US singer /songwriter Denise Marsa who is premiering her show The Pass at The Playground Theatre at the end of September. Denise is best known as the female voice in Dean Friedman’s hit single Lucky Stars which reached number 3 in the UK charts in 1978 and still endures both on radio and in many people’s minds.
The Pass is a biographical work that interweaves song and stories from Denise’s life and in so doing carefully and hilariously deconstructs the career of a fiercely independent woman in an industry dominated by men.
The Pass is at The Playground Theatre 27th – 29th September 2018.
You’re bringing The Pass to The Playground Theatre what can you tell us about it?
It’s many of my life’s defining moments, through vignettes and songs. Decades of my original music and stories about my life, in the music business, PR and working in various cities like London, New York City and Los Angeles. It expands on my growth as a woman, artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, publicist, mentor and my struggles with relationships and being alone.
Why did you want to share such a personal story?
Good Question! I had a concert at a museum within a library in 2014 and quite randomly I said to the 75 or so attending audience, “I am going to doing something different today, we will play a song and then please feel free to ask questions.” I wanted to experiment with creating an interactive experience for the audience. It became more personal and collaborative, for all and less about me, more about exploration and answering questions around the art of songwriting, being in the music business, my successes, my struggles both in career and in life, and how I express myself best, through the music. It went pretty well, it got me thinking…and so THE PASS was born!
Has putting this show together made you think differently about events in your life?
Absolutely. Much more challenging and I knew very little about theater production and ALL that goes into doing a live theatrical piece. I am very grateful for the team that has stepped in to help me with the premiere from the theatre to the PR to the tech and designers, it has been a huge learning experience for me. Also a shift about the way I see things, digest events leading up to bigger events, and how I handle disappointments and expectations. Big change and ever changing. And now I look forward more, even thinking about putting together a UK tour UK for fall 2019. More balanced with time. Thinking about the future, not over focusing on the now nor holding on too tightly to the past. Sometimes people think that’s the title, if I say it too fast…and I say, no, it’s THE PASS. Emphasis on the “s”.
Looking back at all you’ve achieved, what are you most proud of?
There are three things that come to mind. My work in PR (KeyMedia PR) helping others to fulfill their dreams and goals. Especially mentoring, producing and publicizing new talent was a big turn-around for me. I was on the other side. I spent around 10 years helping young musicians and songwriters to get a good solid start, sharing knowledge and being 100% honest about all things music business. Also, my actually intending to launch The Pass in London and doing it! And finally my songs and my ability to NOT give up and to believe in my work, when believing, at times, is near impossible. The desire to do what I love, and doing it — not being altered by my “rate” of success. I have a love for songwriting. It showed up one day and has stayed with me.
How have you chosen the songs you will perform in The Pass?
I wanted to look at my songs almost like a critic. So the cream of the crop, so to speak. Are the lyrics clear and concise, does the melody support the lyric and story of the song? Will it move or engage people. Interest them? Does my voice get a chance to explore, soar and settle? Will the song be relatable to others as they listen? Will they feel something? If I were asked for my most defining songs as a singer and songwriter- my style- these songs would probably be it. I even wrote a new one “YOU”, for the show! It actually follows the song “ME” in concession during the second to last vignette of the show. Pretty funny and NOT planned. Just what came to me.
Why have you chosen to premiere it here in London?
It is where I am best known and we want to fill seats and share THE PASS with as many people as possible. So it’s a gamble regardless, whether or not people will be interested, however, it’s sort of half a gamble in London or the UK. It was after all the UK audience that brought me out of the shadows and into the light, with that quirky, fun, timely, duet hit record I am best known for as of today.
Do you thank your Lucky Stars that you were anonymous on the single, or do you wish you’d been named from the beginning?
No wishes, it was what it was, it was updated during its success and my name is certainly connected with its success over all these years. Perhaps the curiosity fueled the popularity of the record initially.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see The Pass?
Would love to meet you after and hear your thoughts! And if you ever wondered what happened to the other voice on Dean Friedman’s Lucky Stars, well… this would be a good time to find out!