Most artists, sooner or later in their careers, get trapped
in certain genres.
Caught by record companies, movie companies, producers and managers, they carry on their work without the dedication that once got them started in show business.
Karla DeVito is not one of them.

You would have to search alot to find a more multitalented artist with a career that span both world-wide rock tours
and Broadway musicals as well as movie and television appearances.
She has also written her own songs, as well as writing
movie scripts.
It may not come as a surprise that Karla once said in an interview that: "My motto is 'No future in specialization' ".
Karla DeVito was interested in acting and
pop music from a very young age.
Not unusual, but unlike most of us, she fulfilled her dreams.
Growing up in a big city with nearby theatres and stages makes the realization of dreams like that a little easier.

But Karla didn't grow up in that big city.
She grew up in Mokena, Illinois, about 35 miles southwest of Chicago.
Today one of the fast growing communities of Chicagoland with about 15000
citizens, but in the sixties a small farming village out in the Illinois countryside.
After graduating from Lincoln-Way, the highschool of the neighboring city, Karla studied theater at Loyola University
in Chicago. During her freshman year she joined the Chicago cast of Godspell. The company opened at the Studebaker Theatre at Michigan Avenue, Chicago in September 1972.
In 1971-72 Karla also studied with Jo Forsberg at Second City Company in Chicago and was part of the Children's Theatre group, with Bill Murray and many other improviational actors.
In 1973 she became part of the Pawnee tribe, one of several tribes that made up the cast of the musical Hair.
This setup opened in August 1973 in Omaha, Nebraska and was directed by David James.
Around 1974 Karla was back in Chicago singing lead in the musical El Grande De Coca Cola.
Later, when this musical opened in New York, Karla continued to perform her role in it but now as a part of The Boston Company.
The musical was on for about 9 month and at this time you could say that a lot of loose ends were about to be connected.
The result, in 1977, would end up as the legendary Meat Loaf album Bat Out of Hell !
The Chicago cast of Godspell.
From left to right, back row first:
Jim Parks, Carol McGill, Sammy Chester, Richard Gilliland, James Zubiena.
Jo Ann Brown-El, Tricia Smith, Howard Sponseller, Gigi Williams, Mark Ganzel
Joe Mantegna, Karla DeVito, Dan Stone
Fran Uditsky, Nancy McCall
While in New York doing the musical El Grande de Coca Cola, Karla visited the famous rock club CBGBs, listening to bands like The Ramones and Talking Heads and artists like Patti Smith just to mention a few.
Karla was turning more into rock music at this time, and once she actually auditioned for Bruce Springsteen and
the E-Street Band !
She was one of three girls who were approved and got to sing with Bruce and the band at a final audition at Asbury Park. But the idea of a female backup singer for the Born To Run album was later dropped by Bruce.
Karla was requested to sing Be My Baby, and Baby It´s You,
but according to Karla nothing was ever recorded from these sessions and no female backgrounds are on the Born to Run Album.
Around 1976, her hometown neighbor Billie Best was living in Boston and was manager for the theatrical band Orchestra Luna, led by Rick Kinscherf.
( Changed his name to Rick Berlin a little later on )
This was the second incarnation of Orchestra Luna and when Karla heard that they were going to play at her favorite club, CBGBs, she wanted to join them.
A couple of years earlier, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf had met and began their musical collaboration.
In early 1976 Jim, Meat, singer Rory Dodd, and a little later on Ellen Foley began to promote the Bat Out of Hell album but were rejected over and over again.
It seems to me that Jim Steinman was not too sure of what it was they were doing because several of the songs were songs that he had included in a musical called Neverland.
This was Karlas first meting with Steinman and Meat Loaf since Orchestra Luna was hired to play the music.
The musical was done on just a single occation but at
Jim Steinmans website you can actually listen do some of the songs and Karlas voice is there in the background !
It has been said many, many times before and I will say it again; that Karla did not participate in the recording of the Bat-album.
It was Ellen Foley who did the background singing as well as the duet in Paradise By the Dashboard Light.
Karla joined Meat Loaf when it was time to start touring in
late 1977.
The reason for that was, according to Meat Loaf, that
"Karla was better on stage then Ellen", but Ellen also had a beginning career of her own to take care of.

This was actually not the first time Karla replaced Ellen !
In the mid seventies when Ellen began working with Jim and Meat she came from a New York band led by Doug Isaac.
The girl who got the job after Ellen was Karla !
No wonder Doug got a little tired when Jim and Meat once again then "stole" his lead singer...
But Karla only went to a couple of rehearsals with this band that due to financial restraints played mostly covers.
Karla wanted something more creative and artistic !
There is more to read about it here.
Anyhow, while they were trying to get a record deal Steinman, in the summer of 1977 also set up the Neverland musical at a Workshop at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Oddly enough, Meat Loaf himself was not a part of it, but Ellen Foley was, playing the role of Wendy.
After the Meat Loaf tour followed a busy period for Karla.
It is possible that the original plans were to continue working with Meat Loaf and Steinman and their follow-up album but things turned out differently.
Meat Loaf himself got in to all kinds of trouble after the Bat tour, including loosing his voice.
The result was that Jim Steinman on his own, recorded the album Bad For Good with some help from the people who was behind the Bat album.
Karlas part was doing a duet with Jim in the song
Dance In My Pants.
Then in 1982 Karla and Robby was in Edmonton, Canada for the recording of the movie Running Brave that Robby had the lead role in.
At the same time they also recorded Karlas Christmas single Santa Claus Is Coming To My House, probably the first song they wrote together.
The band who played with them was a local rock band that for this one occation called themselves
The Royale Canadian Dismounted Band.
Later this year Karla played the part of Barbara in the movie Two Of a Kind that featured George Burns and Robby in the lead roles.

