Broadway legend Elaine Stritch has died at 89

Stritch2It was just a few months ago that I got to interview Elaine Stritch, the Broadway legend whose irascible nature and coffee-stained voice made her a one-of-a-kind star. That was the second time I interviewed her, which I did for the documentary about her life that came out earlier this year. Both times were high-water marks in my career.

But I also got to do more than just talk to Elaine: I got to see her — onstage (in her acclaimed, Tony Award-winning one-woman show At Liberty and most recently on Broadway with Bernadette Peters in A Little Night Music) and once you’ve seen the old broad perform, your life is forever transformed.

She was a marvelous performer, a prickly human being and an unforgettable character … as well as a true friend of the gay community. The footlights are dimmer with her passing.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Top 10 Broadway Diva solos

The other day, my publisher asked me to recommend some songs to bolster his iPod library: The top 10 female Broadway diva solos of all time. (He told me not to spend too much time researching it, even though he doesn’t pay me by the hour, but just give him an idea off the top of my head.) Obviously, if this is going on an iPod, the songs need to be, at least in principal, readily available, so that means no replacement casts of concert performances of Babs doing “The Music and the Mirror.” I limited myself only to cast albums of Broadway shows, not movie soundtracks, and of course I am limited to solos by women.

Below is the list I came up with, roughly in chronological order. What do you think? Any obvious ones you would have included? (P.S My boss said the list was just the ticket.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones