Arnaz Brings Musical Reflection To Jamestown

Lucie Arnaz performs musical numbers from her past theatre performances Saturday. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

“It only took 30 years, but … (the National Comedy Center) is here,” Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball, bellowed Saturday night during a performance of her touring musical show, “I Got the Job: Songs From My Musical Past.”

This year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival brought Arnaz into Jamestown during her east coast tour of her show, which features musical numbers and stories from the various theatre productions Arnaz has been a part of.

She made last evening’s show local and personal, comparing Journey Gunderson, executive director of the comedy center, and Tom Benson, chairman of the comedy center, to her mother and father, Desi Arnaz, respectively.

Arnaz said Gunderson reminded her of Ball because of the bravery they have displayed to do things that had never been done before. Benson, like her father, she said, knew how to get the right people together to make something extraordinary happen.

Reflecting on her previous roles, Arnaz shared with the Willow Bay Theater audience that show business had given her the chance to be an actress, singer, director and even an acrobat. Her opening number highlighted how not all professions offer people the chance to do something they love while also being applauded for it.

An “audience that lifts you when you’re down” was something Arnaz showed her appreciation for in song. Accompanied alongside her musical director Ron Abel, who played piano during Arnaz’s performance, she dove into her earlier work, much to the excitement of the audience who showed they knew her history well with frequent applause at every mention of a musical title or co-star’s name.

“I love me some Jamestown,” Arnaz said. She later sang, “To be more specific, Jamestown is terrific as long as they’re playing my song.”

Arnaz said she first tried to prove her future stardom by lip syncing “Bye Bye Birdie” when she was little. She remembered her mother constructing a small theater for her in their garage in Beverly Hills. She would later realize her passion at Immaculate Heart High School in their drama department. Arnaz would not get the lead roles, at least not yet, as she wasn’t a soprano.

She then showed off how she likes to interpret songs in different ways. Arnaz reminded the audience she transitioned from playing the daughter of Ball on “Here’s Lucy” to performing in musicals like “Seesaw” and “Get Your Gun” in the 1970s.

Arnaz made her Broadway debut in “They’re Playing Our Song” as Sonia Walsk, a lyricist who starts to form a relationship with a composer as they’re working together. Arnaz performed one of the numbers from the musical, “I Still Believe in Love,” at a point in which her character has gone through much hardship, only to still believe her relationship can work.

“When one star dies, another says hello,” Arnaz sang.

She continued performing numbers from her past and brought up other shows including “The Witches of Eastwick” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”