Woman Around Town: Lisa Rothauser—Living the Dream

When Lisa Rothauser finished her master’s degree in Vocal Performance at Boston University’s School for the Arts in 1999, she was finally ready to move to New York City to pursue her life-long Broadway dreams. Even as a young girl from a middle class home in St. Louis, Missouri, she always knew she would end up under the bright lights in New York. As a young and hopeful actress, her dreams were to have a lead in a Broadway show, win a Tony, get a regular role on a New York City television show, and of course, to be famous by 35. Her goals were no doubt ambitious, but what she’s achieved and where her career seems to be headed have likely put her on the right path to achieve them.

When Lisa first got to New York, she took on a job that is familiar to most young performers—waiting tables. When she wasn’t serving patrons at Sarabeth’s on the Upper East Side, she was singing, dancing, or acting for anyone and everyone who would listen. Lisa eventually landed the lead in her first New York production in 2001 with O Pioneers! an Off Off Broadway show.

In 2003, Lisa made her Broadway debut with The Producers second national tour. She auditioned with her own original comedic material – a parody of “Mein Herr” from Cabaret. After she got a callback for the show, she worked with her friend and voice coach Andrew Byrne to expand her original parody into a medley, and Mel Brooks eventually hired her for the tour where she performed from 2003 into 2004. The Producers audition was her first collaboration with Byrne, and in 2008 they teamed up again to work on her one-woman show Bye Bye Lisa.

Today Lisa is once again teamed up with Andrew Byrne in a musical comedy called Mock Your World. Lisa describes the show as “an adult version of Forbidden Broadway,” the cabaret revue that spoofs all aspects of many Broadway shows. Mock Your World takes a comedic and edgy look at life in New York City, through both parodies and original songs. Although Lisa contributed to a couple of the songs, she emphasizes that Byrne, who also co-stars, created the majority of the show. Clips of some of the songs from the show are available on the Mock Your World website.

The show is currently at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side, with performances this week at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, and at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

What’s even more inspiring about Lisa is that she has accomplished so much in her career while raising two children. Although she and her husband moved out of the city for a few years when they first had kids, Lisa barely stopped working. She took a year off when her first son was born five and a half years ago. But when she was seven months pregnant with her second son, who is now three, she was rehearsing and performing her one-woman show.

When Lisa and her family moved back into the city last summer, she started focusing on her career more than ever and she hasn’t let up. Lisa’s days are packed with taking care of her kids and taking care of her career. She’s fortunate to often have the help of a babysitter or assistant, a necessity because her schedule is sometimes unpredictable. In the morning she’s taking her oldest son to school, going to the gym, working on scenes or audition material, and in the afternoon she’s dropping off her younger son at school and then either heading to a booking, audition, acting class, or French class. When the timing works out, she gets to pick her kids up from school and squeeze in the dinner hours before the kids are going to bed and she’s turning back to her career.

When it comes to managing a successful and busy theatre career with a family, Lisa can’t stress enough the need for balance. For her, that means meditating every morning for twenty minutes, fitting in exercise as often as possible, making list after list and constantly crossing off things she’s accomplished, and finally, spending time with her kids. The hardest part for Lisa was coming back after slowing down her career when her kids were born. Though at times it has felt like she’s had to start over, Lisa says she wouldn’t change a thing.

On weekends and summer, Lisa and her family escape to a country home upstate. At age 35, Lisa has the career, husband, kids, and weekend farmhouse. She still has her sights set on winning a Tony one day, and would love to get a recurring role in a New York based television series. Until then, she’s working on her career and raising her boys, Colton and Wesley.

Woman Around Town’s Six Questions
Favorite Place to Shop: BCBG, Catherine Malandrino, Steven Alan, Darling
Favorite Place to Eat: La Esquina
Favorite New York Sight: The city skyline outside of our 53rd floor apartment windows. You can see EVERYTHING!!!
Favorite New York Moment: Hmmm…. Favorite NYC moment was walking through Times Square after an audition at Actors Equity just after moving here, stopping right outside the old TKTS booth…and kicking my leg in the air like a Rockette when I realized I was living the dream!
What You Love About New York: Biking with my family through NYC and eating at funky little places like Mamouns in the Village
What You Hate About New York: People walking towards you on the sidewalk while texting and almost running into you…totally unaware. (Myself included in that group!) Oh, and when cab drivers smell like B.O.!!! Seriously!!!! Buy some deodorant, right?!!!