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BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM

It is time for Marissa Rosen... and everyone knows it.

BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM

You would be hard-pressed to find a woman working in live entertainment in New York City who is more loved than Marissa Rosen. Though not especially shy, the vocal powerhouse and ball of perpetual energy and sunshine would blush to hear anyone say that. As she reads this article she is already lowering her eyelids in humility... nevertheless, if you ask anyone (ANYone) to tell you about Marissa Rosen, their praise will be enough to convince you that your life lacks meaning because you don't know her. And it does. There is no person and no performer quite like Ms. Rosen, and her steady climb to success has seen her on stages all over this country, playing a girl who uses a lot of hairspray, a girl wearing a red hoodie, and a girl whose best friend's name is Marty.

Recently Marty and that girl released their first CD... and the recording industry will never, ever be the same.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced with minimal edits.

Marissa Rosen! Welcome to Broadway World and thanks for chatting with us today. How's the holiday season shaping up for you?


BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUMI'm so happy to talk to you Stephen! I am optimistically excited about this holiday season... It's one of the few that I've gotten to spend at home with my family in length. We are always on the go in this business and often don't know from year to year if we'll be able to spend more than a day or two at home, so even under the circumstances I am so thankful.


You are a well-known Jewish girl in the show business community of Manhattan. Tell me about your relationships with Christmas music.


I like to call myself Jew-"ish!" I have always believed from a younger age that you can take lots of things from many different faiths and create your own kind of belief system. I think it's so beautiful to find exactly what speaks to you. I am a Christmas music fanatic. I have always been in choirs growing up and we would go caroling every year & it was my absolute favorite. I feel like I might know every Christmas Carol and all harmonies associated with them... it also just brings a sense of warmth. For some reason Christmas music says cozy pajamas, hot chocolate and sitting by a fire.

On your new holiday album you teamed up with Marty Thomas, a strong personality if ever there was one. Did you guys collaborate on what the album would be like, or did Marty drive that train into the station with you waving at the fans from the caboose?


Marty is always such a genius when it comes to having ideas and executing them beautifully. His mind runs 4000 miles a minute. This album was definitely his brain child, but we have wanted to record with one another for as long as I can remember. We have performed together so many times but have only recorded group songs for our diva show or background vocals for his shows.


We were actually just going to record the duet "There is a Santa Claus" and then his wheels started turning and now we have ourselves an album! This was such an exciting project that we would get to collaborate on and really create some thing that spoke to the Marty and Marissa brand while also showing off our skills as individual artists. Although I do love waving at my tens of fans from the caboose... Probably my mom!


You and Marty have a rapport that is always visible during your live performances. The Award Winning Holiday Album was recorded virtually in quarantine. Describe that difference for me.


There is something magical about live performances. I often call myself a "live performer" because I feel like you can never duplicate the energy in the room no matter how much you try. But what I have learned is that being able to create our own content and our own projects on our own time allows us to really include our personality & strengths into what we're putting out to the world. This quarantine gave us the gift of time. Both of us are always so busy that this often felt like a pipe dream to get us in the same place with enough time to really finish this album. After our quarantining & covid testing, we were able to spend so much time together enhancing this project, which was so special for me because so much of who we are comes from us bouncing ideas off of each other, which wouldn't have been as easily done had we been separate. Another upside is that we were in charge. We didn't have the burden of feeling rushed out of our studio time or not being able to ask for another take. We sometimes worked through the night and didn't stop until we were happy with the final product. We are both perfectionists, so you can imagine what would've happened if we didn't need to get this out for the holidays... We probably could've gone through to 2021!

BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM

Pretend I've been living in a cave for the last twenty years and give me a clear picture of who Marty Thomas is and why I want to investigate his work.


Marty can easily be described as a magical unicorn. Everything he touches turns to gold. Marty as a human being is kind, hard-working, and always the life of the party. In his work life he is a jack of all trades. He can build a shelf, sew a dress, and sing higher than any girl I've ever met. He is hands-down one of the most talented people I've ever come in contact with. He is such a champion of talent. I always call him the talent collector because he gets so excited when he meets a new talent. He is able to see so much potential in everyone & he spends all of his time nurturing and building up peoples confidence until they are able to truly see what he sees. That's what he did for me.

What does the Christmakkuh season look like for you this year?


Well this season looks like a lot of pajamas. It has been a season of virtual concerts, small business shopping, and thanks to our album, tons of wonderful interviews like this. I am looking very forward to getting to spend a lot of time with my family and my pod, sharing gifts and yummy food. It's definitely different from where I thought I would be, because our tour schedule was going to be so rigorous during the holiday season, so being able to be home while also creating art remotely has truly saved my soul.

You are one of the most upbeat people any of us knows - how do you stay so optimistic in life? Where does that come from?


You are much too sweet. I definitely have my moments, but I do try to make those the exception & not the rule. I honestly believe that it all comes from my family and the people that I surround myself with. They make me happy, so I am able to make others happy!

