DIVA TALK: Lots O' LuPone and More

Diva Talk   DIVA TALK: Lots O' LuPone and More
Hello, diva lovers. Just a few items this week. . . Enjoy!

Hello, diva lovers. Just a few items this week. . . Enjoy!

It's an exciting time for the throngs of Patti LuPone fans out there. In fact, as of today, the week-long countdown begins for LuPone's upcoming Carnegie Hall benefit concert. As you already know, La LuPone will make her eagerly-awaited solo Carnegie Hall concert debut to benefit the Gay Men's Health Crisis next Friday, November 19 at 8 PM. I'm very happy to report that the one-night-only event -- featuring musical direction by Dick Gallagher and Rob Fisher -- is nearly sold out (a few balcony seats are still available). It promises to be a thrilling evening, boasting many songs never-before sung by the Tony and Olivier Award-winning actress. Rumor has it that LuPone will wrap those golden vocals around such theatre tunes as "Don't Rain On My Parade," "I Have a Love," "A Boy Like That," a brand-new tune from Ragtime composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and many, many others.

For those of you unable to make the Carnegie performance, fear not. LuPone will be back on the small screen this season in a new television series for CBS entitled "Falcone." The hour-long dramatic program, a TriStar Columbia project, will begin shooting in Toronto just two days after the Carnegie extravaganza. The series will star Jason Gedrick, and LuPone will portray an assistant district attorney. Stay tuned for broadcast dates and times.

If all that weren't enough, LuPone also has several concert dates lined up this winter. From Feb. 1 through Feb. 14, our Evita gal will perform on the stage of the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Feb. 18 will bring her to the Phil. Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida, and on Feb. 19, LuPone will take to the stage of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. . . And, of course, I will have a full report of the Carnegie Hall concert for my Nov. 26 column.

I continue to hear great things about Karen Mason's new cabaret act at Arci's Place at 450 Park Avenue South (between 30th and 31st Streets). The former Sunset Boulevard standby-to-the-stars is currently in residence at this new cabaret nightspot through Nov. 27, and it's a rare chance to hear Mason sing "Colored Lights," the song she stopped the show nightly with in the Off-Broadway Kander and Ebb revue And the World Goes 'Round. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 9 PM, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8:30 and 11 PM. There is a $25 cover charge and a $15 minimum; for reservations, call (212) 532-4370. What follows is Mason's song list for her brand-new show.

"Something's Coming" (Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim)
"Downtown"/ "I Know a Place" (Tony Hatch)
"Isn't It a Pity"/ "Long Before I Knew You" (George & Ira Gershwin/ Jule Styne and Comden & Green)
"He's Got a Way" (Billy Joel)
"Hurry, It's Lovely Up Here" (Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner)
"I Made a New Friend" (Brian Lasser)
"Maybe This Time" (Kander and Ebb)
"Colored Lights" (Kander and Ebb)
"One of Those Days" (Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom)
"Pick Yourself Up" (Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields)
"We Never Ran Out of Love (We Just Ran Out of Time)" (Paul Rolnick)
"This Nearly Was Mine" (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)
"Tomorrow's Good Old Days" (Larry Grossman & Hall Hackady)

Hope you caught Sunday's broadcast of "Annie," featuring several musical theatre favorites: Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and even a cameo from Broadway's original Annie, Andrea McArdle. Now that these made-for-TV productions seem to be happening on a regular basis; and, in fact, ABC has already committed to another musical from producer Craig Zadan, I have one suggestion. Let these multi-talented performers sing live, rather than pre-recording their vocals in a studio. It takes so much life out of a performance when the songs are lip-synched to pre-recorded vocals. What's exciting about watching a singer -- and what makes Broadway performances thrilling -- is that the sound is happening at that very moment. I know it would require more takes, but I think it would be worth it. Let me know your thoughts . . .

Susan Lucci discusses her upcoming Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun in Harry Haun's article for the December issue of Playbill:
"It's my debut . . .and it's going to be as unique and exciting and special as it can possibly be. I'll be doing a dress rehearsal that day and, I suppose, getting notes and getting ready for the evening performance. Originally, I was asked to begin Dec. 27, and then a phone call came asking me if I could start earlier. When they said December 23 [Lucci's birthday], I just couldn't resist it."

