We are continuing our interview with Lynette DuPree, starring this fall on Broadway as Bricktop in the highly anticipated musical “Josephine,” about the life of legendary Parisian star, Josephine Baker.
Patte: Lynette, I believe we left off with the music for Josephine.
Lynette: Yes, Patte, I was talking about the lyricist and composer of our show, John Bettis and Steve Dorff.
Mr. Bettis, an Emmy Award winner, Academy Award and Grammy Award nominee, was also co-founder of The Carpenters. His songs have been recorded by Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Diana Ross, Harry Connick Jr., Dionne Warwick, Randy Travis, and so on.
Mr. Dorff has composed over 20 top ten pop hits and nine number-one film songs. He’s a five-time Emmy Award nominee and a three-time Grammy Award nominee. He wrote two number-one hits for the movie Heartland. You’ll recognize his television themes from Murder She Wrote, Murphy Brown, and Growing Pains. Some of the well known Dorff-Bettis collaborations include: Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time,” Madonna’s “Crazy for You,” Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” and Barbra Streisand’s “Higher Ground.”
Q: We have yet to talk about the director?
A: Surprisingly enough our director is also our choreographer, Joey McKneely. A two-time Tony Award nominee for choreography (Smokey Joe’s Cafe and The Life) Joey will be making his Broadway directorial debut with Josephine. He recently recreated the Jerome Robbins choreography for the Broadway smash hit revival of West Side Story, also directing international touring companies of West Side Story.
Q: It sounds like you have all the makings for a hit Broadway musical.
A: I would be remiss if I neglected to mention our incredible set designer, Robin Wagner, and his Tony Awards for The Producers, City of Angels, and On the Twentieth Century, plus nine other Tony Award nominations from a list of Broadway credits that encompass basically the best of the Broadway musicals.
Also our costume designer is Ann Hould-Ward, a Tony Award winner and the American Theater Wing’s Design Award winner for Beauty and the Beast. She has designed costumes for many Broadway winners; one of my favorites has always been Sunday in the Park with George.
Q: What are some of the movie/television shows we’ve seen you appear?
A: I’m appearing in The Middle, Southland, and Imagination Movers, but I have appeared in numerous movie and television roles such as: Desperate Housewives, Everyone Hates Chris, Medium, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Law and Order, ER, N.Y.P.D. Blue, City of Angels, The Shield, and Showtime at the Apollo. Where’s my résumé? Unfortunately I can’t remember everything!
Q: Oh Lynette, that’s too funny! I’m sure you have many skills.
A: I am fluent in German and Spanish as well as dialects such as British, West Indian, Southern, and New York. My voice is soprano/mezzo alto, so I can easily move into a multitude of roles. Currently I’m involved with The Company of Angels in a series called LA Views 5 which consists of eight 10-minute plays by Los Angeles playwrights. I appear in four of the plays, all taking place in 1992: the day before, the day of, and the day after the Rodney King verdict. Check The Company of Angels’ website for show times and ticket information. It’s wonderful — I love it!
Q: You’re always so happy, joyful, and positive! How do you manage day-to-day with such a full work-load and remain focused and grounded?
A: I rely dearly on my husband, Charles Richardson. He truly takes complete care of me, and we are so perfect for one another. We’ve known each other since age four. We grew up together in Niagara Falls. I’d be lost without him; we’re so much in love.
Q: You just put the lid on this interview! It is true … Love is all you need!
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