THE GIFT OF CARING: There's something for everyone in the 1995-96 Winter on Broadway catalog from Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, the valiant organization that has raised and distributed millions of dollars to The Actors' Fund AIDS Initiative and scores of AIDS service organizations nationwide since 1987.
Among the many unique gift items is a sparkling tree ornament ($25), crafted in leaded crystal with a twin beveled edge, dangling from a red satin ribbon and etched with the ribbon logo and the year "1995." There are also elegant white-on-white embossed cards designed with a holly wreath, featuring a red AIDS ribbon and inscribed with "Celebrate!" A set of 12 cards is $35, and if you send your Christmas list to BC/EFA, they will hand sign your cards with your name, address and post them!
For that very special person, spread a little holiday cheer with BC/EFA CareTix. You can buy house seats for most B'way and Off-B'way shows as well as for national tours, dance and non-theatrical events. The tickets cost twice the box-office price, but half of that amount is a tax-deductible contribution to BC/EFA.
For a free copy of the catalog, call 212-840-0770 or visit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on the World Wide Web: http://www.webcom/~broadway/equity.html. Remember each gift you buy brings hope, comfort and financial assistance to those affected by HIV/AIDS.
TWO BY TWO: Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn have been busy. First, they have the already-opened "Victor/Victoria" with a score by Bricusse and Henry Mancini (and some new music by Wildhorn), starring Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri and Rachel York--all of whom are heard on the original cast album of the musical, just released by Philips Classics. The team's other collaboration, "Jekyll & Hyde," scheduled for later in the Broadway season, has already produced a concept recording of the musical's score. Heard on the 2-CD set (Atlantic Theatre label) are Anthony Warlow in the title role, Linda Eder as Lucy Harris, Carolee Carmello as Lisa Carew, John Raitt as Sir Carew and a large supporting cast and chorus. The CD comes with a 48-page booklet that contains the musical's lyrics.
TRY TO REMEMBER: The long-awaited move version of "The Fantasticks" is about to be released, and along with it comes the book "'The Fantasticks': How It All Began" (Citadel Press paperback, $12.95), co-authored by Don Farber and Playbill On-Line's managing editor Robert Viagas. For those who love the marathon-running off-Broadway musical (now in its 36th year), the book is an anecdote-filled chronicle of how the creators invented every bit of cherished business, from the whirling confetti to the Mute to the writing of the "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "Try To Remember."
ROCKIN' REVUE: The current rock `n' roll and R&B hit revue, "Smokey Joe's Cafe--The Songs of Leiber and Stoller" at the Virginia Theatre, recently released its original cast album. The 2-CD set features 39 numbers, including such 1950's and 1960's favorites as "Hound Dog," "On Broadway," "Jailhouse Rock," "Stand By Me" and "Love Potion No. 9," delivered by the sterling cast who stop the show every night (Atlantic Theatre label).
SAVORING SONDHEIM: "Into the Woods," the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical that won Tony Awards in 1988 for Best Score and Best Book, is now available on video cassette with the original cast, including Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason.
Distributed exclusively by Image Entertainment, this magical fairy-tale musical was filmed onstage at the Martin Beck Theatre and aired on PBS-TV. The VHS video cassette is available only by mail or telephone. Send $24.99 plus $4.50 for mailing to Image Entertainment, 9333 Oso Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311; or call toll-free 1-800-473-3475, ext. 400. Residents of N.J., Calif. and Col. must add sales tax.
SINGULAR SENSATION: "The Longest Line/Broadway's Most Singular Sensation: 'A Chorus Line'" is a spectacular book by Gary Stevens and Alan George, two young men who saw the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical over 100 times between them and who raised funds from fans around the U.S. to permanently honor the show with a memorial sculpture at its Broadway home, the Shubert Theatre, unveiled on October 30, 1991. Through revealing interviews with 125 artists who made it all happen, this profusely illustrated volume covers every aspect of "A Chorus Line": from its Off-Broadway gestation at Joe Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival to its triumphant run at the Shubert, where it became Broadway's longest-running show (Applause, hardcover, $45).
MEMORABILIA MECCAS: One Shubert Alley, adjacent to the stage doors of the Shubert and Booth Theatres in Shubert Alley, offers holiday shoppers a galaxy of theatrical gifts. Among the newest items are "Victor/Victoria" sweat shirts ($29.95), "Hello, Dolly!" mugs ($12.95) and "Moon Over Buffalo" baseball caps ($21.95). Other gifts on sale are show recordings, theatrical costume and silver jewelry and Playbill binders.
Combining Manhattan souvenirs with stage memorabilia, Broadway New York (ground floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel on 45th St. and Broadway) offers items ranging from embroidered New York T-shirts ($16.95-$26.95) to an extensive collection of vocal selections from Broadway musicals, including "Show Boat" ($14.95), "Sunset Boulevard" ($19.95), "Cats" ($15.95) and "Les Misérables" ($17.95). Other "Sunset Boulevard" merchandise includes posters ($19.95), T-shirts ($16.95) and sweat shirts ($29.95).
The shop also has an expanded theatre book section where you'll find such published plays or musicals as "Love! Valour! Compassion!" ($11.95), "Sweeney Todd" ($9.95) and "Lost in Yonkers" ($8.95).
-- By Louis Botto