On Monday, July 13, Broadway heartthrob Aaron Lazar will take a step on to the smaller stage to bring fans his latest cabaret show, “Look For Me in the Songs,” featuring his favorite hits all the way from Great American Songbook to Motown and “everything from Sondheim to Billy Joel.” Last seen in New York opposite Jonathan Groff in the Encores! Off-Center production of A New Brain and as Arthur in Sting’s The Last Ship, Lazar is one of Broadway’s most versatile talents who has established himself through an impressive run of leading roles in shows including The Light In The Piazza, A Little Night Musical, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia! among others. He’s also made a a foray into TV and film, having appeared in shows including “Ugly Betty,” “White Collar,” and on the big screen in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
But, versatility aside, Lazar undoubtedly portrays strong leading men, which makes it even more alluring to consider an intimate evening of songs he’s selected to simply entertain and tell his personal stories.
About making this transition, and whether its challenging to let down these walls and be vulnerable—just be himself on stage, Lazar told Center On The Aisle, “that’s a great question and no one’s ever really asked me that before. Putting together a cabaret show is really the hardest thing you can do,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do in a rehearsal space, you really need to try it out in front of an audience to know what works. You’ve got to put together this show, and I’ve done that with these stories from my life with my favorite songs for a show that is about an hour, and you want the whole thing to be entertaining, which is really difficult to do.”
One of those stories will most likely be his incredible introduction into show business. “You can’t hide from who you are,” something fans should be thankful for because Lazar actually studied to become a doctor all the way through college at Duke University. “I was shadowing doctors in high school,” he said on how determined he was to make it in the field. But, luckily, his heart was also in the arts. “I had no disillusions as a kid about being a Broadway star,” but it stuck with him in some part and then a professor at Duke saw Lazar in a musical revue he was performing in for a class.
“He saw me and asked me to play Billy Bigelow in a production of Carousel,” he said. Then it clicked and Lazar was hooked. “After the MCATS [admission test for medical college] I told my parents to give me three years, which is how long the MCATS are good for to see if I could make a living at this… and well, here we are!”
For information and tickets to Aaron Lazar’s show, “Look For Me In the Songs” on Monday, July 13 (7PM) at Birdland (315 West 44th Street), visit www.birdlandjazz.com.
Later this year (September 28), Lazar will head uptown to 54 Below for another cabaret event, a special fundraiser for the New York Pops opposite Broadway leading lady, Stephanie J. Block. For more information, visit www.NewYorkPops.org.