Cherilyn Bacon is one of America’s most experienced actor-singer voice teachers, bringing her 50 years experience on stage and in the studio to her private voice students. She has received highest ratings from her students in NYC’s Circle in the Square Musical Theatre Workshops, from Brigham Young University’s Music Dance Theatre Department, as well as from the nation’s top five-ranked Orange County School of the Arts. She currently she teaches Musical Theatre Repertoire and Technique to the advanced students at OCSA’s sister school, the California School of the Arts.
As a working actor-singer, she became a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and Actors Equity Association (AEA). She has performed under most levels AEA contracts in musical theatre from Broadway National Tour-Off Broadway-Regional and Small Professional professional theatre, as well as on TV, voice overs, concerts, commercials and industrials from coast-to-coast. Her diverse background makes her one of the few voice teachers uniquely qualified to specialize in vocal technique, combined with acting for singers, song interpretation, audition and studio technique, across the spectrum of styles, from contemporary rock-pop to Broadway and classical. She has exclusive permission to teach the David Craig technique from his protégé Sara Louise Lazarus, her NYC mentor and coach.
She earned a B.F.A. from Brigham Young University, was a recipient of the prestigious Mary Martin Scholarship from Northwood University, with a certification in the Business of Theatre, was nominated for Best Actress of the Year for her leading role as Mary in Stephen Sondheim’s Southwest premier and remake of Merrily We Roll Along. Critics wrote: “Sondheim’s Broadway failure triumphs at Stage West….Cherilyn Bacon is phenomenal, as Mary, able to convey greater emotional depth and experience while appearing to get progressively younger throughout the show. She makes an astonishing transformation from the drunken, bitter critic of the opening scenes to the gifted girl of the closing.” —Dallas Times Herald
Cherilyn has performed under the direction of several Broadway musical directors and choreographers including the incomparable Peter Howard (Chicago), NYC Light Opera’s Jack Lee, Tom O’Horgan (Hair), choreographer Grover Dale (Jesus Christ Superstar) and has performed on stage with Metropolitan opera singer Sherrill Milnes, and Broadway-Hollywood stars Joel Grey, Alexis Smith, Ron Perlman, Kelly Bishop, Randy Graff, John LaMotta and more. She has performed in industrials from NYC to San Francisco and recorded commercials and voice overs in major markets.
Cherilyn anchored her diversified vocal technique beginning with three years opera training in Los Angeles from then 82 year-old Metropolitan Opera singer Margaret Romaine (Musetta, La Boheme). She graduated from Hollywood High School as the featured senior class soloist performing in her favorite venue: The Hollywood Bowl, where she says, “Your voice echos back at you a split-second after you sing the note. It’s unnerving at first, but thrilling, after you become used to it!” That experience inspired her to continue her goal of becoming a professional singer.
For two consecutive years, Cherilyn toured internationally with The Brigham Young University Young Ambassadors sponsored by the Department of Defense (USO), entertaining U.S. Troops with song and dance, and representing American Colleges and Universities.
She sang with The Sheratons, a female trio, for 25 years. In their early years, they were featured on the Los Angeles Breakfast Club Radio Show and on The Lawrence Welk Show at the Hollywood Palladium. They were offered the leading voice-over roles for the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Josie and the Pussycats. They are featured on several songs with their children and families on The Children’s Songbook CD published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where Cherilyn also impersonates a child’s voice.
She also gives credit to the late Norman Gulbrandsen, internationally-acclaimed classical voice professor at Northwestern University; the late Ray Allen, musical director, Dallas Summer Musicals; and Bill Reed, vocal director at Circle in the Square Theatre School, where she developed and produced the school’s first summer musical theatre program, rated #1 by Backstage. She has produced five showcases on Broadway/Off-Broadway stages and has directed several concerts and youth programs.
Critics describe her leading performance in the Dallas premiere of the musical Cassanova, written by the brilliant Broadway composer Ralph Affoumado (Fu Manchu) as “an outstanding, professional performance.” — Ken Waissman (producer, Grease); “A wonderfully talented, highly dramatic actress.” — Hugh Wheeler, book/lyrics Sweeney Todd. “This girl can do anything!” – Jack Eddleman (director, NYC Light Opera).
For Side By Side By Sondheim, a show she says requires “total vocal calisthenics,” critics describe her performance alongside Broadway’s Candy Buckley as “chilling and very effective,” “skilled and wondrously compatible,” “a wispy, affecting soprano” in a cast that “delivers a certified smash and shines!” – Dallas Morning News.
For her multiple roles in the unsuccessful Broadway try-out of The Pilgrim’s Progress (Tom Key, Harry Chapin’s Cotton Patch Gospel) the Dallas Morning News critic wrote, “The saddest part of all this comes in seeing talented musical actors like Cherilyn … so completely wasted.”
In Dallas and NYC, Cherilyn has been most closely compared to Broadway’s Betty Buckley for their similar Broadway belting styles. NYC casting director Barry Moss said, “She looks and sounds like Betty Buckley. No she IS Betty Buckley. No. She’s better than Betty Buckley!” After casting director Vinny Liff asked her to demonstrate her Betty Buckley style, he chuckled: “I didn’t mean be Betty Buckley; I meant ‘sing’ something Betty Buckley! You are definitely a Lloyd Webber singer.”
Unlike most opera/classical-trained singers, Cherilyn has navigated successfully the diverse range of singing styles required in the Broadway-commercial music world and adapts her voice to each role she plays. From Laurie in Oklahoma! to The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the comical antagonist character Velma in Hairspray, Cherilyn is comfortable crossing over from classical to traditional Broadway legit, belt, pop, rock and character. She supported her husband through law school singing the lead role Julie in the popular original Utah production of Saturday’s Warrior and performing and touring as a lead singer with Sound Judgment, a 70s rock band.
She has performed in many industrials and concerts, demonstrating her skill with one-woman shows. As a guest artist at America’s Freedom Festival Awards Banquet she celebrated in revue Broadway: Made In America, and has performed a Gershwin revue with her musical director, Peter Howard and a Cole Porter ensemble revue A Touch of Cole (Charles Repole, director; Mary John producer). Recently she performed in a new one woman show entitled Broadway Baby, a collection of her favorite songs from the shows in which she has performed. She also recently performed Stepmother in Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Hale Centre Theatre (Salt Lake City) and Velma in Hairspray (Ziegfeld Theatre, Ogden, Utah).
She is a member of the acclaimed Millennial Choirs and Orchestras and has sung in Carnegie Hall in NYC, Abravanel Hall in SLC and Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California. In 2019, she narrated Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God at Abravanel Hall for the Draper Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.
Most important, she is the mother of five amazing grown adult children and grandmother to sixteen incredible grandchildren, who are her most treasured, profound and lasting productions.