Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lucie Arnaz!

“If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything! It only means you do not have all the information you need to make a good decision. And then, when you DO make your mind up, go through a mountain if you have to to see it through.”
Desi Arnaz

 Happy Wednesday!
 Hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of 2011. On Saturday, I'll be giving a recap of the shows I enjoyed this year. My year began at Feinstein's on January 5th and I've kept the music flowing all year! And I'm happy to say that I'm starting next year off at Feinstein's as well...this time, with Lucie Arnaz!
I've written about Lucie in the past. Go to my blog and do a search for Lucie. Yes, I'm a fan. I've been a fan since I used to watch her on Monday nights in Here's Lucy. Available through Amazon.

Lucie, Karen Ludwig, and Katie Luckinbill, Photo by Linda Lenzi

LUCIE ARNAZ has had an extremely diversified career spanning over forty-five years in show business. 

She has starred on the New York stage in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG (Theatre World, LA Drama Critic’s and Outer Critic’s Circle Awards), LOST IN YONKERS, and DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, GRACE AND GLORIE; in the London premiere of THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK; in the Coconut Grove Playhouse premieres of ONCE REMOVED and A PICASSO; in First National companies of SEESAW, WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?, SOCIAL SECURITY, and MY ONE AND ONLY (Sarah Siddons Award); and in regional theatres in WONDERFUL TOWN, MASTER CLASS, CABARET, THE GUARDSMAN, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, I DO! I DO!, EDUCATING RITA, VANITIES, and MACK AND MABEL to name just a few.
Photo: courtesy of Lucie

But today I have an exclusive interview with Lucie! I'm ecstatic!  Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

Let's start at the beginning...
The first LIVE show that Lucie remembers seeing is a filming of an I LOVE LUCY episode in Hollywood.  Live audience, three cameras on film. After that, she remembers being in NYC with her mother in 1960 when Lucille Ball was starring in WILDCAT, and going to see several Broadway shows, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS starring Carol Burnett, THE MUSIC MAN starring Robert Preston and THE MIRACLE WORKER starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.  Can’t remember which she saw first.


Lucie was already putting on little theatre plays in her backyard before she moved to NY. She says she has had a deep seated passion for LIVE theatre for as long as she can remember and an enormous respect for the people who do this job eight times a week.

 Lucie says the greatest gifts she received from her parents was their joy in the work they did. "Seeing the pleasure there was in working hard at something that you love doing and that can make others feel better and maybe even learn something in the process."

Delores Arnaz, Lucy, Desi, Dede, Lucie

Well, not counting The Proscenium Players in Lucie's backyard, her first time on stage was Immaculate Heart High School's production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Freshman year, she auditioned for and got the part of The Cheshire Cat. She remember the audition was pretty much just how wide she could smile!!! She was loud and she got a lot of laughs. She was hooked.

Lucie's first professional job was working on THE LUCY SHOW in a small part opposite her mother, Lucille Ball. She was eleven! Her character was Lucy’s daughter, Chris’s, pal at the soda shop where Chris worked. 
Her name was “Cynthia”. The episode was called, THE SODA JERK.

Lucie's thoughts on Arts in Education.

One of the most important issues facing our world today. Working in The Arts helps kids to express themselves, work through anxieties and fears, process pain and anger issues and improves their self esteem. Without any kind of art we are creating powder kegs waiting to explode.

Imagine life without art..................

No music. No painting. No dance. No photography. No beautiful architecture. No poetry. No books. No entertainment anywhere. No self expression. That will be the world we live in if we don’t figure out how to afford to keep ARTS in our schools and raise our children with it everyday. It’s the end of a great society if we don’t.

Lucie's thoughts on Carol Channing (ALL of my blogs honor Carol)

Carol Channing has been an enormous font of pure enthusiasm and joy on this planet. She was the first person I ever knew who seemed to LOVE everyone she met. She was one of the first practitioners of preventative medicine through healthy eating habits that I ever knew and she was religious about it. She is truly a one of a kind type of spirit. There cannot be another like her. She has an hysterical sense of comedy and a seemingly ceaseless energy to perform. She is a national treasure.

