DIVA TALK: Betty, Patti, Bernadette & More

Diva Talk   DIVA TALK: Betty, Patti, Bernadette & More
Hello, diva lovers. I had planned to devote this week's entire column to a thrilling benefit I attended Monday evening that saluted the works of composers David Friedman and Henry Krieger. However, when I arrived at the Playbill office today (having spent the rest of the week on jury duty), the disk that contained the article would not open. So, next week's column will be devoted to that benefit; what follows are a few items I was able to cull together today. Enjoy!

Hello, diva lovers. I had planned to devote this week's entire column to a thrilling benefit I attended Monday evening that saluted the works of composers David Friedman and Henry Krieger. However, when I arrived at the Playbill office today (having spent the rest of the week on jury duty), the disk that contained the article would not open. So, next week's column will be devoted to that benefit; what follows are a few items I was able to cull together today. Enjoy!

In the New Jersey section of the June 6 issue of The New York Times, there was a wonderful critical assessment of Betty Buckley's performances over the past few years. Written by Alvin Klein, the article praised Buckley's approach to two mammoth theatrical roles, Mama Rose in Gypsy and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Says Klein about Ms. Buckley's Rose: "As Mama Rose, Buckley struck a raw nerve that was too unsettling for some people to bear. It was not uncommon to hear her dismissively called miscast after the steamroller performances that previously defined this role. Theatergoers who were more enlightened than threatened by a radically new, honest and open interpretation of a demented woman perceived a classic case study in psychopathology that was as immediate, as instantly recognizable, as it was scary. The character's sheer allure had never appeared so vivid, her colors never more shifting, the unavoided musical comedy conventions of Arthur Laurents' book never so realistically motivated. Ms. Buckley's dizzying spin on a still enigmatic character revealed depth and complexity that is simply not seen in musicals, especially of the 1950's kind."

The article appeared on the day of the Tony Awards, and Mr. Klein concluded his piece by asserting, "No musical performance on Broadway this season came anywhere near Ms. Buckley's hitting the heights in Millburn early in the season. It is Broadway's loss that it cannot be celebrated at the Tony Awards tonight, but count that as another coup for New Jersey."

Quite a bit of news on the Patti LuPone front this week. La LuPone will headline another benefit for the Kent Land Trust on June 26 in Kent, Connecticut. The evening, which is being produced by choreographer Bob Avian, is simply titled "Songs from the Shower" and will include songs the Tony-winning star likes to sing while showering! Tickets, which range from $50 (unreserved seating) all the way up to $1,500 (includes pre concert party, a photo with our Evita gal, priority seating and a post-concert party), are available by calling the Kent Land Trust at (860) 927-4926 or by sending a check to The Kent Land Trust, P.O. Box 888, Kent, CT 06757 . . . . Also, LuPone has been in the recording studio recently making her third solo CD, which will include songs from her new concert act, Matters of the Heart. The recording will be on the LayZlay Ranch label (the name of her "Chicken Spa" in Kent!). Stay tuned for more info. BERNADETTE PETERS
Bernadette Peters will be an extremely busy gal this summer. In addition to performing eight times a week in the Tony Award-winning revival of Annie Get Your Gun at the Marquis Theatre, Peters will make several other notable appearances. On June 22, BP will be given a special Advocates Award by Mark Green at City Hall. The award will be presented during the 1999 Lesbian and Gay Pride Awards Ceremony at City Hall, which begins at 4:30 PM and is open to the public. On June 29, the two time Tony Award-winning actress will take part in a live interview on WLIM radio (in Long Island) at 5 PM. Peters will also deliver a pre-recorded message on the Macy's Fireworks Show on WPIX (Channel 11 in the metropolitan area) at 9 p.m. And, on Saturday, August 7 at 8 PM, don't forget to watch her thrilling, live solo concert, which was taped last year in London to a standing-room-only audience. Both Peters and Richard Jay Alexander, who directed the acclaimed concert in London and at Carnegie Hall, will be interviewed during the pledge breaks that evening. Stay tuned for city-by-city airings of this special concert presentation.


Maureen McGovern completes her five-week run at the Algonquin Hotel tomorrow night, June 19, with shows at 9 and 11:30 PM. On July 4, you can catch the singer on PBS's broadcast of "A Capital Fourth" performing a medley of songs by the late Hoagy Carmichael. From July 15 through the end of that month, the singer with the multi-octave range will appear in a production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Sundance Summer Theatre in Sundance, Utah, where she will head the cast as Madame Emery. Several new concert dates have also recently been announced:

August 14 Maureen McGovern and the Duke Ellington Orchestra (100th Anniversary Salute: The Great Auditorium at Ocean Grove, NJ
Aug. 19-20 Midway Stage at 1776: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Aug. 23 SCERA Amphitheater: Orem , Utah
Aug. 24 Kenley Centennial Amphitheater: Layton, Utah
Sept. 5-6 Jerry Lewis Telethon (check local listings)

Maryann Lopinto's sixth annual Cabaret on the Record will be held on Monday, June 28 at 10:30 PM. at the Triad (158 West 72nd Street). The evening, which features performances by a host of cabaret performers who have recorded their own albums, will be hosted by Stan Martin with musical direction by Wes McAfee. All proceeds will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and at this time, the stellar list of performers includes Judy Barnett, Claiborne Cary, Barbara Fasano, Eric Michael Gillett, Jeff Harnar, Rick Jensen, Mark Nadler, KT Sullivan and Melanie Vaughan. There is a $15 music charge and a $10 food/drink minimum. Call (212) 799-4599 for reservations.

The Mabel Mercer Foundation has just announced the line-up for its tenth anniversary Cabaret Convention. Once again, the convention will be held at New York's Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street), and this year the convention will run from Monday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, October 23. The opening night of the convention is a benefit for the Foundation, and tickets will be priced at $25 and $50. Tickets for the Tuesday through Sunday performances are only $15, although a limited number of center orchestra and loge seats are available for $35 (except Sunday). For ticket information, contact the Foundation at (212) 980-3026 or (212) 980-3109 during regular business hours. What follows is the list of performers as of press time.

Monday, September 27 at 6 PM.
"The Gala Opening Night Benefit for the Mabel Mercer Foundation"
Karen Akers, Ann Hampton Callaway, David Campbell, Barbara Carroll, Claiborne Cary, Jeff Harnar, Julie Kurnitz, Barbara Lea, Andrea Marcovicci, Amanda McBroom, Phillip Officer, Joel Silberman, KT Sullivan, Dr. Billy Taylor, Paula West, Wesla Whitfield, Ronny Whyte.

Tuesday, September 28, 6 PM.
"ASCAP Presents Standards for a New Generation"
Songs by Michele Brourman, Francesca Blumenthal, John Bucchino, Craig Carnelia, David Friedman and Carol Hall with performances by Susan Egan, Alison Jaier, Alix Korey and Karen Morrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 6 PM.
Act I stars Tom Andersen, Bobby Belfry, Richard Rodney Bennett, Jackie Cain, Roy Kral, Joan Crowe, Connie Evingson, Lisa Kirchner, Jeanne MacDonald, Audrey Morris. Act II features cabaret star Steve Ross celebrating Fred Astaire's 100th birthday.

Thursday, September 30, 6 PM.
"Hey Look Me Over Julie Wilson at 75: A Birthday Celebration"
Lisa Asher, Barbara Brussell, Rondi Charleston, Baby Jane Dexter, Natalie Gamsu, Eric Michael Gillett, Michael Hermon, Cory Jamison, Christian Nova, Lee Roy Reams, Cy Coleman and the great lady herself, Julie Wilson.
Friday, October 1, 6 PM
"Cabaret Jamboree"
Eileen Barnett, Charles Cermele, Mary Foster Conklin, Easter Standard Time, Angela LaGreca, Meg Macay, Jacqui Naylor, Georga Osborne, Teri Lynn Paul, Billy Philadelphia, Daryl Sherman, Mary Testa, Dane Vannatter, Carla White, Faith Winthrop.

Saturday, October 2, 6 PM.
Act I, "The Art of Performance," will star Marcia Lewis in her one-woman show, "On the Road to Chicago." Act II stars D. C. Anderson, Judy Barnett, Cynthia Crane, Tovah Feldshuh, Sidney Myer, Tom Postillo, Karen Saunders, Larry Woodard, William Baldwin Young.

Sunday, October 3, 3 PM.
"Sunday in New York"
Joyce Breach, Eric Comstock, Natalie Douglas, Tim Draxl, Mary Cleere Haran, Lee Lessack, The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Karen Mason, Marilynn Lovell Matz, Lainie Nelson, Benjamin Sears, Bradford Conner, Billy Stritch, Lumiri Tubo.

