Actress/singer Carmen Cusack has graced stages across the country with her beautiful singing voice in the latest revival of South Pacific and more recently in LA at the Wallis Annenberg in For the Record: Scorsese - American Crime Requiem. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about Sondheim on Sondhe im, a brand new concert, of which she is a part, to be presented at the Hollywood Bowl this Sunday July 23.
Tell our readers about your most recent theatrical performances.
I'd have to say some of my most recent work has been incredibly rewarding. Alongside the iconic SOUTH PACIFIC, I absolutely LOVED working on BRIGHTSTAR with Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Being part of a journey from the start of conception to the finished product was a such an experience. I was also in awe of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Whilst learning it for the Chicago Shakespeare production in 2012 I remember feeling completely inadequate for how deep and sophisticated and inside of itself the piece was. Who was I to think my abilities could somehow elevate it?
Talk about the Sondheim concert on the 23rd.
This Sondheim on Sondheim is a mixed media concert where filmed interviews are interspersed with gorgeous new symphonic orchestrations of his music - The interviews are projected on huge screens and the songs are performed by the largest orchestras to ever play his music - magnifying his brilliance in a way that's never been attempted before - while still giving audiences an intimate glimpse into the challenges, triumphs, and mind of one of perhaps Broadway's greatest composers.
What are your favorite musicals? Your favorite composer?
Well, I don't really DO favorites but I would say that SWEENEY TODD, SUNDAY IN THE PARK W/GEORGE and WESTSIDE STORY are in my top five so I guess Sondheim would have to be my favorite composer!
What's up next for you?
I'm heading to Williamstown to do a reading of a new piece called LEMPICKA. There are a couple other projects after that but I'm not allowed to announce yet.... so stay tuned!
Talk about this cast and director at the Bowl.
I have had a brilliant time working on this show and have really bonded with everyone in the cast. They really are a dreamy bunch of people but the dreamiest of all is GUSTAVO (Dudamel, conducting the LA Philharmonic Orchestra)!!! He's the real deal. Just lovely!
How do you feel about the state of musical theatre at present?
I believe there's no reason why we couldn't be entering a new age of musical theater IF we continue to nurture young talent, take risks and give them a playing field. Taking the arts out of schools is a terrible mistake. We will always need to be reminded that we are human. Art gives us that.
Directed by Sarna Lapine, niece of Sondheim's longtime collaborator James Lapine, Sondheim on Sondheim plays one night only at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday July 23. To get tix: