Betty Buckley received enthusiastic notices from every print journalist in the city for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love, and the final nod of praise came from New York Magazine's toughest critic, John Simon. Although Simon did not enjoy the show, he did have this to say about Betty B: ". . .There remains, however, the Hesione of Betty Buckley, who transcends the claptrap she is given into beautifully sung, touchingly acted, throbbing humanity. Her artistry and nobility remain unbesmirched. When, we all keep asking, will this artist get the vehicle and role worthy of her? In the green terry Pandora's box of this show, she is the only ray of hope."
* And, of course, you can catch Buckley, F. Murray Abraham and Susan Egan nightly at the Royale Theatre in Triumph of Love by calling 212-239 6200 or 1-800-432-7250. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office of the Royale.
There is some very exciting news for those of you who will attend the much-anticipated tenth-anniversary concerts of Into the Woods this Sunday at the Broadway Theatre. In addition to marking Bernadette Peters' return to Broadway, albeit for only two performances, the show will also mark the first time Peters (as the Witch) performs the song "Our Little World." I was informed by the press representative for the concerts on Thursday that "Our Little World," which was added to the London production of Into the Woods when it was produced there starring Julia McKenzie, will be incorporated for these two performances, sung by Rapunzel and the Witch.
This one-day event will star Peters, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason and the rest of the original Broadway company (with the exception of Robert Westenberg) and promises to be a spectacular event. James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical will be presented twice on Sunday with performances at 3 PM and 7:30 PM, and there are still tickets available through Telecharge. In fact, an additional batch of lower-priced seats, ranging from $75 to $125, were recently put on sale. Call (212) 239-6200 for reservations; the money raised will benefit two worthy organizations, Friends in Deed and God's Love We Deliver. I will attend the matinee performance of Into the Woods and will have a full report for you next week.
For those of you who would like to see the original cast in action but are unable to attend the benefit performance, you might want to purchase the video of the original Broadway company, now available from Barnes & Noble by phone at 1-800-THE BOOK. The VHS cassette is priced at $19.98, and the order number is D156738. * And in other BP news. . . Last week, I listed Bernadette's upcoming concert performances, and I was informed this week that her concert in Altoona, which is scheduled for Dec. 5, will be held at the Blair County Arts Foundation. Tickets range from $50 to $75 and may be purchased by calling 814-949-2787.
Broadway's current Grizabella, Liz Callaway, is getting into the Christmas spirit a little early this year. Callaway just recorded a new Christmas song that will be played at Macy's department store throughout the holiday season. You can hear this tune in Macy's "Santaland," where children can pose for a picture with everyone's favorite jolly icon, Santa Claus. Entitled "Macy's Santa Claus Adventure Theme," the song was written by Stephen Fox (music) and Bill Schermerhorn (lyrics) and will be available for sale only at Macy's.
Last week I discussed the concert debut (at Carnegie Hall's Weil Recital Hall) of one of Australia's leading divas, Judi Connelli. For those of you who would like to get a dose of this talented singing actress, you might want to pick up her newest album, On My Way to You. I will admit that Connelli is more enjoyable live than on CD mainly because she is such a dramatic performer, and it's a thrill to watch her interpret; however, the disc makes for pleasant listening and features the following songs:-
A Piece of Sky (Legrand/Bergman)-
Where or When (Rodgers/Hart)-
The Music That Makes Me Dance (Styne/Merrill)-
Stay With Me (Sondheim)-
On My Way To You (Legrand/Bergman)-
Do It Again (Gershwin/De Sylva)-
How Do You Keep the Music Playing? (Legrand/Bergman)-
Fifty Percent (Goldenberg/Bergman)-
Song on the Sand (Herman)-
Move On (Sondheim)-
Losing My Mind (Sondheim)-
Ordinary Miracles (Hamlisch/Bergman)-
With One Look (Lloyd Webber/Black/Hampton)-
You and I (Bricusse)
The Streisandesque vocalist from Jekyll & Hyde will make her second solo concert appearance in New York City since she began her run in the Frank Wildhorn musical. Eder, who sold-out The Supper Club a few months ago, will take to the stage of Town Hall on Friday, Nov. 14 after the evening performance in J & H. The concert is scheduled to begin at 11pm, and tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100.
