PULLMAN, Wash. — Entertainer Deborah Henson-Conant brings her program, “DEBORAH HENSON-CONANT: Hip Harp in Concert,” to Washington State University’s Bryan Hall Theatre Oct. 8. The 7:30 p.m. program is open to the public without charge.
A harpist, singer, songwriter, author, cartoonist, entertainer, comedian — mix those together and you can just begin to describe Deborah Henson-Conant, said Gail Siegel, WSU’s Campus Involvement Program art programming coordinator. “Whether she’s tearing up the Edinburgh Fringe festival with her one-woman show, touring the country with the Boston Pops, opening for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, or mesmerizing a theater full of children at the Kennedy Center, Henson-Conant, live, on stage, is indescribable,” Siegel said.
Critics around the country recognize Henson-Conant’s talents. “She dresses like a showgirl, plays the pants off the harp and tells tall tales with the ease of a stand-up comic,” said The Plain Dealer. “Imagine the talented love child of Andre Previn and Lucille Ball,” says NPR’s Scott Simon. “A cross between Leonard Bernstein, Steven Tyler and Xena, the Warrior Princess,” stated the Boston Globe.
Henson-Conant rocked onto the jazz charts in the late ’80s with her three albums on the GRP label. Since then she’s established her own record label and released a dozen other albums from straight-ahead jazz to Celtic, blues, folk-pop and spoken word. She’s jammed off-stage and on with the likes of Steven Tyler, Rufus Reid, Keith Lockhart, Marvin Hamlisch and cartoonist Gary Larsen.
She’s premiered her compositions with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Scottish National Chamber Orchestra and the Prague Radio Orchestra. She’s lectured at the Paris Conservatory, and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Artists Fellowship and “Meet the Composer.” She’s been featured on NBC, CBS, CNN and starred in the PBS Special “Celtic Harpestry.” With her solid-state, electric blue body-harp slung around her neck and wailing on the blues, Henson-Conant gives the concept of the “Troubadour Harpist” a whole new image, Siegel said.
The concert is sponsored by the WSU Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee as part of its 2003 -2004 series, “Adding an ‘E’ to ArtE.” For additional information about Deborah Henson-Conant, visit VPLAC’s Web site: http://cub.wsu.edu/VPLAC.