She acts, she sings, she composes, she rocks!
One Life to Live's Ilene Kristen and I go way back. She debuted as Roxy Balsom, the loveable, outlandish, salon stylist and mom to Rex and Natalie in 2001, and she graciously granted us an interview shortly thereafter.We've since kept in touch, either by phone or email over the years. Soapdom is always delighted to share news of her cabaret act when she plays NYC clubs like The Triad on the upper west side. When Kristen was relegated to recurring status a few years ago, we had a nice long chat about missing Roxy on air and the state of soaps in general.
This past April, I was asked to line up the soap opera talent for a soap opera weekend in the western Catskills at the Villa Roma resort. Kristen was one of the first stars I reached out to and she was delighted to perform.
We've shared so many wonderful conversations over the years, but since One Life to Live is on the east coast, and Soapdom is based on the west coast, I never had the pleasure of meeting Kristen in person until a few months ago when she invited me to a party she was hosting here in LA.
I don't need to tell you how great it was to finally meet her. She is adorable, no taller than about 5'2" with a very sexy, petite figure. She is warm and charming and it was fun to get to spend some time with her and meet her Los Angeles-based contingent.
Several weeks ago she contacted Soapdom to inform us that she was to perform her cabaret act at a place called the Acme Comedy Theatre here in LA. Not only was this another opportunity to get to see her, but I was finally going to see her perform.
Let me tell you -- Kristen does not disappoint! Her sound is jazzy, breathy and sexy. She writes her own songs and along with a hot jazz sound, the lyrics are as clever as they are poignant. Some make you smile. Some make you think. Others make you just want to get up and jive along!
Typically performing gigs in NYC with her long-time combo, she pulled together a band out in LA on the fly. They only rehearsed for about 2.5 hours before show time. You'd never know it. The group was as tight, polished and primed as a band that had been together for years.
She performed three numbers at Acme Comedy Theatre's Acme Saturday Night, a Saturday Night Live-type sketch comedy show that broadcasts live on the internet at AcmeComedy.TV as the musical guest. Guest host that evening was 90210's Michael Steger (Navid) -- who is very fun, funny and talented -- and just about all of his castmates were either in the audience to cheer him on, or were hanging out next door at the Alamfi Ristorante & Bar, where the entire company of Acme Saturday Night goes to wind down after the show.
We got to spend more quality time with Kristen and her friends and family at Almafi. Oh and Kristen was like anyone else who'd be excited to see a movie star in her midst when she spotted Halle Berry at Almafi and sent us to the back of the ristorante to catch a glimpse. But alas and alack, Berry had left before we got to see her. We all laughed about how exciting it was that Academy Award winner, Halle Berry was there. Needless to say, a great time was had by all.
If Kristen is ever performing her cabaret act in your neck of the woods, try to get to see her. It will be fun evening for you, too. Tell her I sent you and have a blast.
Check out a recent performance at the Triad in NYC.
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