DIVA TALK: Ripley to Have Song but No Dance; Eder in Concert

News   DIVA TALK: Ripley to Have Song but No Dance; Eder in Concert Hello, diva lovers! Thanks for all your e-mails last week regarding who should play Herbie opposite Bernadette Peters' Rose in the upcoming revival of Gypsy. I received a lot of suggestions, and the one that I found most interesting was Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, who, I think, would make an ideal Herbie. Some of your other ideas included Marc Kudisch, Michael Rupert, Jason Alexander, Kevin Chamberlin, Michael Mulheren and Terrence Mann . . . Also, the Funny Girl countdown has begun! Hope a lot of you will be able to attend Monday's (Sept. 23) Actors' Fund benefit of Funny Girl, which has scheduled these actresses to share the role of Fanny: Kelly Bishop, Carolee Carmello, La Chanze, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Ana Gasteyer, Whoopi Goldberg, Spencer Kayden, Jane Krakowski, Judy Kuhn, Ricki Lake, Andrea Martin, Idina Menzel, Julia Murney, Bebe Neuwirth and Lillias White. Can't wait to see (and hear) what artistic producer/musical director Seth Rudetsky has planned for the evening. There should be some fierce belting going on at the New Amsterdam Theatre! Show time is 7:30 PM; for tickets call (212) 221-7300, ext. 133.

Hello, diva lovers! Thanks for all your e-mails last week regarding who should play Herbie opposite Bernadette Peters' Rose in the upcoming revival of Gypsy. I received a lot of suggestions, and the one that I found most interesting was Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, who, I think, would make an ideal Herbie. Some of your other ideas included Marc Kudisch, Michael Rupert, Jason Alexander, Kevin Chamberlin, Michael Mulheren and Terrence Mann . . . Also, the Funny Girl countdown has begun! Hope a lot of you will be able to attend Monday's (Sept. 23) Actors' Fund benefit of Funny Girl, which has scheduled these actresses to share the role of Fanny: Kelly Bishop, Carolee Carmello, La Chanze, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Ana Gasteyer, Whoopi Goldberg, Spencer Kayden, Jane Krakowski, Judy Kuhn, Ricki Lake, Andrea Martin, Idina Menzel, Julia Murney, Bebe Neuwirth and Lillias White. Can't wait to see (and hear) what artistic producer/musical director Seth Rudetsky has planned for the evening. There should be some fierce belting going on at the New Amsterdam Theatre! Show time is 7:30 PM; for tickets call (212) 221-7300, ext. 133.

Upcoming: ALICE RIPLEY in TELL ME ON A SUNDAY

Last week I had the chance to chat with Jeffrey Finn, who is producing this winter's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tell Me On a Sunday at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Starring Side Show's Alice Ripley as English hat designer Emma, Tell Me On a Sunday — the song cycle that would become the first half of Song and Dance — will play the Center's Eisenhower Theater Dec. 17, 2002 through Jan. 12, 2003.

Finn, who has produced tours of such Broadway shows as The Who's Tommy, Company and Chess, has been a fan of the Lloyd Webber Don Black musical for years. "I wanted to do the show at the right time," said Finn. "As I was thinking more about the show, it's kind of haunted me. It's a show that's ready to be seen in a new production, in a new light. Often when I'm thinking about Tell Me On a Sunday now, I'm thinking about the fact that it's a story about one woman who's searching to figure out who she is. It's about her relationships, and it's about her career. And I think that, right now, it's very 'Sex and the City,' very 'Ally McBeal.' It feels so contemporary even though it was done in 1986 originally on Broadway." The 1986 Broadway production of Song and Dance — following a hit 1982 London engagement with Marti Webb — was substantially rewritten (with the aid of Richard Maltby Jr.) for Bernadette Peters, who earned a Tony Award for her performance. The version that will be seen at the Kennedy Center will be the show's first half, the Song portion. "Tell Me On a Sunday was always a one-act on its own," says producer Finn. "The show's been done on its own before, although not necessarily in such a high-profile production as the Kennedy Center." Finn also confirmed that Ripley will sing the Broadway (i.e. Peters) version of the work, which has been rewritten numerous times and which is currently being revised for a new London production. "It will be a contemporary telling of [the Broadway version] because I think the show takes place today as much as it took place then. I think the different issues have changed for women since then to now, and I think that's what we'll be exploring."

Finn also spoke about the casting of the one-woman song cycle, which requires a dynamic presence onstage to sing nearly 20 Lloyd Webber tunes. "It was always a very short list," Finn said. "Alice and I had talked about working together for awhile now. When I started to think about the opportunity of her in the show, it just seemed magical because she's got that charisma to command the stage. And, quite honestly, I saw her do Company at the Kennedy Center, and once I saw her do that and was reminded of her fantastic talent, it was that day that she was offered the role. She just the stole the show. She did a great job in Company, and I thought, on the same stage, she'll do a fantastic job in Tell Me On a Sunday. . . She has the charisma, the acting — there's a depth there — [and] she's hilarious. The character demands so much, and I'm so pleased she's taking on this challenge."

Although there are no plans at this time for a post-Kennedy Center tour, it is possible the show could play other venues. "We're just going to first put it up at the Kennedy Center and see what happens after that . . . I certainly have high hopes for it. It's a great show that's really kind of finding a new life." As for a Ripley recording of the musical, he says, "There's nothing in discussion right now, but once it's opened and received, and we see the reviews, there's always a possibility. I leave all doors open because I love working on this show."

Tickets for Alice Ripley in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tell Me On a Sunday go on sale Oct. 10. For more information, go to www.kennedy-center.org.

