Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein has made her life in the performing arts an adventure in daring do. After getting a callback in her first audition at the age of nine for lead in Alice In Wonderland, Sharon has been inspired to explore the world of theater arts as actress, singer, director, writer, lyricist, producer, teacher, composer, librettist, and arranger working from Kentucky to Florida, to New York, the eastern United States, Canada, and Honduras.
Sharon grew up in Anchorage, Kentucky where a renowned children’s theater tradition flourished. She performed in The Wizard of Oz (Glinda), Alice through the Looking Glass, (White Chess Queen), Peter Pan (Mrs. Darling) and studied acting and voice. What also began was her experience with original material. Original songs were composed for Anchorage Children Theater (ACT) productions and Sharon was given many solos to sing.
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein Shares in the National AFTRA award!
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein: Her love of the classics began when she directed her first show, The Imaginary Invalid (Moliere), at Eastern High School. Next for ACT, she directed Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) with 4th – 6th graders that was filmed for PBS locally and assistant directed The Taming of The Shrew which won a national AFTRA award. While earning her bachelor’s in theater arts at the University of Louisville, she directed The Tempest, The Boys in the Band, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (honored by U of L President), choreographed The Apple Tree and played Emily in The Importance of Bering Earnest, among others.
During her masters’ work, Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein directed a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf presented for playwright Edward Albee. Sharon thought directing would be her métier but with only one year into her masters, her adventure veered in another “direction”.
Moving to Sarasota, Florida began many new chapters. She played community theater leads in You Can’t Take It With You (Alice), Naughty Marietta (Marietta), and The Sound Of Music (Maria) and began her professional career. For Coastal Theater Productions, she toured in The Merry Widow as the Countess de Chassis and with one day’s notice step in for the Widow;
Susan in Stop The World…; Sophie in The Star-Spangled Girl. Then one day at 4 pm, she got a phone call asking her to replace Maria (Aniko Farrell) that night in The Sound of Music at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater (Jupiter, FL). Because Sharon grew up competing in swimming and springboard diving meets (with many trophies), she learned how to handle pressure. So, she jumped on the private plane and was onstage by 8:20 pm. All six performances received standing ovations and was thrilled to work with Teri Saunders (Lady Tiang in the King and I movie) as Mother Superior. She even got a write up in Variety.
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein becomes a Concert Artist with Husband, David, At the Piano
Sharon’s career moved in a new direction when she married pianist/ composer David Ohrenstein. With three toddlers, Sharon & David put together an act. They became known for unique concert arrangements such as combining The Black and White Rag with Make Believe from Showboat.
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein and Husband, David, Tour Internationally!
They landed a 20 week job at Scott’s Oquaga Lakehouse in upstate New York and spent 18 months performing in Toronto, Canada with shows at Chez Nous , the Canadian National Exhibition, and the Park Plaza Hotel among others. Upon returning to Sarasota, their ever-evolving act (The Fabulous Ohs) took them many places over the next 20 years. They headlined on the east coast of Florida in the 1000 seat condo circuit theaters; returned to upstate New York for 15 more summer seasons; performed in Deep River, Ontario 3 years in a row as well as other engagements in Toronto; a Nat King Cole Review on Roatan, Honduras where they performed for the president of Honduras on their national TV; and concerts in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Georgia, and many engagements in south Florida.
Sharon and David Team Up to Write Four Full Length Musicals (See DSOWorks,com- under Products)
In 1996, Sharon approached her composer/ husband about her dream of writing musicals. Their first was Elizabeth of Russia, then Our Golda, and seven years later the intimate opera, Octavian & Cleopatra.
Their latest musical Three Queens combined the Elizaveta, Golda and Cleopatra stories into 90 minute work. (see Stage)
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein as an “Arranger”-No Job is too Big or too Small!
For fun, Sharon began arranging David’s compositions on the computer. With input from ballroom professionals, four years later, they released the CD – Dancing Near You. Arrangements for small ensembles followed their joining with WindSong- woodwind trio, piano and vocalist. Two works for Concert Band, “Glory and Honor” and “We Are One” have had their world premieres and much more music is on the drawing board. (see Music)
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein: Her Drawing Board Keeps On Evolving
More recently, as an actress, Sharon performed Nettie in Carousel, Content in Marriage -Go-Round, Fay Templeton in George M, Bernice in Bingo (with Grammy winning lyricist -Ilene Reid ); Frieda (lead) in Mamaleh with writer Mitchel Uscher; and Elizabeth I in the new musical Willm S; (for full list see resume) Her love for new works has led to performances in readings at Florida Studio Theater.
As a teacher, Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein has given private voice lessons for over 20 years. Some of her students have won scholarships for college. For 14 years, Sharon has been a highly ranked (nationally) instructor with Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) with the theater, opera, and film festival programs in Sarasota.
Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein is a member of ASCAP, the Sarasota Area Playwrights Society and was recently named an Amazing Women of the Suncoast for Linda Carson’s ABC 7 segment. Sharon and David make their home in Sarasota, FL and have three grown children. Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein Has a Multi-Talented Approach- we hope you agree.
Opera and musicals
2018 – Patra: opera comique. Co-composer and Librettist.
2016- Golden Roads: musical. Arranger, Librettist
2015 – Seeds of Hope:youth opera . work in progress. Co-composer ,
2010 & 2011-Three Queens : musical. Librettist, Arranger for piano, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet,
2003 & 2005 – Octavian & Cleopatra. Librettist, co-arranger
2000 – Our Golda: musical. (Commissioned work) Librettist
1999 & 2003 – Elizabeth of Russia: operetta. Librettist
Voice & Ensemble
2015 – We Are One for SSTB and concert band – world premiere
2012 – Sing Unto God – commissioned. Based on melody from Brahms Symphony 1 in Cm fourth
movement. Words and additional music by Sharon Ohrenstein. Numerous arrangements: for soprano,
wind trio, piano;piano and solo voice, duet, SSA, SATB
2014 – June by Tchaikovsky with lyrics by Sharon Ohrenstein arranged for soprano, wind trio, piano
2014 – Glory and Honor – march in two tempos. Arranged for concert band. world premiere
2015 – Dialogue: A Man and Woman. arranged for wind quintet
2015. Iguana Farm (humoresque) – arranged for oboe and piano
2015. Moonlight on the Lake – arranged for piano, oboe , horn in F