By Lorraine Spencer
Liz Rubino bids farewell to Youngstown with a show at the Oakland.
Judging by the performers on talent shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent, it seems that the majority of people can’t sing.
Liz Rubino can.
Rubino is a professional performer and recording artist from Youngstown, with more than 20 years experience under her belt. At 27, she is already a seasoned professional.
Tonight, Rubino will release her first professional CD, “Touch of the Moon.”
Recording a professional album has been an exciting experience for the singer. After performing in “Anything Goes” at YSU in 2005, she says, she fell in love with the music of Cole Porter and became interested in the ties between jazz and musical theater.
The album remained an idea until March, when Rubino learned that she was accepted into the master’s program at NYU. She wanted to make her CD before she left, so she and her musicians created “Touch of the Moon” in the next three months.
It was a “whirlwind experience, but very special,” she said.
The album features Rubino on vocals with musicians John Perrine, Ed Ridley Jr., Chris Maneri and Jared Craig. Rubino describes her album as “jazz/adult contemporary” with songs by jazz and theater greats such as Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jeffrey Save, Thelonius Monk, and more.
“It is more of a jazz album, I didn’t want a musical theater sound,” she explained.
Rubino has always been a performer, taking dance lessons and singing in, what she calls, “a horrible voice.”
At 10, something clicked and she developed a powerful singing voice. Her first theater role was as a nun in “The Sound of Music” at age 12. Since then, she has appeared in more than 80 plays and musicals.
A member of the Actor’s Equity Union, she recently completed her fourth season with Kalliope Stage, Cleveland’s only professional musical theater, which hires equity actors from New York City alongside Cleveland professionals.
This spring, Rubino graduated from YSU with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. She will attend NYU in New York City in the fall to obtain a master’s degree in Drama Therapy.
She is one of eight people chosen for the program, only two of whom are from the United States. With her master’s, she will be a licensed therapist, utilizing drama techniques such as role playing and music to help people. She also plans to audition along the Broadway circuit and perform her album music.
Rubino says she strives for excellence in her craft, and has never stopped studying and training.
After winning the 1997 National Soloist Award in Boston, she attended the Ohio State University as a voice major. Rubino has devoted the last 13 years to vocal lessons and coaching, and private acting training.
She studied at the Metropolitan Opera Co. in New York City as an educator with the Youngstown SMARTS program, and was among the first of four Americans in Summer 2005 to attend the International Theater Festival in Pisa, San Miniato, Italy. “It was crazy,” she said. “I was this random person from Youngstown. But it was awesome.”
Equal to her love of performing is her desire to share her love and knowledge of music by teaching. She teaches private voice and acting lessons at her production company, Center Stage Performance and Productions.
Rubino says she will have a hard time leaving her students when she moves to New York in the fall. “They’re phenomenal. I can’t leave them,” she said, adding that she plans to return monthly to work with them.
Rubino is celebrating the release of her CD and her departure for New York Friday at the Oakland Center for the Arts. The evening will include a performance by Rubino featuring songs from roles she has played locally and statewide.
Rubino will also perform duets with Cleveland and Youngstown performers Alexis Antes, Marla Berg, Jodi Brinkman, Maureen Collins, Robert Joki, James McClellan, and Students of the Liz Rubino Studios. A wine/cheese cocktail hour will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the performance and a dessert reception.
“Touch of the Moon” will be available for purchase on Rubino’s website, lizrubino.com. Next month, it will be available locally at Borders and Barnes and Noble as well on iTunes.
XFor tickets and reservations call the Oakland Box Office at (330) 746-0404.