By Justin Flynn
Angela Lumicisi was out shopping in Target one day when a song came on the PA system.
The then-14-year-old rushed to the counter to ask who was singing.
“It’s The Best of the Carpenters,” she was told.
“I immediately bought the cassette and went home and listened to it a million times,” Lumicisi said.
It began a love affair with the American superstar’s life and music that Lumicisi now puts into a 19-song, one-woman show.
Lumicisi doesn’t try to be Karen Carpenter on stage. Instead she tells a story with Carpenter’s music of a young woman travelling through early adulthood.
“You see this girl in the ’70s from 16 years of age to 28 years of age,” Lumicisi said
“She grows up in East Brunswick with very restrictive Italian parents and she writes diary entries to Karen Carpenter telling her what’s happening in her life and how much she admires what she’s doing and that parallels between the two characters throughout the show.“
“The music moves that storyline along and you see this character grow up before your eyes and how much Karen pretty much saves her.”
Karen Carpenter died at 32 from complications of anorexia nervosa and Lumicisi relates to many aspects of her life.
“She was one of the first celebrities that brought it (anorexia) into the forefront even though she denied it many, many times,” she said.
“I had weight issues long before I knew Karen had weight issues, and mine was the opposite – I overate as opposed to undereating.
“The controlling parents situation – I grew up in a very strict Italian family.
Karen also felt she could never really break out and be who she truly was, Lumicisi said.
“The persona that you see is this beautiful, sultry voice but she was a cook, a nut – she was obsessed with Disney, she was so funny, but people don’t really don’t know about that because she never felt she could be who she was.“
“The storyline follows my family story so it’s very personal and very special at the same time.
“Growing up I never felt 100 per cent that I could be who I was because of what I thought I needed to be.”
The show is Lumicisi’s first of the year.
“Even though I cry three times in the show, people ask me where I’m happiest and it’s on stage, whether I’m feeling the most sad or on top of the world,” she said.
Punters can expect to be uplifted, although Lumicisi doesn’t give too much of the plot away.
“They can expect to go on a journey that they probably didn’t realise they were going to go on and they are going to leave the show feeling really happy and that’s important to me,” she said.
“You definitely go along on a journey with this character.”
‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ is on Saturday 23 March at the Potato Shed, Drysdale.