BWW Interview: Aaron Lazar Singing & Producing His Way FROM BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD
One of Broadway's consistently working leading men, Aaron Lazar will be showing off his not-oft-seen comic side along with his much lauded dulcet vocal tones in AN EVENING WITH Aaron Lazar: FROM BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD. Teaming up with writers Bruce Vilanch and Scott Mauro, Aaron will present his cabaret at Rockwell Table & Stage September 25, 2017. We grabbed the chance to pick Aaron's brain on his show memories, his immediate future plans and just what the audience can expect in AN EVENING WITH Aaron Lazar.
Thank you Aaron for taking time out for this interview.
Will most of your songs in FROM BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD be from the shows you've done before? Or those with some personal significance to you?
Both! Every song in the show is significant to me, which is why I'm so excited and compelled to share them with audiences. I'll be revisiting songs that are beloved to me having performed them in character on Broadway, and also singing songs I've always wanted to sing, but haven't.
I have not, so I'm thrilled we have this opportunity! I'm interested in combining two of my favorite arts - music and comedy. Not many people know that about me from the serious roles I've played, but I'm a total goof. I was the older brother at the dinner table constantly trying to get laughs from my family. Obsessed with stand-up comedy. When I wrote my first cabaret LOOK FOR ME IN THE SONGS, I started to explore integrating humorous stories with song. It worked and I'm proud to say that show was critically acclaimed. Here, I know with Bruce we will take funny to the next level, and with Scott, have a set that's widely appealing.
You've done theatre on Broadway, in London's West End, and in Los Angeles. Can you describe any differences between the three cities' audiences' attitudes and reactions to your shows? If you close your eyes, could you "tell" which city you were in by what you hear or feel?
Great question! Broadway is magical. I loved working in London and L.A. I'd say London was fabulous - the audiences were incredibly appreciative. And L.A. surprisingly reserved. So I'm hoping L.A. has some caffeine at dinner on the 25th!
Being a multi-hyphenate, what excites you now in being a creative force (writer, producer) behind the scenes, as an alternative to performing center stage?
It's all exciting. Developing a project, be it this act or the TV mini-series City For Sale I'm an EP on, takes a tremendous amount of passion. But when you're passionate about something in life, you have unlimited energy for it. So I focus on the projects that I'm passionate about. The ones that excite me to wake up and tackle each day. The ones I feel I simply have to share with audiences. Creating, sharing from a place of authenticity is the most exciting thing. And I'm grateful it's my job.
Do you find it more challenging/gratifying/satisfying to perform as yourself in a concert setting, as opposed to, as a character in a scripted musical?
Yes! Well firstly, there's venue size - the more intimate, the more terrifying. I've played Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl, and loooved it! What an opportunity to reach more people. And I've played living rooms and they're equally electric, but a big part of that is because the audience is right there up close. You're vulnerable and naked as an artist. Yikes! Then, there's the question of me vs. the character. I love losing myself in characters. Being me, ironically, is much more difficult. At least it was. I've gotten better at it with practice. I mean, you know, I've worked on stage and screen as characters for ten years or more before I started exploring cabaret. So it was an incredibly challenging and scary thing to do. It still is because you have to be at peace with singing and talking about yourself for 75-90 minutes. In theory that's gross, you know? The vanity and narcissism of it. But ultimately the art of cabaret rewards you for it immensely. I'm blessed to have Bruce and Scott on this one!
If I name some of the shows you'd been in, would you share the best memory you have of each one in a sentence or two?
Your first Broadway show THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in 1988:
Mom/Dad, I'm on Broadway!!!
The 2005 West End production of ON THE TOWN:
My first trip abroad. Where's the sun?
The 2005 THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA:
LES MISERABLES in 2006:
Dream role! Thrilling.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES in 2008:
First originating role!
The 2009 revival of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC:
Dream role! Four magical divas.
Sting's THE LAST SHIP in 2014:
Encores! A NEW BRAIN in 2015:
Just the sweetest peeps. We had the most fun!!!
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at the Wallis in Los Angeles last year:
Dream role! L.A. theater debut!
Any classic musical role you'd still love to sink your vocal chops into?
Sweeney, George, Billy.
You obviously workout to stay in prime physical shape. What's your regimen to maintain your vocal dexterity?
Sing as much as possible to simulate eight shows/week. It's tough in L.A. So dry.
What particular song that you're singing September 25 would you love the Rockwell audience to sing/hum on their way home?
Man, there will be so many... "Hey There," "If I Loved You," "My Heart Stood Still," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "This Can't Be Love,"...
Thank you again, Aaron! I look forward to experiencing your September 25th show!
Thank you soooo much! See you at Rockwell!