In a 1979 interview with People magazine, Lucie Arnaz tells how, when she was 8, her mother converted the family’s garage into a theater — equipped with curtains, lighting and rented chairs — as a Christmas present for her. Looks like her mom was onto something.
“From the moment I set foot on the stage till the moment I leave — all of it is everything I ever wanted to do and I get to do it. I could not be happier,” Arnaz says of her concert tour, which comes to Adelphi University’s Performing Arts Center on Saturday.
The daughter of TV comedy queen Lucille Ball and Cuban-born actor and bandleader Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz embraced the family business, but with a clear predilection for the stage rather than the small or silver screen. Though, as a teenager, she got her start in a recurring role on her mother’s “Here’s Lucy” television series and later appeared opposite Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier in the 1980 remake of “The Jazz Singer,” she says she feels her best moments in showbiz have been in front of an audience.
In addition to the three decades she has spent as a solo artist performing in theaters and nightclubs worldwide, Arnaz, 66, has had several star turns on Broadway, headlining in “They’re Playing Our Song,” “Lost in Yonkers,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and, most recently, in fall 2014, “Pippin.”
Hit tunes from Arnaz’s Broadway career feature among the 18 songs she performs, along with popular standards by the likes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Harry Connick Jr. Also on her song list are two compositions — one jazz, the other a comedic number — whose lyrics Arnaz wrote. The selections, she says, have “a lot to do with love and relationships, about the arc of romance — mostly seen through the lens of my own life.”
There are mentions, of course, of Arnaz’s husband of 37 years, director and playwright Laurence Luckinbill, and their five children. But another important relationship paid tribute in the show, in what Arnaz describes as “a very emotional moment,” is the one she had with her father and their shared connection to music, particularly the Latin rhythms in the songs he made famous.
Longtime relationships continue to be celebrated onstage with the accompaniment of pianist Ron Abel, who has worked with Arnaz as musician and musical director nearly from the start of her singing career. He is joined by Tom Hubbard on bass and Dan Weiner on drums.
Arnaz wrote at the end of her “Pippin” bio: “This show is a gift I am giving to myself.” Audience members treated to Arnaz’s performance at Adelphi this weekend are likely to think it is they who got the gift.
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m., at Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, 1 South Ave., Garden City
ADMISSION $45-$50 (discounts available for seniors, students and alumni); 516-877-4000, pac.adelphi.edu
A salute to stylish singing
WHAT Long Island military veterans will share the spotlight Friday with the Swing Dolls in the vocal trio’s throwback performance at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. Homecoming stories and photos shared by local veterans feature in a special patriotic tribute by the retro singing group, which also performs spot-on renditions of such beloved megahits as the Andrew Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and the McGuire Sisters’ “Sugartime.” Period costumes and choreography enhance the vintage vibe. From the Kennedy Center to TV’s “Gilmore Girls” to the regional stage, the Swing Dolls’ dynamic harmonies ring true.
WHEN | WHERE Friday, 8 p.m. at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St.
TICKETS $25-$50, 631-207-1313; patchoguetheatre.org