DIVA TALK: More News from the Diva Front...

Diva Talk   DIVA TALK: More News from the Diva Front...

A loyal diva lover forwarded me a copy of Next Magazine, which featured an interview with Betty Buckley about her new album, “Heart to Heart.” The interview, which was conducted by Gregg Shapiro, was featured in the June 30 issue. Excerpts from Shapiro’s chat with Ms. B follow:

about the recording industry and forming her own independent label, KO Productions:
“. . .I was approached [by a major label] when I was younger, in London momentarily, by Polygram. A couple of other major labels had talked to me through the years. But they kept saying to me, ‘We need to know your bag of music.’ I didn’t have a ‘bag.’ Unless you were into rock and roll or played an instrument or wrote your own songs, there was a period when good singers who did beautiful music had a hard time finding a recording home base. The record business changed somewhat after Barbra Streisand. She was one of the last great singers to be nurtured by a record company. After that, the business was such that you pretty much had to create your own thing and then bring it to the record company, and they would buy it or not . . . I was creating a body of music, but it wasn’t an easy niche. When I was creating that music, several record companies again came to hear me in concert. I was developing the music that is chronicled on the Sterling Records albums. Again, it was not easily categorized. It was like, ‘What is this?’ Basically, record executives need to know what things are, so that they can sell them easily. Then Sterling Records approached me and said that they wanted to record me. They were going to have me as their debut artist on their brand new label. They gave us just enough money to go in and make some records. We did five records for them.

about one of her favorite performers/songwriters, Joni Mitchell:
“ . . . She scored my life in college. I used to sit whole afternoons and play her albums over and over. She was a great influence on my life. At [Joni Mitchell’s] concert the other night, there were some young women who were leaving when we were, and they also had my recordings, and were every excited to know that I was a Joni Mitchell fan. This one young woman said that [Mitchell] was responsible for so much of how we view ourselves -- and the kind of lives that we lead today -- through her poetry. I thought that was a very interesting statement.” about her involvement in the fight against AIDS:
“Almost all of my best friends are gay people. My youngest brother is also gay. [Some] of the original cast of Cats [have] died of AIDS. All of us, I think, in the theatre and in the world of the arts have experienced tremendous losses in personal relationships and friendships with people who have died of AIDS. It’s a terrible plague and we can’t stop until we find a cure. All of us in the theatre do work for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, but that’s my special heart charity. I do anything they ask me to do whenever I can.”

about the possibility of returning to TV or film:
“You never know. It’s always about the project. There are things that I’ve talked to some people about. We’ll see what happens. It’s kind of a come-and-go process in show business. To be back on television, in a series, I would want to do something that I thought was fantastic. It’s a completely absorbing life to be in a series. I had no personal life to speak of in the days of ‘Eight Is Enough,’ although it was fun. It would have to be something that I would really relish going to work to do, because it’s so all-consuming. I’m always up for this or that film. Things come and go. We’ll see.”

According to several diva lovers, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald’s recent concert at the Hollywood Bowl was a sensational evening of diva magic. In addition to several duets, each sang several solo selections: The mega-talented LuPone belted the heck out of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and “Buenos Aires,” deliciously delivered both parts of West Side Story’s “A Boy Like That”/“I Have a Love” medley and moved the sold-out crowd with Kurt Weill’s “It Never Was You” and the 1941 ballad “When the Sun Comes Out.” Three-time Tony winner McDonald easily sailed through Harold Arlen’s “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home,” “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “I Had Myself a True Love” as well as the Fiorello! tune “When Did I Fall in Love?” and even offered “Your Daddy’s Son” from her Tony-winning work in Ragtime. The diva duets included Guys and Dolls’ “Marry the Man Today,” “Ohio” from Wonderful Town, the City of Angels gem “What You Don’t Know About Women” and the classic Streisand/Garland pairing of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” The former Master Class stars also had fun with Leonard Bernstein’s “Wrong Note Rag.” In fact, in his Los Angeles Times review, critic Michael Phillips had this to say about the divine evening of song: “. . . And Ms. McDonald and Ms. LuPone hit every single wrong note in Bernstein's ‘Wrong Note Rag’ wonderfully wrongly. Mauceri and the ladies who lunched on this material made a supremely accomplished trio. It was a pleasure to hear so much vibrant theatrical music activated so joyously.”

