DRAMA CLUB

THEATER: Julie Andrews’ Voice Is Kaput, And So Is Kathie Lee’s Broadway Show

Divas, divas everywhere!  This week’s column gets us up-to-date on some of our favorite leading ladies.

BYE BYE, KATHIE LEE

Scandalous, the new Broadway musical with book, lyrics, and some music by Kathie Lee Gifford, is officially a flop.

The show, about the life of early 20th-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, closes on Sunday after opening to a mere 29 performances.

On Today, Gifford gave this roundabout excuse: “Hurricane Sandy was just devastating to everyone in the tri-state area. But Broadway was badly hit—nobody has really recovered. The new shows haven’t.”

Newsflash to Kath: Hurricane Sandy caused a crapload of damage, but it wasn’t what killed Scandalous.  A book and lyrics written like a preschooler’s presentation, the propagandist religious flag-waving, the glossing over of the more salacious parts of McPherson’s story, the embarrassingly campy dance number about Moses and Pharaoh, and an audience whose minds you could feel growing number with each number—that’s what killed Scandalous.  [Los Angeles Times]

NO DO-RE-MI
In one of the most heartbreaking items of the year, stage and screen icon Julie Andrews has conceded that her legendary four-octave voice will never return. In 1997, the Oscar winner had a botched operation to remove nodules from her throat, and her voice never fully recovered.

But true to the spirit of her characters, Andrews is taking a spoonful of sugar and doing her favorite things: She just released a new children’s book, Little Bo in London, and directed a musical version of  The Great American Mousical, which is playing at Connecticut’s Norma Terris Theatre through Sunday.  She may not be singing, but Andrews’ creative voice booming. [New York Daily News]

 

DOUBLE IDENTITY

Fans of disco diva Deborah Cox, rejoice: The icon is currently starring in the pre-Broadway tour of Jekyll & Hyde next to American Idol‘s Constantine Maroulis.

The 1997 musical put composer Frank Wildhorn on the theatrical map (unfortunately, some say), and remains his only hit. Cox is playing Lucy, the role originated by Linda Eder, which gives her lots of opportunities to blow the roof off the whatever house the show is being staged in.

“It’s a challenge to play [Lucy] because I’m a spirited and strong person,” Cox told Edge magazine. “It’s hard to be submissive. I’m not sure if Lucy is as strong as I am emotionally. There are a lot of things that Lucy does or puts up with that I certainly would not.”

Wildhorn may be notorious for writing flop after flop, but with Cox belting his music to the rafters, his songs are bound to sound like hits. [Edge On The Net]

GAY HISTORY IN A FLASH

If the walls of your city’s oldest gay bar could talk, they might sound like David Leeper’s one-man show At the Flash. Presented by Pride Film and Plays in Chicago, the piece takes audiences through LGBT history from the 1960s to the modern day, using the lives of the denizens of a fictional gay bar as a throughline. Leeper plays a different character in each era—a ’60s closet case, a ’70s drag queen, an ’80s lesbian activist, a ’90s club bunny, and a family man from the 2000s—mirroring the evolution of contemporary gay identity. Though the play closes on December 16, I hope it has a life beyond the Windy City. A study of gay barflys over the years sounds like an excellent exploration on how much we’ve changed, or perhaps remained the same. [Pride Film and Plays]