Chicago alum and film regular Rita Wilson returns to NYC with a fun new concert at 54 Below. While her Oscar-winning husband Tom Hanks plays the lead in Lucky Guy, Wilson is performing iconic hits from the '60s & '70s featured on her debut album AM/FM. From love songs to folk rock, Wilson sings it all from April 14 through 20. Below, the actress/producer/singer shares fond memories of Joni Mitchell, her dream to share the stage with Judy Garland and deets about the new show.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Meet the Beatles.
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
Joni Mitchell at the Universal Amphitheater, where I was a ticket taker. I recently met her. She was funny and fabulous. And I almost fainted.
What is your go-to audition song?
It depends on what the audition is for. Years ago, I took a musical theater class with David Craig and he assigned everyone "Where or When."
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
There are so many! Each song in my set tells a story. I also have some surprises. I co-wrote two new songs with Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi, who I met through Greg Butler, our dance captain in Chicago. I am excited to sing those live for the first time this week.
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
There is a song called "ADD" that Eric Idle wrote for a possible new musical. I did a reading for him and I cannot get that song out of my head! It is hilarious.
If you could invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
I have been known to invite performers onstage. You never know who might show up.
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Who wouldn't want to do a song with Judy? That's Garland, since I know your readers would NEVER guess that by first name basis. LOL.
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
What’s your favorite love song?
"Something" by George Harrison.
What song makes you feel sexy?
"The Girl From Ipanema." Brazil, tans, beaches, sexy.
What is your favorite workout track?
I have a whole playlist called "dance" and it's anything from Black Eyed Peas to Rihanna to Kelly Clarkson to Bruno Mars to Stevie Wonder to Eminem to Bruce Springsteen. It's eclectic!
What's the best hidden gem on your iPod?
I am loving a song by Bob Dylan these days called "Abandoned Love."
Favorite break-up song?
"Someone Like You" by Adele, "Cry Me a River" by Julie London or "She's Got You" by Patsy Cline.
What song most makes you smile?
All songs make me smile! "If music be the food of love, play on."
When this song plays, I can't help but dance:
"All the Single Ladies!"
Don't miss Rita Wilson at 54 Below April 14 through 20. Click below to see her music video for the classic "Come See About Me."