Karen Mason

Karen Mason is an American theatre actress and singer. She has appeared on stage in Broadway theatre, notably as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, and is a multiple award-winning cabaret performer

Karen Mason
OccupationActress and singer
Websitehttp://www.karenmason.com karenmason.com


Mason was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and grew up in St. Louis and Chicago. She majored in theater at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, graduating in 1999.[1] Mason started as a "singing hostess at Lawrence of Oregano in Chicago" in 1976 after leaving college, where she met the late pianist and composer Brian Lasser, with whom she worked until his death in 1992.[2][3]

Mason has performed in cabaret and with symphonies for many years.[4] She was one of the featured cabaret vocalists at Duplex Cabaret Theatre, New York City, in the early 1980s, and in 2005 presented a program "Better Days" with songs by her late musical director Brian Lasser.[5] She has appeared at the Bay Area Cabaret, Empire Ballroom, San Francisco in 2010.[6] She continues to perform her cabaret act at such venues as Davenport's in Chicago in 2011[7] and The Iridium (New York City) in 2011.[8]

She taught at the Theatre Arts Center's Summer Workshops & Camp in Bayside, Queens, New York in 2010.[9]

She first appeared on Broadway in Play Me a Country Song in 1982.[10] She took the role of standby to Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard in the Los Angeles production in 1993, and went on to play almost 300 performances over two years both in Los Angeles and on Broadway.[2][11] She originated the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia!, playing the role from October 5, 2001 to October 6, 2002.[12] She took over the role of Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray on April 6, 2008.[13] She was the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland in 2011 on Broadway and in the Tampa and Houston productions in 2009–2010.[4][14] Mason appears in the US tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical! starting in November 2011.[15]

In 2011, Mason was scheduled to play Mrs. Danvers in the musical Rebecca on Broadway.[16]

In 2017, Mason used a song to call for marriage equality.[17]

Mason appeared on tour in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies as Madame Giry. The tour ended on December 2, 2018.



Off Broadway


Touring Production


Mason has recorded 6 solo albums, including Right Here, Right Now.[4] She appears on the cast recordings of And the World Goes 'Round[26] and Wonderland.[27]

Personal lifeEdit

Mason is married to Paul Rolnick, a producer and composer.[28]


Mason has received 10 MAC Awards, including the 2004 MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist, and three Bistro Awards.[4]


  1. ^ Horwitz, Simi. Karen Mason Shakes Her Booty in 'Wonderland', Backstage.com, April 20, 2011
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Reed.Broadway Singer Gets Intimate; Karen Mason Had Big Supporting Cast In Sunset Boulevard, But She's Equally Adept Standing Alone In Her Cabaret Act. Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) (freelibrary), January 2, 1998
  3. ^ O'Malley, Kathy. Flying Solo Toward Stardom, Chicagotribune.com, December 22, 1994
  4. ^ a b c d Karen Mason masterworksbroadway.com
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew Mamma Mia!'s Karen Mason Revisits "Better Days" June 13 at the Duplex playbill.com, June 9, 2005
  6. ^ Drake Hotel, Broadwayworld.com
  7. ^ Karen Mason - Comes To Chicago Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine chicago3media.com, January 24, 2011
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew. Karen Mason Offers Show Queen: Life After Wonderland July 19 in Manhattan, Playbill.com, July 19, 2011
  9. ^ Karen Mason Joins Staff At Theatre Arts Center in Bayside Theatre Arts Center, Broadwayworld.com
  10. ^ Rich, Frank. THEATER: 'Play Me A Country Song', The New York Times, June 28, 1982
  11. ^ Marks, Peter. Glenn Close's 'Sunset' Standby Is Ready for Her Close-Up, The New York Times, March 5, 1995
  12. ^ Ehren, Christine and Robert Simonson. Take a Chance on Them: Mamma Mia! Opens Oct. 18, Playbill.com, October 18, 2001
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Andrew Gans. Bow and Exalt: Karen Mason is Hairspray's Next Velma Von Tussle, Playbill.com, March 28, 2008
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore; Broadway's Wonderland to Close May 15 Archived 2012-07-13 at Archive.today, Playbill.com, May 10, 2011
  15. ^ Hetrick, Adam. Karen Mason and Adam Pelty Complete Cast of A Christmas Story, The Musical!" Playbill.com, October 12, 2011
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Karen Mason Is Mrs. Danvers, Tam Mutu Is Maxim de Winter in Broadway's Rebecca; Principals Announced, Playbill.com, December 1, 2011
  17. ^ https://huffingtonpost.com/entry/karen-mason-its-about-time_us_590cd0c9e4b0104c734ee670?section=us_queer-voices
  18. ^ Karen Mason Broadway ibdb.com, accessed December 24, 2011
  19. ^ a b McGibbon, Andrew. Chat Live With Diva Karen Mason Mar. 9, Playbill.com, March 9, 1998
  20. ^ Holden, Stephen. Pop: Karen Mason, Singer, The New York Times, May 22, 1986
  21. ^ Rich, Frank. Review/Theater; All the Best of Kander and Ebb, The New York Times, March 19, 1991
  22. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Theater in Review", The New York Times, April 14, 1993
  23. ^ Holden, Stephen. Review/Theater; Taking Stock in Song of a Marriage Gone Sour, The New York Times, August 9, 1993
  24. ^ Gans, Andrew. Curtain Up, Light the Lights: Karen Mason Stars in Gypsy, May 31-Aug. 4, Playbill.com, May 31, 2007
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew. Casting Complete for Muny Gypsy with Karen Mason", Playbill.com, July 11, 2006
  26. ^ And The World Goes 'Round: The Songs Of Kander & Ebb 1991 Original Broadway Cast, Masterworks Broadway, 1991-11-26, retrieved 2017-12-18
  27. ^ Wonderland, Broadwayworld.com, March 29, 2010
  28. ^ McBride, Murdoch.Paul Rolnick Added to Roster at Arci's Place Cabaret Benefit, Jan. 29 playbill.com, January 26, 2001

External linksEdit