday package for the Buckley fan on your list. Betty Buckley: The Complete Collection includes all five of Buckley's solo albums on the Sterling Label: "Children Will Listen," "With One Look," "The London Concert," "An Evening at Carnegie Hall" and "Much More." The five CDs are available for $65 and the five cassettes for $40 (add $5 for shipping and handling). To order call 1-800-784-7554.

BETTY BUCKLEY
As Buckley continues rehearsals for Nicky Silver's The Eros Trilogy (previews begin Jan. 21, 1999 at the Vineyard Theatre), Sterling Records has announced a special holiday package for the Buckley fan on your list. Betty Buckley: The Complete Collection includes all five of Buckley's solo albums on the Sterling Label: "Children Will Listen," "With One Look," "The London Concert," "An Evening at Carnegie Hall" and "Much More." The five CDs are available for $65 and the five cassettes for $40 (add $5 for shipping and handling). To order call 1-800-784-7554.


And, as reported last week, Buckley will be honored with a "Life in the Theatre" Award by T. Schreiber Studios on Monday, Jan. 25, 1999 at the Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South). Buckley will not perform that evening as originally announced; instead, video footage from the upcoming BB documentary will be presented. Producer Roger Berlind will also be honored, and Edward Norton will serve as the evening's chairperson. Call (212) 741-0209 for tickets ($250).

AUDRA McDONALD
Arguably the most talented new performer to emerge from the theatre in the past decade is Audra McDonald, who soon will leave her role as Sarah in the Broadway company of Ragtime. During the last few years, McDonald-- a Juilliard graduate--has earned three Tony Awards for her work in Carousel, Master Class and Ragtime. The singing actress recently released her first solo recital, a collection of relatively new songs by such up-and-coming composers as Jason Robert Brown (Parade), Adam Guettel (Saturn Returns) and Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again).

McDonald easily shifts between an impressive operatic register (listen to the way her voice soars in "Dream Variations") and a forceful belt, and she brings every song and every lyric she touches to full, blooming life. Some of the most impressive tracks include Brown's "Stars in the Moon," in which McDonald relates the tale of a woman who ruefully reflects on her choice of yachts and champagne over simple pleasures like the stars or the moon; and "Baby Moon," a mother's somewhat frantic lullaby to her unborn child. The title track, "Way Back to Paradise," provides a sneak peek at the upcoming musical Marie Christine based on the classic tragedy Medea in which McDonald will star at Lincoln Center. "Way Back to Paradise " is available on the Nonesuch label. LEA SALONGA
I must admit to a twinge of excitement when I opened the Arts & Leisure section of Sunday's New York Times and saw the full-page color ad announcing Lea Salonga's return to Miss Saigon next month (Jan. 18, 1999). Salonga possesses one of the more beautiful, rich voices in the theatre today, and I thrilled to her performance as the ill-fated Kim when Saigon opened in 1991. I returned to see the show toward the end of Salonga's original run, but have not seen it since, thinking her interpretation -- so emotionally honest and moving -- of the role was so perfect that no one would be able to top it. If you've yet to see Saigon or Salonga, now is the perfect time to get to the Broadway Theatre.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER. . .FOR BROADWAY?
Hope you caught Wednesday's "Rosie O'Donnell Show," which included an appearance by Carol Burnett, the award-winning comedienne who recently ended her run in the Los Angeles production of Putting It Together. Burnett treated Rosie's audience to a verse of "Getting Married Today" from Stephen Sondheim's Company. As negotiations continue to bring the aforementioned Sondheim revue to Broadway, I thought you would be interested to see a list of the songs included in the production. The cast at the Mark Taper Forum boasted Burnett as Amy, Susan Egan as Julie, John Barrowman as Barry, Bronson Pinchot as The Observer and John McCook as Charles.
Also, in Wednesday's Cindy Adams column in The New York Post, Burnett is quoted as saying: "I can't commit to a longtime stand. New York is great, but when you work there every night, it might as well be Des Moines, for all you enjoy of it."

Act I
Invocation and Instructions to the Audience (The Observer)
Putting It Together (The Company)
Rich and Happy (The Company)
Do I Hear a Waltz? (Amy, Charles)
Merrily We Roll Along (The Observer)
Lovely (The Company)
Hello, Little Girl (Charles, Julie)
My Husband the Pig (Amy)
Every Day a Little Death (Amy, Julie)
Come Play Wiz Me (The Observer, Amy)
Have I Got a Girl for You (Barry, Charles)
Pretty Women (Barry, Charles)
Sooner or Later (Julie)
Bang! (Barry, The Observer, Julie)
Country House (Amy, Charles)
Unworthy of Your Love (Barry, Julie)
Merrily We Roll Along (The Observer)
Could I Leave You? (Amy)


