Entitled "Listen to My Heart: The Life and Music of Laurie Beechman," the 50 minute documentary premiered at a by-invitation-only screening March 31 at the Directors Guild in New York City. Let's hope the often-moving film — featuring thrilling Beechman vocal moments as well as interviews with a host of celebrities — gets picked up for TV broadcast.
I've heard a bit of news through the grapevine about one of the most eagerly awaited recordings of the year, Barbra Streisand's latest solo disc. Streisand — who scored major successes with her Broadway albums — is now focusing her many talents on tunes from the silver screen, and her Columbia Records release is tentatively titled "The Movie Album." Although there is no official song list, some of the titles Streisand is said to be recording include the following:
•"Wild Is the Wind" from the 1957 film of the same name; music by Dimitri Tiomkin and lyrics by Ned Washington
•"The Second Time Around" from 1960's "High Time," which starred Bing Crosby and Fabian; music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn •"Emily" from 1965's "The Americanization of Emily"; music by Johnny Mandel and lyrics by Johnny Mercer
•"Smile" from 1936's "Modern Times," which starred and was directed by Charlie Chaplin; music by Chaplin and lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
•"I'm in the Mood for Love" from 1935's "Every Night at Eight"; music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields
•"Calling You" from 1988's "Bagdad Cafe"; music and lyrics by Robert Pelson
•"Goodbye for Now" from Warren Beatty's "Reds" (1981); music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
•Theme from "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," the 1962 film directed by Vincente Minnelli; music by André Previn and new lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
•"How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" from 1982's "Best Friends"; music by Michel Legrand with lyrics by The Bergmans
•"You're Gonna Hear from Me" from the 1965 film "Daisy Clover"; music by André Previn and lyrics by Dory Previn
•"But Beautiful" from 1947's "The Road to Rio"; music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Johnny Burke
•"Moon River" from Truman Capote's 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer
There is no release date at this time, but one hopes the disc will hit stores by the fall as it would make the perfect holiday gift for diva fans around the world! I'll keep 'ya posted . . .
FOR THE RECORD
Well, I finally received a copy of the A Man of No Importance cast recording, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on this terrific, must-have recording. . .
If the New York musical theatre awarded a Best Song of the Year prize, one of the top contenders for the season just ended would have to be “The Streets of Dublin,” Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens’ (lyrics) spirit raising tune from the much-too-short-lived Man. The extremely touching musical — with a book by Terrence McNally based on the film of the same name — played a limited engagement at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and the aforementioned “Dublin” — sung powerfully by Steven Pasquale — was, perhaps, the most exciting moment in the production, which concerns the secret that burdens the life of Alfie (portrayed with dignity by Roger Rees), a Dublin bus conductor who — through community theatre productions — touches the lives of a host of unlikely actors. And, they return his gift with an even greater one: friendship and acceptance.
From beginning to end, the score (available on Jay Records) is a melodic delight. Faith Prince — as Alfie’s spinster sister Lily — scores vocally and dramatically. She finds the humor and the pathos in her role, and her second act diatribe, "Tell Me Why," in which she unleashes years of suppressed emotion, is both frightening and wrenching, and her last line — "You must have known I'd love you all the same" — is heartbreaking. Other highlights include the title tune; “Man in the Mirror,” which explores Alfie’s intense longing for love; “Love Who You Love,” a beautiful ballad sung by Alfie and later reprised stirringly by Robbie (Pasquale) and Adele (Sally Murphy); and the company’s comical pursuit of “Art.” It's a wonderful recording and a must-have for musical theatre fans.
