Mark Janicello, a paragon of optimism, is a sensitive, positive man who always found his greatest strength in the moments of his greatest challenges:
“Regardless of how high the price I had to pay for my decisions, I do not regret a single one of them. Even though I’ve spent more than 40 years of my life in the performing arts and have realized most of my childhood dreams, I still have the feeling that I am just at the beginning”.
Singer, Actor, Author, Poet, Painter, Producer, Director, Columnist, and Lyricist. These are just a few of the words that can be used to describe the multi-talented, American “Renaissance Man”, Mark Janicello. His career defies easy categorization, as he changes artistic disciplines, the way most people change clothing.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1962, Mark decided at the tender age of 3 that he would be an artist. He’s been on stage, onscreen, or in front of a microphone ever since. In 1969, Mark’s family moved to Burlington, North Carolina where he lived from age 6 until he was 16. In 1984, he graduated from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Mark is currently a resident of Berlin, Germany, and is living in his 32nd apartment in the 10th different country. He speaks English, German and Dutch fluently and is conversant in Italian, French and Swiss German.
SINGER – “Music was my first love, and it will be my last…” His first stage appearance (at 4 years old) was as a soloist in his grandfather’s Joseph’s Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, NY. At 17, Mark made his professional debut playing Superman in a Musical Revue “Comic Books Tonight” in Greensboro, North Carolina. At UNC-G, Mark began his study to become a professional opera singer. After graduation, Mark moved back to New York, and under the patronage of Metropolitan Opera Star Soprano, Licia Albanese, he continued his operatic training as a Puccini Foundation Prizewinner, studying with the legendary opera singers Franco Corelli and Margaret Harshaw. In addition to his voice lessons, he worked with the famed coach of Maria Callas, Alberta Masiello during the last 3 years of her life.
MUSIC UNDER NEW YORK – In the mid-1980s while he was still a struggling newcomer to the Big Apple, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) created a Pilot Program called “Music Under New York” to bring joyous and engaging music to New York’s rundown subway to entertain and uplift the commuting public. Thousands of performers in the metropolitan area auditioned, but only 32 made the cut – Mark Janicello among them — to take part in that pilot program. Music Under New York turned out to be a stepping stone to a major career for Mark.
In addition to the substantial financial benefits, (he earned up to $600 an hour singing in the subway) in 1990, while he was practicing his operatic arias in a subway station, Mark was discovered by a famous opera conductor, who just happened to be passing by. Shortly thereafter, Mark made his Carnegie Hall Debut as Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” with the Opera Orchestra of New York under the direction of Maestra Eve Queler. He then made the move from street performer to established theaters and concert halls performing with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, in Avery Fisher Hall, Town Hall (NYC), and the Zürich Opera House, among many, many others.
AMERICA’S BEST STREET PERFORMER – In 1992, a few years after Mark had left the subways for a stage career, the MTA contacted Mark and asked him to represent New York in a major contest “The KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Musical Feast.” As one of the most successful subway singers in Music Under New York history, the MTA felt sure he would represent New York with honors. Mark bet on his creative instincts and used the contest to facilitate a move from a strictly classical-, to a multi-faceted entertainment career. After winning the semi-finals on a stage in the center of New York’s famed Times Square, a day later, he was crowned “America’s Best Street Performer” in Grand Central Station, winning in the KFC Musical Feast, beating out over 3,000 other contestants from all over the United States. Mark’s winning idea was a reflection of his extraordinary imagination: “What if Elvis never died but just turned into Pavarotti?” The Result: a Crossover Number mixing the singing styles and personalities of Elvis with “It’s Now Or Never” and Pavarotti with “O Sole Mio.” His performance in New York’s Grand Central Station brought him not only $15,000, but international media attention, as well as live performances on NBC’s “Today” Show with Blues legend Bo Diddley, as well as concerts at the Grand Ole Opry, among others.
ACTOR – Janicello always believed that “to sing believably, one had to act as well.” He began intensive acting training during his university years and continued for 10 further years of private study in New York with William Wendt, a member of the New York’s famed Actor’s Studio. His years of study and practice paid off, for from the beginning of his career, Janicello has moved effortlessly between singing and acting jobs. Mark has played leading roles in over 23 Musicals, 46 Operas, and Operettas, 12 Plays, 16 Films, and has appeared innumerable times on television.
After his last stage production in 2012’s groundbreaking musical “Loving the Silent Tears”
(directed by legendary Director/Choreographer Vincent Paterson) in Hollywood’s famed Shrine Auditorium, Mark decided to leave the stage and to concentrate his energies on filmed entertainments. Since 2013, has worked on over 90 national- and international film, tv, corporate video, and commercial productions.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY – In April 2011, Mark’s critically-acclaimed autobiography “Naked in the Spotlight- My Life with Sex, Singing, and Scientology” was published by Ibera Publishers in a German translation in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. In 2016, “Naked in the Spotlight” was published in English on Amazon.
