Lillias White Is A Natural Show Stopper

Lillias White.jpg

Lillias White is someone who knows how to stop a show — and she did just that in her Tony Award-winning performance in the Cy Coleman musical The Life. Ditto for her Tony-nominated role in Fela! and her Obie-winning role in Romance in Hard Times. Of course, there was the moment when she gave the song “The Brotherhood of Man” that gospel-soar in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Still don’t believe me? Then YouTube her benefit performance in Funny Girl when she brings down the house singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” after which you might be saying, “Barbra who?”

White will be bringing her concert show to the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk on Nov. 4.

“This show is going to be a lot of fun,” says White, who many will know from her Emmy-winning role as Rhonda the pink singing squirrel on Sesame Street. (She was also Fat Annie in the Netflix series The Get Down.)

Her show will include a tribute to Aretha Franklin. “She was very influential to me growing up in Brooklyn,” White says. “My mother would buy me 45s and her albums. I didn’t know at the time what technique was, but she certainly gave me insight into how a voice works and also how an interpretation of a song can be so moving.”

She says as a youngster she was encouraged to sing by her family — especially by her grandmother and her aunt, Lillias, who performed with the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show.

“I was her baby. She would dress me up and after a Sunday dinner, the family would clear the table and my grandmother would put me up on on the dining room table and that would be my stage.