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Obituaries

Singer Joanne Beretta Dies At 86

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Singer Joanne Beretta Dies At 86

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Joanne Beretta died July 24, 2020 at New York City's Beth Israel-Mt. Sinai Hospital at age 86. Her death was due to complications from a recent fall. Her dear friend Kathleen Chalfant was at her side when she passed away.

Ms. Beretta began singing professionally in San Francisco in the 1950s earning a devoted following with appearances at The Fallen Angel (with Johnny Mathis,) The Hungry i, The Purple Onion, The Backstage and other clubs. Moving to NYC, she played extended engagements at Upstairs at The Duplex, The Showplace, Bon Soir, Downstairs at the Upstairs, Reno Sweeney's and Brothers & Sisters as well as appearing at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall before deciding in 1978 that she didn't want to sing in public anymore. Interspersed between these cabaret gigs, were theatre roles in Chicago, Provincetown, the Berkshires and, most memorably, off-Broadway playing 'The Governor' in Tommy Tune's OBIE Award winning cast of "The Club". During many of those years Joanne had a parallel career as an award-winning designer and floral decorator working with most of the top magazines and department stores including Tiffany's, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales.

In 2005 she appeared at a benefit for the Abingdon Theatre Company and as a guest with her old friend and collaborator John Wallowitch at Danny's - two events that reminded her once again why she loved to sing.

Joanne Beretta made her long-awaited return engagement in NYC in February, 2006. Presented by Kathleen Chalfant at Danny's Skylight Room, it was her first solo cabaret engagement in 25 years. At that time Ms. Chalfant said "I'm delighted to re-introduce Joanne to music lovers in New York City. She is one of the most remarkable singers and story-tellers I've ever heard. As John S. Wilson said in the New York Times: 'Ms. Beretta has a voice that is like no one else's - shifting, changing, moving as the song develops but without any sense of busyness or for effects sake. Hearing her sing for the first time is like stumbling on a musical treasure chest.'

In 2014 Ms. Beretta released her final CD called Love Life.

She is survived by her cousin Corinne Aguilar of Livermore, CA. There will be no funeral but a memorial service is planned TBA.


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