MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
There is nothing like a dame - especially when she is outrageously funny. Dame Edna has made her way back to Broadway in a new show with singer Michael Feinstein. It's called "All About Me." Jeff Lunden reports on this unlikely duo.
JEFF LUNDEN: Michael Feinstein is a boyish crooner of the "American Popular Songbook."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY ROMANCE")
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: (Singing) My romance doesn't need a candle rising in Spain...
LUNDEN: While Dame Edna is a lavender-haired Australian drag artist with a sharp, often politically incorrect tongue.
(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "ALL ABOUT ME")
DAME EDNA: It's lovely to be here and there's a family feeling. There's a feeling that we're all on the same page, we speak the same language, we're almost the same level - well, not quite the same level. I'm here and you're down there. There's another level - that balcony there and right at the back of it, bless their hearts, we have a slightly poorer type of a person.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
LUNDEN: So, what are the two of them doing on stage together in a Broadway show? It's a question Dame Edna - who sometimes bears an uncanny resemblance to actor Barry Humphries - has been asking herself.
EDNA: It was proposed about a year ago that we might do a little show together. And I think it was Michael who said, impossible. We're so different. We're like oil and water. I remember those words. And they stung me a little, because I thought, am I oil or am I water?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
FEINSTEIN: (Singing) So, let (unintelligible), all about me...
LUNDEN: The plot of "All About Me," such as it is, has Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein booked into the same Broadway theater on the same night. After much tussling, the two performers decide to do a variety show together.
EDNA: V for variety, V for vaudeville, V for vitamin - and this is a vitamin that American theatergoers lack in their diet. We're really a supplement, aren't we?
FEINSTEIN: Yes, we are.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
FEINSTEIN: (Singing) It's all about me. (unintelligible), it's all about...
LUNDEN: But even if the show harkens back to the television variety shows of the 1960s, with its 12-piece big band and glitzy set, Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein insist it's anything but old-fashioned.
EDNA: This is a cutting-edge show. It's cool. It's hip. It's a gas. It is.
FEINSTEIN: Well, it is true that Edna does sing some very contemporary material in this show very, very well. And I must say she gets greater reaction than Amy Winehouse or Beyonce do with their renditions.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SINGLE LADIES")
EDNA: (Singing) "Cause if you want it, then you better put a ring on it. If you want to then you should of put a ring on it...
LUNDEN: And Dame Edna gets to show off a selection from "The Great Australian Songbook," as she explains to Michael Feinstein.
EDNA: "The Great Australian Songbook" is a thin volume, I'm not denying it. It's almost wafer thin.
LUNDEN: But what are some of the songs in it?
EDNA: Oh yes, I'm sorry, I'm not addressing your question. Well, there's "Waltzing Matilda," which is our iconic song. But...
LUNDEN: What about page two of "The Great Australian Songbook"?
EDNA: Let me think. Oh, advertisements on page two and halfway down page three. Squeezed in between these are immortal ditties. For example, "Tie Me Kangaroo Down," which is about animal bondage. It's an acquired taste.
LUNDEN: I don't know that one.
EDNA: Even the animals have difficult acquiring it. But the most popular song in Australia at the moment without any question is called "The Dingo Ate My Baby."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE DINGO ATE MY BABY")
EDNA: (Singing) The dingo ate my baby. It wasn't a horrible hoax. I don't care what they say at the ASPCA. I hope that nasty dingo chokes. So, if you are nursing a baby, remember the peril is real. What looks to you and your hubby, like a toddler so pink and so chubby, is a dingo's favorite meal.
LUNDEN: For NPR News, I'm Jeff Lunden in New York.
EDNA: If you just tuned in, this is Michael Feinstein and me, Dame Edna, talking a little intimately, perhaps even letting the cat out of the bag just a little for the benefit of that minority group of Americans who listen to this network.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.