Suzanne Carrico made her Metropolitan Room debut in 2007 & won a 2008 MAC Award for her show "The Art of the Cahn, Music from the Sammy Cahn Songbook," with Musical Director Tedd Firth & directed by Mary Cleere Haran. In 2009 the trio followed it up with her critically acclaimed show, "The Friendliest Thing." 2010 brought her great reviews for her debut CD, "What Christmas Time Means to Me," done with Musical Director Don Rebic & the Don Rebic Quartet. In addition to her busy performance schedule, Suzanne added the role of director to her resume with two cabaret shows in 2011, including the debut of Joi Danielle Price in "Unfiltered." 2012 will bring Suzanne & her husband, performer Booth Daniels GREAT EXPECTATIONS for a baby girl in the fall. For more on Suzanne be sure to visit http://suzannecarrico.com!
Joi Danielle Price has appeared on Broadway & the National Tour of "Mamma Mia!" in several roles, as well as in the National Tour of "Ragtime," where she understudied the role of "Sarah." In the past year, she performed her cabaret debut, "Unfiltered," to critical reviews. Appearing in many NYC venues, she recently performed in "Broadway Meows," a benefit concert for the Humane Society of New York. A mother of one lovely daughter, she & her husband are looking forward to adding a baby boy to the family.
Now Suzanne and Joi are teaming up once again, this time as performers together, for their new cabaret show "Great Expectations." After Suzanne and Joi found themeselves in the family way, they decided to spend their Summer with "Great Expectations," a musical journey through 9 months of waiting. "Great Expectations" will play The Metropolitan Room in NYC on Sunday, July 29 at 7pm, August 5 at 4pm, and August 12 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?
Suzanne: It would have to be my dad – he's a musician & his love of music, all kinds of music, but especially the great singers of the Great American Songbook, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr. has had the longest lasting effect upon me. I don’t know if I'd still be plugging away at Cabaret if I hadn't worked with Mary Cleere Haran – she was an amazing inspiration & mentor.
Joi: When I was young, I lived a life surrounded by music. No one in my family was a professional musician, but there was always music playing and both of my parents sang in the church choir. I started playing violin at age four and orchestral music was my world, until I discovered musical theatre in my high school drama program. I was exposed for the first time to artists like Patti Lupone, LaChanze, and Bernadette Peters and I was entranced. Like my parents before me, a teacher and a judge, I never considered music as a career - at first. My freshman year of college, I immediately felt something was missing in my life. The kinds of academic subjects I was studying didn't include my passion. Only after meeting with the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Music, did I realize that I could make this a career.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to?
Suzanne: So many people! I love Kim Smith & would sing back up for him at the drop of a hat. I had high hopes of doing something with Jonathan Whitton & maybe someday we'll still make that happen. I love Molly Pope & think we'd have a blast belting our faces off in some show about dames…I've always wanted to sing with Rob Langader…Tony DeSare…Billy Stritch. Too many piano players & musicians to name. I suppose if I had to pick one person it would be Michael Feinstein – I know I'd learn so much & he is probably the only person who knows as much about this kind of music as Mary Cleere did.
Joi: I love the process of working with composers and lyricist on their original music. I have had the privilege of doing this in readings and workshops of new musicals when they were not yet in production and cherished the experiences. Along those same lines, I'd love to work directly with the songwriting teams of Scott Burkell & Paul Loesel, Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherety, Michael Kooman & Christopher Dimond. I've sung their music and would love to work with them.
3. You worked together for the first time on "Unfiltered," in 2011, where Suzanne directed Joi. How did this come to be? What was the best part about working together on "Unfiltered"?
Suzanne: We actually worked together for the first time when we were in elementary school in local productions of The Nutcracker. We grew up together in Flint, Michigan, but were never close. It wasn't until we were adults that we became friends. Joi came & saw my shows in NYC & I saw her in Mamma Mia…one day Joi called & asked me to direct her. I was thrilled – she's so talented. We spent a lot of time at Lincoln Center Library (my home away from home) and a lot of time talking… and there we were! For me besides getting to spend a lot of time with a friend, the best part was working on music & a program that I would never get to sing. Joi did a lot of contemporary & autobiographical material that I really enjoyed working with. She even swears on stage!