Rita Moreno discusses her brief stint in the London company of Sunset Boulevard in Elizabeth Ahlfor's In Theater article:
"There just aren't that many roles in any medium for women my age, especially in musicals. It was a great experience -- although it damn near killed my knees, which were already damaged from dancing in high heels for years. [To negotiate the stairs backstage], I would shimmy up backwards on my behind, pulling myself up by my arms. My arms looked gorgeous from hauling, like, 110 pounds of costumes every trip."

IN OTHER NEWS I heard from several attendees that this past Monday's benefit for The Door was a sensational success. Several divas provided rousing turns, including Betty Buckley with "Memory" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses," Kristin Chenoweth with "Glitter and Be Gay" and Emily Skinner with "I Don't Know How To Love Him." . . . Linda Eder has just released a single of Mel Torme's holiday classic, "The Christmas Song." . . . Three new releases from DRG Records will be in stores beginning Tuesday, Nov. 16: "Babes in Arms," the 1999 New York cast recording of the City Center Encores! presentation, featuring Martin Guerre's Erin Dilly, Australian cabaret sensation David Campbell plus Scott Irby Rannier and Kevin Cahoon; Dan Goggin's hilarious salute to country music in Nunsense 3: The Jamboree, starring "Carol Burnett Show" alum Vicki Lawrence; and "Portia Nelson: Sunday in New York," containing 17 gems ("Isn't It Romantic?" "When I Fall in Love," "Our Love Is Here to Stay") drawn from Portia Nelson's 1959 radio series . . . And, on Nov. 23, RCA Victor will release two original cast recordings from the 1960's: How Now, Dow Jones (starring Anthony Roberts, Marlyn Mason, Brenda Vaccaro and Hiram Sherman) and Your Own Thing (starring Danny Apolinar, Imogene Bliss, Igors Gavon, John Kuhner, Leland Palmer, Marcia Rodd and others) . . . Shauna Hicks, Christiane Noll, DeLee Lively, Andrea McArdle, Barbara Walsh and Lynne Wintersteller are just some of the Broadway talent who will perform original songs in You Get What You Pay For, a one-night-only revue by The Musical Writers' Playground. The MWP is a new collaborative group designed to develop and present original musical-theatre works. The event, which will feature the premiere of a song by Jon Karp entitled "I Just Slept with Hillary Rodham Clinton," will be held on Monday, Nov. 22 at B. Smith's on Eighth Avenue at 47th Street. There are two performances, one at 7:30 PM and the other at 10 PM. Admission is $20, and reservations may be made by calling at (212) 841-0143. . . And, a reminder that this Monday, Nov. 15, the Actors' Fund will pay tribute to Cameron Mackintosh and Annie Get Your Gun's Bernadette Peters. The evening will be held at the New York Hilton (1335 Avenue of the Americas) and will feature performances from Peters, Michael Crawford, Carol Burnett, George Hearn, John Barrowman, Ruthie Henshall, Bronson Pinchot, Lea Salonga, Hugh Panaro, Stephen Buntrock and the entire cast of Les Miz. Call The Actors' Fund for details at (212) 221-7300. And, speaking of the two-time Tony winner, Bernadette Peters has designed her own Christmas card, part of this year's "Celebrity Series" cards for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. A box of 12 cards from 4 celebrities (Peters, Sandy Duncan, Cathy Rigby and Robert Cuccioli) is available for $30 by calling (212) 840-0770. Peters can also be heard on this year's BC/EFA holiday CD, "A Cure for Christmas." So, shop with a heart this season and visit www.bcefa.org.

Betty Buckley and Ben Vereen will be the guest singers for an upcoming NBC ice-skating program on Nov. 28 (from 4-6 p.m.). The two Tony winners will take part in the "StarSkates on Broadway" program, which will be a broadcast of an event taped on Nov. 20.