IN OTHER NEWS The answer to the blind item that was posted a few weeks ago in this column was revealed by Liz Smith in this week's New York Post. It will be none other than London's Elaine Paige who will star in a revival of The King and I in the West End this theatre season. It should be a thrill to hear Paige wrap that golden voice around such Rodgers and Hammerstein songs as "Getting To Know You," "Hello Young Lovers" and many more. Stay tuned for more information on that front . . . Tony winner Lillias White will perform at 10:30 . this Saturday, June 19, at Wilson's Bar and Grill (201 West 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue). Call (212) 769-0100 for reservations. . . You might want to check out the Ruthie Henshall website at http://geocities.com/Broadway/1557/index2.html. Henshall, of course, is currently starring in the Broadway production of Chicago and will replace Susan Egan--the new Sally Bowles in Cabaret-- when Putting It Together comes to Broadway this season.


Following is Brightman's "One Night in Eden" U.S. concert tour schedule:
June 22 and 23 City Center in New York City
June 25 N.J. Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ
June 27 Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
June 28 Symphony Hall in Boston
June 29 Center for the Performing Arts in Providence, RI
July 1 Wolf Trap in Washington, D.C.
June 2 and 3 Sands Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ

A host of new concert dates follows. The list is continually growing, so check the Betty Buckley website on PBOL for the latest changes.

June 29 Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA
July 20 Point Lookout in Camden, ME
July 27 Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, PA
October 9 Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY
October 22 (class); October 23 (concert) Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Foellinger Great Hall in Champaign-Urbana, IL
October 24 Sangamon Stage University Auditorium; Springfield, IL
November 6 State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ
November 14 Cincinnati, OH (venue to come)
December 6-7 St. Barths Church in New York, NY
December 17 City Center in Coral Springs, FL
December 18 Atlantic University Auditorium in Boca Raton, FL
December 31 Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT

On June 23 and 24 Buckley will appear in "Heart to Heart" -- a concert with her accompanist Kenny Werner --in the intimate setting of the U.C.L.A. Freud Playhouse Theatre to benefit PAWS/LA, a non-profit organization "dedicated to enriching the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS by empowering them to care for their pets." Tickets to the concerts, which are priced between $50 and $150, may be purchased by calling the U.C.L.A. box office at (310) 825-2101. All ticket holders on June 23 are invited to attend a pre-concert reception at 6:30PM, with the concert beginning at 7:30 PM; on June 24, there will be a concert only (7:30 p.m.).

LuPone will sit down with writer Sheryl Flatow in front of a live audience to discuss her stellar career. "A Conversation with Patti LuPone" is being presented by the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum (PALM) on Wednesday, June 30 from 6pm to 7 PM at PALM, 401 Van Ness Ave., 4th Floor. For ticket prices and other info, call PALM at (415) 255-4800 . . . La LuPone will also join opera star Bryn Terfel for a concert version of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd to be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall from May 4 to May 6 in the year 2000. The performers will be backed by the New York Philharmonic, and the event, which will be recorded, will celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday.

Karen Mason will perform at the Bradstan Inn in White Lake New York on June 20, and on September 25 KM will perform in concert to benefit Dallas Children's Theatre Fairmont Hotel, Dallas.

Paige will appear as the special guest of Cliff Richards at his concerts in Hyde Park, London, on July 16, 17 and 18. Tickets are available from First Call: 0171 420 1000. And, don't forget, EP will make a special appearance in New York City in May when she will perform at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation's spring gala on Wednesday, May 5 at the New Christie's Auction House in the city. The event is being hosted by Barbara Walters, and Paige--who is expected to sing a handful of her biggest hits -will be accompanied on the piano by Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch. For more information about this worthy event, contact The Breast Cancer Research Foundation at (212) 572-4249.

Patti LuPone is the first diva at the Donmar Warehouse, performing her new concert act, "Matters of the Heart," Aug. 9-21. Audra McDonald's reign runs from August 23 to August 28, and Sam Brown will open on August 31 and close Sept. 4. The performance schedule is Monday through Saturday at 8 PM with matinees on Saturday at 4 PM. Tickets go on sale Monday, May 17; call 011 44 171 637 9041 for reservations.

This summer's San Francisco Pops series will include appearances from Patti LuPone and Marin Mazzie. La LuPone will perform her new one-woman show, "Matters of the Heart," on July 1 and 2 with Rob Fisher as musical director. On July 10, an evening entitled "Rodgers and Hammerstein and Friends" will feature performances by the husband-and wife team of Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. Tickets are available through the San Francisco Symphony Ticket Service (415) 864 6000) or by visiting the symphony's website at www.sfsymphony.org. . . . Also, two of cabaret's finest performers, Andrea Marcovicci and David Campbell, will appear together on June 11 and 12 at the Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary Street). Tickets, which are priced at $35, are available by calling Star Classics (415) 552-1110.

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

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

Diva Talk is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard, 1976 1998.

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