DIVA TALK: Ripley Saves the Day, LaChanze in Concert, Streisand's New CD and Two Trinas!

News   DIVA TALK: Ripley Saves the Day, LaChanze in Concert, Streisand's New CD and Two Trinas! LaCHANZE

LaCHANZE

Next Saturday (Nov. 16), LaChanze — star of Once On This Island, Ragtime and Company — will make her solo concert debut at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. Part of Lincoln Center's acclaimed American Songbook series, the concerts (8 PM and 10 PM) will feature a mix of standards and new material as well as a song specially written for the singer actress by the Ragtime team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Entitled "A Song for LaChanze," the work was written to pay tribute to Calvin Gooding, LaChanze's late husband, who lost his life during the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tickets for "An Evening with LaChanze" are priced at $45 (8 PM) and $30 (10 PM) and are available by calling (212) 721-6500. The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse is located on the tenth floor of the Rose Building, 165 West 65th Street. As of press time, the evening's repertoire is set to include the following songs:

"So They Say" (Lala Hathaway)
"If You Really Want" (Raul Midon)
"Afro Blue" (Mongo Santamaria and Oscar Brown Jr.)
"One Note Samba" (Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonca)
"Nine" (Eduardo del Barrio and Dianne Reeves)
"That's All" (Bob Haymes and Alan Brandt)
"Last Night I Made Love My Husband" (LaChanze)
"Last Night" (Leesa Richards)
"The Skate" (Kirsten Childs)
"Another Hundred People" (Stephen Sondheim)
"Song for LaChanze" (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens)
"Waiting for Life" (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens)

ALICE RIPLEY I've heard of performers replacing under-the-weather singers before — Betty Buckley stepped in for Bernadette Peters a few years ago when Peters came down with bronchitis, and Patti LuPone similarly offered a few concerts at the now-defunct Rainbow & Stars when the late Rosemary Clooney fell ill — but I don't think I've never heard of a performer being asked to sing the other person's repertoire, especially on one day's notice! Such was the case last weekend when the ever-busy Alice Ripley — who is one of the luminaries set for this weekend's L.A. Richard Rodgers concert — was asked to replace Linda Eder in concert with the Philly Pops. Eder was felled by laryngitis, and Ripley was asked to take over her weekend of Philadelphia concerts. Had I known about the diva switch — which I found quite extraordinary — I would have headed to Philly just to hear Ripley's interpretations of such Eder staples as "Someone Like You," "The Man of La Mancha" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." In fact, several diva lovers wrote me about Ripley's performances, which they described as "thrilling," "unforgettable"; and, my favorite, "We were floored!" Ripley also offered a few of her own charmers, including Stephen Sondheim's "Broadway Baby" and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Unexpected Song"; she'll soon perform the latter when the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts mounts Lloyd Webber's Tell Me On a Sunday, Dec. 17 through Jan. 12.

Ripley told me earlier in the week that the Philadelphia concert was "much like being shot out of a cannon, all the while knowing I was eventually going to land on my feet, still in one piece! I was eager to help create a solution to such an agonizing dilemma. I've been in [Linda's] position before," Ripley said, "and I know how heartbreaking it is to lose your voice. Knowing there is a capable back-up willing to give it a try always makes you feel better. And I really hope Linda is feeling better." About the Philadelphia audiences, the singer-actress, who is in negotiations to star as Audrey in the forthcoming Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors, said, "[They] were extremely warm and generous, for which I am very grateful. At one point in the show I told them, 'I'm so sorry that some of you came a long way to see Linda today, only to hear the news that she would not be here. Just for the record, people sometimes come a long way to hear me sing, too!'"

[By the way, tickets for Ripley in Tell Me On a Sunday — which promises to be one of the most exciting vocal events of the season — are now available by logging on to www.kennedy-center.org.]

BARBRA STREISAND

Streisand fans will be happy to learn that the director-singer-actress will release her latest recording, "Duets," on Nov. 26. The Columbia Records disc is a comprehensive career-spanning collection of Streisand's duets throughout the years with artists from various entertainment fields. The 19-track CD will also include two new tracks, David Foster and Linda Thompson's "All I Know of Love" and "I Won't Be the One to Let Go"; the latter is a duet with Barry Manilow (Manilow wrote the tune with Richard Marx). The complete track listing for "Duets" follows:

