Inspired by the award-winning movie La Vie en Rose, Piaf! The Show is a tribute to Edith Piaf. Conceived and directed by the Nice-based theatrical maverick Gil Marsalla and starring Anne Carrere, a young French performer hailed as “Edith Piaf’s legitimate musical heiress,” Piaf! The Show premiered in 2015 as a tribute to “The Little Sparrow” on the centennial of her birthday.
In two 45-minute acts, the show narrates the rags-to-riches story of the Parisian singer’s career through her unforgettable songs, complemented by a visual tapestry of previously unreleased photographs and images of famous locations from Piaf’s era. With over half a million tickets sold in more than 30 countries and worldwide critical acclaim, this musical celebration of the life and music of the legendary French chanteuse will have a special presentation at Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. on January 6, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Edith Piaf’s final performance at the famous venue. Peter Bogyo is the Executive Producer.
Tickets for this concert can be purchased through Carnegie Hall’s website or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.
Anne Carrere made her debut in large-scale musical theatre as the star of Piaf! The Show. A native of Puget Ville, a small town in the South of France, she began preparing for a stage career in her early teens, studying voice, acting, and a variety of vocal and dance styles at the renowned art school Salon-de-Provence. She later studied classical music, playing flute and piano. Before seriously pursuing her passion for the traditional French chanson, Anne participated in numerous French talent competitions and TV shows, showcasing her singing and dancing skills in diverse styles including classical, jazz and breakdance.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
I have loved music since I was three years old. I had listened to Edith Piaf and other great French singers like Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Georges Brassens, Mireille Mathieu, Yves Montand, and Joe Dassin with my grandmother. My parents were more rock’n’roll fans. My mother told me that when she was pregnant with me, when she would play rock’n’roll, I would kick. She also said that I would stop moving when she turned the music off. I have always loved music. When I was little, I learned classical dance and then modern jazz. Through music theory, I learned to play the piano and flute. When the theater school opened in my village, I learned to act. My teachers liked to have music in the shows and I was often given solos to perform, so I decided to go for singing lessons. It was during my first singing lesson that I said to myself: I like to dance, I like to act, I like to play the piano and flute, but above all things, I love to sing. My musical comedy teacher wrote songs and invited me to sing on his album “Le Chant Des Citoyens.” That was my first experience in a recording studio. I was thirteen years old and I only wanted one thing: to sing, again and again.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
I had many experiences from being in a group of R&B singers where I loved to sing songs by Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Prince and Seal, among others. I also sang Jazz songs by artists such as Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, and Natalie Cole, and was a member of a choir that sang songs from famous artists in France for six years. In singing with several popular orchestral ensembles, I also had a chance to appear on several TV shows as well. I have even created and appeared in several children’s shows. However, the most attractive thing about being a singer is being able to represent France through the songs of Edith Piaf. This is a real challenge and gives me great pride.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I participated in various extra-curricular activities such as, dance, piano, solfeggio, flute, theater, and singing. They were the activities I did outside of school, as I didn’t attend a large music school or conservatory. The only professional musical training I have had is through the “IMEP” (Music Institute for Vocational Training), where I studied jazz music for two years.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I have always been very lucky to be surrounded by a strong support system. Everyone, from family and friends to instructors and fellow artists, has encouraged me to continue performing because they believed in me. They told me they knew that I had what it takes to succeed in this business. These wonderful people from all walks of life have shown me nothing but positivity, all the way down to my son, who is very proud of his mother and her accomplishments.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I have always persevered and worked very hard. I have never really tried to be a star, music is my passion, I love to perform and I never doubted myself. I did, however, obtain a degree as an esthetician to reassure my mother. I will always have a diploma for a more traditional job. Luckily, I have never needed it, as I have always been lucky enough to work in music, my passion.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
In May 2014, I was performing in a musical in Nice, France. Our producer, Gil Marsalla, saw me in this production and offered me the role of Edith Piaf in another show he was producing at the time. In August of that year, we took the show on tour to Mexico and we were met with great success – so much so that in September, Gil offered me a solo show, “Piaf! The Show.” We then traveled to New York in January 2015 to present a showcase of this new production, and yet again were met with great success! “Piaf! The Show” began its world tour in March 2015 and it has been quite an unbelievable experience since.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
The hardest thing I have had to do is be away from my family, my son. It is hard to find a balance between living this extraordinary adventure and being away from my loved ones.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
My ability to adapt and learn quickly has proved most useful. Whether it is learning a new song or taking direction in staging or vocal technique, I can immediately take on this new task and move on.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the success that this role has given me. It has been a culmination of many years of work and we are finally being recognized for it. I have met extraordinary people and experienced things I never imagined. This show and this tour have given me incredible experiences all with Edith Piaf by my side.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
The only advice I have is to work as hard as you can and believe in your dreams.