There are singers and then there is Anika Larsen. Known for her ferocious belt, she made her Broadway debut in Rent and was nominated for a Tony award playing prolific songwriter Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Her other theater credits include Avenue Q, All Shook up, Xanadu and Closer Than Ever. Larsen’s autobiographical musical Shafrika, the White Girl, is based on her own experiences growing up one of ten siblings in a family where six children were adopted from all over the world. She is currently artistic director of Plays in the House Teen Edition. The play reading series benefits organizations which brings theater to underserved youth. It is part of Stars in the House, created by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley.
Larsen will next star in the Broadway bound Almost Famous. Based on the Cameron Crowe film, the musical is directed by Jeremy Herrin. Crowe wrote the book and lyrics, Tom Kitt composed original music. Larsen is Elaine Miller, the conflicted mom, who Frances McDormand played in the film.
Larsen does volunteer virtual Q&As inspiring students from around the world from Amarillo to the Netherlands to Iowa City. With her husband, professional trumpet player Freddie Maxwell, she also created socially distant porch concerts which she performs for her community in the suburbs outside New York City. “Art will not be stopped. It can’t be,” says Larsen. “A government can try to oppress it. Or a pandemic can try and shut it down. But artists are going to make their art. Whether it’s floating out their windows or coming out of the woodwork. We can’t stop doing the thing we do.”
Produced in part by the Broadway Podcast Network.