TV talk show diva Kathie Lee Gifford--who last week announced she was leaving ABC's Live with Regis and Kathie Lee when her contract expires in July--is being wooed to replace Bernadette Peters in the hit Broadway revival of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun when Peters leaves the show, according to a source close to Barry and Fran Weissler, the show's producers.
"If she agrees to do it, the chances are it wouldn't be until the fall after Kathie Lee's kids are back in school," said the source. "She likes to spend the summer with her family at her home in Nantucket."
Debbie Dolins, Kathie Lee's publicist at Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, confirmed to this reporter that "Kathie Lee has had conversations with the producers about playing Annie, but she doesn't know what she might do. She just hasn't decided yet." (Gifford performed a brief section of the song "They Say It's Wonderful" from the Berlin musical on the David Letterman show on March 8.)
An associate of Pete Sanders, the press representative for Annie Get Your Gun, said that "there's no official word who's going to take over for Bernadette after she leaves on July 30; it's too early to know." But the same press rep added, "Kathie Lee would be great! Did you see her in Putting It Together? She was terrific!"
In announcing her forthcoming departure from her popular morning talk show, Kathie Lee said she wanted to spend more time with her children and to do more work on Broadway. Producer Stewart Lane told TheaterMania that hiring Kathie Lee would be "a good producing move. There's no question she's talented and has a good voice. And she'd pack the theater!"