“Disneyland” – Michelle Nicasto

One of the warmest and most talented performers I ever knew, Michelle Nicastro sadly lost her ten year battle with breast cancer last November 4, 2010.

Michelle started her screen career with “When Harry Met Sally” in the year 1983. She also had roles in 90210, Beverly Hills, Knight Rider and Full House. Michelle was also the voice behind the character of Princess Odette in all the sequels of The Swan Princess.

She created the role of “Eponine” in the Los Angeles debut of “Les Miserables” to outstanding acclaim and made her Broadway debut in “Merlin” fresh out of college.

As a singer, Michelle recorded four albums for the record label my husband worked for as VP of Publicity and Marketing, and she and Michael became very close. She was one of the very first people to welcome me to Los Angeles when I moved to LA to be with Michael. Warm and genuine don’t begin to describe Michelle.

Often, while Michael was at the office, she and I would meet for lunch or coffee and spend the afternoon laughing. I miss her smile, her laugh and her amazing talent. As I lived through my own cancer journey, I often thought of the courage that Michelle showed over her long battle. With her fantastic spirit in my mind, I worked to never complain, knowing I could only pray to emulate her grace.

This performance was at the “Unsung Musicals” Concert in New York City in the 1990s. Michelle was already scheduled to sing another song the night of the concert, while another singer was scheduled to sing “Disneyland.” But at the last moment, the scheduled singer unable to attend.

Michelle stepped at the last minute, learned the song and brought the house down with her heartfelt, full-voiced rendition of “Disneyland” from the short lived musical “Smile.”

When I watch this and think of Michelle, the words “gone too soon” simply aren’t enough.