Singer Linda Eder's astonishing ascent as a bona fide pop and Broadway star continues unabated this month with a series of major milestones.
On Dec. 13, the Bravo television network will air a two-hour holiday special called "Linda Eder: The Christmas Concert," taped during the singer's live performance at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Arena in November.
Then on Dec. 26, the 1979 Brainerd High School grad will make her solo debut on Broadway, in the famous Gershwin Theatre, a role reserved for the select few.
The Gershwin engagement -- a five-performance run through Dec. 30 -- marks Eder's return to Broadway, where her star began its meteoric rise as an original cast member of the hit musical "Jekyll & Hyde" in 1997.
Meanwhile, Bravo is assembling the bits and pieces of Eder's past to complete a "Profile" piece on the diva, set to air sometime in February.
The hourlong cable television special undoubtedly will reveal her Brainerd connections, including taped interviews with former classmates and teachers. Bravo reaches an estimated 60 million American homes.
In recent weeks television viewers may have seen Eder on CNN's "Larry King Show," where she performed the patriotic "If I Should Lose My Way" in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
She also appeared recently on the "Rosie O'Donnell Show" to discuss her career and entertain the audience with the same song.
At the moment, Eder is touring the country with her Christmas show, a schedule that includes a stop at the Historic State Theater in Minneapolis this Sunday.
Each of her Christmas performances features a song or two with a choir drawn from the region in which she appears, said Eder's public relations spokeswoman.
The singer's Christmas show is inspired by her latest album, "Christmas Stays the Same," released late last year to critical acclaim. USA Today rated the release as one of its Top 10 albums of the year, the spokeswoman said.
Eder's next album "Gold" is scheduled for release over the next few days, on the Atlantic Records label where husband and Broadway producer-songwriter Frank Wildhorn reigns.
Married in 1998, the couple has emerged as the toast of Broadway, where Wildhorn has flourished as one of the most successful creators of all time.
He reserves some of his best work for his wife, who appeared in "Jekyll" and has recorded Wildhorn songs on several record albums, including 1999's love homage "It's No Secret Anymore."
Last February, Eder made her debut in concert on the Carnegie Hall stage, earning kudos from New York's tough reviewers.
"After this concert, I think the word diva, as in divine, is called for," wrote Liz Smith. "What a powerhouse of a voice, what stunning musicality and phrasing. What a great, mysterious sense of warmth. What a wonderful way to spend an evening."
Other reviewers have compared Eder to some of music's greatest female stars, including Celine Dion, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald.
She and Wildhorn live on their Connecticut horse farm, with their 2-year-old son, Jake.
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