In 1983 she did a duet with Paul Anka ( Gimme The Word ) and she also recorded her and Robbys song We Are Not Alone for the movie The Breakfast Club.

Due to personal and familiar reasons things slowed down a little in the mid 80:ies but in 1986 she released her second solo album Wake Em Up In Tokyo.
Most of the songs were her own and Robbys and for some strange reason this album never got as much attention as her first one; and, though hard to belive, it was soon forgotten.
Except maybe for the song Nobody Makes Me Crazy, that Diana Ross included on her awardwinning album Swept Away.
On the CD version of Cool World there is an interview where Karla tells the rather fun story behind the album and why she personally was not satisfied with it.
A little later on she went back to Broadway.
This time to do Roger Millers musical Big River together with among others, John Goodman.
The musical was based on Mark Twains Huckleberry Finn and became a big success.
It won several Tony awards and Karla played the part of
Mary Jane Wilkes.
Sources vary a little here too, but it seems that she replaced Patti Cohenour that was part of the original cast.
Karla also did the musical The Leader Of The Pack in 1984 at The Bottom Line, a New York club where she a couple of years earlier played while promoting her Cool World album.

In the later part of the 80:ies she once again did some background singing, this time for Robert Tepper and
Moon Martin.
Then, towards the end of the 80:ies Karla begun to work with the movie Modern Love where she, together with Robby, played the lead roles.
The movie was both directed and written by Robby and their daughter also played a part in it.
But she also managed in 1989 to find the time to record two songs for the album Anthem together with the temporary group Desolation Angels.
Unfortunately this second setup of OL never got into the recording studio.
Don Shewey of Rolling Stone magazine described them as "shamefully underrated and never recorded".
Karlas comment about that was :
"The record companies just didn't know what to do with it."
The movie Modern Love was released in 1990 and from there on Karlas career really turned in to acting.
After Modern Love, Karla and Robby wrote the script for the thriller Betrayal Of The Dove but then followed almost countless appearances in television series as well as voice work in numerous animated movies and also commercials.
Some examples of movies and TV-series that she lend her voice to were Bonkers, Road Rovers and Batman Gotham Knights.
On television Karla could be seen in Fired Up,
Truth And Consequences, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Watch the Modern Love trailer here !
However, in 2002 Karla was back in the recording studio again !
This time to record the rock opera The Heart Of The Rose,
by Graham Russell of the band Air Supply.
A double CD was released and has turned in to a bit of a collectors item since it was sold out in only a few month.
So far, this rock opera has not made it to the stages but in January 2007 a presentation of the show was held in New York City and Karla was there !
Visit this page for some photos and more information about the project that now seems to be on its way to the stages !

Meanwhile back in -02, Robby was writing on the musical Open Heart, a musical more or less written for Karla.
It was set up as a reading for two days in January 2003 in
New York at The Cherry Lane Theatre, but it would take another year before it made it to the stage.
One reason for that might be the change in career for both Robby and Karla that made them move from California to Boone, North Carolina where they worked as teachers at the Appalachian State University.
In early 2004 Open Heart made it to the stage at the Cherry Lane Theatre where it received a lot of positive reviews.
Not the least Karlas singing left the critics deeply impressed !
( I´m not surprised ! )

A CD from the musical was released and if you´re interested in it, visit the Open Heart page
of Robbys site, or visit CD Baby.
During those first years of the 80:ies Karla also did background vocals for The Sorrows and on two Blue Öyster Cult albums.
She also performed live on MTV as their first female performer, and later she had her own show,called
Rock Influences.
In 1981 she also managed to find the time to do musical again. This time on Broadway as a replacement for Linda Ronstadt in The Pirates of Penzance.
This was done at the same time as she was working on her first solo album Is This a Cool World Or What !

In Pirates of Penzance
Karla played the part
of Mabel and later on
Robby Benson got the
role as Fredric.
These two became
a couple in the musical,
but for Karla and Robby
it did not end when they
left stage, in 1982 they
got married.
Poster from the N.Y.Times just after opening night.
Thanks Karla for the permission !

For the time being, Karla and Robby have left the Appalachian mountains and are now living in New York where Robby is teaching at Tisch School Of The Arts.
It was also here in the early 70:ies that Karla actually made her first record !
The story behind this single is for the moment unknown to me but somehow she got together with the Chicago-based band The Boogie Man Orchestra.
The song she recorded together with them was a disco version of the Lesley Gore hit It´s My Party !
The original single is extremely rare today but thanks to
Sun PK you can now hear it on CD, together with a whole bunch of classic discotunes from the 70:ies !
Click for a larger version !
Karlas first record !
Big Thanks to Sun PK for scanning the original single !
Back in -81 Karla begun to tour with her album, doing her own performances as well as opening for artists like Hall and Oats, and Rick Springfield.
If you click HERE, you find a great article about a "homecoming" concert she did in Lincoln-Way in early 1982 !
Here is page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4 and page 5
of the article.

Karla also recorded three videos to the Cool World album,
Cool World, Midnight Confessions, and Almost Saturday Night.
The videos was recorded in England, directed by Jack Simmons, and there, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice
( who had seen her in Piratez Of Penzance ) contacted her and asked if she was interested in doing the role of Eva Peron in the movie Evita.
Karla auditioned and also did a screentest for the director Ken Russell, but for a number of reasons the movieproject was canceled. ( and did not become reality until 1995 with Madonna in the lead role. )