February 26, 1948 |
Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
Lopez was born in the Bronx, New York to Francisco Lopez, a hotel banquet foreman and Laura (née Candelaria), who had moved to New York from their native Colombia . She has had the distinction of appearing in two Broadway landmarks: one of its greatest hits, the highly acclaimed, long-running A Chorus Line, and, as a teenager, in one of its biggest flops, the infamous musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which closed before opening night.
Lopez graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts, where she majored in drama; her experiences as a drama student are played out in the musical A Chorus Line. Had Tiffany's survived, it would have marked her debut on the Great White Way, but the production was plagued with so many problems that its creative team deemed it impossible to fix. From there she moved on to Henry, Sweet Henry, which lasted only two months at the end of 1967, when she was 19 years old. Her luck was no better the following year, when Her First Roman lasted a mere two weeks.
Lopez finally achieved critical and popular success as a replacement in two shows, Stephen Sondheim's Company (1970), followed by the 1972 hit Pippin in 1974 (taking over the role of Fastrada from original performer Leland Palmer). Two years later, she was invited by director and choreographer Michael Bennett to participate in a series of tape-recorded group therapy-style sessions in which chorus boys and girls - AKA "Gypsies" - bared their souls and discussed their lives, dreams, and frustrations. From this emerged A Chorus Line (1975), and Lopez was invited to join the cast portraying Diana Morales, a character patterned very much after herself. She introduced the hit song "What I Did for Love", and sang "Nothing", a song about her disastrously unsupportive drama class.
In her next production, A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980), Lopez stepped out of the ensemble and into the spotlight, utilizing both her comedic and vocal skills. The show had two acts, first a mini-musical about the early days of movie making, by Dick Vosburgh and Frank Lazarus with additional material by Jerry Herman, and second a send-up of the slapstick Marx Brothers movies, with Lopez playing Harpo. Both she and the show received rave reviews; it ran nearly a year-and-a-half, and she earned a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. In 1982, Tommy Tune, with whom she had worked in Hollywood/Ukraine, hired her as his assistant on Nine, the musical version of the Federico Fellini film 8½. Midway through the run, she joined the cast taking over for Tony-winner Liliane Montevecchi in the role of Liliane La Fleur. Lopez also appeared on Broadway in the critically acclaimed play Anna in the Tropics in 2003. From 2008-2011, Lopez appeared as Camilla in the Broadway production of In the Heights. She took over the role of Berthe in the revival of Pippin from Annie Potts on July 22, 2014, through August 31 2014.
Her off-Broadway credits include Other People's Money, Key Exchange, Extremities, The Oldest Profession, Beauty of the Father and Class Mothers '68, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Best Actress. She also was featured in the City Center Encores! production of Babes in Arms.
Lopez starred as a liberal nun in an unsuccessful Norman Lear series In the Beginning with McLean Stevenson in 1978. She had a guest role on the ABC drama Family, starring Kristy McNichol and Sada Thompson; she played Buddy's (McNichol) dance friend on the Disco episodes. In 1983 she was the voice of Herself the Elf in the animated TV special The Magic of Herself the Elf. She had a key role in the short-lived 1986 medical drama Kay O'Brien, a kind of Grey's Anatomy for the '80s, which wound up being ahead of its time. In 1993, Lopez starred in the television movie For the Love of My Child: The Anissa Ayala Story, in which she played a mother who, along with her husband, conceives a child to provide a suitable bone-marrow donor for their older daughter. Other television work includes L.A. Law, Law & Order, All in the Family, Trapper John, M.D., and Cosby.
She had a brief role in Center Stage as the Broadway Dance Studio teacher who teaches jazz. She appeared in Maid in Manhattan playing the mother of Jennifer Lopez's character, and in the film version of the long-running off-Broadway hit, Tony n' Tina's Wedding. She currently appears in the film Musical Chairs, as the disapproving mother of E.J. Bonilla's character. The story deals with a couple (Bonilla and Leah Pipes), who fall in love and join a wheelchair ballroom dancing competition after the girl becomes a paraplegic when struck by a car.
Awards and nominations
- 1976 Obie Award - A Chorus Line
- 1976 Theatre World Special Award Ensemble Performance Award - A Chorus Line
- 1980 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical - A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine
- 2002 Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors
- 1976 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical - A Chorus Line
Lopez is married to Vincent Fanuele; they have two children, Alex and Gabriella.
- Sommers, Michael."From Priscilla Lopez, the lowdown on 'In the Heights'" "New Jersey Star-Ledger", February 28, 2008
- "Priscilla Lopez returns to Broadway in 'In the Heights'", New York Daily News, March 6, 2008