DIVA TALK: Chatting with Nancy Anderson Plus News of Peters, Butler and Carmello

Diva Talk   DIVA TALK: Chatting with Nancy Anderson Plus News of Peters, Butler and Carmello
News, views and reviews about the multi-talented women of the musical theatre and the concert/cabaret stage.
Nancy Anderson
Nancy Anderson

In the liner notes for her wonderful debut solo recording, "Ten Cents a Dance," which celebrates the songs of the '20s and '30s, the charming Nancy Anderson writes, "People have always told me I was born in the wrong era." That thought may be due to her rangy, lilting soprano, which has a decidedly period flavor, but Anderson is doing quite well for herself in this era. The singing actress was a standout as Mona in the bio musical A Class Act, which marked her Broadway debut; and, for her West End debut in the revival of Kiss Me, Kate, Anderson nabbed an Olivier nomination for her work as Lois/Bianca. She also had the chance to play two parts in the recent Broadway revival of Wonderful Town: Anderson created the role of Helen for the Kathleen Marshall-directed production and eventually succeeded Jennifer Westfeldt in the leading role of Eileen Sherwood. The gifted singer has also brightened up many a concert stage; she is a favorite of Scott Siegel, the cabaret critic and producer who created the acclaimed "Broadway By the Year" series at Town Hall. In fact, Siegel penned the opening notes for Anderson's CD. He writes, "Kittenish, brassy, innocent, world-weary, romantic, funny — she brings all of [these songs] to life because she is one of American musical theatre's young and beautiful treasures." Currently, Anderson is in rehearsals for the new musical Piper, a Victorian melodrama that will be presented Sept. 18-29 as part of the New York Musical Theater Festival; she will also be seen in the Gallery Players upcoming production of Yank! — A New Musical, and she will go it solo at Birdland three evenings this fall. My recent interview with the actress, whose Off-Broadway credits include Jolson & Co. and Fanny Hill, follows.

Question: How was your rehearsal today for Piper?
Nancy Anderson: It was great. The composer came in today. The composer is Marcus Hummon, who has won a ton of Grammys for country writing. He wrote the Dixie Chicks song "Cowboy Take Me Away." I had to play my fiddle in front of him today, so I was a little nervous.

Question: How did the fiddle-playing go?
Anderson: Well, it would have gone a little better if the A, C and E trains weren't stopped dead this morning. [Laughs.] I'm not an early person. I make it there at 10 o'clock on the dot, if not 10:02. I left my house a quarter past nine, so I could get there a half an hour early. . . I figured, "Oh, I'll get there shortly past 9:30, and I'll go in the next room and really warm up." There were signal problems at 59th Street, and so the A and the C just weren't happening. I sat on the train at 14th Street for like ten minutes and then at 23rd for ten minutes, and then I got out and walked from 23rd to 48th — with my fiddle and my big Irish drum. [Laughs.]

Question: Did everything turn out okay?
Anderson: Yeah — it was fun to meet him and to become more comfortable. For me, it's all about that next step of who I'm playing the fiddle in front of because I'm not that used to playing in front of people.

Question: Is that an instrument you had trained on at some point?
Anderson: I grew up playing the violin. And then all this time that everybody's been playing their instruments [on stage] for these Broadway shows, I was the one that didn't really have the time to practice or make the time to practice. So I was always getting beat out [for roles]. . . There are some fiddle players in town that are really good! And, finally, [Piper director] Michael Bush said, "How about if you were part of the band?" It kind of gave me that challenge to practice every day, so I practice every day for two hours. Question: Have you been involved in other productions for New York Musical Theatre Festival?
Anderson: I did something years ago called Democracy. That was a Lewis Flinn show, [but] I don't think I've done anything else at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. The show Yank! that I'm about to do at the Gallery Players — that was done at NYMF, but I couldn't do it there because I was on tour with Dr. Doolittle.

Question: What is the rehearsal process like for a NYMF production?
Anderson: It's just about three to four weeks, and it's 10 to 4 everyday. It's kind of a hefty process, I think. In college I did a thing called the College Light Opera Company, where we did nine shows every summer — one every week, so anything longer than a week seems long to me. [Laughs.]

