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Archive for July, 2010

This contest is now over! Congratulations go out to Caryl_Leslie on being this week’s winner! Tune in next week for another edition of “Win It Wednesday” and who knows, the winner just might be you! On this week’s edition of “Win It Wednesday” one reader, at random, will win a mug from “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” +  a “Betty Boop Salt & Pepper Shaker” by answering the question below. The winner will be announced at 5pm!

If you could cast Betty Boop in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” who would you cast her as?

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With one of the most beautiful and powerful voices, Jose Llana is a performer to go see! From Broadway to regional and national tours to film and television, Jose delights and mesmerizes audiences where ever he goes. He made is Broadway debut in the 1996 revival of “The King and I” and in 2005 he created the role of “Chip Tolentino” in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” His other Broadway credits include the revival of “Flower Drum Song” (with Lea Salonga), “Rent,” and “Streetcorner Symphony.” Off-Broadway, Jose has delighted audiences in “Adam Guettel’s Saturn Returns” and “On The Town.” He’s been seen in the national tours of “Martin Guerre,” “Ballad of Little Jo,” and “Candide,” while regionally he’s performed in “Wonderland” at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and The Alley Theatre. Jose’s film and television credits include “Hitch” (Ross) and “Sex and the City” (Damian).

Jose has also released his self-titled solo album “Jose” under the VIVA Philippines label. Other recordings Jose can be heard on are “Broadway Romances Manhattan,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and the revivals of “The King and I” and “Flower Drum Song.” Currently, Jose can be seen lighting up the stage in the York Theatre’s production of “Falling For Eve” (along with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Adam Kantor, click here for my review) through August 8. For more on Jose, be sure to visit http://www.josellana.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was obsessed with movie musicals as a kid. Gene Kelly, Julie Andrew, Fred Astaire. Then I moved onto the splashy mega-musicals of the 80’s, “Cats” and “Les Miserables.” But I’d have to say the moment that meant a great deal to me was when I watched Lea Salonga, a fellow Filipino, win the Tony when I was in high school. It was the first time I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that.”

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I sing as low as I need to and as high as the part needs. If I’m lucky that means no higher than a high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Mr. Sondheim is still someone I would love to work with. I’ve sung for him a couple of times but have never done a show with him.

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? No weird rituals besides the normal warm up, etc. I do get a little superstitious before callbacks, sometimes I make sure I have the same breakfast or wear the same underwear as the first audition. To decompress after a show I usually veg out in front of the television with a cold beer.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Hmmm… strange and unusual? I’m a pretty good cook, especially Filipino food. Also, I possess a slightly manic need for organization passed down from my mother. I will organize a room, desk or closet to DEATH. I’m talking labels and color coding.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Along with my normal 4 mile daily run and weight training, I’ve become hooked on P90x, but only the Plyometrics Training.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs. And usually in funny prints.

8. Books or Magazines? Both. I always try to have a good book on my nightstand and I can’t let the week go without the bibles Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine.

9. Favorite website? Playbill.com, Huffington Post, CNN, and my sister’s Baby Blog for my Goddaughter.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Oh, easily Wonder Woman. My sister and I were hooked on the cheesy TV show from the 80’s. I actually own the DVD’s.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite play/musical? “West Side Story,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Company,” and “Violet.”

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Gym, Food Network, movie date night, dinner with friends, couch time with my dog, Charlie.

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“Tales From The Tunnel” IS BACK! I was fortunate enough to attend the official opening night show and after-party on Sunday, July 25, 2010. A smash hit at last year’s Fringe Festival, “Tales From The Tunnel” is now enjoying its official Off-Broadway run and the show is just as enjoyable, if not more!

