Real Estate

Mermaids and Roses: The Harlem Home of a ‘Hadestown’ Star

Lillias White may pay the rent, but her rescue dog, LaKee, is inarguably the host and star of the house, a very packed one-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a building in Harlem.

LaKee (pronounced “Lucky”), a Chihuahua mix, is the first to respond to a knock on the door — way ahead of Ms. White or the resident Bengal cat, Mr. Jaxson Ifya Nasty. And she is first in the entryway to greet visitors. Effusively.

To be clear, Ms. White, 72, a star of the Tony-winning musical “Hadestown,” is warm and welcoming. (See the show now; she’s leaving March 17.) But it’s a daily battle not to be upstaged by LaKee, even considering Ms. White’s many Broadway credits (“Fela!,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Once on This Island” and “Chicago,” among others); her awards, notably a Tony for her performance as a streetwise hooker in the 1997 musical “The Life”; and her experiences as a solo act (she’ll be teaching a cabaret master class at the 92nd Street Y in early March).

Ms. White moved into the apartment more than 30 years ago, at a difficult time in her life. “My two kids and I were living with my mother in Coney Island, because I’d lost my apartment in Brooklyn,” she said. “I’d gotten divorced, and I lost everything.”

That’s Mr. Jaxson Ifya Nasty, the cat, next to a statue bequeathed to Lillias White by the proprietor of the Hell’s Kitchen bakery Amy’s Bread.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

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