Lisa Brescia

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Lisa Brescia (born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota) is an American musical theatre actress who has performed as lead and understudy in several Broadway shows. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,[1] she went on to pursue acting and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

On August 7, 2018, Brescia began a run as Heidi Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, a role that earned Rachel Bay Jones the 2017 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.


Brescia was lead singer in The New Mamas and The Papas from 1993 to 1998 with original members John Phillips and Denny Doherty.[citation needed]

Brescia has played the role of "Amneris" in Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida in several productions. Brescia joined the first national touring production in 2002 as the standby for Kelli Fournier. She assumed the role of Amneris in September 2002 when Fournier left the production. Disney later moved her to the Broadway production as the standby for Mandy Gonzalez. Brescia assumed the role on January 4, 2004 upon Gonzales' departure. She remained in the role until the musical's final performance on September 5, 2004.[2][3] Brescia returned to the role for one week in 2006 at The Muny in St. Louis along with Simone and Will Chase, both of whom also appeared in the Broadway production.[4]

On February 13, 2007, she became the standby for Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, playing the role during the absence of Julia Murney and later Stephanie J. Block.[2] She left the production on May 18, 2008 and transferred to the Chicago production from June 3, 2008, replacing Dee Roscioli in the lead role of Elphaba.[5] She left Chicago on August 24, 2008, when Roscioli returned to the role.[6]

Brescia then starred in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Broadway: Three Generations, a three-act evening featuring condensed versions of Girl Crazy, Bye Bye Birdie, and Side Show. The show was presented at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater October 2–5, 2008.[7]

She appeared in The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown as Mom in The Orange County Performaing Arts center, Orange County, California in 2009. The "work-in-progress" was written by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk.[8]

She starred as Claire in the new musical, Ordinary Days which was presented at the Black Blox Theatre in Manhattan from October 2 to December 13, 2009.[9] She is featured on the Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording which was recorded on April 9, 2010 and was released in the summer of 2010.

Brescia replaced Beth Leavel as Donna Sheridan in the Broadway production of Mamma Mia!. Her first performance took place on October 22, 2010.[10] Her final performance took place on June 2, 2012.

on July 16, 2018, it was announced that Brescia will return to Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen as Heidi Hansen on August 7. She will succeed Rachel Bay Jones, who will play her final performance on August 5.

Personal life[edit]

Her husband is actor Craig Carnelia.[11]

Theatre roles[edit]


Source: PlaybillVault[2]




  • Aida (2002) as Amneris


  • Mary Poppins (2016) as Winifred Banks (Raleigh, NC)[12]
  • A Comedy of Tenors (2015) as Tatiana (Cleveland, OH)[13]
  • Victor/Victoria (2015) as Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski (Ogunquit, ME)[14]
  • Into the Woods (2014) as Witch (Chapel Hill, NC)[15]
  • Cabaret (2013) as Sally Bowles (Chapel Hill, NC, PlayMakers Repertory Company)[16]
  • August: Osage County (2012) as Ivy Weston (Raleigh, NC, Theatre Raleigh)[17]
  • Hamlet (2012) as Gertrude (Notre Dame, IN)[18]
  • The Unauthorised Autobiography of Samantha Brown (2009) as Mom (Orange County, CA)
  • Aida (2006) as Amneris (St Louis, MO, The Muny)
  • Evita (2005) as Eva Perón (Bellport, NY, Gateway Playhouse)[19]
  • The Last Five Years (2005) as Cathy (Milwaukee, WI, Skylight Opera Theater)[20]
  • Actor, Lawyer, and Indian Chief (2002) as Jenny (Chester, CT, Goodspeed Musicals)[21]
  • A Little Night Music (2001) as Petra (East Haddam, CT, Goodspeed Musicals)[22]
  • Brigadoon (2001) as Meg (East Haddam, CT, Goodspeed Musicals)[23]


  1. ^ Blank, Matthew. "Playbill.Com's Cue & A: 'Mamma Mia!' Star Lisa Brescia" Playbill, January 18, 2011
  2. ^ a b c "Lisa Brescia Broadway", accessed September 13, 2015
  3. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Disney's 'Aida' Ends Its Elaborate Life on Broadway Sept. 5" Playbill, September 5, 2004
  4. ^ "'Aida', Muny, 2006", accessed September 13, 2015
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Brescia, Ashford and Cusick Will Join Chicago's 'Wicked' June 3" Playbill, June 2, 2008
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Roscioli Returns to Chicago's 'Wicked' Aug. 26" Playbill, August 26, 2008
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Steggert, Kritzer, Snyder and More Join Kennedy Center's Three Generations; Jones to Host" Playbill, September 16, 2008
  8. ^ Smith, Chrisopher. "'Samantha Brown,' a musical in the making" Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2009
  9. ^ Ordinary Days broadwayworld, August 19, 2009
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Broadway's 'Mamma Mia!' to Welcome Lisa Brescia, Liana Hunt and Clarke Thorell" Archived 2010-09-25 at the Wayback Machine Playbill, September 23, 2010
  11. ^ Henderson, Kathy. "What's Up, Lisa Brescia? The Real-Life Newlywed Steps Into the Lead in 'Mamma Mia!'", October 22, 2010
  12. ^ BWW News Desk. "Kara Lindsay and Nicolas Dromard To Star in MARY POPPINS at North Carolina Theatre'", June 9, 2016
  13. ^ BWW News Desk. "McCarter Theatre Center to Stage World Premiere of Ken Ludwig's A COMEDY OF TENORS'", October 2, 2015
  14. ^ BWW News Desk. "Ogunquit Playhouse's VICTOR / VICTORIA, Starring Lisa Brescia, Hits the Stage Tonight'", June 24, 2015
  15. ^ McNeely, Robert. "PlayMakers opens 'Into the Woods' to rotate with 'Midsummer'", October 31, 2014
  16. ^ "Photo Flash: First Look at Taylor Mac, Lisa Brescia and More in PlayMakers Rep's 'Cabaret'", April 4, 2013
  17. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "'August: Osage County', Starring Dorothy Lyman, Lauren Kennedy, Lisa Brescia, Begins Raleigh Run Nov. 29" Playbill, November 29, 2012
  18. ^ "Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival presents 'Hamlet'" August 10, 2012
  19. ^ "'Evita' Reviews", accessed September 13, 2015
  20. ^ "Review. 'Last Five Years, The'", March 2005
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Craig Carnelia Featured in Goodspeed's 'Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief' May 15-June 9" Playbill, April 23, 2002
  22. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "The Waltzes Wane Dec. 16, as Goodspeed Puts Night Music to Bed" Playbill, December 16, 2001
  23. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Lefkowitz, David. "Goodspeed Musicals' 'Brigadoon' Fades in the Mist June 23" Playbill, June 23, 2001

External links[edit]