Theatre Nerds contributor Ashli Meynert caught up with the marvelously talented and all around awesome Luba Mason before her next big gig at Feinstein’s 54 Below this week. Check out what she had to share about her work as an actress on Broadway.
TN: What Is Your Pre Show Ritual?
Luba: “Voice scale warm up, 20 minute meditation, and a workout/ stretch….always always stretch!”
TN: What’s the Hardest Thing You Have Ever Had to Do On Stage?
Luba: Lucy Harris in Jeykll & Hyde- “It was the rolling down the stage and falling off the lip of the stage when Hyde kicks me that was hard. The first month I was so full of bruises until I finally got the knack of how to die correctly without hurting myself.”
TN: What’s Your Dream Role?
Luba: “I would LOVE to play Miranda Priestly in the upcoming musical “Devil Wears Prada. How great is that to play a juicy villain!! I know it’s still a kings way off from being written but I’m just puttin’ it out there!!!”
Hedy LaRue (How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying). Lucy Harris. (Jeykll & Hyde) Velma Kelly (Chicago). These are just three of Luba Mason’s big roles on Broadway and she is returning to play Georgina Congress once again on February 21, 2017 at 54 Below for the album release concert of “Pretty Filthy.” The show is a humorous take on the porn industry with music by Michael Friedman and give Mason two major theatre awards for Best Supporting Actress.
Growing up, Mason lived and breathed music between studying classical piano, taking voice and ballet lessons as well as singing in two church choirs. It was when she saw the 1974 musical “The Magic Show” that she knew Broadway was the way to go. “It literally was magical.”
Her first Broadway role came in 1987 when she was in the four day run of a show called “Late Nite Comic” by Brian Gari and Allan Knee. “It got horrible reviews.” she says, looking back. “But I had accomplished my goal- to be on Broadway one day and that was a big deal because my parents didn’t think I could do it. On opening night, my father had tears in his eyes.”
Mason’s parents have influenced a large part of her career, even if they didn’t think she would make it to Broadway. As immigrants from Slovakia, Mason’s parents would play Slovak Folk music around the house, in addition to classical music which is what both Mason and her sister studied in at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. These influences, plus her husband’s Latin music background, helped her create her album Mixtura. The album is a mix of music genres, making it difficult to get the music played on mainstream radio. “When it came to playing the album on the radio or getting a reviewer to review it, who would I get to do it… a jazz reviewer? A pop reviewer? A world music reviewer? This was the tough part- marketing it!”
The most impressive part of Mason’s life as a Broadway actress, however, has to come from her work in Panama. During her run in “Chicago”, Mason gained a new fan in the First Lady of Panama who invited her to participate in a rehabilitation program for their women’s prison. Mason gave the women master classes in acting, singing, and even taught them parts of the choreography from Chicago. “These women were so grateful, curious, and mesmerized by everything I did and said. The class gave them an outlet for just the two hours I worked with them. It was so rewarding and such a gift for me to do this for the 100 or so women in that room.” Mason has also taught classes at the Panama Jazz Festival while debuting her second cd ‘Krazy Love”, a Brazilian Jazz album.
“We are all spoiled here in the States of all opportunities this country gives us and that is why giving back to countries that are not as fortunate is such a high for me.”
Mason’s efforts in this project are an example of the power of theatre in the world. She is not only talented but also kind and generous. Let’s all take a leaf out of her book!
Learn more about Luba @ http://lubamason.com/