Evan Agostini, Associated Press
Patti LuPone

I never listen when someone tells me they "don't like musicals."

First of all, I can't bear to hear it. And second of all, I firmly believe it is merely because they haven't been introduced to the right musicals.

The common complaint is how "unbelievable" it is that someone would burst into song. Some of us do it as often as we can get away with (though it would be much easier if the symphony kicked in on cue).

But I chuckle that these same people sit down to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies or "Batman" or "Star Wars" or ... fill in the blank ... and have no problem suspending their believing. Even movies such as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" — how implausible is that? (Am I dating myself with that reference?)

I thought that was the point of escapism entertainment — to escape to a different world for a couple of hours.

Some, like me, prefer the unbelievable chick-flick type of entertainment. You may prefer a different unbelievable genre. With musicals, much like movies, there really is something out there for everyone — provided the person in question is open enough to admit when they like something.

In fact, that's a challenge I love. "What would that person like?"

My co-worker is heading to New York soon with his family and wondered if there were any musicals his 17-year-old son might enjoy. As exquisite as "South Pacific" is, it wouldn't appeal to most teenagers. "In the Heights," with it's rap/Latin music, might. "A Chorus Line" — not so much. "Young Frankenstein" — a pretty good chance.

My soon-to-be-brother-in-law (as of this Saturday) told my sister that: (a) he doesn't like musicals and (b) he thinks "The Music Man" is the worst ever. Which is an absolute dagger in my heart ("Music Man" is one of my faves). I may have my work cut out for me on this one, but I'll spend the rest of my years trying to win him over. (Welcome to the family!)

Brace yourselves: That sound you hear is Patti Lupone on the new Broadway cast recording of "Gypsy." I just received my press copy, and though I haven't listened to it yet, I think I can hear her belting "Everything's Coming Up Roses" already. The CD will be in stores Aug. 28.

What's that? That sound, my friends, is diva Linda Eder and her new CD, "The Other Side of Me." Eder is "getting back to her roots" with music that moved her as a kid when she was learning guitar. The CD is out Sept. 30.

Other CDs: Orfeh, (that's her real name) who played hairdresser Paulette in Broadway's "Legally Blonde: The Musical," has a new pop-flavored CD titled "What Do You Want From Me," which will also be out Sept. 30.

Lovely Lea: Known by some as the Tony-Award winning star of "Miss Saigon" and others as the voice of Disney's "Mulan," Lea Salonga is on tour as Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." The tour, launched in her native Philippines, will head throughout Asia. The good news? They're going to do a cast recording!

Praise Perez: The New York International Fringe Festival is under way, and taking the stage is a musical from unlikely inspiration: celebrity gossip blogger, Perez Hilton.

If you've never been to Hilton's site, brace yourself for a major time-killer. A staple of radio morning shows, www.perezhilton.com posts gossip, pictures, audio, video of all things Hollywood. What does this have to do with Fringe?

"Perez Hilton Saves the Universe (Or At Least the Greater Los Angeles Area): The Musical," opened Friday. It's about, (I'm quoting press notes here) "... a normal day in the life of celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Well, were it not for the plans of evil Islamic terrorists and Kathy Griffin. Throughout the course of the day, Perez must wrestle with the demons of love, ego and celebrity, all whilst saving Los Angeles from an imminent nuclear disaster." Not the next "Les Miz" perhaps, but silly fun nonetheless.


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