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Doing Time with Lavinia

Susan Campanaro in Doing Time with Lavinia. Photos by Stephanie Eagan.

Ms. Lavinia Draper is a star. Sure, tonight she's being held in a south Florida jail cell for misbehaving at a bar, but come on, she just got out of rehab! Lavinia flew from the Betty Ford Clinic in California to Dade County, FL, for a chance at a gig alongside a guy she knows from rehab. Her night got a little carried away, but it's not Lavinia's fault, really.

While Lavinia awaits release, she tells her story to the other folks in the holding cell. Lavinia is 61 years old, fresh out of her most recent attempt at getting clean, and destined for the spotlight. Original music by Lynn Portas on piano accompanies Susan Campanaro's Lavinia as she tells her tale. From the time she started performing as a young girl in Palm Beach, Lavinia relentlessly hustled for her big break. She sings about this in "A Little Too Old for a Very Young Girl ."Musical numbers carry the audience through her days of working in the industry. "Wishin' You Were Mine" refers to Walter in Vegas, a cigar-smoking older man who sets her on the path of a more adult type of entertainment than she'd been hoping. "Losing My Show" scores her role as a swing/understudy for Cats on Broadway.

Through her ups and downs, Lavinia remains upbeat and unstoppable. "Thank you, Betty Ford" is accompanied by a full on-stage workout. Lavinia may have seen some things and had some less-than-stellar moments in her career, but she is determined to remain performance ready. Campanaro, a beloved fixture on the New York City cabaret scene, fully commits to the part. Her highly physical performance, brilliant comedic timing and lovely voice bring the dynamic and empathetic Lavinia to life.

When Lavinia is finally released on her own recognizance, she bids farewell to her "cell mates" (the audience). She is so charming that despite her complicated history, you find yourself rooting for her to make it this time.

"Doing Time with Lavinia"

Written and Performed by Susan Campanaro

Directed by Christopher Scott

Music and Lyrics by Lynn Portas

October 21, 2022

The 13th United Solo Festival

October 4- November 20, 2022

Theatre Row

410 West 42nd (btw 9th and 10th Avenue)


STEPHANIE EAGAN is a professional writer based in NJ. A fan of every type of live performance imaginable, from taiko drumming to political performance art, she travels the tri-state area and beyond in search of music, art, theater, and excellent coffee.


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