Interview: Lisa Rothauser Previews LIFE. WTF?, Coming to Joe's Pub!

By: Sep. 02, 2014

Newly divorced and recovering co-dependent, Lisa Rothauser, makes her Joe's Pub debut (September 8 at 7:30PM) with eleven, 11 o'clock numbers (go big or go home). Winding through a path of midwestern pathology and ironic hilarity, Lisa's road back to the Broadway is laden with princesses, evil step mothers and even the big, bad Wolf of Wall Street. This one-night only event features humor, heart and some super special Broadway guests.

For tickets, visit:

Rothauser took the time to chat with BroadwayWorld about the upcoming show and you can catch a special preview below!

What inspired LIFE. WTF?

Originally I thought of a series called Men. WTF? where I would spend the better part of a half hour finding myself in situations where I had to justify how men behave and how the women who love them could learn from me on how to accept their animalistic behavior and live with it. Then it turned into a sort of general-ized "life" theme when my gynecologist said to me, "Man, you got stories girl!" When I started planning a "come back" so to speak and essentially trying to start over from the ground up after being away for so long, and dealing with life dramas such as divorce, and being a mom of two young boys and actually wanting to have my career back, I found myself picking material that made my heart sing, and gave a sense of heroic triumph.

Do you have a favorite song or moment of the concert?

The final three lyrics/notes of the entire show. It's the definitive moment of the entire show and pretty much sums up the meaning of my life and I'm pretty sure everyone else's.

How does the subject matter of your upcoming engagement at Joe's Pub relate to the changes you've had in your personal life recently?

I cover the milestones -from my humble beginnings in St. Louis to finally performing on a Broadway stage, only to then get swept away from what I was put on this earth to do. When I realized the fairytale I thought I was living was actually a house of cards built on a mound of sand surrounded by a mote with alligators, I had two choices: end up spending the rest of my life on Xanax filled with bitter resentment (not that there's anything wrong with that!), or get back on the horse. I chose the latter, and doing this show is one way of taking the reins and riding full bore.

How do you think the unexpected obstacles you've faced in your adult life have impacted you and led you to this new place in your career?

Everyone knows this business isn't for the faint of heart. I think that the best advice given to anyone endeavoring this path of "showbiz" has to be, "if there is ANYTHING else that you would be happy doing in life than performing...DO IT!" Problem is, when you know deep in your guts that there really ISN'T anything else, then you must do this. Through all of the veering away I have done, I never stopped singing and taking class...always having a foot in the door somehow, some way, whether it was through producing, performing, or writing. Now I feel I have a keener perspective and balance that I couldn't have had before this turning point.

You've appeared on Broadway and several world premiere productions. Are you excited to be returning to the NYC theatre scene?

I am beyond excited to be making my "splash" into the pool again at Joe's Pub and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to sing in that venue with a killer five-piece band led by Grammy-nominated record producer Tor Hyams. He and I not only collaborated for this project, but we have also written a full-length musical called Stealing Time which is moving forward with the amazing Joe Calarco as director.

How did working alongside Broadway greats Mel Brooks and Warren Carlyle during your time in "The Producers" impact you as a performer?

Getting the call from Tara Rubin's office for the final callback with Mel was intense. It went a little something like: "Lisa, we're bringing you in for Mel, but you're gonna have to find a new joke because he's either gonna love the one you did or hate it." So I picked a new joke, which he must have loved because I booked it. The Second National Tour was Warren Carlyle's first "baby" even though he assistant directed and choreographed alongside Susan Stroman from inception. He hand-pick our cast and I will never forget him teaching me the tapping Nazi audition dance while I was wearing knee-high leather boots (didn't bring dance shoes cause I considered myself a "singer who moves well".) He believed in me and saw my potential. It wasn't until opening night, when I got a note from Susan Stroman saying "You ARE a dancer!," that I was right where I was supposed to be. Working with Susan, Warren, and the amazing casts of both the tour and Broadway companies was such an inspiring experience. Most challenging though, was trying not to laugh at Mr. Bart while onstage. He is just one of those people who can't help but make you laugh just by simply being alive and breathing.

Why should people head to Joe's Pub to see this show?

It's raw. It's real. It's a story of the human experience. We cover everything from Funny Girl to Sinatra to an old-school Whitesnake tune so...I guess the question would be, why shouldn't they see this show?!!


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