DIVA TALK: Diva Albums Galore

Diva Talk   DIVA TALK: Diva Albums Galore
Congratulations to Patti LuPone, who received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her recent work on NBC's "Frasier." The episode that starred La LuPone will be rebroadcast this Tuesday, Aug. 18, on NBC. Other nominees in the Guest Actress category include Carol Burnett for "Mad About You," Jan Hooks for "3rd Rock From the Sun," Bette Midler for "Murphy Brown" and Emma Thompson for "Ellen." The Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 13.

Congratulations to Patti LuPone, who received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her recent work on NBC's "Frasier." The episode that starred La LuPone will be rebroadcast this Tuesday, Aug. 18, on NBC. Other nominees in the Guest Actress category include Carol Burnett for "Mad About You," Jan Hooks for "3rd Rock From the Sun," Bette Midler for "Murphy Brown" and Emma Thompson for "Ellen." The Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 13.

Audra McDonald, the three-time Tony winner (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime ), will perform in concert with the San Francisco Symphony on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 8:30 PM. The evening will inaugurate the symphony's 1998-99 season at Davies Symphony Hall and will celebrate the George Gershwin centenary. Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct, and other performers who are scheduled to perform include another Ragtime star, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and opera singer Frederica von Stade. A very limited number of seats are available, so if you plan to go, call as soon as possible: (415) 864-6000.

The wonderful vocalist will release her latest album on the Sterling Records label Tuesday, Aug. 18, and will feature songs by Leonard Bernstein, Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and others. Titled "The Pleasure of His Company," the album is McGovern's second piano/voice recital with pianist Mike Renzi. In the liner notes, McGovern explains, "In 1986, we [Renzi and I] recorded our first solo piano/voice project, "Another Woman In Love." The late Larry Kert described it as 'having a nice warm blanket wrapped around you.' Since then, my audience has been requesting another McGovern/Renzi collaboration." The new recording is also dedicated to the legendary Mel Torme. Says McGovern: "Mel Torme has always been my idol and for most of my career, my mentor. In 1981, he introduced me to his pianist, Mike Renzi -- saying, 'Quite simply, he's the best!'" Following are the songs included on "The Pleasure of His Company:"
"Lucky to be Me"
"My Ship"
"The Boy Next Door"
"Nobody's Heart (Belongs to me)"/"Just One of Those Things"
"Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most"
"Once Upon a Time"
"The Nearness of You"
"How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"
"Call Me Irresponsible"
"Bring Back My Dreamer"
"And I'll Be There"

One of the more exciting recording projects has to be the repairing of Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, Side Show's two fabulous stars, for an upcoming album for Varese Sarabande. The two women will record some of the theatre's best-known duets as well as a few little-known gems. Following is the song list (which may be altered slightly) for Ripley and Skinner's new CD, which is being recorded this week in Los Angeles under the working title of "The Duets Album." The CD/cassette is due in stores Nov. 10.

"Perfect Strangers" (Drood)
"Sisters"/"Ohio" (White Christmas/Wonderful Town)
"In His Eyes" (Jekyll & Hyde)
"We Make a Wonderful Pair" (Shenandoah)
"If Mama Was Married" (Gypsy)
"Little Me" (Little Me)
"Everyday a Little Death" (A Little Night Music)
"Baby Dream Your Dream" (Sweet Charity)
"One Boy"/"What Did I Ever See In Him?" (Bye Bye Birdie)
"I Know Him So Well" (Chess)
"Two's Company" (The Magic Show)
"My Own Best Friend"/ "Nowadays" (Chicago)
"My Friend" (The Life)
"If We Never Meet Again" (an unrecorded song from Rags)
"Stuck With You"/"Ready To Play" (2 cut songs from Side Show)
And, speaking of Alice Ripley, the talented performer will indeed join the Broadway company of Les Miserables this September as Fantine. Ripley will begin portraying the ill-fated character on September 8 at the Imperial Theatre, a role she performed in the national tour in 1993. It's been a whirlwind year for Ripley, having starred in Side Show, the City Center Encores! production of Li'l Abner , and the recent benefit concert of Chess at the John Houseman Theatre. Beginning September 8, the performance schedule for Les Miz will be Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets range from $15-$75 and may be purchased by calling (212) 239-6200.

Christiane (Jekyll & Hyde) Noll's debut solo album is titled "A Broadway Love Story " and features songs from Funny Girl, Mack & Mabel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Company, Crazy for You and other Broadway musicals. Noll has organized the songs to form a love song cycle, similar to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance. The recording will be released shortly on the Varese Sarabande label . . . Helen Reddy has recorded a dance remix version of Sunset Boulevard's "Surrender," which will be heard on her upcoming solo album, also on the Varese label . . . Petula Clark will head into the recording studio before her eagerly-awaited tour in Sunset to record her own Broadway album for Varese.

