Lisa Donahey - Biography

In an industry that too often rewards artists and performers for limiting their vast musical potential and allowing themselves to be pigeonholed, Lisa Donahey stands out as a singular multi-faceted talent who embraces and does it all – with an engaging, charismatic style and panache all her own.  

Combining her masterful storytelling abilities with her innate skills as a people person, she’s captivated audiences throughout her native Southern California and beyond with critically acclaimed performances that tap into her passions for everything from classic Top 40 pop, R&B, rock, Great American Songbook and big band standards to musical theatre, country, novelty tunes, classical and even her own colorful mashup style, “jazzbaret.” A consummate entertainer, Lisa does more than simply interpret the genius of others. She adds her own narrative flair to the flow of the music, turning set lists full of songs we know and love into fresh, poetic looks at life and love while making the crowd an integral part of the experience.

Over the past few years, Lisa has created, produced and starred in a multitude of diverse large ensemble showcases at such L.A. hotspots as Upstairs at Vitello’s Supper Club and Catalina Jazz Club, as well as large performance centers in Orange County. Her cleverly titled show “Just a Broad and a Big Band (and a Little Big Band, Too) features dynamic orchestral arrangements of classics by the likes of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Count Basie. Stepping into the spotlight with her full 15-piece Big Band (and sometimes a “Little Big Band,” adapted for smaller settings), Lisa brings to life the era’s jazz and swing stylings, taking her audience on a journey of the great big bands, past present and future.

A related show, Lisa Donahey & Friends: Just Swingin’ with a Big Band, featuring collaborations with male and female singers, is her way of honoring the great vocalists of jazz with a fully orchestrated program of re-imagined chestnuts from the catalogs of legendary singers whose names and voices defined a brilliant era in American musical history. These include Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Nat “King” Cole, Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra. Performing with fellow singer Don Lucas and a Big Band, Lisa also headlines a show called “Rat Pack Revisited!,” a tribute to the “cool cat oasis” of Las Vegas back in the day when Frank, Sammy and Dean held court on the Strip every night. The show captures it all – the magic and the swagger. Another popular Lisa creation is her “Soul Show,” in which she takes her audience through some of the most enduring R&B classics of our time.

In 2015, Lisa formed her own production company, In Tempo Production, as a vehicle to create and produce her own shows in addition to those for entertainment industry clients such as Warner Bros. and multiple business units at the Walt Disney Company (where she also worked in corporate marketing for many years). Lisa customizes content for events, shows and presentations, in addition to hosting and emceeing award galas for charity fundraisers and corporations. She can also add a personal touch to her productions by singing and performing as entertainment at events, whether it’s as the headliner, emcee of the evening’s festivities or hosting on the red carpet. While working for Disney, Lisa also lent her voiceover talents to become the voice of new toys, including a Disney Princess doll.

Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, Lisa was the ultimate “hairbrush in front of the mirror” singer, imagining herself onstage performing hits by all her favorite female singers – including Melissa Manchester, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler and Pat Benatar. Her mom called her “fearless,” and that empowering notion stuck with her as she grew up and her musical sensibilities – and repertoire – expanded beyond mainstream pop and rock. From 13-17, she was part of Mickey Rooney’s Town, an elite performing troupe of kids ages 7-17 who sang, dance and acted and performed onstage several times with the legendary actor himself. This gave Lisa her first exposure to standards and musical theatre.

Attending Citrus College in Glendora, Lisa was a member of the world renowned and award-winning Citrus College Singers, performing classical music, musical theatre, pop and jazz and starring in three stage shows per year. The conservatory-like program included dance, acting and music theory courses as well, and each year culminated with a tour singing classical literature at festivals throughout Europe or a pop tour of the Hawaiian Islands.

Later attending the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, she honed her formidable chops as an entertainer – realizing the impact she could have on audiences – and learned the ins and outs of commercial pop recording and the music industry. A unique presence among the pop/soul divas, Lisa made a name for herself as the “standards and musical theatre gal.” While at Berklee, she received the coveted Outstanding Performer of the Year award, was chosen as the Convocation speaker and singer, performed in numerous concerts and was chosen to sing for Sting, Nancy Wilson and The Manhattan Transfer – regaling these greats with fresh performances of their best known songs. During this time, she also sang on commercial jingle sessions.

“For many years, I was hard on myself for loving and performing so many different styles of music and not choosing a specific identifiable lane, so to speak,” Lisa says. “But then I realized that I like it all, so why not do it all? Whatever the specific show or project I am performing in, I want people to see and appreciate the entire scope of who I am, that I embrace a wide variety of genres, and unapologetically so. For me, everything is centered on the fact that I simply enjoy people, and what they get at my shows is a feeling of inclusivity.

“I like to create that vibe through the storytelling, our mutual ability to relate to the lyric of a song while being moved by a great melody,” she adds. “The story is the key to everything. I’m there to honor those stories by emoting those lyrics, whether I’m doing a fun pop song or a standard. I think what sets me apart from most entertainers is my ability to make people feel welcome. Whether they see me in a tiny club or a large venue, it’s as if we are simply having an intimate conversation in my living room.”

