Susan Derry

Susan Derry

An accomplished and versatile actor and singer noted for her “soaring soprano voice” and “striking theatricality” (The New York Times), Susan Derry is at home in a wide variety of roles. She made her Broadway début in the Tony Award-winning revival of Wonderful Town and performed the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg, Germany with Neue Flora Theater. Susan garnered critical acclaim for her recent portrayal of Francesca Johnson in The Bridges of Madison County with Keegan Theatre where the Washington Post proclaimed “the ace this staging is Susan Derry” and Broadway World called it the role of her career. Last season, Susan performed as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady with the Utah Symphony Orchestra opposite Peter Scolari as Professor Henry Higgins; recorded “Singing,” a song cycle by Gerald Ginsburg, based on the poetry of Langston Hughes in collaboration with pianist Paul Lincoln; joined the cast of Something to Dance About with the New York City Ballet at the Kennedy center; and performed “A Period Piece” with the Shrill Collective.

Calendar

Event Date
Sep 8
to
Sep 8
54 Below Concert
Feinstein's/54 Below
New York, New York

Artist Bio

An accomplished and versatile actor and singer noted for her “soaring soprano voice” and “striking theatricality” (The New York Times), Susan Derry is at home in a wide variety of roles. She made her Broadway début in the Tony Award-winning revival of Wonderful Town and performed the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg, Germany with Neue Flora Theater. Susan garnered critical acclaim for her recent portrayal of Francesca Johnson in The Bridges of Madison County with Keegan Theatre where the Washington Post proclaimed “the ace this staging is Susan Derry” and Broadway World called it the role of her career. Last season, Susan performed as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady with the Utah Symphony Orchestra opposite Peter Scolari as Professor Henry Higgins; recorded “Singing,” a song cycle by Gerald Ginsburg, based on the poetry of Langston Hughes in collaboration with pianist Paul Lincoln; joined the cast of Something to Dance About with the New York City Ballet at the Kennedy center; and performed “A Period Piece” with the Shrill Collective.

Other theatrical career highlights include Marian in The Music Man; Kate/Lilli in Kiss Me Kate; Desdemona in Othello; Fiona in Brigadoon; Meg in Crimes of the Heart; Helen in Saturday Night; Agnes in I Do! I Do!; Betty Schaeffer in Sunset Boulevard; Betty in White Christmas, and Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest. Susan has professional experience in opera, as well, premiering the role of Olivia in Gary Glickmans’ adaptation of Twelfth Night with American Opera Projects and singing Jessica in the American premiere of Reynaldo Hahn’s The Merchant of Venice with Portland Opera.

A champion of new works, Susan is the centerpiece of the Bold New Works series in Virginia, an initiative to create five world-premiere musicals; her performance in the first piece, a new version of The Turn of the Screw, was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. Since then, she has earned accolades as Mary Shelley in Monsters of the Villa Diodati; as a daughter struggling with her mother’s decline from Alzheimers in Kaleidoscope and as a hard-edged single mother in Witch, based on the #MeToo movement. All four works feature Susan prominently on the cast albums. Susan has performed the works of such varied composers as Craig Baldwin, Ben Moore, Larry O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Andrew Lippa, David Gilbert and Josh Rosenblum and she co-founded DC’s contemporary opera company UrbanArias in 2009.

In a concert setting, Susan headlined as a guest soloist at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops on an evening of Frank Loesser’s music under the direction of Room Fisher and the late, great Skitch Henderson. She also has the esteemed honor of appearing in the Encores! Series at New York City Center eleven times. Additionally, she has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall’s Community Sings series, the Lawton Symphony, the Palm Beach Orchestra, in Kennedy Center galas, Sondheim Award galas, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass conducted by Marin Alsop.

Susan’s cabaret work includes two one-woman evenings: “It’s Got To Be Love,” about finding happiness among the high notes, and “Days and Dazed,” a look at how anything can happen in the busy middle of your life.

Susan earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She served as an adjunct professor of voice at both American University and George Washington University and has a thriving private studio in Brooklyn where she lives with her husband and her #citydog Marlowe.

Video

Susan Derry’s Re-Lyriced Little Girls

“How Can I Win?” from The Goodbye Girl

“Will You” from Grey Gardens 

Press

"...the ace in this staging is Susan Derry..." – The Washington Post

Bridges of Madison County – “‘Bridges’ can be ravishing, and the ace in this staging is Susan Derry, whose operatic soprano is exactly right for Francesca, the Italian war bride pining away in 1965 Iowa after 20 years of marriage. Derry is wonderful with Francesca’s anxieties when her family leaves for a state fair and a handsome National Geographic photographer shows up in her driveway. Derry is naturally funny — this ultra-earnest romance needs that — and she sounds terrific as the score soars into Italian-inflected arias.”

"...lovely soprano..." – Variety

Sunset Boulevard – "Susan Derry’s lovely soprano and sparkling innocence capture just the right notes of Betty, the writer who falls for Joe."

"...a powerhouse voice..." – DC Metro Theater Arts

Bold New Works Series – “Susan Derry has a powerhouse voice,…she shows incredible vocal range.”

"...a voice to make you believe in magic...” – Ithaca Times

Brigadoon – “Susan Derry’s Fiona is a gem – winsome acting and a voice to make you believe in magic.”

"...her joy is inextinguishable..." – Evansville Courier & Press

My Fair Lady – “Susan Derry became a vital, compelling figure as the story progressed, especially when she could express herself in song. Her joy is inextinguishable in "I Could Have Danced All Night," her fury palpable in "Just You Wait" and her wistful resolve resonates through "Without You.”