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Karen Mason

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Title: Karen Mason  
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Subject: New York City Gay Men's Chorus, Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes 'Round, University of Illinois at Chicago alumni, Carnival!
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Karen Mason

Karen Mason
Occupation Actress and singer

Karen Mason is an American theatre actress and singer. She has appeared on stage in Broadway theatre, notably as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and also performs a cabaret act.


  • Career 1
    • Work 1.1
  • Personal 2
  • Awards 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Mason was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and grew up in St. Louis and Chicago. She majored in theater at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, graduating in 1999.[1] Mason started as a "singing hostess at Lawrence of Oregano in Chicago" in 1976 after leaving college, where she met the late pianist and composer Brian Lasser, with whom she worked until his death in 1992.[2][3]

Mason has performed in cabaret and with symphonies for many years.[4] She was one of the featured cabaret vocalists at The Duplex Cabaret, New York City, in the early 1980s, and in 2005 presented a program "Better Days" with songs by her late musical director Brian Lasser.[5] She has appeared at the Bay Area Cabaret, Empire Ballroom, San Francisco in 2010.[6] She continues to perform her cabaret act at such venues as Davenport's in Chicago in 2011[7] and The Iridium (New York City) in 2011.[8]

She taught at the Theatre Arts Center's Summer Workshops & Camp in Bayside, Queens, New York in 2010.[9]

She first appeared on Broadway in Play Me a Country Song in 1982.[10] She took the role of standby to Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard in the Los Angeles production in 1993, and went on to play almost 300 performances over two years both in Los Angeles and on Broadway.[2][11] She originated the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia!, playing the role from October 5, 2001 to October 6, 2002.[12] She took over the role of Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray on April 6, 2008.[13] She was the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland in 2011 on Broadway and in the Tampa and Houston productions in 2009–2010.[4][14] Mason appears in the US tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical! starting in November 2011.[15]

She is scheduled to play Mrs. Danvers in the musical Rebecca on Broadway in 2012.[16]



Off Broadway



Mason has recorded 6 solo albums, including Right Here, Right Now.[4] She appears on the cast recording of Wonderland.[25]


Mason is married to Paul Rolnick, a producer and composer.[26]


Mason has received 10 MAC Awards, including the 2004 MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist, and three Bistro Awards.[4]


  1. ^ Horwitz, Simi. Karen Mason Shakes Her Booty in 'Wonderland',, April 20, 2011
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Reed., But She's Equally Adept Standing Alone In Her Cabaret ActSunset BoulevardBroadway Singer Gets Intimate; Karen Mason Had Big Supporting Cast In . Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) (freelibrary), January 2, 1998
  3. ^ O'Malley, Kathy. Flying Solo Toward Stardom,, December 22, 1994
  4. ^ a b c d Karen Mason
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew Mamma Mia!'s Karen Mason Revisits "Better Days" June 13 at the Duplex, June 9, 2005
  6. ^ Drake Hotel,
  7. ^ Karen Mason - Comes To Chicago, January 24, 2011
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew. Karen Mason Offers Show Queen: Life After Wonderland July 19 in Manhattan,, July 19, 2011
  9. ^ Karen Mason Joins Staff At Theatre Arts Center in Bayside Theatre Arts Center,
  10. ^ Rich, Frank. THEATER: 'Play Me A Country Song', The New York Times, June 28, 1982
  11. ^ Marks, Peter. Glenn Close's 'Sunset' Standby Is Ready for Her Close-Up, The New York Times, March 5, 1995
  12. ^ Ehren, Christine and Robert Simonson. Take a Chance on Them: Mamma Mia! Opens Oct. 18,, October 18, 2001
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Andrew Gans. Bow and Exalt: Karen Mason is Hairspray's Next Velma Von Tussle,, March 28, 2008
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore; Broadway's Wonderland to Close May 15,, May 10, 2011
  15. ^ Hetrick, Adam. Karen Mason and Adam Pelty Complete Cast of A Christmas Story, The Musical!", October 12, 2011
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Karen Mason Is Mrs. Danvers, Tam Mutu Is Maxim de Winter in Broadway's Rebecca; Principals Announced,, December 1, 2011
  17. ^ Karen Mason Broadway, accessed December 24, 2011
  18. ^ a b McGibbon, Andrew. Chat Live With Diva Karen Mason Mar. 9,, March 9, 1998
  19. ^ Holden, Stephen. Pop: Karen Mason, Singer, The New York Times, May 22, 1986
  20. ^ Rich, Frank. Review/Theater; All the Best of Kander and Ebb, The New York Times, March 19, 1991
  21. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Theater in Review", The New York Times, April 14, 1993
  22. ^ Holden, Stephen. Review/Theater; Taking Stock in Song of a Marriage Gone Sour, The New York Times, August 9, 1993
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew. Curtain Up, Light the Lights: Karen Mason Stars in Gypsy, May 31-Aug. 4,, May 31, 2007
  24. ^ Gans, Andrew. Casting Complete for Muny Gypsy with Karen Mason",, July 11, 2006
  25. ^ Wonderland,, March 29, 2010
  26. ^ McBride, Murdoch.Paul Rolnick Added to Roster at Arci's Place Cabaret Benefit, Jan. 29, January 26, 2001

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