Pia Douwes

Pia Douwes

Pia Douwes (born on August 5, 1964) is a Dutch musical theatre actress who is very successful in Europe.


Douwes was born in Amsterdam, North Holland, to an arts dealer and a social worker and the grandniece of Doris Day. Initially Douwes wanted to become a nurse for mentally handicapped children, then, she danced in a disco when she was 19 years old and realised that she wanted to dance. She went to London and searched for a dance school in the "Yellow Pages". She chose the "Brooking School of Ballet". Without any prior dance education, she auditioned (with a sprained ankle) and was accepted. One year later she attended a musical workshop with Susi Nicoletti and Sam Cane in Vienna. Cane is said to have told Douwes' father at that time: "If she doesn't become a star, I'll hang myself!".

In 1986, she got her first small part in the German-language premiere of "Little Shop of Horrors" in Vienna. More small parts followed afterwards. In 1987 she got her first part in a larger production. She was a Swing in "Cats" in Amsterdam. With this production she toured Russia in 1988, playing Grizabella and Jellylorum.

More parts followed, including Fantine in the original Amsterdam production of "Les Misérables" in 1991, but the great break through came in 1992, when the she got the title role in the world premiere of "Elisabeth" in Vienna, Austria. Though the Viennese papers wrote a lot of scathing criticism, such as "Munter geht die Sisi unter" ("Sisi perishes")" and they denied Douwes singing and acting talent of any kind, Douwes became (along with Uwe Kröger) an acclaimed musical star. The musical "Elisabeth" is today the most successful German-language musical of all-time.

Until 1994 she played "Elisabeth", then followed more parts like Rizzo in "Grease" (Vienna) and Eva Perón in "Evita" in the Dutch touring production.

She was also active in other areas; she sang and spoke the leading part of the Dutch version in the movies "Pocahontas 1&2". Additionally she did the gala evenings "In love with Musical" along with her colleagues Uwe Kröger, Marika Lichter and Viktor Gernot.

In 1999 she played Velma Kelly in the Dutch premiere of "Chicago". But Douwes went back to her roots and played the leading part of "Elisabeth" again in the Dutch and German premieres of the musical. After all in all 900 performances as the Austrian empress she went back to Holland in February 2002 to take along with Dutch musical stars Simone Kleinsma and Stanley Burleson part in the Broadway musical "Fosse".

In March 2003 she got the chance to play Milady de Winter at the world premiere of the Dutch musical "3 Musketiers" (The Three Musketeers). The musical was later recorded (with her) and is now available on DVD.

In 2004 she played again Velma Kelly in "Chicago". But this time she performed in the West End of London and then on Broadway, being the first Dutch actress to take a leading role in a production on Broadway.

Back again in Holland she played Clara in "Passion". Then she went back to Germany to play again Milady de Winter at the German premiere of "3 Musketiere" in "Theater des Westens" in Berlin. She played the part until October 30, 2005.

Pia Douwes is the most famous European musical actress alongside Ute Lemper. She took part at over 25 CD productions and was a duet partner of José Carreras.

In 2007, she was seen as a judge on "Op zoek naar Evita", a Dutch reality show. The winner will be cast as Eva Perón, a role Douwes played over a decade ago, in a new Dutch production of Evita.

In 2008, Pia will don the turban as the infamous Norma Desmond in the new Dutch touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard", while also being a judge on the German reality show 'Ich Tarzan du Jane' in which they will be looking for both Tarzan and Jane to star in the new German production of "Tarzan". Pia is the first actress to play Norma in more than three years, with the last production being a 2005 concert version in Australia, which starred Judi Connelli.

Musical Engagements

* 1986 "Little Shop of Horrors", Crystal in Vienna
* 1986 - 1987"Sammy Mario and Dancers", Dancer in Vienna
* 1987 "Cats", Swing, Grizabella, Jellylorum in Amsterdam
* 1988 - 1989 "Cats", Grizabella, Jellylorum, Demeter in Vienna
* 1988 "Cats", Grizabella, Jellylorum at the tour through Russia
* 1990 "West Side Story", Maria at the tour through Belgium and the Netherlands
* 1991 - 1992 "Les Misérables", Fantine in Schevenigen
* 1992 - 1994 "Elisabeth", Empress Elisabeth in Vienna
* 1994 "Other People's Money", Kate Sullivan in Prague
* 1994 "West Side Story", Maria in Summer of Musical Amstetten
* 1994 - 1995 "Grease", Rizzo in Vienna
* 1995 / 1996 "Cabaret", Sally Bowles in Bad Hersfeld, Germany
* August 10, 1995 "Cats", Grizabella and guest at the premiere in Vienna
* 1995 - 1996 and January 1997 "Evita", Eva Péron at the tour through the Netherlands
* 1997 "Rocky Horror Show", Janet in Bad Hersfeld, Germany
* 1997 - 1999 "Dance! Dance! Dance!", Soloist in Vienna
* 1997 - 1998 "Jane Eyre", Jane Eyre at the tour through the Netherlands
* November 1998 "Savanah Bay", Young Woman in the Netherlands
* December 1999 "The Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical Gala", Soloist at the tour through Germany
* 1999 "Chicago", Velma Kelly in Utrecht
* 1999 - 2000 "Elisabeth", Elisabeth in Schevenigen
* 2000 "Sweeney Todd", Beggar Woman, Debut in the West End of London
* December 2000 "Cole Porter's Songbook", Soloist
* 2001 - 2002 "Elisabeth", Empress Elisabeth in Essen
* 2002 "Fosse", Soloist at the tour through the Netherlands
* 2003 - 2004 "3 Musketiers", Milady de Winter in Rotterdam
* 2004 "Chicago", Velma Kelly in London
* 2004 "Chicago", Velma Kelly, Debut on broadway
* 2004 - 2005 "Passion", Clara at the tour through the Netherlands
* 2005 "3 Musketiere", Milady de Winter in Berlin
* 2006 "Cabaret" in Amsterdam
* 2006 "Elisabeth", Empress Elisabeth in Stuttgart
* November 2006 - March 4, 2007 "3 Musketiere", Milady de Winter in Stuttgart
* April - June 2007 "Best of Musical 2007"
* July 2007 "Cats", Grizabella
* December 5th 2007, "Chicago: 10th Anniversary Gala" as Velma Kelly.
* 2008 04.01. - 27.01. "Die drei Musketiere", Milady de Winter in Stuttgart
* 2008 20.04 - ? "Elisbeth das Musical", Elisabeth in Berlin
* 2008-2009 "Sunset Boulevard"