(On a side note, Long before I performed as Carol, Lucille Ball did! Take a look!)

Carol Channing, Tommy Tune, Lucie Arnaz, CeCe Black
I’m campaigning for Carol Channing to receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor in 2012. If you agree that she should receive this honor, can you say why you think this should happen.

It is an embarrassment that someone like Carol Channing has been overlooked this long in receiving certain awards, especially something like a Kennedy Center Honor. There are only a few real legends left and she certainly should have been acknowledged for her work long before this.

Perhaps it is because her worldwide popularity is due to a great deal to only one show, HELLO DOLLY!. But, certainly, less accomplished performers have received this acknowledgement. Her time is due.

Lucie's most recent appearances these days has been primarily in the concert arena. She is performing her concerts ....

[ANOTHER Carol Channing influence:  Lucie used to say her “nightclub act”, until Tommy Tune told him that Carol Channing said to him, “Oh, NO, Tommy Tune (she always calls him by his full name) you mustn’t call what we do a ‘nightclub act’, it’s a CONCERT!!!!”) (pronounced “Caaaahn- shirt”).....

Photo credit: Glen Charlow
So, Lucie's most recent Caaahn-shirt was the performing in “BABALU”, the show she produced in celebration of The Music of The Desi Arnaz Orchestra. It was at The Library of Congress on October 15, 2011, starring along side Raul Esparza, Valarie Pettiford, Lucie's brother, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Papo Pepin and Ron Abel conducting a 16 piece band!

Lucie's upcoming show at Feinstein’s is entitled LATIN ROOTS and is a celebration of the music she grew up with a decidedly Latin bent. 
Her new CD is called LATIN ROOTS and she will be performing as many of the tunes from it as they can in a small venue like the beautiful Feinstein’s at The Regency Hotel. Due to BABALU and other work she has been involved in, she has not performed her own Caaaaahn-shirts in NYC for a couple of years and has not been at Feinstein’s since before she went to London to star in The Witches of Eastwick (2000). 
She believes she was only the third person to play this classy new club. Famed manager, Allen Sviridoff, created it so his clients, Michael Feinstein and Rosemary Clooney, would have an elegant room to perform in in New York City. She played there for two full weeks and she loved every minute. She can’t wait to go back.

January weekend is traditionally a difficult sell for people who may have just cleaned out their wallets for the holidays, but it is selling order your tickets today! I have a very special offer for readers of this blog! Keep reading!!
It’s a very exciting weekend to be there, as the annual Association of Performing

ArtsPresenters (APAP) convention is in town and all of the people who book shows like Lucie's will be able to come and see what she  does.

Lucie's longtime favorite musical director and arranger, Ron Abel, will be heading her combo and they have hired some of the finest musicians around. Steve Samuel is flying in from Austin, Texas to play drums. Brian Nalepka, of Manhattan Rhythm Kings fame, will be on bass and the wonderful Roger Squitero on Percussion. It’ll be a very eclectic set with Ron Abel and Billy Stritch arrangements cozied up with some original Desi Arnaz charts, a favorite new Ron Abel/Chuck Steffan love song and a song Lucie has waited years to perform that her father wrote for my mother. This material provides Lucie with some of the most fun she says she has had on stage. I hope my readers will feel the urge to go and party with them. It’s January 5 thru the 8th, (five shows only!) And Feinstein’s has lowered their normal cover charge to $40 for Lucie, (plus a low $25 food/drink minimum). It’s a pretty good deal on an elegant evening out.

Sat and Sun Jan 7 and 8th  shows, must mention code LUCY12 when making reservation!
 $35.00 cover, no fees
one drink minimum
taxes apply.

Don Buford with Laurence Luckinbill and Lucie Arnaz
at the 1993 EMMY Awards
in Los Angeles
Lucie considers her biggest success in show business the fact that she is still being able to make a living at it after 45 years. And, being able to move from medium to medium (TV, Film, Stage, Producing, Editing, Writing, Lecturing) and have some success at each. She has diversified her portfolio quite a bit in the last 40+ years and, although some of her audience might think she fell off the planet years ago (her words, not mine!), she has had the opportunity to learn so many different trades and even perfect a few. She is also very proud of her EMMY for producing and directing Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (1993).

