Now for more “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” news. We got a chance to speak with Marissa Rosen, who played Maria in the show, Off-Broadway, until it came to a close to move to Atlantic City, this past weekend. Rosen is a veteran of the stage who toured Europe on the Norwegian Jade (a European cruise ship) as the vocal captain and principal entertainer in Smokey Joe’s Cafe, SHOUT the Mod Musical, the premier of Showdown, which is an American Idol Spoof Musical, among others. After moving back to New York (Rosen is from Long Island, just like us!), she began working for Stage Stars Records, which produces show accompanying CDs. If you’re a Manhattanite, you have seen her singing at clubs like Splash, Bartini, Industry, New World Stages, NY Theater Barn, and the Lincoln Center. After rocking the stage of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” she has joined the North Shore Musical Theater’s production of Footloose.
Of course, we had to speak with this singing sovereign of the stage to find out what makes her so BOLD:
Bold Magazine: Would you say “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” has been your biggest show to date? If not, what is?
Marissa Rosen: My Big Gay Wedding has been a huge blessing. As far as it being my biggest show to date, I would agree that it is the show that has gotten me the most attention in my career. Lots of press and a fantastic opportunity to have people come see the show since it is in New York City. We have been on the news, on playbill, we have performed at countless charity events…the show has really been a huge stepping stone for me and I appreciate it so much.
BM: How long have you been performing?
MR: As most performers will say “I have been performing since I came out of the womb.” I realized that I could sing at a very early age and my parents put me into singing lessons and an acting school right away. At 8, the acting school put me in a class with 12 & 13 year olds, so the bar was set high at a very early age.
BM: How about performing professionally?
MR: I didn’t start doing shows until I was in high school. After that, I couldn’t stop. I moved to New York City the day after I graduated and the rest is history.
BM: What have been some of your biggest challenges?
MR: The biggest challenge for me has been perfecting and embracing my “type”. All girls grow up dreaming to be Belle in Beauty in the Beast, or Cosette in Les Miserable. Once I realized my type was a character actress, I spent all of my time figuring out how to be the best character actress. I worked on my belt, tons of patter songs (Bold Note: a patter song is a rhythmic, fast past, sometimes humorous song) and my comedic timing. Years later I can now say that I LOVE being a character. Some of the best lines and best songs are sung by the character actors in the show. They are the underdog that everyone is rooting for, and they bring a smile to the faces of the audience.
BM: What’s the best part of your job? What do you enjoy most?
MR: One of the best parts has to be traveling. I have traveled the world doing what I love. Whether it be a regional theater in small town New Hampshire, or a cruise ship going through the Mediterranean, you are always doing the same thing. You are perfecting your craft, bringing joy and entertainment to the people watching the show and seeing the world! Music is a universal language and you can effect people of all backgrounds with just a song. I also secretly love watching an audience the first time I sing. They are expecting a young little girl voice. Their faces are priceless.
BM: What’s your dream role? Is it on stage? In film? TV? Who would you want to work with?
MR: This is a tough one. I have actually had the privilege to play some of my dream roles. My biggest dream role was Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again. My newest dream is to be on a sitcom. I want to make people around the world laugh. In a perfect world, Bette Midler would play my mom and we would break into a duet in every episode. How far fetched it that!??!
BM: Haha, we think you’ve got the chops to do it! After all, you are bold! Speaking of which, what is your “BOLD?”
MR: My “Bold” would have to be my confidence. It has taken a long time and a lot of soul searching, but I now feel that people notice my presence when I walk into a room. It is because I feel good about myself and I believe that i am supposed to be there. I embrace my look, my size, my voice and use it to make other people feel good. I love my life and want to help anyone and everyone feel the same way.