DIVA TALK: Ruffelle's Return And Lots O' Diva News

DIVA TALK: Ruffelle's Return And Lots O' Diva News BETTY BUCKLEY
Congratulations to Betty B for scoring two nominations in this year's MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards. Buckley was nominated for both Major Female Vocalist of the Year and Major Artist Recording of the Year for Much More on the Sterling Records label. Others in the recording category include Ann Hampton Callaway (After Ours) and Barbara Cook (Oscar Winners); competing against Buckley in the Major Female Vocalist category are Ann Hampton Callaway, Karen Mason and Julie Wilson. The MAC Awards will be held on Apr. 19 at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street. Call (212) 465-2662 for more information.

BETTY BUCKLEY
Congratulations to Betty B for scoring two nominations in this year's MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards. Buckley was nominated for both Major Female Vocalist of the Year and Major Artist Recording of the Year for Much More on the Sterling Records label. Others in the recording category include Ann Hampton Callaway (After Ours) and Barbara Cook (Oscar Winners); competing against Buckley in the Major Female Vocalist category are Ann Hampton Callaway, Karen Mason and Julie Wilson. The MAC Awards will be held on Apr. 19 at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street. Call (212) 465-2662 for more information.

Also, add Mar. 27 and 28 to the ever-growing list of Betty Buckley concert dates. Buckley is scheduled to perform at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday and Saturday night at the end of this month. For tickets and more information, call 918-596-7122. Be sure to check out the Betty Buckley website (in its home on the PBOL site) for updated concert listings. Coming soon to BB's site. . .a Triumph of Love photo layout.


FRANCES RUFFELLE
Exciting news for the many Frances Ruffelle fans out there. The original Eponine in the both the London and New York productions of Les Miserables will return to the U.S. for three cabaret appearances next week. Ruffelle's musical career began when she was cast as Dinah in the original London company of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express. From there she landed the role of the young waif, Eponine, in the Boublil-Schonberg megahit, Les Miz. In his original review of the musical, The New York Times' Frank Rich wrote, "Ruffelle is stunning. She is an angel with a dirty face and an unrelenting rock balladeer's voice."

Ruffelle's cabaret appearances will mark her first appearance in the U.S. in over a decade. First up, are two dates at The Triad on Thursday, Mar. 12 and Saturday, Mar. 14 at 11 p.m. Ruffelle will be accompanied by piano, cello, saxophone and percussion, and she will include selections from her recently-recorded album, simply titled Frances Ruffelle. Diva lovers can expect to hear such theatre standards as "Being Alive," "The Miller's Son," "Where I Want To Be," and, of course, "On My Own." The Triad is located at 158 W. 72nd Street, and tickets are $15. For reservations, call (212) 799-4599. Then, on Mar. 16 at 9:30 p.m., Ruffelle is scheduled to perform a more pop-flavored program at The Mercury Lounge, which is located at 217 E. Houston. Call (212) 260-4700 for reservations.

Interestingly, Ruffelle's appearance at The Triad on Mar. 12 coincides with the 11th anniversary of the Broadway production of Les Miserables; the musical opened in New York on Mar. 12, 1987.


PATTI LuPONE

The star of The Old Neighborhood debuted a bunch of new material at her recent symphony concerts in Pittsburgh. Some of the new songs added to LuPone's already vast repertoire were "I've Still Got My Health," Ragtime's "Back to Before," "Hey There," "Secret Love," "Ridin' High" and "Just the Way You Look Tonight." I had the pleasure of speaking with La LuPone earlier in the week for an article about her and her brother Robert LuPone (who will continue his role in A View from the Bridge when it reopens in Apr. at the Neil Simon Theatre) for the theatre edition of PLAYBILL. One exciting bit of news from our Evita gal is that she is working on an all-new concert act with Scott Wittman, who directed her earlier concert triumph, Patti LuPone on Broadway. Some of the songs she is contemplating for this new act are Billy Joel's "He's Got a Way" and songs by New York composer John Bucchino. In the next few columns I'll include some quotes from the interview. Here's this week's sound byte about how LuPone occupies her time during the first and third acts of The Old Neighborhood since she is not onstage:

"Lately I've been singing in my dressing room and harassing my dresser!" (a hearty LuPone laugh!) "I have a great dresser, and it's fun to harass him. I get there about 7:30 because I'm commuting from home. I run lines at about a quarter of eight. I calm down from the ride because a long ride can get you jittery. It's a short enough play that I can commute--I stay in on the nights before matinees--which is actually much better because I get to be home with my husband and son. It was quite depressing in Master Class because I was missing my son grow up and I'm missing my husband. So, I'm home, which is wonderful . . . I put my make-up on, and then, lately, I've been singing in the dressing room because I have these gigs."

