×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stagecraft Podcast: LaChanze on ‘Summer,’ Tony Boosts and Dream Roles

LaChanze has a favorite Donna Summer song — but you won’t hear it in “Summer,” the Broadway bio-musical for which the actress is currently nominated for a Tony in the title role.

The tune is “State of Independence,” and the actress tried hard to get it on the song list. “I fought!” she recalled on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. She pestered director Des McAnuff and orchestrator Ron Melrose so much that eventually Melrose joked with her, “Put it in your club act!”

LaChanze said she responded, “You know, I just might do that!” (For the record, her favorite tune to sing in the show every night is “Friends Unknown.”)

The actress, performer and author has plenty of experience with the Tony Awards: She was nominated for her 1990 performance in “Once On This Island,” and in 2006 she won the trophy for leading actress in a musical for “The Color Purple.” That first nomination, she said, “immediately put me in a circle of women that I had been admiring for years. Patti LuPone. It was just amazing.” And then the win “put me in another circle of women — in another realm, the film and television realm. But at the bottom of that list!” she added with a laugh.

On the new episode of Stagecraft, LaChanze also revealed the moment she finds hardest to perform in the musical each night — it’s “one of the purest moments onstage for me,” she said. She also gave an update on her solo show and her upcoming biography, named some of her dream roles and explained the origin of her single name.

Download and subscribe to Stagecraft on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

More Legit

  • Beetlejuice review

    Broadway Review: 'Beetlejuice'

    “Such a bold departure from the original source material!” wisecracks the odd-looking fellow sitting on a coffin at the start of the Broadway musical “Beetlejuice.” The weird, nasty and outrageous title character is talking about a short lament just sung by a sad teen at her mother’s gravesite, as he breaks the fourth wall (“Holy [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Ink review

    Broadway Review: 'Ink' With Jonny Lee Miller

    Garish, lurid and brash, “Ink,” the British import now on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production, is the theatrical equivalent of its subject, the UK’s Daily Sun — the newspaper that reshaped British journalism and propelled Rupert Murdoch’s ascent to media mogul. Like the tabloid, it feels unsubstantial, rushed and icky. You can’t say [...]

  • All My Sons review

    London Theater Review: 'All My Sons' With Sally Field, Bill Pullman

    If “All My Sons” is showing its age, it sure shows no signs of abating. Just days after a major revival opened on Broadway, moving Annette Bening and Tracy Letts into the Tony zone, up the play pops in London. The Old Vic has arguably secured the starrier cast, too: Bill Pullman and Sally Field [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

  • Kelli O'Hara

    Listen: How Kelli O'Hara Brings #MeToo to 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    “Kiss Me, Kate” is one of the best-known titles in musical theater. But in this day and age, the “Taming of the Shrew”-inspired comedy’s depiction of the gender dynamic seems downright, well, problematic. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Kelli O’Hara is well aware of that, and so were her collaborators on the Roundabout Theatre [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content