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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(Lenore )

(b Statesboro, GA, March 18, 1975). American performer. Embodying the “triple-threat” performance model of singer, actor, and dancer, Sutton Foster enjoyed a rapid rise to musical theater stardom. Foster debuted on Broadway in 1993 as a chorus member and understudy for Eponine in Les Misérables (opened 1987), then played Sandy Dumbrowski in Grease (1994). She appeared in Annie (1997) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (1997). Foster created the role of Thoroughly Modern Millie’s Millie Dillmount in California tryouts in 2000. Despite being little-known, she was cast for the show’s Broadway (2002) opening; her performance earned Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical, and an Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer. Subsequently, Foster created the roles of Jo in Little Women (2005), Janet Van De Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone (...

Article

Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b St. Louis, MO, June 18, 1934). American actor and singer. He began his career in New York in 1963 with Shakespeare in the Park and subsequently has performed in more than 185 plays and about 20 musicals. He first appeared on Broadway as Ianto Morgan in A Time for Singing by John Morris (1966). He also played the role of John Dickinson in Sherman Edwards’s 1776 (1971) and replaced Len Cariou in the title role of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (1979). He originated the role of Papa in I Remember Mama (1979), with music by Richard Rodgers. For his portrayal of Albin in La Cage aux Folles (Jerry Herman, 1983) he earned a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Albin’s character introduced the anthem “I Am What I Am,” which made a powerful statement about homosexual tolerance that coincided with the recognition of AIDS in America. In ...

Article

Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b New York, NY, April 29, 1917; d New York, NY, July 15, 2012). American actress and singer. Her stage, film, and television acting career exceeded 50 years and embraced a wide variety of characters and genres. Holm began her Broadway musical career in Gloriana (1938), then worked steadily in non-musical plays until originating Ado Annie in Oklahoma! (1943). She starred in Broadway’s Bloomer Girl (1944) before signing a movie contract with 20th Century Fox in 1946. She received an Academy Award for portraying Anne Dettrey in Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and nominations for Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). Movie musicals include The Tender Trap (1955), High Society (1956), and Tom Sawyer (1973); television musicals include The Yeomen of the Guard (1957) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Elizabeth Holzman ]

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 23, 1904; d Stamford, CT, June 18, 1971). American actress, singer, composer, and lyricist. Holman completed her college education before moving to New York where she began her theatrical career in 1924. Encouraged by the critic Channing Pollock, she appeared in revues, including the Garrick Gaieties (1925) and Merry-Go-Round (1927). Her most successful performance came in 1929 with The Little Show, where she introduced the song “Moanin’ Low” (by Ralph Rainger). This blues number became her signature tune, although she had another hit in Three’s a Crowd (1930) with “Body and Soul” (Heyman, Sour/Green). She appeared in other revues during the 1930s, including Revenge with Music (1934), and starred in Cole Porter’s You Never Know (1938). Holman produced her own one-woman show, Blues, Ballads, and Sin-Songs, in 1954. She took this opportunity to showcase her own compositions, including “Good Morning Blues” and “House of the Rising Sun.” Her music was deeply rooted in African American idioms, a connection she celebrated through her support of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Holman’s performances are preserved on 25 sides recorded for Brunswick from ...

Article

Gillian M. Rodger

(Jane )

(b Columbus, OH, March 16, 1889; d Beverly Hills, CA, Feb 26, 1956). American actress, singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Her stage career began when she was just a child and was promoted tirelessly by her mother, Jennie Cockrell Bierbower, a woman whose own theatrical aspirations had been thwarted. Janis’s first roles on the stage were with the Ohio Valentine Stock Company in 1897. Her career in vaudeville lasted into the 1920s, and the format of her act varied little. She opened with a song and then moved through imitations of popular stars of the period; her imitations varied from year to year and included a wide range of celebrities including Weber and Fields, Lillian Russell, Pat Rooney, Anna Held, Ethel Barrymore, Alla Nazimova, Fanny Brice, and George M. Cohan. By the 1920s she had begun to move into musical comedy and revue.

Janis was a tireless supporter of the troops during World War I and traveled to France and England to entertain them. She found equal popularity with English and French audiences. After her mother’s death in ...

