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TheaterMania.com excerpt on Carmen Jones

Production Notes
April 19, 2000

Click here to read the full story live on TheaterMania.com

On April 3, BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS produced the once-in-a-lifetime concert event THIS IS YOUR SONG: BROADWAY SINGS ELTON JOHN. As you can imagine, a couple of seasoned Broadway performers were a little out of place in a concert atmosphere. But for the sold out audience that came to worship a pop diva and help a great cause, there was no other place to be that evening than the NEW AMSTERDAM THEATER. However, a couple of young theatergoers that were a little disappointed with the event... as two girls sat down one row behind me, they kept talking about how lucky they were to be able to get in at the last minute to see THE LION KING... They were SO excited that it pained the lady seated next to them to break the news that the LION had the night off. Perhaps all of the banners and special ELTON JOHN Playbills were not enough of a clue?

Anywho... The show was hosted brilliantly by CHRISTINE BARANSKI and NATHAN LANE, and had many memorable moments. Here's a couple: SAM HARRIS, with a little too much energy, shaking it all over the stage to the tune of "The Bitch Is Back"; a STARLIGHT EXPRESSANDREA McARDLE sang "Bennie And The Jets" on rollerblades; SANDRA BERNHARD owning "Madman Across The Water"; LINDA EDER singing "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (no need to elaborate); and BJ CROSBY, in a turn that would have made PATTI LaBELLE proud, belting "Take Me To The Pilot." (I would love to have seen Elton's face during this number!) flashback as

The most inspired numbers came from the stars of Elton's newest musical AIDA. HEATHER HEADLEY did double duty, singing AIDA's "Easy As Life" and then receiving thunderous applause for her soul-filled rendition of "Your Song." ADAM PASCALSHERIE RENÉ SCOTT, who led into their duet ("Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters") with a special thank you to her cousin. She thanked him for introducing her to musical theater and awakening her passion for the stage, then went on to tell of how he was disowned by his family, how she was forbidden to mention his name, how he died alone without a single family member beside him. Sherie took this moment to say her beloved cousin's name proudly from the stage of a Broadway theater, a goal she would never have achieved had it not been for his inspiration. She then proceeded with her song, though I don't know how she got through it after her testimony. I could hardly breathe. Thank you, Sherie, for giving us that much needed reality check and for allowing us to focus on the mission of the event. introduced "a princess on stage and off"

Elton, it seems, has wanted to put on this type of concert ever since he attended one of BROADWAY CARES earliest events, almost 12 years ago. At the time, he didn't feel like he was part of the community; but that problem has obviously been resolved and, hopefully, Elton has been inspired to continue working with BC/EFA.

Every one of the stars and many of the audience members headed over to the VIP reception at BARNEY'S on 5th Avenue. They cleared off all the display counters, and it was literally a party in an open department store. At one point, the crowd started thinning, and I thought that people were leaving, but NO. They had headed downstairs, where it was wall-to-wall celebrities. So many stars...so little time! This was a very rare opportunity to hang out with the stars noted above, not to mention people like LEA DeLARIA, JASON RAIZE, ORFEH, JEREMY KUSHNIER, BETTY BUCKLEY, MARIO CANTONE, VICTOR GARBER, and some big-wig producers. This was yet another over-the-top, amazing BROADWAY CARES event.

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