Not to worry, all you Broadway fans. Caissie Levy isn’t going to leave you out in the cold when she makes her debut with the Ocean City Pops 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14, on the Ocean City Music Pier.
Levy, who originated the role of Elsa in the Broadway production of the Disney musical “Frozen,” and is still with the show, is quick to note that she will perform “a little touch” of the play’s songs during her Pops concert.
But she won’t perform it in Elsa’s costume. After her little tip of the cap to “Frozen,” she and the musicians will move right into another tune synonymous with the theater, but probably not from “Frozen.”
“They’ll be from other Broadway shows I’ve done, like ‘Les Miz’’ and a few others that I’ll be keeping under my hat for now,” Levy, whose first name is pronounced “Casey,” says. “There’ll be some standards that people know and love, some Gershwin tunes, stuff like that. Just beautiful, easy summer music.”
The night before her show, Levy will join rock ‘n’ roll legend Chubby Checker and actress Kate Flannery, who starred in the NBC series “The Office,” to participate in Ocean City’s 65th annual “Night in Venice” boat parade.
Ever since the deal was made, Levy says she’s been working closely with the artistic team at the Ocean City Pops, whom the 38-year-old Canadian native described as “incredible.”
The two sides have been trading ideas back and forth, she adds, as they try to produce a well-rounded show that appeals to a broad demographic.
“I’m trying to create a program that will be appealing to all ages,” she explains. “It’s for people who are fans of Broadway, and people who may not know some of the Broadway shows that they’re going to hear music from. I just want to keep it light and airy and fun and family-friendly. (The Pops) has been incredible to collaborate with and we’ve come up with a really dynamic program that will showcase me and also showcase their incredible orchestra.”
Despite a very impressive resume, Levy never considered herself a “Broadway baby,” probably because she never saw a Broadway show until she was a teenager.
Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, she says she has loved to sing “since I was a teeny baby.” Acting seemed to fall in step with singing, so she began doing community theater as a kid.
“But I was never like a child actor professionally or anything like that,” she says. “I just loved to be on the stage. I was a little bit shy in real life, but on stage I felt like I could sort of be somebody else for a minute, and it was so freeing.”
She never really thought about performing on Broadway until she was 14 and her parents took her to New York City. After that one trip to the city, Levy was determined to make it onto a Broadway stage.
“I was just totally taken with this way of life and the idea of live theater and the magic that happens in the theater just once,” she says. “Then it’s totally different the next day with a different audience. And I just never really looked back. (The theater) is now like home to me.”
Despite having starred on Broadway, Levy still kept her career options open. Three years ago, Levy landed a long-term gig which was about as un-theater as you can get.
She was hired as a backup singer to rocker Rod Stewart during his residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. “When I had this opportunity, I just looked at it as a chance to learn something and kind of take a step sideways,” she says. “I brought in my skill set and had some fun doing it, and I was so happy I did it.”
Levy’s been in the theater long enough to know she won’t play Elsa forever. Eventually, one way or another, the role she brought to life on Broadway when she and “Frozen” debuted at the St. James Theatre in March 2018 will end.
“I’m always looking for ways to be creative, to challenge myself, to collaborate with people I admire,” she says. “That’s actually the reason I am singing more with symphonies, and doing my solo show in concert. I’m doing lots of theaters with just my music director on piano and guitar. At the heart of everything, I’m a singer, I’m a musician, and I just love to get on stage and sing some great tunes and meet the people that buy my albums and come see my shows on Broadway. So (the solo concerts have) become an exciting addition to my stage career. I get to do things like perform with the Ocean City Pops, and then work privately in clubs and stuff with my cabaret show. I’m always looking ahead and at the same time trying to appreciate what I’m doing now. ‘Frozen’ was such an amazing gift to me. Getting to play Elsa and create the role for Broadway was such an honor that I don’t want to wish it away too fast.”