Interview With….Lorna Dallas

The singer chatted to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about bringing her  latest show to London. 

(c)Kevin Alvey.

Hi Lorna, thank you so much for talking to me. How are you feeling about returning to London?  Thank you, Emma!  I feel ab fab…Fabulous!  London is really my home….I had decided to stay here when my run in Show Boat ended…and my heart is here!  I feel that you are “open” to more adventurous music and shows here….and London has always been welcoming to me!  I cannot wait to get back here to sing!

What do you love the most about performing in London? First of all, I love Crazy Coqs!!!!  I have some wonderful friends and fans who come to my shows….and it is always great to see them!  I love the whole buzz of the music scene in London!  It is heartening that there are more rooms now in London for cabaret which is an “art”!!!!  It isn’t just standing there singing some songs you “like” or think it’s what the audience wants to hear.  I have been so fortunate to have worked with some wonderful artists here like Dame Cleo Laine!  God Love her!  I learned so much from her!  Dame Judi Dench inspires me with anything and everything she does…and what a beautiful soul!

What can audiences expect from your new show ‘Stages’? I want them to go on the “journey” with me…lots of new material….old songs with new twists and treatments and new songs to whet their appetites for new writers and new thoughts.  I very rarely repeat material unless it is a song which moves a thought forward in my show…or is necessary to “propel” the story line along.  I love it when audiences think they know what I might sing…and then find it is totally different….and perhaps even more revealing.   It is an adventure to go through this show…well, it is for me!

Was it difficult to come up with a programme of songs that you wanted to perform this time around? Oh yes!  I have a great “Team Dallas” consisting of my longtime director, Barry Kleinbort, and musical director, Chris Denny.  I write down notes about various instances in life or something I want to relate….then I sit with Barry for hours going through these thoughts…then with both Barry and Chris going through music which is relatable and also relevant to my stories…and yes, songs I DO want to sing!  Needless to say, they both will come up with material that is new to me and then it is all the more exciting in working out new arrangements and how those songs work when all pieced together in the jigsaw that becomes the total picture of the show.  Every song has a rhyme and reason to be sung and in the show.  Wheeeeeee!  It becomes so exhilarating!  In my head, the show is a one act play…with music. 

From what I have read, it sounds like ‘Stages’ will have a sense of nostalgia about it – is that how you see the show? Of course, there is a sense of nostalgia in everything….as I don’t think you can sing about loss unless you have suffered it…you can’t sing about love unless you have truly felt it, you can’t imagine humor unless you have opened yourself to it…that is life in a nutshell.  Shall we say it is the “rhythm of life”? I think my art has grown through life’s experiences…both good and bad….and I can now sing with more “authority” because of that.  I hope to touch people in a way that they can feel perhaps a healing if they have suffered loss…to make them laugh one moment and then in the very next moment perhaps cry.  I just want people to sit back and enjoy….because I will be enjoying it!  I have always said that when I stop enjoying singing, then I will quit because then I am not being truthful with an audience. 

After your show in London – what is next in store for you? I hope to repeat the show on both sides of the Pond….and perhaps record it.  I also have a wonderful Novello/Kern show which was the basis of my album The Girl I Knew.  Again with my  “Team Dallas”….and we re-opened Jermyn Street Theatre with it several years ago.  It is a two act show…and I would dearly love to repeat that ANYWHERE!  I am an absolute Novello freak!  We succeeded in making Novello “fresh” and opening young eyes to his music.  I also want to have more new songs from young writers…both sides of the Pond! Of course, I would dearly love to be in the West End again…working with new songwriters and exploring new roles. I would dearly love to do more straight roles…not to be pigeon-holed  as a soprano….and just explore every avenue of the theatre and this art.  Am I asking too much?  No, just give me the follow spot…the boards to trod….and the words to say….and “let me entertain you”…and hopefully, “we’ll all have a real good time!”

By Emma Clarendon

Lorna Dallas will perform ‘Stages’ at the Crazy Coqs on the 6th March.

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