DIVA TALK: Catching Up with Inventing Avi's Alix Korey, Plus News of Pinkins and Gardner

By Andrew Gans
02 Oct 2009

Emily Zacharias and Alix Korey in Inventing Avi
photo by Kim Sharp
Question: I miss the time when you and Nancy LaMott were singing all over the city.
Korey: You know, there's a poster for a play here that was at the June Havoc Theatre, and there's a blonde woman on it who looks exactly like Nancy LaMott. Every time I come in I do a little breath intake. It's extraordinary to me that she's gone almost 15 years now.

Question: I know — time goes by so fast.
Korey: My sister told me that, and I think she's right, when you hit 50 there's something about it . . . .Okay, now you realize how valuable each day is, and suddenly time is going so fast that you want the days back. Whereas when you're in your thirties, you can't wait to go to the next day.

Question: You should come and do a concert here at some point.
Korey: I will. All that has to happen is somebody has to pay me. [Laughs.] It's not like I'm making money doing this Off-Broadway play either, but it's so much fun and the people are so good, and I get to be with my husband, who is here much of the year. We still have an apartment on the Upper West Side.

Question: That must be difficult having a long distance relationship.
Korey: It is. He's been generating a lot of miles on American Airlines. [Laughs.] He's back and forth a lot.

Question: You mentioned doing the concert with Chris when you get back. What type of stuff will you be singing?
Korey: A lot of it is stuff that I used to do [in New York]. That's what Chris wants to do because he just loves it so much. It's been such a long time. Although I have, for benefits out there, already used "Rich, Famous and Powerful," "I Can Sing" and "Lesbian Love Story." So they've already seen that. I will probably do new comedy material if I can find it and some of the old "Gifts of Love" [CD] stuff that I love so much. That's basically what we're planning on. It's a hoot. People don't know me out there, so I kind of like that. There's no expectation.

Question: Are you teaching at all?
Korey: No, I tell you, it's the one thing that I really, really miss. I was so in love with the classroom, teaching at CAP21. I just loved that. When I got out there, I tried to find a place in the desert. They asked me if I wanted to teach at AMDA West, but that would have meant driving two-and-a-half hours each way. I applied to teach at the College of the Desert, and they informed me that I did not have a master's degree and therefore they couldn't consider me… This is a [school] that just became a four-year college. They were a community college, but it didn't matter that I taught at NYU for 15 years. It didn't matter that I had a three-page resume. I didn't have that master's degree. So, there you are, children. Get your master's degree, and then you can teach at College of the Desert. I do miss that. I'm thinking about how to rectify it by maybe doing some private teaching.

Question: And you never know what that can turn into.
Korey: Right. That's a big miss for me in New York, and it's so cool because my students stay in touch with me. There are like 25 of them in Broadway shows, and a couple of them have actually become very good friends.

[Inventing Avi plays The Abingdon Theatre Company's June Havoc Theatre, which is located at 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan. For tickets visit AbingdonTheatre.]

Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, currently starring in Ford's Theatre's Black Pearl Sings!, can also be seen on the small screen in the Lifetime series "Army Wives." Pinkins, of Jelly's Last Jam and Caroline, or Change fame, plays Viola Crawford, who manages The Hump Bar, a honky-tonk owned by the character Roxy LeBlanc. "Viola is a shrewd businesswoman," writer Deb Fordham told me earlier this week, "so when the singer they hired bails at the last minute, Viola takes to the stage herself rather than return everyone's cover charge." Pinkins will sing two songs in the Oct. 4 episode of "Army Wives," which airs at 10 PM ET. The singing actress will perform the Gretchen Wilson hit, "Here For the Party," which was written by John Rich, Big Kenny and Wilson, and the Bonnie Raitt classic, "I Can't Make You Love Me," written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin. For more information click here.

Night of 1,000 Luisas — featuring performers who have played Luisa in the classic Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical The Fantasticks — will be presented Nov. 4 at The Snapple Theater Center's Jerry Orbach Theater. The 7 PM concert will boast the talents of Alice Cannon, Glory Crampton, Karen Culliver, Carole Demas, original Luisa Rita Gardner, Jean Louisa Kelly (Luisa in the 2000 film version of The Fantasticks), Betsy Morgan, Marty Morris, Allison Munn, Sarah Rice and Sara Schmidt. Proceeds will benefit Bideawee, the animal welfare organization that serves the New York metropolitan area. The Snapple Theater Center's Jerry Orbach Theater, which is home to the current production of The Fantasticks, is located on West 50th Street and Broadway. Tickets for the upcoming concert, priced $45-$100, are available by calling (212) 921-7862 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.

Annalene Beechey, whose West End credits include Marguerite, Wicked and Beauty & The Beast, will release her debut solo recording next month. Entitled "Close Your Eyes," the CD will be released in the U.K. Oct. 5 by SimG Records. The single CD features arrangements by Peter White, Jonathan Williams and Richard Taylor. Special guests include Julian Ovenden (Marguerite, Annie Get Your Gun), Rebecca Lock (Avenue Q, Phantom of the Opera) and Simon Greiff (Saturday Night Fever, Spamalot). Composer Scott Alan penned the foreword. Songs include "No One Is Alone"/"Children Will Listen," "Lion Tamer," "River," "The Promise," "Sailing," "Perfect Day" and "What We Have," among others. For more information visit www.annalenebeechey.com.

RGA Productions will present Frankenstein, a rock concert version of the Mary Shelley tale, Oct. 31 at the Highline Ballroom. Newly announced for the evening is Celina Carvajal, who was recently seen Off-Broadway in The Toxic Avenger. The singing actress will play the role of Mary Shelley in the concert, which will also feature Jack Noseworthy, Danny Zolli, Jessica Robinson, John Saunders, Don Meehan, John Conver and Nachesca Flanagan. Show time is 8 PM. Geoff Cohen will direct with music direction by Robert Martin. Frankenstein, according to press notes, "is destined to become one of the world's most compelling Halloween rock musical traditions. NY audiences are invited to experience this new tradition first and join Frankenstein as it begins its global journey. Each year, Frankenstein will appear for limited performances at the time of All Hallow's Eve somewhere in the world. Cities under consideration for 2010 include London, Paris and Berlin." The Highline Ballroom is located at 431 West 16th Street. For tickets call (212) 352-3101 or (866) 811-4111.

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