DIVA TALK: Liza's New Reality; LuPone & McGovern in Concert

News   DIVA TALK: Liza's New Reality; LuPone & McGovern in Concert


It's certainly been an exciting year for Liza Minnelli and her fans. The award-winning actress-singer-dancer not only wed her fourth husband, producer David Gest, but was featured in acclaimed "comeback" concerts in both London and New York. Now comes word that the Academy Award-winning Cabaret star will take part in a TV reality program à la MTV's "The Osbournes." It was officially announced this week that "Liza and David" will make its network premiere on VH1 in October. Personally, I couldn't think of anything more awful than having cameras follow me around in my own home, but, I guess, Minnelli and Gest feel differently, as they will invite cameras into their home for a weekly dinner party featuring celebrity guests. Expect a mix of their celeb friends, including musicians, actors, actresses, sports heroes, authors and various other luminaries. Cameras will capture the Gests and their guests as they prepare for the party and throughout the evening and will conclude with the newlyweds discussing the events of the night just past.

Brian Graden, who is president of entertainment at MTV & VH1 explains, "With their recent star-studded wedding and her critically acclaimed worldwide concert tour in the headlines, Liza and David are one of the most talked-about and celebrated couples in the world. We asked them if they could provide a window into the center of their whirlwind, and they look forward to giving VH1 viewers a new kind of inside look at the show biz lifestyle." Gest adds, "[Liza and I] are very excited about the series and hope to let the public see some wonderful talent perform in a very intimate setting each week. We are two people who love to laugh, joke and enjoy each other's company. When guests step into our house, they become a part of our family. We both love every type of music from hip hop and pop to country and rock. We plan to introduce our viewers to great music from every genre."

So, what does the daughter of the legendary Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli think of the new reality show? "What has been reported about us has been outrageous," Minnelli says. "This is, in a fun way, a way to show what it's really like."

Minnelli and Gest are the show's creators and executive producers; ten initial episodes of "Liza and David" have been ordered for the fall. PATTI LuPONE

As previously announced, Patti LuPone — who recently left the Broadway company of Noises Off — will star in a production of A Little Night Music at the Ravinia Festival from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24. Joining LuPone for the classic Stephen Sondheim musical are Zoe Caldwell, George Hearn and Marc Kudisch. La LuPone has also scheduled a host of concerts following that Illinois gig; her itinerary follows:

Sept. 14 at the Charles W. Eisemann Center ("An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin") in Richardson, TX
Oct. 4 at the Tillis Center at Long Island University in Greenvale, NY ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")
March 27, 2003 at the East County Performing Arts Center in Cajon, CA ("Matters of the Heart")
March 28-29 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA ("Matters of the Heart")
March 30 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV ("Matters of the Heart")
April 5 at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda")


Maureen McGovern — of the multi-octave range — is currently starring in a revised production of Jerry Herman's Dear World at Utah's Sundance Theater. McGovern has received glowing notices for her portrayal of the role originated by Angela Lansbury, and she will continue in the musical through Aug. 17. I recently received a revised list of upcoming McGovern appearances, which follow:

Sept. 1-2 MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon in Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 3-17 at the Cinegrill's Grand Reopening in Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 20-22 with the Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, MI
Sept. 26 - 29 with the North Carolina Symphony at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC
Oct. 24 at the annual Cabaret Convention in New York, NY
Oct. 30-Nov. 3 at the American Music Therapy Association Conf. in Atlanta, GA
Nov. 2 at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts in Atlanta, GA
Nov. 9 at the Landmark Theatre Gala in Port Washington, NY
Nov. 10 at the Hanford Civic Auditorium in Hanford, CA
Nov. 19-Dec. 1 at the Plush Room in San Francisco, CA
Dec. 6 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA
Dec. 8 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts in Poway, CA
Dec. 9 Laurie Strauss Leukemia Benefit at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Dec. 14 at the Boca Pops Big Band Series in Boca Raton, FL

