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Nancy Dussault

Nancy Dussault began attracting national attention at Northwestern University when her junior year photo as “Miss Student Body” appeared in Life magazine. While still at Northwestern, she performed as a guest soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, winning two Young Artist Awards from the American Society of Musicians.

Fresh from school, sensational reviews and a warm embrace by the New York audience heralded her Broadway debut in the Jule Styne, Comden & Green musical Do Re Mi, costarring Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker. It earned her the first of many appearances on america’s most-watched television program, The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan’s prophetic introduction of the 19-year-old as “a new star appearing over Broadway” proved to be true, as Dussault went on to star on Broadway in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s in Bajour, The Sound of Music, Side by Side with Sondheim, and Into the Woods—with performances that earned her a Theatre World Award and multiple Tony nominations.

It was the crystal clarity of her vocal performances combined with an instinctive, intuitive comic touch that set her apart and earned her repeated national appearances on all of the many television variety shows: The Garry Moore Show, The Bell Telephone Hour, The Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Dinah Shore Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Tony Awards, The Emmy Awards, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Night of 100 Stars, Parts 1 &2, The Lily Tomlin Special, The Burt Reynolds Special, PBS TV’s Cabaret Tonight (Emmy Award), and Happy Birthday Hollywood, as well as Northwestern University’s Star-Packed Alumni Special, The Way They Were, to name every blessed variety show she ever did!

When not on a TV sound stage, Nancy could be found on the off-Broadway stages of New York in The Boyfriend; starring in Carousel and Finian’s Rainbow at the City Center; and Street Scene, The Cradle Will Rock, and The Mikado at the New York City Opera. Stages all across the country welcomed her in a wide range of plays and musicals, including Somerset Maugham’s The Constant Wife, Follies, Mame, The King and I, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road, Shirley Valentine, Peter Pan, The Sisters Rosensweig, Candide at the Ahmanson (Ovation Award), The Threepenny Opera, The Imaginary Invalid for ACT in San Francisco, and David Rambo’s The Lady with All the Answers in Phoenix and Tucson.

It was a short journey from Joseph Papp’s New York Public Theatre’s Trelawney of the Wells, being spotted by Carl Reiner, and his immediately adding her to his cast of The New Dick Van Dyke Show, to a first in the world of television: ABC’s Fred Silverman put their flagship morning program, Good Morning, America, into the hosting hands of two actors, David Hartman and Nancy Dussault, roles that had been traditionally filled by journalists in a news-format time slot. Though the hours and the format did not agree with her, her romance with the television camera continued with ABC’s Too Close for Comfort, spending six years with the inimitable Ted Knight and making another TV first when Too Close was cancelled by the network but continued on the air as TV’s first comedy made for first-run syndication. Time of day didn’t seem to matter; Nancy was welcomed into America’s living rooms. For 12 years, along with Henry Winkler and John Ritter, Dussault co-hosted United Cerebral Palsy’s marathon 45-hour Fund Raising Telethon. Nancy’s other TV appearances include Barney Miller; Full House; The Love Boat; Hotel; Jack of Hearts; Matlock; Murder, She Wrote; Dream On; Mad About You; Providence; Family Law; Judging Amy; and Alias.

As a youngster, Nancy appeared in many of the numerous great New York clubs, including The Blue Angel and Julius Monk’s Upstairs at the Downstairs. Since then, she has appeared as a guest soloist with every major symphony and pops orchestra in America, most recently appearing with George Hearn in an all-Sondheim celebration with the 105-piece Pittsburgh Pops Orchestra. She has sold out New York’s Russian Tea Room and The Firebird Café, San Francisco’s Plush Room and the Razz Room, L.A.’s Cinegrill and Gardenia Rooms, as well as Boston’s Les Zygomates, The Jazz Side.

Her “Cabaret Tonight,” for Los Angeles’s KCET earned her an Emmy Award. She conceived, produced, and starred in ASCAP’s “American Women of Notes” at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. She inaugurated UCLA’s Ray Bolger School of Musical Theatre program and taught there for five years. Northwestern University Alumni Association named Nancy “Woman of the Year” in 1990, and she was appointed to the “Council of 100 Outstanding Women” by its president. Nancy was thrilled to have been asked originally to be a part of what turned out to be Arthur Hiller’s cult classic, The In-Laws (1979), starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. Today, she is honored that her interview is included in the re-release of the Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection. Her first solo CD, Heart and Soul, was received with both commercial success and critical praise, and she continues to sell it from the backseat of her Honda Hybrid Sedan.

The New York theatre/cabaret community once more embraced Nancy and her most recent sold-out concert return at Feinstein’s 54 Below.

Sunday, April 16
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
THE IN-LAWS (1979)
WB 100
Discussion before
Chinese Multiplex House 1