“Naked in the Spotlight” tells the life story of Mark Janicello, the multi-talented New Yorker, whose career defies easy categorization. Janicello’s life reads like a typical American show business success story until Scientology crossed the young performer’s path. Janicello unexpectedly landed in the crossfire of a 13-year, international hate campaign that befits a Tom Clancy novel, more than the autobiography of an artist. You can watch an extensive television interview with author Mark Janicello regarding “Naked in the Spotlight” HERE.
Janicello’s life has been more bizarre than any fiction. Crushed between Scientology’s enemies within several European governments and the cult itself, he went from stardom to “persona non grata”, virtually overnight. He lost millions in contracts and appearances. He was arrested, blacklisted, slandered, publicly humiliated, and was often forced to perform with police protection.
Having worked side-by-side with the highest level of the Church’s Management, Janicello traveled tens of thousands of miles in one year for the Scientology Organization. His insights into the mentality and internal machinations of this very secretive organization have never been told in this manner before. At the time of the biggest protests, the Scientology Organization — for whom Janicello had become not only their public face but also their biggest internal fundraiser as well — left him to die. After unsuccessful trips to the famed “Scientology Celebrity Center” in Los Angeles to gather support from John Travolta, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, and others — Janicello soon came to the terrible realization that he had been abandoned. He left Scientology for good in 2003. “I underestimated the enemies of the Church, and vastly overestimated my “friends” in Scientology.”
“Naked in the Spotlight” chronicles one man’s journey of self-discovery, told through the prism of his multi-faceted career, and played out against the rough streets of New York and Europe’s most glamorous cities. A true 20th Century anti-hero, Janicello’s candor reveals an ebullient personality and a troubled man, fraught with human weakness, thrust unprepared, in the position of fighting for his very existence. Janicello’s life has been more bizarre than any fiction. “At the end of the day, what I learned is that a religion or a philosophy can give you tools, but the only person who is going to save you, is you .”
– While living in Amsterdam, Mark became a regular contributor to Hoop Doop Magazine
. His columns concentrated on the marketing of art and artists in the new Millenium. Since 2018, Mark works as a critic-at-large
for Broadway World, reviewing theatrical and concert productions in Germany.
POET – At age 21, Mark began keeping a journal of his experiences as a young actor in New York. A collection of Mark’s poetry and essays “Unsaid” is available HERE.
CONCERT AND EVENT PROMOTER / PRODUCER – His second career as Concert Producer/Promoter began in 1996 with the Concert Events “ELVIS: The Hollywood Years” celebrating the music of legendary Elvis Composer Ben Weisman in Gstaad and Zurich, Switzerland. In 1998, he founded LaRaven Productions (named after his 2 daughters, Lara and Raven). LaRaven Productions was incorporated in Amsterdam, in August 2004.
PAINTER / GALLERY OWNER – In his youth, Mark was a passionate painter and graphic artist. Since 2001, he has renewed his childhood interest in painting. An autodidact, he has undertaken his work in this artistic discipline with the same explosive energy with which he endeavors everything else and the results speak for themselves. From his first collection of paintings entitled “Erotic Flowers” until his most recent exhibition, “Dreamcatcher” Janicello has enjoyed 14 successful international exhibitions (Vienna and Steyr, Austra; Amsterdam, Haarlem and Diemen, The Netherlands; Bayreuth and Cologne, Germany; as well as in Zürich, Switzerland). You can view some of Mark’s work in his Online Gallery.
In November 2011, Mark was approached by a real estate agency in Amsterdam and offered what they called “a very problematic building.” Herengracht 132 was a historic building in Amsterdam’s Canal District that had been devastated in a gigantic fire 3 years earlier. It had stood empty for more than two years after squatters had been removed. Its once-majestic facade was riddled with graffiti and posters and the interior of the building was pretty much devastated. After four weeks of intensive cleaning and preparation, “Gallery LaRaven” and the was born. A second Gallery LaRaven was opened in Amsterdam in mid-2012, and in late 2012, the third gallery in Zandvoort, NL joined the Gallery LaRaven family. Upon returning to Germany in late 2013, Janicello turned over Gallery LaRaven to his business partner.