Joi: I'll never forget a meeting I had with Suzanne when I was in 11th grade. She was passing the torch as current Thespian Society president on to the next one, me. When I finally got to see Suzanne perform "The Friendliest Thing," I knew she once again had experience I could learn from. She had tapped into a genre that I wanted to be involved with. Though some of my friends from the Broadway world had occasionally done a cabaret or some kind of evening of songs now and then, those evenings didn't have the cohesiveness and style that Suzanne has crafted by really understanding that art of cabaret. I knew if I wanted to do this right, I would need her input. As we started to build the show, we were simultaneously building a friendship, which made the experience so much more enjoyable!
4. This time around, you will be performing together. What made you want do this dynamic?
Suzanne: I think we'll work together a lot over the years on different projects & in different ways – we work well together. But this show – we're doing purely for fun!
Joi: We are two different kinds of performers, but there is something I find amazing about that fact that we came from the same place and had similar upbringings. I think it will translate into something that's interesting and engaging on stage.
5. What are you looking forward to most about your new cabaret show "Great Expectations"?
Suzanne: Just waddling up there will be a big deal – we both will obviously be taking some time off this fall, it's nice to have a last hurrah on our terms before we have screaming infants dictating the terms to us…
Joi: During my last pregnancy, I was performing in "Mamma Mia" (in the role of "Ali") until I was five and a half months along. It sounds silly, but I wanted to give this second unborn child the experience of being on stage before birth! Pregnancy happens all over the world all of the time, but it remains a mystery to those who haven't done it, and those who are doing it feel better when they know others are also having a similar experience. I just can't wait to share everything that I'm feeling about these nine months in my favorite way - music.
6. You both were pregnant at the same time. What was it like to share that experience together? Do you feel your performance style has changed since motherhood?
Suzanne: Joi has been through this before & has the most amazing daughter – so I have been relying on her advice & know how big time! There are adjustments that have to be made for pregnancy. Certainly the phrasing, our lungs are being squished, there just isn't the amount of air we're used to working with. This also could be the only Cabaret where the singers have written in a bathroom break!
Joi: I find that it's always best to have a pregnant buddy while you're going through it! No one else understands the roller coaster like a pregnant friend. I happened to be pregnant at the same time as one of my other good friends last time, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Otherwise, you can begin to feel a little isolated.
Once my daughter was born, I had a new understanding of love and responsibility. I think that the experience has informed my work, just like every experience an artist has in life. I believe that some emotions that may have been simulated in my music before, come from a much more real place.
7. What made you want to perform "Great Expectations" at Metropolitan Room?
Suzanne: I've been performing there since it opened, it's home. Joi made her debut there & she's comfortable in the space. They have new management, we're interested to see what's changed this time around.
Joi: When I'm in the Metropolitan Room, I feel very close to the audience. If I'm going to be sharing something as personal as this new addition to our family, I want the performance to be an intimate one. I want to be able to see every pair of eyes in the room.
8. How did you decide that you wanted to have Don Rebic musical direct your show? What is he able to bring to your show that another musical director might not?
Suzanne: Don is always one of my first calls. Working with him is like driving a Rolls Royce. I also wanted a level of comfort that I wasn't going to get with anybody else. He is probably the closest thing I have to a best friend; I knew that if we needed to take a bathroom break or change key or needed shorter rehearsals or whatever – he could handle it. I have been really excited to see Joi working with him. It's fun when you can branch out & work with new musicians.
Joi: This being my first collaboration with Don, it's been fascinating to see how he works. I'm finding that we have some of the same musical instincts and it's very easy to trust him with the musical direction of this show. I'm amazed at how he can translate our abstract ideas for arrangements into into concrete music in a flash.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being performers?
Suzanne: The truth is hard & it’s the only thing worth telling.
Joi: I can't allow others to choose my path. I have to do it myself.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received?
Suzanne: Mary always said – just sing the lyric.
Joi: Whatever you feel when you sing, the audience will feel that, too. If you are nervous, you're just going to make the audience feel nervous for you. Conversely, if what you are feeling is pure joy, that is passed on just as easily.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?
Suzanne: My husband & our daughter.
Joi: My children as adults, so I could see what wonderful people they might become.
12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?
Suzanne: Being two places at once.
Joi: The power to memorize music and lyrics faster!