DIVA TALK: Chatting with Garland's Adrienne Barbeau Plus "Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim"

By Andrew Gans
10 Mar 2006

FOR THE RECORD: "Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim"
On March 19, 2005, Symphony Space presented a 12-hour salute to the legendary, award-winning theatre composer Stephen Sondheim in honor of his 75th birthday. Excerpts from that star-studded event have just been released on a new CD, "Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim," available exclusively at www.symphonyspace.org.

It must have been a daunting task to choose but an hours' worth of highlights from the entire Sondheim retrospective, which boasted performances from a slew of Broadway veterans and up-n-comers. In fact, the best way to enjoy the new recording is to not think about those who didn't make the recording but to take pleasure in the wonderful array of talent who did.

The 17-track disc kicks off with the thrilling overture from Merrily We Roll Along and offers one highlight after another. Particularly outstanding: Kate Baldwin's feisty take on the tongue-twisting "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music; Neil Patrick Harris's heartfelt delivery of Sunday in the Park with George's "Finishing the Hat"; Michael Cerveris’ simple, touching version of the title song from Anyone Can Whistle; Alexander Gemignani and Annie Golden's duet on the chilling Assassins ballad, "Unworthy of Your Love"; Liz Callaway's clear-as-a-bell tones on Saturday Night's "What More Do I Need?"; Telly Leung's beautiful rendition of the little-heard "Bowler Hat" from Pacific Overtures; and Carolee Carmello and Gregg Edelman's impressively sung "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George. Another standout is Emily Skinner, who lends her lovely soprano to the disc's rarest offering, "I'm in Love with a Boy" from Climb High.

The recording concludes with a powerful, soul-stirring version of “Sunday” featuring The Juilliard Choral Union and the American Theatre Orchestra under the direction of long-time Sondheim musical director Paul Gemignani.



DIVA TIDBITS
Academy Award winner Liza Minnelli will receive the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 10th Annual Tony Awards Bash in Los Angeles. Presented by the Actors' Fund of America, the annual Tony party will be held June 11 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. The festivities begin at 3:30 PM with a wine tasting, cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner and the live Tony telecast from 5-8 PM. The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award will immediately follow. Tickets, priced at $200, are available by calling the Actors' Fund office at (323) 933-9266, ext. 58. The Skirball Center is located at 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.

Several Broadway favorites will be part of the Boston Pops 2006 season, which kicks off May 10 with rock legend Elvis Costello. Costello, who will join Keith Lockhart and the famed Pops orchestra, will present his first full-length orchestral work, Il Sogno. . . . Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams will take to the Symphony Hall stage May 11, 12, 13 and 16 for concerts featuring music he has composed for the movies. Audiences can expect to hear selections from "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Star Wars" and "Munich." . . . The Pops' first-ever jazz week will be held May 23-27 and will feature guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli (May 23-25) and vocalist Jane Monheit (May 26-27). And, the Pops on the Edge series will continue June 21, 22, 28 and 29. Aimee Mann will be among the special guests taking part in this innovative series. . . . The Pops will present a "Gershwin Tribute" May 18-20 and June 1, 8 and 20. The evenings — with pianist Michael Chertock — will feature "Rhapsody in Blue," "I Got Rhythm Variations" and "An American in Paris." . . . Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall will direct "Bernstein on Broadway," which is scheduled for June 15-17. The Bernstein celebration will include a mix of Broadway stars and vocalists from the Tanglewood Music Center. . . . Steve Tyrell will lead a "Frank Sinatra Tribute" June 23 and 24, and the "Salute to Oscar and Tony" — featuring Oscar-winning songs and tunes from Tony-winning musicals — will boast the talents of Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. The Oscar/Tony salute is scheduled for June 2 and 3. . . .The season will also include Presidents at Pops, a corporate fundraiser to be held June 7. The guest artist for this year's event, which draws hundreds of Boston's biggest business leaders, is two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters. Tickets for this season's Boston Pops concerts go on sale March 13 by calling (888) 266-1200. For complete details about the Boston Pops season, visit www.bso.org.

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.