Craig Jessup has been playing theatres, cabarets and concert halls throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe for over 30 years.
After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Oregon State University and studying acting at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Jessup teamed with Ruth Hastings and Barry Lloyd in 1977 to form Ruth Hastings & Co. The trio played nearly every cabaret in San Francisco including Le Domino, Chez Jacques, Gordon’s, Fanny’s, Trinity Place and the Plush Room, culminating in a sold-out concert at the Geary Theatre which was recorded live.
A highly successful run of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at Chez Jacques, resulted in an invitation to perform the acclaimed musical revue in Brussels, Belgium at the Belgian National Opera Company just after Brel’s death. Among the hundreds of Belgian and French theatergoers attending the two weeks of performances (the Revue was retitled America Sings Brel) were Brel’s widow and daughters. The show was revived 10 years ago in a critically acclaimed run at the Stagedoor Theatre in San Francisco.
After Belgium, the Company began a tour of the U.S. and Canada and played such Bay Area locations as the Concord Pavilion and the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel.
On his own, Mr. Jessup appeared in many musical revues such as By George! (Gershwin), He and She (Rodgers and Hart), ...And What, Give Up Show Biz? and as Private Waldo Strawberry in The Big Broadcast. He also originated the role of Fritz in Joe Landon’s musical, Fanny at Chez Panisse, which enjoyed a successful run at the Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley, Io, Princess of Argos with Artstreet Theatre and the title role in Song for Vanya at Sonoma Rep. Rohnert Park’s Pacific Alliance Theatre Company audiences have seen him in roles such as Melvyn P. Thorpe in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Burl Sanders in Sander’s Family Christmas, Karl Brezner in Ben Elton’s Popcorn DePinna in You Can’t Take It With You, Electric Bill in Mad Bros. and Rose, and Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof. Broadway by the Bay (San Mateo) roles include Mr. MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie and Jacob/Potiphar/Pharoah in Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
He appeared as Sen. Rawkins in Finnian’s Rainbow, Gravvins in Cabaret Girl, C. Gordon Bennett in Miss Liberty, Sir in The Roar of the Greasepaint the Smell of the Crowd, and Judge Appleton in the Gershwins’ Oh, Kay! …all with San Francisco’s 42nd Street Moon, as well as Mae West’s Sex with Aurora Theatre Co. and Elyot in Coward’s Private Lives. He also played principal roles in Catherine’s Care and Thirst , both with AlterTheater Ensemble of Marin County.
Mr. Jessup has been interested in the life and music of Sir Noel Coward for many years, gradually adding more and more of The Master’s songs to his repertoire. 10 years ago Jessup began writing a script, using Coward’s own words culled from his diaries and interviews. He performed this show at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center as well as a 3 month sold-out run at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The cd, Craig Jessup Sings Noel Coward is available at www.craigjessup.com
Also a songwriter, Jessup performs 12 original songs on his cd called Vantage Point, which has just been released and available on itunes and cdbaby. The video of the title track can be seen on youtube.