Countess Cabaret is hitting the District, and Luann de Lesseps is excited to continue spreading joy with her music and more.
“Real Housewife of New York” alumnus Countess Luann de Lesseps is coming to the District, with her iconic “Countess Cabaret” performance in tow. The Countess sat down with District Fray to talk about her upcoming performance, what fans can expect from the show, some “Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip RHONY Legacy” teasers and more.
District Fray: I feel like when you see the Queen of England supposed to bow, is there any proper movement I need to be doing out of respect for the Countess herself?
Countess Luann de Lesseps: No, you know, a simple hello and a handshake if we were in person would be good but we’re not, but nice to meet you.
It’s great to meet you as well. So you’re on tour for your cabaret. You’ve been doing the cabaret for many years. We’ve seen it grow and evolve on “Housewives in New York” — how has it changed over the years?
It was [called] “Countess and Friends” when I first started. It was a variety — I was the host and I would sing a song, have a guest and then have a comedian. Now it’s my own show. It’s “Countess Cabaret.” It is a ride through pop culture, cabaret and comedy. First starting out, I was doing “The Housewives” at the same time, so my first cabaret show at 54 Below was nerve-racking. Now, it’s evolved into a place where I feel very comfortable because I pick all my music. I have an amazing director, Richard J. Alexander, who has worked with everyone from Kristin Chenoweth to Liza [Minnelli] to Barbra Streisand.
What else can attendees expect at your show tomorrow?
We do a Q&A with the audience. We talk about The Housewives and, and now “Crappie Lake,” which is streaming on Peacock. I sing my favorite songs, and the songs that I’ve written, because at this point, I’ve written several dance songs and Christmas songs, so it’s a fun night. I always say people don’t know what to expect. They come in whatever they’re driving in and they drive out in a Rolls Royce. I put on a great show. I think the proof is in coming back to each city, year after year. People love the show. They get dressed for me, they show up for the Countess. [Earlier] you asked, “Do we curtsy?” No, but let’s put on our sequins, let’s put on our statement necklaces and let’s dress up for the occasion — and people love that.
Beyoncé had everyone wear silver, and Countess Luann has everyone wear their statement necklaces and their sequins. I love that.
100% it’s a glamorous show. It’s a beautiful show, a fun show and a party. I’ve got the bachelorettes and I’ve got the birthday parties, and it’s just so much fun because they’re there to celebrate and so am I. It’s fun for me, I love doing the show, and I love performing. I hope to do this for years to come.
So what are ways your performance style has evolved over time? What are ways it’s changed from when it was a variety show to now being your solo show?
I’ve gotten a lot stronger as a performer, honed my skills and my cabaret. I take more chances on music that I wouldn’t normally do. My director [tells me], “you can totally get this,” so it’s evolved in a really great way in terms of my performance. My singing, people are like so shocked. They’re like, “Wow, you can sing!” Because, of course, from “Housewives” you only see the messed up moments [that] draw attention to the show right. My musical directors are Billy Stritch and Brian Nash, so I work with great musicians. It’s come a long way since the very beginning, that is for sure.
Who are some artists you draw inspiration from when performing?
I do songs like “Get Happy,” and that’s a Liza and Judy Garland moment for me. I love Dua Lipa and so I do a little “Cold Heart” for my fans. I get inspired by music that I love. I brought to my director the Eric Clapton song, “Lay Down Sally,” and I wanted to do it for the holidays and he goes, “Lay Down Sally?” like he didn’t even know the song and then I started saying, “Lay down Santa don’t need to leave so soon, I’ve been trying all night long just to talk to you.” I take things like that like classic rock and turn it into a Christmas holiday song. The interesting thing is that I have a young fan base who comes to my shows. I have an 18 to 70-year-old audience, and the young girls and guys know my music because they listened to my kind of music because they grew up with mom’s my age. They sing along the whole night and that’s what I love.
The fans need to know when to expect new original music from you.
I am working on a new song. So in 2024, I’m doing a new tour called “Marry F–k Kill.” Every show that I do, I get asked that question from the audience – “Who would I marry? Who would I f–k and who would I kill?” So that inspired me to write [the song] “Marry F–k Kill” and that’s going to be my next song for the new tour. I’m always working on music. I love it. I love the creative part of music and writing, and that’s why I love doing cabaret. It’s so creative.
What has been the most outrageous “marry f–k kill” question a fan has asked?
I have a great story. So I was doing a show at 54 Below and one of my fans said “okay, mary f–k kill David Letterman, Brad Pitt or Andrew Dice Clay.” Now, I lived in Europe in the ’90s so I knew Andrew Dice Clay’s name, but I didn’t know quite if he was an actor, a comedian — I had no idea right, So I go, “well, I think I’m gonna marry David Letterman, because he’s funny and he’s rich. I’ve never been a fan of Brad Pitt. So I’m going to have to kill Brad Pitt. And I’m going to f–k Andrew Dice Clay.” The fan said, “good, because he’s sitting right behind me.” I swear to God. Andrew Dice Clay stands and he’s got his cigarette hanging out of his mouth and goes, “Countess, this is the best show I’ve ever seen in my life. This is amazing. I love you.” It was crazy. He was there because his fiancee is a big fan of mine.
I want to pivot a little bit to “Housewives.” You filmed “Crappie Lake” and that finished airing recently. I thought it was absolutely amazing. What were some of your favorite moments behind the scenes that didn’t make it to air?
There’s a moment where we go feed donkeys the pears that they gave us. We go over the donkeys and they’re not even coming over the fence. We’re trying to call them over, and then we start throwing the pears and I threw it far enough where it dropped right in front of the donkey’s mouth. He put his head down and he got the pear. I thought for sure, they’re gonna start walking over now that they realized that we have food. Nothing. It’s a silver donkey. right? So Sonja’s like, “silver silver,” and he’s not responding and then I go, “Roberto, ma dai, devi venire con noi perché abbiamo qualcosa da mangiare [come on, you have to come with us because we have something to eat,]” I start speaking Italian and the donkey starts walking over to us. And then Sonja starts: “Ciao bello. Ciao bello. [Hi handsome],” I guess it’s the language of love because he came right over to us. I’m trying to convince them to do a lost footage episode. We filmed for six weeks,14 hours a day. There’s certain moments that I just love.
Follow the Countess Luann de Lesseps on Instagram @countessluann and keep up with the latest from her at www.countessluann.com. “Countess Cabaret” takes place Saturday, October 7 at the Lincoln Theatre. Tickets $55-$75.
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