Photo credit: Glen Charlow
Lucie's lowest low and how did she surpassed that?

with Michelle Lee, Ron Abel, Keith Dodge, Nolan Miller, Joel Briskin, and Gary Pudney (Photo credit: Shira Greenberg,
Career wise, thankfully, it really hasn’t happened yet. Personally, it was when her business partner and closest friend, Kieth Dodge, committed suicide on December 13, 2005 (St. Lucy’s Feast Day, thank you very much!). He was suffering from AIDS related depression and a lack of faith that he could be returned to his previous health. He was very close to Lucie's kids. He was Lucie's daughter’s godfather and all of them took a big hit from that.

Lucie recovered with the help of her friends Jon Giswold, Marc Raboy, Kate McAleer, medium, John Edward, prolific composer, Broadway conductor and Thought Exchange guru, David Friedman, and Rev. Shawn Moninger plus the principals that she subsequently learned through UNITY, a life changing, non denominational new thought group started by Charles and Mrytle Fillmore in 1889.

What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?

Less TV shows about murders and how they were committed. (I say AMEN to that!)

Who are your TOP FIVE models and influences as an artist?

Can’t separate the artist from the person. So, other than watching my folks at work and at play, many people have shaped my professional abilities AND my spiritual soul. My first “mother”, Willie Mae Barker, my grandmother, Dede Ball, my step mother, Edie Arnaz, my Proscenium Players girlfriends, Susie Meyer, Alice Brittingham, Cindy Barnes Shoemaker and Amy Appleton, my first drama teacher, Sister Doule’, Vivian Vance, David Craig, Michael Bennett, Tommy Tune, agent Eric Schepard, Judy Gibson, June Havoc, Ron Abel, Tana Sibilio, Arthur Joseph, Maida Webster, Pat Colluci-Corrit, my husband Larry Luckinbill and the love of our five children. (I know there are about 20 more)

What do you think ultimately made you desire to go into this business?

The fun of playing make believe and the excitement of the high wire act of live performing.

Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?

I am having the time of my life. I want nothing more than to keep doing exactly what I am doing. Just a lot more of it.

Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?

I never set out to do a damn thing except enjoy my work, so I guess the answer would be YES..... and then some.

What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?

Take a deep breath, let it all out and then keep swallowing until you need to breathe again. 
(It works for real hiccups, too!!!)

That and to simply ask Spirit, “Tell me what to think about this.” Unity tip. It never fails to give me a useful answer.

If you had all the money in the world...that you needed...would you continue working ?

Absolutely. No question.

A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?

1) All people are kind to one another from this moment forward. 
2) All people are kind to one another from this moment forward. 
3) All people are kind to one another from this moment forward.

If you could travel anywhere in the world and spend some time there, where would you choose, and what would you do?
I can, and I have. And still, I would choose to simply travel deeper and deeper into ME. It’s like Journey To The Center of The Earth, or The Fantastic Voyage. You never really get to the bottom and you never get board with what you find. I like to be with true friends and share stories about our lives and learn from them. And I can do that anytime, right in my own backyard.
The Luckinbill Family!

Please join me at Feinstein's on January 8th! I guarantee a great time!

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you Lucie for the gifts you give to the world! Thank you, to all the entertainers mentioned in this blog! Thank you Glen with help with some of the photos!
I love you ALL!! 

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


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                             Tomorrow's blog will be...YOU TELL ME! I'M OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!


Richard Skipper,

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Harry Kullijian 


  1. Richard~
    What a NICE tribute to Lucie. Love the photos too.
    xoxo Amy

  2. Richard - A beautiful tribute to a very talented lady who has brought a great deal of pleasure to audiences all over the world. I had the good fortune to see her on B'Way in "They're Playing Our Song" and sat there with my mouth open throughout, she was that great. So glad she is enjoying her career just as her audience enjoys her.
    Paul Brogan