Tears, Riffs & Roses: Carolee Carmello Dishes on Seven Unforgettable Showstoppers

Last updated April 9th, 2014 by Josh Ferri
Tears, Riffs & Roses: Carolee Carmello Dishes on Seven Unfo…

Three-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello (Parade, Lestat, Scandalous) knows a thing or two about stopping a show with a single song. So it should come as little surprise this showstopping expert will headline Broadway Showstoppers! at 54 Below on April 10. Fellow big-voiced singers Mandy Gonzalez, Telly Leung, Robert Creighton and Kissy Simmons will join Carmello for this one-night-only evening of song. BroadwayBox caught up with Carmello to get the scoop on the seven special showstoppers close to her heart.

If I could only keep one showstopper in my book:

Oh my gosh. I guess because of the repetition of it—because I did the show for so long and it has such an indelible place in my mind and my chords—it would have be to “Winner Takes It All” [Mamma Mia!]. And I’m singing it in this show.

Showstopper I’m most proud to have performed on Broadway:

I don't know if everybody would consider this a showstopper, but one of my proudest moments was Scandalous because it was such a huge sing. It was the hardest I’ve ever had to work in a show; so when I got to the end of that marathon of a night and sang that 11 o’clock number, I was proud to have survived the evening.

Male showstopper that I covet most:

This is a weird, obscure one, but I’ve always wanted to play John Adams in 1776. If they ever did an all-female production of that, I’m going to be in there. “Is Anybody There?” is his internal moment at the end of Act II where he loses hope that the declaration is ever going to get passed. It’s one of those great moments, and I so related to that character.

Showstopper that brings tears to my eyes:

I didn't see a lot of shows as a kid, but one of the first times I came down from Upstate New York to see a show, it was Evita with Patti LuPone. That show rocked me. It was so brilliantly directed and performed. I sat with my jaw dropped the whole time. I’m sure I was brought to tears in her “Final Broadcast.”

Unknown showstopper the kids need to YouTube today:

This one is unknown because they never released the cast album of Lestat, but I always liked the song “Crimson Kiss” I got to sing at the end of the first act. And it’s unknown because Elton John never released the album. We recorded it, but it has never been released.

Showstopper I’m dying to sing on a Broadway stage:

Carolee Carmello Rose's Turn
Photo by BroadwayBox.com

I want to play Mama Rose [in Gypsy]. “Rose’s Turn” is such an amazing moment; it has such a great arc to it. Someday…

Showstopper that inspired a mid-show standing ovation:

Because it’s on my mind, Tyne Daly’s Gypsy. She was stunning. She doesn't have that powerhouse voice Merman had, but she was riveting. And for me that's what makes a showstopper, the acting—even more than those money notes. I would much rather see a brilliant actor who doesn't have those notes. She sold it more than anybody I’ve ever seen.

See Carolee Carmello sell showstopper after showstopper at 54 Below on April 10.