On a September evening last fall, at New York's venerable Carnegie Hall, a star-studded audience was treated to a concert of Broadway showstoppers performed by the greatest divas of the American theatre. Under the baton of... more » musical director Paul Gemignani, the American Theatre Orchestra accompanied Liza Minnelli, Audra McDonald, Linda Eder, Nell Carter, Andrea McArdle, Jennifer Holliday, Lea Delaria and a host of other Broadway luminaries in what was certainly the event of the fall season. Featuring selections from Chicago, A Chorus Line, Showboat, Guys and Dolls, Ain't Misbehavin', Dreamgirls, Company, Gypsy, Man of La Mancha, On the Town and others, this evening of song and celebrity will live forever, preserved on home video for any time you feel like bringing up the curtain! Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks. 100 minutes.« less
James V. Mcfarland | Brooklyn, NY USA | 02/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to begin by stating that I really enjoy this DVD, and watch it far more than I thought I would. Jennifer Holliday literally brings down the house with her classic rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls"; Linda Eder shines on "Man of La Mancha" and contrary to other opinions Elaine Strich gives the definitive "Ladies Who Lunch" from "Company." The best performance came from an unexpected quarter (at least to me) Dorothy Loudon's "Fifty-Percent" from "Ballroom." She is heartbreaking, and moves me to tears every time. The downside is there are no real Broadway Divas...where is Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, or (even if she is more West End than Broadway) Elaine Paige? And as much as I love Liza Minnelli, she steamrolls through "Some People" from Gypsy to detrimental effect. To end on a positive note, if you love Broadway and the women who entertain us, this is definately worth your while."
Leading Ladies: Lavish, Lovely and Lilting
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 12/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an incredible special. The singing, gowns, and staging is simply incredible. Each performer walks onstage and sings her signature song. Some lesser known, yet highly talented performers are featured here - Marrin Mazzie, who delivers a sweet performance of "Bewitched, Bothered..." and Dee Hoty is revengeful with "Could I Leave You?" from FOLLIES.Karen Ziemba is a wonderful dancer/singer and gets things rolling at the beginning with the talented Bebe Neuwirth in a dance from CHICAGO. But I prefer Ziemba's charming "I Wanna Be A Rockette" near the end of the show.My absolute favorites are Audra McDonald and Andrea McArdle. McDonald is such an incredible performer who deserves a Broadway show! Her version of "Down With Love" is full of such energy and talent that I almost forgot Streisand's version! McDonald sings it with hilarious "My Man", "He Touched Me" and "Music That Makes Me Dance" lyrics. She is really incredible. And Andrea McArdle cleverly reigns herself in and sings a touching, quiet version of "Tomorrow" from ANNIE. She has such a great voice -- her cameo in the ANNIE TV movie was a surprise, and she sounded great!My one qualm with the show is Liza Minnelli's performance. Watch this one -- I could swear they've done some post-performance dubbing on her vocals. The whole "Some People" song seems dubbed.I wish Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters or Chita Rivera had appeared. But the quality of the performances makes this show a hit! I really enjoyed it. The DVD features chapters for each song. Thanks, Ladies!"
Brought Tears to My Eyes
Molly Miller | New Orleans, LA | 01/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These women have proven once again that they belong among Broadway's elite. Living in Kansas, I have never had the priviledge of seeing great Broadway performances. I have been resigned to collecting soundtracks of top-notch shows. This DVD provided me with the opportunity to see these performers. Julie Andrews looked exquisite and hosted graciously, despite her inability to sing. Some notable numbers: Bebe Neuwirth and Karen Ziemba; Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag (Chicago), Linda Eder absolutely rocked the audience with her performance of Man of La Mancha, Liza Minnelli had the crowd on their feet, Anna Kendricks and the (too-thin) Kit-Kat girls from Cabaret sweetly perform Life Upon the Wicked Stage and Kendricks is adorable. Karen Ziemba danced with The Rockettes in I Wanna Be A Rockette. And the Amazing Audra McDonald left even the most critical man I know absolutely speechless with her performance of Down With Love.
But far and beyond, and if for no other reason, the one you buy this DVD for, is the Andrew Lloyd Webber Love Trio. Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie and Judy Kuhn perform 3 different songs from 3 different Webber musicals and come together in one of the most heart-stopping performances I have ever heard. If you are a fan of Broadway, this purchase is well worth it."
Prince, Eder, Kuhn, Mazzie, Holliday, Stritch and much more
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies" certainly gives you ample opportunity to choose from Column A and Column B throughout the evening. In this live concert performed at Carnegie Hall in September of 1998, Column A is hearing performers doing the songs with which they are most associated. From the evening's selections this would be Karen Ziemba & Bebe Neuwirth doing "Nowadays" from "Chicago," Priscilla Lopez singing "Nothing" from "A Chorus Line," and Nell Carter's "Mean To Me" "Ain't Misbehavin.'" True, they essentially sing these songs the way we heard them on the original Broadway cast albums, but when you are talking Faith Prince's rendition of "Adelie's Lament" from "Guys and Dolls," Jennifer Holliday singing "And I'm Telling You" from "Dreamgirls" or Elaine Stritch standing on stage and once again nailing "The Ladies Who Lunch," there is only reason to be happy. The performance that straddles the two categories would be Andrea McArdle, who starts off singing "Look for the Silver Lining" before moving to "Tomorrow" from "Annie." True, her voice is not what it was when she was a kid, but there is a certain poignancy in hearing the adult McArdle try to do the song for which she will always be remembered differently.Column B is where you have singers doing songs they never performed on Broadway. After all, Liza Minelli is never going to play Mama Rose in "Gypsy," so this is here only chance to do "Some People," and since she refuses to slow down during the performance you can understand why. But then Linda Eder comes out and sings "Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)" and we forget about Liza. In this column I would also put the show's Andrew Lloyd Webber medley, where Marin Mazzie & Judy Kuhn do "Love Changes Everything" ("Aspects of Love"), "Unexpected Song" ("Song and Dance") and "I Don't Know How to Love Him" ("Jesus Christ Superstar"). Finally, I have to put in the song that proves I do not know everything about Broadway musicals, because I do not know if Dorothy Loudon did "Ballroom" on Broadway, but from the way the crowd reacts when she comes out during the opening piano notes of "Fifty Percent," by guess would be that she did. It does not really matter because in a show like this there should be a song you have never heard before that you want to hear again, although it is really Loudon's performance that impresses here. Yes, it is rather sad that Julie Andrews introduces and closes "The Leading Ladies" without ever singing a single note, but that is a minor disappointment in a night of performances that certainly comes out ahead when you balance the scales at the end of the evening."
Worth it for Jennifer Holliday
G. J. Gill | London, England | 03/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To be honest the only reason I bought this DVD was for Jennifer Holliday and I was not disapointed, what a voice, what a performence a well deserved standing ovation. I would have given anything to have been in the audience. Having watched the whole show (I've never heard of some of the ladies here in the U.K.) I was amazed at the other perfomances, the highlights being Linda Eder, Andrea McArdle and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Love Trio (Audra McDonald,Marin Mazzie & Judy Kuhn), it's worth watching for these perfomances as well, and I love Debra Monk singing 'Everybody's Girl' (love the lyrics) it makes me smile everytime I hear/see it. As to Elaine Stritch, on the CD it doesn't come across well but when you watch her you see the enjoyment she has and that lifts it and makes it more enjoyable. The only dissapointment : that was that Jennifer Holliday didn't sing anything else she should have been on longer."