LONDON Premiere of THE PASS
“Denise Marsa is one of a kind. She’s a force of nature, a life-affirming singer, an overwhelmingly positive presence. Fuelled by her passion, she walks on stage with total confidence. Completely at ease in the spotlight, she delivers The Pass, her own story put in music. The songs are the real soul of the show, although tunes are at times reminiscent of Disney movies and the lyrics sound like simplified versions of Rent’s. The storytelling is simple, but effective. Songs simply flow out of Marsa’s life, as much as her life can be traced back and pinned down in songs – they are one and the same thing. “How can you love me if you’re not loving me?”, she sings. Under the veil of glitter and naivety there are some beautifully deep gems to take home. One just feels sorry not to know the lyrics, as the temptation to sing along is quite strong. Nevertheless, this is a solo show with no arrogance. Marsa teaches us that ‘The Pass’ to success is actually believing in yourself and keeping positive, no matter what. Stay grateful and stay genuine, and the rest will follow. ” read full review by – Anna Zanetti
“It’s all about, as the programme tells the audience, ‘songs and vignettes’, and as all the material is Marsa’s own, it all fits like a glove. A few still images are projected at the appropriate moments, saving the time and effort involved in laborious descriptions. The first half seemed, at least to me, to be skilled and tuneful enough but more than a tad reserved, though patience is rewarded after the interval as the best stories are saved for last.
But whatever your level of familiarity with Marsa, her life and her career, it’s good to be reminded of the importance of keeping everything in perspective. A nuanced and fascinating show.” read full review by – Chris Omaweng
CM: So it’s based on your own life, and is therefore factual, but do any particular themes emerge from the telling of it?
DM: Yes, as I work on it I realise there are many themes and defining moments. Strength. Artistic survival. Not giving up. Timing. Being resourceful. Being yourself. Doing it for yourself. Grabbing Opportunities. Courage. Being a strong woman and not backing down because in your head and heart you know what is best for you. Doing your art as you see it and feel it (especially when I first got started, I was producing myself and there was push back). Not being forced subtle or otherwise, to do what makes you uncomfortable. Also, on a personal level, the challenges and struggles between being who you are and keeping your identity, while in a very close long-term, intimate, committed relationship. Caro Moses This Week London
EDITOR’S PICK: THIS WEEK LONDON
You’re bringing The Pass to The Playground Theatre what can you tell us about it?
It’s many of my life’s defining moments, through vignettes and songs. Decades of my original music and stories about my life, in the music business, PR and working in various cities like London, New York City and Los Angeles. It expands on my growth as a woman, artist, songwriter, entrepreneur, publicist, mentor and my struggles with relationships and being alone. – Greg Stewart
That was 2014, and when I tried it again in 2016, I began to think maybe it would be an interesting concept for me to tell longer stories as well as sing my songs. It would give people an idea of my background, what it’s like to be a songwriter, what it’s like to be in the music business and a woman, to share something of my journeys. – Nick Awde
What was the spark to put together the vignettes and songs in The Pass that relate to your life as a singer and songwriter?
After not performing for a while, I decided to book a few performances in the States. Some of our libraries here put on these really nice intimate Sunday concerts, and some also function as museums with a special room for art or exhibits – some even have pianos.
One was a library-museum in Springfield, New Jersey. It was such a lovely environment that I suddenly decided to make the show a Q&A. After each song, people asked about me and the song and said what they thought, what they felt, just off the cuff, and they really enjoyed it.