THEATER: Who Would You Want To Replace Ricky Martin In “Evita”?

From revisiting lesbian legend Dusty Springfield to anticipating Liza’s latest concert, this week’s column is all about fabulous divas appearing on stage this season.


Forever Dusty, a new musical based on the life of pop icon Dusty Springfield is now playing at New World Stages. We caught the show last week, and all we can say is: Go!

Mega-talented Kirsten Holly Smith not only conceived the musical, but gives a knockout performance as the “Son of a Preacher Man” singer. The production deals with Dusty’s sexuality head on—recounting early love affairs, her eventual coming out and the damage her reputation took because of it. Plus, it’s packed with some of the grooviest songs of the late ’60s. Above, check out Smith and co-star Christina Sajous giving a girl-on-girl twist to the Christmas classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” [Forever Dusty]


antonio banderas marc anthony enrique iglesiasWALTZ FOR CHE
Many folks who follow theater gossip raised their eyebrows when the producers of Evita announced the show was closing on January 26, when Ricky Martin leaves the show.

Several big-name talents were sought to replace the out pop singer as Che, but no deal was ever made. Here’s a rundown of who was considered:

* Broadway darling Raúl Esparza  would have been phenomenal, but isn’t a big enough name for a mainstream crowds.

* Marc Anthony has the right edge to play a countercultural icon, and certainly would have brought in non-Broadway folks. But his last stage musical, Paul Simon’s critical flop The Capeman, only ran 68 performances before being shuttered. A turn in Evita would have been a hit-making comeback.

* Enrique Iglesias is an inspired pop-star choice, but he’s indicated in the past he’d only take small acting roles that wouldn’t interfere with his singing career.

* Antonio Banderas, who played Che in the 1996 film version, has obvious Hollywood cachet. But, at 52, he was probably too long in the tooth to play a thirtysomething revolutionary.

Any leading lads you’d have loved to see in Evita? [New York Times]


Party promoter Daniel Nardicio is bringing together two top talents associated with Cabaret, Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming, for an evening of song and shenanigans. The duo, who tested the waters this summer with a sold-out show on Fire Island, hit New York’s Town Hall on March 13, the day after Liza’s 67th Birthday.

The former Sally Bowles and Emcee are certain to bring a unique blend to the stage, with Liza’s signature renditions of classic songs, and Cumming’s modern styling. Of course, we can expect a few hits from the Kander and Ebb classic. “Two Ladies,” indeed. [Liza and Alan]


Glen_or_Glenda_screenshotGOT WOOD?
1950s D-list filmmaker Ed Wood was most likely a diva only in his mind, but the notorious director of Plan 9 From Outer Space and crossdressing-themed Glen or Glenda will get his moment to sass it up again in the new musical The Passion of Ed Wood. With a book and lyrics by Justin Warner and music by Rob Kendt, the show is being staged January 10 at the Snapple Theater Center.

As long as his dresses are fabulous, we’re good. [Playbill]

Photos by Robin Wong, David Shankbone