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Kim Criswell

IF YOU GO

¦ What: Kim Criswell, accompanied by Kevin Farrell, in concert.

¦ When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

¦ Where: Ochs Memorial Temple, 923 McCallie Ave.

¦ Admission: $15 general admission; $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000 patron tickets (includes champagne dessert reception following concert).

¦ Phone: 423-267-9771.

¦ Website: www.mizpahcongregation.org.

Chattanooga native Kim Criswell will receive an award when she visits the city next week, but she also has a gift in return. The international musical theater star will perform an evening of cabaret on Tuesday, April 29, to benefit Mizpah Congregation, Ochs Memorial Temple.

Her longtime friend and accompanist Kevin Farrell will join her from New York City.

Now a resident of London, Criswell dreamed of a career on the Broadway stage from a young age, according to event organizers. Her parents, the late Carol and Herb Criswell of Hixson and later Signal Mountain, recognized her talents early and gave her singing, acting and dancing lessons. Criswell performed in local productions throughout Chattanooga and at Six Flags Over Georgia.

In a news release, Hixson High School classmate Pam Ladd says, "Even at Hixson, we knew Kim was headed for the big time. Her talent was immense."

Criswell went to the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, graduating with a degree in musical theater. Then it was on to New York City.

Broadway audiences will remember her from the original casts of "Nine," "Baby," "The First," "Stardust" and "The Threepenny Opera," co-starring with Sting. In Los Angeles, she starred as Grizabella in the original production of "Cats," among other roles.

London's West End audiences have seen her in the title role of "Annie Get Your Gun," "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens," "Dames at Sea" and "The Slow Drag." She won a Helen Hayes Award for "Side by Side by Sondheim" at the Olney Theatre and was nominated for an Olivier Award for her portrayal of Annie Oakley. She also has appeared in two British TV miniseries as well as several films.

She has made more than 25 recordings, including solo albums celebrating the music of Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein, as well as original and studio cast albums for various Broadway projects.

Criswell will be celebrated earlier that day as Tennessee's Woman of Distinction at a luncheon sponsored by the American Lung Association. Tickets for that are $75 and are available by calling 423-629-1098.

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