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Cami Thompson: BIOS

SHORT PRESS BIO:

Cami Thompson -- singer, actor, band leader, arranger, songwriter, teacher - has gained a world-wide reputation for wowing audiences with her 4-octave voice of great beauty, control and passion, her zany wit, blazing scat solos,  and her humorous interaction with her audiences. Her professional career spans 40 years across 20 countries. Combining elements from her education, training and background in jazz, pop, musical theater and classical music, she moves through whispering to belting out her vast repertoire with robust honesty and exciting vibrancy. Her style has been called "a delightful mix of Ella Fitzgerald and Bette Midler", and she is often compared to voices like Cleo Laine, Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, Barbara Cook and Sarah Vaughan. But Cami is an original, gathering fans throughout 40 years of performing across the US, Europe and Asia, in nightclubs, concerts, festivals and theaters with her unique charm and rich talents.

Raised in a musical family, Cami started singing at 2, piano lessons at 6, and song with her sisters throughout their childhood at church and civic events. She continued her music education through college, with courses and lessons in classical voice training (8 years), musical theater, theory, synths, recording, arranging, and performance - while playing keyboards and singing in rock, pop, funk, soul and jazz bands.

Cami has 6 solo albums to her credit, has guested on dozens of others, and has appeared as Opening Act for the Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Art Blakey, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Ernestine Anderson and others. She has performed in lead theatrical roles in over 40 plays and musicals, including Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett), Annie (Miss Hannigan), Mame (Mame and Gooch), Annie Get Your Gun (Annie), Follies (Sally), Company (Joanne), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Muzzy), Girl Crazy (Kate Fothergill), Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Miss Mona - 4 times!), Noises Off! (Dottie Otley), the opera Hansel and Gretel (Witch), Showboat (Ellie Mae), Candide (Old Lady).

Cami performs with her own bands (from solo piano accompaniment to her jazz trio to her jazz-rock quintet to her 7-piece swing band "Cami & The Cosmopolitans" to big band) as well as performing as guest artist with bands and groups throughout the West Coast and Europe at jazz clubs, concerts, private events and jazz festivals. She also performs for educational festivals as a jazz clinician, judge and guest artist. She has sung at the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and the Juan Les Pins Festival du Jazz in France, and several others, while working 2 years in Europe.  She has won awards and accolades for her entertainment skills.

Critics have called Cami's talents "dazzling" and "electric," with "a voice that stands out like diamonds from glitter," while captivating audiences with a highly charged magnetism." Rollan Melton, late editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal, wrote that Cami is "among the world's great entertainers" and Myrna Daniels of L.A. Jazz Scene wrote that a "dramatic, brassy, sassy and lovely” voice. Friend and co-star Toni Tenille says: "Cami probably has more talent than any performer I know. Her voice does things I can only dream of doing. She has incredible stage charisma and timing, and she's got THAT VOICE!" After co-starring with Miss Thompson in "Annie Get Your Gun," veteran Broadway musical actor John Raitt simply said, "Cami is stunning!"

Cami teaches voice privately in her San Francisco and Reno studios, and in clinics around the west. She enjoys arranging music, songwriting, traveling the world, snow skiing, scuba diving, hiking, tree-hugging, political activism for the environment and peace, eating great food (often lovingly prepared for her by her very own "kitchen mechanic") exploring the cultural scenes, movies, concerts, reading, laughing a lot, and tending her balcony garden with great joy.

RESUME'

