Vivian Reed is a multi award winner with two TONY NOMINATIONS, DRAMA DESK AWARD, THEATRE WORLD AWARD, OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, DANCE EDUCATORS OF AMERICA AWARD, GRAMMY AWARD, NAACP AWARD, MABEL MERCER AWARD, LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, NBTF LIVING LEGEND AWARD, BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL, OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS, AUDELCO PIONEER AWARD and several others. Vivian began formal voice training at the age of eight at the Pittsburgh Musical Institute, later continuing at New York’s Juilliard School of Music followed by years of extensive dance training.
She became a polished performer under the guidance of Honi Coles and Bobby Schiffman of the Apollo Theater. Vivian auditioned for the musical ‘Bubbling Brown Sugar,’ the first of several popular revues based on music of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Although she was hired immediately, she soon discovered there was no existing part for her, so she created the role of ‘Young Irene.’ The show toured the country to rave reviews before it opened on Broadway; likewise a smash success! Her show-stopping performance, included a dazzling song and dance production of ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and a unique vocal rendition of ‘God Bless the Child’ that won her critical acclaim.
After Broadway, Vivian went to Los Angeles to open another company of ‘Bubbling Brown Sugar’ and then on to Europe with the show, touring such countries as England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and France. While recognizing Vivian’s own unique talents, Paris proclaimed her ‘The New Josephine Baker.’ She captured the attention of Pierre Cardin, who booked Vivian into his theater and held her over for several weeks. Through Cardin, she went to Japan for the first time and made her first European TV special. Later, she was invited by the Prince and Princess of Monaco to perform in Monte Carlo.
Vivian has appeared on many TV variety and talk shows both nationally and internationally including The Tonight Show, The Today Show and the ABC-TV daytime drama, ‘One Life to Live.’ She has shared the bill with notable performers as Bill Cosby, Pattie Labelle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Elaine Stritch, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr., Quincy Jones, Ashford and Simpson and Charles Aznavour, just to name a few. Her film credits include ‘Heading for Broadway,’ ‘L’Africaine’ with Catherine Deneuve and ‘Le Rumba,’ in which she portrayed Josephine Baker. Recently she produced and starred in a short film ‘What Goes Around’ written by Angela Gibbs.
Vivian has also brought her nightclub act to major gatherings of organization and dignitaries, including Mercedes Benz, IBM, Top Fashion Designers Gala at the Theatre Champs Elysees and the American Film Festival in Deauville. She appear at the Festival del Vina in Chile, along with other top performers like Laura Branigan, Sting, Mister Mister and Jon Secada. There she received the coveted ‘TORCH AWARD,’ an honor bestowed by the mayor and citizens of Vina for only the most exceptional and stirring performances.
Besides her international success as an actress and entertainer, she has also been featured in the world’s most read and influential news and fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Paris Match, People, Ebony, Jet (cover) and Time Magazine. Her personal style and taste for designer clothes have won her a place on Mr. Blackwell’s Best Dressed Women List and she was selected by People Magazine as one of the ‘25 Most Intriguing People of the Year.’ Vivian has starred in New York at the ‘Rainbow and Stars’ in a rhythm and blues revue and the Supper Club in a swing revue. She received critical acclaim in major productions of ‘Sophisticated Ladies,’ ‘Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd,’ ‘Blues in the Night,’ ‘High Rollers,’ ‘Show Boat’ in which she portrayed the role of ‘Queenie, ‘Hallelujah Baby’ and ‘Tintypes.’ Her plays include ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky,’ ‘Crumbs from the table of Joy,’ ‘Pork Pie’ and ‘Cookin’ At The Cookery.’
Vivian was featured in the highly anticipated ‘Marie Christine’ at Lincoln Center. She also portrayed Lena Horne in a new piece, ‘More Than A Song.’with the Pittsburgh Ballet Company at the Benedum Theater in Pittsburgh. Vivian contributed her talents to the Lena Horne Awards Show hosted by Bill Cosby honoring Rosie O’Donnell and Quincy Jones at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in New York. She appeared in ‘Three Mo’ Divas,’ the follow-up to ‘Three Mo’ Tenors’ at the San Diego Rep and Arena Stage in Washington, DC and, as an actress, received critical acclaim for her portrayal as Gloria Franklin in ‘The Second Tosca,’ written by Tom Rowan.
Vivian was invited to be a part of the ‘Sondheim Unplugged’ concert series at 54 Below in New York City. She also created and produced four successful one woman shows…’An Evening with Vivian Reed,’ ‘Standards and More,’ ‘Vivian Reed Sings Lena Horne’ and Little Bit of Soul, Little Bit of Pop… all four receiving critical acclaim.
Vivian recently played the role of Madame Pernelle in Tartuffe with the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Vivian has also given back of her talent by teaching nearly three years at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she created a performance class teaching the many aspects of performing and also establishing a yearly concert event called ‘Singer’s Night.’ Presently, Vivian is on the voice faculty of Marymount Manhattan College in the theater department.