Woman Around Town: Lexi Lawson—Hitting the Heights

Whether it’s in a home studio in the Bronx, or center stage of a nationwide theater tour, rising actress/singer Lexi Lawson is making 2010 her year. With Lawson’s independently released EP “Someday,” in addition to her current gig as Vanessa in the touring production of In the Heights, the multitalented artist is quickly making a name for herself in both theater and pop.

Before we get into the glitz and the glamour of it all, let’s start with the more personal side of Lexi Lawson, her life before the bright lights and stages across the country.

Lawson comes from a musical background. Her parents met while playing in a band together, and her mother, while signed under Candy records, released a song in the UK titled “Pay Back.”

“Growing up, I was only around performers and music, so I didn’t really know that anything else existed,” she said. “When I was a little girl in the Bronx, we would put on plays with costumes for our parents and family friends in our living room. We would blast music like Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back,” or songs from Amy Grant.”

Her love affair with music began when she was five or six years-old. She and her sister dressed up and performed to Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.” At age nine, she read books and wrote plays. Lawson was inspired to perform outside her home when she saw a commercial for Screen Test USA, focusing on up and coming stars, and quickly told her mother that she wanted to become a professional actress and singer.

After auditioning for “everything under the sun,” Lawson nabbed her first role in a touring production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  She played the role of one of the children,  a role she obtained through her elementary school.

As a newly minted teen, she received a role in Runaways, an off Broadway production at the Center Stage Theatre. Soon after, at age 14, Lawson booked her first major commercial with Sprint.

Lawson received a golden ticket to Hollywood, earning a spot on FOX’s juggernaut, American Idol, after an audition in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The exposure on the show opened many doors.

Growing up, Lawson loved the Rent character Mimi, and always told agents and managers that she wanted to audition for the musical. The Broadway production closed in September, 2008, but her manager urged her to audition for the In the Heights. A week after her audition, she received a call back for the role of Nina, along with an audition for the role of Mimi Marquez for the national Broadway tour of Rent directed by Michael Grief and starring Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. And, as they say, the rest is history.

“If it wasn’t for the In the Heights audition, I would have never gotten Rent,” said Lawson. “But things come full circle. While I was in Rent, I always had In the Heights playing on my iPod. When we were in Japan, I’ll never forget standing next to the window and along with Vanessa’s role singing ‘It Won’t Be Long Now.’ This was definitely the next show I wanted to do and I wanted to play Vanessa so bad! I even spoke about this show when I was doing interviews for Rent.”

Between tours, Lawson began to record her first EP “Someday.” Lawson met her Bronx based songwriting/production team, (EvoLution Music) David Andronico and Peter Macchia, while sitting in on a writing session with a mutual friend, and the three clicked instantly.

“It was a bunch of fun, even while I was crying my eyes out in a candle lit room, while I was singing songs like `Go On and Leave Me’ and `Someday.’ The end product is amazing,” said Lawson.

Lawson is currently on tour playing the role of Vanessa in In the Heights, and recently performed with the cast on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.

Time and time again Lawson has proven herself to be a success in whatever she puts her mind to, so we can only eagerly await her next big move.

For more information, go to www.lexilawsonofficial.com

Woman Around Town’s Questions

Favorite Place to Eat: Cafe Pitti on Front street in Newburgh, NY, right on the Hudson River. It’s my fav spot to chill, eat and relax! And Philippe Restaurant, 33 East 60th Street. It’s an Asian French Fusion spot. The Food is so YUMMY!
Favorite Place to Shop: You cannot go wrong in Forever 21 and Target. You will pretty much ALWAYS find me in there when I need a quick find! I really enjoy when people ask me where I got my shirt from cuz they love it and I tell them it was 3 bucks! I also love Betsey Johnson.
Favorite New York Sight: My fav NY Sight is the NY city skyline from Blvd East in West New York, NJ. It’S SO BEAUTIFUL
What You Love About New York: When you’re a New Yorker, you’re a New Yorker! There’s nothing better! It’s the Melting Pot of the World. You can Find EVERYTHING in NY. I know that’s so general to say—but I mean it in the most specific way
What You Hate About New York: All the people in Times Square who walk negative 2.4 in speed.