Question: Tell me a little more about Piper and the character you're playing.
Anderson: The character's name is Ma Kelly, so, of course, she's supposed to be a 65-year-old blousy Irish woman. I was actually called in to audition for Christiane Noll's part. They had put the offer out to her, but they weren't sure she could do it, so I think that they were calling people in to see who else was out there. And then when Michael saw me, he was like, "You know, I'd really like it if you could be in the show." So he said, "How about reading Ma Kelly?" I tried to figure out a way to play Ma Kelly so I wasn't [just] doing my imitation of a 65-year-old blousy Irish woman. He called me on the phone and said, "How would you feel about playing this part?" and I was like, "Well, talk to me. Give me a good reason [to] play the part."

We talked about how Ma Kelly really is the storyteller of the show. The show is about storytelling and music playing and that sort of Irish tradition. It takes place in Boston. It's about a storyteller who used to be a whore, and she's got a daughter who plays the penny whistle, who is crippled. They run a boarding house, and one of the Brothers Grimm comes to work on the Grimm fairytales, and he's accused of being this murderer who is strangling whores all throughout Boston at the turn of the century. It's sort of an interesting and complicated story, and they thought, [I could] bring my fiddle and open the show and bring everybody into this world where the band is onstage and it's set in an Irish pub. What would that be like if I watched the action, if I was the force that ties everything together? So, it's fun for me because I get to be a part of the energy of the show all the time. That's sort of poetic to me in a way that I enjoy.

Nancy Anderson from her album "Ten Cents a Dance."

Question: You're also going to be at Birdland for three one-night shows.
Anderson: That's right, the last Sunday of every month. Question: Will it be your Ten Cents a Dance show?
Anderson: It's going to be some of the stuff from Ten Cents a Dance, but I've done that show several times now. So now I'm going to be adding some [new material and] bringing in some guests. The first one, probably two-thirds of it will be my album, and then I'm going to sing some songs by composers that are writing today but who sound like they are from the twenties and thirties. I kind of want to stay in that '20s and '30s vein and explore what else I can do with it.

Question: Who are some of those composers?
Anderson: Well, [brothers] David and Joe Zellnik, who wrote Yank! [are included]. That's a World War II musical. They set out to write an entire show of standards, and they really succeeded. I'm singing a couple of their songs that are absolutely exquisite and just dead ringers for period songs. They are such incredible writers, those two. They've been my best friends since I moved to the city. In fact, David Zellnik and I met at that summer stock where we did nine shows a summer. And I'm going to sing a song or two of Jeff Blumenkrantz's and a song by Peter Laurie. Actually, David Yazbeck wrote me an email and sent me a song that Peter Laurie wrote. He said, "I think you might like this song — it might fit in with your theme." And, at that point I don't think he even knew I was going to do new composers that sound old. But I heard it and I thought, "Wow, this really is a good tune!" I worked with Peter Laurie back when he was in the BMI program and I had first moved to the city, and I sang a ten-minute musical of his. I think I'm going to fit into my show that he actually remains to be the only composer that I've ever worked for that accused me of singing out of tune. [Laughs.] I was like, "I do not sing out of tune." But he thought I did, so I'm going to give him a little bit of a hard time about that.

Question: Tell me about the challenges of working in cabaret versus working in a musical. Do you have a preference for one or the other?
Anderson: Well, it's been a really big challenge for me because I like to have somebody else come up with the project, hire me and tell me when to show up. It's not my favorite thing to do to generate my own audience and be in charge of the gig. But it's been a great year or two of learning how to do that and learning that I'm capable of running the show, I'm capable of being in charge. Actors can be such children. In fact, it's preferable if they are because you have to be told what to do and where to stand. You have to be told what to do your whole life, so it's better if you stay in that vein of just waiting to be told. I'm the one who has to do the telling for this, so it's complicated.

Cabaret sort of lends itself to what I do best, though, which is interpreting lyrics. That's what I love to do. You'd think I would have done it earlier, but I find that it's hard to do both [cabaret and theatre]. In order to schedule a cabaret, you have to say, "Well, I'm not going to audition or book any theatre," and I'm used to booking things [in advance]. Today I might not have a gig, but a month-and-a-half from now, I might. Ross Patterson, my musical director, said, "Just book the gigs and deal with it later." And, strangely enough, that's what I've been doing. This year is just concerts, almost exclusively. And it just kind of turned out that way. There haven't been [theatre] projects . . . so it's good that I've had this.

