WAUKESHA - There’s
a woman who has more talent than Ben & Jerry has flavors of ice
Carmen De La Paz
can build you a house, and afterward she can sing in your living
room. She’ll be appearing at the Waukesha Civic Theatre on Nov. 17
as part of the theater’s Random Acts of Entertainment series.
“My show will
essentially be a one-woman performance with songs illustrating
different points in my life,” De La Paz said. “I’ll be crossing over
different musical genres, from Spanish pop to romance, some disco;
telling about my life through pictures and song.”
Now based in Los
Angeles, she’s lived in New York and appeared in numerous stage
productions. De La Paz said during a recent phone interview, she’s
excited to be coming home to Waukesha.
She is probably
best known for her work on HGTV’s “Hammer Heads,” “Design Star” and
said Barbra Streisand was a big influence. “She was so young when
she started,” De La Paz said. “She’s an example of how the wave
just took her toward her passion.”
De La Paz’s roots
date back to 1982 when she was a member of Kids from Wisconsin and
attended Waukesha North High School.
“I started onstage
at the Waukesha Civic Center when I was 12,” De La Paz said. “(I)
always wanted to know what the business was about.”
returned home after spending several months in South America while
simultaneously filming four television shows.
“We’d shoot five
shows in a day,” De La Paz said. Her favorite is “Be Handy Con
Carmen,” which was launched last year for Fox International’s
“It’s my pet show.
I sold it to the network, I’m the producer and host,” she said.
The past few
months have been quite an education and workload for De La Paz as
she managed the crews, booked locations and wrote the checks.
demeanor and true appreciation of other people has allowed De La Paz
to enjoy a consistent array of work in an industry where so many
people are struggling to make a buck.
personality where people say, ‘Where do I know you from?’” she said.
De La Paz admits
she’s a good teacher and has the ability to break things down in a
way people can understand: “I love to learn. I believe people
appreciate a good teacher. I love music, carpentry and have a
curiosity about everything else. I’m always asking myself, what’s
De La Paz is an
interior designer, decorative painter, carpenter and cook. As the
owner of De La Paz Designs, an interior design studio, she’s
designed spaces in both Los Angeles and New York City.
De La Paz’s early
passion was music, then the whole power tool world, furniture design
and art direction jumped aboard her wagon. She plays nine
instruments, including the violin, which earned her a full
scholarship to college. “I also play classical guitar, mandolin,
bass, percussions and the harmonica,” she said.
Later in her
career, De La Paz worked in publicity and marketing at Warner
Brothers in Los Angeles.
“I was good at the
marketing, but I was looking for something to be passionate about,”
De La Paz hosted a
kids show on Fox and guest starred on a sitcom.
“I’ve been very
blessed,” she said.
When asked about
what lessons she’d like to impart to younger folks, De La Paz said
people should look outside themselves: “Ask yourself if what you’re
planning to do is really what you want. Is it a dream, a calling?
artistic director John Cramer said he’s looking forward to De La
“We have a history
with her,” Cramer said. “This is a great opportunity for us and she
was willing to do a benefit performance, donating her time.”
Kelli, was in Kids From Wisconsin with De La Paz.
“This isn’t a
typical fundraiser, it’s a show,” said Cramer, who noted that every
dollar raised during the performance will go toward theater
“My wife said
Carmen was a powerhouse performer,” Cramer said. “Her fame came from
her do-it-yourself television shows, but her goal was always to be a
“I think this show
would appeal to any age group,” Cramer said. “It may be best enjoyed
by teens to adults, a very family-friendly show.”