Article

Paul R. Laird

(b Chicago, IL, March 31, 1922; d Warwick, NY, March 5, 1999). American actor and singer. Kiley attended Loyola University and acting school in Chicago before serving in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946. He began his acting career in radio and eventually settled in New York. Kiley toured in the play A Streetcar Named Desire before embarking on several television projects in the early 1950s. His Broadway debut was in the play Misalliance (1953). Later that year he played the Caliph in the musical Kismet, singing “Stranger in Paradise.” The play Time Limit! (1956) and work in Hollywood preceded his appearance in the musical Redhead (1959) opposite Gwen Verdon, for which he won his first Tony Award. Kiley continued his musical career as Diahann Carroll’s lover in No Strings (1962), the substitute male lead in Here’s Love (...

Article

Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b New York, NY, May 20, 1958). American singer and actor. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Judy Kuhn made her Broadway acting debut in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985). She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance as Bella Cohen in the four-performance run of Rags (1986). Tony and Drama Desk nominations followed for her portrayal of Cosette in Les Misérables (1987) as well as of Florence in Chess (1988). She received a Tony nomination for Amalia Balash in the She Loves Me (1993) revival, performed as Michal in King David (1997) and as a replacement for Fantine in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables. Other non-Broadway musical theater credits include an Olivier Award-nominated turn as Maria/Futura in Metropolis (London, 1989), Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard (Los Angeles, 1994), and Fosca in ...

Article

Hsun Lin

[Lane, Joseph ]

(b Jersey City, NJ, Feb 3, 1956). American actor and singer. He changed his name in honor of his favorite character, Nathan Detroit, from Guys and Dolls. Lane began his theatrical career with the revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter in 1982. His second appearance on Broadway was in the musical Merlin (1983), which was a commercial failure. His career took off in the early 1990s. He starred as Nathan Detroit in the revival of Guys and Dolls (1992), for which he received his first Tony nomination. He won his first Tony for Best Actor as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (revival, 1996) and his second Tony as Max Bialystock in The Producers (2001). Coincidentally, both roles were originated by Zero Mostel. Besides musical comedies, Lane has also appeared in several plays, such as the revival of Simon Gray’s ...

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

[Gjergji, Ludovik Ndoj]

(b Shkodër, Albania, 11 Nov 1923; d Shkodër, 27 Dec 2015). Albanian singer. His name is linked in particular to the musical repertoire of Ahengu and Kânge Jare, songs in which Ottoman musical roots blend with Western influences.

Born into a family from the Mirdita region, from childhood he was interested in the urban song of Shkodër. Between 1945 and 1947, in Tirana, he came to the fore as a performer with the ensemble Grupi Karakteristik Shkodran directed by Paulin Pali. In 1947 he took part in the performance of Dasma shkodrane, by Prenkë Jakova, an important pioneer of Albanian musical theatre.

In the early 1950s Bik Ndoja emerged in the musical milieu of Shkodra by singing on the radio, in the House of Culture, and at the Perlat Rexhepi musical club.

During the years of the dictatorship, he continued to live in Shkodra and worked as a tailor, though his renown as a singer grew steadily, thanks to his activity at Radio Shkodra and Radio Tirana, and at the local ...

Article

Jacquelyn Sholes

(Fredericka Carolyn )

(b Savannah, GA, Dec 23, 1903; d Stamford, CT, June 28, 1994). American actress, dancer, singer, and writer. Washington was one of the first widely recognized African American stage and film actresses. She performed in the Broadway musical Shuffle Along (1921–6); as Paul Robeson’s costar in Black Boy (1926); on European tour with dance partner Al Moiret (1927–8); and in shows including Singin’ the Blues (1931), Run, Little Chillun’! (1933), Mamba’s Daughters (1939), a revival of Porgy and Bess (1943), Lysistrata (1946), and A Long Way from Home (1948). Her film credits include Black and Tan Fantasy (1929; with Duke Ellington), The Old Man of the Mountain and The Emperor Jones (1933), and One Mile from Heaven (1937). In 1934, Washington (whose mother was Caucasian) appeared in the film ...