Character actress/singer Vicki Lewis is a favorite with TV and theatre audiences alike, perhaps most recognized as Larry David's producing partner from Cable's hilarious Curb Your Enthusiasm. When we spoke, she was starting rehearsals with Reprise for their next production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opening May 11 at the Freud @ UCLA.
Q: Tell me about the character you're playing in How to Succeed...
Smitty - tough cookie with a heart of gold - my favorite kind of musical comedy character.
Q: You were great in the shortened version of Promises, Promises two years ago in the S.T.A.G.E. benefit honoring Burt Bacharach. Talk a little about S.T.A.G.E.
Something magical happens at S.T.A.G.E. Each year a very generous,talented group of actors come together to raise money for aids. David (Galligan)works selflessly for the cause, he's absolutely brilliant, his humor is infectious, and he inspires. Thusly the productions are infused with a lot of passion and heart.
Q: David Galligan has talked about possibly doing an abridged version of Funny Girl with you at S.T.A.G.E. Tell me about that.
That is a dream of mine to do Funny Girl with Galligan.
Q: What have you been up to recently and what's next after How to Succeed...?
I just finished filming Den Brother for Disney, which will be released in 2011. This summer I am playing Mama Rose in Gypsy at North Shore.
Q: You're a busy gal! Who are your favorite performers?
Judy Garland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elaine Stritch. They all share gut wrenching honesty, pathos, vulnerability and they step out of their vanity and allow themselves to be unattractive - incredibly brave.
Q: Do you enjoy working in musical comedy the most?
I do. I love working in film and television, but there's always a part of me that's waiting for the song - it feels as if there's something missing.
Q: What is your favorite role?
Mama Rose. I did the production last year with Marcia Milgrim Dodge ( an incredibly inspired director) - there's a strength, a rage, a broken quality to her that is very fulfilling to perform.
Q: You also have some exciting news to share, correct?
My debut solo album East Of Midnight will be available on itunes in May.
Vicki Lewis is a stellar character actress/comedienne. Don't miss her in How to Succeed in Business... for Reprise Theatre Company opening May 11 at the Freud.