Curtis Bannister, Tenor
Described by TimeOut Chicago Magazine as “radiating with slowly simmering energy” for his performance as Man 1 in Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World, Curtis Bannister has been praised in the operatic and musical theatre repertoire for his finely-tuned artistry and dramatic portrayals. Of his debut performances as Otello, the Salt Lake City Tribune and The Herald Journal, respectfully, praised his “dramatic inflection and compelling energy” as well as his “thrilling tenor voice and a towering stage presence.”
In the 2017/18 season, Curtis joined the cast and is a current co-star on CHICAGO FIRE on NBC as Reimers. Additionally, Curtis debuted with Kokandy Productions as John Paul in Michael LaChiusa's LITTLE FISH, and debuted a new musical, THE CIVILITY OF ALBERT CASHIER, with Permoveo Productions. He returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago to perform the role of Set in THE SCORPION'S STING for Lyric Unlimited, debuted with BoHo Theatre as Jean in MARIE CHRISTINE, debuted with the Marriott Theatre as Matthew Henson (u/s) in RAGTIME!: THE MUSICAL, and performed in recital with both the CHERRY HILL CONCERT SERIES and CLAYTON PIANO FESTIVAL in North Carolina.
Remaining 2017/2018 theatre appearances include a benefit concert with the Chicago cast of “Hamilton” for AKVAVIT THEATRE featuring selections from the musical, “Chess”, and two concerts as a soloist in Porchlight Music Theatre’s NEW FACES SING BROADWAY (1959) concert series.
In the previous season, Mr. Bannister performed as tenor soloist in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, debuted with Writers Theatre as Lieutenant Barri/Mother in a reading of Stephen Sondheim's Passion, debuted with Porchlight Music Theatre as Edward Moncrief in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, and returned to Writers Theatre in Jason Robert Brown's Parade; a production in which he understudied and ultimately performed the roles of Jim Conley, Newt Lee, and Riley. In April 2017, Curtis was a Special Award recipient in The Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya Competition finals.
Highlight performances from earlier seasons include a return to the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival/Merry-Go-Round Playhouse as the title role in Sweeney Todd (off-stage cover), tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem for Musica Lumina Orchestra, Don Jose in Carmen for the Natchez Festival of Music, Sportin’ Life in Porgy & Bess for Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Peter (Sportin' Life cover) in Francesca Zambello's production of Porgy & Bess at Lyric Opera of Chicago, 1st Heavenly Friend in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s acclaimed production of Carousel (directed by Rob Ashford), his debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as Ragotski/Cacambo/The Baron in Candide, Monty in the new world-premiere production of Saturday Night Fever with Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, his international recital debut of French melodie and Negro spirituals with the Musique de Chambre au Louvre, Enjolras in Les Miserables with Utah Festival Opera, John in Miss Saigon with Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Aaron the Moor in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus with Stillpointe Theatre, and his debut with the Paris Opera Ballet as an ensemble dancer in the Maurice Béjart interpretation of Ravel’s Bolero for the Ballet’s North American tour. In September 2016, was invited to Toulouse, France as one of three chosen representatives of the United States to compete in the 51st Concour International de Chant de Toulouse.
Mr. Bannister has also performed as Pirelli in the off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd, Thomas in the pre-Broadway production of Amazing Grace for Broadway in Chicago, and portrayed the role of Andre DeSheilds for the National Players/Olney Theater Center's production of Ain’t Misbehavin'. A graduate of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and award recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Curtis is a very proud native of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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