Tenacious multi-talent Cyndi Lauper keeps improving with age
She could have coasted on the signature Betty Boop-style delivery of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” But Cyndi Lauper’s independent streak proves she’s a big girl with a big voice. And a bigger career than people give her credit for.
This year, Lauper made some interesting additions to her resume: a Broadway debut in “Threepenny Opera,” directing a TV commercial and stealing
the show at the Closing Ceremonies of Gay Games VII in Chicago. But she’s just getting started, and the 53-year-old diva isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Last year, Lauper released “The Body Acoustic,” which flexed her skills at cover songs. And because she’s been so busy on the Great White Way and sticking her toes into new cultural waters, the “Body Acoustic” tour went on sabbatical. Leg 2 swings into the Lakewood Theater on Friday. She recently gave us the lowdown on her seemingly tireless career.
You’re finally a Broadway baby. How does that feel?
I got one down. It was a different kind of experience. Most of the production was non-traditional. Scott Elliott, the director of “Threepenny,” didn’t choose typical Broadway people. It was Alan Cumming in the lead; Nellie McKay was Polly; and I was Jenny. He had a lot of people famous for other things. But Alan is famous for Broadway and the movies.
The opportunity to do Kurt Weill only comes along once in a great while. And now I don’t want to leave Broadway.
You’re also a director, who recently made a TV commercial for Hasbro’s “Trivial Pursuit: Totally ’80s Edition.” Is your next challenge tackling independent film?
Of course. I love film: When you hear the camera rolling, it’s almost like a very peaceful experience.
As an actor, when you step into a frame, it’s kind of extraordinary because you are putting a whole world on a piece of film. When you’re directing, you get to watch it happen. For me, the commercial was supposed to be a comedy. I like funny commercials. I thought it would incredible to have Charlotte Rae breakdance. Lou Ferrigno was working on the Rubik’s Cube with his mental prowess. All of the actors, like Philip Michael Thomas and Charlene Tilton, are definitely an untapped reservoir. The camera just eats them up. Everybody had a little something.
Is it true that you next album will be in a dance-music vein?
Some of it will. But mostly, I think, songs are important. But I don’t think I can have a complete dance album. That would drive me a little crazy. I’m not a great dancer, anyway. I love the clubs, and I go there all the time. I love rhythm. But I would always be mixing rock in it. That’s what I do.
Since you’re a mom, have you ever considered doing an album for children?
I don’t know. We had to listen to Raffi over and over again. But then other people started doing stuff for children, and I thought that was really great. No, I don’t really want to do a lot of stuff for children. My son is more into rockers. He looks like a little rocker.
You’re not even finished with your current tour, but you’re already kicking up another one called “True Colors” where you’ll pair up with Erasure frontman Andy Bell.
We’re going to do that next summer. I wanted to do something with all of the Gay Prides. We could go all over the country and have a blast. I just did P-town Carnival in Provincetown. That was a riot. It’s good to do these things in the right order, so you can actually celebrate with people.
SHE-BOPPING IN BIG D
Cyndi Lauper visits Dallas for an intimate gig at the Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway. Sept. 29. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $55-$75. 214-373-8000.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 29, 2006.