Diana Kavilis dreamed of being a ballerina until she saw A Chorus Line at the Shubert Theatre in LA, which caused her to take a dramatic turn to a Broadway career. After moving to NYC to pursue her dream, she joined the first national tour of Cats where she played the roles of Demeter and Grizabella. Then her dream came true. Diana was cast as Val and understudied for Cassie in A Chorus Line on Broadway, the show that changed her life as a teen. The play was re-reviewed by the New York Times, which called Diana “a standout in the role of Val.” She was part of the closing cast of the original production. (This show is also where she met fellow MMC member, Kevin Chinn). Diana toured with A Chorus Line, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Evita, Miss Saigon (with her first baby in tow and again with Kevin Chinn), and Martin Guerre. In addition, she has performed in four musicals at the Hollywood Bowl.
Diana was cast in the American premiere of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close at LA’s Shubert Theatre. She worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber on this production and may be heard singing on the original cast soundtrack. For the past ten years, she has performed for the Disney Company, and she is currently part of the first live production of the animated feature, Frozen.
Diana joined the MMC seven years ago, yearning for choral music to be back in her life. Glenn Carlos has filled that void with his wonderful direction, his passion, and the variety of music he selects. Diana has been married to her husband, Kenny, for 34 years.
Season Joined: I think 2012
Birthplace/Hometown: Born in Downtown Los Angeles, raised in Fountain Valley, and currently live in Orange.
Education/Vocal Training: The Young Americans, Eddy Sayegh
Do you make your living as a full-time musician? Yes. A well-rounded performer. Sing, act, dance. Most of my adult years have been performing in Broadway shows, touring productions, international productions, and local productions.
What else do you do by day? I’m also a mom.
Guest appearances/Film/TV: One year, I was a member of the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. I performed in Shubert Alley in NYC for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve special.
Highlights of your musical career: Being cast in the Broadway production of the first run of A Chorus Line and subsequently being recognized for being a part of the closing cast of that run. I’m in some Broadway history books! Also, being a part of the original cast of the American premiere of Sunset Boulevard and working with the wonderful Glenn Close. But to have Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer) at many of our rehearsals—those were moments to remember.
A defining moment or favorite onstage experience: When I was with the first national tour of Cats, I was called to go on as Grizabella, the cat who sings the most famous song from the show, Memory, because both the girl who did the role and her understudy were sick. Well, I hadn’t learned the role yet. It was to be an additional role for me in the coming month. However, having already been in the show for a year, I certainly knew her vocals but did not know her staging. I had a rushed rehearsal that afternoon and then went on for the first time!
I also was understudy to Evita on a national tour and I paid off the matinee girl so I could perform for my hometown at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (now, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts). Almost 100 of my friends came to see me.
What are you listening to these days? New Orleans jazz, Bruce Hornsby
What is your favorite thing about the MMC? I love Glenn’s teaching. Yes, directing is one thing (and he is wonderful), but teaching is another. I learn from him, which adds to my love of singing and my love for singing in a group. I was in the song and dance group, the Young Americans where my love for choral music blossomed. Being an alto and fitting right in the middle of all the different parts can be exhilarating.
Anything you’d like to add? I started off as a ballerina. And once I hung out with the Oakland A’s at spring training in 1993 when Tony La Russa was manager. I caught a fly ball in the outfield during batting practice with coaching by Ron Darling and Dennis Eckersley. No lie!