Carmen Cusack at 2016 Theatre World Awards (photo: Robert Armin)
|Born||April 25, 1971/72
Carmen Cusack (born Denver, Colorado) is an American musical theater actress and singer. She is known for playing Elphaba in the Chicago, North American Tour and Melbourne productions of the musical Wicked, as well as for originating the role of Alice Murphy in the Broadway musical, Bright Star. Cusack's performance was highly praised and earned her a Tony Award nomination and a 2016 Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut.
After completing university, she accepted a job on the MS Queen Elizabeth 2, which changed the course of her career. In Manchester, England, she had her breakthrough role as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. Soon after this, she made her West End debut as Fantine in Les Misérables. She also appeared in the original West End productions of The Secret Garden and Personals. She appeared in the Off-Broadway revival of Carrie: The Musical as the gym teacher, Ms. Gardner.
Cusack later returned to America, and on December 12, 2006, joined the Chicago production of Wicked as the standby for the lead role of Elphaba. Impressed with her portrayal of the character, the producers asked her to star in the lead role on the show's first national tour, beginning in October 2007. Her role as standby was taken over by Jennifer DiNoia.
She began performances on tour, replacing Victoria Matlock, on November 6, 2007. She starred alongside Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda. After spending one year on tour, she left on November 2, 2008, and was replaced by Donna Vivino, who had been her standby.
Cusack was next seen in the Melbourne production in Australia, as the temporary standby for Elphaba: Amanda Harrison had taken a break from the show due to illness, and the standby, Jemma Rix, had been given the lead role. Cusack was with the company from June 10 to July 10, 2009. She left to begin rehearsals for South Pacific.
In 2009, Cusack played Nellie Forbush in the first national tour of South Pacific. Based on the 2008 Broadway revival, performances began September 18, 2009 in San Francisco. For this role Cusack was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non Resident Production.
In 2012, she played the role of Miss Gardner in the Off-Broadway revival of Carrie - The Musical, which began performances at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on January 31, 2012. Carrie played a limited run until April 8, 2012.
Cusack appeared in the production of the new musical First Wives Club, based on the film, beginning in February 2015. The musical ran at the Oriental Theatre, Chicago, Illinois. Cusack played the role of Annie.
Cusack originated the role of Alice Murphy in the new musical Bright Star, written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. She has been with the show since its workshop in July 2013 at the Powerhouse Theatre at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Cusack performed in the show's world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in September 2014. She continued her role during its tryout run in Washington D.C. from December 2015 to January 2016.
Cusack made her Broadway debut in Bright Star, which opened on March 24, 2016. For her performance, Cusack won a Theatre World Award. She also received nominations for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
Awards and nominations
|2011||Helen Hayes Award||Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production||South Pacific||Nominated|
|2013||Joseph Jefferson Award||Actress in a Principal Role in a Musical||Sunday in the Park with George||Nominated|
|2016||Helen Hayes Award||Outstanding Performer, Visiting Production||Bright Star||Nominated|
|Tony Award||Best Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Honoree|
|2017||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Nominated|
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2009-10-03. Official Site
- Spaner, Whitney. "Meet the Man Who Stopped Carmen Cusack From Giving Up Theatre" Playbill, May 8, 2016
- Hetrick, Adam. Wicked Tour Has New Leading Witches" playbill.com, November 12, 2007
- " 'South Pacific' Tour" broadwayworld.com, July 23, 2009
- "Gavin Lee, Arena's 'Oklahoma!', Signature's 'Sycamore Trees', Phylicia Rashad Are Helen Hayes Nominees in DC" Archived March 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com
- "MCC Theater Announces Complete Cast for Revamped Revival of 'Carrie' " Archived November 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com
- Hetrick, Adam. " 'Carrie' Dies Sooner Than Expected; Revival to Close April 8 Off-Broadway" Archived March 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, March 23, 2012
- Jason Danieley, Carmen Cusack to Lead Chicago Shakespeare Theater's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE broadwayworld.com, August 8, 2012
- "Photo Flash: Jason Danieley, Carmen Cusack and CST's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE Perform at Art Institute of Chicago!" broadwayworld.com, September 17, 2012
- Houlihan, Mary. " 'First Wives Club' Musical Attacks "Dumb Girl Culture" With Motown Hits" playbill.com, February 19, 2015
- Pogrebin, Robin (2016-04-27). "Carmen Cusack Puts 'Her Pain and Her Joy' Into a Leading Broadway Role". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
- "Breaking News: Carmen Cusack to Make Broadway Debut in Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's 'Bright Star'; Dates Set!" Broadway World, Retrieved October 21, 2015
- "Theatre World Awards Announce 2016 Winners" Playbill, Retrieved May 3, 2016
- Coverage, BWW Special. "2016 Tony Awards Nominations - HAMILTON Breaks Record with 16! And the Nominees Are...". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
- Viagas, Robert. "2016 Outer Critics Circle Nominees Announced" playbill.com, April 19, 2016
- BWW News Desk. "SHE LOVES ME, HAMILTON, THE CRUCIBLE & More Earn 2016 Drama League Nominations; Check Out the Full List!" broadwayworld.com, April 20, 2016
- BWW News Desk. "The 2016 Drama Desk Nominations- 'She Loves Me', 'American Psycho' & Bright Star' Lead!" broadwayworld.com, April 28, 2016
- "Tony Awards Nominations: Complete List", Variety, May 3, 2016
- Cox, Gordon. "Drama Desk Nominations: She Loves Me, American Psycho Earn Most Nods (FULL LIST)", Variety, April 28, 2016
- Gans, Andrew. "Zachary Levi and Megan Hilty Host 82nd Annual Drama League Awards Today", Playbill, May 20, 2016
- Gordon, David. "Cynthia Erivo, Danny Burstein, Steve Martin, and More Win 2016 Outer Critics Circle Awards", TheaterMania, May 9, 2016
- Gans, Andrew. "Theatre World Awards Announce 2016 Winners", Playbill, May 2, 2016