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Lucie's Upcoming Concert Tour Press

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Excellent new interview with Lucie on her upcoming concert tour, her relationship with the LGBT community, her future plans, and status of the Lucy biopic.


Now in her Third Act, Lucie Arnaz Gets Intimate


by Frank J. Avella




Monday Jul 18, 2016


How do you forge your own path in the performing arts world when your parents are two of the most famous and beloved entertainers of all-time? Not many can manage with one iconic parent, let alone two, but Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, is one of the few, the proud -- a singular sensation in theater, TV, film and on the concert stage, who has not only survived in an industry that devours, but has thrived -- on her own terms.


The actress, singer, producer and, of late, director, is about to embark on an East Coast concert blitz!


"An Intimate Evening with Lucie Arnaz" kicks off with Provincetown on July 24 and 25. She will also play Camden, MA, Saybrook, CT, East Hampton, NY as well as Fire Island Pines on July 30. A month later she will present her show, "Just for Tonight" in Atlantic City, NJ.


EDGE recently spoke to the dynamic legend who was at home in Palm Springs preparing for her daughter Katherine's wedding. She was quite exuberant and enthusiastic as she spoke about the tour, her career and her adoration for the LGBT community, especially in the wake of Orlando.


There's a no-nonsense sincerity about Arnaz that's rare for an actress/singer and even more so, for someone who has been performing since she was a toddler. Like Jane Fonda and Liza Minnelli, she proved early on that she was her own person as well a talent to be reckoned and not someone who would coast on her lineage.


Headed to Ptown


EDGE: What is it that draws you to Provincetown?


Lucie Arnaz: I got a great offer to do a gig. (laughs) We go where the gigs are. I've never been to Ptown and some of my dearest friends in the world spend (time) there and all I do is hear about these fabulous trips and see pictures and salivate. So it was great to get an offer to play there. I have a lot of friends who always say, 'You should come to Ptown. Why don't you play Ptown?' As if it was up to me! You can't just show up somewhere and say I want to sing. People have to make you an offer. And somebody did. So here I am and it's great. And it ended up being a launching pad to a whole little short summer tour up the east coast, which is thrilling and fun-like a little piano-only USO tour for 10 days.


EDGE: I bet you could just show up in the middle of Ptown and say, 'I want to sing' and gather an audience.


Lucie Arnaz: You know, maybe after I do it once, I'll feel like I can!... It's the kind of audiences we really love. People who relax and kick back, but smart very savvy. They appreciate the kind of music that I do, which is a throwback. I should have been born 40 years earlier. There aren't that many great venues left where you can do this kind of music so I'm always grateful when I find good ones.


Picking her set


EDGE: How do you go about doing choosing your set? I had the pleasure of see you at Birdland in 2006, when you were in 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' on Broadway...


Lucie Arnaz: Oh, that was so much fun.


EDGE: You did 'Moonglow,' 'Witchcraft,' 'Something's Gotta Give.' Will you do any of those standards? How do you go about planning your song set?


Lucie Arnaz: It's different every time, Frank, I swear. It depends on where we're going. It depends on what kind of set up I have... It's the mood I'm in, the time of year. Whether they've have heard me sing this stuff before. There are a million things that go into choosing a set. I work with Ron Abel. We've been together 28-29 years now. We put a different show together for almost every place we play. We have a huge library of stuff we love to do. And we're still finding new things.


It's all about telling a story to me. I'm an actor. So I have to start at one point and try to arc my way to a better point. Some discovery has to be made during that trip. That's what I enjoy doing. So I pick stories. The stories have to lead you from here to there. And you don't want to repeat the same story too many times... It's like producing little itty-bitty musicals.


EDGE: Can you give us a little tease of what to expect?


Lucie Arnaz: I can tell you the names of songs but that never really means anything because if you've ever seen my show, and you have... a good example is 'Witchcraft.' The way we did it that night (at Birdland) is not the way you expect to hear 'Witchcraft.'


Lots of humor


EDGE: No, not at all!


(Editor's note: When I reviewed her concert back in 2006, I wrote: 'Among the eclectic musical selections, highlights included the standards; 'Moonglow' and 'Witchcraft' where Lucie brought a new and invigorating sensuality to the oft-heard chestnuts.')


Lucie Arnaz: Exactly! So I'm cautious about giving titles. We look at good material. We look at telling a story. We look at having some humor, lots of humor hopefully. I couldn't do a show without sending something up. And, it's almost always an arc of love because nine out of 10 songs are about some form of relationship or love... So then it's a matter of which stage of a relationship is this one about? Is this the falling in love? Is this the fantasy of falling in love? Is this the fallout?


They're calling it an 'Intimate Evening with Lucie Arnaz' so these have to be really good lyrics. You're up close with people in many of these clubs. And I want to be able to talk to people... We're doing Harry Connick, Jr.'s 'Recipe for Love.' We're doing a song I wrote that was inspired by that horrific duet that Julio Englesias and Willie Nelson did a million years ago, 'To All the Girls I've Loved Before.' I hated that song so much. Every time it came on the radio I wanted to mutilate those people. So I finally wrote a parody for it, for Dolly Parton and Charo to sing. It's called, 'To All the Boys...'