"I Won't Be the One to Let Go" (with Barry Manilow)
"Guilty" (with Barry Gibb)
"You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (with Neil Diamond)
"I Finally Found Someone" (with Bryan Adams)
"Cryin' Time" (with Ray Charles)
"I've Got a Crush on You" (with Frank Sinatra)
"Tell Him" (with Celine Dion)
"No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (with Donna Summer)
"What Kind of Fool" (with Barry Gibb)
"I Have a Love"/"One Hand, One Heart" (with Johnny Mathis)
"One Less Bell to Answer"/"A House Is Not a Home" (duet with Streisand)
"Lost Inside of You" (with Kris Kristofferson)
"Till I Loved You" (with Don Johnson)
"Make No Mistake, He's Mine" (with Kim Carnes)
"If You Ever Leave Me" (with Vince Gill)
"The Music of the Night" (with Michael Crawford)
"Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" (with Harold Arlen)
"Get Happy"/"Happy Days Are Here Again" (with Judy Garland)
"All I Know of Love" (with Josh Groban)

IN OTHER DIVA NEWS OF THE WEEK Two Trinas! In the upcoming concert presentation of Falsettos at Playwrights Horizons, Alison Fraser — who originated the role of Trina in In Trousers and March of the Falsettos — will play the frustrated housewife during the first half of the evening (March of the Falsettos), and Faith Prince — who portrayed Trina in the original Off-Broadway mounting of Falsettoland — will play her in the second half of the evening (Falsettoland. These two grand performers will be joined by Michael Rupert, Chip Zien, Heather Mac Rae, Janet Metz with Brent Barrett as Whizzer. (Stephen Bogardus, the original Whizzer, will be busy with Man of La Mancha). The Falsettos concerts are scheduled for Jan. 9-12, 2003 . . . Liz Callaway, Natalie Gamsu and Tom Andersen will take part in The Amazing Singing Voices benefit on Nov. 14 at New York's Supper Club (240 West 47th Street). Tickets are priced at $100 for the evening, which will benefit the Schein Voice and Laryngeal Center at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center; call (718) 470-7555 for reservations . . . Lorna Luft, daughter of the late Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli's half sister, will star as Rose in the University of Richmond's mounting of the famed musical Gypsy. Luft replaces the previously announced Donna McKechnie, who bowed out of the production due to other commitments. Luft, who is the 2002-03 Tucker-Boatwright Artist-in Residence at the University, will star in the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical from Nov. 21 through Nov. 24 at the Alice Jepson Theatre. Dorothy Holland will direct. Tickets for this production are priced between $3 and $8. For more information, go to http://www.urich.edu . . . Cabaret veteran Andrea Marcovicci will bring her newest act to New York's Algonquin Hotel beginning Nov. 19. Marcovicci will offer So in Love: The Love Songs of Cole Porter from Nov. 19, 2002, through Jan. 12, 2003. Cabaretgoers can expect to hear the talented chanteuse perform such Porter standards as "I Get a Kick Out of You," "So in Love," "Why Can't You Behave?," "You Do Something to Me" as well as rarities like "Weren't We Fools?," "Allez-Vous en" and "Let's Not Talk About Love." The Algonquin Hotel is located in New York City at 59 West 44th Street; call (212) 944 1618 for reservations . . . Millie's a chatterbox; that is, Tony Award winner Sutton Foster will sit down with Seth Rudetsky for the Nov. 21 edition of Seth's Broadway Chatterbox. The weekly live talkfest is held at 6 PM at the New York cabaret Don't Tell Mama on West 46th Street. There is a $10 donation and a two-drink minimum. The donation goes directly to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; call (212) 757-0788 for reservations . . . Husband-and-wife musical theatre stars Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie will team up for two concerts with the San Francisco Symphony in December. On Dec. 29 (2 PM) Danieley and Mazzie will take part in "Vienna Woods, New York Night: Songs of Two Cities," which begins with Viennese Waltzes and concludes with Broadway showstoppers. And, on Dec. 31 (9 PM) the duo will be part of the annual "New Year's Eve Gala" concert, which features complimentary champagne and desserts following the performance. Edwin Outwater will conduct the two concerts, which will be held in Davies Symphony Hall. Tickets for the Dec. 29 concert are priced between $15 and $83; Dec. 31 seats range from $87 to $145; call (415) 864-6000. Go to www.sfsymphony.org for more information . . . Karen Mason and Barbara Walsh are among the guest stars at the upcoming special edition of Jamie deRoy & friends, the MAC Award-winning variety show. The Nov. 23 evening (8:30 PM) at the West Bank Café's Laurie Beechman Theatre will offer performances from Mason and Walsh as well as those from comedy legends Monteith & Rand, comic Karith Foster and singers Jarvis Moorehead, Ryan Perry and Lennie Watts. Barry Kleinbort will direct the concert, which will feature musical direction by Rod Hausen. Tickets for Jamie deRoy & friends are priced at $20 — $15 for MAC members — and there is a one-drink minimum; call (212) 695-6909 for reservations. The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located in New York City at 407 West 42nd Street . . . A star-studded cast led by Stephanie Mills, Bebe Winans, Phylicia Rashad and Tony Award winner Lillias (The Life) White will offer three performances of Nativity: A Life Story on Dec. 6 and 7. A retelling of the Biblical Christmas story with African American music and dance, Nativity: A Life Story is based on the Langston Hughes classic, Black Nativity. The production will also include performances from Keith David, Freddie Jackson, Ebony Jo Ann, Denise Burse-Fernandez, Alyson Williams, Priscilla Baskerville and George Faison. Also taking part in the event are The Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble, directed by Bettye F. Forbes; The Broadway Inspiration Voices, directed by Michael McElroy; and The Christ United Church Youth-in Action Chorus. Nativity: A Life Story, presented by The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, will be mounted at The United Palace Theatre, 175th Street and Broadway. Tickets, ranging from $25 to $50, may be purchased by calling (212) 491 2206 (from 11 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday) . . . And, finally, the one-and-only Betty Buckley concludes her acclaimed run at Feinstein's at the Regency this weekend. If you haven't caught the Tony winning performer in this intimate environment, what are you waiting for? It's a wonderful — often moving — evening of songs that the Texas native has dubbed Deep in the Heart. New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden had this to say about Buckley's new act: "One of the thrills of Ms. Buckley's singing is her adroit use of high dramatic contrast. Fragile and fluttery one minute, she can suddenly shift gears and break your heart with a fierce, keening cry. The mood of the show intensifies as it goes along with poignant renditions of Anna McGarrigle's 'Heart Like a Wheel,' 'Honest Emotion' (a little-known ballad by Michael McDonald, John Goodwin and Charles Frichtel) and Tom Waits's 'Take It With Me,' proving that elevation and true grit can coincide."