HEIGHT:  5'2"  
WEIGHT: 140lbs.   
AGES:  40+, 55+
ETHNICITY: Caucasian 
HAIR: Blonde  
EYES: Green
Equity Membership Candidate
RANGE: Mezzo-Belt, E3 to C6
MUSICALS \ PLAYS \ OPERAS \ PRODUCTIONS – ONSTAGE            
LION IN WINTER: Queen Eleanor, Brüka Theatre, Reno NV; Diane Peters, Director
NATION OF TWO: Lilith, Brüka Theatre, Reno; Chase McKenna, Director
CINDERELLA :Fairy Godmother, Sierra School of the Performing Arts, Reno; Janet Lazarus, Director
THE FULL MONTY: Jeannette, Brüka Theatre; Androo Allen, Director
COMPANY: Joanne, Good Luck Macbeth, Reno; Amanda Alvey, Director
PAINTING the CLOUDS with SUNSHINE: Willa, 42nd Street Moon, SF; Mark Kaufmann, Director
SWEENEY TODD:Mrs. Lovett, Redwood City Symphony; Erik Kujawsky, Conductor
6 WOMEN W/BRAIN DEATH: Ensemble, Brüka Theatre; Mary Bennett, Director    
SWEENEY TODD: Mrs. Lovett, Nevada Opera, Reno; Schamberger, Director
THE FULL MONTY: Jeanette, Ray of Light Theater, SF; Jason Hoover, Director
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE: Muzzy, Pacific Coast Rep/Pleasanton; Dyan McBride, Director
ANNIE: Miss Hannigan, Broadway By The Bay, San Mateo; Alex Perez, Director
GIRL CRAZY: Kate Fothergill, 42nd Street Moon, SF; Dyan McBride, Director
BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS: Miss Mona, Riverfront Theater, Reno; Bob Barsanti, Director
SPIRIT OF AMERICA - Revue: Lead Singer, Nugget Showroom, Sparks NV; Trace Robbers Productions
SIMPLY COLE (Cole Porter Revue): Lead Singer, Nugget Showroom; Trace Robbers Productions
A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING: Principal Guest Artist, Nevada Repertory Co.; Dr. Bob Dillard, Director
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN: Annie Oakley,  Nevada Opera (w/John Raitt); Maestro Ted Puffer, Director
MAME: Agnes Gooch, Nevada Opera (w/Toni Tenille); Maestro Ted Puffer, Director
SHOWBOAT: Ellie May, Nevada Opera (w/Toni Tenille), Maestro Ted Puffer, Director
HANSEL & GRETEL (Opera): Rosina Daintymouth (Witch), Nevada Opera; Maestro Ted Puffer, Director
DESERT SONG (Light Opera): Susan, Nevada Opera; Maestro Ted Puffer, Director
NOISES OFF!: Dottie Otley,  Reno Little Theatre; Patricia Matthews, Director
BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS: Miss Mona, USO/DOD tour-Pacific Command; Dr. Jim Bernardi, Director
HEARTSONG (my original musical): Solo Lead, 8th St. Studio, Wash, D.C.; Self-directed
PIANO PLAYER w/ SAD BROWN EYES:Principal; Source Theater, Wash. D.C.
FOLLIES: Sally Durant, Nevada Repertory Co.; Dr. Bob Dillard, Director
THE CRUCIBLE: Tituba, Nevada Repertory Co.; Dr. Jim Bernardi, Director
CANDIDE: Old Lady (+Vocal Dir)' Nevada Repertory Co.; Dr. Jim Bernardi, Director
DAMES AT SEA: Mona Kent, Space Theatre, Reno; Ricky Price, Director
SWEENEY TODD: Mrs. Lovett, Nevada Repertory Company; Dr. Bob Dillard, Director
HAIR: Principal Singer, Nevada Repertory Company; Dr. Jim Bernardi, Director
MAME: Mame Dennis, Nevada Repertory Company; Dr. Bob Dillard, Director
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR: Mary Magdalene, USO/DOD tour - Pacific Command; Dr. Bob Dillard, Director
OPERAS: 9 over 12 years    Chorus – 1st Sop, Nevada Opera Company; Maestro Ted Puffer, Director

THEATRICAL AND STAGE WORK – OFFSTAGE
FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM:  Music & Vocal Director, Reno Little Theater; Melissa Taylor, Director
NEXT TO NORMAL: Music/Vocal Director, Brüka Theatre; John Frederick, Director
MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY: Music/Vocal/Co-Director, Pianist; Brüka Theatre, Mary Bennett, Co-director
STUPID F***ING BIRD: Music Director/Composer, Brüka Theatre: Holly Natwara
STAGE KISS: Music Director/Composer, Brüka Theatre; Christopher Wilson
Brüka Theatre Children’s Camp: (4 yrs) Music Director/Composer, Brüka Theatre; Mary Bennett. Director
SIAMSA – A Celtic Christmas: (4 yrs) Vocal Director/Arranger, Reno Irish Dance Company, Amanda Coulson
CHARLOTTE'S WEB (musical) :Director/Composer, Space Theater 


