Russ Lorenson

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Russ Lorenson
Birth name Russ Gangloff
Born (1963-07-05) July 5, 1963 (age 51)
Origin Upland, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Jazz, pop standards, cabaret
Occupations singer, actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1970–present
Labels LML Music
Website http://www.russlorenson.com

Russ Lorenson (born July 5, 1963, birth name Russ Gangloff) is an American singer and actor. Though a stage actor since childhood, Lorenson has more recently established a reputation as an interpreter of jazz standards. With a retro crooner style, Lorenson's sound and approach are an amalgam of Broadway, jazz, and pop.

Early years[edit]

Born in Upland, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia, Lorenson's career began as a youngster, making his stage debut at the age of seven. He continued singing and acting in the theatre throughout his early school years, moving with his family to San Diego, California when he was nine years old. High school found him more focused on “legit” music, where he performed and toured with an award-winning classical vocal ensemble. He also gained experience as both a choral conductor and composer, winning a young artists’ competition in his school district for his composition work.

At 18 years old, he adopted the stage name of "Lorenson," in honor of his teacher and mentor, Loren Salter. Salter had helped to develop Lorenson as a singer and actor throughout his teen years, and the two remain friends to this day.

After college, he continued his work as a choral conductor and voice coach, working for five years as Associate Conductor of the California Youth Chorale, founded by Salter. He returned to theatrical performing as well, appearing in musical productions with San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, Starlight Musical Theatre, and Lyric Opera San Diego.

Career detour[edit]

In the late 1990s, Lorenson took a major detour away from life on the boards. The multi-talented artist plunged into the high-tech world just as the dot-com boom was exploding. Never one to do things by halves, he moved to San Francisco to be close to the Silicon Valley scene, began working in start-ups and found himself flying high in all senses of the word. Eventually attaining positions as an executive required extensive traveling, and Lorenson racked up nearly a million air miles, along with an income that easily surpassed the meager earnings of an actor and singer. Performing fell by the wayside, but after a break of nearly 10 years, the scene changed once again.

Back to the stage[edit]

Although continuing in high-tech, Lorenson found himself unfulfilled creatively, and began exploring a return to performing. He began appearing with San Francisco’s 42nd Street Moon, one of only four theatre groups in the U.S. whose mission is to present staged concert revivals of “lost” musicals from Broadway's Golden Age. He has appeared in their productions of Finian's Rainbow, Minnie's Boys, Cole Porter’s Red, Hot & Blue!, and in 2006, he appeared in the company’s first foray into opera, with their production of The Golden Apple.

In 2005, Russ made the great leap and left the corporate world to return to his passion. With his band, under the musical direction of renowned jazz pianist Kelly Park, Lorenson quickly established a reputation as one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading interpreters of jazz standards.

Lorenson's first nightclub show, A Little Travelin’ Music, was based on his extensive world travel during his corporate career, and played to sold-out audiences on both coasts. His debut CD, of the same name, was released in May 2006 on the LML Music label and features songs from the show and includes duets with special guests Shawn Ryan and Klea Blackhurst. His second CD, What I Want For Christmas, hit music stores in September 2006, and both CDs were included on the Nominating Ballot for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in the category of "Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album" alongside such artists as Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, Chris Botti and John Pizzarelli.

In recognition of his solid and sophisticated musical vocabulary, Talkin’Broadway.com called Russ “an elegant performer who has faultless musical taste and vocal phrasing. He has a voice that is reminiscent of some of the great singers like Tony Bennett, Chet Baker and a little of Mel Tormé.” The Los Angeles Times said that he brings “a supple voice and strong sense of characterization to all his songs." The San Diego Union-Tribune said that his “relaxed, easy deliveries...seem natural and heartfelt..." BeyondChron.com said, “Not only does Lorenson have the soul of the greats – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and other dream crooners of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – he has the band with him to really bring those decades to life.” The Coronado Journal simply called him “…irresistible…”

Discography[edit]

Year Cover Album
2006 A Little Travelin' Music
2006 What I Want For Christmas

Selected Theatrical Productions[edit]

Production Role Company
Nunsense Jamboree Father Virgil Willows Theatre Company, Concord CA
The Secret Garden Archibald Craven Willows Theatre Company, Concord CA
1776 James Wilson Willows Theatre Company, Concord CA
The Golden Apple Doc Macahan 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco CA
Red, Hot & Blue! Reynaldo 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco CA
Minnie's Boys Hochmeister 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco CA
Finian's Rainbow Buzz Collins 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco CA
Pinchpenny Phantom of the Opera Phantom/Gaston Coronado Playhouse, Coronado CA
Phantom Wigmaster Starlight Musical Theatre, San Diego CA
The Desert Song Captain Paul Fontaine Lyric Opera San Diego, San Diego CA
The Wizard of Oz (RSC Version) Winkie General Starlight Musical Theatre, San Diego CA
Rose Marie Jim Kenyon Lyric Opera San Diego, San Diego CA

Awards and achievements[edit]

Lorenson was nominated for a 2007 MAC Award (given by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) for New York performances of his show, Benedetto/Blessed: A Tribute to the Life and Music of Tony Bennett.

Sources[edit]

  • Russ Lorenson's official press kit, provided by Arthur Shafman.
  • LML Music catalogue of recordings.

External links[edit]