Lucie Arnaz: I Got The Job - Songs From My Musical Past - New York City Article
Lucie Arnaz, “I Got The Job: Songs From My Musical Past.”
The Birdland Theater
315 W 44th Street, (212) 581-3080
Through Saturday, July 21
Early in her one-woman show, Lucie Arnaz tells the crowd (in the spectacular new Birdland Theater) that the idea for this new show came from her late father, the legendary bandleader, actor, and television pioneer Desi Arnaz. Yet the basic concept is fairly common in New York cabaret rooms, as we’ve seen from Elaine Stritch, Linda Lavin, and Tommy Tune (to name just a few): a veteran singer-actor takes us on a tour of their career, from their earliest desire to perform to early roles and eventual stardom, with songs and anecdotes aplenty along the way. Even without the autobiographical connections, this is a highly compelling assemblage of worthy, mostly less-frequently performed show tunes, beginning with an unlikely medley of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.” At 67 (Tuesday, opening night, was her birthday) is relatively young by headliner diva standards, and her show also amounts to a fascinating tour of Broadway hits and misses of the last 50 years, with songs from Seesaw, Pippin, Annie Get Your Gun (a Jones Beach revival performed on a floating stage), Mack and Mabel, My One and Only, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a promising London version of The Witches of Eastwick (a John Updike musical - who knew?), and her best known role, in They’re Playing Our Song. There’s plenty of humor in her narration and anecdotage, and the standout songs are the ones with emotional epiphanies, like “Loose Ends” (from Witches) and “I Got Lost in His Arms” (from Annie Get Your Gun). Also welcome is a song from Hazel, a new show based on the comic strip (and TV sitcom) by her longtime musical director Ron Abel. The very touching “No Time At All” (from the 2014 revival of Pippin) seems like an accurate description of Ms. Arnaz’s offering, since she makes 80 minutes pass in what seems like the blink of an eye.
Author: Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.
SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)