Family Funeral in Texas Forces McEntire to Withdraw from "Dame," March 12

News   Family Funeral in Texas Forces McEntire to Withdraw from "Dame," March 12 A spokesman for Reba McEntire says the star of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun has had to pull out of the annual "Nothing Like a Dame" benefit in order to attend a family funeral. Production sources at "Dame" confirm the report.

A spokesman for Reba McEntire says the star of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun has had to pull out of the annual "Nothing Like a Dame" benefit in order to attend a family funeral. Production sources at "Dame" confirm the report.

McEntire traveled to Texas with her husband/manager on March 11 after performing her scheduled Sunday shows for Annie Get Your Gun. She will return to New York in time to resume the scheduled performance of that show on Tuesday. McEntire will not be replaced on "Dame."

One of the leading country stars in the world, McEntire was planning one of two numbers as her contribution to the show. Reports vary. One had her scheduled to sing one of her own compositions, a ballad from her new album, We're So Good Together. That song's theme involves "people helping people," a source said, in support of the general "Dame" theme. A separate production source said that McEntire had planned to perform Irving Berlin's "I Got Lost in His Arms" from Annie Get Your Gun. After a recent press preview introducing McEntire to the company, all three of Irving Berlin's daughters gave the country star high marks for her interpretation of their father's standards.

Audiences have responded well to McEntire, whose mainstream popularity and stage performance have proven vital at the box office. Even now, McEntire is being considered atop the short list of possible Tony hosts or presenters, sources say. For her part, McEntire is described as enthusiastic about a role in the Tony Awards show and would welcome involvement at any level—host or presenter—should she be asked.

* As reported, director Jude Kelly , O.B.E. will helm the annual "Nothing Like a Dame" benefit at the Martin Beck Theatre on March 12. "Dame 2001" supports the Actors' Fund Women's Health Initiative and will feature many of Broadway's top stars in a non-stop evening featuring music, dance and theatre.

Lauren Bacall, Polly Bergen, Pat Birch, Zoe Caldwell, Lea DeLaria, Sandy Duncan, Tovah Feldshuh, Lauren Flanigan, Amanda Green, Celeste Holm, Dee Hoty, Anne Jackson, Joan Kwuon, Marin Mazzie, Bebe Neuwirth, Phyllis Newman, Christine Pedi, Lynn Redgrave, Marla Schaffel, Karen Ziemba, The Radio City Rockettes, Sally Mayes, George Dworski (aka Pete 'n' Kelly), children from the Jacques d'Amboise National Dance Institute, the Broadway Tenors, female cast members from "virtually every Broadway show," as well as "Honorary Dames" Andre DeShields, The Full Monty's "Hot Metal" and Mario Cantone are scheduled to perform at "Dame."

Actor, director and breast cancer survivor Phyllis Newman founded the Women's Health Initiative in her name. The group "addresses health issues which impact women in the entertainment industry."

The producers committee for the benefit comprises Terri Childs, Maria DiDia, Susan Quint Gallin, Jane Harmon, Joanne Jacobsen, Norma Langworthy, Harriet Leve, Jessica Levy, Margo Lion, Elizabeth McCann, Chase Mishkin, Annette Niemtzow, Kathleen Raitt, Isobel Robins, Daryl Roth, Anne Strickland Squadron, Arielle Tepper and Fran Weissler.

Tickets to "Nothing Like a Dame 2001" are $40-$1,000. The show starts at 8 PM. In the tradition of the event "Dame" will be followed by an after party at John's Pizza in the Theatre District. The Martin Beck is located at 302 W. 45 St. For information and reservations call (212) 221-7300 or visit www.actorsfund.ord.

—By Murdoch McBride