Meet Carmen Risi

Carmen Risi is an experienced educator and performer. She spent 10 years in the K-12 music classroom, teaching general music and choir in private schools in Madison and then in Grayslake, IL. During this time, she also music directed several musicals (Joseph…, The Music Man, Godspell, and more) and participated in Madison’s vibrant community theater. Upon moving to this area of the state, she decided to pursue performing full time and made a career on stages from Chicago to Milwaukee to Door County. Her favorite roles include Sonia in They’re Playing Our Song at Brown Paper Box Co., and Kiss Me Kate and Hot Mikado at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee.

In recent years she has served as Music Director for Urinetown and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at UW-Parkside and as a Level 3 Adjudicator for the Wisconsin School Music Association, judging both piano and voice. She has served as a church musician, jazz band vocalist/pianist, and choral accompanist. She is also Festa Italiana’s reigning Italian Idol, sponsored by Milwaukee’s Italian Community Center. You may have also seen her in a commercial or two.

Carmen first earned a Ministry of Music Associate degree before working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. She did this via a distance education program through Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas while teaching full-time in Madison, WI, a work load that she does not recommend! But she lives to tell the tale.

Carmen has also recently dabbled in song-writing, especially silly ditties to lighten the mood. This has led to her undertaking the writing of an auto-biographical musical about her cancer journey, the writing of which is halfway done. She lived to tell the tale, and so she is.

Carmen lives in Pleasant Prairie with her husband, Rob, and their cat, Scarlett.


Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Bachelor of Arts in Music Education

Share your favorite show / play / production and why!

My proudest moment on stage was probably when I played Sonia in They’re Playing Our Song. It is a “two-hander” which means only two people make up the entire cast. In this show, there is a Greek Chorus (we might think of them as background singers) but it was just myself and one other person carrying the dialogue for an entire two and a half hour show. Yes, it was a musical, but the book was so heavy it almost felt like a play. I didn’t know if I was capable of memorizing that much or leading a show in such a way. I was so nervous the day I went off-book, but I knew I had to make the leap. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my career. I proved to myself what I could do.

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