Columbus Makes Art Presents Donna Lehr, Long-Time Vaud-Villities Performer
EDITOR’S NOTE: Vaud-Villities Productions has delayed its annual spring variety show Wish You Were Here to December, but you can still get to know Donna Lehr, a performer, executive board member and treasurer with the nonprofit performing arts organization.
Peggy: How long have you been part of the Vaud-Villities organization?Donna: I started performing with Vaud-Villities in 1987 after seeing the annual spring show at Veterans Memorial with my sister, whose husband sang in the men’s and combined chorus.
Peggy: What about the show inspired you to become a performing member of the Vaud-Villities production?
Donna: I performed in musical and drama productions in high school and was president of our drama club. I have always loved being on stage and have found that creating a character or being someone else for a few hours is something that is so rewarding.
Peggy: Why have you been with Vaud-Villities for so many years?Donna: I believe that my longevity with Vaud-Villities stems from the fact that it feels like a family and have made lifelong friends. We call it Vaud-Villities glue because we are bound together with a sense of community, similar interests and true love of the performing. Secondly, I have had the opportunity to use my leadership skills as membership chairman, vice-president, president elect, and president and treasurer and member of the executive board since 2014.
Peggy: Do you have a favorite number from your years in the VV shows?
Donna: I have a couple of favorite comedic numbers where I was the featured performer. I played an over-the-hill dancer trying to keep up with the other dancers in A Beat Behind and to the surprise of the audience and dressed in formal wear, I clucked and strutted around like a chicken to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”
Peggy: Who are some of your artistic inspirations?
Donna: I tend to gravitate toward comedians like Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball, Lily Tomlin. Those are the ones that I watched when I was younger and absolutely loved what they did.
Peggy: What’s on our current playlist?
Donna: It depends on my mood. The latest on my playlist is Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, Bruno Mars, Queen, The Beatles and show tunes – lots of show tunes.
Peggy: If you could have dinner with anyone – living or dead – who would it be and why?
Donna: The first person that immediately came to mind was my dad. He’s been gone 26 years, and he and mom worked so hard raising kids that when you’re the seventh out of eight, you didn’t get to spend much one-on-one time. He was a kind, gentleman and he loved humor, loved to laugh, loved to pull pranks on us and, yes, there was a lot of eye rolling on my part. Maybe that’s who I get my disposition from. Being older now, I sometimes wonder how he would react to the goings on in the world today. I would love to ask him the questions I never did or thought to when he was alive. Or maybe we’d just sit quietly for a spell. That would be okay, too.
To learn more about Vaud-Villities Productions and get information on the rescheduled variety show, visit www.vvshows.org.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Arts Council is maintaining a list of virtual arts experiences at ColumbusMakesArt.com/Virtual. The public is also invited to contribute to the Arts Council’s fund: Emergency Relief for Artists fund.