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BWW Interview: Lillias White Talks Reopening The Green Room 42 With First Live Performance in Over a Year

Lillias White was the very first person to perform at The Green Room 42, opening the venue on Valentine's Day of 2017.

BWW Interview: Lillias White Talks Reopening The Green Room 42 With First Live Performance in Over a Year

Tony Award-winner Lillias White is a powerhouse stage presence, known for her performances in Broadway productions such as The Life and Fela!, Off-Broadway productions including Texas in Paris, and Romance in Hard Times, which won her an Obie Award, and for lending her voice to the role of Calliope in Disney's 1997 Hercules film, plus much more!

The Broadway icon is also known for her concerts and cabaret shows, and was the very first person to perform at The Green Room 42, opening the venue on Valentine's Day of 2017. It is only fitting then, that Lillias White should be the first performer back at The Green Room 42, ushering in the return of live entertainment after the space was forced to close its doors for a year due to the pandemic.

Lillias White is bringing her brand-new concert to The Green Room 42 on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3.

For more information, click HERE!

We spoke with Lillias White about ushering in the return of live performances to The Green Room 42, what we can expect from her concert and more!


You will be the first live cabaret at The Green Room 42 in over a year. Tell me how you learned that you were going to be performing at The Green Room 42, did they call you and ask you to be the first?

Yeah! They called and asked if I was interested in reopening the room. I was the first act in that room, I opened that room on February 14, 2017. So, I thought, yeah, it's my home away from home! And since the city is coming to a slow awakening, I thought it would be great.

With you being the first person to ever perform at The Green Room 42, how does it feel for you specifically knowing that you are going to be the person to reopen the venue after this long, dark break that we've gone through?

It feels great, I'm looking forward to having an audience live, in person. And I think that people are very much interested in coming out and being in a place where you are among people, and not just in front of a computer screen. I've done some streaming stuff, but I don't prefer it, I love having people in front of me, I love seeing their eyes and watching them smile, seeing them feel the feels. And feeling the room! There is nothing like people in a room who are together for the purpose of enjoying themselves and being lifted by music and laughter and love. I'm ready to do that.

What can we expect from your show? What songs will we hear? What is the vibe and theme of the night going to be?

The theme of the night is love, laughter, let's get out of the living room and into a club. It's going to be all kinds of songs, there's going to be jazz, and pop, and blues, and Broadway, it's going to be everything that everybody loves, and it's going to be done, of course, my way. I have piano, bass, and guitar [players]. The idea is to come in and make music, make merry, and be grateful that we are all still alive, those of us who are alive and kicking, and we're still able to do what we love to do and enjoy the company of each other. With of course, safety protocols, no doubt about that. But, it's time, it feels like it's the right time to begin again. And I don't think things will ever be the same again, they wont be what we became accustomed to, and maybe that's good, maybe things do need to change so that we are more humane to each other, and that we are more aware of what we do and how we do it.

So, that's what I'm looking forward to, seeing the people and being in the room with the people. We won't be hugging and kissing and all that, we will not be doing that, I will not be doing that, but I'm just grateful for the chance to perform for my friends and fans and family, and have a chance to take a deep breath out of the stress of COVID.

What was the rehearsal process like? Did it feel normal, was it in person? Virtual?

I've been rehearsing all year! I've been rehearsing with my musical director for months, and we've been working on a couple of different projects, so it's not been a chore! We've been very careful, social distancing and making sure we wash our hands and all that. But, I've been rehearsing. I hope I sound as good as I want to sound!

Is it just you and the band on stage?

Yeah, just me and the band because there are restrictions about how many people can be in the room etc. I did not get my background singers this time. But, hopefully as things open up, I will be able to include my backup singers and some other musical components.

What are you most looking forward to about being back on stage?

The people! I am an artist, and art is meant to be enjoyed by people. It's not meant to sit in a vacuum or to be by itself. I feel like I am an essential worker, artists are essential workers. It's up to us to bring some sense and sensibilities and whatever joy that we can bring, to people, it's what we should be doing. So, I'm looking forward to seeing people, hearing people live. Like I said, we won't be hugging and kissing, but at least I will be able to present what's on my heart, and what's in my soul to the people who love that sort of thing.

Do you have any final thoughts that you'd like to share? Words of wisdom or advice?

Well, I think that we should try to be kind to each other, and particularly to ourselves. I know that several of us have had a lot of time by ourselves to reflect on our lives. Be good to yourself, be kind to yourself, be aware of other people. Be kind. Have good manners and be kind, that's my message.

Photo credit: Victoria Purroy


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