The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz has had an extremely diversified career spanning over 45 years in show business. She made her Broadway debut as "Sonia Wolsk" in Neil Simon-Marvin Hamlisch-Carole Bayer Sager-musical They're Playing Our Song for which she won the Theatre World, LA Drama Critics and Outer Critic's Circle Awards and has gone onto star in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as well as dazzling audiences in both film and television.
Now Lucie is continuing on with her recording career as she comes to Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 8pm with her show "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz" where concert goers can hear new arrangements of favorite standards by Gershwin, Ellington, and Porter, as well as Latin tunes made famous by her father and showstoppers from her Broadway career. Showtime is 8pm. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Not ever going to be sure of that. One would have to guess though, right? My folks were in the biz and I saw that they loved what they did for a living. If they sold fruit and loved it, I might be a produce manager now.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? The list is very long. And most have died. But, for the living, we can start with Ron Howard, Steven Soderberg, George Clooney, Kathleen Marshall, Hugh Grant...........and on and on.
3. You are going to be performing at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on May 18. What excites you about this upcoming concert? I rarely get a chance to perform my shows close to home and my friends are always asking when they can see me. Now they will have no excuse!!
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your concert, "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz"? A happier outlook on their lives.
5. With a wide range of material to choose from, how did you decide which material you wanted to perform for this concert? Each show is a bit different from the last. I look at the audience I will be playing for (demographics sometimes matter- often they don't), the money matters only in the size of the band I can provide and the size of the band then decides which of my 200+ charts I will do. Some songs work well with a small band and other arrangements really need the full complement. This is going to be the trio show and so it's a cozier feel. The material is always drawn from the same well, though. GREAT SONGS. Or, at least, what I believe is a great song- fairly new or a vintage standard. Stick with the best songwriters and great stories and you cannot go wrong. Plus, I am an "arrangement whore." A good arrangement of a song can send it into a whole new stratosphere.
6. Your latest album Latin Roots, is a celebration of your Latin heritage. What made now the right time to put this CD together? I had been asked to produce an evening celebrating the music of my father and his Desi Arnaz Orchestra for the 40th Anniversary of Lyrics and Lyricists Series at The 92nd Street Y in NYC. My musical director and I had been discussing the idea of a "Latin Roots" CD for years as we do so much of this music in our shows. It seemed criminal not to have that kind of a CD available for sale in the lobby if we were going to produce this big evening tributing my roots. SO, we produced both at the same time!!!
7. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? The first time I hear the charts played by the full orchestra is pretty fabulous. When you get the head phones on in the booth and start signing to those amazing tracks. And hearing the completed, mixed CD for the first time is bliss.
8. You starred in one of my favorite Broadway shows They're Playing Our Song. Looking back, what was the best part about starring in this show? That's an almost impossible question to answer. There was so much good about that experience. Working with and learning from the genius that is Neil Simon. Working with and learning from the genius that was Marvin Hamlisch. Laughing harder than I can remember at Robert Klein's humor. Being directed by Robert Moore. Watch Carole Bayer Sager create. I am a lyricist, too, and that was a dream come true for me right there. Being a star in a hit Broadway show. That's like being Cinderella at the ball every night. NOT being nominated for a TONY. There was more love and compassion sent my way because of that than if I had WON. And, best of all, I met my husband Larry Luckinbill, during the run of that show and we have been married 32 years now and he gave me three beautiful children and two delightful stepsons.
9. What do you get from your theatrical ventures that you do not get from your music or television/film work? A sense that, after working very hard and giving it my all during rehearsal, that I did it all by my self once the curtain goes up. There is great pride in that. It's a big wire act that thrills me to no end. It is also a huge amount of work to DO eight shows a week for an extended period, to keep showing up every night and giving 100%. That is something to be very proud of.
10. You were the executive producer of two specials about your parents Lucy and Desi, the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special and Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie. What was it like going back through all the pictures and footage for these specials? I directed Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie, too, and in both cases, it was a very healing experience. I encourage everyone to try it, whether they have famous parents or not. Walk a mile in their shoes and see what choices you might have made if you had been in their place at the same time. It's a very forgiving experience.
11. What do you miss most about your parents? Boy, you ask the big questions, don't ya? I feel like I should have a book deal and a big advance at this point for these answers!!!!! I miss now what I missed when they were both alive. I miss them being there.
12. What is like to be the daughter of two people who made such a big impact on the world of entertainment? A gift. A bonus. A pain in the ass. A huge responsibility. A challenge. An inspiration. A reason to search for the real truth in life. SO, ultimately, a blessing.
13. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I can be a light in this world.
14. What's the best advice you've ever received?
From my father: "There must be a way."
From my mother: "Be good to Lucie."
From Unity: That we are all ONE and the power of God is within ME.
15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I have not got a clue. Can I see the list of super powers? Is there a power to bring peace to all nations? If so, that would be my choice.
Lucie Arnaz's other New York stage credits include Lost in Yonkers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Grace and Glorie; in the London premiere of The Witches Of Eastwick; in the Coconut Grove Playhouse premieres of Once Removed and A Picasso; in national tours of Seesaw, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Social Security and My One And Only (Sarah Siddons Award); and in regional theatre productions of Wonderful Town, Master Class, Cabaret, The Guardsman, Annie Get Your Gun, I Do! I Do!, Educating Rita, Vanities, and Mack And Mabel.
She has appeared on television in The Lucie Arnaz Show, Sons And Daughters, The Black Dahlia, The Mating Season, Who Gets The Friends?, Washington Mistress, Death Scream and six seasons of Here's Lucy; on the big screen with Neil Diamond and Sir Laurence Oliver in The Jazz Singer (Golden Globe Nomination), Down To You, Second Thoughts, Billy Jack Goes To Washington, The Pack, Wild Seven and has lent her voice to the new animated fantasy about the NY Yankees, Henry And Me.
Lucie has performed the opening number on the Academy Awards (1981) and at The White House several times. She was Executive Producer of the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special (Emmy nomination), and Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie (Emmy winner 1993). She recorded her first album for Concord Jazz, "Just In Time," and her newest CD, "Latin Roots," is a celebration of just what the title says. Lucie has been traveling the country and the world with her various concerts for over 20 years. With her brother, Desi, she manages Desilu, too, LLC. With her husband, actor Laurence Luckinbill, she manages five grown children.