Featured Performer of the Week: Lisa Passonno Franklin
BroadwayWorld is thrilled to present its latest feature series: The Performer of the Week! Get to know these amazing talents as they share a bit about themselves, their work and life!
Tell us About Yourself, Lisa!
Lisa Passonno Franklin received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the Crane School of Music, her Master's Certificate in Voice/Opera from the Opera School at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Wuerzburg, Germany and her Master's Degree in Voice/Opera from SUNY Binghamton in conjunction with the Tri-Cities Opera, where she performed several operatic roles. Lisa toured in Germany with many orchestras in both concert and opera settings. Lisa has been on the faculty of the NY State Theatre Institute, where she taught voice classes. Lisa now teaches voice at The Academy of the Holy Names in Albany, NY and has a private vocal
Where You Might Have Seen Her (select credits)
Regional: TriArts Sharon Playhouse, Mac-Haydn Theatre, The Glove Theatre, Park Playhouse, Upstage Productions, C-R Productions and NYSTI. Favorite roles include: Mimi in La Boheme, The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Velma in Hairspray, Guenevere in Camelot, Nancy in Oliver, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Mrs. Phagan in Parade and Lilli/Kate in Kiss Me Kate
We've Got Questions!
1) What are you working on right now?
I am presently rehearsing the role of Katrina, a 'local' housewife in a new musical called 'The Real (Desperate) Housewives of Columbia County. It will be making its NYC debut March 7 to 28 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at 42nd St. and 9th Ave. (For info, click here.) 'The Real (Desperate) Housewives of Columbia County Musical' by Carl Ritchie (book, lyrics, director) and Wayne Moore (music) is a Coward-esque evening from the Taconic Stage Company upstate, which it took by storm in the summer of 2011. Thinly guised as the confessions of four 40-something women on reality TV, this four-character musical spotlights the culture-clash between spoiled, egocentric "weekender" women and their working class "townie" counterparts in a rural upstate community. The show has no reason but to delight, which it does with savvy performances, high-heeled lyrics and the poison of its cocktail-party chit-chat dialogue."
I also am working on preparing several roles with my incredible voice teacher, Susan Eichorn-Young and my amazing coach, Paul Johnson.
2) What has been your professional biggest accomplishment so far?
I believe that my children and my Vocal Studio are my biggest accomplishments so far. Both of my sons, George Franklin, age 12 and Charles A. Franklin, age 20 have their Equity cards. My daughter, Julia Franklin, age 21 and my daughter, Emily Louise Franklin, age 16 are on their way to their AEA memberships. My kids have been performing with me all of their lives in local community and Regional theatre in the Northeast. Now Julia is a Senior and Charles is a Junior
at PACE University, both studying Musical Theater under the phenomenal program being run there by Amy Rogers. All of my children have worked in professional theater. Emily and George also hope to study Musical Theater at PACE University in NY. I have often performed with my children in many
theaters in the Northeast including C-R Productions at Cohoes Music Hall, Mac-Haydn Theatre, Park Playhouse and TriArts Sharon Playhouse. My son, George and one of my vocal students, Jack Mastrianni, made their Broadway debuts in A Christmas Story, The Musical this past November. Other recent students of mine who have appeared in Broadway shows are Jacob Clemente who starred as Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot on Broadway and as a Newsboy in Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, Christopher Flaim who appeared as Michael Banks in the National Tour and in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins and Lydia Clemente who appeared as Capdig in the National Tour of 101 Dalmations.
I presently run a Vocal Studio in Albany, NY and have had many students go on to study Musical Theatre, Voice and Acting.
3) Share your funniest or worst audition moment
My worst audition was my first EPA. What a disaster! I was auditioning for Dolly and asked one of my coaches in NY for a quick session the night before the audition. He suggested that I sing 16 bars of one of the more comic songs from the show, which I did not know. I quickly tried to memorize it and took it into the audition the next day. My gut feeling was "to sing what I sing best," but I went with his suggestion and started the song. I completely blanked on the second word. I looked at the accompanist and said, "I am sorry. May we start over please?" We started and I got through TWO words that time! I said to the casting director, could I please sing something else? She looked at me (probably thinking why not? She hasn't actually sung 'anything' yet!!!) and she allowed me to sing the song that I had prepared for weeks. I nailed it, much to her dismay, and I then proceeded to tell her what had happened and joked that I would never listen to my coach again!
4) What's your dream role?
My dream role is Guenevere in CAMELOT, which I have played twice. If I win the lottery, I will buy my own theater and play Guenevere for the rest of my life! Lol! Seriously though, I would love to play Marmee in Little Women and of course Dolly, Mame and Rose! I am now old enough to be able to do those roles.
5) If you weren't a performer, what would you be?
I cannot even imagine what else I would be. I am also a voice teacher and coach, which allows me to work with many young aspiring artists, which I greatly enjoy. My real love, however is being on the stage!
6) Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
I plan to stay home with with my children until they are all grown and off to college and then I plan to pursue my career. I married my high school sweetheart, Paul Franklin right after receiving my two Master's degrees and we had four children. I put my career on hold for 11 years and then started auditioning with my oldest, Julia, who was ten at the time. We landed the roles of Lady Thiang and Princess Ying Yaowalak in a local production of The King and I. We have been actively performing since that time. I would love to continue being on stage with my children in the future!
7) Where can people find you online?
The official Franklin website should be up and running soon. I can be found online on Facebook at The Vocal Studio of Lisa Franklin. Check out the video below of Lisa performing 'My Child Will Forgive Me' from Spotlight Players' production of 'Parade'!
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