Even if you’re not planning a trip to New York soon, Broadway is as close as your fingertips. Herewith, a guide to the cybersites dedicated to divas and dish: If you’re hungry for late-breaking theater news, Playbill Online and Theatre.com (www.theatre.com) are worth a look. Playbill also features a weekly ”Diva Talk,” devoted to much-loved performers such as Betty Buckley and Patti LuPone, while the more garishly designed Theatre.com has the musings and scoops of musical-theater expert Ken Mandelbaum. Competition among the sites is heating up with the impending launch of Broadway.com and the recent launch of TheaterMania.com. If you have the right software, log on to Key Entertainment Worldwide Network for video clips of performances and interviews: Here you might find Marilyn Sokol interviewing Billy Stritch, a conversation with Kim Cattrall, or a turn by Lypsinka.
Broadway stars — apparently in an effort to keep up with their Hollywood counterparts — are also getting in on the action. Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, Sam Harris, and Alice Ripley (www.officialaliceripley.com) are some of the performers leading the way, but current Cabaret leading lady Susan Egan probably has the slickest site around, which includes video clips of her Broadway highlights and ”just for fans” personal info (Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? Coffee Heath Bar Crunch). Some stars have fans creating worship pages for them. Mandy Patinkin is the subject of about a dozen homemade concoctions, the best one maintained by a fan named Charlene (home.att.net/~mosert/char/mandy.htm), who offers an exhaustive collection of press clippings, as well as a printable Y2K calendar. Oh, Mandy.