"As the days dwindle down to a precious few" for Betty's stay in Sunset Boulevard (her last performance as Norma D is August 24), the confirmed dates for her U.S. concert tour have started to come in. More performances are in the process of being negotiated, and I will announce them as they become available. So far, here are the dates confirmed:
- Sept. 19 & 20, 1996 at the Ordway Music Theatre in St. Paul, MN
- Sept. 21 at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, FL
- Oct. 8 & 9 at Duke University in Durham, NC
- Nov. 9 at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX
- Nov. 10 at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque, NM
- Nov. 14 at the Weidner Center in Green Bay, WI
- Feb. 14, 1997 at the Ruth Eckhard Hall in Clearwater, FL
- Feb. 15 at the Center for the Perf. Arts in Naples, FL
- Feb. 16 at the Van Wezel Theater in Sarasota, FL
- April 26 at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ
- May 17 at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT
- May 30 & 31 at the Pacific Symphony in Santa Anna, CA
Our Song & Dance gal will be one of the participants at the July 4 celebration for Gwen Verdon, when she receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York City Dance Alliance. The event, which will be held in the Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom, will also include appearances from Charlotte d'Amboise, Joel Grey, Ann Reinking, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Donna McKechnie, Chita Rivera, Neil Simon, Ben Vereen and Jerry Zaks.
Next Tuesday, July 2, La LuPone begins her reign in Terrence McNally's Tony-winning Master Class. While doing some research for an article on Patti, I came across this quote from an article by David Patrick Stearns in USA Today that was published while Patti was delighting London audiences in Sunset Boulevard:
"RCA Executives. . .went to one of the [Los Angeles] concerts and at intermission decided to record the whole thing live--with all of the inevitable rough edges that come with a live recording. 'I'm from the Maria Callas school,' she says. 'If the sound is ugly, it can also be incredibly beautiful.' "How prophetic. . . ELAINE PAIGE
As New York prepares for the arrival of another grand diva, Elaine Paige, I was very happy to receive some video footage of EP on British television shows over the years. Some of the highlights included songs, in costume, from her stint as producer and star of the West End production of Anything Goes. Paige really proved that she is one of the best performers around when she tackled this truly American role. Her performance of "Blow Gabriel Blow" is one of the best I've heard--and she incorporates some dance movements from the thirties that really enhances her interpretation. One other fun segment was the "You're the Top" duet with a very boyish looking John Barrowman ("Central Park West" and Sunset Boulevard), who replaced Howard McGillin later in the run.
That's all for now. Happy diva-watching!
-- By Andrew Gans
(E-mail me at email@example.com.)