By Randy Gener
Bette Midler

Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick
Glenn Close
Glenn Close

Oh, You Lucky Bette!

NEW YORK CITY | Oh, you, lucky Bette! For the first time in box-office Sextacy, Bette Midler is the top to Hugh Jackman‘s bottom. It’s a saucy change in positions on Broadway’s bed of box-office receipts. Why? Because Miss Divine hit it big once again.

Her new Broadway production of HELLO, DOLLY! has worked its way into the House of Breaking Records at the Shubert Theatre, and now (as of May 3, 2017), the latest press release from the press reps DKCO&M exclaimed that “It has had the best week in the history of the entire Shubert Organization.”

No surprise again, because HELLO, DOLLY! is one unstoppable happiness from start to end. It earned ecstatic reviews, grossed $2,105,473 over just seven performances last week. This number tops the previous highest weekly gross in the organization’s history, set by HUGH JACKMAN: BACK ON BROADWAY with $2,056,956 over nine performances. The Shubert Organization is America’s oldest professional theatre company and the largest theatre owner on the Broadway. Shubert currently owns and operates seventeen Broadway theatres and six off-Broadway venues.

This production of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s masterpiece, HELLO, DOLLY! instantly became the hottest ticket of the year when it broke the record for best first day of ticket sales in Broadway history. By the time it began previews, it had the largest pre-performance advance sale in Broadway history. It previously broke the Shubert Theatre house record over the weeks ending April 2 and April 16 with $1,965,673 and $2,032,256, respectively.

Directed by four-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, HELLO, DOLLY! began performances at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre on March 15, 2017, and officially opened on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Glenn Close

The Broadway at Birdland concert series just announced that Glenn Close will perform to benefit her own nonprofit concern in “Vintage Hollywood,” a fundraising concert on Monday, May 22 at 9:30pm. Close will be joined by the cast of SUNSET BOULEVARD in this one-night-only event benefiting Bring Change 2 Mind, which works to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.

“Vintage Hollywood” will feature musical combinations celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood, with musical direction by Michael Patrick Walker.

According to the pressies (over there at Polk & Co.), “Glenn Close understands that mental health is something that affects all families. Yet, few talk about it. It was not until her sister, Jessie Close, received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and her nephew, Calen Pick, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder that the Close family took action. In 2009, her family asked Close to use her platform to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.”

The concert is a family affair. In 2010, the Close family co-founded Bring Change 2 Mind (BC2M), a nonprofit organization built to start the conversation about mental health, and to raise awareness, understanding, and empathy. BC2M develops influential public service announcements (PSAs), including its most recent campaign, #MindOurFuture, has piloted evidence-based programs at the university (UBC2M) and high school (LETS BC2M) levels engaging students to reduce stigma and discrimination, and has created a social movement around change by providing people with platforms to share, connect, and learn.

TICKET INFORMATION:
General Seating $75
Preferred $100
VIP (includes Meet and Greet & Photo) $250
$10 food/drink minimum per person

For tickets and more information, please visit www.birdlandjazz.com
For more information and reservations call 212-581-3080.

Melissa Errico

NEW YORK CITY | In the culture of Broadway, Melissa Errico is a songbird who took wing as soon as she emerged from the dark of the stage. This time, the Tony Award-nominated singer & actress alights at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Saturday, June 3 at 7pm for the NYC debut of her acclaimed concert “Melissa Errico Sings Sondheim.”

Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico

It’s a return engagement, where she will lend her gorgeous voice to the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, including songs from shows of his that she has starred in. With numbers from GYPSY, INTO THE WOODS, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, COMPANY, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and others, the concert is one no Sondheim or Broadway fan should miss. Tickets are $40-$80 and can be purchased online at www.54Below.com or by phone at 646-476-3551.

This month, Errico just got done performing at Lincoln Center’s Spring Gala featuring a “Musical Celebration of Herman, Menken and Sondheim” starring actress and singer Angela Lansbury. She also had a benefit concert in Westchester at Caramoor in Katonah at 8:30pm.