MUSICAL AUTHOR – “The Chamäleon Concert” coincided with Mark’s first work as Musical Author and Producer. In the intervening years, he has written, directed and produced the following original musicals: “The Chamäleon Concert” (1998). It was followed by “Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Musical” (1999); “Charlie” (2001) & (2004); and “ELVIS: The Musical” (2002-2004). Mark’s children’s musical “Cloud 9” (2011) will be produced as a one-hour animated television special. A sixth original musical “The Great Caruso” about legendary tenor Enrico Caruso is in pre-production for an eventual European tour.
“THE FINELLIS” / MARJAN CONTENT PRODUCTIONS – In January 2016, Janicello began work as the author, executive producer, lyricist and leading actor for the New SitCom, “The Finellis.” In November 2018, a Berlin-based production company Marjan Content Productions UG was founded in Berlin, Germany to facilitate the production of “The Finellis.” In the course of the last 18 months, “The Finellis” has won over 20 international television awards in 12 different countries and has accumulated over 60 award nominations.
- “Unchained” (1995)
- “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (1996) (UK ONLY)
- “Suspicious Minds” (1996) Promo CD
- “Will You Still Be There” (1997)
- “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1997) CD-Single
- “Du bist das Herz der Welt” (1998) Duet Hanne Haller
- “Be My Love: Das Mario Lanza Musical” (1999)
- “Classics” (1999) Puccini and Verdi Tenor Arias
- “Deep In Your Soul” (2000) CD Single
- “Time Stands Still” (2000) CD Single
- “Charlie: A New Musical” (2001) German-language version
- “Right Now” (2001) CD Single
- “Amazing Grace” (2001) Gospel Classics
- “Endless Love” (2001) LIVE in Concert
- “Elvis: die Show, sein Leben” (2002) Musical CD
- Rubbernecking” (2002) – CD Single
- “Great Big Mama” (2002) CD Single
- “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (2003) (EP)
- “The Christmas Songs” (2003) (EP)
- “Charlie: A New Musical” (2004) English-language Version
- “Musical Man” (2005) Broadway’s Greatest Hits
- “Butterfly” (2005)
- “Traummelodien” (2005) Opera and Operette Arias
- “Traummelodien 2” (2006) More Opera and Operetta Arias
- “Elvis Goes Classic – LIVE” (2006) Live Album from Munich, Germany
- “Georgia On My Mind” (2006) A Tribute to Ray Charles
- “Die Nacht der Musicals” (2007) Original Cast Album (4 Songs)
- “La Notte Italiana” (2008) Italian folk, pop and light classics
- “Listen” (EP) (2008)
- “Great Big Mama” (2009) Double Dutch Remix CD Single
- “Ultimate Collection: The Love Songs” (2009)
- “Elvis & Me” (2009) Double CD Set
- “Push it Now” (2011) CDSingle
- “Loving The Silent Tears” (2012) Original Cast Album
- “Musical Man 2” (2013) Broadway’s Greatest Hits Part 2
- “I Am A Man” (2014) CD Single
- “Here I Am Again” (2015) CD Single
- “Rock Legends” (2017) Hits from Elvis, Queen & Prince
- “I Believe “(2017) Gospel Classics
A FEW CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
RECORDS: with Frank Sinatra (an unreleased duet-version of “My Way”)
APPEARANCES: Liza Minelli, Bill Cosby, Chick Corea, Jody Watley, Jon Secada, Bo Diddley, Edita Gruberova, Anna Moffo, Alfredo Kraus, and many others.
PERFORMANCES at: Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Opernhaus Zürich; Metropolitan Opera Guild; Stadttheater St. Gallen, Amadeus Festival Vienna; World Music Festival Kopenhagen; The Grand Ole Opry; The Apollo Theater Harlem; Shrine Auditorium Hollywood
- Per Nörgard composed the opera “Nuit Des Hommes” (Kopenhagen,1996) for Mark Janicello in which he performed at the 1996 World Music Festival in Copenhagen
- Graham Todd composed the Oratorio “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (Sussex England 1996) for Mark Janicello
- “Leicester” in the American Premiere Production of Rossini’s “Elisabetta, Regina D’Inghilterra”
- “Doufi” in the German-language Premiere of Per Nörgaards – “Die göttliche Kirmes”
- “Dr. S” in the European Premiere of Michael Nyman’s Opera, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat” at the Amadeus Festival in Vienna
FILMS: with Ann Bancroft, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael J. Fox, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alec Baldwin, Iris Berben, and many others
TELEVISION: “The Finellis,” “The Today Show-NBC”, CNN, “Entertainment Tonight,” “Showtime at the Apollo”, ORF, ATV, SAT 1, Pro Sieben, RTL, RTL II, WDR, ARD, MDR, BR, SF1, NBC, NED 1, CRTV (Chinese TV)