TRAINING \ SKILLS

Voice Training: (12 years) Operatic: Ted Puffer, Naunie Gardner, Helen Lee; Theatrical: Beverly Booth; Jazz: Gerry Eskelin, Kirby Shaw, Waldo King                       

Range: Mezzo-Sop, Belt, E3-C6, all styles (theatrical, rock, jazz, pop, R&B, soul, Gospel) sight-reading, excellent harmony, studio skills

Dance: 3 years training, character, jazz, tap – not my best feature, but I move well for a short round chick

Piano:   8 years classical, 4 yrs. contemporary, played in 3 bands, man!; songwriter (over 120 so far), arranger, lousy accompanist

Languages:  French (relatively fluent), German (rusty!), niceties & cuss words in several tongues

Acting Workshops:  Dyan McBride, SF; Bobby Weinapple, SF; Tom Capp, LA = Scene work, Improv, Auditions, Musical Theater

 

EDUCATION:

Univ. of Nevada-Reno:   Almost BA in Theater/Music: Performance, History, Writing, Directing, Costuming, Design, Band, Voice, Piano, Percussion, Theory, Arranging

Colorado College:  1 year: Mime, Stage Voice, Set Design, Acting, Literature, Art History

University of London:   Drama Studies semester abroad: Theater field study, History, Performance, Art

 

EXPERIENCE

STAGE: 40 years professional singer/actor; 15 countries; 6 solo CDs; 8 guest CDs; Band Leader, Composer, Songwriter, Arranger, Lyricist, Music and Vocal Director, Co-Director, musician, recording

COMMERCIALS: Lead actor-singer in local commercials (Reno); vocalist in 16; writer/producer of 4

STUDIOS:  Granny’s House (house singer), Starsound Studios, Tanglewood Productions (voice-overs); various Bay Area and Los Angeles Studios; Systemes Musique, Grasse, France; SOUL Studios, London;  Radio 2, Amsterdam

TEACHING: 35 years private voice teacher/ vocal coach / high school and college jazz clinician/ jazz festivals adjudicator

AWARDS: Best New Artist - Wash. DC; Reno Reader Polls: Best Actress (3 yrs); Best Singer (3 yrs)

 

PERSONAL INTERESTS

SPORTS: Snow skiing /Racing (Nationally ranked 1990), Yoga, Hiking, Golf, Tennis, Swimming, Scuba Diving, etc., grew up with sports 

OTHER: People, Travel (28 countries), Movies Old & New, Gardening, Spirit work, Ideas, Politics, Food & Wine, Laughter, Hard work, Teaching

PLACES CAMI HAS PLAYED

Clubs, Cabarets and Concerts

SAN FRANCISCO / BAY AREA

The Coconut Grove Supper Club - House singer for 15 months; nightly with 8-piece swing band

Yoshi's Jazz Club

Filoli Gardens

Woodminster Amphitheater

Stars Restaurant

Mr. E’s Jazz Club

Rasselas Jazz Club

Gertrude Stein's

San Francisco Yacht Club

Essex Supper Club

Campton Place Hotel

Pan Pacific Hotel

Konocti Harbor Resort

Bach Dynamite & Dancing Society

Uva Trattoria – Napa

Rose Pistola

Mecca

Alta Plaza

The Ramp

 

EUROPE

North Seas Jazz Festival - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Loosdrecht Jazz Festival  - Netherlands

Preuveniment Festival - Maastricht, Netherlands

Maastricht Jazz Festival - Maastricht, Netherlands

Hotel Boekelo - Enschede, Netherlands

Juan Les Pins Festival Du Jazz  - France

Grenoble Jazz Concert Series - France  

Le Club Montana - Paris, France (2 weeks)    

Hollywood Savoy Club - Paris, France

Le  Ragtime -  Cannes, France (10 months)             

Valentino's Club du Jazz - Nice, France

L'Aventure - Nice, France                               

Das Kurzhaus - Munich, Germany

Ronnie Scott’s - London, England    

Cafe de Paris - London, England

Hotel Safir - Casablanca, Morocco (2 weeks)

NORTHERN NEVADA

“Evening with Cami” Concerts, 1993 to present; Jazz concerts, Holiday shows, Community concerts, Arts festivals

Principal Guest Artist – Nevada Opera;  Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

Principal Guest Artist – Reno Philharmonic Orchestra; Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Artown

