Stritch at 'Liberty' to re-create show

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NEW YORK -- Leave it to Elaine Stritch to do the unexpected. For her next appearance at New York's Cafe Carlyle, which has been the primary Stritch outlet in Manhattan for the past few years, she is planning to re-create her 2002 Tony-winning one-woman Broadway show "Elaine Stritch at Liberty," the one that earned a mantel of awards including two Tonys, one for Stritch, the other for the show's book by Stritch and John Lahr. She also is promising that this is going to be "At Liberty" in its entirety. (On Broadway, it was a two-acter, not a 90-minute, intermissionless endeavor.) Elaine also will be backed by Rob Bowman and a full orchestra, and playing for three weeks from Jan. 1-19. Doing a full Broadway show in a cabaret setting definitely is a rare endeavor, but it is not a first. In days of yore, when cabaret rooms were known as nightclubs, some of the more conspicuous showplaces (i.e., the Copacabana and the Latin Quarter) occasionally would do shaved-down versions of Broadway revues ("High Button Shoes" and "Make Mine Manhattan" are two that received such treatment). The "Liberty" booking, to my knowledge, is the first time an entire Broadway show will be done in an intimate cabaret setting. The tab also will be Broadwaysized: $125 plus the price of dinner. It will be an interesting experiment, for sure, if only to see how they shoehorn a full orchestra into the Cafe Carlyle's limited confines. The booking is an answered prayer for those who missed the show when Stritch did it live five years ago during its 14-week run at New York's Neil Simon Theatre and her later tour, before its Emmy-winning HBO incarnation. ... Preceding Stritch at the Carlyle, the venerable Eartha Kitt will be opening the room's 2007-08 season Sept. 18-Oct. 27, and it will be a spiffier space in which she will be performing. The room is being renovated for the first time since 1955. Following Kitt, the main spotlight there will be aimed on Steve Tyrell (Oct. 30-Dec. 31), with Judy Collins coming in post-Stritch from Jan. 22-March 1. On Mondays, Woody Allen again will be appearing in that space with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band. ... Meanwhile, Ashford & Simpson, aka the husband-and-wife team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, open the fall season Sept. 11 at Feinstein's at Loews Regency for a three-week run, which marks a return to that spot for A&S following their Feinstein's debut in 2006 that was a genuine house-packer. ... On the subject of cabaret, Donald Smith's annual Cabaret Convention will be held for the 18th year from Nov. 5-8. This outing taking place for the third time at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. It will offer a king's ransom of entertainment during the four evenings delivered by current cabaret headliners (Andrea Marcovicci, Billy Stritch, Julie Wilson, Steve Ross, Jeff Harnar, Eric Comstock, Phillip Officer, KT Sullivan, Klea Blackhurst, Christine Andreas, etc.) plus newer bright lights on the scene (Valerie Lemon, Craig Rubano and others) and two Broadway Tony winners (Christine Ebersole and Liliane Montevecchi). As part of the September 2006 performance, Marilyn Maye will deliver a full-length cabaret show, something Blackhurst and Marcovicci have done at previous New York Cabaret Conventions.
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