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CRAIG JESSUP IN CONCERT

By Iride Aparicio

 Photos courtesy of Jessup

Actor/singer/songwriter  CRAIG JESSUP

MILL VALLEY, CALove will be the theme of  CRAIG JESSUP new concert where the famous actor, pianist, singer and songwriter, will return to the stage to sing songs that describe in their lyrics the different facets of love.  To learn more about his concert, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL interviewed CRAIG to ask him some questions about his show, appropriately called “THE GLORY OF LOVE.”

C.W.B.  What can you tell our readers about  “THE GLORY OF LOVE?

C.J: “My concert Will take place on September 19 at the Throckmorton Theater (142 Throckmorton Ave in Mill Valley, California, Marin County. Phone (415) 383 9600) The theatre where on “Comedy Night” the late ROBIN WILLIAMS performed many times. It is a beautiful theater and I am very excited to present my show there.”

“Its name is “THE GLORY OF LOVE” and it is the story about love: looking for love, finding it, losing love, and finding it again.  It is all done through songs from the “Great American Song Book” which includes GERSWIN, RODGERS & HART, and composers like that from the twenties, thirties, and forties, with some added dialogue. I perform two of the songs I have written, in the middle, and I play the piano by myself. Otherwise the music will be played by my pianist. KEN MUIR. The show is like a story told in songs, and it is about love, but also about falling out of love”
He remains  thoughtful for a few seconds and then adds: “But at the end, the story has a happy ending.” He laughs.

C.W.B.  Why did you call your concert   “THE GLORY OF LOVE?”

C.J: “I took the title for the song of the same name. that goes:
                            “You ‘got to give a little,
                              Take a little
                              And let your poor heart brake a little.
                              That’s the story, that’s the glory of love.”

Craig continues singing the song, that I believe was written by BILLY HILL, a name used by four performers: KIRK WALL a Bango player, MARIO  HIDALGO, a fiddle player, DENNIS FELCHET, another fiddle player and JOHN MARSHALL who was the founder of the group and played the bass. The men were members of the group called the HILLBILLIES, but each one of them used the name BILL HILL as their stage name. They played Blue Grass Country music and performed in Disneyland from l992-l994.  

C. W.B:  How often do you give concerts?

C.J:” I perform quite a lot, but this concert is very special to me because I  
specifically chose these songs for this night. I do shows all over the Bay Area. I also perform at Rossmoore, which is a Community for retired people, and also  at  Senior Centers because the people at those places love my music because I sing the songs that they can understand. But I also do shows for everybody, and that is what I am doing on my concert on the 19th. People are coming from all the Bay Area to see this show that is specifically designed for all ages. 

C.W.B.  You are also an actor.  Do you still act?

C.J: Yes, I am a professional actor so I perform in musicals and I do straight plays too. I have done musicals for Broadway By The Bay (A musical theatre now in Redwood City) and I perform a lot with 42nd Street Moon  (a theatre in S.F.) I kind of do a lot of different things”                                                                                           

On the left is a photo of Craig the actor, playing the role of Pharaoh in the 2005 Broadway By the Bay’s  Production of  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”(On the left is a photo of Craig the actor, playing the role of Pharaoh in the 2005 Broadway By the Bay’s  Production of  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”)

C.W.B. You also compose music. Don't you?

C.J:” Yes. I have a CD named VINTAGE POINT with twelve of my own songs which is sold in iTunes and CD Baby (the online record store) I do many different things.”  

Born in Oregon, but raised in the San Joaquin Valley in California, Craig tell us that his father was a Minister, so he became acquainted with music in the church. He was raised with old Hymns, and sang in the choir when he was young, which is not unusual for performers. Before he began High School his family moved to San Francisco where attending Jr. High School Craig was first introduced to musicals, in shows like "Oklahoma" and "The Music Man" and to the Music of ROGERS & HAMMERSTEIN in shows like "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music". After that, Craig became interested in musical theatre.

“When I was in High School I performed in my first musical, which was "Oliver,” says Craig "where I played the Artful Dodger and my younger brother played Oliver. My sister played a role too, so practically my whole family was in it. Those were the first times I began my interest in theater.”

Later on, and for about twenty years, as a professional singer/actor Craig performed with RUTH HASTINGS, his former wife, with whom he put together a night club cabaret act, Together, they performed all over the United States and parts of Europe.

“We did songs from the theater but also Jacques Brel is alive and Living in Paris,  that we performed for years in San Francisco and in many other cities.”  He adds.

CRAIG JESSUP
CRAIG JESSUP

As an artist, CRAIG JESSUP, who has a mellow timbre of voice and lots of feeling in the interpretation of his songs, is professional in every respect. He began studying  piano when he was six years old and continued his studies though high school. He began singing professionally, after graduating from high school. After that, he returned to Oregon where he earned a degree in speech and theatre from Oregon State, and spent a year at Carnegie Mellon University in New York, where he also studied acting. Since then, his professional career as   a singer, pianist and songwriter had been sucessful.

C.W.B.  You have had been successful all your life, so now what are your plans for the future?

C.J:  “My main goal is just keep going. Keep being professional, keep challenging myself to do new things. Keep learning new things. When you have chosen a life in theatre and music you have to be tenacious, you have to continue making yourself better every day, keeping your interests alive, and above all, Keep going.”

Highlights of Craig Jessup singing may be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Jke_ah7D4