The Lucy Lawless Files - Articles - 2004 Newspapers

Alameda Star-Times

20 July 2004

Xena sings! Lucy Lawless belts it out for local AIDS charity



SHE used to be a warrior princess. Now she's a mom with an acting career on the side. Lucy Lawless, former star of the syndicated TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess," will sheath her sword and expose a different side of herself when she warbles a tune at "Help is on the Way X: ... and all that jazz," a sold-out fund-raiser for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation in San Francisco. On the phone from her Los Angeles-area home, Lawless, 36, a New Zealand native, discusses life as an ex-kick-ass-princess-turned-suburban-mom.

Q: One of your co-stars in the "Help is on the Way" benefit is Florence Henderson, better known as Mrs. Brady. Did you have "The Brady Bunch" in New Zealand? And what kind of TV mom would you say most captures your style of mothering your kids, ages 2, 4 and 16?

A: We did have "The Brady Bunch" in Mount Albert, Auckland. I actually met Florence Henderson when she was hosting the Mrs. World event in Las Vegas in 1989. She seemed a little pissed off to find herself there. Hell, I was pissed off, too, and I was a nobody. I placed nowhere. For my sins, I'm probably closer to Roseanne than June Cleaver.

Q: Another of your co-stars is Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes. How would you have been as a Supreme?

A: Pale, a little lacking in rhythm and biting my lip in concentration.

Q: You sang on "Xena," and, in fact, there was an entire opera episode. Then you popped up on Broadway in "Grease" as Rizzo in 1997. Now you're singing in a benefit. Are you really a singer?

A: I sang in choirs as a kid and did musicals in high school. But I'm really a newbie at this whole singing thing. I did an AIDS benefit in L.A. last year and sang a country-fied version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Changes Everything," though it wasn't as goofy as I might have liked. I'm always attracted to kitsch.

Q: What kind of kitsch might we find in your home?

A: I have a life-size chimpanzee cobbled together out of beaten tin and a 6-foot shark. Both of those were lugged home from successive Rose Bowls.

Q: You were a hit on Broadway. Why haven't you been back?

A: The producers of "Grease" offered me the role of Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun." But I was pregnant and couldn't handle another thing. I don't think you can really sing "You Cain't Get a Man with a Gun" when you're eight months pregnant.

Q: You're a mega-star in New Zealand and spend a lot of time there. How come you weren't in "The Lord of the Rings," which was filmed there?

A: I did get a call from (director) Peter Jackson. But again, I was too pregnant and couldn't cope with that and the series and a movie. I was just too busy warrior princessing and gestating.

Q: Why are you performing at the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation benefit?

A: It's a great cause, and I can have a bit of fun. That's what I'm all about these days, man. It's also about spreading the love. I get a lot of support from the gay community, and I feel very close to them. Most of my friends are gay. I gravitate to where the love is, and for me that means the gay community.

Q: "Xena, Warrior Princess" had a huge gay following during its six-year run. If you could have had Xena come rescue you from something or mess with someone in your past, what or who would that be?

A: Xena would be very handy to have around if ever I needed an emergency tracheotomy and the only available tools were a pig's bladder and a reed. Other than that, I think I can manage.

Q: What's next for you career-wise?

A: I've taken a few years off to have my babies, but I'm going to get serious about work again.

I play a drug-addicted mother in a horror movie called "Boogeyman" that will come out next year. It was an interesting little role, but I was unavailable for re-shoots, so my part will probably be cut to shreds.

I'd be happy to do another TV show, and am working with the comedian Greg Proops about creating a show about a Silicon Valley millionaire who moves to New Zealand for this idyllic lifestyle. I'd play the woman who has sold him her family homestead and still lives on the property. She's not happy about it.

Q: What's your career fantasy?

A: I'd love to re-make "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" or play Hedda Gabler on stage. I also want to sing and dance and rock out a little more. In my 20s, I wasn't all that wild because I was raising a child and knuckling under. My personality is to be quite strict with myself, quite ascetic. Then I go bananas because I can't stand it anymore. A little moderation would be better. I just want to have a little more fun. I want life to be more about play, variety, desire and joy. That's when I'm most productive.

For more information about the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation call (415) 273-1620 or visit  The Aug. 2 fund-raiser with Lucy Lawless is sold out.

Click here for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation Information Page


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