Still Doing It for Love

Special Features   Still Doing It for Love
Chatting with Beauty of the Father star, Tony Award winner Priscilla Lopez.
Priscilla Lopez
Priscilla Lopez

Federico Garcia Lorca, who was born in 1898 and was murdered by the Falangists of Francisco Franco in a field on the outskirts of Granada, Spain, in August 1936, wanders in and out of a play by Nilo Cruz called Beauty of the Father that's set in a small town near Granada in the summer of 1998.

Lorca is perceived only by a man named Emiliano, whose daughter, the 25-year-old Marina, has just arrived from the United States following the death of her mother, Emiliano's embittered ex-wife. Also on the scene is a young Arab named Karim — a dealer in perfumes — who has been Emiliano's bedmate but now falls in love with the girl from America. Finally, with emphasis, there's Paquita the housekeeper, who, for the sake of her employer, whom she loves, has married young Karim so he can stay in the country and keep Emiliano happy.

"Convolutions!" says Priscilla Lopez, the vivacious actress who plays Paquita in the Manhattan Theatre Club production at New York's City Center. "Convolutions! I don't mean it in a negative way. Don't hold me to that word. Because, as they say, reality is so much more convoluted than anything you see on screen or stage."

No, she's never personally known anybody with the particular sexual permutations above — "but I've lived a very boring life." One husband, one son, one daughter, one house in New Jersey.

Oh, I've known some of it thirdhand, but have never really been involved. Many years ago my shrink said there was no such thing as bisexuality, but I don't know — if you start asexual, and then go to 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours,' and then take the next step to homosexuality, why not the next step — bisexuality?" Once upon a time a Bronx-born, Brooklyn-raised Priscilla Lopez in her early twenties won everyone's hearts singing "What I Did for Love" in Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line. Does she still do it — do what a performer does, Off-Broadway in particular — for love?

"Yeah, you have to. No money."

The daughter of the banquet foreman of the New York Hilton began, back before A Chorus Line, in the chorus lines of four Broadway shows. "Then I looked at the principals, and I said [swiping another song from A Chorus Line], 'I can do that!'" She did it well enough to win a Tony Award for her 1980 performance in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, well enough to re-create a spunky Frida Kahlo in Off-Broadway's The Passion of Frida Kahlo in 1999 and well enough to play the mother in the 2003 Broadway production of Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer-winning drama of cigar-making Cuban exiles in Florida. Which led to this. Lorca would approve.

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