Bay Area Cabaret presents the West Coast concert debut of Grammy and Tony Award nominee Carmen Cusack, celebrating the release of her debut album, "If You Knew My Story" - direct from the world premier of the tour-de-force one-woman show Do This and her critically acclaimed cabaret debut and sold-out run in New York.
An actress and singer whose career spans the world, from London's West End to Broadway, Carmen Cusack has graced the stage in some of theatre’s most renowned roles - including Phantom Of The Opera’s Christine, Les Miserables’ Fantine, Wicked's Elphaba, South Pacific’s Nellie Forbush, Ragtime's Mother, and Sunday In The Park's Dot/Marie.
Earlier in 2016, Carmen Cusack made an auspicious Broadway debut starring in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical Bright Star, having originated the role of Alice Murphy during the show’s development, as well as runs at the Old Globe and the Kennedy Center. For the Broadway production, Carmen earned critical acclaim and amassed an array of award nominations – including the Tony Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Drama League Awards, and Theatre World Awards.
IF YOU KNEW HER STORY - SHE HAS A GOOD STORY TO TELL
"If you knew my story
You’d have a hard time
You’d think I was lying
Joy and sorrow never last
I’ll die trying not to live in the past"
Edie Brickell and Steve Martin put that opening number into Bright Star just before their musical began performances on Broadway in March .
At first Carmen Cusack, the show’s star, couldn’t sing it without crying. "I understand it," Ms. Cusack said in a recent interview. "I had something similar happen to me." Her mother was 16 and her father 15 when Ms. Cusack was born in a small town near Denver. She spent the early years with her grandparents in Fountain, Fla., until she was returned to the primary care of her mother in Alabama, who went on to have three more daughters. "I became a live-in nanny," Ms. Cusack said. "We had to grow up very fast. There never was a day when there wasn’t shouting about the bills."
"Throughout her life, Ms. Cusack has hustled to earn a living — she couldn’t afford to finish her degree at the University of North Texas — whether as a singing waitress near a Fort Worth freeway; on a cruise ship crooning Burt Bacharach songs; or as a jazz chanteuse in an underground wine bar for $40 a night." - New York Times
Soon after majoring in performing arts at University of North Texas, Carmen accepted a job on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship that changed the course of her life. Singing her way around the world, she eventually landed in Manchester, England where she was offered the role of Christine Daae in Phantom Of The Opera. Shortly thereafter, Carmen went to London to make her West End debut as Fantine in Les Miserables. A varied career in Europe began to flourish, ranging from innovative workshops to starring in the West End Original Casts of The Secret Garden and Personals.
The opportunity to play one of musical theatre’s most iconic and demanding roles brought Carmen back to the US - starring as Elphaba in the Chicago company of Wicked before joining the National Tour. She soon became an in-demand leading lady in her home country, taking on such diverse roles as Nellie Forbush in the North American Tour of South Pacific, Mother in Ragtime, Dot/Marie in Sunday In The Park With George (opposite Jason Danieley) and in the fall of 2016, co-starring with Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford in a concert version of Sunday In the Park.
In addition to her theatre credits, Carmen is also an accomplished vocalist, possessing a range that soars impressively through jazz, opera, rock, and pop scores. In June 2016, Carmen joined some of the biggest names on Broadway, including Kelli O'Hara, Billy Porter, Audra McDonald, Chita Rivera, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Whoopi Goldberg, Ann & Liz Callaway and Lillias White as Broadway For Orlando. Raising money to benefit victims of the Orlando tragedy, Carmen became a featured soloist on the #1 selling song, "What The World Needs Now Is Love”.
Join Bay Area Cabaret on January 29 at the Fairmont San Francisco’s Venetian Room as Carmen Cusack shares with us her journey, through stories and songs, taking her around the world and leading her back to America and to Broadway.
"Her singing...is impeccable, both in the bloom in her voice and the emotion she invests in the lyrics." - NY Times
"Carmen Cusack is a revelation - making a gorgeously authentic Broadway debut that looks likely to change her life." - Chicago Tribune
"One of Broadway's most riveting leading ladies...Cusack's voice, matched in richness by its ability to transcend genre, is unprecedented in its versatility." - Broadway World
"Carmen Cusack’s voice is touched by the heavens. She’s one of the best singers out there today. If you want goosebumps, she’s your go-to gal!." - Ann Hampton Callaway