By Brian Scott Lipton
Bronx-born Lea Michele quickly became one of Broadway’s brightest stars at age 10 as Tateh’s daughter in the original production of Ragtime, along with performing numerous roles in the original production of Les Miserables and, later, Shrpintze in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof. But Michele truly became a superstar when she took on the role of the troubled Wendla in Spring Awakening.
In 2009, she traded in the bright lights of the Big Apple for the klieg lights of Hollywood when she landed the role of brash Rachel Berry in FOX’s musical series Glee, earning one Emmy nomination, two Golden Globe nominations and millions of new fans for her work. Since departing the show, she’s focused her attention on film and TV, including starring in the series Scream Queens and The Mayor and, most recently, the ABC film Same Time, Next Christmas (which will be re-shown on Freeform on December 23).
This week, Michele returns to her hometown for three concerts, “Christmas in New York – Live, “on Thursday, December 19, Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 at the Concert Hall at New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street), in which she will sing selections from her new holiday CD, “Christmas in the City.”
Theater Pizzazz recently spoke to Michele about why she made the CD, returning to perform in NYC, and if she is ever coming back to Broadway.
What prompted you to make a holiday album?
LM: I absolutely love listening to Christmas music over the holiday season. It’s what always lets me know that it’s the holiday time. Growing up, we would listen to some very special Christmas holiday compilations and those are my absolute favorite records to this day. Also, it’s been such a wonderful year for me personally and I felt that there was no better way to encapsulate this year than by releasing such a joyful record!
The album includes a song you have co-written called “Christmas in the City.” What are you enjoying most about songwriting?
LM: I’m newly getting into songwriting and I absolutely love it. It’s incredibly cathartic. It was such a joy writing this one song in particular, because it’s about my hometown. I talk about all of my favorite memories of New York growing up. It’s my love letter to New York City.
How excited are you to be performing these concerts in New York City?
LM: I couldn’t think of a better way of wrapping up this incredible year by promoting the record and doing these performances in New York City. I am really excited to be home!
You’ve spent the last 10 years performing primarily in film and television. What do you particularly like about working in those mediums?
LM: When I first did Glee 10 years ago, I had never been on television before and I immediately fell in love with it. I love working on TV and film projects because it’s fun to get to play different characters and have new material to work with every week.
What will it take to get you back to Broadway?
LM: I loved being on the stage when I was younger and I still do to this day. So yes, I would absolutely love to come back to Broadway! It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world!
Tickets to “Christmas in the City” are available via EventBrite.com