Of the younger divas, Judy Kuhn is perhaps my favorite performer, a woman who possesses a dramatic intensity and one of the finest belt voices around. Kuhn, who was one of the shining moments in the recent King David concerts at the New Amsterdam Theatre, will return to the stage in a revival of As Thousands Cheer, a musical by Irving Berlin and Moss Hart that takes a satiric look at celebrity. The revival will be mounted by the Drama Dept. at The Greenwich House Theatre (27 Barrow Street) beginning Feb. 11, 1998. In addition to Kuhn, the cast will also feature Mary Beth Peil (who played the role of Hesione in Triumph of Love during its productions last year) as well as an Irving Berlin score that boasts such tunes as "Heatwave," "Easter Parade" and "Supper Time."
LIZA MINNELLI'S BACK TO THE CABARET
Liza Minnelli will join Joel Grey and the composing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb for a special 25th anniversary screening of the classic film Cabaret to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The screening, scheduled for Nov. 17 at 7:00pm, will be held at Sony Lincoln Square at 68th Street and Broadway, and a party will be held afterwards at the Hudson Theatre at 145 West 44th Street. Tickets range from $25 (screening only) to $200 (reserved seats at screening plus reception). There are also $125 tickets available for non-reserved screening seats and reception. Call Broadway Cares/EFA for more information at 212-840 0770.
A host of Broadway divas will be on hand to perform at the sixth annual In Celebration of Life concert, which will be held Sunday, Nov. 16 at 8pm at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle (Columbus Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets). The concert, which will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Momentum is being produced by John F. Znidarsic and will feature such Broadway performers as Ann Crumb, Carolee Carmello, Randy Graff, Dee Hoty, Terri Klausner, Judy Kuhn, Karen Mason, Debra Monk, Donna Murphy, Portia Nelson, Alice Ripley and many more. Some of the men who will make up the star-studded evening are Brent Barrett, David Garrison, Brian d'Arcy James, Norm Lewis, Howard McGillin and Phillip Officer, and they will perform new works by such composers as John Bucchino, Rupert Homes, Alan Menken, Billy Stritch, Mark Waldrop, David Zippel and many others. Tickets range from $30 to $60 and may be purchased by calling 212-265-3495, ext. 309.
DIVA OF THE WEEK
Beginning today, I am starting a new portion of this column: naming a diva of the week, a woman whose work has particularly inspired me during the last seven days, either in a live performance, on video or on CD... And, to begin, I'd like to choose two ladies: Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley, who portray the roles of Daisy and Violet Hilton in the new musical Side Show at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Not only will their powerhouse singing knock you out in such numbers as "Who Will Love Me As I Am" and "Tunnel of Love," but they also portray the sisters with a touching humanity. (I know it's the wrong column, but Norm Lewis has one of the finest male voices on Broadway and adds tremendously to this production.)
FLORENCE LACEY continues her world tour of Evita, now starring at the Schiller Theatre in Berlin from October 15 through Nov. 23. We received word this week that the Vienna portion of the tour has been cancelled.
PATTI LuPONE Tickets for The Old Neighborhood, the new David Mamet play that will bring LuPone back to Broadway, are now on sale through Tele-charge (212-239-6200). Previews begin on Nov. 11 at the Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street) with an opening night scheduled for Nov. 19.
LILIANE MONTEVECCHI will join forces with another legendary French star, Jean Pierre Cassel, for an exciting evening of cabaret tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7pm and 9:30 pm. The two performers will be part of the 92nd St. Y's annual "Cabaret in Concert" series, held in the Kaufman Auditorium at 1395 Lexington Avenue. Tickets range from $30-$35 and are available by calling Y-Charge at 212-996-1100.
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me at [email protected]