Also, LuPone is scheduled to perform at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts, on Apr. 5. Tickets can be purchased by calling 978-922-8500. . .And, a reminder that LuPone will star in the one-night only benefit concert of Annie Get Your Gun at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre this Sunday, Mar. 8. A limited number of seats to this Irving Berlin classic are available by calling Telecharge at (212) 239 6200. I will attend the concert--which will also star Peter Gallagher- and will report on it for a future column.


SARAH BRIGHTMAN
The international concert and stage performer, Sarah Brightman, can be seen on PBS stations across the country throughout the month of Mar. in her own one-woman concert. The one-hour concert will first air in the metropolitan area this coming Wednesday evening, Mar. 11 at 9pm on WLIW Channel 21. I thought you would be interested to read the program for Sarah Brightman in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall which follows:

"O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini
"Summertime" from Porgy and Bess by the Gershwins
"Pie Jesu" (duet w/ Adam Clarke) from Requiem Andrew Lloyd Webber
"Tu Quieres Volver" by the Gypsy Kings
"Time to Say Goodbye" (duet w/Andrea Bocelli) by Andrew Lloyd Webber
"Who Wants to Live Forever?" by Brian May
"Whistle Down the Wind" (duet with Webber) by Andrew Lloyd Webber
"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom by AL Webber
"The Music of the Night" from Phantom by AL Webber




DONNA MURPHY
It's been awhile since I have received any news about one of Broadway's favorite leading ladies, Donna Murphy, who was last on The Great White Way in the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I. It appears that Murphy has been busy these past few months working in front of the camera. She will portray Mary Todd Lincoln in a TNT production of The Day Lincoln Was Shot, which will air on that network on Apr. 12. Also, Murphy has just finished filming a feature film entitled The Astronaut's Wife. That movie also stars Blair Brown and Johnny Depp. Stay tuned for more details. . .


IN OTHER NEWS
Side Show star Alice Ripley will play Daisy Mae in the upcoming City Center Encores! presentation of Li'l Abner from Mar. 26-29 . . . Okay, so she doesn't sing, but we still love Cherry Jones anyway. The Tony winner, who is currently starring in Pride's Crossing, will host the sixth annual National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organization's "Celebrate Life" event Tuesday, Mar. 10 at the Marriott Marquis. Jones will participate in reading the "On with Life" list, a moving and poignant collection of breast cancer survivors' hopes and wishes for the future. The event will benefit NABCO, the leading non profit information and education resource on breast cancer. For more information, call (212) 353-8200.


REMINDERS:
DIXIE CARTER
Carter will return to the cabaret stage of the Cafe Carlyle (Madison Avenue at 76th Street) on Mar. 10. Reservations can be made by calling (212) 744-1600.


EARTHA KITT
The legendary Eartha Kitt continues at Cafe Carlyle ((212) 744-1600) on Madison and 76th Street through this Saturday, Mar. 7. Performances are Tuesday through Saturdays at 8:45 and 10:45, and there is a $50 cover with no minimum.


KAREN MASON
Mason will make an on-line appearance on Playbill On-line on Mar. 9 at 9pm, and later that week, on Mar. 14, she will appear in concert at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Reservations for that concert can be made by calling 914-698-0098. A radio appearance on the Stan Martin Show (WQEW-AM 1560 AM) follows on Mar. 16, and Mar. 20 brings Mason centerstage at Carnegie Hall. Entitled "The Broadway Songbook with Karen Mason," the evening will feature Mason performing with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra. And, finally, on Mar. 29 Mason will sing with the New York City Gay Men's Chorus at Avery Fisher Hall in a tribute to George Gershwin.
ELAINE PAIGE
Paige will begin previews in Moliere's The Misanthrope on Mar. 13 with an official opening on Mar. 26 at London's Piccadilly Theatre. Tickets are available by calling 011-44-171-287-0464. . .On Apr. 7 Paige will be one of the many stars celebrating Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th birthday through song at the Royal Albert Hall. . .On June 7 and 8 EP will take part in the charity concert Hey Mr. Producer, which will celebrate the work of another legendary Brit, producer Cameron Mackintosh. . . .EP will appear in concert at the Hampton Court Palace Festival on June 19. Tickets may be purchased by calling 011-171-344-4444 .


BERNADETTE PETERS
BP's concert schedule follows:
Mar. 6 & 7 in Costa Mesa, CA at The Orange County Performing Arts Center
Mar. 12 in Akron, OH at the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Univ. of Akron
Mar. 14 New Brunswick, NJ at the NJ State Theatre
Mar. 15 Springfield, MA at Symphony Hall
Mar. 27 & 28 in Dayton, OH at the Dayton Convention Center


JULIE WILSON

Julie Wilson is currently performing at Michael's Pub at 57 East 54th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues). Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. There is a $20 music charge Tuesday-Saturday, $25 Friday and Saturday and a $15 food or drink minimum for all performances. Call (212) 758-2272 or (212) 355-0243 for reservations.

Coming soon: Patti LuPone in Annie Get Your Gun. . .

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

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