Question: How about the intimacy of working in a cabaret? Do you like the audience being so close versus the theatre where the audience is a little more removed?
Anderson: I like both. When I work in the theatre, I pretend that the audience is close. Although, when I'm in a theatre, I certainly shoot to the rafters, and you don't have to do that in cabaret. I guess what I do is I communicate to the audience at hand. I don't have a performance mode that I lock into and go. I'm always performing to either the audience that's right there in front of me or the one that I can't see. I remember, actually, I [went to] this creative arts summer camp. . . . We used to have this thing called the Noontime Show, which was a half-hour performance after lunch everyday, and anybody could get up and sing a song or read a poem that they wrote or do a dance that they made up. That was up on a stage that was like a table, and the audience was right there. I mean, they were leaning on the stage, and it was in the daylight. So, from the time I was seven, that's how I learned to perform . . . and I'd look at them directly in the face. I remember when I was 14 was the first time I performed in a dark theatre, and I had to pretend that I could see people's faces because the dark theatre was sort of off-putting. I guess my training was with an audience up close, so it's pretty comfortable for me.

Question: You've also done a lot of work at the York Theatre. You're sort of their artist-in-residence.
Anderson: I know! [Laughs.] They keep finding things for me to do. I just did I and Albert there, which was a total gift. Not many people would entrust that material to me because that's not how people normally see me in a very dramatic role. But, in fact, that part is similar to what I did in Jolson & Co. and similar to what I'm about to do in Yank! at the Gallery Players. It's a transformation piece. Even though in I and Albert it's one [character], Queen Victoria [but] the [changes] she has to go through — from the age of 18 through her love affair with Albert, through the death and mourning of Albert, all the way until she's 75 — is truly a study in transformation, especially when you have no costumes or makeup. That kind of work interests me. Whether it's a different character or whether it's the same character aging and getting smacked by life, the feeling in the body changes. That's always what interests me is how your body carries the weight of the character or carries the psychological makeup of the character. To me it's all the same — a character that ages from age 18 to 75, or a show in which I play eight different characters, taps into the same interests that I have.

Question: Tell me a little bit more about Yank!
Anderson: Yank! is a World War II show in which the central characters are a gay couple. Yank! is actually the name of an enlisted man's magazine that used to be distributed during World War II. It's really beautifully written. David and Joe Zellnik are among the top writers that I've ever worked with. Similar to Steve Lutvak, who wrote Kind Hearts and Coronets, which is a show I've been attached to for awhile — they just don't let it out of their sight until it's right. I believe that the mark of a good writer is somebody who can look at what's on the stage or look at what's on the page and say, "You know what? I can do better!," and they scrap it and they write something else. If the writer has the guts to do that, then they have my allegiance. David and Joe really have that ability, and, as I say, they wrote an entire show of standards. When I say standards, these songs sound like the best of the standards. They don't sound like some hackneyed, old-fashioned music. It's really sort of sweepingly romantic. In a beautiful way, it treats the central love story as a real love story. It's not a love story of gay people or straight people — it's just honest and unexpected. The show has a really wry sense of humor and quick pace. . . . It's truly a work of art that show.

Question: Where do you think your affinity for music of that era began?
Anderson: I go into that in depth in my show at Birdland. I think it stems from when I was a little girl, and I was home sick all the time. I would listen to these Disney Storybook albums where you'd turn the page with the story, and the album was like a book. I was listening to the "Snow White Storybook Album" once, and I was like, "I can do that. I can imitate her." So, at the age of ten I started working on an imitation of Snow White. And Snow White, in fact, has that very distinct '30s sound. I think that's where I first heard it and became fascinated by it . . . . In college I used to drive this ancient Saab that had no working radio, so I had a boom box on the dashboard that only played tapes. And then the boom box broke one day, so I had to go and buy a new boom box. I decided to pick up a tape, and for some reason I stopped in the Big Band section and I picked up a tape called "The Best of the Big Bands: Artie Shaw." I didn't know anything about Artie Shaw or Big Band, and that album became my favorite album, and it spurred me on to this fascination. The woman that sings on that is a singer called Peg LaCentra, and she really has that great '30s girl band singer sound. I think I just became obsessed, and I started collecting records. Everybody was changing over to CDs at that time. Record stores were unloading their records for a dollar a piece, so I was picking up all of this vintage stuff —and David Zellnik, who wrote Yank!, was my roommate then. We would collect records, and we would sit around and listen to '20s, '30s and '40s singers. I also grew up only watching videos. I didn't know musical theatre past about 1965. I knew all of the old MGM musicals, all the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers [movies], and I watched them over and over and over again. But I was never drawn to the later stuff, except for Sondheim. I don't know why exactly. Sometimes it makes me believe in reincarnation. [Laughs.]