Written and directed by Troy Diana and James Valletti, “Tales From The Tunnel” is a fresh, new, and entertaining show about everyday people’s lives riding the subway. Compiled from hundreds of interviews with real subway riders, just like you and me, “Tales From The Tunnel” is relatable and while a particular story being shared may not be your own experience, it’s the experience of someone you know which makes you able to identify with it. The cast, compiled of fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Wilson Jermaine Heredia, along with Brandon Jones, Vayu O’Donnell, Geri Brown, Sam Rosenberg, Maria Silverman, Carla Corvo, and Farah Bala, should be applauded for how well they work together and play off of each other.

Some of the more humorous stories are:

  • The various stories from the subway station booth conductor who tells her tales of late night life station activity, like how she always has an $20 on her for the “Saturday Night Girl” who comes in begging to be let through because she has no money from the fight she just had with her boyfriend
  • A woman is sitting on the subway on a really hot summer day in a dress, the lights go out, and she feels something licking her legs and as she’s waiting for the lights to come back on she’s imaging it’s some crazy guy getting off, but to her delight, it’s a seeing eye dog.

Some of the more touching stories are:

  • Hearing about the guy who got injured on the job, was out of work, lost his girlfriend, and became homeless because he couldn’t work and was living in the tunnels, but still had his spirit of knowing that he would be getting back on his feet
  • The story of a woman who’s life was saved went to work via subway on 9/11, but when the subway pulled into the stop underneath the World Trade Center, the passengers on the platform told everyone to stay on the train and the subway backed out of the station and transported everyone to Times Square
  • Recounting a subway ride on September 11, 2006, 5 years after the World Trade Center attack and having the subway conductor remind riders of what they would have seen if they rode the subway 5 years earlier on September 11, 2001.
  • The story of a gay son at the Gay Pride Parade and seeing a mom on the subway with a huge sign “I Love My Gay Son” and how it resonated with him because he lost him mom some years before, but he felt as though his mom was there with him when this woman looked over
  • A subway ride that involved a homeless man coming on the subway and saying how “it’s so cold, it’s so cold, it’s so cold” and one compassionate rider giving the homeless man his coat.

From humorous to touching, everyone should come hear the “Tales From The Tunnel” at 45 Bleecker Street Theatre. Showtimes are Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm. For tickets, click here!

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Best known for his Tony Award Winning performance as the original “Angel” in Broadway’s “Rent” and his Olivier Nomination in the London production, Wilson Jermaine Heredia is an actor worth watching! Wilson has spent most of his time after “Rent” in film and television. His film credits include “Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God…Be Back by Five,” “Flawless,” “Rent,” “Nailed,” “Johnny Was,” “Descent,” and “iMurders.” His current film projects include “Three Chris’s,” “I Am Bad,” and “The Girl from the Naked Eye” (post-production). On television, Wilson has guest starred on such hit shows as “Law & Order: SVU,” “Medium,” and “Without A Trace.” Most recently Wilson participated in “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” an evening of short plays benefiting The Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York and New York Theatre Workshop. Currently, Wilson can be seen in the Off-Broadway production of “Tales From The Tunnel,” a fresh new show recounting the true humorous and heartbreaking stories of over 150 subway riders just like you. “Tales From The Tunnel” plays Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm at 45 Bleecker Street Theatre. For tickets, click here!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My parents did, inadvertently. Because they were immigrants, they reinforced in me what they considered practical and reliable, i.e. study hard, become a doctor and, “all is not well in the world but at least you’re a doctor.”  Their love for the arts betrayed them though. My father would play guitar to the latest records at that time (Iron Butterfly) and I would dance and marvel at how he was able to manipulate music that way. Mom would sing around the house to songs like she wrote them. At get-togethers they would be the center of attention with their salsa dancing; and again I was in awe of how they accented every sound with their bodies as if though they were the ones conducting the music through their whims. I was in my senior year of a vocational high school, for medical assisting, when I broke the news to them that as much as I loved medicine, the arts yelled louder. My dad said, ” If you’re going to do it, go all the way”. It sounds campy but I swear it’s true. He said it in English with a thick, thick Dominican accent. How can you forget that? There were a lot of people that influenced me along the way like Baryshnikov and Hines in WHITE NIGHTS, Bogaloo shrimp and Shabba-Doo in BREAKIN’, from Chopin to Cory Glover in Living Colour, Danny Kaye, the Stooges, Da Vinci to Jack Kirby, my childhood friend Noel and so on but the inspiration came from my parents because they gave me an all or nothing attitude about it.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Hmmm. I’m not dead yet so we’ll all just have to wait 😉 My voice is still growing.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are so many. Saying one right now is just like the weather.

