Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The first thing you notice about Leslie Uggams is her left hand - or rather the diamonds on it.
There's the bracelet - double strand of diamonds punctuated by emeralds and complemented by a huge matching dinner ring poised on her forefinger.
Next to it, a finger away, sat a wing of diamonds - wedding diamonds - designed for her by husband Grahame Pratt, who, Uggams said, "must have had airplanes on his mind when he married me."
Airplanes, however, were not what Uggams had on her mind Thursday night at the Liberian Embassy reception for the cast of "Guys and Dolls."
She said she was not pleased with the way publicity for the show had been handled. "Look," she said, "this show just doesn't miss. It works. There should have been more publicity."
Uggams' co-star, Richard Roundtree, however, was not so hassled. After all, not only was this his first tour, it was his first musical, and if anything. Roundtree seemed delighted at having pulled it off at all.
"Baby, by no stretch of the imagination could you call me a singer," said Roundtree, "but I'd never done a musical before so I thought it was about time I did. If anybody's surprised it's working, it's me."
But then Roundtree was also surprised at the success of "Roots" in which he appeared. "I realized the importance of my role to me personally, but I had no idea the show would have the impact it did."
And would "Roots" have hit America so hard it if had been a white "Roots" instead of black?
"No," said Roundtree, "it wouldn't.
"Because we've seen that on TV before. All our lives Americans have seen white 'Roots' stories, but never black ones - at least not that completely. It wouldn't have had the impact."
Meanwhile John McCurry, another cast member, said he's having a "h - - - of a time" on the tour. "Me, I do commercials for a living - Sony, Gilette you name it, baby, and I done it. In fact, I was in Richard's first 'Shaft' - I played his accountant. But I love being on the road and for me this is just fun.
"The other stuff - the commercials - that's to keep the meat and potatoes on the table. Listen, I've got this 9-year-old boy and when he pops open that refrigerator there better be something in it, 'cause that boy eats butter by the stick."