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Lucie Talks Pippin and Possible Projects About Her Parents


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In this Broadway.com interview about her return to Broadway, Lucie discusses plans for a Lucy and Desi Broadway musical and feature film in development.


Lucie Arnaz is swinging back to the Great White Way! The actress will show off her circus moves as sassy grandma Berthe in the Tony-winning revival of Pippin. After kicking off the production's national tour in September, she's already had a few performances under her belt, but playing a hot trapezing granny is hard work: "My back went out, my knees went out, my thighs went out," she told Broadway.com. "Then suddenly it got strong. Now it’s fun!” She'll be taking center ring at the Music Box Theatre this week as Andrea Martin reprises her Tony-winning performance on the West Coast.


So how did Arnaz wind up on Broadway after just a few short weeks on the road? While Martin was scheduled to perform in L.A., Arnaz had planned to take a hiatus and come to New York to direct a reading of the forthcoming musical adaptation of Hazel. That’s when producer Barry Weissler had an idea: Why not put Arnaz under the Broadway big top for a limited engagement? “So I said, ‘You know, let’s go for it. Take a chance and do it,’” Arnaz recalls. “I love this part and I’m looking forward to be able to do it for my friends.”


Naturally, the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz was trained at an early age to hit her marks, enunciate and all those fundamentals: “That’s all part of my bloodstream now,” she explained. Her parents also instilled her with a huge boost of self-confidence. “My mother used to say, ‘I don’t know how you do it. I can’t do that.’ And my father used to send me red and white carnations on every opening and say, ‘Nobody will do it better than you.’ Wonderful, positive reinforcements.”


Arnaz, who admits to being a “musical theater freak” as a kid, will still get to direct the Hazel reading while spending her evenings flipping through the air in Pippin. Based on the cartoon by Ted Key about a maid working for a middle-class family, Hazel features music by her friend and longtime music director Ron Abel, lyrics by Chuck Steffan and a book by Lissa Levin. The team aims to have stage vet Klea Blackhurst—whom Arnaz initially suggested for the show’s demo recordings—in the title role. Arnaz credits Abel and Steffan as the “bravest people on Broadway” for sticking to their intuition.


An Emmy winner for her documentary Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie, Arnaz also teased, “We’re in discussion with a company right now that wants to produce a Broadway show based on [my parents'] lives. It’s people who could really get it done and would know how to do it well.” Arnaz added that a feature film covering the same material is also in development. She would consult on both projects as a producer. Arnaz keeps adding to her plate, but there’s no stopping her: “You talk about raining and pouring. It’s drenching out there right now! I’m soaking wet.”


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I still say she should have auditioned for a job on The View or The Talk.  Hope Meryl Streep gets to play older Lucy in that film that's in development.

That's funny you say that because I've thought the very same thing!  Not only is she smart and has great wit and spontaneity, but she's been connected to both old Hollywood and new and can bring an interesting perspective.

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