Proving that she’s not only a chip off the old block, but also a gifted entertainer in her own right, Lucie Arnaz, daughter of show business legends Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, paid tribute to her father’s cultural heritage in “Lucie Arnaz: Latin Roots,” Saturday at the Palladium in Carmel.
Arnaz, in her Las Vegas–style show was backed by a 12-piece orchestra, led by music director and pianist Ron Abel. In it, the Emmy-winning star of stage, screen and television paid tribute to her Cuban-born father in a nostalgic program consisting of Spanish-lyric songs associated with her father, tunes from the Great American Songbook and others.
Standing at a mic placed downstage center, Arnaz was dressed in a red cocktail-length dress accented with sequins and featuring a ruffled hemline. She also wore red high heel shoes decorated with bows. Reflecting a vibrant personality, she was a sassy dynamo as she exhibited singing and dancing talents that could only be inherited from iconic parents such as hers.
“Rumba Matumba” (written by Desi Arnaz), “Quererte Mucho,” “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” and “Cachita” were the Spanish-language songs — all infused with an infectious percussion-driven Latin beat — that Arnaz sang during her 90-minute show with no intermission.
“I’ll See You in C-U-B-A,” “I Love a Piano,” “Johnny Angel,” “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” and “The Music in Your Heart” were also included in the program that featured treasured home movies. Projected on a large screen hanging high above the orchestra were films of Arnaz as a child with her parents; a montage of scenes from their groundbreaking TV sitcom, “I Love Lucy”; footage of Desi performing as his TV character, Rickie Ricardo, with his band; and stills of her father in his later years.
Arnaz left the stage later during a brief instrumental interlude, only to return in a segment that recalled the ‘40s Big Band Era. Dressed in a long, slinky white gown, featuring a side slit, and wearing a flower in her hair, Arnaz sang “I’m the Big Band Singer.”
“Cuban Pete,” “The Straw Hat,” “I Love You” and “Cumbanchero” were songs performed at the conclusion of Arnaz’s show that affectionately summed up her father’s legacy as one of the world’s most popular entertainers.
Arnaz then wowed the audience during her encore when she sang Desi’s signature song, “Babalu,” while playing a conga drum and matching her dad beat-for-beat as he feverishly played a drum himself and sang the same song on film.
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