Sunday, June 14, 2015

Broadway's Allison Semmes Aspired To Be The Next Kathleen Battle

Lyric Aspiration: Semmes the opera singer
turned Broadway star. (Photo: Dana Scruggs)
"It’s not difficult to find songstress/actress Allison Semmes these days. Just follow the hot national touring trail of Broadway’s Motown The Musical and catch Semmes’ riveting portrayal of iconic singer Diana Ross. The stage production, which stars Semmes, musically and artistically chronicles the epic rise of Motown Records from its humble 1959 beginnings in Detroit, to how it became the world’s most storied record label. The musical comes to life with captivating portrayals of the label’s legendary singers and musicians that helped put Motown on the map, all told through the vision of the master architect, Berry Gordy, Jr....Growing up in Hyde Park on Chicago’s Southside, a young Semmes’ love for singing took many directions, inclusive of with the Chicago Children’s Choir. Semmes, who performed with the choir from the age of six to 18, developed a strong voice and love for classical music. With the choir, she performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and performed abroad. Singing in her church choir was also beneficial to Semmes’ development as a vocalist, and thanks to her parents’ vast collections of albums in jazz, blues, R&B, and heavy doses of the Motown Sound, she was able to listen to the vocal stylings and music of many artists. Yet, heading off to college, classical music charted the way for her to
Broadway Baby: Kathleen Battle performed as alternate to the
 title role in Scott Joplin's Treemonisha on Broadway 
from October - December 1975. [Source]
earn a bachelor of music degree in classical voice from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in music with a concentration in musical theater from New York University (NYU)-Steinhardt. 'I wanted to be an opera singer. I wanted to be the next Kathleen Battle,' Semmes said, with a laugh. 'The color to her voice is so expressive and so graceful.' After college, however, Semmes headed to New York, where she began her professional stage career with Dreamgirls. Other musicals have included Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz, and The Color Purple (national tour). In addition to Motown The Musical, her other Broadway credit is The Book of Mormon. Semmes is humbled by her national starring role in Motown The Musical." [Source] Watch performances of the Allison Semmes, after the jump.

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