Every once in a great while I hear a male voice that I find as thrilling as those of the women performers to whom this column devotes most of its space. One such voice belongs to Brian d'Arcy James, whom I first heard during my initial visit to Titanic. At the time I thought d'Arcy James not only deserved a Tony nomination for his work in that musical but should have won the Best Featured Actor in a Musical category as well. So, it was with much enthusiasm that I headed to the China Club this past Sunday evening to hear the talented performer.

In 75 minutes of non-stop music, Mr. James demonstrated that he is as charming in a cabaret setting as he is on the larger stage of the Lunt Fontanne Theatre, where he stars (through the end of this week) in the Tony-winning musical. The evening marked James' New York cabaret debut, and the star of the Maury Yeston/Peter Stone musical delighted the sold out audience of the club with an eclectic mixture of tunes, ranging from theatre and pop music to some of his own compositions. James was backed by a wonderful array of musicians -- Shawn McCourt, Drew McVety and Clarke Thorell -- who co-star with him in Titanic and call themselves "Floating City."

Blessed with one of the most beautiful tenor voices in the theatre today, James began the evening with a spirited version of Violet''s "(You've Got to) Let It Sing," building the anthem to a stirring, full-voiced finale. Throughout the evening, he generously shared the stage with several other Titanic co-stars, including Clarke Thorell -- who performed a lovely tune he composed for a young girl, "Danielle" -- which found James performing back-up vocals. Another Titanic cast member, Theresa McCarthy, joined James for one of the evening's highlights, a song from Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World. Martin Moran, Titanic's Harold Bride, followed, and he and James performed their beautiful Act I duet, "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive."

Of his own compositions, I particularly enjoyed a song entitled "Paint On My Hands" as well as his stirring encore, which he wrote for and dedicated to his fiance. In fact, James is off to Portland, Oregon, next week to be married. Let's hope this talented man returns to the stage soon...

On Saturday (August 15) Cats' Linda Balgord will perform "Memory" on NBC's "Today Show" some time between 8:30 and 9:00 am. And, this Sunday, August 16, PBS will premiere highlights from the "Hey, Mr. Producer! " tribute to producer Cameron Mackintosh that was filmed earlier this season in London. Boasting performances by Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Ruthie Henshall and many other theatre luminaries, the program will air in the metropolitan area at 9 PM. Check local listings for further information. REMINDERS:

BETTY BUCKLEY Betty Buckley will star as Mama Rose in Gypsy at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, beginning Sept. 9. The official opening date is scheduled for Sept. 13, and the show will run through Oct. 25. Tickets, which range from $25 to $55, will be available by calling (973) 376-4343 beginning Aug. 24... BB has also scheduled a few concerts at The Bottom Line. She will perform at 7:30 and 10 PM on Oct. 30 and 31, and on Nov. 1 show times are 4 PM (the "songs by request" concert) and 8:30 PM. The Bottom Line is located at 15 West 4th Street, and tickets will be on sale at the Bottom Line box office in the near future.


Before Petula Clark begins touring as Norma Desmond in the second national company of Sunset Boulevard, she has a few concerts lined up in the U.S. and in the U.K. First up, is a performance at the Resorts International Hotel (1-800-322-SHOW) in Atlantic City from Sept. 2-7. Then, Clark will perform in the U.K. in the following areas:
Sept. 15 Cheltenham Town Hall (01242 227979)
Sept. 16 Rhyl Pavilion (01745 330000)
Sept. 18 Leamington Spa Royal Spa Centre (01926 334418)
Sept. 19 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall (01892 530613)
Sept. 20 Worthing Pavilion (01903 820500)
Sept. 21 Reading Hexagon (0118 9606060)
Sept. 23 Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion (01424 787900)


There will be a four-week season of Divas at the Donmar - London's Donmar Warehouse, the theatre that first premiered the current incarnation of Cabaret. As previously mentioned, Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway will kick off the season from Aug. 10 22. Following the sister act will be Barbara Cook from Aug. 24 29, and Imelda Staunton and Her Big Band will finish the diva season from Sept. 1-5.

Florence Lacey currently stars on Broadway in An Evening with Jerry Herman, which also stars Lee Roy Reams and the Tony Award-winning composer himself. The musical revue, which traces Herman's Broadway career, is at the Booth Theatre; call Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200 for tickets.

LuPone will perform in concert on Aug. 28 and 29 at The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles; call (562) 916-8500.

Sept. 11-12 in Nashville, TN at the Andrew Jackson Hall
Oct. 10 in Spring, TX at the Centrum
Oct. 16-17 in Atlanta, GA at the Rialto Theatre
Feb. 13, 1999 in Birmingham, AL (venue to come)
Feb. 20 in Toledo, OH (venue to come)
Apr. 9-10 in Kansas City, Missouri
Dec. 31 in Colorado Springs, CO (venue to come)

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

-- By Andrew Gans
e-mail me atandrew_gans@playbill.com

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