Melissa Errico is one of the most versatile women to have come out of this Broadway's young generation, proving herself both a great interpreter of classic musicals and modern music alike, as well as a gifted recording artist and film/television presence. She has starred in seven Broadway musicals and released two major solo cds: Blue Like That (EMI) and Lullabies and Wildflowers (VMG/Universal). She has been called everything from "divine" to "the voice of enchantment" to "one of the most valuable assets of the musical theater" by the NY TIMES as well as "incandescent" (Daily News) and "blessed with every attribute a grand dame of Broadway requires: star power, voice, looks, ability, personality, technique. An aphrodisiac, as it were, that galvanizes a musical into life." (Clive Barnes). "Our most earthy and soulful ingenue... She both sparkles and is unmannered." (USA Today) Her recordings have been praised as "intimate exhalations, sung with her heart-on-sleeve" (Billboard) and "a classy classic sound, with taste and imagination" (Washington Post) and "...ethereal, gorgeous, elegant, popular. Delivered with inward emotion and real artistry" (NY TIMES). Upon coming to hear her sing the role of Fiona in BRIGADOON in a one-night only concert on Broadway in June 2010, Ben Brantley of THE NY TIMES wrote "this beautifully sung performance had the bewitched aura of the exquisitely ephemeral. I left the Shubert feeling blessed and privileged, and I knew many of my friends would feel envious when I described what I had seen."
In 2003, Melissa won a Tony-nomination for Best Leading Actress in the Broadway musical AMOUR, composed by multi-Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand (Yentl), her musical idol, who went on to orchestrate and conduct a 100-piece symphony for the recording of Legrand Affair produced by Phil Ramone, to be released October 18th 2011. This recording is a true celebration of his songs and rare occasion for her to collaborate with Michel in the way he has only done a handful of times, including for singers such as Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughn and Johnny Mathis. AMOUR happily reunited Melissa with author/director James Lapine as she had starred the year before at The Kennedy Center opposite Raul Esparza in The Sondheim Celebration's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE where Stephen Sondheim wrote some new lyrics for her interpretation of Dot.
Melissa's career began as Cosette in LES MISERABLES when she was only 18, for which she took a leave of absence from Yale University and returned to graduate with high honors and an art history/philosophy degree. That year, she went on to star as Eliza Doolittle in Howard Davies' daring and unusual revival of MY FAIR LADY on Broadway, and was called "beguiling" in the opening sentence of the NY Times review. Melissa revived her spunky and "frisky" (NY Times) portrayal of Eliza in 2003 opposite John Lithgow in Los Angeles. She has also starred on Broadway in HIGH SOCIETY, ANNA KARENINA and DRACULA. It was at The Hollywood Bowl in 2006 where Melissa first starred opposite Jeremy Irons in CAMELOT (a production which Variety praised as "fast, funny, inspired and deserving of a long run") and the next year in an acclaimed SOUND OF MUSIC.
In 1996, in what many recall as a major breakthrough, Melissa's witty sensual portrayal of Venus at City Center in Weill's ONE TOUCH OF VENUS took NYC by storm ("an overnight sensation! a star is born"- "divine" NY Times). She has a long resume of Broadway and off- Broadway starring credits, including the 2009-2010 Broadway revival of WHITE CHRISTMAS in which she played the Rosemary Clooney role. Over the years, she has regularly won acclaim in non-musical plays by Shaw, Wilde and modern works such as by Wally Shawn. In 2010, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Play at the Drama Desk Awards for her work in the title role of George Bernard Shaw's CANDIDA, and starred in an independent film called PATRIMONY opposite Robert Vaughn. Her other film credits include Frequency and Life Or Something Like It (opposite Angelina Jolie) and her TV credits include a series regular on Darren Starr's CBS show Central Park West and many network guest star roles including Six Degrees
and Miss Match.
