Liz Callaway

Liz Callaway

Aside from her significant career starring on and off Broadway for the last three decades, singer, actress, and recording artist Liz Callaway (b. Chicago, IL, 13 April 1961) is well known for providing the singing voices of leading characters in animated films. The recipient of a Tony® nomination (for Baby, 1984) and an Emmy Award (for hosting “Ready to Go,” a children’s program on WNEV-TV in Boston, 1987–1991), Callaway can be heard on four solo albums, six original show albums and five film soundtracks, one complete collection and several tracks of duets with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway, Infinite Joy: the Songs of William Finn, and a dozen other compilations of various kinds.

Callaway made her Broadway debut in 1981 as a waitress in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, a box-office failure that later turned into a cult favorite. In 1983 she appeared in a major role in Baby, the David Shire/Richard Maltby, Jr. vehicle that brought her a Tony® nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. When that closed after 241 performances, she was cast in a musical revival of The Three Musketeers that bit the dust within a week.

In September 1985 Liz Callaway took part in the legendary Lincoln Center performance of Sondheim’s Follies in Concert, singing the part of Young Sally. On stage with her were Mandy Patinkin, Barbara Cook, George Hearn, Lee Remick, Carol Burnett, Elaine Stritch and Paul Gemignani conducting the New York Philharmonic. It was recorded live and filmed as a documentary.

She joined the cast of Cats as a replacement in the role of Grizabella for five years, singing “Memory,” and in April 1991 she was in the opening night cast of Miss Saigon, starring in the role of Ellen. In July 1995 she sang “A Wonderful Guy” in the 100th birthday celebration of Oscar Hammerstein II, called Something Wonderful, but for the better part of the ’90s, Liz Callaway was providing the singing voices for a variety of animated characters on film. She was Odette in The Swan Princess (1994), Princess Jasmine in The Return of Jafar (1994) and in Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1995), Anya/Anastasia in Anastasia (1997) (singing “Journey to the Past,” nominated for an Oscar®), and the adult Kiara in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998). She was also an additional singing voice in Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998).

Concurrently she made recordings and appeared in cabarets, clubs, and theatres around the world (China, Iceland, England, Estonia, France, Slovenia, South Korea, and Spain, not to mention every major city in the United States). Callaway starred as Venus in the Chicago production of One Touch of Venus, and in Elegies in Los Angeles. Other productions have included No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little, Godspell, and Brownstone.

She has appeared with major orchestras at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and on tour with the Boston Pops. Also in New York she has performed in Hair in Concert, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, and Fiorello! at Encores!, entertained in cabaret acts at Joe’s Pub, the Metropolitan Room, and the Russian Tea Room, and co-starred with Jimmy Webb and Paul Williams in their critically acclaimed engagement at Feinstein’s.

In 2000 Callaway played Shelby the waitress in the musical version of The Spitfire Grill at Playwrights Horizons. The show, directed by David Saint, received Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League, as well as Drama Desk nominations for Garrett Long (playing Percy) as Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Liz Callaway as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.

Once again on Broadway in 2003, if only for a fixed run of six weeks, Callaway sang in The Look of Love, a retrospective musical revue of the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Callaway’s sister Ann Hampton Callaway is also a recording artist, and the two have often collaborated in cabaret acts (“Relative Harmony” in New York and Los Angeles) and recordings. Their award-winning show, “Sibling Revelry,” was first produced at New York ’s Rainbow and Stars and traveled to the Donmar Warehouse in London, where it was enthusiastically received. A live recording is available on DRG records.

The solo albums recorded by Liz Callaway are Anywhere I Wander (the music of Frank Loesser), The Beat Goes On (featuring music of the 60’s), The Story Goes On: Liz Callaway On and Off-Broadway, and Passage of Time, released by PS Classics in October 2009.

On television, besides her Emmy Award-winning children’s show, Callaway has performed in In Performance at the White House, Inside the Actor’s Studio: Stephen Sondheim, Christmas with the Boston Pops, The David Letterman Show, and Senior Trip (a CBS Movie of the Week).

Liz Callaway is married to former actor and stage director Dan Foster, who is co-owner of Hudson Stage, a theatre company in Westchester County. She also has a son, now at Kenyon College.

At the 25th Annual Bistro Awards ceremony in April 2010, Callaway was enrolled in the Bistro Hall of Fame. Visit her website at www.lizcallaway.com

– Lucy E. Cross