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Download Interview with Karen Cusson (formerly Ken Cusson) - Audio Only (106.1 MB)


The following oral history is the result of a recorded interview conducted by a CSUMB student. The audio and draft transcript have not been edited for accuracy. This interview is part of the Oral History Community Memory Archive. The researcher is asked to bear in mind that they are listening to an original recording, and reading a verbatim transcript of the spoken word, rather than written prose.


Named Kenneth Bruce Cusson, born in Los Angeles, California on May 17, 1950, my narrator has become an established figure in the theatre community of the Monterey area and spent several years on the board, and as president, of the Monterey County Theatre Alliance. Ken went to officer training school and became an officer with the Salvation Army in his 20s where he met his beloved wife Ruth, who passed on in 2017. After a lifetime of internal battle over gender, Ken made the decision to transition into an authentic life as Karen Cusson. Karen admired performance art early in life, and although she is an accomplished magician and trumpet player, she didn’t audition for an acting role until her forties. Since her first role, Sir Joseph Porter in H. M. S. Pinafore, she has been requested for numerous roles because of her strong operatic voice and stage presence. Karen is a pastor and executive director at Victory Mission in Salinas.

Interview Date



Christina Matthews


moving image





Digital Collection

Oral History and Community Memory Archive


Archives & Special Collections of California State University, Monterey Bay


These oral histories express the personal views, memories, and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy or views of California State University, Monterey Bay.

Interview with Karen Cusson (formerly Ken Cusson)



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