Sally Stark last appeared at Danny's Skylight Room in New York City performing her nightclub act MY TAKE ON IT with Tex Arnold on piano, Sean Smith on bass, and Dave Radajczak on drums.
"The other night I heard a wonderful girl singer, Sally Stark, at Danny's. I urge you all to go hear her. She's simply marvelous!"
Margaret Whiting
Other clubs in which she has performed are Jan Wallman's, Don't Tell Mama, The Players' Club, On Stage, Soerbaja, Ye Little Club, Playboy Club, and the Warren Hotel on the Jersey shore.
The musical theatre world, however, was the first to notice Sally's singing. She played Bunny Byron in the Equity Theatre production of BABES IN ARMS by Rodgers and Hart.
"Except for Sally Stark who is ready to take over a lead in any Broadway musical ... Sally Stark, we're sure, will be able to say this musical proved to be a springboard for her." Backstage
This led to YOUR YOUR OWN THING at the Orpheum Theatre, a musical version of Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT playing the role of Olivia with Sandy Duncan as Viola.
"The find of the new cast may well be Sally Stark, who plays Olivia with an irresistible blend of cynicism and tired lust. She has a gift for comic timing that should invite juicy parts." Variety
Sally (center) and (L-R) Sandy Duncan, Jon Stevens, Tony Travis, Bruce Scott
(Photo: Bert Andrews)
Shortly thereafter she was offered the role of Joan, the chorus girl with a heart of gold, in the Off Broadway musical DAMES AT SEA, a spoof on the Busby Berkeley musicals of the 30's with Bernadette Peters as Ruby.
"Sally Stark as Ruby's peroxided pal, belts a note as plangent as the great Merman's." Time Magazine
Bernadette Peters (L), Tamara Long and a blonde Sally.
Sally with Joseph R. Sicari
Her career in television began with commercials. Her face sold Gain Detergent, Hallmark, Excedrin, Alpo, Downey, Folgers, Sara Lee, etc.
"Real is the look right now ," said the N.W. Ayer Casting Director. "Someone who looks like the average TV viewer, only a lot better. Some examples of the "real" look for women are Sally Stark and Ruth Nerkin."
Film Magazine
It was in the soap opera world, however, where she found her audience. She was cast as Kate Swanson, a nightclub singer, in the soap opera LOVE OF LIFE. The story line revolved around Kate's singing career, giving her the opportunity to sing as well as hone her acting skills. Surviving a rape by the club owner, the murder of her first husband and suicide of the second, the birth of a blind child and a bout with throat cancer, took some serious acting. Her singing was accompanied by her favorite jazz musicians: Mike Abene on piano, and Mike Moore on bass. She later appeared as Sharon Duvall on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and in the recurring role of Carly in ALL MY CHILDREN.
(L-R) Ron Tomme, a pregnant Sally, Audrey Peters, Drew Snyder. Tony LoBianco, Toni Bull Bua
Broadway soon beckoned. The director, Martin Charnin, requested her for the role of Nadine in the comedy A LITTLE FAMILY BUSINESS starring Angela Lansbury and John McMartin. Although the preview audiences loved it, the New York Times critic didn't and it closed in a few weeks.
Back to musical theatre , but this time on the high seas, playing Dorothy Brock in 42ND STREET aboard the SSNorway as well as performing in a Broadway revue.
A different "Dame at Sea" - Sally as Dorothy Brock in 42nd STREET on the SS Norway.
Land soon called and after three months, Sally returned to New York. After her extended run at Danny's, she decided to produce her own CD, singing the music she enjoyed most, jazz . Her search for songs resulted in her rediscovering Maxine Sullivan, a singer in the 30's and 40's, who came to fame by swinging the Scottish ballad "Loch Lomand." Sally loved her effortless singing as well as the collaborative spirit of the musicians. She wanted to create that same spirit and chose ten songs that Maxine had sung throughout her career. She hired Mike Abene as producer and arranger and musicians that understood the swinging style of the songs: Warren Vache on trumpet (who had played for Maxine), Chip Jackson on bass, Dennis Mackrel on drums, James Chirillo on guitar, Michael Hashim on saxophone and Mike Abene on piano.