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January 18, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-18

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4B - The Michigan Daily - WzAsie, c. - Thursday, January 18, 1996


On Broadway, the year of the diva

By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
If there was a trend to be found on
Broadway this year, it was big, bold, and
female. She wore everything from a tux-
edo to a turban, descended staircases,
waltzed with both men and women, went
mad, proved her sanity, and rose to un-
touchable heights. In her honor, I dub
1995 the Year of the Diva.
diva (dee'va) From the Italian diva.
Literally: goddess, lady-love, "fine lady."
1. A goddess, female divinity, fem. of the
Latin divus: divine, god, deity. 2. A dis-
tinguished female singer, a prima donna.
Out with the old, in with the new, and
that goes for divas too! On July 8 -just

K%$ t
, A


days after her 48th birthday - Betty
Buckley began her own chapter in the
"Sunset Boulevard" saga, as she moved
intothe mobile mansion once calledhome
by Glenn Close. And though a compari-
son is tempting, no true diva-lover could
do such an injustice to either Betty or
Glenn (divas need no last names). In
September, British diva Elaine Paige will
cross the Atlantic to don the Norma drag.
And speaking of former Normas, Patti
(LuPone, that is) brought her one-woman
show to the Walter Kerr for a few weeks
oftake-that-Andrew-Lloyd-Webber bril-
liance. La LuPone was in excellent voice,
and showed us all how to be a diva.
In Terrence McNally's"Master Class,"
Zoe Caldwell plays La Divina diva Maria
Callas. This painstakingly detailed study
ofa diva should snag aTony forCaldwell,
who conjures Callas' spirit with astound-
ing efficacy.
Julie Andrews gets to play diva and
deity in her cross-dressing role in "Vic-
tor/Victoria." Directed by husband Blake
Edwards, Andrews is packing 'em in at
the Marquis in this stage adaptation of
Edwards' film comedy.
And hello, Carols! Carol Burnett made
her long-awaited return to B'way in Ken
Ludwig's theatrical fare"Moon Over Buf-
falo," and Carol Channing - the most,
ahem, mature diva of the bunch - is back
where she belongs in "Hello, Dolly!"
Something big is happening: The big-
gest events of the year were, without
question, musical. In its Encores! series,
City Center presented a stellar concert
version of Rodgers and Hart's rarely-
produced gem "Pal Joey," starring Patti
LuPone, Peter Gallagher and Bebe
Neuwirth. And the Roundabout Theater
Company, led by Scott Ellis, spottily
staged the Stephen Sondheim gem, "Com-
pany." A close runner-up, however, was
the Almeida Theater's "Hamlet," in which
Ralph Fiennes tested not only the Danish
prince's conscience but also the speed at
which he can soliloquize.
Other conversation pieces: The 42nd
Street Renovation, in which Disney and
Li vent of Canada have pledged to trans-
form the area from hooker heaven to a
theatrical haven ... A radiant Eileen
Atkins and a dimly-lit Kathleen Turner
in "Indiscretions" ... the on-the-road
closing of "Busker Alley," starring
Broadway's tallest diva, Tommy Tune
. Patrick Stewart as captain of "The
Tempest" ... Oscar Hammerstein's
100th birthday... Plays on the big screen
("Death and the Maiden," "Jeffrey,"
"Othello," "Richard Ill") ... Musicals
on the tube ("Bye Bye Birdie"; the

forthcoming "You're a Good Man,
Charlie Brown" and "The Music Man")
... a lovely Cherry Jones in an even
lo'velier revival of "The Heiress."
Replacement Casting Oddities: Thr
what-were-they-thinking award goes to
the producers of "How to Succeed in
Business Without Really Trying," who
replaced Matthew Broderick with John
"Full House" Stamos.
Full Frontal Nudity: Between the
skinny-dipping in "Love! Valour! Com-
passion!," Jude Law bathing in "Indiscre-
tions," and a naked Karen Carpenter trib-
ute in "Party" off-B'way, everyone was
baring it for art.
Tony, Tony: Nathan Lane got shunne
for"L!V! C!" but went down in history as
one of the best telecast hosts ever. "Ac
tors" Matthew Broderick andGlenn Close
took home awards for leading roles in
musicals; "Smokey Joe's Cafe," the Lieber
and Stoller revue, got seven noms but no
nods; Terrence McNally won for Best
Play ("L!V!C!") but didn't get to make a
speech; "Heiress" director Gerald
Guttierez brought along his dog, Phyllis
The Future's so bright: Or is it? Loo
for these in 1996: "The King and I,"
starring Donna ("Passion") Murphy and
Lou Diamond Phillips ... "Night of the
Iguana" with Cherry Jones and Marsha
Mason ... August Wilson's new play,
"Seven Guitars" ... Jerry Zaks directs
Nathan Lane in "A Funny Thing Hap-
pened On the Way to the Forum" ... the
Royal Shakespeare Company's "Mid-
summer Night's Dream" ... Richard
Maltby Jr. and David Shire'
musicalization of the film "Big" ... the
B'way premiere ofSam Shepard's Pulitzet
winner "Buried Child," directed by Gary
Sinise ... "Getting Away With Murder,"
a play by Stephen Sondheim and George
Furth ... EugeneO'Neill's"Hughie"with
Al Pacino ... "State Fair," the stage ver-
sion of the Rodgers and Hammerstein
film ... And this fall,out of Tony conten-
tion: the musical thriller "Jekyll and
Hyde"; Horton Foote's 1995 Pulitzo
winner "Young Man From Atlanta."
Broadway nay-sayers may dub 1995 a
bad year, but there were plenty of events
ifyou wanted to see them. Will1996bec
"good" year? Well, with any luck
Terrence McNally will get to make r
Tony acceptance speech for "Mastei
Class," and "Big" will turn out to be the
one "big" new musical of the season. And
we won't lose any more divas, like 43-
year-old chanteuse Nancy LaMott,who
untimely death rattled the walls of bo
the cabaret and the theater-going world
May the diva never say goodbye.






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