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Sweeney Todd

Carolee Carmello, who plays Sweeney's entrepreneurial accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, possesses a sterling dramatic singing voice and a keen knack for character-driven comedy. As the lovesick proprietor of a failing meat pie shop that gets a sudden (and symbolic) surge in business once Mr. Todd starts providing her with a special secret ingredient, Carmello draws you in with her character's absurd self-effacing humor and breaks your heart when she reveals Mrs. Lovett's desperate loneliness. With Mr. Lewis's Todd, their realistic performances are perfectly suited to the production's intimate environment, and I daresay it's unlikely you'll find a better singing and acting pair playing these two demanding roles.


Carmello is a revelation as Mrs. Lovett, unlocking the comic potential in one terrifyingly determined character. As Lewis sings "My Friends," Sweeney's ode to his razors, Carmello interjects, "I'm your friend too, Mr. Todd," while feeling for the powerful deltoids he built during those years of hard labor in Australia. She sings "A Little Priest" with an expression of amused disbelief, like she's surprised by her own wicked ingenuity. Carmello's every expression and lyrical interpretation illuminate the score while keeping us in hysterics.



"A soaring anthem gives Carmello, an outstanding dramatic singer, a moment to thrill with her vocals." - Michael Dale



"Also, perhaps best of all, the mother of the bewitched — or is it hexed? — family is portrayed by the spellbinding Carolee Carmello ("Finding Neverland"), whose copper-shaded voice is one of the truly magical things in New York theater." - Linda Winer



"Ms. Carmello sings with her usual pure, clarion tone, and has a nice maternal rapport with Ms. Lewis. She and Mr. Park also movingly indicate their love for their sons and the pain of the strange predicament that forces them to separate from the boys for long periods." - Charles Isherwood



"Mom Mae Tuck (Carolee Carmello) provides maternal warmth and a golden soprano, especially in the lilting "My Most Beautiful Day."" - Frank Rizzo



"Ms. Carmello, a gloriously gifted singer actress ... thrills us with the purity and power of her voice. She leads ... with bright-beaming intensity ... and with plenty of emotional heat."



"... we have a reason to give thanks, and that is Carolee Carmello. One of our most deeply wonderful, inexplicably underutilized singing actors, Carmello finally gets a giant vehicle that needs her massive talents ... Her voice has the shading and shine of buffed metal - copper and piercing one moment, pewter and mellow the next."


"Carmello is performing miracles, only hers are onstage at the Neil Simon Theatre... delivering one of the season's must-see performances. When Carmello sings, there's magic in the theater .... there is absolutely no doubt that Carmello is a Broadway superhero."


"Carolee Carmello gives a charismatic performance in the lead, belting out her numbers like a one-woman church choir."


"CARMELLO turns her solo into a highlight."



"Only CAROLEE CARMELLO, as the perky Midwestern mom, who speaks in greeting-card couplets, manages to make an impression equal to Addam's characters..."


"Carmello, as the flighty potential mother-in-law, has a few moments of delightful giddiness delivering her lines in rhyming, greeting-card cheerfulness."


"Broadway stars Carolee Carmello and Terrence Mann are good enough to make the Beinekes add to the overall hilarity — she as the compulsive rhymer Alice whose name prompts one of Brickman's and Elice's funniest referential laugh lines..."



"....CAROLEE CARMELLO almost steals the show....and she is brilliant in it."


Perhaps most dazzling is Carolee Carmello as Beineke matriarch Alice, who cracks her character’s conservative façade in unapologetic Broadway-diva style with her rafter-shredding first-act solo “Waiting,” inspired by drinking a vial of, um, Acrimonium that Pugsley intends to use to return Wednesday to the dark side.

By Matthew Murray


"Carolee Carmello projects so much warmth and friendliness that one might think her unable to pull off Lilli, but she does, providing a delightful performance. Looking better than ever, she’s authoritative in the broad comedy of “I Hate Men,” and, singing almost all of the music in that wonderfully rangy belt, supplies some exciting tones in “So in Love.” Above all, it’s a pleasure to see the confidence with which she carries off a traditional musical comedy part."

By Ken Mandelbaum


"Chief among its assets is the astonishing Carolee Carmello, who recently nabbed a Tony nom for her starring role in the now shuttered Parade. Here she plays Ella Peterson, a.k.a. Melisande Scott, an overly helpful answering-service operator ridiculously in love with lazy would-be playwright Jeff Moss (Stephen Bogardus).