A host of new concert dates have recently been announced for the multi talented actress and singer.
November 12 Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE
November 14 Music Hall in Cincinnati, OH
December 13-14 St. Barth's Church in New York, NY
December 17 City Center in Coral Springs, FL
December 18 Atlantic University Aud. in Boca Raton, FL
December 31 Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT
February 5, 2000 Stillwell Theatre in Kennesaw, GA
February 6 Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Marin, CA
February 8-9 Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall in Las Vegas, NV
February 11 Center for the Arts at George Mason Univ. in Fairfax, VA
February 12 Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY
March 18 Folly Theatre in Kansas City, MO
March 19 Macomb Center for the Perf. Arts in Detroit, MI
April 24 Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance in Fort Worth, TX
April 26 Coronation 2000 in San Antonio, TX
May 4 Poway Center in Poway, CA
May 5-6 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA
May 7 Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, CA
May 8 Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA

Here is Cook's upcoming concert schedule:

November 19 at Symphony Hall in Boston, MA; call (617) 482-2595 or (617) 482-3208
November 22 at The Plaza Hotel in New York, NY (gala dinner honoring Cook, Paul Taylor and Will Barnet with the 1999 Kitty Carlisle-Hart Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement)
December 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY (All-Star cast for The Noel Coward Centennial Gala); call (212) 980-3026 or (212) 247-7800
December 31 at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA; call (215) 893 1956 or (215) 893-1999
January 27-30 at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA (with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony); call (412) 392-4900

The multi-talented actress will make her solo Carnegie Hall debut on Nov. 19. The GMHC benefit will feature an all-new act created for this special evening by LuPone and director Scott Wittman. Call the Carnegie Hall box office at (212) 247-7800. Tickets for the concert only range from $35 $75. Higher-priced tickets, some of which include a post-party reception with the star, can be obtained by calling (212) 367-1514. Be sure to book your seats early for what promises to be a thrilling evening! . . .Tickets are also now on sale for the upcoming New York Philharmonic production of Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. Starring LuPone and opera singer Bryn Terfel, the event, which will be recorded, will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday. Tickets range from $75 to $250 and may be purchased by calling (212) 721-6500 . . .

One of cabaret's leading ladies, Andrea Marcovicci, will return to the Algonquin's Oak Room on Nov. 16 for her twelfth straight season, playing there through Friday, Dec. 24. Performances of "Our Songs. . .1965-1985" are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 9 PM, with dinner arrival at 7 PM (dinner is required at the 9 PM show). There is a $15 minimum and $45 cover charge. For her late show -- 11 PM Friday and Saturday evenings -- Marcovicci will perform songs of the 40's, a return to the world of music that this popular cabaret artist loves, including such nostalgic tunes as "We'll Meet Again," "Moonlight Serenade" and "As Times Goes By." Musical director Shelly Markham will join Marcovicci for both shows. For reservations, call the Algonquin (59 West 44th Street) at (212) 840 6800.

A host of Maureen McGovern appearances were recently announced for the multi-octave singer. The list follows:

November 19 "Great American Songbook " at the Marsee Auditorium in El Camino, CA
November 26, 27, 28 with the Baltimore Symphony at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD
December 1 "Tree of Life & Festival of Lights" in Los Angeles, CA
December 17 - 18 "Holiday Pops" at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, OH
December 30 - 31 "New Year's Eve Millennium Gala" with the Detroit Symphony at the Orchestra Hall in Detroit, MI

What follows are some upcoming worldwide Paige concert dates:
January 21 and 22, 2000 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah

The two-time Tony winner currently stars as the gun-toting Annie Oakley in the acclaimed revival of Annie Get Your Gun at the Marquis Theatre.

"Always: Celebrating 100 Years of American Song" is up next in this series and features such theatrical luminaries as Patti LuPone, Judy Kuhn, Howard McGillin, Alton White, cabaret's Mary Cleere Haran and Susanah McCorkle and more. This program is set for Dec. 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., also at Alice Tully Hall. Other titles in the series include "Who Wrote That Song," on March 23, 24 and 25 (cast to be announced) at the Kaplan Penthouse and "Round About: Dawn Upshaw," which features the gifted soprano singing the songs of Vernon Duke, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gershwin, Sondheim and more. Upshaw will perform on May 17, 19 and 20 at 8:30 p.m. at the John Jay College Auditorium . . . Call (212) 721-6500 for tickets.

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

by Andrew Gans
e-mail me at agans@playbill.com

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