Acclaimed Bway/Cabaret Star Karen Mason Announces Release of New Album, 'Let the Music Play'

Wednesday September 29, 2021

Karen Mason
Karen Mason  (Source:https://www.karenmason.com)

Karen Mason — the acclaimed Broadway star and concert artist — has announced the release of her new album "Let the Music Play," which will be released Friday, November 12 in all digital formats and on CD from Zevely Records.

The recording's powerful and timely first single, the title cut "Let the Music Play," will be available on Friday, October 15. On the heels of her featured role opposite Ewan McGregor on the hit Netflix miniseries "Halston," Mason will present this new collection of theater music, pop classics and new compositions. Special guests Stephen Schwartz, who plays piano on a tender version of the beloved Wicked ballad "For Good," and David Friedman, who accompanies Karen on his poignant standard "We Can Be Kind." The album — which features arrangements by Christopher Denny and Barry Kleinbort, in addition to contributions from Dick Gallagher, and Brian Lasser — is produced by Paul Rolnick.
 
Mason will celebrate the album with national tour dates including Chicago's Davenport's (November 4-7), New York's Feinstein's/54 Below (November 16), and New Hope, PA's RRazz Room (December 11). Concert info and album details are at KarenMason.com.
 
"Let the Music Play" leads with the anthemic first single, the title track poised to be the collection's breakout song."Live music, for me, is breathing! As New York — and the rest of the world — returns to live performance, this piece reflects our growing optimism after a pandemic pause with a world coming back to normal. I am so excited to appear again in front of in-person audiences. I hope this song resonates with everyone who has missed that connection of music as much as I have. I'm thrilled to breathe again."
 
Mason puts her stamp on an exciting arrangement of "Funny Girl's" "Don't Rain on My Parade," flush with strings, in anticipation of the famed musical's first-ever Broadway revival in 2022. "Who doesn't love this example of finally taking charge of your life!?," Karen adds. "I had the good fortune to play that role a few times. Singing this number is a diva's dream!" She brings her particular joie de vivre to the ebullient Irving Berlin classic "Steppin' Out with My Baby." Karen performed another Berlin gem, the rarely recorded "Mr. Monotony," on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning "Best Musical" "Jerome Robbins' Broadway." She remembers, "It was so much fun to be on stage by myself to sing with Paul Gemignani conducting that fierce orchestra. Heaven."
 
On a more subdued note, Karen brings a quiet poignancy to Paul Rolnick's thoughtful acoustic composition "Jerusalem." She explains, "This song is about finding peace. It's about the city of Jerusalem specifically, both the inherent beauty of the word, and what it means to all the great religions. But it could just as easily be about Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam — or even America — any of the places where fighting never seems to end."
 
Paul Rolnick and Tom Kochan provide the pensive "Is There Anybody Out There," boasting a vintage arrangement of Mason's longtime collaborator, the late Brian Lasser. Karen elaborates, "This song speaks to those moments of desperation we all feel sometimes, especially relevant during this pandemic era. There are so many personal connections to the creative team of this selection. It felt like it was time to finally release this."
 
As usual, Mason works to highlight uncovered gems from the American musical theater. A prime example is the track "Time," which she first heard at a new musical presentation of the show Was, by Barry Kleinbort and Joseph Thalken. "I knew I wanted to sing this song the first time I heard it," she says.
 
The collection closes aptly with a delicate rendition of "In My Life," the Lennon and McCartney evergreen. "After our time in quarantine from Covid," reflects Karen, "I have a new appreciation for the people who have supported me in my artistic endeavors for years. This is my special thank you to fans, old, new, and soon to be."
 
As a bonus cut, Karen chose to include a new mix of one of her signature songs, Paul Rolnick's "We Never Ran Out of Love (We Just Ran Out of Time)" in part to celebrate Rolnick's 2020 "Jamie deRoy Songwriting Award" from The ASCAP Foundation. "With all the losses we were living through," comments Karen, "I was stunned by how this spoke to my heart once again. We wanted to add this new mix of this recording for all of us who lost someone dear to us, and miss them every second."

Karen Mason
Karen Mason  

Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, in concert, and in the recording studio. She's been praised for her "fierce emotion" by The New York Times, her "innate comic ability" by Playbill and her "delightful instrument" by the Daily News. Karen has been called "immensely appealing" by The Chicago Tribune, "a towering talent" by TheaterMania and "a dynamic performer" by Time Out New York. According to The Indianapolis Star, "Mason has a powerful voice and rich resonance you associate with Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand. She can sing slow and smoky or fast and punchy with an innate sense of humor. Mason is a poet of the vocal chords."
 
Karen is a 13-time MAC Award winner, most recently she was the recipient of the 2019 MAC Lifetime Achievement Award, and was honored with the MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist of the Year for six consecutive years. She has also won the 2006 Nightlife Award for Major Female Vocalist and has three Bistro Awards. 

Ms. Mason was recently seen as "Madame Giry" in the North American premiere of "Love Never Dies," Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater's epic sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera." She previously garnered rave reviews starring as The Queen of Hearts in "Wonderland" on Broadway. She originated the role of Tanya on Broadway in ABBA's "Mamma Mia," and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress. Her other leading roles include: Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard," which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Velma von Tussel in the final Broadway company of "Hairspray;" "Mr. Monotony" singer/Mazeppa in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and Rosalie in "Carnival" (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's "Torch Song Trilogy;" and "Play Me a Country Song."

She won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in "And the World Goes 'Round," and starred Off-Broadway in her own show "Karen Mason Sings Broadway," "Beatles and Brian." Her television appearances include the hit dramas "Ed" and "Law & Order: SVU" while film credits include" Sleeping Dogs Lie" and "A Chorus Line."

In regional theater, she starred in the 1st National Tour of "A Christmas Story" as Miss Shields, in the world premiere of the stage production of "White Christmas" (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Munyi Opera), "Side by Side by Sondheim" (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida)," Gypsy" (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of "One Tough Cookie" (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), "Heartbeats" (Goodspeed Opera House), and "Company" (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Karen starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker "You Might as Well Live."

Karen has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at the Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci's Place, The Supper Club, and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco; and Davenport's in Chicago.
?