People want to hear something from 'They're Playing Our Song.' (The Marvin Hamlisch 1979 musical in which Arnaz made her Broadway debut.) And I'm doing a tribute to Marvin (Hamlisch died in 2012) work as an arranger. I'm doing a Cole Porter tune that he arranged for me that is perfection to show how incredibly talented this man was.


We're going to do some stuff from my Latin roots CD.


It's very eclectic and all about what happens when you're trying to have a relationship.


EDGE: One of the things that really touched me about your Birdland performance was how you were so strongly influenced by your dad (Desi Arnaz) and his band. And he was a maverick in terms of diversity in so many respects in music, film and TV. What are your thoughts on whether we are going backwards or moving forwards in terms of diversity?


Lucie Arnaz: It's not necessarily a pet peeve of mine. I got quoted recently, in Variety -- and they spelled my name right -- I was amazed. This was the first time I had a headline in Variety since 1968! It was amazing. And it was all because the Paley Center had this tribute to Hispanic Achievement in Television. They flew me in to accept this very nice honor for my dad, which was thrilling. And you come off the red carpet and about 60 people shove microphones in your face and ask you stuff. And one of them said she was from Variety. And she asked something like, 'What do you think of this year's season of shows on the networks? Do you think they're diversified enough?'


And I said, 'I have no idea. I have no idea what's on television this year. I don't pay attention to that stuff.' I'm not afraid to look like an idiot. I just said, I don't know. I haven't seen them. And she put words out there like, I want you to say this. Don't you think that the networks should be caring more about diversity and Latinos in television? And I said, I don't think that's what they care about. They don't really care about that. It's about economics. It's a business. It would be nice but I don't think that's their first thought when they wake up in the morning. 'oh, how am I going to get diversity on television.' You have to be realistic. And the headline was: 'Lucie Arnaz says: Networks don't care!' (laughter)


Her LGBT connection


EDGE: You're kidding me?


Lucie Arnaz: No! Look it up! So I was like, okay, that's what they wanted me to say. And the truth is that I think there's a lot of diversity on television compared to what it used to be like back in the '50s when my dad was working. It's hugely different now.


He certainly was a trailblazer. God knows no one had seen a smart, fairly-successful, clean-cut, well-dressed, well-spoken, intelligent Latino represented in the media. They were asleep under a sombrero or they were ripping somebody off in a nightclub or seducing somebody with a slithery grin and a moustache. Talk about glass ceilings. It was a great, palatable way to introduce the American public to a different world.


EDGE: You have a tremendous gay following, and in the wake of the Orlando tragedy, it's very important that we band together. Can you speak a bit about your relationship with the LGBT community?


Lucie Arnaz: (pauses) I want to be so eloquent. It means so much to me, I almost get tears in my eyes... I have such camaraderie with -- I've never tried to put this into words -- people who other people think are different. I've always felt like people thought I was different. I didn't want to be different; I just wanted to be like everybody else. In school, I just wanted to be Lucie. I didn't want to be Lucy's daughter. I wanted to just be accepted for me. And maybe that's something I see when I see my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I have a great simpatico for what they're going through. I have a great simpatico for what my father went through as a Latino.


There's a lot of fear in the universe. People are just fearful. Our whole experience on this planet in this human form is to overcome fear. We're taught very young exactly what we're supposed to be afraid of. And it's not all true. Yes, be afraid if a giant bear comes running at you in the forest. But as the song goes, 'You've got to be carefully taught.' And it's unfortunate how many bad teachers have created a (very bad) society of hate. And it's coming to a peak right now and it's scaring me a little bit.


So all I know how to do for the LGBT community is to begin with myself and to focus in on the love and the soul and go down, down, down deep and reconnect up with the power that's in me which is the God power, which is what I believe. And the more I connect up with that power, just by myself, the more in touch I get with the truth and then sometimes I figure out what is meant to be done by me. And I never really know what that's going to be but I am guided and I'll do it. If it's appearing somewhere; if it's talking to you today. If it's saying yes to an interview where you don't even know you're going to be asked something and then you are and then that helps in some way.


But you know I look at this boy who hated himself. This was a crime of hate against himself for not being able to live the life he wanted to live. And if there is a better example of why we have to make it okay for people to be who they are... (emphatically) You have to make it okay for people to be whomever they are. It is just about loving one another. And I don't understand what the problem is. And I reach back and I say prayers for all the souls that were lost...And I can't help but feel sorry for all of them. Of course, the families that have to deal with the complete nonsensicalness of all of this. It boggles the mind.


It's a long answer to what is my relationship with the LGBT community! If this shooting hadn't happened I might have had a happier, flippant answer. I'm so happy that they've always accepted me and my shows and my humor and followed me and supported me wherever I go. I love that. I feel very safe with my LGBT friends. And I probably have more gay friends than I do straight friends. Maybe it's because of the business we're in. There's a lot of creative people who happen to be gay. Most of my friends are happily married. A lot of them have children. I don't even have grandchildren yet! I have five kids and my daughter's the first one to get married this Saturday (June 18)! It's very exciting.


