Emmanuelle Zeesman

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Emmanuelle Zeesman (born 20th century) is a Canadian actress of film, stage and television, as well as a singer, musical director, and choreographer working primarily in the United States and in Canada. Emmanuelle has also performed throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. Emmanuelle is also a pianist, a trumpet player, and tin whistler. [1]

She graduated from the University of Windsor Musical Theatre Performance Program before becoming an instructor at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.[2] She is a member of A Company of Fools Theatre Inc., a not-for-profit professional theatre company that presents Shakespeare plays in a format that employs editing, improvisation, costumes, make up, physical comedy, and local and contemporary references to appeal to broad audiences, including children and the Shakespeare uninitiated.[3]

In addition to her education at Windsor, Emmanuelle is a graduate of École Philippe Gaulier, and she has studied under leading Canadian acting, musical theatre, and choreography coaches.[4]


Movies and television[edit]

Emmanuelle played the role of Lou Anne in the short film ‘Mercy’.[5] Her credits also list her as performing in various film and television roles (acting, dancing, hosting), including ‘'A Lover’s Revenge'’, ‘'First Comes Love'’, ‘'Getting Along Famously'’, ‘'Officier Croupier'’, and ‘'The Breakfast Club'’ (Rogers Cable and the New RO, not the John Hughes film).[4]

Theatrical performances[edit]

Her theatrical performances are tabled below.[4][6]

Performance Role Theatre/production

Guys and Dolls Mimi The National Arts Centre

I The Writer Gladstone Theatre/David Hersch
Blood Brothers Mrs. Johnstone Gladstone Theatre
The Andrews Brothers Peggy Gladstone Theatre
Doubt Sister James Gladstone Theatre/John P. Kelly
Romeo and Juliet Juliet A Company of Fools/Al Connors
The Snow Show Elizabeth National Arts Centre/Jennifer Brewin
La Vie Parisienne Pauline Theatre Lyrique/Steve Michaud
Home As Cast STO Union/Nadia Ross
Tempest in a Teapot Miranda A Company of Fools/Scott Florence
Macbeth Lady Macbeth Salamander Theatre/Chris McLeod
Twelfth Night Olivia A Company of Fools/Margo McDonald
The Tales of Hoffman Spirite Opera Lyra/Henri Akino
Lunch Mary U of O Masters Series/Nathalie Quesnel
Dans le creux de la vague La Mer (Lead Vocalist) Jeunesse en Tete/Anne-Marie Riel
Amahl and the Night Visitors Shepherdess Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Diana-Mady Kelly
Into the Woods Rapunzel Essex Theatre/David Savoy
Romeo and Juliet Capulet (Dancer) Opera Lyra/Daniel Livingston
The Secret Garden Lily Experimental Theatre/Melanie Walker
Mother Courage Ivette Third Wall Theatre/James Richardson
Samuel Beckett Shorts Morvan Great Canadian Theatre Company(Late Night Series)/ C. Roberts
A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia A Company of Fools/Catriona Leger
Forbidden Broadway Julie Andrews Experimental Theatre/S. Henrickson
A World of Stories Storyteller Salamander Theatre/Eleanor Crowder
Parliament Hill Players Lady Dufferin Government of Canada/Benoit Osborne
Never Swim Alone Referee Vision Theatre/Greg Wizinski
Chicago Velma Kelly Eddy May Mysteries/Riley Stewart


In 2010 the Capital Critics Circle (CCC) awarded her the title of Best Professional Actor for her role in Blood Brothers at the Gladstone Theatre.[7] Alvina Ruprecht of the CCC, and resident theatrical critic of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,[8] describes Zeesman’s performance as "absolutely magnificent as Mrs Johnstone, the worried, harassed debt ridden mother who can’t pay, can’t control her oldest boys … Zeesman’s singing brings great depth to all these emotional situations. As well as being a strong singer she has also become a serious actress. The final number, Tell me it’s not true, as she bends over the two bodies of her dead sons, was the culmination of a great performance".[9]