Twitter: @Melissa_errico / for more information on Melissa Errico, please visit www.MelissaErrico.com.

Karen Mason

Ever since she took on the Queen of Hearts in a Broadway musical called WONDERLAND, the culture of Broadway always embraced Karen Mason. And so we do it again by noting that she’s got a new show “Mason at Mama’s in May” at Don’t Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street in Manhattan), which will be performed every Sunday and Monday in May at 7:00 PM.

Returning to the legendary club she helped open 35 years ago, Mason performs longtime fan favorites, songs from her storied Broadway career, and selections from her new album “It’s About Time” from Zevely Records. In addition to selections from early in her lauded nightclub career, she will present rare songs from her Broadway debut in SING ME A COUNTRY SONG, the Tony Award-winning play TORCH SONG TRILOGY, and the eternally Broadway-bound musical non-starter REBECCA.

Karen Mason

After a popular engagement at the venue in 2015, she welcomes spring — along with a fresh renovation of the space including a new piano and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems — combined with a special throwback cover charge of only $20. The show is directed by Barry Kleinbort with Christopher Denny serving as Music Supervisor. “It’s About Time” is now available at iTunes, Amazon and www.KarenMason.com.

Mason will also perform selections from “It’s About Time” in Chicago (Davenport’s — May 17 and 20) and New Hope, PA (The RRazz Room — June 10). The album title song was called “a subtle but profoundly moving call for marriage equality” by The Chicago Tribune, while BroadwayWorld raved “the lovely, yet understated, record perfectly captures the vibrancy of Mason’s instrument.”

And so it goes.

Betty Buckley rules

NEW YORK CITY; ENGLEWOOD AND REDBANK, NJ; LIVERMORE, CA; | My love for Betty Buckley is undying. Sure, she is a little wacky, but she is an accomplished actor with an astonishing voice. The Tony Award-winning Broadway legend is co-starring in the recent smash M. Night Shayamalan film Split opposite James McAvoy, but now you can see her live. She will come to the New York area this season for four appearances, including for two concerts in March to preview her new album “Story Songs from Palmetto Records,” which was released on Friday, April 7. This past March, Buckley also taught a five-day performance workshop in New York.

She will perform at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (Englewood, NJ) on Thursday, March 9 and the Count Basie Theater (Red Bank, NJ) on Friday, March 10. In addition, she will appear at the Roundabout Theater gala (New York, NY) on Monday, February 27. Her upcoming concert calendar also includes the Livermore Performing Arts Center (Livermore, CA) on Friday, March 3 and the Vineyard Theater gala (New York, NY) on Monday, March 13. For more details, please visit www.BettyBuckley.com.

For her “Story Songs” concerts, Buckley will be joined by renowned multi-Grammy nominated jazz pianist Christian Jacob, her longtime musical director and arranger. A celebrated interpreter with an eclectic taste for music from all genres, Buckley will share a collection of songs that range from “Radiohead” to theater greats Stephen Schwartz and Jason Robert Brown. The evening will also include work by the next generation of exciting young theater composers, such as Joe Iconis.

Split, which has been the #1 Movie in America for the six weeks since its January premiere, co-stars Buckley as McAvoy’s psychologist, Dr. Fletcher. She was hailed as “wonderful” by The New York Times, “stellar” by Rolling Stone, “mesmerizing” by The Los Angeles Times, and “excellent” by London Express, in addition to other raves.

The two-disc live album “Story Songs” is based on the show of the same name that she debuted at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater this past September. The New York Times praised “Story Songs” as her “stunning new show, arguably the strongest of her career. Buckley, Her voice in excellent shape, gave everything she sang the shape and depth of a personal confession.” When she took the program to the Bay Area later in the fall, she was called “a vocal wonder” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dionne Warwick fights HIV/AIDS

AROUND THE COUNTRY | Legendary entertainer Dionne Warwick has released three new public service announcements (PSAs) designed to heighten public awareness about the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on older adults and women over the age of 50, especially African American women. The informational PSAs, which focus on Women and HIV, the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, and Older Adults and HIV, respectively, were released in tandem with Acria (a New York City-based national organization internationally renowned for its research, advocacy and education on older adults and youth affected by HIV/AIDS) and marks the five-time Grammy Award winning vocalist’s introduction as a Goodwill Ambassador for the organization.

Warwick has been a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS for over 30 years and is among the first celebrities to publicly announce her support for efforts to combat the disease. The PSAs were produced by Acria, in collaboration with Double XXposure Media Relations, Inc. and Ascender Communications, Inc. Their press release coincided with month-long events commemorating Women’s History Month in March and the March 10th annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

“Through the release of these PSAs, I am honored to join forces with Acria and thousands of fellow AIDS activists across the country who are renewing efforts to raise awareness, develop public policies, and target funding to support HIV prevention, treatment and care,” said Warwick. “Despite great progress in scientific research and prevention, HIV continues to exact a heavy toll on communities of color, including adults over the age of 50 and African American women, who are often forgotten in this epidemic.”

“We are honored to welcome Warwick as a Goodwill Ambassador for Acria and recognize her steadfast leadership in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Benjamin Bashein, Acria’s Executive Director. “Warwick embraced HIV/AIDS activism at a time when stigma against the disease was at its worst, when most public figures refused to associate their names and celebrity to the cause.”

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans are estimated to be living with HIV as of 2015 and 50% are estimated to be over the age of 50. By 2020, that number will rise to 70%. Although many older adults do not believe that they are susceptible to HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection, one in 6 new cases of HIV infection occurs in people over 50 years old. Older adults are also less likely to get tested for HIV than younger adults.

Founded in 1991, Acria was founded by a grassroots coalition of scientists, physicians, activists, artists, and HIV-positive people during the early days of the epidemic.

Robert Fairchild
Robert Fairchild
Steven Pasquale + Kelli O'Haras
Steven Pasquale + Kelli O’Haras
Betty Buckley | 2016 Photo - by Scogin Mayo
Betty Buckley
Kelli O'Hara
Kelli O’Hara

Melissa Errico

Kelli O'Hara + Steven Pasquale
Kelli O’Hara + Steven Pasquale

Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale + Robert Fairchild

NEW YORK CITY | Kelli O’Hara (THE KING AND I) and Stephen Pasquale (THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY) nabbed a new singing gig. So did Robert Fairchild (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS).

Arlene Shuler, New York City Center President & CEO, announced that O’Hara, Pasquale and Fairchild will star in a concert production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s musical BRIGADOON, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS), with music director Rob Berman leading The Encores! Orchestra.

The first performance, on November 15, will be City Center’s annual Gala, honoring City Center Board co-chair and Broadway producer Stacey Mindich. An additional five performances will be held November 16 through 19. Funds raised at all six performances of BRIGADOON, according to the pressies, “will allow City Center to make the best in the performing arts accessible to the widest possible audience by subsidizing affordable tickets throughout the year to programs such as Fall for Dance and Encores! Off-Center.

“BRIGADOON is a huge part of City Center’s legacy,” said Shuler. “Between 1950 and 1967, it was revived here six times in star-studded productions featuring everyone from Farley Granger to Edward Villella. We’re very excited to welcome the show home for these benefit performances and to honor Stacey for her extraordinary achievements at New York City Center and in the world of musical theater. As the co-chair of our Board, she championed the idea of Encores! Off-Center as a home for young artists and audiences; as a producer, she has nurtured important new musicals like DEAR EVAN HANSEN and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY on their way to Broadway.”

Tickets will go on exclusive presale to City Center members beginning at noon on April 24 (General public April 27) online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212.581.1212, or in person at the City Center Box Office (131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).

Gala performance on November 15 will be followed by a dinner at The Plaza Hotel (58th Street at 5th Avenue). Benefit tickets are available at $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000. Tables of ten are available at $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 and $150,000. For benefit table and ticket details, please call 212.763.1205.

CLICK ON THIS VIDEO | View Warwick’s PSA “Women and HIV/AIDS”

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