Lady Rizo Struts her Stuff in Teatro ZinZanni's New Show

Nancy Guppy gets behind the persona of Lady Rizo

Chanteuse, comedienne and cabaret star Lady Rizo recently told alma mater Cornish College that she’ll know she’s truly successful when drag queens start doing impressions of her. But as a major force on the NYC singing scene and with a Grammy under her belt, Ms. Rizo (aka Amelia Zirin-Brown) has already arrived. She struts her stuff locally in The Hot Spot, Teatro ZinZanni’s new show (through 6/7;

Location: El Diablo Coffee Co. on Queen Anne
Drinks: Rizo, spicy ginger chai with almond milk; Guppy, blackberry soda

Nancy Guppy: Who is Lady Rizo?    
Lady Rizo: She’s an alter ego I developed in 2004 as a way to embrace the feminine divine within me through the power of vintage glamour, coupled with the sensibility of a contemporary woman  

NG: What’s she like?          
LR: She is sexy, sensual, strong, truth telling, bold, adored…and weird.   

NG: Is Lady Rizo based on any person, real or imaginary?       
LR: No, but I’m continually inspired by divas of yesteryear. I love how Peggy Lee moved and how Streisand, at a young age, would throw herself into performance with a wild vulnerability.    

NG: Who are your heroes?
LR: Freddie Mercury, Nina Simone, Prince. I admire anyone who pushes past their bubble of comfort.   

NG: How did attending Cornish College affect your career?        
LR: The most important thing Cornish gave me was that students had to produce their own senior project, which meant that if I wanted fire breathing in my show, I had to go to the Seattle Fire Department and get a permit. Leaving school knowing that I could pull off stuff like that was huge.       

NG: Do you get stage fright?             
LR: Once the performance happens, no. That said, I don’t like to know when reviewers are in the audience, because I’ll go into my critical mind.  

NG: Any secret talents?              
LR: I’m really great at acro-yoga—lying down on my back and flying people like airplanes on my feet. I can lift any size man. It was my seduction technique for a while.   

NG: What do you like about a live audience?              
LR: I love when there’s a journey, where the audience starts out saying “no” and by the end, they are saying “yes.”  

NG: What matters most in your work?               
LR: There is something about being under the same roof, focused on one thing, that our spirits hunger for. I can hold a room, so I can be a shepherd for focused group attention.

NG: Would you rather be filthy rich or creatively satisfied?                
LR: I don’t think creative satisfaction exists, so I’ll go with filthy rich.    

Nancy Guppy showcases Seattle artists on her TV series, Art Zone (


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