Lonette McKee: A Real Songbird in the Algonquinâ€™s Oak Room
Actress, writer, director and singer Lonette McKee, performing at the Algonquin Hotels Oak Room until April 30.
Tony nominated actress, composer, director and singer,
Lonette McKee, is in New York appearing at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel,
located on West 44th Street in Manhattan. Fighting a cold, McKee manages
to keep the witty banter ongoing. Her
voice is as strong and lyrical as ever making her performance amusing and
keeping the crowd entertained during her 8:30 and 11:00 p.m. sets.
Most noted for her performances in "The Cotton Club," "Jungle
Fever," Round Midnight," "Sparkle," "Malcolm X"
and "Which Way Is Up?" McKee gives her audience an outstanding show
filled with songs from her films and Broadway appearances as well as from her
CD "Acoustic Tracks."
There are some people placed on the earth to look after those wee ones in
nature that are often neglected. In Lonette's case, it's birds. "I cannot
tell you the number of birds that I have rescued over the years. The funny
thing is, I do not go looking for them, they seem to find me. I can be walking down
the street and find a bird with a broken wing, as I did when I discovered a
bird while walking in a rainstorm. The bird was on the verge of being washed
down into the street drain. I scooped it up and took it to the vet. I have also
found wounded birds on my front porch. They allow me to pick them up and
nurture them back to health. It's almost like they seek me out so I look at
this as a blessing. I have become so fascinated by birds, I composed a song
entitled "Watch the Birds," which is on my CD "Acoustic Tracks"
said the talented songbird. "Acoustic Tracks" can be acquired via
Amazon.com and/or at CDBaby.com," said the singer who has been performing
since she was a very young child.
"I was writing music lyrics and composing songs at 7 years of age. I began
playing keyboards and recorded my first record at 14. It became a local hit. I
was called a child prodigy but I do not personally see it as that. I actually
thought I would have a career in music but have become better known for my
roles in film. However, I have learned to do many things: write, direct, sing,
compose, act and even do infomercials, so that I can always find work in the
entertainment business" remarked McKee who wrote the title song for the
film "Quadroon" when she was 15.
Ms. McKee is no stranger to Broadway. In fact, she won critical acclaim for
"The First," her Broadway debut performance. She also appeared in
Show Boat, becoming the first African American to perform as "Julie,"
a role which won her a Tony nomination. Her one-woman show about the legendary
Billie Holliday brought her a Drama Desk Award nomination as well as won
Lonette national acclaim.
During her career, McKee has worked with such luminaries as Hal Prince, Spike
Lee, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Pryor, Louis Gossett, Jr., Robert DeNiro and
Halle Berry to name a few.
As a composer, she scored the music for the cable documentary featuring the
African Burial Ground located in Lower Manhattan. "To see how the bodies
were buried and placed one on top of the other, was really a poignant experience.
I recognized some were women since they still had on their African jewelry. But
mostly, because I could see that some of the bones held babies in their
arms," stated McKee sadly. "That really left a major impression on
me, one that is not so easily forgotten."
The CEO of her own production company, Lonette Productions, Ltd, Lonette works
in partnership with Nicole Franklin to write, develop and produce
documentaries, feature films, and music and television concepts and
A Detroit native, McKee thinks of New York as her second home. Interested
parties can listen to her radio interview with me in the archives section of
Blakeradio.com, Rainbow Soul, or visit her website at http://lonettemckee.com.
Lonette McKee will be singing at the Oak Room until April 30, 2011. Be sure and
catch her there.