Gretha Boston’s fame lies in her voice, which has earned her a Tony Award for her role as Queenie in the popular revival of Showboat, as well as many words of praise from New York critics.
The mezzo-soprano was born in Crossett, Arkansas, the oldest of seven children. Her first singing experience came at the age of 2, as a member of the Gates Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church’s kiddie choir. At the age of 15 she saw her first opera, Carmen, at Northeast Louisiana University at Monroe, La. She knew then that her voice, which she always knew was different, was destined for opera. She first took voice lessons with the Crossett High School choir director and participated in the school choir.
Boston earned a bachelor’s degree in music and performance from the University of North Texas at Denton. During that time she was invited to sing God Bless America before a Dallas Mavericks basketball game and sang for a Bible class at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. After graduation, Boston went to the University of Illinois at Champaign- Urbana and studied for two years with John Wustman. After becoming a finalist in the D’Angelo International Young Artists Competition, Boston moved to New York and worked in real estate, taking voice lessons on the side. She performed with the New York Grand Opera in Verdi’s Requiem and Rigoletto. In May 1991 she made her Carnegie Hall debut in Mozart?s Coronation Mass. She returned later that year for performances of Beethoven?s Ninth Symphony.
Boston toured with Porgy and Bess in the ensemble and in the part of the Strawberry Woman. It was during her role in Porgy that she was spotted by the directors of Showboat, who invited her to audition.
Boston also was honored with a Theatre Award as Outstanding Broadway Debut Artist of 1995.