I Love Lucy
by Amie Wee
Photography by Patric Seng
There’s no business quite like show business and one rather beautiful leading lady is eager for the curtain to rise on a new adventure.
The last time I saw Lucy Lawless, she was wearing a pleather cat suit and belting out the ’90s classic Lucy Lawless,on stage at The Kings Arms, while a U-Haul of screaming lesbians catapulted their wet knickers at her from the front row. “It’s all in a days work!” Lucy laughs.
Recently I was lucky enough to interview the gorgeous kiwi actress, activist and musician Lucy Lawless, infamous for her role as the original queen of ass-kicking – Xena Warrior Princess, as well as her performance as D’Anna/Number Three in Battlestar Galactica and more recently, as the ruthless, self-serving and damn fine Lucretia in Spartacus. Oh yeah, let’s maybe not forget that time Lucy casually got arrested for commandeering and halting a Shell oil drilling rig ship that was headed from New Zealand to the Artic to go screw up the environment.
Lucky for us, Lucy’s back in New Zealand for a bit and while she’s steering clear of oil rigs, November does see her climbing aboard the stage for Auckland Theatre Company’s production of the 1975 Broadway classic Chicago. A story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery, Lucy tells me how excited she was when ATC director Michael Hurst handpicked her for the role. “After seeing ATC’s production of Cabaret a couple of years ago which starred Amanda Billing and was directed by Michael; I just thought she was fierce and he was so brilliant and I was hungry to work with the pair of them.”
With rehearsals in full swing this talented lady tells me that she’s “more excited than ever” and that the experience thus far is “turning out to be every bit the dream”. It’s exciting how much Lucy lights up when she starts talking about Chicago and her enthusiasm for Michael’s directorial interpretation. “It’s truly incredible. It’s anarchic. It’s a complete re-imagining of Chicago’s text.
For more on Lucy’s role as Velma Kelly in Chicago, go to AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Chicago The Musical (Auckland) subsite
1920s, Chicago. Cook County Jail is home to a bawdy band of murderesses, all of whom have eradicated their quickly insignificant others. Chanteuses Velma Kelly (Lucy Lawless) and Roxie Hart (Amanda Billings) have both acquired a spot on Death Row. Velma enlists the help of prison matron Mama Morton (Colleen Davis) and smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn (Shane Cortese) to turn her incarceration into a media frenzy. But, not one to rest on her laurels, Roxie comes up with a foxy plan to steal back the limelight and, instead of wrangling the law, the two divas find themselves fighting the ultimate battle – the race to superstardom.
Set in the legendary city during the Roaring Twenties, an era renowned for organised crime, alcohol prohibition and the very best jazz, Michael Hurst's version of this razor-sharp show about bad girls behaving badly will bring all the sass, brass and a%$e of his most recent Auckland Theatre Company musical Cabaret (2010).
CHICAGO THE MUSICAL
Music by John Kander Lyrics by Fred Ebb Book by Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse
Directed by Michael Hurst
Location Q (305 Queen St)
Booking info +64 9 309 9771 or www.qtheatre.co.nz
Preview: Friday 1 November, 8pm
Opening: Saturday 2 November, 8pm
Closing: Sunday 15 December, 7pm
Roxie Hart - Amanda Billing
Velma Kelly - Lucy Lawless
Amos - Andrew Grainger
Billy Flynn - Shane Cortese
Mama Morton - Colleen Davis
Narrator/Little Mary Sunshine - Sandra Rasmussen
Chorus - Will Barling, Stephen Butterworth, Mike Edward, Rebekkah Schoonbeek, Sia Trokenheim, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Lavinia Uhila
Director - Michael Hurst
Musical Director - John Gibson
Set Designer - John Harding
Costume Designer - Lesley Burkes-Harding
Lighting Design - Sean Lynch
Stage Manager - Chelsea Adams
Set Construction - 2construct