  1. ^ Emanuelle Zeesman, Mensour Agency, retrieved 19 June 2012
  2. ^ Musical Instructors, Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, retrieved 19 June 2012
  3. ^ "a Company of Fools Theatre « Mandate". Fools.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "Emmanuelle Zeesman". Mensour.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  5. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479099/
  6. ^ "The Gladstone | HOME". Thegladstone.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  7. ^ "CCC Theatre Awards 2010 Capital Critics Circle Announces Eleventh Annual Theatre AwardsJohn Koensgen wins the Audrey Ashley award for outstanding contribution to the theatre… OTTAWA, November 15, 2010 – The Capital Critics Circle today announced the winners of the eleventh annual theatre awards for plays presented in English in the National Capital Region during the 2009-2010 season. The winners are: Best professional production:A Christmas Carol, directed and adapted by Peter Hinton from the book by Charles Dickens; a production of the National Arts Centre English Theatre. Best community theatre production:The Orpheus Musical Theatre Society production of The Producers adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, directed by Richard Elichuk, with musical direction by Brian Boggs and choreography by Joan Scarcella-Kovacs. Best director (professional):Peter Hinton for A Christmas Carol, directed and adapted by Peter Hinton, a production of the National Arts Centre English Theatre. Best director (community): Jim Holmes for The Underpants by Carl Sternheim, adapted by Steve Martin, Kanata Theatre. Best actor (professional): Emmanuelle Zeesman as the Mother in Blood Brothers by Willy Russell, directed by Charles McFarland, Gladstone Productions Best actor (community): Nicholas Miller as Jack Point in the Savoy Society of Ottawa The Yeomen of the Guard, directed by Pat MacDonald, with musical direction by Allison Woyiwada and choreography by Merle Adam. Best design (professional):Jock Munro for his lighting design of the NAC English Theatre production of Mother Courage and her Children by Bertolt Brecht, in a new version by Peter Hinton, directed by Peter Hinton Best design (community):Jennifer Donnelly for her set design for The Producers, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society. The Audrey Ashley Award for a major contribution to theatre:John Koensgen, for his extensive, excellent and varied body of work. The Audrey Ashley Award is named for the late Audrey Ashley, the Ottawa Citizen’s longest serving theatre reviewer, and sponsored by theatre producer Barbara Crook, a former theatre critic at the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun. Special jury awards go to two trios of actors whose equally excellent performances could not be separated. Professional:For their performances in the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s production of Heroes by Gérald Sibleyras, translated by Tom Stoppard, directed by Lise Ann Johnson: Peter Froehlich, John Koensgen and Paul Rainville. Community: For their performances in the Orpheus Musical Theatre Company production of The Producers: Kodi Cannon, Réjean Dinelle-Mayer and Shaun Toohey. Winners receive cash awards or equivalents, plaques and commemorative certificates. The CCC instituted the awards in 2000 to honour the best in theatre on stages in the National Capital Region. The members of the selection committee for the 2009-2010 season English theatre awards were: Alvina Ruprecht (CBC radio), Denis Armstrong (Ottawa Sun), Patrick Langston (Ottawa Citizen), Jamie Portman (Postmedia News), Barbara Gray (CKCU) and Iris Winston (Variety). The 2010 CCC awards are sponsored by the Ottawa Citizen, Barbara Crook Greenberg, Alan Dean Photography, Laurie Dickson, the Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli, and OYP Theatre School. The Herb & Spice Shop, Wellington Street, West Village, supplied some refreshments and Ottawa Little Theatre hosted the 2009-2010 awards. For further information, contact:Iris WinstonTelephone: 613 256-4747E-mail: iris.home@sympatico.ca". Capital Critics Circle. 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  8. ^ "Home of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association - Membership". Canadiantheatrecritics.ca. 2000-06-13. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  9. ^ "Blood Brothers at the Gladstone A production of the Gladstone Theatre, directed by Charles McFarland. Reviewed by Alvina RuprechtCharles McFarland is the co-artistic director of the Third Wall Theatre which is housed in the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre in Ottawa. Inviting McFarland to direct Willy Russell’s contemporary classic at the Gladstone theatre just down the street, was perhaps a bit of a risk. Third Wall sometimes uses graduates from the Ottawa Theatre conservatory which is part of the Ottawa School for Speech and Drama and often the results leave much to be desired. However this time the Gladstone theatre has made an excellent choice. McFarland’s work with the young people, the 8 Johnston children and their school chums, was precise, energetic, inventive and very exciting. And the young people responded to the challenge with impeccable professionalism. It appeared that this musical play, which speaks of poverty and a blood pact between two young men from different sides of the track, who are twins but who are never allowed to know the truth, struck a note with these actors and they went through the whole experience as though it had some deeper meaning for them. Andy Massingham as the throaty narrator with the marvellously melodious voice, (it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t sing most of it) starts off by telling us about that hard hearted mother, Mrs Johnston who separated her twin boys at birth but soon we realize she was driven by necessity. Incapable of bringing up two more children( she