During the summer of 2011, Melissa co-starred with Alec Baldwin in GIFT OF THE GORGON by Peter Shaffer, and reprised CAMELOT with Jeremy Irons for one-night only on Broadway at The Shubert Theater. Melissa has sung solo engagements at The Cafe Carlyle and The Algonquin's Oak Room and has sung on many of America's most esteemed concert halls as well as on smaller stages and readings supporting developing new modern musicals. She is active in several charities, especially The Bowery Babes, a NY 501c3 non-profit she founded in 2005 which supports parents in downtown Manhattan, and provides education, counseling and connection. Since becoming a mother (to Victoria in 2006; and Diana and Juliette in 2008), Melissa has appeared with symphonies all over the country, including The Cleveland Orchestra and The New Jersey Symphony with Steven Reineke. She made an acclaimed London debut in the summer 2008 (while pregnant with twins!) with The Royal Philharmonic at The Palladium Theater with Angela Lansbury in celebration of Jerry Herman, a concert she reprised to great acclaim at The Kennedy Center in March 2009 with The National Symphony. She has toured with such conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, and concert artists like Brian Stokes Mitchell
and Michael Feinstein.
Melissa was born in Manhattan where her family lived several years before moving to Manhasset, Long Island. In grammar school, actually kindergarten, she met her now-husband Patrick McEnroe who was her older brother's best friend. Also about this time, age 5, she took her first ballet lesson, but the next year discovered cartwheels, and began to train in gymnastics. While growing up, Melissa had her sights set on a run as a competitive gymnast, and though she did compete in regionals, a knee weakness made this impossible. Melissa got her first taste of acting when she was asked to step in for sick Brownie and play a cockroach in the local Girl Scout's musical "La Cucaracha."
An arts camp solidified Melissa's interest in the theater, and also a trip to see ON YOUR TOES on Broadway when she was 11 years old. To see Natalia Makarova light up the stage dancing to steamy jazz rhythms was enough to inspire her for life!
From that point on, much of Melissa's life was spent on the Long Island Rail Road, as she commuted to the city for lessons in dance and voice. Eventually, she auditioned for such shows as the original LES MISERABLES and TV's Junior Star Search. Melissa joined a teen performance group and sang at hospitals, old age homes, Bloomingdale's, Central Park and once in the middle of Port Authority Bus Terminal. She participated in school plays, and by the end of high school, was dancing with Lee Theodore's "American Dance Machine," a professional dance company. She spent a summer as an apprentice at a fringe theater at the Kings Head Pub in London, helping out backstage, learning about costume design, being a barmaid and a spotlight operator for late-night comedy acts; she interned with The New York Stage and Film Co., spending a summer performing the role of Martha in Frank Wedekind's controversial play "Spring Awakening," starring David Strathairn.
During her freshman year at Yale, Melissa won the role of Cosette in LES MISERABLES. She studied acting at Oxford in a Shakespeare and Chekhov program. Melissa withdrew from the Yale Drama graduate school when she was cast as Kitty in the Broadway musical ANNA KARENINA at Circle in the Square. Her regular coaches and teachers in NYC are Harold Guskin and voice teacher
Melissa has gone on to star on Broadway again and again in MY FAIR LADY, HIGH SOCIETY, AMOUR, DRACULA and WHITE CHRISTMAS, been in many hit plays by Wilde, Shaw and Wally Shawn off-Broadway, including the current acclaimed CANDIDA, and appeared in television and film, playing a series lead in CBS's "Central Park West" by Darren Star. She has been cast to star in several TV pilots by such director-producers as Spike Lee, Jon Favreau, Kelsey Grammar and Ed Burns, and has developed a new musical with Randy Newman. She has often featured a Randy Newman song in her concert performances. Her debut album BLUE LIKE THAT (2003) was produced by industry great Arif Mardin for Capitol Records/Manhattan /EMI and released internationally, winning genuinely amazing reviews by the music industry welcoming her into a new milieu. Her second studio recording in 2008 was in celebration of new motherhood, a soothing collection of standards and lullabies called LULLABIES AND WILDFLOWERS for VMG/Universal Records, produced by rising star Rob Mathes, and featured on Martha Stewart Living on Mothers Day. She is married to Patrick McEnroe, former tennis professional, commentator and long-time US Davis Cup team captain. They live in downtown Manhattan with their 5 yr old daughter Victoria and 2 year old twins Diana and Juliette. Melissa is the founder of a wildly-popular mothers support group (and NY non-profit 501c3 since 2005) called The Bowery Babes (www.bowerybabes.com) which has reached thousands of people, and promotes charitable and educational activities all over Manhattan, as well as offers important emotional support to new and expectant mothers.
Melissa comes from a very close and artistic Italian family, you could call them eccentric. For more on Mike, Melanie, Mom and Dad, come over to OUR HOUSE.
Lucky to know them, and hear their stories, Melissa thanks her MENTORS.