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Archive for July, 2010

Tonight I saw “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” which is part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Written by Kelly Nichols and directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell, this show has many reasons to attend!

This show is fun and identifiable. “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” tells the story of Katie, a mid-western girl who just moved to NYC and hoping to find love. Katie takes the audience on her journey of dating scenarios which the audience can relate to…from on-line dating to finding out your date is not exactly who you thought you were going out with to getting hit on by the homeless man because you missed your train. Whatever the scenario, you either know someone or you yourself have been through that situation.

To help move the story along is a score of enjoyable songs written by some of today’s rising composers. Some of the more enjoyable ones are written by Jason Purdy and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Bobby Cronin. Jason’s song “Worse Things” is very identifiable because dating is very difficult and one can get very sad by it, but now there is Jason’s song to remind that there could be “Worse Things” than bad dates. Bobby’s songs are also identifiable as well as uplifting. “Lucky In Love” is a song that many of us sing in our head as we head out on each first new date, hoping this time it’s going to work out. “You Deserve Better” reminds us that for all the creeps we date, don’t settle for less and lose sight of what you’re looking for deep down because after all YOU are what matters most! “Reasons” (with additional lyrics by Brett Teresa) has Katie searching for why her dates are not working out and gets her starting to look inside herself for the answers.

The scene stealers in this show are Benjamin Holmes as “Homeless Guy” using his pristine facial expressions & body language to bring this character to life, Marvin Riggins, Jr. as “Jon” is very enjoyable as he combines his comedic and puppetry skills together, and Ryan Stadler as the guy who flicks “Katie” off because she won’t go home with him. Last, but certainly not least, is Kelly who stars as “Katie.” In addition to being the book writer of this show, Kelly’s comedic moments are strengthened by her background as a stand-up comedian. When Kelly belts those notes, the audience is listening.

“Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” is a show to see and you have 2 chances left: Saturday, July 24 at 9pm & Thursday, July 29 at 6pm

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With the charisma, good looks, and most of all talent, Stuart Williams is yet another rising actor to take notice of! Originally from West Sussex, Stuart was uprooted to Texas at a tender age and, as a result, says things like ‘Cheerio, Y’all’ and ‘Howdy, Mate’. He studied drama at Syracuse University in New York State and is now based in New York City where some of his favourite credits include “Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco,” the US premier of Tim Firth’s “Safari Party,” and Mind the Gap’s BritBit series of shorts. In March, he returned from London after performing in “Durang Durang” at the Jermyn Street Theatre (also in association with Mind the Gap). He can currently be seen in Montserrat Mendez original full-length piece “Billy Carver and the Children in Mind” at Manhattan Theatre Source in NYC through July 24, and in December, be sure to catch Stuart at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in “Parenting 101,” a comical, musical look at the joys of family life which will run through March 2011.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? No one person in particular. It was a calling, really. Like the priesthood but with better costumes.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Far too many to name. Everyday I hear about an inspirational artist that I’ve never heard of. It’s very exciting!

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Several, but if list them all here how will shine at parties?

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? Linklater is my pre-show go to. Her work has proven to be invaluable to me. Afterwards I just like to relax, whether at home or with friends. Talking about anything but theatre.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? ‘You have such a gift. That’s what you can give. Don’t give away your heart, you need it for your gift.’  Well…advice with a slice of encouragement from my angel Jessica Kelly.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My nephews. I wish I could see them more often.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I do enjoy a work out, but dancing is ten times more fun!

8. Boxers or Briefs? Under Armour! I’d be lost without you!

9. Favorite website? Pandora. You always know what I’m in the mood for.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Clark Kent. No one looks good in all that spandex.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Laying/Playing in the grass with my beagle.

12. Favorite ride at an amusement park? The tallest, biggest, fastest one!

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Be sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Ann Harada, Jenn Colella, and Andy Karl along with Howard McGillin singing the “Songs of Amanda Green” tonight, July 19 at 7pm at Birdland. $30 cover (general admission) or $40 cover (orchestra) + $10 food/drink minimum.

Amanda Green is a Mac, Bistro, Jonathan Larson, and Songwriter Hall of Fame Award winner. She co-wrote the music for Broadway’s “High Fidelity” and is currently co-writing the lyrics for “Bring It On”, collaborating with Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda and collaborating with Doug Wright and T. Bone Burnett on the score for “Hands On A Hardbody.”

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I had the distinct pleasure of getting to interview Michael Feinstein this past June after seeing him perform live at Feinstein’s in his show “Cool Swing.” He was genuine, funny, and excited to answer my questions. Known as one of the greatest preservers and interpreters of The American Song Book, Michael Feinstein is a multi-platinium selling recording artist as well as a five-time Grammy Award nominee. He has performed in some of the most prestigious venues around the world such as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. Michael is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation.

Michael’s most recent recordings include “The Sinatra Project” which earned him his fifth Grammy Award Nomination and “The Power of Two” recorded with Broadway’s very own Cheyenne Jackson. His many other recordings include “Remember: Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” “The MGM Album,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Burton Lane Songbook, Vol. 1,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Jule Styne Songbook,” “Pure Imagination,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Burton Lane Songbook, Vol. II,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Jerry Herman Songbook,” “Forever,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Hugh Martin Songbook,” “Such Sweet Sorrow,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs By The Gershwins,” “Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin,” “Big City Rhythms,” “Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway,” “Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,” “The Michael Feinstein Anthology,” “Livingston And Evans Songbook Featuring Michael Feinstein,” “Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb,” “Hopeless Romantics Michael Feinstein & George Shearing.”

