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FEATURE:

August 16, 2016

Caissie Levy on joining Rod's band

Exclusive-SMILER welcomes Caissie to the world of Rod fans

posted by Mike Walton



A week after graduating from AMDA Caissie made a name for herself by playing the role of Maureen Johnson in the U.S. national tour of Rent, She then played the role of Penny Pingleton in both the Broadway and U.S. national tour companies of Hairspray after understudying the role in the Toronto company. During this time, she also covered the role of Amber Von Tussle.

In 2008, Caissie starred as Elphaba in the Los Angeles sit-down production of Wicked. She had previously understudied the role on Broadway and briefly served as standby in Los Angeles. Her first performance took place on January 1, 2008, replacing Eden Espinosa.

Caissie recently starred as Sheila in the Broadway revival of Hair, in March 2009 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. She left the Broadway cast in March 2010, to open the West End revival which began performances in April 2010 at the Gielgud Theatre.

In 2011 Caissie originated the role of Molly Jensen in Ghost the Musical, which opened at Manchester Opera House in March for a seven-week run before transferring to London's West End at The Piccadilly Theatre from June 24, 2011.she departed the West End production in January 2012, and later opened the Broadway production reprising her role as Molly Jensen along with Richard Fleeshman, her co-star in the West End production as Sam Wheat. The Broadway production began in March 2012 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

She can be heard on the cast recording for Hair and Ghost the Musical as well as singing, "Please Don't Let Me Go" on the re-release of composer Scott Alan's album Keys. Caissie can also be heard singing "Dear Daddy" on composer Bobby Cronin's album and "I Am Yours" on composer Jonathan Reid Gealt's album Thirteen Stories Down. All of them are available on iTunes.

In January 2013 she released an EP and promoted the release through a concert alongside her husband, David, at Galapagos Art Centre, New York followed by two dates at the London Hippodrome Casino.

Caissie starred as Sara in the acclaimed Manhattan Theatre production of Murder Ballad, a musical by Trip Cullman. In May 2013 at the off-Broadway Union Square Theatre and was later cast as Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables, which opened at the Imperial Theatre in March 2014.

Mike Walton interviewed Caissie just after she had done her first couple of shows as the new member of Rod's band..


SMILER- First of all welcome to the world of Rod's fans, A few of our American members who have seen the first couple of Vegas shows are saying how well you have already fitted in, what have the first few shows been like for you?


CAISSIE-That's lovely to hear, thanks so much! I've been having a blast. The band is fantastic and Rod is just incredible so it's been wonderful so far.

SMILER- As you said you have joined a fantastic band, did you know any of them before you joined?


CAISSIE- A couple of the musicians have subbed in Broadway shows so we have some friends in common. But mostly everyone was new to me, except for my dear old friend Bridget.

SMILER- So was it Bridget who got you to audition for the band?


CAISSIE- Yes it was! Bridget contacted me about this gig in the first place. Bridget and I played opposite each other in the national tour of the musical RENT over a decade ago. She's my girl and it's been great being onstage with her and singing with her again she called me up and the rest is history.

SMILER- How did you find out you had got the job?

CAISSIE- Chuck Kentis called and emailed to let me know they wanted me to join the band in Vegas.

SMILER- Not only are you a very talented singer with a new job but also a 'Yummy Mummy' with a new baby son, how are you fitting everything in?

CAISSIE- Why, thank you! I'll take "yummy mummy" any day! it's definitely been a whirlwind uprooting my son to Vegas for a month, being away from my husband, bringing a nanny etc. And it was very difficult to leave him in NYC when I rehearsed in LA. But we are figuring things out as we go and life is so much better with him in my life so it all feels like a great adventure!

SMILER- Most people will know you for your work on the stage, you have a very impressive CV, what has been your personal highlight so far?

CAISSIE-I've been so fortunate in my career that it's very hard to choose one highlight. Some of the great moments have been working with Dave Stewart on the musical Ghost both on Broadway and the West End, singing on the Tony Awards twice with Ghost and Hair, presenting at the Oliver awards, and making music with incredible talents all over the world.

SMILER- What music did you listen to growing up in Canada?

CAISSIE- Growing up I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen. I was also really into Radiohead, REM, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. And then Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, D'Angelo, the list goes on. I'm a huge music nerd, I could ramble on lists for ages.

SMILER- Had you heard much of Rod's music before you joined the band?

CAISSIE-I had, but not all of his catalogue. I have become a total fan not just of his music but of him - his rapport with his audience, his warmth as a person, and his insanely kickass voice. He's such an amazing showman and so generous to the crowd.

SMILER- Were you looking forward to singing on any particular songs in the set and now you have played a few shows what are your favourite songs now?

CAISSIE- I love Forever Young. Such an awesome arrangement. I also love his version of Rather Go Blind. I think my favorite to perform is Can't Stop Me Now cause of the fun choreography and the great story behind the song.

SMILER- What do you think of the Rod fans you have seen so far ?

CAISSIE- They seem lovely! There's so much great energy coming off them in the front rows! They seem very devoted to him.

SMILER- Have you met Vicky the 'Mad Hatter' yet ...I believe Rod got her up on stage at one show, you will no doubt receive your hat very soon!

CAISSIE- I saw her onstage! Haven't met her in person yet.

SMILER- Will you be playing the UK dates?

CAISSIE- That remains to be seen. I have concert and acting commitments back in New York, and the baby and my husband's career to align with, but fingers crossed I can make the scheduling work. I'd love to get back to the UK again after having lived and worked in London from 2010-2012.

SMILER -The UK crowd is very different than the US crowd great in different ways, but if you do come you will still love them, would you like to play to the UK crowd?

CAISSIE- Totally. I love the Brits! I'm attuned to the different energies of audiences on both sides of the pond and I welcome it.

SMILER - Your husband David is a singer/writer was he impressed that you are now in Rod's band or is it not his taste in music?

CAISSIE- He was SO impressed. He saw the show last week and was blown away by Rod and the musicianship in the band, and by the joyfulness of the entire experience. Rod is a legend and both David and I are absolutely thrilled and honored that I get to back him up.

SMILER-Thank you for taking time out to speak to us, we hope you have an amazing time as part of The Rod Stewart band and we hope we get to see you in the UK.

CAISSIE- My pleasure, Thank YOU!

For more information on Caissie go to http://www.caissielevy.com/
Photos by Melisa James Askew
Montage by Tommy Kevitt
Caissie was interviewed on August 15th by Mike Walton


© 2019 SMILER Magazine



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