already hs six) , she gave one to her rich employer, Mrs Lyons, who was never able to have a baby and who begged her housekeeper for this chance to have a child. The women make a pact to never reveal the truth and this is what propels the show: the mystery of the boys birth as well as the class conflict that separates the brothers. Later, the Eddie (the rich twin) meets Mickey (the poor twin), the two become good friends and swear to never forget each other, even though events separate them throughout the play as they grow up. Eddie goes away to the best schools, Mickey, exasperated by his poverty, is eventually influenced by his brother Samy and gets into serious trouble. The action often slips into melodramatic heights of emotion, but It does not become maudlin or overly sentimental mainly because the characters are so well portrayed, the singing is so exciting and the staging is full of high tension and a continuous flow of pumped up energy. . This is a larger than life experience with all that heightened emotion. It might not worked as well as a simple play, but the dancing , the singing, the playful theatre within theatre treatment gave it a special excitement that made it so very attractive. . One scene even has the whole cast "STOMPING" like that other group the young people adore. Emmanuelle Zeesman was absolutely magnificent as Mrs Johnston, the worried, harassed debt ridden mother who can’t pay, can’t control her oldest boys . She is also terrified that the twins will meet when they grow up because she thinks that if they learn they are twins, they will die. Such superstitions, associated with thoughts of death haunt her all through the show and the lyrics are full of evil omens and fore bodings. It takes on the tone of a popular folktale and narrator Massingham emphasizes this folktale process that is even now, transforming this story into a local Liverpool legend. Zeesman’s singing brings great depth to all these emotional situations. As well as being a strong singer she has also become a serious actress. The final number "Tell me it’s not true", as she bends over the two bodies of her dead sons, was the culmination of a great performance. Margo MacDonald plays the neurotically over protective rich mother of Eddy, the other twin. Her singing voice is less striking than Zeesman’s, but it doesn’t matter because her lyrics created situations which emphasized her acting ability which sustained all the fear, nervousness and paranoia related to her son. The younger cast also held its own. Diego Arvelo as the sweet, confident and wealthy Eddie was a perfect foil to the thin, nervous, frustrated Mickey (David DaCosta). Two extraordinarily mature performances (both acting and dancing) from two young men who certainly have a future on the stage. Their singing was less noteworthy but speaking the lyrics a certain way, which Mcfarland helped them understand, allowed the performances to work well without perfect musical theatre style voices. Their performances were even more natural because of it. Particularly noteworthy in the chorus was Henry Shikongo as Sammy the bad brother who moves and acts like a real pro. As for the set, David McGladry has built a solid scaffolding that kept the action moving up and over the whole space, non stop. They crawl and leap in a series of wonderful group numbers that at times appear to be organized chaos but that immediately morph into a good synchronized chorus. However, opening night had a serious technical problem with the sound. The acoustics in the Gladstone theatre are not the best to begin with. There is a small band on stage right with piano (played by the excellent Nick Carpenter) synthesizer, violin, guitar, percussions and saxophones, played by Colline Sutton, a well known actress who, surprise, surprise, is also a musician. The problem was that the badly set up mix made the saxophone sound out of place. Nor were the microphones particularly well placed because at times one had the impression that the music drowned out the singing. The situation improved after the intermission and I am sure they will correct all the faults for the rest of the run. The rest is , however, excellent. Take the young people. Adults and adolescents alike will love this. Plays until May 15 at the Gladstone Theatre. Call 613-233-4523 First appeared on www.scenechanges.com Reviewed by Alvina RuprechtOttawa, May 2010 . Just for the comparison we saw the London Production. Here are some thoughts... Blood Brothers: A Cross Cultural look at a British musicalReviewed by Alvina Ruprecht First posted on the Bulletin of the Canadian Theatre Critics Associatiion (CTCA), (Jeniva Berger, www.scenechanges.com) A recent Ottawa production by the Gladstone Theatre, of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, that tear jerker of a musical that has been running for over twenty years in England, really took my breath away and prompted me to take a look at the original version of the show that happened to be playing in the Phoenix Theatre in London this summer. Therefore, during one of my "Granny" stints in Paris, I decided to take the Eurostar train (which included 20 minutes through the Chunnel) from the Gare du nord, right into that beautiful new Pancras Station, across the street from Kings Cross. It was rather like taking the Voyageur bus from Ottawa to Montreal: easy, very pleasant and both trips last just over two hours.I have now decided to sacrifice a day or two of my stays in the seventh, in order to explore London’s Charring Cross Road, given the ease and the rapidity of this extraordinary Eurostar trip. In fact, one has the impression that each city has become the banlieue of the other, depending on which side of the Chunnel you identify with. Blood Brothers has acquired the status of a youth cult in Britain. This was quickly confirmed by the row of girls sitting in front me. They were theatre students who recited the book, and sang the songs during the whole