Joan Ellison has been praised for her “vocal prowess…[and] organic grasp of the classic songs” by Michael Feinstein. She has made a specialty of reviving Judy Garland’s repertoire, and her 2016 NYC solo cabaret debut prompted Cabaret Scenes Magazine to describe her as “Judy-esque in appearance and…a near voice double for her idol.”
Joan’s immersion in the popular songs of the 1920s to the 1960s includes transcribing over 250 arrangements note-for-note from classic recordings. She was recently invited by Michael Feinstein to serve as Editor of the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration Project for the Judy Garland Heirs Trust.
Current season highlights include “A Tribute to Judy and Liza at the Palladium” with the Santa Rosa Symphony, Holiday Pops concerts with the Augusta Symphony and Erie Philharmonic, “Get Happy! A Judy Garland Celebration” with the Toledo Symphony, “Gershwin to Garland” with the Evansville Philharmonic and for the Judy Garland Festival, and “The American Musical On Stage and Screen” as part of the Bard Music Festival.
The 2017-’18 season kicked-off with a sold-out premiere of Joan’s one-woman theatre piece, All Happiness, Judy Garland, at The Winter Park Playhouse (FL). In 2016, she made her NYC solo cabaret debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below in Get Happy! Judy Garland 1944-’54, right after playing the role of Ms. Garland in the first U.S. professional regional production of The Boy From Oz at TheatreZone (Naples). Her critically-acclaimed second album,“Retrophonic Gershwin” (2015) features arrangements based on original recordings of the 1920s, ’30s, and ‘40s.
Joan made her Cleveland Pops debut in 2005 and has since sung more than 35 concerts with orchestras across the country, as well as playing classic leading-lady roles in regional theatre, including Julie in Carousel, Nellie in South Pacific, Lizzie in 110 in the Shade, and Eliza in My Fair Lady (in concert). She earned an M.M.T. and a B.Mus. in voice from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. By day, she is Teacher of Popular Voice at the Cleveland Institute of Music. www.joanellison.com
Carolann M. Sanita
Carolann M. Sanita is thrilled to be making her concert series debut at one of her favorite theatres! She has toured as Marian in the first national tour of The Music Man and internationally as Maria in the European and Asian tours of West Side Story. Some favorite credits include singing back-up to Linda Eder at the Palace Theatre on Broadway, Encore’s No, No Nanette at New York City Center, Les Miserables at Flat Rock Playhouse, West Side Story at Sacramento Music Circus, Mack and Mabel at TheatreZone, Spamalot at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Night and Day at Florida Repertory Theatre, Beauty and the Beast at Artpark, A Little Night Music at South Coast Repertory Theatre, Thoroughly Modern Millie at The Cape Playhouse, and Urinetown at the Geva Theatre.
About two years ago, Carolann was lucky enough to play Liza Minnelli in The Boy From Oz at TheatreZone, where she met the lovely Joan Ellison playing Judy Garland and she is so excited to be singing with her in these roles once again!
Carolann has been a soloist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Gulfcoast Symphony Orchestra. She holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and currently serves as a member of the Voice Faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a proud member of AEA.
Love always to my husband Gerritt and my little guy Cooper, who constantly make it possible for me to continue doing what I love! www.CarolannSanita.com
Michael Berkowitz is now in his 15th year as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony in Santa Rosa, Ca. Previous posts have included the Carolina Pops in Greensboro, NC and the Paducah Pops. He was the Music Director/Conductor/Drummer for Liza Minnelli, working with her on the Tony Award Winning, “Liza’s At The Palace” on Broadway and in concerts around the World.
Michael served as Marvin Hamlisch’s Music Director for 9 years, appearing with him at the White House, the London Symphony and the Academy Awards as well as virtually every Symphony in the US. Michael also had a 13 year working relationship with arranger Nelson Riddle, as his Drummer, Assistant Conductor and Musical Contractor. Michael was Nelson’s “go to guy” on projects ranging from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Linda Ronstadt, Television Specials, Movies, Live Events and recordings.
On Broadway, Michael has worked closely with Legends such as Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins and Michael Kidd.
Michael’s recordings include the Original Cast Albums of Jerome Robbins Broadway, Liza’s At The Palace, Follies with the NY Philharmonic, My Favorite Broadway, Anyone Can Whistle, Betty Buckley at Carnegie Hall, Tribute To Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall, Route 66 with the Cincinnati Pops and many more.
In addition to Ms. Minnelli, Michael has appeared with Michael Crawford, Beyonce, Harry Connick Jr., Steve Lawrence, Helen Reddy, Jon Bon Jovi, Chuck Berry, Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, Hal Linden, Sting, and Billy Joel, to name a few.
Symphonys Orchestra appearances include The London Symphony,The New York Philharmonic, The Naples Symphony, The Lexington Symphony, The New Mexico Symphony, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of Guatemala, The Oregon Symphony, The Elgin Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, The Hartford Symphony as well as Orchestras throughout Italy, France, Sweden and Germany.