Joanne Sydney Lessner is a writer, singer, and actor. Joanne’s debut novel Pandora’s Bottle was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine and named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. She has written four novels featuring aspiring actress and amateur sleuth Isobel Spice: The Temporary Detective (BloodWrites Award for Best New Mystery), Bad Publicity, And Justice for Some, and Offed Stage Left. “The Ghosts’ High Noon,” an Isobel Spice short story, is available on this site as a free download.
Joanne has written the book and lyrics to several musicals with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, including the cult hit Fermat’s Last Tango, which received its Off-Broadway premiere at the York Theatre Company. The original cast recording became a bestseller, and the DVD has been screened at festivals from New Jersey to New Zealand. The Teatro da Trindade in Lisbon, Portugal, presented the European premiere and subsequently gave the world premiere of their next musical, Einstein’s Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Their musical Garbo and Me was presented in concert at the York Theatre Company and the historic Paramount Theatre in Rutland, Vermont, while their adaptation of Wilkie Collins’s The Haunted Hotel was unveiled at the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, Virginia. Their musical revue Love is Not a Science was presented at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where they will return with a musical based on Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman’s classic play, Stage Door. Joanne’s play, Critical Mass, received its New York premiere at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row as winner of the Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition. She is also a regular contributing writer to Opera News.
A remarkably versatile performer, Joanne has appeared on Broadway in Cyrano: The Musical, and in other New York City venues in roles as varied as Charlotte in A Little Night Music, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Cis in the cabaret version of William Bolcom’s Casino Paradise, which the New York Times named “one of the year’s ten best events in classical music.” She has performed in concert as a soloist with New York City Opera Vox, New York Festival of Song, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, and the Harrisburg and Albany Symphonies. Joanne has also played ten principal Gilbert and Sullivan roles with the award-winning Blue Hill Troupe, including Julia Jellicoe in The Grand Duke, for which she was honored as Best Female Performer at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England. Joanne holds a BA in music, summa cum laude, from Yale University.
For a complete performing resume, click on the “Theatrical Works” tab above.