Back to Broadway?


EDGE: When are we going to see you back on the New York Stage?


Lucie Arnaz: I did 'Pippin.' I did the first national tour of 'Pippin' in 2014 into 2015. I loved every minute of it. I did that great part of the grandmother where I got to do the trapeze, upside down... knowing that I could learn that and accomplish it. I'll go to my grave a happy camper. And I did it for a month on Broadway and it was fun.


But I live in Palm Springs now, with Larry (Laurence Luckinbill) my husband of 36 years and I really love this third act of my life. I was in New York for 37 years. It's going to have to be something pretty incredible to make me want to do that 8 shows a week and leave him, because he's not going to come sit in New York while I go to work every night.


When 'Pippin' came along, it meant touring around the country and that was so different and such a challenge that I had to do it. That's how I felt about 'Witches of Eastwick.' I had to uproot my family and go live in London for a year and a half. But it was different and crazy-wonderful enough that I really felt like, 'I have to do this.'


I haven't felt that, 'I have to do this,' for any of the projects offered since then. I'm so happy right now. I love doing my concerts. I love the schedule I'm on, where I can pick when I go out and when I don't want to be away. And I'm enjoying being here with Larry. And I'm writing and I'm producing. I'm directing. I'm teaching. So I can do all that and still have time to myself. And I love that. So, we'll see. I still have an agent and I still read scripts and I'm still getting offers but I haven't chosen to go back and do a show just yet.


EDGE: Last year it was rumored that Cate Blanchett was going to play your mom, Lucille Ball, in a feature film...


Lucie Arnaz: Yes, She will.


EDGE: So, it's happening?


Lucie Arnaz: It is happening. The rumor leaked so early. We were just in the early process. We talked to Cate. Cate is locked in. Aaron Sorkin was locked in, but he was floating around on when he wanted to start working on it. He had another commitment. So we're just trying to pin everybody down now, between her commitments and his commitments. But yes it's absolutely on the boards. It's going to happen. And if it happens before Cate and I aren't too old to have anything to do with it, I will be really happy. (laughs)


Her third act


EDGE: In 'Postcards from the Edge,' the Meryl Streep character comments 'we're made more for public than private'; but you seem to have been able to transcend that. How have you managed it?


Lucie Arnaz: Because I lived it. Because I lived under that 'public' scope. And I didn't want to do that. Once you've been there you don't want to go back. I love my work so it's a constant balance between doing enough of the work I love and not letting that happen, which is crazy because everybody wants to be the best and if you're the best then your famous. And I never wanted the fame aspect, so it's kind of creepy. I'm my own worst enemy in that respect. But I do it as much as I can do it and still be happy doing it. And when it gets too much I pull way back. Life is so not about that to me. Because I watched it destroy people. It's not what it's all about.


EDGE: You mentioned that you're in your third act and Jane Fonda breaks her life up into three acts and when she began her third act she looked back to her first two in order to figure out where she wanted to go. I was curious if you had notions of where you are headed?


Lucie Arnaz: I think what I've slid into slowly without meaning to is (directing) -- Ron Abel and his partner asked me to direct the reading of their musical, 'Hazel.' I was stunned. Really? Why don't you get a real director. No, we love your ideas. We think you should direct the 29-hour reading. I couldn't screw that up too much! So, I did. And that led to the three-week lab. And because I did that I was asked to direct a show here in Palm Springs, a 'One Night Only' show for (producer) Michael Childers. After that I was sent three scripts to direct. What? It came my way. Tell the universe what you want, be specific.


And because of 'Pippin,' I was invited to go to Jacobs Pillow to teach song performance, which I think I can do. I love giving back and teaching, doing the Master Class. So I'm doing more and more of that.


I was just asked to be on the board of the musical theatre university down here. It's a private organization that trains kids from all the surrounding high schools. They don't have to pay any money; they just audition. And they wanted Larry to direct one of their new plays and they asked me to do a Master Class. I'm so loving this. So, I'm kind of sliding sideways into maybe what will be a third act, which will be to direct and teach and sing. I want to see myself as Rosie Clooney. Big and fat and singing at Feinstein's when I'm 80. (Laughs)


EDGE: I doubt the fat part will happen!


Lucie Arnaz: Well, even if it does, you'll love me anyway, right???


EDGE: Of course, I will. We all will.


Lucie Arnaz: You know, for years and years people come up to me and go, 'God, you look AMAZING!' Like they expect something completely different. I don't know what. I've got good genes, I guess. But it creates this fear in me. What if one day I don't look AMAZING anymore? What if I just look okay?


Lucie Arnaz appears on July 24 and 25 at the Paramount, Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA. For more information, the Crown and Anchor website.


For more information on Lucie Arnaz and her upcoming concert appearances visit visit her website.



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I love how she admitted she's terrible at math. My joke when people ask how I know so much about Lucy is, I've got it all crammed up there in my head but now I can't do math. My major in college required no math or science classes yet my degree is a BS. I can't spell either. 

And I love any funny, eccentric story about DeDe.

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