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Camille Saviola raises the barre, still crazy

October 5, 2010

Camille Saviola debuted on Broadway alongside Raul Julia in “Nine” in which she portrayed Mama Maddelena. Nearly two decades later, she was asked to put on a sort of cabaret show on September 9, 2009 at 9pm in honor of the film version of “Nine.”

“That hooked me. It was really successful, oversold and crazy.” She’s about to go on stage again at Show at Barre in Los Angeles. “This one is called Ancora Pazzo! (Italian for “Still Crazy!”) I wrote an opening song that I translated into Italian through my computer translation software.”

She’s not sure the grammar is one hundred percent correct.  

“I’m such an arrangement freak. Gerry [music director Gerald Sternbach] and I sit around and hash it out. We think ‘What did a song mean then? What does it mean now?’ We create hybrids of songs like with Gershwin’s Prelude No. 1 with [the spiritual] Wade in the Water and Bob Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody.”  

Saviola, who also created the role of Emma Goldman in the original production of Ragtime, takes great joy from reinventing songs. “I’m doing Soliloquy from Carousel, which is sung by Billy Bigelow. He’s got a reputation as a loser, you know. This is an opportunity for him to ‘get it right’. I’m exploring whether he has good intentions.” It’s questionable. “I mean, after all, he knocked her up.” 

Sternbach and Saviola know each other from the early 1980s when Saviola was in Nine. “He was on Tap Dance Kid [a Broadway musical based on the novel Nobody’s Family is Going to Change]. He’s my Jewish brother from another mother. He’s done my solo show, my theatrical piece. We challenge each other and we grow. We respect each other.”

And performing in front of people in this format “is like a high wire act. This is what keeps you in the game, challenges like this.” 

It’s old school cabaret for a new age, Saviola explains. “Jokes, characters, songs. It’s new for younger people. It’s invigorating for them because it has point of view, which you don’t often find when someone performs. This is my corner of the world and I get a chance to share my crazy. A kind of transformation takes place, even if it’s for an hour-fifteen. It’s important,” she adds, “for the humanity to come through. The show’s a blend of comedy and social consciousness in the guise of entertainment. I’m an old hippie, a showbiz diva, you know. We need a little more social consciousness, don’t you think?”

Camille Saviola performs Friday, October 8, 2010, 9pm at SHOW AT BARRE 1714 N. Vermont, Los Angeles. Tickets $25 in advance (online only) or at the door on the day of the show, if available. Advance ticket buyers receive priority seating. 

Camille’s many theatrical credits include the original workshop, Broadway production and national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Nine. She created the role of Emma Goldman in the original production of Ragtime. South Pacific (Bloody Mary) (NYC Opera), Harvey Fierstein’s, Spookhouse, Angry Housewives, her one-woman shows, A Vaudeville and Secrets of the Lava Lamp (Manhattan Theatre Club), She played Mama Morton in the Broadway revival of Chicago, co-starred with Chita Rivera in The House of Bernarda Alba at The Mark Taper Forum (LADCC Award, BSW/Garland Award), Zorba @ Reprise! 9 The Leader, BSW/Garland and LADCC Awards for performance), Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony (Mountainview Center for the Performing Arts) and the title role in Mother Courage and her Children (Theater @ Boston Court). Films include Betsy’s Wedding, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Stuart Saves the Family and Nitelife (Cable Ace Award for Best Supporting Actress). TV credits include: Star Trek: DS9 (Kai Opaka), Friends, JAG, Some of My Best Friends, Judging Amy, First Monday and most recently, Nip/Tuck, Without A Trace, Saving Grace. She plays Turtle’s mother in HBO’s hit series ENTOURAGE. She teaches theater performance and writing music is one of her favorite passions. At present, she is working on a modern opera and a solo CD.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jhenehan permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:40 am

    Camille is DIVALICIOUS!

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