Tony Award winner set for Cabaret at The Commons

Tony Award winner Beth Leavel may share the spotlight with another vocalist or two at her Cabaret at The Commons show Nov. 18 in downtown Columbus.

Oh — it’s no one connected to her show billed as “It’s Not About Me,” highlighting 13 of her Broadway shows and a generous dose of stories.

But the 66-year-old stage favorite, nominated for two other Tonys, likes to take requests from the audience at some point during her performance complemented by her music director-keyboardist Phil Reno. And if she does’t really know the number?

Well, then, you’re on — maybe.

“I like the shows to be very organic and in the moment,” she said, speaking from her home in Nyack, New York, on the outskirts of New York City.

She also likes the fact that, when she gets a mind to, she can drive to the nearby mall and simply unwind. No one recognizes her or stops her.

“I just love a good mall walk,” she said, adding that her mother always saw the mall as a good place to relax. “The only time I get recognized is around the theater district after a show.”

Goodness knows she has been recognized by those in her industry. She keeps her 2006 Tony for “The Drowsy Chaperone” and her three Drama Desk Awards, in 2006, 2011, and 2019, among other honors, in a room set aside for Zoom meetings.

“They’re in a room with all the show posters,” said the woman who once wanted to be an interior designer. “(Live-in fiance) Adam (Heller) has done a lot, too — seven shows — on Broadway. So there’s a lot of history in that room.”

She returns to the stage next spring in Chicago in the lead role in the Elton John musical, “The Devil Wears Prada.”

“It’s really amazing and I’m already really proud of it (in pre-show planning),” she said.

She so admired Meryl Streep’s turn as Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor, in that role in the movie version. In fact, she adores all of Streep’s work, and regularly alludes in interviews that she will meet the veteran actress someday soon.

“I can’t wait to give her a big ol’ hug,” she said. “We’re definitely destined to have coffee.”

But she’s too busy considering roles she’d love to do in that faraway someday. And one of those roles at one time was the lead of Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” which she ended up doing at the 11,500-seat outdoor Muny Theater (“an intimate little place”) in St. Louis, Missouri.

Amid the pandemic, her performances have been limited. But she has enjoyed downtime at home with Heller and black-and-white cat Malcolm.

“It’s been one day at a time,” she said, adding that she filled her time with acting and vocal coaching, followed by a few online concerts.

“Really weird,” she said. “It’s amazing what some actors have had to do to survive. I mean, I have some actor friends right now working at Starbucks.”

So she’s grateful to be performing next week, and said her presentation has a “living room” feel.

“It’s all very relaxed, joyous and funny,” she said, “with a couple of touching moments in there.”

And who knows? Maybe a guest vocalist or two.