4. Do you have any rituals that you do before a show? How do you decompress after a show? I like to jump up and down and breath heavily as if though I’m going into a prize fight and then taking that last breath before I go on. That last containing breath is all I need.  It just feels good. Decompressing requires silence for me. A good meal and an ear to allow me to vomit my impromptu living journal entry to; ending with a welcoming bed,…and I’m all good.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I’m clairvoyant. Aside from that, I’m an open book. 😉

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? I’m a home body. When you commit to any project you temporarily suspend the normalcy of everyday life for months or years at a time so I like the rituals of keeping house on my days off e.i., cooking meals for company, cleaning ( ‘Cause no one can clean your house better than you!), Reading, composing, watching bad television and gaming on my PS3 when I block the time; because you know how long that can take!

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Dancing  at home in front of a mirror. If I had the space to have wall to wall mirrors, I would be dancing all day. I like doing the same things my parents did with music; make it their own. But my favorite is long distance running in the morning. There is nothing that can wake your body up like that. For me there’s no other time that I feel truly alive and connected to my body except for dancing and running. I don’t see it as keeping me fit. I see it as keeping my body working the way that I want it to.

8. Boxers or Briefs? I can guarantee that I’m always naked under my clothes.

9. Favorite website? I like browsing through bargain sites.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? You’re talking to a comic connoisseur, so you have to be more specific.  Superman and Wonder Woman don’t translate for this day anyway aside from antiquated thoughts of what a Super Hero is. The fashion doesn’t  translate either. How’s Wonder Woman; born of earth and gifted the powers of the Greek gods in modern day even bother to pop up to save the day in a swim suit?! And Why does Superman, still, in this day and age wear his underwear over his unitard? Is that what you asked or was it something else? I can go on….trust me. I’m sorta like Sheldon, Big Ban Theory about it.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite quote? “If nothing lasts forever, then I guess I better, love you forever, for now.” — Harry Connick Jr.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I think I’ve been here a couple of times so I like it when my dreams are about me.

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On Thursday, July 22, 2010, I saw the new Off-Broadway musical “Falling For Eve” at the York Theatre. Written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro with music by David Howard and lyrics by Bret Simmons, this brand new musical was entertaining, fun, and thought-provoking. Starring fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Adam Kantor and Jose Llana (posting coming soon) along with Krystal Joy Brown, Jennifer Blood, Nehal Joshi, and Sasha Sloan, “Falling For Eve” is a re-telling of Adam & Eve….what happens when Eve bites the apple and Adam doesn’t? How will the human race be created? Those questions and so many more are answered in the 90 minutes.

Adam Kantor and Sasha Sloan star as “God,” Jose Llana as “Adam,” Krystal Joy Brown as “Eve,” Jennifer Blood as “Sarah,” and Nehal Joshi as “Michael.” Overall the cast works well together. Jose and Krystal have great chemistry, stage presence, and dynamite powerhouse vocals. When they are singing, the audience is listening. Adam and Sasha also work well together, playing the same part (a very interesting idea). Both had great comedic timing. Jennifer and Nehal played well off of each other as the Angels assisting God while wanting to bring “Adam” & “Eve” together. All the characters contemplated right from wrong according to what worked best for them.  “Eve,” desperate to find out what life was like outside of Eden, took the risk and bit the apple, resulting in her being banished from the Garden of Eden. “Adam,” struggled with wanting to obey God, but also longing to be with “Eve” and knowing the only way to get there is to bite the apple, but he kept resisting. “Michael” and “Sarah” waived back and forth wanting to obey God, but also wanting to explore the romantic feelings for each other. With all this drama, the show played it out well, making one think, is it better to take the risk and get hurt, but grow stronger, or play it safe and remain inside the security of what you know?

