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BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney

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BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney

Singer/actress Liz McCartney has been on Broadway in 13 productions including originating two roles - Sue Tilley in the Boy George musical, TABOO and Rebecca in The Dance Of The Vampires. She has played several of coveted iconic diva roles on stage - Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera, Rosie in Mamma Mia and Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, not to mention Ursula in Paper Mill Playhouse's The Little Mermaid. Liz is the type of performer that commands your attention when she enters the stage and keeps hold of it with her powerful dramatic soprano voice and formidable presence. She works constantly in her chosen field and it's pretty easy to see why.

I was introduced to Liz's talent about five years ago when Composer/Musical Director, James Horan brought her to sing on our Music at the Mansion series. He was doing a set of his original music and asked her to sing some of the material. To say that her voice filled the room would be an understatement. She was outstanding. Her acting choices were just as strong as her voice. If you haven't seen the youtube version of Liz singing "Talk Amongst Yourselves", do yourself a favor and watch it. She was very pregnant during this run, but made it through the Broadway

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
Charles Strouse, Liz and Thomas Meehan

opening before she gave birth. One of the show's Producers, TV icon, Rosie O'Donnell kept telling Liz to sit as much as possible so she wouldn't give birth before the opening!

She and husband Tom (an immensely talented person in his own right) did, in fact welcome to the world just a few weeks after opening a wonderful daughter, Megan, now 16, and a couple of years later Keira,14. Little did we know at the time of our first meeting that Liz's daughters were also talented performers and would, before long, become beloved members of our theatre school.

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
(L to R) Keira, Liz, Megan

Both have been in several productions with our company, NiCori Studios & Productions and have proven that the apple doesn't fall very far from this family tree. Megan and Keira have grown so much over the past couple of years and have proven to be true leaders among our students. They will be guiding and mentoring younger students this summer as part of our mentorship program.

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
Liz's original costume creation for Joseph

Liz has been cast in several television shows including "Law and Order: SVU" the reboot of "Murphy Brown", "The Blacklist" and "Madame Secretary". She has also performed cabaret. She won a Bistro award for her Rosemary and Time show, which we are excited to announce she will be returning to Music at the Mansion: PORCH PERFORMANCES with on Saturday, August 15th at 7pm with a one-night-only performance of Rosemary and Time, which tells the story of one of the most inspirational voices of the 20th Century, Rosemary Clooney. With the help of James Horan and special guest Lori Alexander, Liz will present Clooney's music at the pivotal points in her life and and will some backstage insight to Rosemary's life throughout her career. Visit nicoristudios.com for details about the outdoor dinner/Rosemary and Time performance.

One thing I'd be remiss to mention about Liz is that besides a wonderful mother, actress and singer, she is a phenomenal costume designer. She has created period pieces for many of our productions including dresses for Little Women, The Musical, The Addams Family the Musical and presently is creating many items for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat. (She is feverishly sewing as you read this.) It is inspiring when performers are talented and giving and crafty, which is Liz in a nutshell!

NA: Who is your mentor and what would you like to say to your mentor?

LM: I've had so many mentors, from my mother, to teachers, many directors, friends, my husband, even my kids (yes I know, my KIDS!) But if I had to pick just one, I would say my friend Kelley McKinnon. Kelley and I went to High School together, we did summer theatre together and we started in college together. She went through a LOT in her life and now she is the Drama professor at a professional Arts school in China and an Adjunct Professor of Drama at NYU. She's my favorite director so what I would like to say to her is "noooooooooooooo! I don't wanna!" And she would say "too bad, do it." So Thank you, Kelley.

NA: What has this business given you and what has it taken away?

LM: That is a HUGE question. This business has given me really good experiences; star studded,

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
Liz with John McDaniel and Boy George at the TABOO reunion show

red carpet, gorgeous venues, black tie events, crying at meeting idols and so much more. However, it's given me a harsh dose of reality, especially amidst the current political background. I supposed that could also fall under what is has taken away. But the main thing that it has taken away is time with my family.

NA: What is the hour like before you go on stage?

LM: I guess that depends on how comfortable I am with the material. Last winter I was doing The Sound Of Music at the Asolo Rep in Florida and I was usually playing a game or googling silly things to play for my dressing roommates.

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
(L to R) David Cryer, Liz and George Lee Andrews
in The Phantom of the Opera

But some shows I'm still warming up, or going over lines or doing my makeup, until the last second.

NA: If you could experience one performance over again, which one would it be and why?

LM: My opening night as Carlotta on Broadway. Because it was the last show that both my parents saw me in.

NA: What are you most proud of?

LM: Of my accomplishments, I want to say my writing. Just in life, my children.

NA: At what age did you begin performing?

LM: I guess I can't really count playing Baby Jesus when I was eight months old, but my earliest performance was age four. I sang the pivotal line " somebody send for the queen" in a children's theater show.

BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartney
Liz as Ursula in Paper Mill's The Little Mermaid

NA: What was your first time performing on a Broadway stage like?

LM: Well, I was moved from the touring company of Les Miserables to the Broadway company and the theater itself was so small in comparison to the touring houses, but I didn't care, because my parents were there that opening night too!

NA: What was the experience like of being pregnant with Megan while originating the role of Sue Tilley in TABOO?

In TABOO, Sue is called 'Big Sue' so it was okay that I was getting bigger by the day, the thing that wasn't okay was the stress! It was a new show with a lot of changes every day and LOTS of

controversy surrounding it! I was exactly 36 weeks pregnant on opening night and Megan showed up three weeks later. One fun thing was every time Euan Morton (who played Boy George) sang a certain part of "Stranger In This World" Megan kicked.

NA: Your cabaret show, Rosemary and Time has won a Bistro award. How did the show come about?

LM: I'd have to go back to my friend Kelley McKinnon. Kelley's mother was a USO soloist and BWW Interview: SO NOW YOU KNOW with Liz McCartneypeople always told her she sounded like Rosemary. Also I used to do the song "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" from White Christmas at auditions sometimes and I was always told I sounded like Rosemary. One day Kelley and I sat down and just started writing ideas for the show. We tried it out a few times and I got lots of feedback and many, many opinions. But cabaret reviewer Rob Lester was the one who nominated me for the Backstage Bistro Award.

NA: What is one show you'd love to be a part of in the future?

LM: There are so many shows I'd love to do and so many I'd love to do again, but if I could only pick one, I would want it to be one that I'm writing.


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From This Author Nicholas Adler