LINDA EDER

I recently received the latest concert schedule for Broadway belter Linda Eder; the list, as of press time, follows:

Sept. 21 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
Oct. 12 at the Union County Arts Center in Rahway, NJ
Oct. 25 and 26 with the Charlotte Symphony in Charlotte, NC
Nov. 1-3 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA
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

IN OTHER DIVA NEWS OF THE WEEK: Originally scheduled for a September release, the newest recording from Tony Award winner Betty Buckley will hit stores Oct. 22. As previously announced, BB's first recording for the Fynsworth Alley label is entitled "The Doorway," a song written by the award-winning actress/singer. In related news: Buckley and singer-pianist Michael Feinstein will perform two concerts at Australia's Energex Brisbane Festival 2002 this weekend (Sept. 20 and 21) . . . Sarah Hyland, who played Molly in the Rob Marshall-directed TV film of Annie, will play the title role in the upcoming production of the Thomas Meehan-Charles Strouse-Martin Charnin musical at the Paper Mill: State Theatre of New Jersey. Catherine Cox — of Footloose and Baby fame — will portray the evil Miss Hannigan, and Crista Moore, the Tony-nominated star of Big and Gypsy, will portray Daddy Warbucks' assistant Grace. Previews begin Oct. 30 with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 1; the Tony-winning musical will run through Dec. 8 . . . Lauren Kennedy, who will join the Broadway company of Les Misérables Nov. 4 as Fantine, has announced the complete song list for her upcoming recording of Jason Robert Brown tunes. The track list includes "And I Will Follow," "Pretty Music," "Letting You Go," "I Can Do Better Than That," "Christmas Lullaby," "I'd Give It All For You," "If I Told You Now," "Flying Home," "Goodbye Until Tomorrow" and "When You Come Home To Me." . . . Another musical theatre performer, Chicago leading lady Hollis Resnik, has released her debut solo recording, "Make Someone Happy." Resnik, who recently starred in the Ravinia Festival's production of A Little Night Music with Patti LuPone, George Hearn and Zoe Caldwell, offers these songs on her new CD: "All You Need Is a Quarter," "This Is What It Is," "Who's This Stranger," "Lion Tamer," "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria," "I'm Tired of Loving You," "Barbara Song," "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," "A Trip to the Library," "Unusual Way," "Life of the Party" and, of course, "Make Someone Happy." Resnick will perform in concert at the release party for the new CD, scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Tickets, priced at $18, are available by calling the theatre's box office at (312) 595-5600. In addition to offering songs from her new recording, Resnik will also autograph copies of the CD during a post-show reception. "Make Someone Happy" is available on-line by going to www.CDBaby.com or by e-mailing Mamrecords@aol.com. . . Speaking of La LuPone, the Olivier Award winner had this to say on her official website about the aforementioned Little Night Music concerts: "My one job this summer was Desiree in A Little Night Music with a stellar cast that included the great Zoe Caldwell and my beloved and wonderful George Hearn. Lonny Price directed again brilliantly and this cast would love to stay together for a short run on Broadway or a filmed version like Sweeney Todd was. Keep your fingers crossed, this cast deserves to be seen in this musical. I cannot forget to mention Marc Kudisch as Carl Magnus and Hollis Resnik as Charlotte, John McVeigh as Henrik. It was a great experience. It was over too quickly. My son made his Ravinia debut as Bertrand, a page. He had one line. And the line was, 'The Countess Celimene de Francen de la Tour de Casa.' He announced my entrance. My heart was in my mouth. He'd been on stage in school plays but never in front of 3,500 people in a professional situation. If he screwed up would it ruin his life forever? If he screwed up would it ruin my life forever? Well Dolls, the kid's got stage presence. Why just last night he was reading his Night Music script and announced that he can't wait for his Broadway debut. No!" . . . And, finally, two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters and three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will be seen on the silver screen together in the upcoming Michael Douglas film "A Few Good Years." This marks the first time the award-winning actresses have appeared in the same motion picture. Peters portrays a therapist in the new film and McDonald one of her patients, and the two share a few scenes together. Another recent Broadway star, The Full Monty's Annie Golden, also appears in the film as Michael Douglas' secretary. The movie, which is scheduled to hit theatres near Christmas, was directed by Fred (A Cry in the Dark) Schepisi.

REMINDERS

Betty Buckley in Concert: Sept. 20 and 21 in Brisbane, Australia
Sept. 28 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, CA
Oct. 3-6 at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, TX
Oct. 22-Nov. 9 at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York, NY
Nov. 16 at the Performing Arts Center of SUNY-Purchase in Purchase, NY
Dec. 6 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC

Liz Callaway in Concert:

September 23 at the 100th Anniversary of Macy's Herald Square in New York, NY
September 30 in the Merrily We Roll Along Reunion Concert in New York, NY
October 5 with the Westchester Philharmonic concert of Richard Rodgers music
May 16, 2003 in "Broadway Showstoppers" with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops in Philadelphia, PA

Barbara Cook in Concert:

Oct. 1-5 at the Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 19 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA
Nov. 2 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in Brooklyn, NY
Nov. 7 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
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
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

Patti LuPone in Concert:

Oct. 4 at the Tillis Center at Long Island University in Greenvale, NY ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")
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:

Sept. 20-22 with the Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, MI
Sept. 26 - 29 with the North Carolina Symphony at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC
Oct. 24 at the annual Cabaret Convention in New York, NY
Oct. 30-Nov. 3 at the American Music Therapy Association Conf. in Atlanta, GA
Nov. 2 at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts in Atlanta, GA
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

Bernadette Peters in Concert:

Sept. 28 at the Weidner Center in Green Bay, WI
Oct. 5 Sundome Center in Sun City West, AZ
Oct. 24 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 26 at the Kleinhans Auditorium in Buffalo, NY

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

—By Andrew Gans