Speaking of La LuPone, the vibrant singing actress will appear with the Boston Pops on July 20 (check local PBS listings for times). LuPone will wrap her golden throat around such tunes as "Never Never Land," "Peel Me a Grape," "Being Alive," "Unexpressed" and more. Be sure to set those VCRS!

On July 30, Karen Mason, the former standby to the stars in Sunset Boulevard, will read an ode to Marlene Dietrich that was written by the late Noël Coward. This reading will be part of an introduction Mason will deliver at the opening night of James Beaman’s Marlene Live! cabaret show at New York’s FireBird Cafe. A few other appearances have also recently been added to Mason’s ever-growing performance schedule. As of today, her itinerary through the end of this year includes the following:

July 17-23 Plays the “Rosemary Clooney” role in the world-premiere of the new stage musical based on the film White Christmas at the St. Louis MUNY Opera; (314) 534-1111
July 28-29 In concert at The Metropolis in Milford, PA
July 30 Introduces James Beaman in Marlene Live! at The FireBird Cafe; (212) 586-0240
Aug. 18-19 Returns to the DeSisto cabaret in Stockbridge, MA
Sept. 6 - Oct. 15 Returns to Arci’s Place, 450 Park Avenue South; NYC; (212) 532-4370
Oct. 17 Appearance at ASCAP evening at the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, NYC
Nov. 1-12 Appearance at The Plush Room in San Francisco’s York Hotel; (415) 885-2800
Dec. 6-10 Karen performs her Christmas Show at Davenports in Chicago, IL (773) 278-1830

IN OTHER NEWS Tomorrow, Saturday, July 15, Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore will co-host Broadway Barks! 2, an event to spark the adoption of cats and dogs from the city’s many animal shelters. The free event will take place in Shubert Alley (44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway & Eighth Avenue) from 3:30 to 6:30 PM. Other Broadway stars scheduled to appear include Bryan Batt, Joel Grey, Heather Headley, Catherine Hickland, Celeste Holm, Eartha Kitt, Andrea McArdle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bebe Neuwirth, Adam Pascal, Patrick Stewart and Tom Wopat. For more info, go to www.fidonyc.org . . . On Tuesday, July 18 at 11 AM a memorial tribute to producer David Merrick will be held at the St. James Theatre on West 44th Street. Those scheduled to honor the late producer of Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street in song include Brent Barrett, Andrea McArdle, Howard McGillin, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Karen Ziemba, and there will also be spoken tributes from Clive Barnes, Mary Rodgers, Howard Kissel, Rocco Landesman, Samuel ‘Biff’ Liff and Jerry Orbach . . . The latest installment of Cabaret on the Record, producer Maryann Lopinto’s series to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 8 PM at New York City’s The Triad (158 W. 72nd St.) Hosted by radio personality Stan Martin and featuring musical direction by Wes McAfee, the evening will boast performances from Kane Alexander, John Bucchino, Jamie Deroy, Julie Gold, Judy Kaye, Martha Lorin, Tom Michael, Connie Pachl, Jane Scheckter, KT Sullivan, Larry Woodard and a special surprise guest. There is a $15 cover charge and a $10 food/drink minimum. Call (212) 799-4599 for reservations . . .


Casting is complete for the upcoming benefit performance of Clare Booth Luce’s The Women, which will be held on Monday, July 17 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street). The evening will benefit the Actors’ Fund of America’s Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, and the talent line-up boasts Bebe Neuwirth as Joan Crawford’s “Crystal,” Eartha Kitt as Mary Boland’s “Countess De Lave,” Sandy Duncan as Marjorie Main’s “Lucy,” Karen Ziemba as Norma Shearer’s “Mary,” Rita Moreno as Phyllis Povah’s “Edith,” Hazelle Goodman as Joan Fontaine’s “Peggy,” Elaine Stritch as Rosalind Russell’s “Sylvia” plus Tsidii Le Loka as the English nanny and Lea DeLaria, Dee Hoty, Holland Taylor, Mary Testa and Phyllis Newman in smaller roles. Tickets are priced at $250 (includes a pre-theatre cocktail party); call (212) 221-7300 ext. 129 for reservations.

