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Kathy Brier: Working actress and darling Diva
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
June 16, 2006
Nowadays it's hard for a guy to find plucky Broadway divas to idolize. Sure there is always Barbara, Bernadette, or Patti Lapone, but a rising star always burns the brightest. Thankfully, a triple threat of talent has revealed herself in the world of daytime drama. Take note music fans, Kathy Brier is a name you are destined to know.ncwWith a vocal style equal part Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, and Beth Hart it's easy to understand why she cites Janice Joplin and Aretha Franklin as her favorite role models. Currently starring on ABC's One Life to Live as the high strung, heart of gold Marci Walsh McBain, Ms. Brier made her Broadway debut opposite Harvey Fierstein as Traci Turnblad, in Hairspray the musical, and continues to wow east coast audience with stirring live performances.
Finding time to promote Heartbreaker, her debut CD, while shooting a successful soap, is nothing to the multitasking Brier. An a level trouper, Kathy Brier was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actress, while doing double duty performing Hairspray at night and taping One Life to Live by day.
Born and raised on Staten Island, when asked if the lights of Manhattan beckoned her as a child, the gracious Brier shared she originally wanted a career in dance. Training for 13 years as a dancer, other people's hang ups about her weight encouraged her to develop the other talents she possessed in abundance, most notably voice. At Wagner College Ms. Brier studied theatre and business for a degree in Arts Administration.
Not a child actress, she saw a lot of Broadway shows with family and friends, thinking her future tracked towards a career as a therapist. Although a theatre lover in a family of theatre lovers, Brier didn't think she had the skills needed to be a professional actor. Her family and friends felt otherwise, constantly pushing her to perform. It was her senior year in high school when she found her calling. To hear Kathy tell it, the calling found her.
Regardless of how Kathy Brier found her voice a growing legion of fans are glad she did. Not you average thin voiced pop star, Brier is a belter, with a voice strong enough to fill a Broadway house, she sings with a depth in letting the music speak for itself, and her impressive vocal skills to speak for her star quality.
Labeled a diva by association, due to her participation in 2005's Broadway Diva Christmas, Brier considers the term diva validation for talent well used.
Crediting her success to supportive parents, Kathy Brier is not the image of a high maintenance Diva. When asked about her very undiva like persona, she was quick to point out that to be a Diva is to recognize an inherent fabulousness in yourself, in such a way others will recognize it as well. Like most Diva's Ms. Brier is a formable talent, both bold and brave in the choices she makes. Unlike most Divas, Kathy strives to be known for good behavior and opportunities well used, rather than outrageous behavior.
Asked about future plans the actress hopes to create an original role, and eventually revive the role of Momma Rose in Gypsy, on the Great White Way. Keeping busy with the release of her debut CD, One Life to Live, and live performances, Kathy says being a Pisces helps her to work on several projects at once, such as Cabaret act, and working with aspiring composers and songwriters.
Kathy Brier is the real deal, as a millions of Soap Opera fans can a test. Funny and friendly, as an actress Brier has potential only time will tell. As a vocalist, Ms. Brier is a in rare company, with a command of performance rarely seen in a world ready to settle for the likes of Brittany Spears and Kelly Clarkson.
Kathy Brier is old school fabulous, think Ethel Merman but better dressed, and with a range even the immortal Cher would envy.