BWW INTERVIEWS: Lynda Carter talks new album, new gig and, of course, Wonder Woman
Before she was crowned Miss World USA or donned Wonder Woman's star-spangled bustier, Lynda Carter was on stage singing. While still in high school, she started singing with a couple of local bands. In fact, Ms. Carter played an extended run in lounge of The Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas before she was legal gambling age.
On television, in addition to three seasons in the iconic role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the late 1970s, Ms. Carter also starred in a handful of one-hour variety show specials through the early 1980s.
After taking time off to be with her family and raise her two children, in 2005, Carter played the role of Matron Mama Morton in the West End production of Chicago. The experience renewed Ms. Carter's love of performing on stage in front of an audience. Since then, she has regularly been playing jazz clubs and music festivals.
In 2009, Ms. Carter released her second studio album 'At Last'. Her first album, 'Portrait', was released in 1978. With 31 years between that album and the release of 'At Last', Ms. Carter has just released her third album 'Crazy Little Things'; just two years later.
On December 10th, Ms. Carter will be playing a gig at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. The 8:00 p.m. show is free, but seating is limited.
Ms. Carter recently spoke to BroadwayWorld.com:
Randy Rice: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and with BroadwayWorld.com.
Lynda Carter: You're welcome. I'm happy to do it.
RR: Let's start at the beginning. Tell me about the music that you grew up listening to; the music that was played in your home.
LC: Well, I grew up in Arizona so there was a wide mix [of music]. There was a fair amount of Country, but with a Rock-a-Billy vibe. My mother used to play these fantastic old 78s. There was Judy Garland and a lot of juke joint music; Bluesy with a lot of “My man left me”. My mother also taught ballroom dancing, so there was always a lot of music [in our home].
RR: While your were still a teenager, you were playing Las Vegas, in the lounge of the Sahara. What are your strongest memories of that time?
LC: It was wild. It was all just so fabulous. It didn't matter that we were only playing the lounge. All the big names were playing The Strip at the time. I remember walking through the casino and sitting down to play; when the pit boss found out I was underage, he was alarmed. At that age, I was already pretty convinced that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Of course, at that age, you think you know everything. (Laughs) I certainly would not let my daughter do [what I did]
RR: In 1978, when you recorded your first studio album, 'Portrait', did you tour with it?
LC: I did. By that time I was a headliner in the big rooms in Vegas. I had done a television special and my first big show was at Caesar's Palace. It was very exciting. I had written a couple of the songs on that album. I had a full-time television series. I was recording at night and rehearsing on the weekends. There were endless photo shoots. It was exciting, but very focused, very isolating. The people I spent the most time with during that period were Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe. (laughs) It's true!
RR: Does it seem as strange to you as it does to me that there is more than 30 years between the release your first two albums?
LC: (Long pause) I hadn't really put that together. After releasing 'Portrait', I did go to (pauses and chuckles) Motown. They were trying to do some cross-over stuff with me. But...it was great to get back into the studio. It is a labor of love and now I have a lot of control over my material. That is very satisfying.
RR: So, there is obviously new momentum to your singing career, with only 2 years between 'At Last' and your new album 'Crazy Little Things'. Tell me about your new record.
LC: I decided that I just didn't want to do what was expected. I wanted to re-imagine, on a creative level, some of the songs that I love. Having lived life a little, being a parent, I was much more capable of interpreting songs from a wider set of experiences. There is also a sense of humor...on 'The Locomotion' which is about dance...well, dancing is sexual, so I slowed the song way down. I have a wonderful group of Nashville musicians, who can, and have done, everything. I am very proud of [this album].
RR: Over the past few years, you have been playing small jazz clubs; some of the best in the world. Is performing live on stage a completely different experience for you this time around?
LC: Early on, the band and I were young and inexperienced. Once I became famous, I got to work with the best musicians in the world. That is the the biggest difference. [At this point in my life] I only want to play with the best and I can. The other difference is that performing is not [the only thing in] my life. The work is nice, I'd like to work a little bit more, but I also want to spend time with my family. Now, I can pop up to Nashville, rehearse, collaborate and record with my band. I really enjoy that collaboration. That is the part I like best, the collaboration...you get the creative juices flowing.
RR: Are you now completely comfortable with the legacy of being Wonder Woman?
LC: I was never uncomfortable with it. I know that it is what people like to talk about. It is a fantastic character that people relate to. A lot of who I am went into the creation of that character, so I like to hear about it. I always get a kick out of how animated people get in their re-telling [of their experience with the show]. I mean, how many other people have TSA agents throwing their arms around them and hugging them?
Lynda Carter will perform in The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT on Saturday, December 10th at 8:00 p.m. There is no cover, but seating is limited and you must be over 21 years old to attend. For more information visit www.mohegansun.com.