IN OTHER DIVA NEWS OF THE WEEK: Complete casting has been announced for the upcoming Broadway bow of Little Shop of Horrors. The company of the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical will include Hunter Foster as Seymour, Kerry Butler as Audrey, Douglas Sills as Orin Scrivello, Michael Leon Wooley as the Voice of Audrey II, and Rob Bartlett as Mushnik with Carla J. Hargrove as Ronnette, Trisha Jeffrey as Crystal and Dequina Moore as Chiffon. Additionally, the giant plant designed by the Jim Henson Workshop will be puppeteered by Martin P. Robinson, Anthony Asbury, Bill Remington and Matt Vogel. Robinson designed the plant that was used during the musical's original Off-Broadway run. Featuring direction by Jerry Zaks, Little Shop of Horrors begins previews at the Virginia Theatre Aug. 29 with an official opening set for Oct. 2. . . . From Aug. 1-10, the nine-day Cabaret Conference at Yale University will offer an intensive program in the art of performing in cabarets in order to train artists for the industry. Among the faculty taking part in the training are Tovah Feldshuh, Carol Hall, George Hall, Julie Halston, Lina Koutrakos, Marilynn Lovell Matz, Sally Mayes, Erv Raible, Fred Voelpel, Thommie Walsh and Julie Wilson. On Aug. 9 the graduates of the class of 2003 will perform an evening of three, one-hour cabaret acts at Yale's University Theater. Throughout the week of classes, several other concerts — all open to the public — will be presented. On Aug. 2 at the New Theater, Tovah Feldshuh will perform "Tovah: Out of Her Mind" on a double bill with cabaret legend Julie Wilson ("Gems I Love"). "The Cabaret Conference Faculty Concert" is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the New Theater and will feature performances by Tovah Feldshuh, George Hall, Carol Hall, Rick Jensen, Jeff Klitz, Lina Koutrakos, Marilynn Lovell Matz, Sally Mayes, Amanda McBroom, Erv Raible, Paul Trueblood and Julie Wilson. "2 Women U Should Know" is the title of the Aug. 7 concert at the University Theater, which features Marnie Baumer in "Animato in G: A Tribute to Women in Animated Film" and Pam Tate singing "Something Wonderful." Jason Graae and Sally Mayes will take to the stage of the University Theater on Aug. 8: Graae has titled his show "An Evening of Self-Indulgence"; Mayes will perform "The Story Hour." All concerts will be held at 7:30 PM with a ticket price of $20 each. The New Theater is located at 1156 Chapel Street (between York and Park Streets) in New Haven, CT. The University Theatre, also in New Haven, can be found at 222 York Street (between Chapel and Elm Streets). For ticket reservations, call (203) 432-1234. The Cabaret Conference can be found on the web at www.thecabaretconferenceatyale.com. . . . Three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will sing selections from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story Aug. 15 and 16 at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl's official website says that McDonald — due on Broadway in the fall in Lincoln Center's Henry IV — will take part in two evenings at the famed outdoor venue entitled Romantic Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet. Featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the direction of John Mauceri, the evenings will also include the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. The ballet company will offer the world premiere of a new ballet about Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers set to the music of Tchaikovsky. Romantic Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet will be held at 8:30 PM on Aug. 15 and 16. Tickets, priced $3-$45, are available by calling (323) 850-2000. The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 N. Highland Avenue in Hollywood, CA. For more information, go to www.hollywoodbowl.org. . . . The 20th anniversary all-star tour of Nunsense will star Kaye Ballard, Georgia Engel, Mimi Hines, Darlene Love and Lee Meriwether. Dan Goggin's "habit-forming musical" will kick off Dec. 8 at the Hobby Center in Houston, TX. Directed by Goggin, the musical will feature choreography by Felton Smith, set design by Barry Axtell, lighting by Paul Miller and musical direction by Leo P. Carusone. The touring production, which will play a limited 20-week season, features a few new songs, dances and other surprises. The second longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history, Nunsense won four Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Off-Broadway Musical. For more information, visit www.nunsense.com. . . . Elaine Paige will be part of Bryn Terfel's Fourth Annual Faenol Festival in Wales. On Aug. 23 Paige will join several other stars of the West End stage — including Sally Ann Triplett, Simon Bowman and James Graeme — for "Music Under the Stars." The evening will feature showstoppers from the musical theatre, and Paige is expected to offer tunes from Evita, Cats and Sunset Boulevard. Martin Yates will conduct the West End Orchestra; show time is 8 PM. Opera singer Terfel said in a statement, "I’m so pleased that Elaine has agreed to come to Faenol this year. To be able to feature international artists of the calibre of José Carreras and Elaine Paige each year is a true recognition of our growing status on the international festival circuit. I’m really excited about this year’s line-up and I’m sure it’s going to be a fabulous fun weekend for everybody." The annual Faenol Festival attracts more than 20,000 people to the Faenol Estate, located at the foot of Mount Snowdon in Gwynedd. Tickets for the Aug. 23 concert — priced £21.50-£38.50 — are available by calling 0870 842 2202. For more information, visit www.brynfest.com. . . . Chicago singer-actress Alexandra Billings will record a new solo CD in front of a live audience. Entitled "The Story Goes On," Billings' recording will feature a host of tunes by musical theatre writers, including Jule Styne's "The Music That Makes Me Dance" and "Rose's Turn," Bill Russell's "Angels, Punks and Raging Queens," Kander and Ebb's "The Grass Is Always Greener," Frank Wildhorn's "Home Again" and "I Want More," Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine" and Jason Robert Brown's "Letting You Go." The CD will be recorded Aug. 28 and 29 at 8 PM at Chicago's Theater Building, 1225 West Belmont Avenue. Stephen Rader will direct the recording, which features musical direction by Russ Long. The CD will be recorded by Danny Lerman for LMG Music with a release date set for Dec. 1, 2003. Tickets for the live recording sessions are priced at $20. Those interested in attending should call (773) 374-5252. . . . A new monthly series spotlighting cabaret recordings kicks off Aug. 3 at Dillon's Restaurant in Manhattan. On the first Sunday of every month, two CDs will be celebrated at a concert featuring the artists who appear on the recordings. Cabaret columnists Barbara and Scott Siegel will choose the recordings; their first picks are "Put a Little Love in Your Mouth: The Songs of Amanda Green" (By Hook Records) and "Steven Lutvak: The Time It Takes" (Pemaco RD Records). Both Green and Lutvak will perform at the Aug. 3 evening with special guest stars promised as well. The selected recordings will also be played throughout the evening and will be featured on the Dillon's sound system throughout the month. Among the upcoming recordings that will be honored by the Siegels include "Scott Coulter" (LML Music) and "KT Sullivan: Ladies of the Silver Screen" (DRG). Those interested in submitting recordings for the Siegels pick of the month should send them to Barbara and Scott Siegel, 320 East 58th Street, #5B, New York, NY 10022. Dillon's is located in Manhattan at 254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. There is no cover or minimum for the concerts; reservations can be made by calling (212) 307-9797. . . . The irrepressible star of Hello, Dolly! will offer a glimpse of her upcoming one-woman show — An Evening with Carol Channing — during her appearances Aug. 8 and 9 at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl evenings, entitled "The Great American Concert," will feature Channing as well as the symphonic debut of Michael Bublé, an interpreter of the American Songbook. Both will be accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the direction of John Mauceri. Channing's appearance marks her return to the stage after a four-year hiatus. During this time, the award-winning actress released her acclaimed autobiography "Just Lucky, I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts." She was also reunited with her junior high school sweetheart, businessman Harry Kullijian, whom she recently married. A true superstar of the American musical theatre, Channing received a Tony for her performance in Hello, Dolly!; she was also nominated for an Academy Award for her work in "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Call (323) 850-2000 for tickets to the Bowl evening.
Liz Callaway in Concert:
July 18-19 in 101 Years of Broadway at the Lenape Center in Marlton, NJ
Aug. 29-30 at the Stockbridge Cabaret in Stockbridge, MA
Jan. 31, 2004 in Sibling Revelry in Boston, MA
May 8, 2004 in Sibling Revelry in Purchase, NY
Barbara Cook in Concert: Sept. 7-8 at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, IL
Sept. 13 at the Tulsa Opera House in Tulsa, OK
Sept. 20 in Bethlehem, PA; concert with Marilyn Horne
Oct. 3 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA; concert with Marilyn Horne
Nov. 22 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Patti LuPone in Concert:
July 19 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, CA
Aug. 5 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, PA ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")
Aug. 22-23 in Passion at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL
Oct. 25 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA (“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”)
Nov. 7-9 with the Houston Symphony ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")
Jan. 23, 2004 at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Jan. 24, 2004 at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL
Feb. 27-29, 2004 at the Myerhoff Hall in Baltimore, MD
March 12, 2004 at the New Jersey PAC in Newark, NJ
March 13 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
Karen Mason in Concert:
July 18 at the Hampton's Cabaret Convention at Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY
July 25-26 at the Desisto School Cabaret in Stockbridge, MA
July 27 at the Bradstan Country Inn in Whitelake, NY
Aug. 8 at the Gala Opening of the Chicago Theater Festival in Chicago, IL
Aug. 15-16 at Odette's in New Hope, PA
Aug. 18 at the King Kong Room in New York, NY
Oct. 4 with the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, IL
Oct. 18 at the Emelin Theater in NY
Nov. 15 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ
Christiane Noll in Concert
Aug. 28 San Diego, CA with San Diego Symphony
Aug. 29 San Diego, CA with San Diego Symphony
Aug. 30 San Diego, CA with San Diego Symphony
Oct. 11 Chattanooga, TN with Don Pippin
Dec. 31 Des Moines, IA with Des Moines Symphony & Brad Little
Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!