Susan’s introduction to the world of theatre began as a child, as she carried the scripts for the plays her dramaturge father was directing and producing, to rehearsals. She became his assistant, and often read lines for the actors who were not at certain rehearsals! At the age of 4, her dad needed a child extra for an opening scene, and her foot hit the boards and the rest, they say, is history!
A family steeped in theatrical tradition gave Susan a rich and multi-dimensional upbringing. She was introduced to Shakespeare and Moliere developing roles from Ophelia to Titania to a witch in the Scottish play and several leading ladies in Moliere’s comedies. She has developed roles created by Tennessee Williams, to Dan Greenberg, to Neil Simon to Anne-Marie McDonald to Sam Shepherd to Ken Ludwig to Tom Stoppard to name a few.
Some of Susan’s earliest musical memories were listening to the radio and hearing Maria Callas singing Bellini’s Norma, listening to Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday. She loved old movie musicals and listened and watched the artistry of Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, Julie Andrews, Shirley Jones and many others. She began piano studies at the age of 8 and was on her way to becoming a pianist, with Horowitz, Ashkenazy and Dinu Lipatti as inspiration.
Her voice and her piano walked hand in hand, until the many hours of piano practicing caught up and caused chronic tendonitis and she had to make a choice of which to pursue more fully: she chose singing, or singing chose her! Her voice took her from her theatrical roots of music theatre and carried her to opera and back to the intimacy of cabaret.
In pursuing these artistic developments, Susan realized that she had a great passion for teaching – a legacy from her father – and began exploring that path which paralleled her performance studies.
She somehow combined having a family with developing a performance and directorial and teaching/adjudicating/workshop career throughout North America, Europe and China and Brazil. She has earned three diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music, in piano performance, voice performance and vocal pedagogy; a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters of Music in Voice Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked with and studied under coaches and teachers and directors in all aspects of the business from all over the world in master classes, workshops, summer intensives, and private coaching and mentoring.
She has sung operatic roles in concert halls and opera houses from Purcell’s Dido to Mozart’s Countess and Fiordiligi to Puccini’s Musetta and Suor Angelica to world premieres like NYC-based composer, Alan Jaffe’s Mary Shelley Opera.
She has performed in the theatrical works of Sondheim and Kurt Weill, as well as Rogers and Hart, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, to Jerry Herman, Cy Coleman, Leonard Bernstein, Kander & Ebb, and more!
Her love of the intimacy of the cabaret stage has given her critical acclaim and she has developed characters in French and German and American cabaret, including giving a world premiere to Chester Biscardi’s Modern Love Songs in her native Canada with pianist, Mark Payne. Her top selling cabaret album, Taking My Turn, recorded with award-winning music director/pianist Alan Johnson, is available worldwide, and was produced by Grammy-award winning tenor, Thomas Young.
Susan’s primary studio is in New York City – where she works with singers of all genres: music theatre, cabaret, opera, pop/rock/jazz – including Tony, Grammy & Academy award winner and nominees. Susan also keeps a satellite studio in Toronto and travels around the world giving voice intensives, master classes and workshops.
Her studio is filled with artists and performers that are seasoned professionals to emerging professionals.
She writes an online blog about theatre and singing
www.susan-oncemorewithfeeling.blogspot.com which is read around the world by over 200,000 viewers!
She’d still like to take on some of the roles she feels she is now ready to play – like Sondheim’s Desiree in A Little Night Music and Guettal’s Margaret in Light in the Piazza, perhaps even a Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. And, maybe if the theatres gods deem appropriate – a go at Lady M – without a major mishap like scaffolding falling or somebody breaking a limb! Now that her father and her grandmothers watch over her from the wings, she might have all the support she needs!