Pop music icon Melissa Manchester is in her fourth decade of working at the top of her field, and is still finding new ways to entertain people. After achieving great success as a pop singer in the late 1970s, Manchester has remained active in songwriting, film composing, and theater work. She has stayed so thoroughly relevant in the music world that she recently received The Governor’s Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts, and still packs performing arts centers across the country for her performances.
Manchester grew up “in the system” in New York: her father was a bassoonist for the Metropolitan Opera, and saw fit to surround young Melissa with the classics. Upon graduating from the High School for the Performing Arts , she worked the Greenwich Village scene as a solo pianist/singer, where she was found by Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. She worked as a backup singer for both before embarking on a solo career.
A frequent visitor to the top of the Billboard charts in the mid-1970s (“Midnight Blue,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”), Manchester was also active in the songwriting field (“Whenever I Call You Friend,” co-written with Kenny Loggins). She won a Grammy Award in 1982 for Best Female Vocalist, and had two movie themes nominated for Academy Awards in the same year (1980, “Through the Eyes of Love” and “The Promise”).
More recently Manchester has returned to her first love, the theater. She has written a musical, “I Sent a Letter to My Love,” and played the leading role in the premiere recording and staging of it in 2002. She also played opposite Kelsey Grammer in the Sondheim masterpiece “Sweeney Todd,” among other appearances.
It is rare for someone so well versed in so many facets of the entertainment industry to grace the Dakota stage. This show will certainly be special.