The True Colors Tour might be taking the summer off, but that doesn’t mean tour founder Cyndi Lauper is doing the same.
The enduring pop siren and longtime activist launched the successful LGBT-themed package tour in 2007 and headlined it for the past two summers with a varying line-up of acts, including The B-52s, Erasure, The Indigo Girls, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, Rufus Wainwright and Joan Jett, to name a few.
Even though True Colors is conspicuously and woefully absent from this summer’s list of tours, Lauper is keeping the spirit of the festival going. She’s on the road as part of her world tour in support of her latest album, “Bring Ya to the Brink.” The current leg of her tour, dubbed the “Girls Night Out Tour,” features out comedian, actress and fellow True Colors alum Rosie O’Donnell.
Lauper, who by all accounts is insanely busy, managed to take a few minutes to answer some of our burning questions about her current tour, the future of True Colors and her plans to branch out beyond its current incarnation as a package tour.
PGN: Did the current political or economic environment have anything to do with why there isn’t a full-blown True Colors Tour this summer? CL: What we decided to do this year is to concentrate on building the True Colors Fund with various extensions of the True Colors Tour. We have been having great success with our online auctions. We did a short run with Wanda Sykes and will be launching a True Colors Cabaret series at the famed New York City Feinstein’s. We also will be doing a show in Los Angeles in late November in support of same-sex marriage, details to be announced soon. Lastly, we are developing a rock series in New York City that will launch late 2009 and run monthly through spring 2010, details of which will be announced late summer.
PGN: Having campaigned and given a lot of support to Sen. Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2008, do you feel that in 2009 they are living up to the promises they made to the voters and/or the LGBT community? CL: I know that he will come through for the community eventually, though it is a bit disappointing that nothing has happened to date. I understand there is some resistance about same-sex marriage and no one really expected him to deal with that issue his first year, but issues about gays in the military and inclusion of the community in the hate-crimes bill should be dealt with now.
PGN: Will Rosie O’Donnell be joining you on stage for any songs on this tour and/or will you be making any attempts to tell some jokes? CL: Definitely. I’ve never done standup but Rosie does play music, so she will join me on stage for a song or two. She is actually a good percussionist. It’s going to be fun to be out together.
PGN: Combining comedians and musicians on a show is always a tricky thing to pull off well, but you’ve made it work with both True Colors and Girls Night Out. What’s your secret? CL: Really? I think it’s a natural fit. People like to dance and people like to laugh in equal measure.
PGN: How much of your new album are you going to be performing on this tour? CL: I’m doing a career retrospective — hits, of course everyone wants to hear their favorite songs; and I will include a song or two from my Blue Angel days and maybe go a little deeper into my own catalog. Maybe one song from new CD. Last summer I included a number of songs off the new CD, so I want fans to see something new this time out.
PGN: How does it feel to know that, almost 30 years into your career, younger generations, especially on shows like “American Idol,” are inspired by and perform your music? CL: I’m honored. I really enjoyed my duet with Allison [Iraheta, “American Idol” contestant]. She’s terrific.
PGN: Are there any young artists out there today that remind you of yourself when you first started to hit it big? CL: Well, from a visual point of view, Lady Gaga is all about giving a show — by incorporating visuals, classic images and paying homage. I’ve always done that. I’ve paid homage to every early Max Factor and early Hollywood dame out there. I’ve always brought a little performance art to my shows, or at least I tried. Plus, she writes her own songs and she definitely has a vision for herself that she has remained true to. I really like her a lot.
PGN: How close are you to completing your upcoming autobiography, and is writing it any more or less difficult that songwriting? CL: I’ve just begun writing it and plan on putting aside a lot of time this fall and winter to work on it.
PGN: Will there be a True Colors Tour in 2010 and, if so, do you think the line-up will be even more diverse than it has been? CL: There will be. We are just putting the finishing touches on what it will look like. We will announce True Colors plans for 2010 in October of this year.
Cyndi Lauper and Rosie O’Donnell perform at 9 p.m. Aug. 7 at House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J. For more information, visit www.trucolorstour.com, www.cyndilauper.com, or call (609) 236-2583.