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Stars and the City: Carmen Cusack’s New York

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

A Tony nominee for the musical 'Bright Star,' Carmen Cusack shares why she loves New York City

The first time I came to New York, it was 1993 and I had my first job ever working on the QE2. We had ported here. I was like a child and hadn’t even finished college. Even though I had an opera scholarship, I couldn’t afford to finish college. My friends had said, “Let’s just audition for this Jean Ann Ryan Production going on cruise liners.” They offered me a job on the spot. And I thought, well, I can’t finish out my semester. So I ended up singing on the QE2. We did transatlantic crossings from Southampton to New York. So my first time landing in New York was from a ship. It was the most incredible thing. When we passed the Statue of Liberty, they always made a point to play “New York, New York” so you’d hear “Start spreading the news…”

Carmen Cusack in ‘Bright Star’ on Broadway (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Carmen Cusack in ‘Bright Star’ on Broadway (Photo: Joan Marcus)

What do you love about New York City?

1. I  love to walk around and people-watch. My grandmother looked after me for a certain amount of time. We lived out in the woods in a place called Fountain, Florida. And some Saturdays, we’d go to the mall, sit on a bench and watch people. It became a form of entertainment for me.  I love walking around and getting the gist of the vibe of the city. And I love watching people, especially in in Soho and Greenwich Village. And you can also find awesome boutiques there.

2. The community. There’s a real sense of community here. I had always heard about the Broadway community. And I thought, “Oh, yeah, whatever,” but there really is a sense of community here. I feel that I’ve been absorbed into a family of other creators. It’s very concentrated and full of love. Especially, through doing the “What the World Needs Now” recording. I was lucky enough to give time to that and find some friends who I haven’t worked with yet, but I’m hoping to work with in the future. Also during the awards season, even though at the time I wasn’t able to see other people’s work, because I was working, I had a sense that we’re all this together. No one is alone.

3. The real social vibe in New York. Being able to just walk down the street and bump into somebody you know. You don’t get that in LA, where my husband and I have been living. You sit in a car for two hours. It’s very lonely.

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