It’s taken singer-songwriter Regina Spektor 18 years to get from the East Village, where she started off in the anti-folk scene, to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where she’ll perform five dates starting Thursday. Even in the days of constant subway delays, that’s a long time for a short commute.
A large reason for that may be that she never really saw herself there in the first place.
“Every once in a while, something from Broadway would kind of make it into my consciousness,” she says about those earlier days, “but it usually would be through a cassette tape or a recording somebody shared with me or a film musical that I saw somewhere.”
amNewYork caught up with Spektor to talk about the run of shows, the Great White Way and what any future musical work might look like.
What led you to say yes to this opportunity?
It seemed like a really exciting place to explore some of the magic of theater, some of the things that you wouldn’t necessarily do in a concert. Within some of the songs there is the potential for the theatrical treatment. But [there’s] something about that particular vibe, the Broadway vibe, really.
You’ve played theaters like the Lunt-Fontanne before. What changes when that space is on Broadway?
It doesn’t really have to change anything, [unless] you want it to — which I really wanted it to. That was the fun part for me, looking for places where the theater could be “the theater,” not a theater, but the theater. So, it’s fun to explore what lighting techniques are very much theater, not a concert sort of approach but things with scrims or with special kind of screens and projections, things that I haven’t really explored in that way before.
When you were performing at cafes in the East Village early in your career, what did Broadway mean to you?
I’ve gotten more and more interested in theater and in Broadway as time has gone on. At the time when I was playing bars and cafes, it was probably the furthest that I was from something like a Broadway stage for plays or musicals really, because I was absolutely broke. And it was really not part of my kind of culture. I felt more kinship with punk music and rock and roll, and I had come from classical music and sort of the Soviet singer-songwriters and The Beatles — those were the countries that I had sort of musically pledged allegiance to.
At one point there was talk of you creating the music for a musical, a take on “Sleeping Beauty”?
That was a very interesting process because everybody that I was working with was really nice. But I sort of realized that in order for me to do something in Broadway, instead of having to fit into somebody else’s world, I will just sort of have to follow my own thing. And then see if it fits Broadway.
Something you might have a little more control over?
I probably want to do it in film first, because I feel like I would have the studio there to build the music just so, and you create the source material and the bible of it, and then maybe let it go into the world, but to know that just once it was truly whatever my vision was.
If you go: "Regina Spektor: Live on Broadway" is at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on June 20, 21, 22, 25 and 26. 205 W. 46th St., ticketmaster.com.