Word has it that Betty Buckley's last performance in Triumph of Love this past Sunday afternoon was something to be seen, complete with standing ovations after her show-stopping version of "Serenity" during the first act and an even lengthier standing O at the end of the musical. Buckley introduced everyone associated with the show, which drew mostly raves from the critics but had a difficult time attracting audiences during this busy theatre season. Let's hope Buckley finds another vehicle and returns to the boards quickly. ELAINE PAIGE
It was great to receive some news about our favorite English diva this week, Elaine Paige, who finally made her long-awaited Broadway debut last year in Sunset Boulevard. After conquering New York, Paige then headed to Boston, where she opened the Boston Pops season in a performance that was later televised on PBS. And, now, it seems Paige will return to the concert stage on Feb. 4 and 5 when she opens the newly refurbished St. James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand. But this is not all the Paige news. The original Evita and Grizabella is also slated to star in a non-musical play in London over the summer. Next week I will have all the details about this upcoming Paige production, so stay tuned. . .
Congratulations to our Song and Dance gal for another Grammy nomination. It was announced this week that Peters received a Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance Grammy nomination for her Sondheim Etc. CD, which was recorded live at Carnegie Hall. BP is currently wowing audiences in Australia with her concert performances, and I will post reviews from the Australian critics within the next few weeks. But, for now, what follows is her itinerary for the next three months. If you live in or near any of the following cities, be sure to catch Peters in action. She's one of the most riveting concert performers around.
Jan. 17 in Palm Beach, FL at Mar-A-Lago
Jan. 24 in Houston, TX at the George R. Brown Convention Center
Feb. 7 in Richmond, VA at The Mosque
Feb. 8 in Emporia, VA at the Emporia Elementary School
Feb. 11 & 12 in Boca Raton, FL at the Florida Atlantic Univ. Auditorium
Feb. 14 in Providence, RI at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Feb. 24 in Milwaukee, WI at The Bruce Hall
Mar. 6 & 7 in Costa Mesa, CA at The Orange County Performing Arts Center
Mar. 12 in Akron, OH at the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Univ. of Akron
Mar. 14 New Brunswick, NJ at the NJ State Theatre
Mar. 15 Springfield, MA at Symphony Hall
Mar. 27 & 28 in Dayton, OH at the Dayton Convention Center
The legendary Eartha Kitt received rave reviews for her latest cabaret act at New York's Cafe Carlyle on Madison and 76th Street. Chip Deffaa in The New York Post had this to say about the stunning chanteuse: ". . .I love the way she freshens her act each year, connects with individual audience members, and finds songs exactly right for her personality. . .She radiates confidence, desirability, and sly good humor, whether she's singing in English, French or Turkish." Kitt will continue to sing for her supper through Mar. 7 at the posh night club. Performances are Tuesday through Saturdays at 8:45 and 10:45, and there is a $50 cover with no minimum.
IN OTHER NEWS
There will be a gala fundraiser saluting the one-and-only Ethel Merman that will feature such celebrities as Patti LuPone, Bette Midler and other grand ladies. The evening will benefit GMHC, and next Friday I will have all the details, including a phone number for tickets. . . In other Merman news, rumor has it that a one-night-only concert performance of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun to benefit Lincoln Center will also star one of this column's favorite ladies. Stay tuned for that info as it becomes available! . . ."The Diamond Tour" is an appropriate title for Shirley Bassey's current tour, which will play London's Royal Festival Hall this June. Call 0990-265-365 for further information.
La LuPone currently heads the cast of the new David Mamet trilogy, The Old Neighborhood, at the Booth Theatre. Tickets may be ordered by calling 212-239-6200. On Feb. 14, La LuPone will sing at the Kravitz Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (tickets available by calling 561-833-8300), and from Feb. 26 through March 1, she will perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Tickets for the Pittsburgh concerts, which range from $30-$48, go on sale on Jan. 12 by calling 412 392-4900. And, a reminder that LuPone will also be out of the Neighborhood from Jan. 6-14 (matinee) in order to tape an episode of the hit NBC series, "Frasier." She will return to The Old Neighborhood for the evening performance on Jan. 14.
Add Jan. 15 and 22 to Runolfsson's previous New York cabaret dates at Eighty Eight's in the West Village. Runolfsson is scheduled to sing at 10:30pm on each of these Wednesday nights, and reservations can be made by calling 212-924-0088. The club is located at 228 West 10th Street; there is a $12 music charge plus a two-drink minimum. Runolfsson will also sing in L.A. at the famed The Cinegrill from Feb. 10-14, 1998.
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me at[email protected]