The musical numbers had their strong points. “I Like You,” when “Adam” and “Eve” realized they were falling for each other, a beautiful love song. “Where Will I Sleep Tonight” where “Eve” doesn’t know where she is going now that she is gone from Eden. I could tell Krystal had the vocals in the earlier songs, but this was the song where she really let loose and blew the audience away! This song made me think of the many times I felt lost, but knew I’d find my footing. “Now What?” had “Michael,” “God,” “Sarah”, and “Adam” wondering what will happen now that “Eve” is gone, though it made met think of several scenarios in my life where I wondered “Now What?” is coming. “There’s A Space Next To Me” was a beautiful song about “Adam,” “Eve,” “Sarah,” and “Michael” sending the message out that they all long for each other. “Eve” sung by “Adam” has him missing “Eve” and wondering if she’s alright. Both “There’s A Space Next To Me” and “Eve” made me think of the many friends and family I long to be near again. “Once A Life Ago” has “God,” “Eve,” and “Adam” singing about the life they used to have and their life gone by which made me think of my past and life gone by. “Something Just Happened To Me” is where “Adam” realizes he has to take the step forward and bite to apple if he’s ever going to get to “Eve.” There were several songs where Jose’s voice shined, but this was the one that took the gold! The song made me think of all the steps and risks I’ve taken in my life to get to where I am. I’m happier I took the risks rather than sat on the sidelines, for if I didn’t take the risk, this blog and joy I get from it would not be.

If you’re looking for a show that is thought-provking, yet fun and enjoyable, check out “Falling For Eve” at the York Theatre (619 Lexington Avenue, NYC) through August 8. Showtimes are Tues at 7pm, Wed-Saturday at 8pm, Sat at 2:30pm, Sun at 2:30pm. Click here for tickets!

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Congratulations go out to Lorin on winning this contest! Tune in next week for “Win It Wednesday” because you never know, the winner just might be you! This contest is now over. I have submitted all entries to the producers and as soon as they notify me of who the winner is, it will be announced here on “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” Stay tuned…This week’s “Win It Wednesday” is being sponsored by the new Off-Broadway show “Tales From The Tunnel” starring Wilson Jermaine Heredia, the original “Angel” in Broadway’s “Rent.” “Tales From The Tunnel” highlights six actors playing nearly 100 characters in a series of humorous, heartbreaking, and insightful accounts of true New York City Subway experiences, woven together into an entertaining ride. Come see the show that brings your experiences traveling through the veins of NYC to life! It’s a trip you won’t forget!

For this week’s contest, I am asking you, my wonderful and faithful readers, to submit your own “Tale From The Tunnel.” What has happened to you while riding the subway…You have until 5pm today, to submit your answers! I will then forward all answers onto the producers and one reader, at random, will be picked by the producers of the show to have their story published on the show’s website and win 2 tickets to the show! As soon as a winner is picked, I will announce it here, on “Adaumbelle’s Quest!” Good luck…

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If you are looking for a show that is dramatic, intense, and pushes your buttons, then I suggest going to see The Apothecary Theatre Company’s production of “In God’s Hat” at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in NYC. Written by Richard Taylor and starring Tom Pelphrey (from “As The World Turns” and “Guiding Light”), Rhett Rossi, Dennis Flanagan, Gary Francis Hope, and Mike Mihm, “In God’s Hat” tells the tale “Mitch” (played by Rhett Rossi) who has just been released from prison after being convicted of child molestation. His brother “Roy” (played by Tom Pelphrey) is there to bring him home, but things get out of sorts when “Arthur Cruter” (played by Dennis Flanagan) shows up to their hotel room to finish the job he tried to do in prison. What entails is a play about family, forgiveness, and society…

“In God’s Hat” plays through August 7 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (416 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $18.

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