Jenny Cartney is one talented individual. You have heard her work at Signature Theatre, Ford’s Theatre and The Kennedy Center. Conducting credits include Chess and the upcoming Hairspray at Signature Theatre and Little Shop of Horrors at Ford’s. As a keyboardist her work has been heard on Sunset Boulevard and the recent Music in The Movies cabaret at Signature Theatre, and Liberty Smith at Ford’s Theatre. She recently was the Musical Director for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s TC Gala concert which featured Denyce Graves and Marin Mazzie, and was in the orchestra for the tour of Wicked at Kennedy Center. She’s so talented and so young. I am so jealous.
Were you interested in music as a kid?
I started singing along to Annie and The Wizard of Oz when I was about 4 years-old. My Dad used to listen to Billy Joel, so I begged to play the piano.
Do you play any other instruments besides the piano?
Piano was my first and is my main instrument. I played violin from 3rd to 6th grade, then switched to band. I played oboe for a year then switched to flute. I studied flute for 8 years, and I can still play it. I played glockenspiel in marching band one year in high school, but the fun thing is that I marched cowbell that year for parade!
What was your first paid professional job?
I started getting paid to play for shows when I was a freshman in high school. My first professional theatre job was the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center! I was the rehearsal pianist for Company and the Associate Conductor for A Little Night Music.
What was your first Signature Theatre gig?
Jay Crowder used me as his assistant on The Christmas Carol Rag. I worked on rehearsals and played two performances a week, since Jay had his Church job those nights.
What do you like best – just playing a show, or just conducting a show, or a combo deal where you play and conduct?
Believe it or not, conducting with a baton is my preference. For me, it’s as close to dancing as I get to do anymore. For someone who used to be on stage, it’s the closest I feel to being in the show every night.
My interview of Jenny on conducting the orchestra of Chess at Signature Theatre on DCTS.
A video preview of Chess.