Elaine Stritch At Liberty is expected to appear in record stores — in its two-CD live cast album form — by April 9, according to DRG Records.
The acclaimed solo show in which the legendary Broadway actress muses about her youth, her loves, her co-stars and her fondness for alcohol (and how she beat it) is now at the Neil Simon Theatre. The CD was recorded Jan. 9-10 at The Public Theater, where the show was launched in late 2001.
Performances played The Public's Newman Theatre Off-Broadway to Jan. 13 and then shifted to the Simon for a first preview of Feb. 6. A flurry of rave reviews followed the Feb. 21 opening.
The show, overflowing with musical numbers related to Stritch's life and career (including "Zip," "The Ladies Who Lunch," "Broadway Baby" and obscure speciality material), is directed by George C. Wolfe and was devised by Stritch and John Lahr.
Hugh Fordin (Grammy Award-winner for the album of The Producers) produced the At Liberty recording. Lahr penned the liner notes. Some fans are reporting that scattered copies have been on shelves of some stores since late March. *
Due to the strenuous nature of the performance, which includes songs musical-directed by Rob Bowman and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, Stritch (who turned 77 Feb. 2) performs the show on Broadway five times a week, 8 PM Wednesday Saturday and 5 PM Sunday.
Only 80 performances are scheduled, but it's not hard to see that if Stritch wants it, if the business merits it and if the Tony Awards embrace her, the lady who introduced "The Ladies Who Lunch," will be lunching at the Simon well past the May end of the 2001-2002 season.
The Broadway run is produced by John Schreiber, Scott Sanders of Creative Battery, Margo Lion and Robert Cole, in association with Roy Furman and The Public Theater/NYSF.
Tickets range $40-$85. The Neil Simon Theatre is at 250 W. 52nd Street. For information, (212) 307-4100.