Act II
Back in Business (The Company)
It's Hot Up Here (The Company)
The Ladies Who Lunch (Amy)
The Road You Didn't Take (Charles)
Live Alone and Like It (Barry)
More (Julie)
There's Always a Woman (Julie, Amy)
Buddy's Blues (The Observer)
Good Thing Going (Charles)
Marry Me a Little (Barry)
Not Getting Married Today (Amy, Julie, The Observer)
Merrily We Roll Along (The Company)
Being Alive (Amy, Charles, Barry, Julie)
Like It Was (Amy)
Old Friends -- Finale (The Company)


QUOTABLE QUOTES:


Gwen Verdon discusses Bob Fosse in Sheryl Flatow's upcoming article in the January issue of Playbill:
"His choreography came out of the way he was comfortable moving and also out of his love for detail. The movement in Bob's choreography is so isolated, and the attention to detail is so important - even your little finger is important. He looked at the body as a composition, where you could see one leg turned out, and the knee poking out, and the fingers and the elbows. He wanted to see space through the body, to make it dimensional . . . He was a shy person, yet when he and our daughter would to go to the supermarket, he would amuse her by dancing around like Fred Astaire. She was his partner, sitting in the wagon. He really was shy, but he could do that. He loved to amuse people."


Paige O'Hara's sweet dedication in the liner notes for her new album, "Dream With Me":
"[This album] is for children and the child in each of us who still dream of angels, fairytales and Never Never Land; perhaps there is a little Peter Pan in all of us -- that's not such a bad thing. This CD is dedicated to Robert E. Hall, my father, who dreamed of being great, and to me, was."

IN OTHER NEWS Two Paper Mill Playhouse alums, Judy (Evita) McLane and Kelli (Children of Eden) Rabke will star in that theatre's upcoming Jimmy Webb revue . . . Little Shop of Horror's Ellen Greene stopped by Eighty-Eight's recently and was coaxed into performing. Greene offered a belty version of the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me." . . . Deborah Gibson, Phyllis Newman, Christiane Noll, Roberto Blades, Ruben Gomez and a dozen or so others can be heard on the concept recording of Robert W. Cabell's The Masked Musical, based on the legend of Zorro . . . Liz Larsen and Christiane Noll are set to star opposite Darrin Baker in Little By Little, a new musical at the Theatre at Saint Peter's Church in the Citicorp Center. The sung through musical features a score by Brad Ross, Ellen Greenfield and Hal Hackaday and concerns a love triangle of three childhood friends. . . The current national tour of Evita will hit the Metropolitan area on January 26 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. For tickets, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC. Evita will play through Jan. 31, and on Feb. 2, the Petula Clark tour of Sunset Boulevard will open there (running through Feb. 7.) The New York Times's full-page ad for Sunset had this tag line: "A fading film star. A desperate screenwriter. An unlikely romance. An ending you'll never forget."! . . . And, finally, speaking of Norma Desmonds: Elaine Paige will tour the UK and Sweden this April, May and June. Stay tuned for more EP news shortly!

REMINDERS:

BETTY BUCKLEY
BB concert line-up:
Dec. 28 at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, FL
Dec. 29 at the Kravis Center for the Perf Arts in West Palm Beach, FL
Dec. 30 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dec. 31, 1998 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, FL
Jan. 14, 1999 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, CA
Jan. 16 at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE
Feb. 6 at the Bob Hope Cultural Center in Palm Desert, CA
April 17 at the Lehman Center for the Perf. Arts in Bronx, NY
April 23 at the College of New Jersey in Erwing, NJ
May 3, 1999 at the Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago, Ill.

PATTI LuPONE
LuPone will bring her acclaimed new concert act, "Matters of the Heart," to the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia Jan. 11 and 13, 1999. The new act, which premiered this past August in California, was conceived and directed by Scott Wittman, the same man responsible for her Broadway concert, Patti LuPone on Broadway. The new act is an evening of original and contemporary music and boasts an eclectic mix of songwriters, including works by Lennon and McCartney, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter and Randy Newman. For ticket info and orders, go to www.tickettek.com.au/Sydney Festival Home Page or www.sydneyfestival.org.au. Trivia buffs will recall that Patti has performed in Australia on one other occasion when she received critical acclaim in the Australian production of Evita in the early eighties.

After her Sydney engagement, LuPone will bring the new act to the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, California Jan. 29 and 30, 1999. Call the McCallum's box office at (760) 340-2787 for tickets. And, on March 5, 6, and 7, 1999 she will appear with the Baltimore Symphony in Baltimore. Tickets go on sale Jan. 4, 1999 but may be purchased during the Symphony's early sale, Dec. 1 to 23; call (410) 783-8000.

Also, LuPone will join opera star Bryn Terfel for a concert version of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. The performers will be backed by the New York Philharmonic, and the event will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday.

KAREN MASON
Mason will perform a Christmas concert at the Laurie Beechman Theatre (at the West Bank Cafe) this Sunday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 PM. There is a $30 music charge and a one-drink minimum, and reservations can be made by calling (212) 695-6909. The West Bank Cafe is located at 407 West 42nd Street, west of 9th Avenue.

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

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

Diva Talk is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard, 1976 1998.