Carmello not only makes us root for this unlikely pairing, she also convinces us of her character's ability to transform lives, including that of a dentist and actor.

One of those force-of-nature performers, Carmello is equal parts Lucille Ball and Ethel Merman in this production. In songs like "It's a Perfect Relationship," "Is It a Crime?" and the showstopping "I'm Going Back," she winningly conveys utter conviction and the warmest of hearts. Her flexible voice, ideal for tuners, only furthers our joy."

By David Mermelstein


"Carolee Carmello, fresh from her Tony Award nomination for last season's ill-fated Parade, brings the same virtues to her Marguerite: acute psychology, sizzling passion and a voice that can belt with the best. Mr. Wildhorn's style for her songs veers between Streisand and Piaf. Ms. Carmello encompasses both extremes and remains her own woman."

By Lawson Taitte


"Carolee Carmello, the unforgettable Lucille Frank of Broadway's recent Parade, again finds an outlet for her tremulous, character-rich singing and strong actor's instincts in the pivotal role of Marguerite, torn between hero and villain. She brings unexpected emotional colors -- womanly in her passion, wounded at Percy's neglect, furious at Chauvelin's betrayals, urgent in her efforts to rescue her captive brother."

By Everett Evans


"Ms. Carmello, a first-rate interpreter of the new school of cerebral musicals (Hello Again, Parade), gives her heart and soul to every song she sings."

By Ben Brantley


"With the exception of Carolee Carmello, who gives a stirringly heartfelt performance as Leo's wife, Lucille......

The shy Lucille is clearly tortured by the public scrutiny of herself and her husband, but she also never seems to wonder if her husband might indeed be guilty.

Ms. Carmello nonetheless creates a vital and affecting portrait of a sheltered woman thrust out into a harsh and dangerous world. Made up and dressed to look a bit like Eleanor Roosevelt (the period-appropriate costumes are by Judith Dolan), the actress' very accent and vocal inflections bespeak both a heritage of Southern Jewish gentility and a fluttery primness that never quite conceals a yearning for a more fully lived life.

The second act is mostly hers, as Lucille convinces Georgia's governor, John Slaton (John Hickok), to reopen her husband's case. Though much of what follows has the feeling of a historical detective story, there is something infinitely touching about the valiant hope that Ms. Carmello projects. In her climactic love duet, during a conjugal visit to Leo in prison just before his abduction and murder by a mob symbolically commanded by a Confederate Civil War veteran, you suddenly feel you've been given emotional entry to a show that has determinedly kept you outside of it."

By Ben Brantley


"On this large canvas, "Parade" zooms in on the odd, fragile and ultimately very moving relationship of Lucille and Leo Frank, perfectly played by Carolee Carmello and Brent Carver. Crucially, they are not conceived as Jewish martyrs. Carmello and Carver create rich and fascinating portraits of people with complex motivations. Carver's Leo is a cold fish, obsessive, neurotic and sarcastic, the kind of man who might conceivably have committed a terrible crime. Adding to the interest in their relationship is the fact that it is only after he is imprisoned that Carmello's Lucille is able to blossom. The events that undo him prove to be the making of her. When Leo and Lucille's marriage becomes, in the end, a love story, it is much more moving for being so unlikely."

By Fintan O'Toole


"The performances of stars Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello are valiant, vocally and dramatically, and the staging is marked by Princely intelligence and economy.

... Carmello's vibrant vocalizing and warm presence flesh out the simple contours of her part, but some of the villains have as much stage time as she does, making it difficult to create a fully rounded portrait."

By Charles Isherwood


"Parade has a fine supporting cast, but the musical is anchored by its two leading performers -- Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello. ... Carmello possesses a rich, dramatic voice and tremulous smile that is immediately ingratiating. In Parade, she triumphs, creating a vulnerable character whose strength in supporting her husband never wavers."

By Michael Kuchwara


"He is matched every step of the way by the Lucille of Carolee Carmello. She plays a modern-day Joan of Arc without a scintilla of false - or even inapposite real - glamour, and infuses seeming ordinariness with enough lambent faith and dauntless determination to move a good-size mountain, if not budge human stupidity."

By John Simon