by Dana Caprina
Lucy Lawless is best known for her role on TV's Xena: Warrior
Princess. Lawless didn't achieve the fame in her native New
Zealand that flooded her in the states until much later in her
career, since the popular series didn't air there until long
after it was an American television staple. But the reason we
are talking to Ms. Lawless is that she is coming to town to sing
at Buddy Guy's Legends club on October 5-6.
GAY CHICAGO: I have to tell you, Lucy, there
are lesbians all over Chicago who are very jealous that I am
talking to you right now!
LUCY LAWLESS: Well, good. I hope it continues, because I
love my girls.
What was your first acting role?
As a little girl, my best buddy and I would adapt stories
and put them on for the old folks' home. My first paying gig was
working on a comedy sketch show down in New Zealand.
Did you really work in a gold mining camp?
Yeah, I did. It was the Gold Mining Company in West
Australia, Omni Outback.
But you are to pretty for that.
I guess I am not [laughing].
How did the Xena role come about?
Somebody pulled out of a three-episode arch from the show
Hercules, and they had no idea that it was going to be such a
huge hit, so early on, they pulled out. And I was just a local
kid on the spot who got the gig when all these other American
actresses turned it down. I thank each and every one of them. I
don't know who they are, but bless them for giving me
Watching, I would assume it was a hard role to play, but with
the magic of Hollywood, was it a hard role?
Yeah. There is no Hollywood in New Zealand. That was back in the
day before CGI. That is a recent phenomenon that has come on
really fast. They were still rotor scoping things out in a very
old school way back then, which is great for technique when you
have to actually act opposite yourself when you are playing
three characters simultaneously all day long. It's just great
Do you still have a Xena costume at home?
I think I gave my costume to the Smithsonian. I don't think
I have any left. It's there right now next to the Fonz's jacket,
who I ran into yesterday. I was taking my in-laws to a swanky
hotel for lunch, and Henry Winkler was there. I have met him
before, and he is the nicest man in Hollywood, truly the nicest,
sweetest, most generous open-spirited human being there is. The
fact that he would make a fuss for my in-laws, and they felt
cool I was newly old Hollywood in their eyes because I
introduced them to the Fonz!
America learned you can sing when you played
Rizzo on Broadway in "Grease."
Well, New York did. I am dying to go back to Broadway.
Was it fun?
It was so much fun. I felt like I was living in the movie Fame.
I was living that dream. I have been so blessed to get that
Summer before last, I have to say, I was
upset you didn't win Celebrity Duets (FOX).
I need more people like you voting. I think there was
something in my nature not ready to be a winner. I am a
newcomer. I feel so lucky that I could go out and take it, and
that is a fatal flaw. I am over that, by the way, but at the
time, looking back because I was just learning to sing then, and
it was only after the very last night and all the judging was
done when I was able to sing a song of my choice on my own in my
key when something happened and just broke in my head and I was,
like, I stumbled on my thing when I sang Don't Tell Mama with
the go-go dancers, when I went, shit, this is me, this is
authentic to me. I just thank that show. I just learned to sing
last November, and I have been doing it ever since.
How did they find you?
My friend Eric Vitros, who is a famous singing
teacher, they had approached him, and they approached my agents,
who turned it down without consulting me because I don't do
reality television, at least not before. Finally, Eric said they
keep bothering me to get you to do this reality show, and I am
like, what is it? The chance to sing with Smokey Robinson, are
you kidding me'.' I totally want to do it! I told my agents to
make the deal. My reps thought it would make me look tacky. I
was like, I don"t care This is such a challenge.
You also did a pilot last year for Football
Wives, which was going to be the best new show. What happened?
I think it showed football players in a bad light, and the
people who own the property also own ESPN. The producers before
making the show said, aren't you going to have ethical
questions? Not to say that it was a perfect pilot, but the
show's promise was great.
The show seemed like a perfect match with ABC.
Totally. Everybody wants to see rich people being miserable,
just rich in behavior.
You're coming to town to sing at Buddy Guy's. What can we
Just a rock-out night, plus a part of it I think has to be
real honest because you want people to go home with an honest
experience. The music has to be smokin', and you can't find
better musicians than you find in Chicago. I also feel the bits
in between when you are talking, because that's when the people
who have paid to see you get to, like, they get to know a little
bit about you. I just become a maniac on stage. My friends are
just shocked. They are, like, who the hell are you? I probably
won't bite the head off a bat like Ozzie Osboume. but I am not
someone they recognize.
Is it almost like another character for you?
No, it's not. It's just another form of yourself that doesn't
get off the leash that often. I love performance in all its
forms, but music is way more of an intense experience.
I just saw you on Burn Notice. What's next for Lucy?
Burn Notice, a bit of a fatty bum actually. I saw it and
went, holy cow, Lucy, you put on the summer 15, so I have been
working out like a fiend. My audience loves me in chaps, so I am
getting some new chaps made. Because my concert is in Chicago,
it's going to have a Chicago feel to it, a little bit more funk.
I want a real sexy pumping vibe.
I also heard you are going to be back on Battlestar
Yeah. I am working all over the place and doing all kind of
different things. It's really exciting!
Lucy Lawless is in concert October 5-6 at Buddy Guy's Legends,
754 S. Wabash. tor ticket information, visit