On Broadway, Raissa appeared 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, as “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. Off-Broadway, Raissa created the roles of “Mother – Annie McGrath” in WATER FROM THE MOON and “Mother Hawkins” in DEVIL AND THE DEEP, a musical retelling of “Treasure Island” with music by Air Supply’s Graham Russell. Regionally, she created the role of “Grace” in SAVING AIMEE, where she again worked with the creative team: book by Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman.
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, Radio City Music Hall and at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall and the Town Hall in the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Conventions. 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 second CD, Another Kind of Light, was released through LML Music, August, 2012, and can be purchased there or on Amazon and iTunes. Her latest CD, “Live from Feinsteins” Can’t Help Singing – the Music of Jerome Kern, is due to be released on LML Music in 2017.
Raissa was nominated for a 2013 MAC Award for Major Artist, for a 2009 MAC Award for Outstanding Female Vocalist. In 2008, Raissa had the idea to bring the world of cabaret, jazz, Broadway, and classical music to city green spaces as a way for diverse audiences to enjoy a free event and to broaden the appreciation of both of these amazing artists and the parks we so often take for granted. Annually since then, hundreds of people who otherwise may never have experienced this cultural art form have enjoyed many nights of amazing music under the trees. She received the 2010 Bistro Award and 2011 MAC Award for Outstanding Achievement as the creator, producer and host of CONCERTS FOR CITY GREENS. In 2014, she was awarded a special Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series MAC Award for this series. She was also nominated for 4 Broadway World Awards in 2012, and 1 in 2013. She was nominated for the 2015 MAC Award for “Best Duo Show” with her friend and musical partner, Kenneth Gartman for their show, “3 Decades in the Dark – Raissa and Kenneth Go To the Movies”. 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, a Vibrational Sound Massage practitioner and Platform Assistant/Chaplain, at Unity Center of Norwalk, CT. For those of you wondering what a “Platform Assistant” is, it’s another term for “Pulpit Assistant” – our roles compliment the role of the Minister. They act as Scripture or inspirational readers, meditation leaders and prayer partners and lead a section of the Sunday service.
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 New York City with her husband Dr. Garrett Bennett, a Facial Plastic and Sinus surgeon, and their 4 tiny rescue dogs, Otie and Tiny (14 year old Chihuahuas), Phoebe (a 10 year old Toy Fox Terrier), and Molly (a 13 year old Havanese).
They live in Tudor City in Manhattan, and also enjoy a weekend home in Norwalk, CT.