Nancy Anderson in A Class Act.
photo by Joan Marcus

Question: I wanted to talk about some of your Broadway work, too. I was a big fan of A Class Act, and I was wondering what it was like being a part of that show.
Anderson: That show was such a gift to me. [Director and co-star] Lonny Price and [producer] Marty Bell, I think, saw something in me that I know I didn't see. I certainly didn't see the sexpot in me. I had never played a sexy character before that. I remember going to Lonny during one of the readings and I was like, "Lonny, actually I'm not really right for this part!" [Laughs.] I had this long conversation trying to talk him out of casting me. My agents at that time used to say that whatever I said, they would do the opposite. If I said, "I'm not really right for that," they'd be like, "Okay, we're submitting you!" [Laughs.] I told Lonny I wasn't right, and he was like, "No, you are, you are." Then we started doing the show, and that song "Mona" was actually a trio. In the first few previews, I think, it was a trio. Then they decided to make it a solo for me, and the choreographer did all this crazy "Austin Powers" choreography on the piano with those go-go boots. I couldn't have asked for a better Off-Broadway and Broadway debut. But I remember people coming up to me Off-Broadway and saying, "You're doing a great Joey Heatherton imitation," and I'd never even heard of Joey Heatherton. I went to the Museum of Broadcasting, and I got all of these '60s variety hour broadcasts. And, in fact, I was doing a Joey Heatherton impression! I just didn't know it. When I watched those videos, I couldn't believe that they were allowing her to get on primetime family television and roll around the couch in a teddy, with boys dancing around her singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." The kind of sexuality that was allowed on television in primetime in those days, to our eyes today, was really shocking. . . . I just feel lucky about [A Class Act] — and that music is incredible, isn't it? Those songs are awesome, and that cast! The success of that show was really the cast. Everyone was able to take that material and make it so personal and so grounded, and I think we all loved each other so much. . . .

The opening night of A Class Act Off-Broadway, I went to the party, and I met a new boy that I ended up starting to date. My roommate at that time was Kirk McDonald, and I came home and I was telling Kirk about opening night. Marty announced that we were moving to Broadway that night, so it was going to be my Broadway debut. I went home, and Kirk and I were giggling and laughing about the new boy and Broadway and all this stuff and looking up reviews online. I was up until 5:30 in the morning. I was like, "Well, it doesn't matter. I don't have to be anywhere the next day until 7:30." So I went to bed, and three hours later my phone rang — and it was [the late casting director] Vinnie Liff. Apparently, Roger Berlind had seen our opening night, and the last day of auditions for the tour of Kiss Me, Kate was that day. They were ending at noon, and they asked if I could be in at noon. In those days I didn't have enough money to have makeup and hair stuff at the theatre and at home. We didn't have wigs, so everyday I would bring my hair dryer, my curling iron, and all my makeup to work every night and bring it home every night. Only we had the opening-night party, so I didn't want to haul it to the party with me, so I left it at the theatre. At 8:30 in the morning I called the stage manager, and she called a custodian, and I showered and put my dress on, then I ran up to 66th Street and did my makeup and my hair, and then I ran back down to Chelsea Studios, and I didn't make it. It was like 12:15. I poked my head in, and they had their heads together. They were casting. This was the first time I had ever met Kathleen Marshall, Michael Blakemore and Paul Gemignani. So, I walk in there, and I didn't even know the show — I had never seen it; I had seen parts of the movie — and I sang "Orange Colored Sky," but I sang it kinda sexy, because I was like, "Oh, that character's sexy, I think!" And I had just learned how to be sexy. [Laughs.] Then I sang "But Not For Me," and Paul Gemignani says, "Well!" And Michael Blakemore says, "You've seen the show, haven't you?" And I said no, so they gave me the script and he said, "Do you want to go outside and study it?" And, you know how you are when you've had three hours of sleep and you're on a roll. I was afraid that if I went out in the hallway, I might just crash. I was in there and I was doing well, and I looked at it and the character — from the lines [I read] — was exactly the same as this character that I played in Jolson & Co.. Even though that show was written in the '40s, the script writing is really stock '30s. And, so I looked at the first three lines — "Bill you've been gambling again…" — and I was like, "Oh, my gosh! That's Ethel, Al Jolson's second wife." I just read it cold, and they gave it to me.