Principal Guest Artist and Musical Director – Sierra Nevada Ballet company

Principal Guest Artist – Reno Philharmonic Orchestra “Pops” Concert 

Guest Artist – Reno Jazz Orchestra

Harrah’s Tahoe Showroom, Opening Act for Bob Newhart; June 2009 (50th anniversary of Harrah’s Showroom)

PRODUCTION SHOWS: 

Caesar’s Tahoe Showroom; Atlantis Grand Ballroom; Tahoe Biltmore Cabaret; Peppermill Ballroom;

MGM Grand/ Reno Hilton/Grand Sierra Showroom; Sahara Tahoe Showroom; Club Cal-Neva Showroom;

Harrah's Reno: Harrah’s Tahoe; Breck Wall's "Bottom's Up" Revue; El Dorado Ballroom; Hyatt Incline Ballroom

LOS ANGELES AREA

Queen Mary - Long Beach (6 months)

Drake's Restaurant - Glendale (2 years)

Caffe Giuseppe – Reseda (1.5 years)

Lunaria - Century City

Monteleone's - Encino

Tatou - Beverly Hills

Chadney's - Burbank

Winston's  -  Sheraton Hotel

Truly Yours - Encino

Robin Hood - Reseda

Studio Cafe - Corona  Del Mar

Baked Potato  - Studio City

Menage - Pasadena

Grand Avenue Bar - Los Angeles

Bel Air Bay Club - Pacific Palisades

WESTERN USA

OPENING ACT for:  The Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Bob Newhart, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Ernestine Anderson, Louis Bellson

FESTIVALS:

Monterey Traditional Jazz Festival, CA

Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Festival, CA

Sun Valley Jazz and Swing Festival, ID

Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, CA

Mammoth Lakes Art Festival, CA

Pleasant Hills Jazz Festival, OR

San Mateo Traditional Jazz Festival, CA

Desert Jazz Festival - Palm Springs, CA

Sisters Jazz Festival, OR

Prescott Jazz Summit, AZ

Seaside Jazz & Swing Festival, OR

Medford Jazz Bash, OR

Eugene Oregon “Celebration”, OR

John Ascuaga's Nugget Jazz Fest, NV

Lake Havasu Jazz Festival, AZ

Reno International Jazz Festival, NV  

CONCERTS AND SHOWS:

The Hult Performing Arts Center, Eugene OR

Florence Oregon Arts Center, OR

Dallas Dinner Theater, TX

Galleria, Sun Valley, ID

 

ELSEWHERE

Hundreds of shows for Charity Galas, Fundraisers, Corporate Events, Campaigns, Private parties, Weddings!

Princess Cruise Lines - Headliner, Caribbean

Back Alley Saloon- Wash, D.C.

New York City, St. Louis, Kansas City,

Various tours, concerts and performances in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, The Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Belgium,  Switzerland, USA

A Light-Hearted Long-Winded Biography of Cami Thompson

CAMI THOMPSON – a light-hearted biography

 Spirited singer, actress, songwriter, teacher and bandleader Cami Thompson has been sharing her musical talents and charismatic personality with appreciative audiences all around the globe for 40 years. Reno-born and musically raised, she has traveled to the far reaches of Paris, London, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Cannes, Sydney, Casablanca, Tokyo, Seoul, the Caribbean, and managed to find her way back from being very lost in most places to work across the US, singing her heart out in concert halls, clubs, jazz festivals, cabarets, theaters and more than a few unsavory but delightful dives. Audiences journey with her through a passionate repertoire of classic American standards, unique jazz tunes, saucy blues and poignant originals. Her 4-octave voice resonates with warmth and beauty, displaying great depth, dexterity and control. Often displaying dizzying blasts of blistering scats, Cami sings with outstanding musical skill backed by a great sense of humor, compassion and human dignity, all the while soaring on the wings of innovative jazz freedom, faith and a great lack of reality -- probably stemming from her extensive background in musical theatre!

 

“Cami is loaded with talent and possesses one of the most technically diverse, smooth and sumptuous voices in music today… It grooves, belts, caresses, scats, soars, and gets way under the skin of every tune she sings.”   (Jack Neal, Nevada Journal) 

 

Cami has had the privilege of performing with her bands as Opening act for The Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Art Blakey, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Abbey Lincoln, Charo, Jose Feliciano, Louis Bellson, Lou Levy, and others.

