Gay Willis

Biography

Award-winning soprano Gay Willis won critical acclaim when she performed in the world tour of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. She performed to sold out houses in six countries including two weeks at London's' Royal Albert Hall and two weeks at Radio City Music Hall. Her moving performances of the Pie Jesu (Requiem) received rave reviews from critics worldwide.

Gay then starred as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera opposite Colm Wilkinson. "As Christine, Willis' voice has an almost ethereal quality...transporting the audience to unexpected heights emotionally as well as vocally."(Maui News) She completed over 1000 performances as Magnolia in Hal Prince's production of Showboat on Broadway, in Chicago, and on tour starring with such legends as Cloris Leachman, Anita Gillette, Elaine Stritch, Dorothy Loudon, Marilyn McCoo, Dick Van Patten, Pat Harrington, John McMartin, and Dean Jones.Hal Prince's Magnolia, Gay Willis is simply unsurpassable in the starring role. Willis is not only a superb singer, floating a silvery tone while phrasing for maximum emotional expressiveness and absolute clarity of diction, but also a consummate actor. --Ailse Say Boston "Willis' Magnolia ages from bubbly ingénue to knowing matron and mother with great finesse and a strong emotional edge."(Variety). She received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actress in a Touring Musical for this role.
Other performances include Rapunzel in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (Kennedy Center), Mabel in Pirates of Penzance (Carbonell Award winner for Best Actress), Bloomer Girl (City Center), Funny Girl (with Whoopi Goldberg), and Nothing Like a Dame (raves from Liz Smith-New York Post). Maria in West Side Story. Gay Willis was a shining Maria, with a pure silvery soprano and a natural acting style.--New York Times

Gay's recent concert career has taken her throughout the United States including four sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall. She was also featured in the PBS special, "From Galway to Broadway" which aired throughout the United States. Gay appeared on "Seth Rudetsky's Live on Broadway" in August 2009 which aired nationally on Sirus/XM radio, appeared in “Seth's Broadway 101" at Ars Nova in New York City and again with Seth in "Give My Regards To Broadway" at Westbury Music Fair. Currently, Gay has been busy teaching in her own voice studio  and Master classes with former colleague and friend opera tenor Stan Dunn  as well as directing "Dear Edwina" and "Seussical"  at www.theactorscamp.net .  She is also continuing her concert series including "Hollywood and Hymns", "Beaufort to Broadway",  and "Hollywood: The Golden Years".  For information about upcoming events, please visit her website at www.GayWillis.com . Gay is proud to hail from Beaufort, North Carolina.