Our candid conversation with Broadway and movie star Priscilla Lopez revealed a lot about her childhood, her favorite moments, what makes her most proud. Currently starring in the revival of “Pippin”, the Bronx-born Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress is best known for her breakout role in the long-running Broadway show, “A Chorus Line”. A graduate of Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts, Lopez has been gracing the stage and movie screen for over forty years. These are some of the questions we just had to ask this Latina icon.
What's your best childhood memory?
“The first one that pops into my head is living with my grandparents. When my younger brother was born, he was the last of four, and my mother just couldn’t handle everything so she shipped me off to my grandparent’s house in the Bronx. I spent about a year there. It was great, I loved it, I was the princess, and had the run of the house and didn’t have to compete with my siblings.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“A movie star!! When I was very little, I started taking dancing lessons, and I grew up in New York and so it was theatre, so I went that route. My first thing was watching all those musicals on TV and going to the movies. When I was a little girl, I just wanted to be in that world. I wanted to break the TV, and climb inside it.”
What's your favorite food?
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“Tostones. I love Puerto Rican food.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Not being healthy. That I would have something that would stop me from living my life.“
Tell us your favorite book.
“I love historical novels. I remember I loved reading ‘Exodus’, I wanted at that time to run away to a kibbutz, which made me laugh, imagine a Puerto Rican girl wanting to run away to a Kibbutz and ride a white horse through the dessert.”
What’s it like to prepare every day for your current role as Berthe in “Pippin”?
“Every day you wake up and say I have to do a show tonight. So it colors everything you do. What you eat, where you go, how long you stay up. All that stuff goes into it. It’s 24/7. My husband says it’s like a plane that never lands…You just can’t go to the beach and hang out in the beach for five hours and think you are going to do a show that night, or go hiking because it just takes so much energy.”
What are you most proud of in both your personal/professional life?
I am proud of the fact that I have been married for forty-two years, to the same person, and that we have worked very hard to keep our relationship and our family together and functioning, and I have two beautiful children that I am so happy to have in my life. I think it is very important in this business, any business, to have those values and your family. People in your life are what count. And professionally that I have been able to stick to this crazy profession, and commit to it, and want to do it and continue to do it, and find success and enjoyment in it.”
What's your funniest onstage moment?
“Peeing on stage. I got hysterical doing a death scene, and thankfully I was just in the chorus in the ensemble, but something very funny happened, and I just got hysterical, and you know when you are not supposed to laugh it becomes even funnier and more ridiculous, so I just peed.”
And your favorite theatrical experience?
“I have so many different things that I have done in the theatre that have given me satisfaction in so many ways, but I think that what gave me the opportunity to be in all these things was being in “A Chorus Line”. One, it became a landmark musical, and a part of theatre history, and it gave me two beautiful songs that people love to sing all the time…. It gave me an identity in the theatre and a place in the theatre.”