Northeast Times

A lifetime of performing

Linda Lav­in

She took to the stage at the age of 5 and nev­er looked back.

“Per­form­ing made me the cen­ter of at­ten­tion, which I thor­oughly en­joyed. What child wouldn’t? It also made me feel as though I was do­ing something well, that was ap­pre­ci­ated,” said Linda Lav­in, per­haps best known for her TV role as the lov­ing wait­ress in Alice, and set to take the stage Ju­ly 11-12 at The Rrazz Room in New Hope.

“I loved the role of Alice, a single moth­er who suc­cess­fully made it through life. I dis­covered that the char­ac­ter rep­res­en­ted 80 per­cent of the work­ing wo­men in this coun­try, the blue-col­lar and pink-col­lar wo­men. Hun­dreds of wo­men have come up to me and said, ‘It was be­cause of watch­ing Alice that I could get through an­oth­er day with the baby in a high chair. I knew if she could do it, I could do it, too. I could go back to school, I could get off wel­fare, and I could change my life.’”

Lav­in’s own life worked out for the best when she at­ten­ded and later gradu­ated from The Col­lege of Wil­li­am and Mary with a theat­er de­gree. The daugh­ter of an op­era sing­er, she found roles in mu­sic­al com­edy early on, and went on to gain kudos for her straight act­ing roles in Little Murders (for which she won a 1969 Drama Desk Award) and Last Of The Red Hot Lov­ers (which garnered a 1969 Tony nom­in­a­tion).

Tele­vi­sion beckoned in the 1970s, and by 1976, Lav­in be­came a house­hold name as the tit­u­lar wait­ress/moth­er in the sit­com Alice (1976-1985). She nabbed two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy nom­in­a­tion for her per­form­ance.

“And when that show ended, it was back to Broad­way for me,” Lav­in said, “and I was wel­comed with open arms.”

Re­ceiv­ing awards and ex­cel­lent re­views for her mul­tiple stage ap­pear­ances, she also oc­ca­sion­ally dir­ec­ted for the stage.

Hav­ing starred in both com­ed­ies and dra­mas, Lav­in said she has no pref­er­ence.

“It all de­pends on the ma­ter­i­al. I prefer the kind of ma­ter­i­al that com­bines both ele­ments with emo­tions that tell the truth about be­ing a hu­man be­ing.”

Today, Lav­in is hap­pily mar­ried to act­or, artist and mu­si­cian Steve Bak­unas, who plays the drums in her show, Pos­sib­il­it­ies, at New Hope. The show will fea­ture songs from The Amer­ic­an Song­book, the theat­er, her child­hood and so on. Lav­in said she named the show after her first CD, as well as how she feels about life.

And at the age of 76, she feels great.

“At this age, the roles got few­er and far between for awhile. But then I seem to get back on track. I’m still flour­ish­ing and grate­ful for still get­ting roles like the one in the new movie I just fin­ished with Robert De Niro.”

As for ad­vice for oth­ers, Lav­in said she doesn’t give any but is will­ing to share her own ex­per­i­ences.

“My ex­per­i­ence has been to show up on time, be pre­pared to earn your liv­ing, and ac­cept the hard­ships and the life’s ex­per­i­ences as they come and to live life on life’s terms. Keep the cre­at­ive and the emo­tion­al and the spir­itu­al chan­nels open to all the pos­sib­il­it­ies,” she said. “It’s very dif­fi­cult for any wo­man after a cer­tain age. But my ex­per­i­ence has been to ac­cept the blows as they come, then brush your­self off and start all over again.” ••

Show times are 8 p.m. Tick­ets cost $40 and $45. Call toll-free 888-596-1027. 

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