Cami has starred in many professional musicals, including "Annie Get You Gun" (Annie) with John Raitt, "Mame" (Agnes Gooch) with Toni Tenille, “Showboat” (Ellie May) also with Miss Tenille,  "Desert Song” (sidekick Susan), and the operatic lead in "Hansel and Gretel" (Rosina Daintymouth the Witch), all with the prestigious Nevada Opera Company. With Nevada Repertory Company, Cami had leads in "Sweeney Todd” (Mrs. Lovett), "Follies” (Sally Durant),Mame” (Mame), "Candide”(Old Lady and vocal director), "Hair” (lead singer), “JC Superstar” (Mary Magdalene),” and "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (Miss Mona). Her most recent roles in the Bay Area include Jeanette in The Full Monty, Muzzy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Pacific Coast Repertory Theater), Miss Hannigan in “Annie” (Broadway by the Bay), and Kate Fothergill (the Ethel Merman role) in the 42nd Street Moon Theater’s production of the Gershwin’s “Girl Crazy”. She just created the role of Willa in 42nd Street Moon's world premier of "Painting the Clouds with Sunshine."

 

“(Cami) has a voice that stands out like diamonds from plastic glitter!” (Guy Richardson, Reno Gazette)

 

Early in her career Cami sang and/or played keyboards and percussion in various rock, R&B, soul and jazz bands around Reno-Tahoe, and was one of the youngest members of the Nevada Opera chorus while studying music, theater and voice at Univ. of Nevada-Reno. She earned several awards as "Best Local Singer" and "Best Local Actress" in Reno, and received the "Best New Artist" in the Washington D.C. area while she lived and worked there. 

Miss Thompson spent over 2 years singing in Europe at various jazz clubs and festivals in England, France, Italy, Morocco and Holland, including the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival in Den Haag, Holland, and the Juan Les Pins Festival du Jazz in France.  She toured as lead actress with two DOD/USO 3-month-tour shows throughout the Far East. She spent four years in LA singing in jazz clubs, recording, teaching voice, and performing with the Emmy-nominated 12-voice group LA Jazz Choir.


“Cami Thompson is remarkable, a perfectly wonderful singer." (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Chronicle)

 

In 1990 Cami was asked to sing with trumpeter Mike Vax and His Great American Jazz Band, touring festivals around the US with them for 12 years.  She is also a frequent guest artist with Vax’s 18-piece Jazz Orchestra, and has recorded tracks on their two albums, "Alternate Route" and "BigBandJazz.Net", which have received global critical acclaim and great reviews. She is also a frequent guest with the Reno Jazz Orchestra, recording on their latest live concert CD with them, as well as her own CD she released in 2010 of a live concert with them in 2006.

 The recorded collection of Cami now measures 6! The latest was released 10-10-10 at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. A “mostly” live recording with the 17-piece Reno Jazz Orchestra, “Swing! Swang! Swung!” is a tribute to the big band sounds of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. In 1993 in LA, Cami and her best friend Lizabeth Rogers and pianist Benjamin Dowling independently co-produced Cami’s first CD, "No More Blues," a collection of jazz favorites and original torch, blues and ballads. A digitally recorded 1992 live concert performance, “An Evening with Cami”, became her second CD. In 1998 Cami produced her third record, a jazzy soulful holiday album "Colors of Christmas", the title cut written for her mom. Her fourth release, “By Request” is a powerhouse of beautifully recorded live and studio tracks, capturing all the dynamic splendor of great American ballads, jazz and swing standards, sort of an “Ella meets Barbra meets Bette” thing. Her fifth album, “Café Camille”, is a collection of torch, blues and jazz songs recorded live during club dates in LA during 1993 with her trio, produced by Lizabeth Rogers.

Travelling often to her hometown of Reno, Cami has lived happily in San Francisco since 1995, singing in clubs and private parties, doing musical theater, creating concerts, touring, recording, teaching voice. On her own time, Cami enjoys the incredibly rich musical, artistic, cultural and political scenes of the Bay Area,  the great cuisine (much of it made by her very own “kitchen mechanic” - husband and chef Scott Lenau), the fresh foggy air, and tending her balcony garden with great joy.  She has received no awards here. – oh well, the balcony view is worth it!