Lisa Donahey - Commercial Music resume

COMMERCIAL MUSIC RESUME

Union Affiliation: SAG/AFTRA

Film, Television & Soundtracks:

  • Session Singer, Vacation, Composer James Sale
  • The Middle, On camera singer, ABC, Vocal Contractor: Jasper Randall
  • Harry's Law, Warner Bros, NBC, Music Producer: Vonda Shepard, Vox Contractor: Jasper Randall
  • Session Singer, Disney's Tangled, Disney, Composer: Alan Menken, Orchestrator: Kevin Kliesch, Vox Contractor: Jasper Randall
  • Session Singer, Our First Christmas (TV) Hallmark, On-camera vocalist & choir mistress
  • Where There's a Will (TV/DVD), Hallmark Channel Movie, Composer: Joe Kraemer
  • Dragonlance DVD, Paramount, Composer: Karl Preusser
  • Monday, Lead Vocalist, Composer: Joe Kraemer
  • Disney's: The Three Musketeers DVP DVD, Featured soloist
  • I am Stamos, Mighty Atom Productions, Direcor: Rob Meltzer, Composer: Karl Pruesser
  • The Hitcher 2, Soundtrack, Composer: Joe Kraemer
  • Way of the Gun, Soundtrack, Composer: Joe Kraemer
  • Cruel Intentions, Soundtrack, Composer: John Ottman 
  • Valentine's Day, source music, Composer: Lawrence Schragg
  • Circus Chimer, Composer: Tim Jones
  • The Last Princess, Original Soundtrack, Writers: Larry Johnson & Allen Hong
  • Simba's Pride, Walt Disney Television Animation
  • Buena Vista Television, Vocals, Roundabout Studio, Composer: Kevin Kleisch
  • Cyrano, Original Soundtrack
  • Dangerous Liasons, The Musical, Original Soundtrack
  • Berklee College of Music CD, Featured Vocalist
  • Weekend in Madison, Original Soundtrack
  • Citrus College Jazz Band CD, Featured Vocalist

Commercial Music / Voice Over:

  • Disney/KB Home, VO, Radio
  • "Rociero" soloist, US Equestrian Team, Comp: Karl Preusser
  • Pretty as a Princess Toys: Princess VO, Disney Consumer Products
  • Haunted Mansion Video Game: voiced 5 characters, Buena Vista Games
  • TBN Network ID, Sensory Overload Music, Composer: Bryan Miller
  • Texas Treasure, Sensory Overload Music, Composer: Bryan Miller
  • DirecTV-Sunday Ticket, Ad Music, Composer: Thomas Schobel
  • Barbie Super Sports, Ad Music, Composer: Thomas Schobel
  • Airwalk Shoes, Ad Music, Composer: David Kowal
  • Start Smart Promo, Voice Over, WGBN TV 2, Denver, CO
  • Allen Furniture, Composer: John Aldrich
  • Michaud & Raymond, Composer: John Aldrich
  • VBRO Radio Station ID, Boston, MA
  • Fantasy Photography, Composer: Greg Bieck
  • Technology for Independence, Voice Over
  • Creative Works, Various Projects, Quincy, MA
  • Voice sampling for Kawai

EDUCATION:

BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC, Boston, MA 4 year diploma in Professional Music, Graduated May 1994

  • Awarded Outstanding Performer, Spring 1994
  • Performed pop, rock, jazz, R & B, country, choral and musical theater

CITRUS COLLEGE, Glendora CA 3 year music program Citrus Singers, completed May 1991

  • Pop, Jazz, Classical, Dance, Session work, Live Performance, Music Theory

VOICE: 1985 to present

  • Los Angeles: Crystal Barron, Michael Skidgel, Seth Riggs, Ben Bollinger
  • Boston: Sharon Brown, April Arabian, Livingston Taylor, Bob Stoloff

THEATER / TOURS:

*Full Musical Theatre resume available upon request

  • Songs for a New World, Woman 2 (IVRT)
  • Rat Pack Revisited, female Lead (Fullerton CLO)
  • Beauty & the Beast, Mrs. Potts (Cabrillo)
  • Sin City Five: A Tribute to the Rat Pack, Female Lead (Candlelight Pavilion)
  • Side Show, Dolly Dimples (Colony, Los Angeles Premiere)
  • Honk!, Grace, Dot & Low Butt, Int'l Center Theatre)
  • Pump Boys & Dinettes, Prudie Cupp (Candlelight Pavilion)
  • Alvin & The Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Christmas, North American National Tour
  • 42nd Street, Maggie Jones (Candlelight Pavilion & Haugh Performing Arts Center)
  • Evita, Eva's Sister (Haugh PAC)
  • Singin' in the Rain, Dora Bailey (Candlelight Pavilion)
  • No, No Nanette, Pauline (Haugh PAC)
  • Classical: Scandinavia 1994, Switzerland, France, Spain & Germany 1989
  • Pop: The Hawaiian Islands 1990, 1991, 1992

SPECIAL SKILLS:

  • Professional Emcee/Host for Corporate Events
  • Dance - jazz & tap
  • Dialects: New York, Southern, Bostonian, Hispanic, Scottish, British, Cockney
  • Acting - Commercial Acting with Keli Daniels and Cyd Strittmatter, Tepper Gallegos, The Actor's Workout
  • Improv with the Groundlings (Level 2)
  • Impressions: Horn Impressionist

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