She wasnt born this way Toronto performer Athena Reich goes Gaga for

first_imgAdvertisement Though the two performers have never met, Reich has the megastar’s stamp of approval. Gaga herself has tweeted in support of the earlier iteration of #ARTBIRTH, which was inspired by Reich’s own struggle to conceive. That journey is also documented in a Netflix documentary called Vegas Baby, which shows Reich going through in vitro fertilization and eventually getting pregnant with the help of an egg donor. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Reich, 41, fell into the role of impersonator by accident while living in New York City after a YouTube video of her doing a cover of one of Gaga’s hits in 2009 got a lot of views. I’d been a Lady Gaga impersonator for years, and then I wanted to have a family and I found myself single at 36, and I said, “Well, I’m just going to do it on my own. I’m not going to wait for the perfect relationship.” I went to the doctor and found out I had all these infertility problems so I went on this long journey, and it was very difficult with medical procedures and IVF and miscarriages and everything. So it was a very dark time. So basically I just created the show as a way to distract myself … because it’s just this really outrageous, out-of-the-box funny show about bodies and women and fertility and birth. It’s just this perfect hilarious distraction if you’re going through something really dark. Below is an edited version of a conversation with Reich. What do you hope the audience takes away from the show? For Athena Reich, being herself is a part-time job. The rest of the time is spent wearing leotards, wigs and sunglasses while impersonating Lady Gaga. What’s it like being Lady Gaga? “I thought, ‘OK, this could be fun’ and then I just started studying her and learning her music and choreography, and playing at all these parties and events in New York and the U.S., and that’s how it started.” Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement I just want them to laugh and have an amazing good time. Some deeper take-aways are just a love of your body, a release of any shame about it, critique about celebrity culture and fame culture. Those are things it touches upon. It is kind of a feminist comedy because we’re celebrating — but also mocking — all things feminine. It exists in this very strange place of comedy and critiquing things, but also rejoicing in them and silliness. So I hope they just have a really good time and come away more comfortable with the female body and with a little more critique on fame culture. How was the show born? Athena Reich makes up to $6,000 for each appearance as a Lady Gaga impersonator. What’s your favourite part of the show? From birthdays to parties in the Hamptons to corporate events, Reich as Lady Gaga is available for hire with prices ranging from $600 to $6,000. Advertisement I’ve been working for years and years with my own original music and, when you perform original music, it’s new to people so they have to think about it and they have to work a little harder. This was such a counter to that to just go out and perform at an event and … do stuff that people already know and already love. It was a big high and really easy. Lady Gaga is always pushing boundaries so it’s so fun to be her as an actress, to take on her character because there’s no boundary you can’t push with her. Reich opens a new show, #ARTBIRTH, in which she portrays a pregnant Lady Gaga, at the Berkeley Street Downstairs Theatre in her native Toronto beginning Thursday. “People started contacting me and saying, ‘You really sound like her, you look like her. I’ll pay you a lot of money if you do my party,’” she recalled. #ARTBIRTH first ran in New York, but the Toronto version is completely different, says Reich. Unlike the old show, which was a cabaret, this is a full-blown musical with a longer run time and new content. I think my very favourite part is just if you have a good audience and they’re vocal. I’m really hoping that the audience will let loose a little and laugh really loud because my favourite part is having that connection with the audience, and just playing with them and even improvising off their laughter, because the more they give me the more crazy I get. My favourite is just whatever moment happens from the audience giving and being with me in that moment. Twitterlast_img

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