Photo Credit: D. Sabella
I Got The Job! Songs From My Musical Past
Feinstein’s 54 Below
Sept 30 – Oct 1, 2019
Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of legendary comedienne Lucille Ball, and actor, singer, producer Dezi Arnaz, delighted audiences with a trip down memory lane, singing a retrospective of her career, both on and off Broadway, spanning 45 years.
While Arnaz may have started her career on her mother’s show, Here’s Lucy, she certainly carried that torch independently to carve out a very distinguished career which includes the Broadway productions of Pippen, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and her originating role of Sonia Walsk in They’re Playing Our Song. And, with various and notable film credits, including The Jazz Singer, with Neil Diamond, and Sir Laurence Olivier, it is clear that Arnaz is a formidable presence on stage, a real actress who is not afraid to take chances.
When watching the child of a legend perform one is inevitably confronted with the same quandary: How did they get where they are today? Was it on the laurels of their famous parents? Or, does their own intrinsic talent qualify them to be front and center. In Aranz’s case, it is without a doubt, the latter. Immediately upon hearing her voice one is struck by the vitality of it. Sounding like a voice in it’s 30’s, Arnaz literally swept through the room with an intriguing arrangement of No Business Like Show Business and Got a Lot of Livin’ To Do (1946, Annie Get Your Gun and 1960, Bye Bye Birdie, respectively).
The arrangements throughout the evening were both beautiful and thought provoking, much to the credit of Music Director Ron Abel, who also played with the fullness of a 22 piece orchestra. Arnaz also gets points for not relying on the well known versions of the songs she sang. In several instances the song was arranged with a new perspective, one that spoke to both her experience and wit. We were not witnessing a “songs that were” show. This was a “re-mix” of songs, as they resonate with the artist now, and that was thrilling to both see and hear.
A slow and sultry Out of my Dreams (1943, Oklahoma) wiped any memory of previous versions from the mind, and illustrated the lyric provocatively. I Got Lost In His Arms (1946, Annie Get Your Gun), also beautifully arranged, became a subtle tribute to Aranz’s husband, with just a light caress of her wedding ring. And, I Still Believe in Love, her signature song from They’re Playing Our Song, was a stunning crash of past and present.
Then of course, there are the stories, told as only a master story teller could, with clarity, concision, and finesse. Arnaz fulfilled her audience’s need to hear tidbits from her career, as when Marvin Hamlisch assured her she was hired for the timbre of her voice, not just her range (a lesson for every young singer today). Yet, through decades of story and song, the evening never hit the proverbial “low” that can so often happen in the middle of an act. The generous program flew by as if time has stood still.
Lucie Aranz is without a doubt not to be missed when she next appears in New York. It’s clear she got the job because she’s got the goods, and is making mom and dad very proud.