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INTERVIEW: LaChanze On "The Feeling Good Tour," Her Idol Diana Ross, The Hamptons, And More

T.J. Clemente

LaChanze is performing at Bay Street as part of the Music Mondays series. (Courtesy Photo)

Interviewing LaChanze is a unique opportunity to confer with someone who already has accomplished so much in her career and yet without a doubt will be accomplishing so much more. Her charm, he poise, her confidence along with her talent has her career trajectory aimed extremely high. I will go on record to say; many more great moments are in her future.

LaChanze already is a Tony and Emmy Award Winner. She will take her talent to the Bay Street Stage on Monday, August 5th at 8 PM with what she called, "A sort of one-woman musical with singing and dancing." Her most recent 2018 Tony Award nomination was for the Best Lead Actress in a Musical category for playing the lead in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. LaChanze's theatre credits are vast, including The Color Purple (2006 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Lady in Musical), Once On This Island (nominations include Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle), Ragtime, Company, Uptown... It's Hot, and If/Then.

When I asked her at what age did she know that had a special talent, LaChanze said, "It had to be when I was twelve-years-old and I was dancing in a school show and the teacher kept asking me to move to the front, then to move to the center. Eventually they were asking me to sing and dance and be the lead in the school plays."

So I asked her who was her idol, who did she look up to? She answered, "Diana Ross. I loved Diana Ross and I feel she was a much better actress than people gave her credit for." Then she added, "But there is also someone not too many people know about, her name is Lola Falana. She was a dancer and a singer and she was one of the first to have her own TV variety show."

Then I asked LaChanze what was her proudest achievement in show business so far? Without missing a beat, she replied, "It had to be my work in the movie, The Color Purple, because I helped to create some of the music. In workshops we built the characters and I enjoyed helping by creating some of the words to the songs especially the song I'm Here."

So with success and fame there are special moments in a career. I asked LaChanze what was one of hers? She paused and firmly said, "It was being on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She made me feel just as valuable as she is. She has a way of making every single person feel special and I like that about her. She is an extraordinary woman."

I asked her what she hopes her career moving forward includes? She said, "I am working on transitioning from theater into television. Although I just completed, The Secret Life of Bees, in Atlantic City that they are taking to London. The plan is for me to go to London before it returns to Broadway but right now I am really concentrating on building up my television resume. My team is open to finding the right television role for me."

Finally, I asked her about what she loves the most about the East End of Long Island? I loved her genuine reply. LaChanze said, "It is one of the most peaceful places that I have ever been to. It is very cosmopolitan. It's like living in the country but also like living in Manhattan at the same time. You still get the sophistication of living in the city but you also get the peace of living on Long Island so you truly get the best of both worlds."

Tickets to LaChanze: The Feeling Good Tour start at $79.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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