performance. As they told me afterwards in their English lilt, "this is the sixth time we have seen the show and we are coming back for more!" And then came the curtain calls, the yelling, the screaming, the foot stamping, the unending bows, even the flowers. This did not quite happen in Ottawa. In fact, the director of the Gladstone Theatre published an announcement in the Citizen a week after the opening encouraging people to come because even though the critics had said it was an excellent show, the audiences were not there! How is it that a tragic-comic story about a single mom with seven children living in a working class neighborhood who has nothing but heartache, has become such a hit, especially given the fact there are no heart throb rock stars, no beautiful young men in sexy jeans. It was mostly about adult men performing children, nasty school teachers, kind postmen, milkmen and policemen, a rich family and a poor family and a sweet young couple who are trying to get their lives together. Typical class conflict straight out of the Liverpool based "angry young men" movement where working class misery was sprawled all over the stage in the purest of Liverpool singing and dancing tradition. But, the difference was that this London production was a fully fledged musical with a perfect orchestra of acoustic and electronic instruments, a musical score that vibrated in the background and sustained the emotion of all the dramatic sequences, with actors who were true musical theatre singers with magnificent voices, and a fast paced choreography that had the cast flipping about the stage in the most sophisticated combination of dance, mime and acrobatics, as lighting effects created visual magic throughout. Obviously the technical superiority and skill of these seasoned performers could not be outdone and this is what made the Ottawa event look like a small budget production, which is putting it mildly. According to Willy Russell, as he is quoted in the program, "if the electricity fails in the theatre and you can’t light the show or amplify it, you can still do the show with a piano, and even if the piano blows you can still do it a capella, and it will work" Possibly, depending on the piano player and the acoustics in the hall, which was unfortunate for the Gladstone on opening night. The roles also demanded acting skills and I must say that Ottawa’s Emmanuelle Zeesman who sang Mrs Johnson the unfortunate mother of the Johnson twins, was right up there with the British cast and that pleased me very much. David daCosta who played Mickey, the son who remained with his mother, also gave a fine performance in Ottawa. Jealousy, superstition, and unpredictable circumstances come together to turn the birth of twin boys, into a modern tragedy. Mrs Johnson must give away one of the baby boys because she can’t afford to keep them both but the boys must never know they have a twin brother. Still, their paths cross inadvertently, and the inevitable happens. Singing "Tell me it’s not true", the stunned mother collapses with grief in a finale that has a slightly Shakespearean feel as the bodies are carried off stage. On the other hand, there is a strong sense of the brechtian episodic structure where opposing situations help the writer make a point without moralizing about good and evil. Class conflict is heightened by a form of stylized realism made explicit by the presence of musicians on stage, the joyful dancing in the middle of misery and a set that plays with the idea of a working class section of Liverpool without actually imitating the architecture of the city. All this was perfected in London, but suggested on the scaffold-like set at the Gladstone, which actually worked rather well. The story is narrated by a masculine figure that functions as a Greek chorus, a story teller and a stealthy dark presence representing destiny. British actor Philip Stewart as this sinister creature appears everywhere and leads the characters like some ethereal creature on to their fate. His superb voice that soared above the sounds of the whole singing ensemble, transformed the show into a form of urban legend that became an almost mythical tale of death in the city. Like my young neighbors, I willingly gave myself to the irresistible presence of this seductive artist. Our own Andy Massingham didn’t quite have the presence of his British counterpart, and he did speak most of his lines.The British Mrs Johnson was sung by a most remarkable Niki Evans- sultry, earthy, and sexy and ever suffering; the strength of her voice rocked the theatre, the power of her presence resonated and captured the anger of a Liverpool class war, bringing the show back to its cultural roots, something that the Canadians could not possibly have done. Nor could the accents be correctly imitated and since most of the Liverpool references disappeared from the Canadian performance, they had to be made explicit in the text. Not a problem though. Also noteworthy was the silhouette of the city which served as the backdrop for the Phoenix Theatre set. This urban profile was immediately recognizable to a British audience, according to the person sitting next to me, while a Canadian would more easily recognize Toronto or Montreal than Liverpool. The silhouette of the city, the spoken language, the accent, even the style and content of the production, were unmistakable for a British audience whereas none of the Liverpool clues were obvious for us. But none of that mattered. What did matter was the quality of the production values and that is what made the British performance the sort of show one would find on Broadway. The Gladstone Theatre still has a long way to go but given that this is only the second season of their existence, the comparison is not bad at all. Alvina RuprechtParis, July 2010 ***********************". Capital Critics Circle. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 

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