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18th Annual Mount Dora Music Festival - February 19-22, 2015

Mount Dora Music Festival
2014-2015 Season

Melissa Manchester

GRAMMY Award-winning artist Melissa Manchester is a compelling singer/songwriter celebrating four decades in the entertainment industry. She launched the smash hit single Midnight Blue in the mid-1970s, and along with co-writer Kenny Loggins penned the radio classic Whenever I Call You Friend. Her international hits Through The Eyes of Love and Don’t Cry Out Loud were written for her by her friend and frequent collaborator Carole Bayer Sager, and the late Marvin Hamlisch, and Peter Allen. Her songs have been recorded by such iconic artists as Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Alison Krauss, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis, and Kathy Mattea, among others.

Nominated for a GRAMMY® in 1978 and 1979, Melissa received the GRAMMY® Award in 1982 for Best Female Vocalist for You Should Hear How She Talks About You. In 1980, she became the first artist in the history of the Academy Awards to have two nominated movie themes in a given year, Through The Eyes Of Love and Promise. She went on to make Oscar history by performing both songs during the worldwide telecast. Melissa has received numerous awards including the Governor’s Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the New York Bistro Award for Outstanding Contributions to American Popular Music.

In the 1980s and 1990s Melissa combined her acting and singing talents in starring roles in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Song And Dance and Music Of The Night, in a recurring role in the hit television series Blossom, and a co-starring role with Bette Midler in the film For The Boys. She also composed the score for the musical I Sent A Letter To My Love, with book and lyrics by Jeffrey Sweet and the show debuted off-Broadway at Primary Stages. Melissa returned to the stage to co-star with Frasier star Kelsey Grammer in Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd at The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, and she recently starred in the Chicago premiere of HATS!, a new musical that contains several songs she co-wrote with Sharon Vaughn.  Melissa also composed music for Disney's The Great Mouse Detective, co-wrote the score for Lady and the Tramp II, and released her sixteenth CD, When I Look Down That Road, all the while celebrating four decades of performing with appearances throughout the United States.

In 2010, Melissa co-created and starred in the five-time Ovation Award nominated ballroom dance spectacular Fascinating Rhythms at the Rubicon Theatre, and her song I Know Who I Am, co-written with Joanna Cotton and Greg Barnhill, was recorded by Leona Lewis for the Tyler Perry feature film For Colored Girls. In 2012, nine of Melissa’s songs were highlighted in the Weinstein Company’s feature film Dirty Girl, including the original theme song Rainbird, which Melissa recorded and co-wrote with the movie’s star, Mary Steenburgen. The year also brought the release of a new Sony Legacy CD titled Playlist: The Very Best of Melissa Manchester, featuring two previously unreleased masters. In 2013, Melissa announced that she was recording her 20th studio album tentatively titledYou Gotta Love the Life. She subsequently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to independently release the album, which will feature performances by Keb Mo, Joe Sample, and Dave Koz in addition to a duet with Dionne Warwick, as well as a duet with Al Jarreau called Big Light Melissa.

Born in New York, Melissa graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts where she studied acting. She entered New York University and enrolled in a songwriting class taught by Paul Simon. Working as a staff writer at Chappell Music, she also performed as a solo singer/pianist in Greenwich Village night clubs. While working in the New York jingle singing circuit, she met Barry Manilow, who introduced her to Bette Midler and Melissa became a founding member of the Harlettes, the infamous girl group behind Midler. Melissa fulfilled her childhood fantasy of playing Carnegie Hall. Six months later, she had a recording contract, and went on to headline at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, and has since performed for sold-out audiences across the country and beyond. 

Melissa Manchester

Friday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Mount Dora Community Center
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