NiteLife Person of the Week: Emily McNamara–Performer & Mother of Newborn Lucy!

By ROB LESTER***Actress Emily McNamara has a new role: “Mom.” Welcome, little Lucy. If you’ve been around where Broadway meets cabaret, you have seen Emily, as a cast member of Newsical: The Musical, the long-running off-Broadway revue or maybe her delicious role as Cookie in The Chocolate Show.  Lucy bragged to her roommates in the maternity ward’s baby lounge that her mama was listed by Time Out New York as one of the city’s “top ten local women every[one] should know–or be obsessed with” and co-wrote and performed in The Awesome ’80s Prom and was also in My Big Gay Italian Wedding, My First Time, The Karaoke Show, Around the World in 80 Days, The Groove Factory, Fantasy Football (at NYMF).  Lucy name-dropped Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese as co-producers of the HBO series Vinyl which her mom shot while she was apparently in utero. In films, she played Alan Cumming’s friend in Dare, and is in the web series The Bunny Hole.

Six years ago Emily “planted” herself in Brooklyn to play the female lead in Brooklyn’s Gallery Players’ production of Little Shop of Horrors.  But she’s been around—around the country, that is, doing regional theatre roles in classic musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, although she rarely appears on actual rooftops except to shout from them how excited she is to be a mother. Perhaps you heard banter as a host at talent contests at places like Rise Bar, or when she logged hours quipping at the weekly late-night open mic at The Duplex.  I’ve caught her at the Broadway-centric Feinstein’s/54 Below in their late-night festivities.   I got to have a ball working with her in some segments incarnations of Tune in Time, at The York Theatre, where I got to put words in her mouth.  She was the mistress of ceremonies for this combination quiz show/challenge for songwriting partners to create a new piece in a very limited time while others tried to win points answering musical theatre trivia quiz questions with wacky multiple choice answers, only one of which was actually true.  I wrote the quiz part and some patter while she delivered it in her loopy, high-energy way.

I remember Emily from some years ago on West 51 Street and Broadway, where I saw her singing in sets at the below-ground Iridium and, in the same building, when she was a singing waitress at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, those gigs overseen by Artistic Director Scott Barbarino.

This would be the part of July scheduled to make her baby, Lucy, newborn NiteLife Person of the Week upon her first appearance, but she came along three weeks early, on the last day of June and we already had a Person of the Week — Lena Horne.  Lena and Lucy share the same birth date of June 30—exactly one hundred years apart!  Of course, had Lucy been born as scheduled (she didn’t get the memo, apparently, and can’t read yet), she would have been just a couple of weeks before a famous Lucy I love— Lucille Ball, born the first week of August in 1911, might have been born the same day her first child, Lucie Arnaz, was born (today’s date—July 17, in 1951) or next week, on July 26, the birth date in 1909 of their famous co-star Vivian Vance.  But it’s nice to share a birthday with Lena Horne and  other singers, like Fantasia, folkie Dave Von Ronk, original member of the Supremes Florence Ballard, and Broadway/TV/cabaret veteran Nancy Dussault.

Each time Emily leaves the room, she coos, “Bye-bye baby,” which may give Lucy the idea to make her cabaret/variety show Special Guest Debut as a back-up vocalist –or prop— if the song of that title along could be the duet by the host and Mama when Emily appears as a guest for the grand return of Richard Skipper Celebrates on September 10.  After all, “Bye Bye, Baby” is from the score of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and September 10 will mark the 76th anniversary of the week it closed on Broadway and Mr. Skipper already knows the score of all Carol Channing musicals by heart.  The Skipper variety shows always have a special surprise guest, so you’ll need to mark the date and come to the Laurie Beechman Theatre to find out if baby Lucy gets her wish or if she’s left at home with her one of her cabaret babysitters: Baby Jane Dexter, Sidney Myer, or Bridgett Everett.

Emily McNamara and David Ingber were married last year, but have known each other for ten years.  They met when both were cast as actors in Jihad: The Musical!  which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Emily played a reporter named Foxy Redstate).  Now there’s a “meet cute” scenario that sounds like it’s right out of a musical itself!  This reporter is happy to make that fictional reporter’s creator the NiteLife Person of the Week and to wish mom, dad, and baby Lucy well from all of us at NiteLifeExchange, including our aforementioned publisher, with as eclectic a résumé  as Emily herself. And we hope to see her back on stage as a character or as herself (quite a character!) soon.  And we won’t be surprised if Lucy follows in her parents’ footsteps—- once she learns to walk, that is.