Full disclosure: I’m about as monstrous as Lady Gaga's riotous fanatics come. Yes, when passing by her Central Park apartment I’ve sketchily stopped and gazed in hopes of a glimpse of the six-time Grammy Award winner. Yes, I’ve attempted to recreate her "Applause" video with nothing but a Jeff Koons-inspired blue Styrofoam ball and sparkling violet glitter for her ArtRave show. Yes, my boyfriend and I have pirouetted our way down Rivington Street in New York, singing "Marry the Night" just for the drama of the evening—and as a result of one too many cocktails. Yes, I’ve wedged myself into a private jazz concert with her and Tony Bennett inside Rockefeller Center. And yes, I wholeheartedly think Gaga’s poised for a major comeback—but this time, I predict, it will be as one of Hollywood's most talented new actors.
Gaga's career as a thespian has been long in the making. During a performance at Madison Square Garden for her 2011 Monster Ball Tour HBO she paused before performing “Speechless” to share with the crowd how much the powerful careers of EGOT winner Liza Minnelli and actress Marisa Tomei had influenced her own path. As a musical theater student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she said, her drama teachers gave her feedback that stuck. “You’re never gonna play the heroine. And you’re never gonna play the blonde. You’re never gonna play the ingénue. You’re never gonna be the star because you have dark hair and you’re too ethnic,” she recalled. “You’ll play these kinds of ballsy women roles. And, you know what? There’s never a role other than that that I’m ever gonna want to play.”
Four years since that impassioned speech, and after cameo appearances in films like Machete Kills and Sin City, the artist formerly known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta seems to finally have found her acting footing with the perfect script. Come Oct. 7, Gaga is set to star in American Horror Story: Hotel, the fifth installment of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series. Cast as Elizabeth, the owner of the blood-trashed Hotel Cortez in L.A., the songstress is expected to lead a pack of seasoned Hollywood A-listers that includes Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett. While we're especially eager to see Elizabeth enmeshed in a love triangle with Matt Bomer and face off with Naomi Campbell, it’s watching her publicly tackle a new type of creative challenge that has us counting down the days.
Certainly, there will be naysayers. Don't forget that, despite four successful albums, when Gaga took the stage at the 2015 Oscars and slayed her homage to The Sound of Music many critics were shocked to find out (or remember) that she can actually sing. But as Tony Bennett learned across their joint summer Cheek to Cheek tour (above), the adaptable star has an ability to belt out both pop hits and jazz standards. I have little doubt that she'll be just as adept at shifting from stadiums to the small screen—and her Horror Story family seems to agree:
Lady Gaga is everything I dreamed of and more. Lovely, a total pro, and TERRIFYINGLY GENIUS in her role.— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) August 13, 2015
When Oct. 7 rolls around Elizabeth will surely open the doors wide to Hotel's creepy hallways, but once the show wraps, expect a new Lady—and a new era—to walk out.
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