BWW Interview: Joely Fisher of GROWING UP FISHER at Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center For The Performing Arts
Joely Fisher encompasses many roles to many people. She is the daughter of legendary crooner Eddie Fisher and entertainment icon Connie Stevens. She is the half-sister to the late Carrie Fisher. She was one of the lead characters in Ellen Degeneres' sitcom Ellen. She is a wife, mother, caregiver, vocalist, actor, and author. Joely will bring her life to the stage in Growing Up Fisher for a one-night-only engagement at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 1.
Her life began as a very unique childhood with ties to Las Vegas. One photo taken on the Strip demonstrates this as Joely (as a toddler) sits on her father's back with mom looking loving at the pair. In the background are two marquees, one with her father's name as the headliner and the other with her mother's name as the headliner. Joely continued her career in the groundbreaking sitcom Ellen when the DeGeneres became the first television character to come out as gay. She has appeared on Broadway and performed around the world. There have been laughter, tears, success, and downturns as Joely spoke with BroadwayWorld.com about her show, book, and life in general.
What inspired you to write a book and do this show?
Joely Fisher: I never saw myself as much of a storyteller. The book came about after the tragic loss of my half-sister Carrie and then the passing of her mother Debbie [Reyonlds] days later. People discovered I could write, like most of my family, and we can share the milestones of our lives this way.
Last year I did a benefit, and people suggested I should do a show since I had enough material. I had to admit I could perform a one-woman show. I realized I am living an amazing, gorgeous, large life. I want to share this, and that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What can people expect when they see your show?
Joely Fisher: I picked out my favorite treasures from the book, little stories, and vignettes, and combined that with some of my favorite music, which has also evolved. I have added some new songs. I threw in some Broadway tunes and contemporary music, and I want to surprise my audience. I did the show a couple of times in London, and I am excited to be here in Las Vegas. I am jumping in, showing love, and maybe even overshare but still leave some mystery.
What was it like to perform the show in London and now bring it to Las Vegas?
Joely Fisher: Well, London is in a different country, and the audience is undoubtedly very different. Still, I had fans of my father [Eddie Fisher], my mother [Connie Stevens] and Debbie [Reynolds] in the crowd. I also had people who have followed my career throughout the years.
You were part of a television show that was groundbreaking over 20 years ago. How has that impacted you today?
Joely Fisher: I am the mother of five children. My two stepsons came to me while I appeared on Ellen and then I had three daughters. When I was going to the reunion show of Ellen on Ellen's talk show, the girls asked me about the show and why it was so important. I decided to make this a teachable moment, and I explained why. They are very smart young ladies, but they didn't get it why it was such a big deal someone is gay. It was then I realized I had done my job because they don't know a time when gay people were not represented in entertainment especially television. This was history making, but it remains fresh in my mind.
People love the mid-century period of entertainment. What do you think of this trend?
Joely Fisher: I am 51 and have through a personal evolution of either not wanting people to know my background or being super proud of it. I have so much to live up to as well as live down [she says with a smile].
Joely Fisher will bring Growing Up Fisher for a one-night-only engagement at Myron's Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 1. For tickets, click here or call The Smith Center Box Office at 702.749.2000.