Pittsburgh area native Lenora Nemetz left Pennsylvania in the late '60s to seek her fame on Broadway. She arrived in time to play in the last year of Cabaret as Fritzie. Nemetz also appeared in Broadway's The Rink, Up in One, Working, and Chicago and has understudied many lead roles. She has delighted many a Pittsburgh audience through the years in a number of local productions and tours as well. Nemetz returns to Pittsburgh in the tour of Some Like It Hot, a new production which is a combination of the classic film and the later musical adaptation, Sugar.
While in San Francisco, Ms. Nemetz spoke of the fun she has been having in this tour. "The audiences love it ... they stand up and cheer," she said. "It also has a great story with a lot of heart." She is also thrilled to be on stage with the legendary Tony Curtis ("the audience LOVES him").
Nemetz has earned a reputation for being the understudy everyone is thrilled to see go on, especially during her stint with Chicago on Broadway. "I replaced Chita, with Ann Reinking and with Gwenn (Verdon)," she said, "and I played both roles - I stood by for both Gwenn and Chita, and they were kind enough to let me play both roles in the same day. At the matinee I played Velma Kelly and in the evening performance I played Roxie Hart. It was so thrilling!"
Slated to appear in Pittsburgh Musical Theatre's production of Chicago a while back, she was sidelined after breaking her foot "tripping on nothing" in the Benedum Center parking lot. "It took a while for it to heal," Nemetz says, but if she had done Chicago here, she would have missed the opportunity to do Some Like It Hot, she says, an opportunity she is happy to not have missed.
Another area of the dramatic arts Nemetz enjoys is training the up and comers. Having participated in programs at several area schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park College, and Gargarro Productions (now PMT), Nemetz loves teaching. "It's great to be able to pass on what you've learned. You actually learn more from teaching," she said.
Nemetz plays sassy Sweet Sue in the Some Like It Hot tour, the leader of the all-girl band headlined by singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe in the film). Sweet Sue is featured in several musical numbers in the show and Nemetz shows the welcoming Pittsburgh audiences that she still has what it takes to make a big impression on the stage. We hope she comes back again soon.