As cliché as it sounds, I do try to always look on the bright side of life. There are so many things that happen that are out of our control in this world & this business & if we consistently worry about everything that can go wrong, we will miss out on the wonderful things life has to offer us. Everything is a learning experience & I feel like if you can remain open minded even when things get frustrating, there's always some sort of life lesson that you can grow from. I love listening to people & it's so important that the people we love feel heard. I always somehow end up taking on a bit of a mother role when it comes to my friendship circles, I'm a big fan of problem solving. My mom has definitely given me such a strong foundation on how to balance listening and giving advice to help make people feel better.


You recently made your Broadway debut and then went out on the road with one of our great divas - tell me about that experience.


How much time do you have?! I truly don't have a proper way to explain how magical this experience was. Never in a million years did I believe that I was going to get to share the stage with one of the ultimate Broadway divas, let alone have it be my Broadway debut!

I'll try to give you the short version of it, but I make no promises. I know that I am a very unique performer and I have found my niche in this business in some unconventional ways. This is how I knew that my debut was going to probably be a unique and unconventional one to match! With that said, never could I have imagined that I would get a phone call that would change my world in a matter of weeks. The incredible Mary-Mitchell Campbell called me one evening and asked if I wanted to sing with Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway. I thought she was joking with me so I giggled and told her that I would have to have my people call her... Did I mention I get uncontrollable verbal diarrhea when I'm nervous?

I couldn't believe that she was going to trust me with this incredibly huge responsibility, but it also solidified my thought process that it truly is all about being in the right place at the right time. Every concert I had done, every reading I had participated in, every song I had sung back up on had prepared and trained me to be ready for this moment. Put the good work in, it does not go unnoticed.

BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM

It was a whirlwind process to say the least! We put up the show in basically a little over a week and BAM! It was opening night! Kristin Chenoweth is one of the kindest, sweetest, most generous, positive, delightful humans I've ever encountered, and you can see that by the amount of superstar people she was joined by on that stage. Everyone wanted to be there, because she makes everyone she meets feel special. We had guests including Stephen Schwartz, Cece Winans, Shoshana Bean, Jessica Vosk, Kimberely Locke... The list goes on and on. When Kristin asks you to do something, you smile and ask what time!

It was truly incredible & I have been fortunate enough tour with the show which we were doing right up until the world kind of shut down. So I'm hoping that one day we will be able to head back out and spread our girl power across the country!


You are well known for the power of your voice - when you practice at home do you ever hear from the neighbors, either in real time or in the hallway?


It's so funny you should ask that... Because I don't often get to sing what one would call "full out" in my apartment in New York City. I sing in the shower, but I feel like that's always allowed! I think if I had been in my apartment singing as often and as loud as I have during this quarantine, I would be calling you asking if I could sleep on your couch!

I feel extremely lucky to be with my family during the quarantine, so I can sing as loud as I want to and not have to worry about shaking anyone's walls or waking up anyone's babies!


Your work in cabaret and concerts often shows you as a back-up singer and a guest artist - a lot of your fans are anxiously awaiting a solo show. When the clubs reopen, what is the likelihood of that happening?


I feel like this should be a question for Marty because he loves answering it for me LOL! I I am in love with back up singing. I have been a huge music theory nerd since I was a child, and finding harmonies and blend and arranging bring me a type of joy that can't really be explained. I have always been in every choir in school, and when I started getting hired to sing with people, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. There is something so magical about standing alongside an incredible artist and adding to their already unbelievable sound. You have a lot of power as a back up singer. You get to make that singer feel safe. That if they ever falter or ever need anything, you are right there to put them right back on track without missing a beat. I feel like that is a huge responsibility that gives me an adrenaline rush like no other. As far as a solo show is concerned, it will happen. I definitely have a mental block when it comes to that because I often feel strongest when I am sharing the energy with other people on stage. Getting to BE myself, BY myself is something that scares me a little bit, but if there is anything all of this quarantine time has taught me, it's that when I put my mind to something, it gets done, even if it's scary. Also the incredible people that I get to surround myself with will not let me live it down until the show is created, so look out!

When you're not playing yourself on the concert stage, you've had a chance to play some great acting roles - what is the next level of your performance trajectory that you would like to conquer?


My resume is hilarious. I feel like it is the most random, unique, schizophrenic bunch of roles you could ever see put together. I've played children, I've played men, I've played flying Divas. I've been very lucky to have such an interesting type that I am trusted with roles that stretch me beyond. I would love to do TV & more voiceovers.
My dream is to be on a sitcom, but my guilty pleasure dream is to be a reenactor on one of those terrible shows where they tell the story of what happened to someone and cast someone else who looks nothing like them to play them on TV.

Marissa, are you one of Marty's divas?


I am proud to be one of Marty's divas. Marty has assembled a group of strong, beautiful, talented women who lift each other up and knock it out of the park every time they are onstage. I'm so lucky to get to perform with all of them.

Thanks for talking with me today, my dear. I love the CD and I hope everyone buys a copy off of Marty's WEBSITE

BWW Interview: Marissa Rosen of THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM


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