Question: How long were you in the London cast of Kiss Me, Kate?
Anderson: I was there for a year. There were great things about it. Michael [Berresse] and Marin [Mazzie] and Brent [Barrett] and I lived in this incredible housing. I lived in a Mews house all by myself in South Kensington. It was gorgeous, and the theatre stars there are like movie stars here. You can call up fancy restaurants and get reservations. [Laughs.] It's kind of hilarious. It was definitely a thrill to be over there. We had the opportunity to go home after six months or to stay, and, of course, I stayed. London is a world-class city, and it was really a lot of fun. . . . Question: You were last on Broadway in Wonderful Town and eventually took over for Jennifer Westfeldt. What was that experience like?
Anderson: Wonderful Town was a real gift, and I think that Roger Berlind helped give me that gift. My sister was dying at that time. She had a brain tumor. It was a very, very small one, and they caught it — but it was the deadliest kind, and it killed her in a year. My mother moved to town. My mom and I were taking care of her, and I had been out of work for six months or so. I was doing some concerts — my album wasn't out yet — but I was focusing on my sister a lot. And then I was running out of cash — I had saved a lot of money from London — and I really didn't want to have to think about my career. I just wanted to be able to help my mom take care of my sister. And, all of a sudden — it really seemed like a gift from God — I was called for this audition, and then two weeks later I was cast, and two weeks after that I was in rehearsal. And the special part about that was [that] the part I was originally given was a real walk in the park for me. I didn't have to sing or dance. I just went onstage, said a few lines here and there, acted dopey and walked off. I had the wonderful Ray McLeod, who played opposite me as the Wreck. We just went out and had a ball every night, and I really didn't have to focus on me. So I could be with my sister all day — she lived two blocks away from the theatre — and I would jump over to the theatre and do the show. So it was a real gift, and then to replace Jennifer was great. It was very sweet of them to ask me to do that. I don't feel like it was a part that I was made to do . . . but I was very happy to do it. I enjoyed it, and I got to do it with Linda Mugleston because both Jennifer and Donna [Murphy] left at the same time. So all of the sudden we were just there. So I got to do it with Linda, who is one of my best friends in the whole world. We met each other on that show, and playing onstage with Linda was just spectacular.

Question: Were you there when Brooke Shields came in?
Anderson: Yeah, Brooke and Jennifer Hope Wills came in. I was only there for three weeks. I left three weeks after they started to go do She Loves Me at Paper Mill. But that was really fun — they are two of the sweetest girls ever, and it was fun to just relax and go back into my fun little part and watch them take the reins.

Question: Do you have a favorite theatrical experience so far?
Anderson: Well, certainly doing Kiss Me, Kate with Michael Berresse. It just doesn't get better than that. Michael and I, as Michael says, we're on the same page. That stage chemistry was unlike any I've ever had. Although close to that was doing Crazy for You in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Stacey Todd Holt. He and I starred in that show together. I love doing the song-and-dance girls. That's my favorite thing to do. Because of watching all of those MGM movies, it's the style I most understand. When I get to play that girl, that's what I love.

Question: Do you have any other projects you're working on? It sounds like you're pretty busy.
Anderson: Well, I've got these three Birdland shows and this Piper show and the Yank! show. I'm happy about that because all of these little projects are keeping me around to continue with Steve Lutvak's Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Question: What's happening with Kind Hearts?
Anderson: It's looking like we may have some producers on board. Everything's a little bit unclear right now, but I'm hoping that we're going to do a more full-fledged reading of it, some sort of workshop/reading this fall.

