DIVA TALK: A Chat with Wicked's Idina Menzel Plus News of Cook and Ripley

By Andrew Gans
19 Dec 2003

IN OTHER DIVA NEWS OF THE WEEK: Barbara Cook will make her Metropolitan Opera debut New Year's Eve. During the New Year's Eve gala performance of Franz Léhar's The Merry Widow, Cook will appear in the Act III party scene where she will offer renditions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "A Wonderful Guy," Rodgers and Hart's "He Was Too Good to Me," Stephen Sondheim's "Losing My Mind" and Carl Fischer and Frankie Laine's "We'll Be Together Again." The Merry Widow cast features Susan Graham in the title role, Bo Skovhus as Danilo, Emily Pulley as Valencienne, Paul Groves as Camille and James Courtney as Baron. Kirill Petrenko will conduct the orchestra, and Wally Harper will serve as Cook's accompanist and conductor. Tickets for The Merry Widow are available by calling (212) 362-6000 or by logging on to www.metopera.org. The Dec. 31 performance begins at 7:30 PM. . . . Avenue Q star Ann Harada will step into the "Broadway Spotlight" — which presents concert evenings with stars of the musical theatre — Feb. 2. Harada, who portrays Christmas Eve in the hit musical at the Golden Theatre, will take centerstage at the Ars Nova Theater Feb. 2. Show time is 8 PM. As previously announced, Dance of the Vampires' Max von Essen will precede Harada in the "Spotlight"; von Essen will perform at the intimate theatre Jan. 5 and 19, 2004 at 8 PM. The Ars Nova Theater is located in Manhattan at 511 West 54th Street. Tickets are priced at $12; doors open at 7:30 PM. Call (212) 868-4444 for tickets or go to www.SmartTix.com. . . . Side Show Tony nominee Alice Ripley has been cast in the new Off-Broadway comedy Five Flights, which will play the Rattlestick Theater next month. Ripley will portray Olivia in the Adam Bock comedy, which begins previews Jan. 13, 2004, with an official opening scheduled for Jan. 19. The limited engagement will play through Feb. 22. Directed by Kent Nicholson, the cast also includes Joanna Adler, Kevin Karrick, Jason Butler Harner, Matthew Montelongo and Lisa Steindler. The play comprises five scenes, in which playwright Bock "uses birds as metaphors to describe a dysfunctional family who populate [the play] about siblings who must decide the fate of an aviary built by their recently deceased father." The Rattlestick Theater is located at 224 Waverly Place between West 11th and Perry Streets. Tickets, priced at $37.50, are available by calling (212) 868-4444 or by visiting www.smarttix.com. . . . Original Thoroughly Modern Millie stars Sutton Foster and Marc Kudisch will both be part of the latest Broadway By the Year concert Feb. 9, 2004. Foster — who will leave her Tony-winning role Feb. 15 — and Kudisch, who is now starring Off-Broadway in The Thing About Men, will join Nancy Opel, Christopher Fitzgerald, Nancy Anderson and Bill Daugherty for Broadway By the Year: 1926, which celebrates the musicals that graced the New York stage in 1926. Concertgoers can expect to hear tunes from Oh, Kay!, The Desert Song, The Garrick Gaieties of 1926 and Scandals of 1926. Scott Siegel conceived and directs the series, which will continue March 15 (Broadway By the Year: 1935), April 19 (Broadway By the Year: 1949) and June 14 (Broadway By the Year: 1963). Although the starry line-ups for those evenings have yet to be announced, among the performers scheduled to take part include Judy Blazer, Darius de Haas, Eddie Korbich, Emily Skinner and Chip Zien. Tickets for Broadway By the Year shows are priced at $37.50 and $45 and will go on sale Jan. 2, 2004, by calling (212) 307-4100 or (212) 840-2824. Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street. Visit www.the townhall-nyc.org for more information. . . . Another Town Hall event: Tovah Feldshuh — who is currently portraying Golda Meir in the one-woman show Golda's Balcony at the Helen Hayes Theatre — and recent Listen to My Heart star Alix Korey are among the women scheduled to perform in a concert titled From Brooklyn to Hollywood. Also conceived and written by Siegel, the May 3 evening will also feature the talents of jazz vocalist Natalie Douglas, Forbidden Broadway regular Christine Pedi, Starmites Tony nominee Sharon McNight and The Full Monty's Annie Golden. Show time is 8 PM. From Brooklyn to Hollywood will celebrate the Hollywood composers, songs and stars "that made — and make — Brooklyn proud." Brooklyn alums Neil Diamond, Harry Nillson and Barbra Streisand will be saluted as well as such films as "The Kid From Brooklyn," "It Happened in Brooklyn" and "Saturday Night Fever." Concertgoers can also expect to hear Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer's "Cowboy From Brooklyn." Tickets to the concert are priced $35 and $30 and will go on sale Jan. 2, 2004, by calling (212) 307-4100 or (212) 840-2824. . . . Hairspray's Laura Bell Bundy and Urinetown's Nancy Opel will take part in a reading of a new musical titled But I'm a Cheerleader. The by-invitation-only reading will be held Jan. 12, 2004, at Primary Stages on West 45th Street. Those actors joining Bundy and Opel for the reading include Stephanie Kurtzuba, Simone Catalano, John Dewar, Leo Ash Evens, Mary Faber, Colby Foytik, John Hill, Telly Leung, Logan Lipton, Michael Longoria, Moeisha McGill, Stefani Miller, Peter Reardon, Tom Richter and Monté Smock. The musical — based on the Lions Gate film by Jamie Babbit and Brian Wayne Peterson — features book and lyrics by Bill Augustin and music by Andrew Abrams. Amy Rogers will direct the reading, which features musical direction by Andrew Byrne.


Betty Buckley in Concert:

Through Dec. 20 at Feinstein's at the Cinegrill in Los Angeles, CA

Liz Callaway in Concert:

Jan. 17, 2004 in Asheville, NC
Jan. 31 in Sibling Revelry in Boston, MA
Feb. 7 in Sibling Revelry in Riverfront, IL
Feb. 13 with Jason Graae in Salt Lake City, UT
Feb. 14 with Jason Graae in Palm Springs, CA
Feb. 26-28 with Jason Graae in West Palm Beach, FL
Feb. 29 with Stephen Schwartz and Friends in Wilton, CT
April 23 with Jason Graae in Sutter Creek, CA
April 24-25 with Jason Graae in San Rafael, CA
May 1 in Sibling Revelry in Orono, ME
May 8 in Sibling Revelry in Purchase, NY

Patti LuPone in Concert:

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

Christiane Noll in Concert

Dec. 31 Des Moines, IA with Des Moines Symphony & Brad Little

Louise Pitre in Concert:

Jan. 31, 2004-Feb. 8 in Sweeney Todd with the Calgary Opera Company at the Jubilee Auditorium in Canada
Feb. 13 at the Capitol Theatre in Windsor, Ontario
Feb. 28 at the Sanderson Performing Arts Centre in Brantford, Ontario
Feb. 29 at the Silverthorn C.I. Auditorium in Toronto, Ontario

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