* 1987 "Cats", Cast recording
* 1989 "It's time to say we care", Single for the benefit of the Aids-Gala in Vienna
* 1991 "Les Misérables", Cast recording
* 1992 "Hier sta ik", Single
* 1992 "Ich gehör nur mir / I belong to me", Single
* 1992 "Elisabeth", Cast recording
* 1994 Aidan Bell: "Time Warp Duett: Maybe we can make it"
* 1994 "Grease", Live recording
* 1995 "Living Water", Benefit CD
* 1995 "Musical Christmas in Vienna", Sampler
* 1995 "Pocahontas", Original Soundtrack Holland
* 1995 "Evita", Cast recording
* 1995 "Cabaret", Cast recording
* 1996 "Stars singen Weihnachtslieder", Sampler
* 1996 "Rocky Horror Show", Cast recording
* 1997 "Still in love with Muiscal", Live recording
* 1997 "Shades of night, Musicals go rock", Sampler
* 1998 "10 für Zehn", Benefit CD
* 1998 "Pocahontas II", Original Soundtrack Holland
* 1998 "Joop van den Enden presenteert: De beste uit de musicals", Sampler
* 1998 "Chicago", Cast recording
* 1999 "Elisabeth", Cast recording (Netherlands)
* 1999 "Mijn leven is van mij", Single (Dutch version of "Ich gehör nur mir" / "I belong to me")
* 2000 "Die fantastische Welt des Musicals", Sampler
* 2000 "Alles Musical", Sampler
* 2000 "Hoogtepunten uit de musicals, aangeboden door Persil", Sampler
* 2000 "Hilversum Calling", Sampler
* 2000 "Zing dan! Luisterliedjes", Sampler
* 2001 "Ernst Daniel Smit e amici: Una voce particulare - Duet", Sampler "Tu Cosa Fai Stasera"
* 2001 "Elisabeth", Cast recording in Essen, Germany
* 2001 "3 CD-Track: "Ich gehör nur mir", Single
* 2001 "In love with musical again", Live recording
* 2001 "Steve Barton memorial concert", Live recording
* 2001 "Uwe Kröger: Only the best"
* 2001 "Uwe Kröger: Musical Moments"
* 2002 "Het mooiste uit de nederlandse musicals", Sampler
* 2002 "Fosse (Bye bye, blackbird)", Promotional single
* 2003 "De drie Musketiers", Cast recording
* 2003 "De drie Musketiers - Special Edition", Cast recording, extra's CD & DVD
* 2003 "Uwe Kröger: Musical Moments 2"
* 2004 "Het mooiste uit de nederlandse musicals II", Sampler
* 2004 "Passion", Cast recording
* 2005 "Die drei Musketiere", Cast recording
* 2006 "Cabaret", Cast recording
* 2007 "Dezemberlieder" (December Songs), Solo CD of Maury Yeston's famous song cycle in German language

Nominations and Awards

* Image 1996 for "Elisabeth" in Vienna [Won]
* 1996 Bad Hersfeld Audience Award for "Cabaret" in Bad Hersfeld [Won]
* 2000 John Kraaijkamp Musical Award, Best Actress in a Leading Role for "Elisabeth" in Scheveningen [Nominated]
* 2002 John Kraaijkamp Musical Award, Best Actress Abroad for "Elisabeth" in Essen [Won]
* 2003 John Kraaijkamp Musical Award, Best Actress in a Leading Role for "3 Musketiers" in Rotterdam [Nominated]
* 2005 John Kraaijkamp Musical Award, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for "Passion" in the Netherlands [Nominated]
* 2006 Da Capo Award, Best Musical Actress for "3 Musketiere" in Berlin [Won]
* 2006 Da Capo Award, Best Female Voice [Won] , she won this award 6 times.

Pia has also been given the award for Female Leading Role five times by the readers of the German magazine "Musicals" for her performances in "Elisabeth"

External links

* [http://www.piadouwes-fc.com/ International Pia Douwes Fanclub] (in Dutch, German and English)
*Pia Douwes [http://www.pia-douwes.de Fansite] (German)
* Pia Douwes [http://www.pia-d.tk/ Fansite] (Dutch)

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