REMINDERS

Betty Buckley in Concert:

Now through Nov. 9 at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York, NY
Nov. 15 at the Patchogue Theatre in Patchogue, NY
Nov. 16 at the Performing Arts Center of SUNY Purchase in Purchase, NY
Dec. 6 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
Dec. 20 at the Sunoco Performance Theater in Harrisburg, PA
May 31, 2003 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA

Liz Callaway in Concert:

Nov. 11 at the Nippon Club for the Japan Music Award presentation in New York, NY
Nov. 14 at the Supper Club for The Amazing Voices benefit in New York, NY
May 16, 2003 Broadway Showstoppers in Philadelphia, PA Barbara Cook in Concert:

Nov. 9 at the Harriman Arts Program of William Jewell College in Kansas City
Nov. 22 at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT
Nov. 23-30 at the Curran in San Francisco, CA
Dec. 3-16 at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, FL
Dec. 20 at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 31, 2003 at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Long Island, NY
Feb. 14-16 at the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, PA

Linda Eder in Concert:

Nov. 8 in Providence, RI
Nov. 20 at the Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ
Nov. 23 at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT
Dec. 1 at the Bass Hall in Austin, TX
Dec. 3 at the Verizon Wireless Theatre in Houston, TX
Dec. 4 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX
Dec. 12 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, FL
Dec. 16 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, FL
Dec. 17 at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL
Dec. 18 at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, FL
Dec. 20 and 21 with the Atlanta Symphony at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 3 and 4, 2003 with the Baltimore Symphony in Baltimore, MD
Jan. 25 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT
Jan. 30 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, CA
Feb. 1 at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek, CO
Feb. 14 at the Proctor's Theatre in Albany, NY

Patti LuPone in Concert

March 27, 2003 at the East County Performing Arts Center in Cajon, CA ("Matters of the Heart")
March 28-29 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA ("Matters of the Heart")
March 30 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV ("Matters of the Heart")
April 5 at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")

Maureen McGovern in Concert:

Nov. 9 at the Landmark Theatre Gala in Port Washington, NY
Nov. 10 at the Hanford Civic Auditorium in Hanford, CA
Nov. 19-Dec. 1 at the Plush Room in San Francisco, CA
Dec. 6 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA
Dec. 8 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts in Poway, CA
Dec. 9 Laurie Strauss Leukemia Benefit at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Dec. 14 at the Boca Pops Big Band Series in Boca Raton, FL

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

—By Andrew Gans