One of those headed for the gala "Evening Aboard the Orient Express" at the National Building Museum (the old Pension Building) on Saturday is New Yorker Michael Pace, formerly of Gotham. Gotham, of course, was the hilarious and talented cabaret trio that made frequent Washington stopovers before it split up two years ago. This will be Pace's first area appearance as a solo act, and he'll be showing off his recent work, which has a soft pop-rock sound.

"I've been writing pop music that would fall somewhere between Peter Allen and Kenny Loggins," Pace says. For Gotham, he wrote comedy sketches, "since we didn't do original material. I'm primarily a lyricist, and a year ago I found a composer, Dennis Sawan. We put a band together over the summer, performing at rock 'n' roll clubs; now we're in the process of doing our first single."

Pace will perform alone at the "Orient Express" extravaganza, which will also feature Dave Littlefield's Sultans of Swing, a "cater-off," an auction featuring tickets for the new Venice-to-London Orient Express and other train journeys. The evening is built around a bustling casino (courtesy of Resorts International of Atlantic City) complete with games, showgirls and play money to be redeemed for prizes donated by businesses and individuals. The beneficiary of all this will be the financially strapped New Playwrights' Theatre. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For information and reservations, call 232-1122.