By: Sandi Durell
It may have been snowing outside on Tuesday evening April 15th when Lucie Arnaz debuted at Café Carlyle. But inside, it was warm, romantic and deliciously filled with love. Only that special kind of love that Emmy Award winning Lucie Arnaz can convey with her new show “Spring Is Here.” With a little bit of mom Lucille Ball’s ditz and a lot of dad Desi Arnaz’ Latin heat, she grabs your attention the moment she takes the stage.
To say she has it in the genes is redundant. She’s forged her own fine career as an actress and on Broadway in “They’re Playing Our Song,” “Seesaw” and more. More recently she has been honing her skills as a cabaret performer. It’s not about having the grandest voice of them all but about how she relates, all inclusively, to her audience in an intimate way and in her abilities to lyrically tell a story. She’s witty, real and doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Ms. Arnaz is 62 years of age (hard to believe) and a mother of five, married to actor Laurence Luckenbill in 1980. There was an amusing tale of what she thought might be love when she discovered that the boyfriend, prior to meeting Luckenbill, was sleeping with someone else – – another one of her boyfriends.
She covered the gamut of the Great American Songbook as far away as “When in Rome” (Carolyn Leigh, Cy Coleman) showing her abilities at speaking Italian – linguine, cappuccino! There were sensitive, soul-searching ballads like “Fools Rush In” (Johnny Mercer,Rube Bloom) and “Just One of Those Things” (Cole Porter).
Ron Abel, musical director, also shone as a songwriter with partner Chuck Steffan in her rendition of their “Slow Dancing.” And speaking of arrangements, Latin beats were high on the list with Billy Stritch virtuosity, as Arnaz shook it up with “Something’s Gotta Give” (Johnny Mercer). Arnaz, herself, wrote “I Don’t Like It Already” (with music by Madeline Stone), an ode to one of her gay boyfriends, producing a list of breathless lyrics with a rock beat.
Each of her musicians, including Tom Hubbard on bass, and Ray Marchica on drums, proved why they are top choices for many cabaret performers.
Lucie Arnaz is a show-man, or is that show-woman, filled with an appetite to please and have a good time, which is what makes her a real entertainer.
Yes, I do love Lucie! Café Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street at Madison Ave. 212 744-1600 thru April 19th.
*Photos/Video: Sandi Durell