IN OTHER DIVA NEWS OF THE WEEK Tony Award winner Heather Headley will perform at the annual Songwriters' Hall of Fame Ceremony. The event will be broadcast on the BRAVO Network on Oct. 7. Check local listings for times . . . Congratulations to two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters, who will receive the Pittsburgh CLO's (Civic Light Opera) eighth Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater at a gala event at the Omni William Penn Hotel on Oct. 10, 2002. The star of the upcoming revival of Gypsy joins an illustrious group who have received the award, including Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Harold Prince, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Stephen Sondheim, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gwen Verdon. Those interested in attending The Richard Rodgers Award Gala should call Cheryl at (412) 281-3973. For more information about the Pittsburgh CLO, go to www.pittsburghclo.org . . . Two of cabaret's finest performers, Andrea Marcovicci and Karen Akers, will return to the Oak Room at New York's Algonquin Hotel during the 2002-2003 season. Marcovicci, who recently starred in an all-star concert of I Am Anne Frank, will begin her Algonquin gig on Nov. 19. Performing a tribute to Cole Porter entitled "At Long Last, Cole," Marcovicci is scheduled to offer her latest cabaret act through Jan. 11, 2003. Akers, who received a 2002 Board of Directors Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, will play the famed Oak Room from April 15 to May 24, 2003. The Algonquin Hotel is located in New York City at 59 West 44th Street. For more information, call (212) 419-9331 . . . Several of Broadway's leading ladies will take to the intimate stage of Joe's Pub in August. Alice Ripley leads the diva parade on Monday, Aug. 12 with an evening of original music, including several tunes from her debut solo album, "Everything's Fine." The legendary Eartha Kitt, who received a Tony nomination for her most recent Broadway outing in The Wild Party, will offer two evenings at Joe's Pub: Aug. 12 and 28, both at 9:30 PM. Now in her fifth decade in show business, Kitt is currently developing a new theatrical work — with musical direction by Darryl Waters — based on her life. And, former Renter Daphne Rubin-Vega, seen recently in the Drama Dept.'s production of Free to Be You and Me, will appear with her pop/rock band on Aug. 15 (7:30 PM). Joe's Pub is located within the Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street and Astor Place. Tickets are available at the Public Theater's box office, on-line at www.telecharge.com or by phone at (212) 239-6200 . . . You can add Whoopi Goldberg, Ricki Lake, Bebe Neuwirth and Hairspray leading lady Marissa Jaret Winokur to the list of actresses who will play Fanny Brice in the Sept. 23 all-star Funny Girl concert, which will benefit the Actors' Fund of America. Peter Gallagher, recently on Broadway in Noises Off, will also be a part of the star studded evening, playing the role of Nicky Arnstein. The Jule Styne-Bob Merrill-Isobel Lennart musical, which celebrated the life of the late Fanny Brice, made a star of Barbra Streisand, who would reprise her role on film to Oscar-winning effect. The Actors' Fund concert will also include the previously announced Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Ana Gasteyer, Jane Krakowski, Audra McDonald, Megan Mullally, Donna Murphy and Lillias White. The concert will be held at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street, and tickets — ranging in price from $75 to $2,500 — are now on sale by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 133 . . . Chicago star Alexandra Billings returns to New York's Don't Tell Mama (343 W. 46th Street) for two performances, July 26 at 9 PM and July 27 at 7:30 PM; call (212) 757-0388 for reservations . . . And, finally, "Jamie deRoy & friends," the award-winning cable TV show (Channel 67 on Time Warner and Channel 110 on RCN), will devote its entire July 30 episode to cabaret singer Mary Cleere Haran. The half-hour program will feature an interview with the elegant singer as well as her renditions of "It's De-Lovely," "Harlem on My Mind" and "Lullaby of Broadway." This episode will be repeated on Aug. 13. "Jamie deRoy & friends" begins at 8 PM. REMINDERS

Betty Buckley in Concert:

Sept. 20 and 21 in Brisbane, Australia
Sept. 28 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, CA
Oct. 3-6 at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, TX
Oct. 22-Nov. 9 at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York, NY
Nov. 16 at the Performing Arts Center of SUNY-Purchase in Purchase, NY
Dec. 6 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC

Liz Callaway in Concert

August 2 in "Stephen Schwartz and Friends" in Bethlehem, PA
August 16 & 17 at the Stackner Cabaret Theatre in Milwaukee, WI
September 30 in the Merrily We Roll Along Broadway Reunion Concert in NYC

Barbara Cook in Concert: Now through Aug. 26 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, NY (Mostly Sondheim)
August 14-18 at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC
Oct. 19 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA
Nov. 2 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in Brooklyn, NY
Nov. 17 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN

Linda Eder in Concert

July 27 & 28 at the Provincetown Town Hall in Provincetown, MA
Aug. 15 at Pier 62 (with Burt Bacharach) in Seattle, WA
Aug. 16 at City Lights Amphitheatre (with Burt Bacharach) in Denver, CO
Aug. 17 at the Mountain Winery (with Burt Bacharach) in Saratoga, CA
Sept. 19 at Humphrey's By the Bay in San Diego, CA
Sept. 21 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
Oct. 25 & 26 at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, NC
Nov. 1 & 3 at the Kimmel Theatre in the Verizon Center (with Peter Nero and Philly Pops) in Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 2 at the War Memorial (with Peter Nero and Philly Pops) in Trenton, NJ
Dec. 1 at the Bass Hall in Austin, TX
Dec. 20 & 21 at the Symphony Hall (with Atlanta Symphony) in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 3 & 4 at the Meyeroff Hall (with Baltimore Symphony) in Baltimore, MD

Bernadette Peters in Concert:

Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at the Morton H. Meyerson Hall in Dallas, TX
Sept. 28 at the Weidner Center in Green Bay, WI
Oct. 5 Sundome Center in Sun City West, AZ
Oct. 24 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 26 at the Kleinhans Auditorium in Buffalo, NY

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

—By Andrew Gans

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