Alysha was born in Concord, CA and grew up in the neighboring city of Martinez. It was in this quaint harbor town where Alysha started booking regular gigs at venues such as local convalescent homes, rotary club meetings, annual events including the zucchini, seafood and walnut festivals to name a few, as well as the occasional veteran's day flag raising.
Alysha was headed strait to the top! It was then when she released her first solo album entitled "Alysha Sings!". And sing she did! Alysha became known as "The Star Spangled Girl" around the Bay Area due to the fact that she sang the National Anthem at every major sporting event around including the Oakland A's, SF Giants, San Jose Sharks, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and even some professional sports you didn't even know existed. However, you can only sing the National Anthem 1,000 times before you realize you need a new place to show off your versatility, and where better to do this?, Where else? The exciting and ultra glamorous world of......FAIRS! Yes, the Four Seasons stage at the Alameda County Fair became like a second home to 7 year old Alysha, it gave her a chance to perfect her act and get her album out to the public (selling at least 3 tapes per show!) But sadly, the fair circuit started to take it's toll on the second grader and she decided to try her hand at the dramatic and comedic world of Community Theatre!
Alysha would go on to embody such beloved characters as The Goat/Humpty Dumpty in Alice and Wonderland, the title role in Lenka's Little House, the Jester's little sister (a role created for Alysha) in Once Upon a Mattress and everyone's favorite.....Annie!....three times....and counting. She was on Community Theatre fire!
The years passed and Alysha's passion for the theatre pressed on. After her freshman year at her local (and highly sports oriented) High School, Alysha set her sights on the big city! The city by the bay! Yes the days of Community Theatre were over (or at least paused) for Alysha because she had landed her first professional show in that beloved 60's American musical, FAB!....anyone? anyone? Based on that British mega hit, A Slice of Saturday Night.....anyone? still? Her portrayal of Sue, the mod teen who desperately wishes she had a figure like Twiggy, earned her a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress in a musical. It was somewhere between the thrill of working next door to The Phantom of the Opera, and the excitement of seeing how many prostitutes she could identify in a single dinner break (highest count 13!) Alysha knew San Francisco was where she needed to be.
Alysha then applied and was accepted to San Francisco's School of the Arts (SOTA) but only under the contingency that she could prove she was some sort of racial minority...so Native American it was! Alysha now had the artistic freedom she craved, as well as the freedom of open campus. While at SOTA, Alysha was exposed to many different fine art disciplines, but she took a shine to the hip and swingin sounds of Jazz. Eventually, Alysha became the lead singer for the SOTA jazz ensemble, going on to sing with Carlos Santana! (the fact that Mr. Santana's son, Salvador was the ensemble's drummer is purely
Knowing that she wanted to seriously continue her training in Music and Theatre, she decided to attend The Boston Conservatory majoring in Musical Theatre. It was there where she would get the serious training she would need to make it on "The Broadway".
Four years and $150,000 later (Thanks Mom/Dad/Sallie Mae), with her BFA tightly in hand, Alysha was ready to make the move to the Big Apple! Only one week after arriving in NYC, Alysha booked her first job on Broadway! 51st and Broadway to be exact. No, not in that monster hit, Mamma Mia! But as a singing waitress at Ellen's Stardust Diner! Yes, for Alysha Umphress....dreams really do come true.
After about a year of living in New York, Alysha was put in contact with a new and exciting American Idol style competition entitled XL STAR! With nothing to lose and nothing to do on Monday nights, she decided to become a contestant. Eight weeks later she had become THE XL STAR, a title she is thrilled and sincerely appreciative to hold.
Since XL STAR Alysha has played Joe's Pub, Birdland, The Irdium, The Metropolitan Room, Carolines, Almost every gay bar, and The Laurie Beechman Theatre where she can be seen every Friday night. She is also working on her third album.....I mean...aside from the ones she put out when she was in elementary school, that should be out in 2007.