Today’s interviewee is New York-based classically trained bass/baritone, Broadway actor and music educator Roosevelt Credit, who grew up in Oakland California. talks about his accidental Broadway career, the spiritual tradition, and his love of conducting. Listen on iTunes!
Roosevelt André Credit’s profound and spirited performances have served to shape his career both nationally and internationally as a bass /baritone. Roosevelt was featured as a “Fisherman” in the 2012 Tony Award Winning and Grammy Nominated Production of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on Broadway. He has performed on and off Broadway, playing several roles in the Tony Award winning and national touring companies of Harold Prince’s Show Boat. He just received the 2012 Most Distinguished Alumni Fellow Award from Oregon State University. Acknowledged for his humanitarianism and good will, Roosevelt André Credit was awarded the Theron Montgomery Award by the Broadway community twice, recognizing him as a positive role model both on and off stage. Some of his other philanthropic associations are Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Rockland Family Shelter, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Metropolitan Ministries, Saint Joseph Episcopal School, and The Whiteside Theatre of Corvallis.
Roosevelt Credit holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Oregon State University, a Master of Music in Voice and Opera Performance, and a Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University. He is also an Eagle Scout from Troop 254 of the Golden Acorn District.
His extensive repertoire includes opera, oratorio, jazz, spirituals, pop, and musicals. He has performed with the Chicago Opera Theatre, Birmingham Opera, New York Contemporary Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and was a featured soloist with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Duke Ellington Orchestra during the Centennial Celebration. Roosevelt made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Schubert conducted by the late Maestro Robert Bass, and his Town Hall debut in Music Is In the Air: A Tribute to Jerome Kern, “brought the cheering audience to their feet.”- Robert L. Daniels, Variety Magazine.
He was a featured performer at the Barack Obama 2009 Pennsylvania Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C., and worship leader for the 2008 United Methodist Women Northeastern Jurisdiction Quadrennial Meeting. Roosevelt was a guest technician for the North Central American Choral Directors Association Convention in Omaha and guest soloist at theMovements in Peace concert directed by Craig Hella Johnson. He has conducted the Rockland County High School ACDA All City Chorus, South Dakota ACDA Mixed Junior Honor Choir, Orange County Elementary School Music Festival, the Minisink Valley Central School District Chorus, and the well-known Chicago Children’s Choir.
Other featured performances include appearances at the Helen Hayes Theater, Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway concert series, Broadway to Barbados with Leftfield Productions, in concert with the Mississippi Mass Choir, and tours throughout Japan with the New York Ragtime Orchestra. He was featured soloist with the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association, and a featured composer during the American Masterpieces Choral Music Festival, conducted by Gregg Smith.
His operatic roles include Henry in The White House Cantata, Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Sivglia, St. Eustace in Four Saint’s in Three Acts, Jim in Porgy and Bess, and Figaro in Lenozze de Figaro. His world premiers and recordings include Elegies For the Fallen by Joyce Solomon Moorman; For The People by John W. Jones; Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music by Joshua Rosenblum; Robert Greenleaf’s Under the Arbor, telecast by Public Broadcast Systems; and the new orchestrations for the “Gospel Mass” by Robert Ray, conducted by Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College with the Long Island Masterworks Choral Festival Institute. Most recently Roosevelt Credit is featured in the 2012 cast recording of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.
Roosevelt André Credit has performed various works including the Fauré Requiem, Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B Minor Mass, and Songs of the Slave by Kirke Mechem. He is the bass section leader of the Saint Peter’s Church in New York City, and is well known throughout New York for his various solo, conducting, and composing skill. He has worked with Kids Project of New York as teacher, actor and puppeteer for disability awareness education for children and received a Proclimation from Mayor Bloomberg for his work. He is an ASCAP Award winner for his published solo vocal/choral compositions, and author of an anthology of spirituals titled “Ol’ Time Religion,” one of his greatest joys.
Poster from the 1993 revival of Show Boat
Roosevelt sitting down for our interview in his apartment in Inwood
Roosevelt pointing to his picture on the poster for the 2011 revival of Porgy and Bess
Recordings featured in this episode in order of appearance:
“Heav’n, Heav’n” performed by Roosevelt Andre Credit from his album Ol’ Time Religion
“Sleeping with the Dogs” performed by Bobbie Mercy Oliver
“Ave Maria” performed by the Indianapolis Children’s Choir
“Say a Little Prayer For You” performed by Aretha Franklin
“Non Piu Andrai (Le Nozze di Figaro)” performed by Ferruccio Furlanetto, Susanne Mentzer, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Allen
“Ol’ Man River” performed by Roosevelt Andre Credit from his album Ol’ Time Religion
Porgy & Bess Medley performed by the original Broadway cast at the 2012 Tony Awards
“Take the ‘A’ Train” performed by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
“Freedom Train” performed by the Chicago’s Childrens Choir
“This Little of Light of Mine” performed live by Roosevelt Andre Credit
“Dance, Eternal Spirits, Dance!” performed by Billy Harper on his album Black Saint
This episode of the Earfull was originally recorded on September 4th and released on December 11th, 2013. The cover art for the Earfull was made by Hallie Bean. I’d like to thank Ole Mathisen for sitting down with me and you for listening. For more information on Roosevelt, please visit his website at rooseveltcredit.com. As always, you can find the Earfull on the iTunes music store, and also on Facebook.