Chrysa Petridou was working late and didn’t get home until 4 a.m.
Her big blue eyes are hidden behind her designer shades, but it doesn’t help.
She can feel sleep calling like an ambulance’s siren.
So this star of the Greek stage and screen does what she always does: She acts as though she’s wide awake.
After removing her sunglasses, she smiles radiantly, plants her hands on her hips and confidently tosses her long golden hair over her shoulders like a runway model.
It is a brilliant performance by any measure.
The first time Chrysa pulled it off, she was 5.
She had the singing lead in a nursery school musical, and so excited was she by the prospect of playing before an applauding, adoring audience that she fell off the stage during the dress rehearsal.
From her hospital bed, she begged and cried her way back onto the stage, playing upon her parents’ emotions and completing what was regarded as an extraordinary performance.
“I knew from that moment that I wanted to make this my life,” she says.
Limassol, Cyprus, where Chrysa grew up, isn’t exactly Hollywood, but she managed to make quite a name for herself on the island, earning the title of Miss Cyprus when she was 16.
“I’m only five foot six,” she says. “I could not continue in pageants, and I really didn’t want that any way.”
After she graduated from high school, she spent three years studying dance and theater at the London Studio Centre and modeling at the Lucy Clayton Charm Academy.
After completing her coursework, she returned to Greece, where she performed and recorded with a number of Greek singing stars and was featured in a variety of TV shows and films.
“I always wanted to do everything – sing, dance, act,” she says. “I love each of them – I have different emotions when I’m doing them.”
But she yearned for international acclaim, and when the Greek radio stations in New York City were playing her first album and she was asked to do shows here, she jumped at the invitations.
“My plan was to do a few shows and go back to Cyprus,” she says. “That was 12 years ago.”
Chrysa has made a career out of singing traditional Greek songs in a variety of venues in New York, Miami and New Jersey.
Right now, you can see her every Friday and Saturday night at Astoria’s Dionysos. She’s also a featured player in productions at the Hellenic Cultural Center on Newtown Avenue at Crescent Street.
“I had always planned on going to Greece because although I was well-known in Cyprus, I wanted more,” she says. “I’ve always wanted more. My plan was to go to Hollywood.”
Hollywood hasn’t happened, at least not yet, but a lot of other things have.
In addition to her singing gigs, Chrysa has been featured in a number of films.
She has roles in the upcoming sci-fi film “The Stranded Warrior” and in the movie and mini-series “Once a Week for Life,” which she describes as a mashup of Homer’s Iliad, Greek tragedy and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Chrysa has vast ambitions for her future.
“I can never stop dreaming,” she says. “My goal is to be the first girl from Cyprus to go to Hollywood.”
But first, she’ll sleep. Long and deep.
Copyright 2023 by Nancy A. Ruhling