The following tours dates are from Brightman’s website, which can be found at sarah-brightman.com.
Aug. 20 and 21 in Sao Paulo
Aug. 23 in Rio de Janeiro
Sept. 15 in Ottawa, ON at the Corel Centre
Sept. 16 in Toronto, ON at the Air Canada Centre
Sept. 18 in Montreal, PQ at the Molson Centre
Sept. 19 in Rochester, NY at the Auditorium Centre
Sept. 22 in New York, NY at the Theatre @ MSG
Sept. 23 in Atlantic City, NJ at the Mark G. Etess Arena
Sept. 24 in Hartford, CT at the Oakdale Theater
Sept. 26 in Providence, RI at the PAC
Sept. 27 in Lowell, MA at the Memorial Auditorium
Sept. 29 in Philadelphia, PA at the Mann Center
Sept. 30 in Washington, DC at the Patriot Center
Oct. 1 in Norfolk, VA at the Scope Arena
Oct. 4 in Miami, FL at the AA Arena /Nat. Car Rental Arena
Oct. 5 in Tampa, FL at the Ice Palace
Oct. 6 in Atlanta, GA at the Civic Center
Oct. 8 in New Orleans, LA at the Saenger Theatre
Oct. 9 in Dallas, TX at the Reunion Arena/Starplex Amph.
Oct. 10 in Houston, TX at the Aerial Theatre
Oct. 13 in Columbus, OH at the Nationwide Arena
Oct. 14 in Detroit, MI at the Palace
Oct. 15 in Cleveland, OH at the CSU Convocation Centre
Oct. 17 in St. Paul, MN at the Minn. Wild Arena
Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand
Oct. 21 in Santa Barbara, CA at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Oct. 22 in San Diego, CA at the SDSU Open Air Theatre
Oct. 24 in Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre
Oct. 26 in Sacramento, CA at the Arco Arena
Oct. 27 in San Jose, CA at the San Jose Arena
Oct. 29 in Portland, OR at the Rose Garden
Oct. 30 in Seattle, WA at the Paramount/Key Arena
Nov. 1 in Vancouver, BC at the GM Place
Nov. 3 in Edmonton, AB at the Skyreach Center
Nov. 4 in Calgary, AB at the Saddledome
Nov. 5 in Spokane, WA at the Arena
Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Delta Center
Nov. 8 in Denver, CO at the Magness Arena
Nov. 11 in Chicago, IL at the Chicago Theatre
Nov. 14 in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena
Nov. 15 in Milwaukee, WI at the Riverside Theatre
Nov. 21 in Oslo at the Spektrum
Nov. 22 in Stockholm at the Globen
Nov. 24 in Borlänge at the Kuppolen
Nov. 25 in Gothenburg at the Scandinavium
Nov. 26 in Copenhagen at the Forum
Nov. 27 in Aalborg at the Aarlborghall
Nov. 30 in Tallin at the Linnhall
Dec. 2 in Tampere at the Sporthall
Dec. 6. in Zurich at the Hallenstadion
Dec. 7 in Mannheim at the Mozartsaal
Dec. 8 in Düsseldorf at the Philipshalle
Dec. 10 in Munich at the Olympiahalle
Dec. 12 in Vienna at the Stadthalle
Dec. 14 in Berlin at the ICC
Dec. 16 in Warsaw at the Grand Theatre
Dec. 19 in St. Petersburg at the Octlabrsky
Dec. 22 in Moskau at the Kremi

Several new concert dates have been added to BB’s always-growing schedule: July 24 & 27 Martin Theatre (Ravinia Festival) in Highland Park, IL
Aug. 5 Edgewood Country Club in Rivervale, NJ
Aug. 21-Sept. 3 Donmar Warehouse in London, UK
Sept. 9 & 10 Robert Park Auditorium in Taunton, MA
Sept. 15 Southern Theater in Columbus, OH
Sept. 16 Stranahan Theatre in Toledo, OH
Oct. 6 & 7 Scottsdale Center for the Arts Theatre in Scottsdale, AZ
Oct. 28 Univ. of Texas Cowan Fine & Perf. Arts Center in Tyler, TX
Nov. 10 & 11 University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
Jan. 5, 2001 Koger Center for the Arts (Univ. of SC) in Columbia, SC
Jan. 6 Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 19-28 Florida Condo Tour in Florida
March 3 at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
May 12 at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
June 17 at the Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA

I recently received a few new concert dates for theatre/cabaret legend Barbara Cook, which follow:
July 28 and 29 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 14 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts in Poway, CA (619) 748-0505
Sept. 21 & 22 at the Sydney Opera House (in concert with David Campbell) in Sydney, Australia 011-61-2-9250-7777
Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA (714) 556-2787

Eder in concert:
July 14 with Feinstein at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA; (206) 628-0888
July 15 with Feinstein at Schnitzer Hall in Portland, OR; (503) 274 6564
July 16 with Feinstein at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, CA; (415) 551-2000
August 5 at the Wildflower Music Festival in White Mills, PA
July 22 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles
July 23 at Colorado’s Boettcher Concert Hall
Aug. 6 with Feinstein at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ; (732) 335-0400
Aug. 8 with Feinstein at the Mann Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA (215) 336-2000
Aug. 9 with Feinstein at the Wolf Trap Filene Center in Vienna, VA; (703) 218-6500 or 1-800-955-5566
Aug. 19 at the John Drew Theater of Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY (631) 324-4050

Aug. 25 with Feinstein at The Ravinia Festival in Chicago, IL; go to www.ravinia.org
Aug. 26 Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser at The River Center w/ Michael Feinstein in Minneapolis, MN
Sept. 26 at the Jones Hall w/Houston Symphony in Houston, TX; call (713) 224-7575
Nov. 4 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334 0800
Nov. 17 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ; call (732) 246 SHOW
Nov. 18 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA; call (610) 252-3132
Nov. 19 at the Strand-Capitol Theatre in York, Penn.
Jan. 12 & 13, 2001 in Charlotte, NC at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; (704) 372-1000
Jan. 21 in Naples, FL at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts; (941) 597-1900
Feb. 1 & 2 in Phoenix, AZ at the Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; (202) 467-4600
March 8 in Clearwater, FL at the Ruth Eckerd Hall; (727) 791-7400
March 9 in Sarasota, FL at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; www.vanwezel.org
March 10 in Melbourne, FL at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts; (407) 242-2219
May 31-June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Hall; call (412) 392-4900

Several concert dates have been added to Patti LuPone’s ever-growing schedule. What follows are La LuPone’s confirmed concert appearances as of this week:
July 29 ("Matters of the Heart") at the Long Island Summer Festival at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, NY; (516) 922-0061
Sept. 9 ("Matters of the Heart") at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo, Ohio; (419) 242-2787
Sept. 23 at the University of Maine in Orono; (800) 622-8499
Oct. 7 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham, Alabama; (205) 458-8401
Nov. 3 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky (502) 583-4555
April 8 ("Matters Of The Heart") at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina; (919) 684-4444
Jan. 5-7, 2001 at the Morton J. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX (214) 871-4000


July 15 in Cleveland, OH at theBlossom Festival/Cleveland Orchestra; (800) 686-1141
July 21 in San Fransisco, CA with the San Fransisco Symphony; (415) 864-6000
Aug. 6 in Detroit, MI at the Meadowbrook Festival/Detroit Symphony; (313) 576-5111
August 16 in Chicago, IL at the Ravinia Festival; (847) 266-5100
Sept. 28-30 with the National Symphony Orchestra

The two-time Tony winner will conclude her run in Annie Get Your Gun on September 2, when she will begin a U.S. concert tour:
Sept. 15 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City (with symphony)
Sept. 22 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
Oct. 6 at the Einsenhower Hall Theatre in West Point, NY
Oct. 7 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
Oct. 13 at the OnCenter War Memorial in Syracuse, NY
Jan. 5, 2001 at PAC in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with symphony)
Jan. 11 at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee
Jan. 13 at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
March 29 at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY
April 6 at the Bass Perf. Hall in Fort Worth, TX (with symphony)
April 7-8 at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX
April 19 at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto (with symphony)
April 28 at the Pasquerilla PAC in Johnstown, PA
May 11-12 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN (with symphony)
May 18-20 at the Myerson Hall in Dallas, TX (with symphony)

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

By Andrew Gans

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