Raissa Katona Bennett – President
On Broadway, Raissa appeard as “Christine Daae” in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and in CHESS, as a benefit for the Actor’s Fund. Her First National Tours include: “Jellylorum/Griddlebone” and “Jennyanydots” in CATS, “Mother” in the National Theatre of the Deaf’s A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, and as “Lizzie Phagan” in PARADE, where she worked with the original creative team of director Harold Prince, choreographer Patricia Birch, author Alfred Uhry, and composer Jason Robert Brown. As an original cast member of SAVIN’ AIMEE, Raissa worked with creators: Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman, and David Pomeranz.
In NYC, Raissa has headlined at: Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room, Iridium and The Laurie Beechman Theatre. She has guest starred at: The Supper Club, Rainbow Room, 88′s, Don’t Tell Mama, Chita’s, The Algonquin, and Radio City Music Hall. She has soloed with many symphony orchestras and was guest soloist at the estate of the legendary Cal Ripken, Jr. She was featured at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble in their Any Wednesday series, performing selections from her CD, What I Was Dreaming Of. Her newest CD, Another Kind of Light, was released through LML Music, August, 2012, and can be purchased there or on Amazon and iTunes.
Raissa was nominated for a 2013 MAC Award for Major Artist, for a 2009 MAC Award for Outstanding Female Vocalist and received the 2010 Bistro Award and 2011 MAC Award for Outstanding Achievement as the creator, producer and host of THE CONCERTS FOR CITY GREENS, which is dedicated to preserving the green spaces of NYC (as well as other urban areas), while introducing a whole new audience to the artists of the cabaret and theater communities. She was also nominated for 4 Broadway World Awards in 2012, and 1 in 2013. She writes a blog, “Raissa Recommends” that highlights performances in the NYC cabaret and theater, and promotes animal rescue and a kinder, more verdant world. She is also a Reiki Master, and Platform Assistant/Chaplain, at Unity Center for Practical Spirituality, in Norwalk, CT. With a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Hartt School of Music, Raissa taught music in the Connecticut Public School System, pre-K thru 12, with an emphasis on special needs children, and she served as a Music Therapist and worked on the development of the DSM-II, through her student internship at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Farmington, CT. She volunteered with the Red Cross during 9/11 and through the Salvation Army / Safe Horizons in long term post 9/11 outreach. She is on the Advisory Board of THE SALON as well as THE AMERICAN SONGBOOK PROJECT, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Cabaret Cares, which provides funding to children living with HIV. One of her passions is training rescue dogs with behavioral issues, to make them more adoptable. She has volunteered extensively, in this capacity and as a dog foster, with the ASPCA, The Humane Society and Shih Tzu Fur Baby Rescue.
Raissa lives in Tudor City in NYC with her husband Dr. Garrett Bennett, a Facial Plastic and Sinus surgeon, and their 3 tiny rescue dogs, Otie (a 10 year old Chihuahua), Phoebe (a 6 year old Toy Fox Terrier), and Molly (a 9 year old Havanese). All 5 of the Bennett’s also enjoy a weekend home in Milford, CT.