Question: What's the basis of Kind Hearts?
Anderson: This show is the best show I've ever done in my life! And, it's not just because they wrote me a really great part. [Laughs.] It's based on an Alec Guinness movie called "Kind Hearts and Coronets." It's written in 1949. It's an old Ealing Studios movie. Alec Guinness plays eight different members of [a Duke's] family, and there's a bastard child. The mother married out of the upper classes, and she was disowned. Then she died, and her son was left believing that he should ascend to the Duke seat — to be Duke. So, he sets about to murder everybody in line to the seat so that he can be the Duke — and it's a comedy. [Laughs.] We did it at Sundance last summer with Raul Esparza and Robert Petkoff and Judy Kuhn. There have been various cast shifts over the couple of years that we've been doing informal readings of it. I think that we'll really be putting it together this fall.

[The Piper will play Sept. 18–29 at the Theater at St. Clements, located at 423 West 46th Street in Manhattan. For tickets and further information visit www.nymf.org. Yank! - A New Musical will be presented by The Gallery Players at 199 14th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Oct. 20-Nov. 4. For tickets, priced $14 and $18, call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.galleryplayers.com. . . . Anderson will play Birdland Sept. 23, Oct. 28 and Nov. 25. Birdland is located in Manhattan at 315 West 44th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. For reservations call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.birdlandjazz.com.]

Two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters will perform the role of Melissa Gardner in an upcoming benefit of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters. The Sept. 24 evening at New World Stages will benefit Opening Act, the non-profit organization that "provides free after-school theatre programming to New York City's most under-served public high schools." Michael Mastro will direct the 8 PM performance; Peters' co-star will be announced shortly. New World Stages is located in Manhattan at 340 West 50th Street. Tickets, priced $40-$100, are available by visiting www.openingactnewyork.org. A 7 PM reception will precede the performance.

Great Women Salute a Great Woman: Betty Comden — in the words of Comden and Green is the title of the upcoming memorial tribute to the late Betty Comden. The free afternoon, which is open to the public, will be presented at the Majestic Theatre Sept. 18 at 2 PM and will feature the talents of Lucie Arnaz, Judith Blazer, Carolee Carmello, Barbara Cook, Christine Ebersole, Lypsinka, Audra McDonald, Phyllis Newman, Elaine Stritch, Mary Testa, Leslie Uggams and Lillias White. The one-hour memorial tribute — sponsored by The Family of Betty Comden, ASCAP, The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc., MGM and The Shubert Organization — will be directed by David Zippel and Lee Mindel with musical direction by Paul Trueblood. The Majestic Theatre is located in Manhattan at 247 West 44th Street.

The stars of the new musical Xanadu will be seen on the small screen within the next few weeks. On Sept. 12 Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson will appear on ABC-TV's "The View." Butler and Jackson, who play, respectively, Clio and Sonny in the musical at the Helen Hayes Theatre, will perform "Suddenly." "The View" airs in the metropolitan area on WABC-TV, Channel 7 from 11 AM-noon; check local listings. Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa, who plays the roles of, respectively, Calliope and Melpomene, will make an appearance on FOX-TV's "Mike & Juliet Show" Sept. 25. The comedic duo will perform "Evil Woman" on the morning chat show, which airs on Channel 5 at 9 AM ET.

Stars from the Broadway and Los Angeles companies of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked will take part in Broadway Unplugged @ the Ford, a benefit for the Valley Musical Theatre. The 8 PM concert will be presented at the outdoor John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, CA. Among those scheduled to perform are Eden Espinosa (Elphaba - Los Angeles), Kristoffer Cusick (Fiyero – Los Angeles), Shoshana Bean (Elphaba - Broadway), Jenna Leigh Green (Nessarose – Los Angeles), Julie Reiber (Elphaba - Standby, Los Angeles), Emily Rozek (Glinda - Standby, Los Angeles), Adam Lambert (Fiyero – Understudy, Los Angeles), Melissa Fahn (Glinda –Understudy, Los Angeles) and Linda Kerns (Madame Morrible – Understudy, Los Angeles) as well as Broadway friends Sean McDermott, Jack Noseworthy and Chad Kimball. Gerald Sternbach will be the musical director for the "unique, acoustic, up-close and personal production." The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets, priced $30-$100, are available by calling (323) 461-3673 or by visiting www.fordtheatres.org.

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

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