In addition to being a successful recording artist, Michael has also lent his talents to Broadway. This past spring he starred in the new Broadway Show “All About Me” with Dame Edna and he has written the score for two upcoming stage musicals: “The Night They Saved Macy’s Parade” and “The Gold Room.” He is also currently developing “The Thomas Crown Affair” into a Broadway musical with MGM Onstage.

This October be sure to catch Michael’s new three-part documentary series on PBS entitled “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook” (October 6, 13, and 20). In 2011, Michael will serve as the Artistic Director of the Carmel Performing Arts Center  in Carmel, Indiana. This $160 million, three-theatre performing arts center will host an annual international Great American Songbook festival, along with diverse live programming and a museum to house Michael’s rare memorabilia and manuscripts. For much more on Michael, be sure to visit http://www.michaelfeinstein.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My early inspirations were Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Al Jolson, and watching variety television such as Carol Burnett, the corny Mitch Miller Show, the Lawrence Welk Show. When I was a kid, my parents always had these music shows on so I was indoctrinated with the music, fell in love with it, and it became such a part of my life that I wanted to make a living doing it. I didn’t necessarily want to become a performer right off the bat, but I wanted to be involved in music.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Well most of the people I would have liked to work with are dead, but of those that are still alive, I would have liked to work with Doris Day. I asked Doris Day to sing with me 20 years ago and she’s well retired and was very, very sweet, but resistant and that would be a dream because I think she is one of the greatest living vocalists.

2a. Who dead would you have liked to work with? I would have loved to work and collaborate with many of idols such as Ethel Waters, George Gershwin (and been accompanied by him), Oscar Levant, and Fred Astaire. I knew Peggy Lee, but I never got to work with her which would have been great to have done. She was a funny, funny lady.

3. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? That’s a difficult question to answer because early in the morning I’m a basso profundo and I can sing very, very low notes that don’t stay with me during the day. In high school chorus, I was a second tenor and I can sing falsetto up to C’s & D flats, but my range isn’t great. I discovered a lot of singers whose work I admired didn’t necessarily have the biggest range, so I take that as some form of solace.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It’s funny because most of the dreams I dream about are dreams about old Hollywood, old performers, the old studios, and being part of that, so maybe I had a past life there. Romantically there are probably many movie stars I could dream about, but no one in particular.

5. What’s your proudest moment? I think my proudest moment was buying my parents a house. They had retired and moved to Las Vegas. They had a house and sold it and I persuaded them to come back to California. I was able to buy a house for them near me and that was something that felt wonderful.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can make my eyes change color at will. I can make them change from shades of green to shades of blue back and forth. I asked a opthamologist once if it was possible and he said it wasn’t clinically possible, but he’s seen other people do it.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Sex would be the favorite, I don’t know if it keeps you in shape, but that’s my favorite. Seriously though, the way I do mainly stay in shape is the treadmill with listening to music or watching television. That’s the primary way, even though when I’m in Los Angeles, I love hiking in the hills of Griffith Park it’s very solitary and the air is so crisp.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. I don’t think I’ve ever worn boxers, but now you got me thinking I should try them.

9. Favorite website? I go on IMDB a lot.

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Phyllis.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. Favorite hobby? I love going to flea markets. I love archiving music. I love taking old ’78s and ’33s and digitizing them and preserving them.

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Be sure to catch “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” at the Midtown International Theatre Festival from July 17-29! Written by Kelly Nichols and directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” tells the story of Katie, a small-town girl looking for Mr. Right in the big city. This fresh new musical follows Katie as she leaps and bounds (and rebounds) her way through the weirdoes, heroes, egos, and quite possibly the biggest obstacle of all: herself! The men she meets remind her that you kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Scratch that. You kiss a lot of frogs…you might find your prince.

Featuring music and lyrics of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Bobby Cronin along with Blake Hackler, Andrew Byrne, Jason Purdy, Phillip Chernyak, Steven Silverstein, Alan Bukowiecki, “Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” is one show you don’t want to miss!

“Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” plays at the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, first floor) on July 17 at 1pm, July 18 at 4:30pm, July 20 at 6pm, July 24 at 9pm, July 29 at 6pm. Tickets are $18!

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With stage presence and the gift of comedic timing, Lauren Roth is a performer worth watching! Her New York stage credits include “Sex and Violence” (Mint Theater), “Tape” (Medicine Show Theater), “Donnie Darko” (Theater 3), “Lavender Lizards Lilac Landmines: Layla’s Dream” (New Federal Theater), “Big Naked Feet” (Riant Theater), and “White Pickett Fences” (Columbia University). Most recently, Lauren has performed and written sketch comedy with “Chocolate Cake City” and “We Make The Funny” and studies improvisation with Upright Citizen Brigade and The P.I.T. Lauren can currently be seen as “Priscilla Margot Saunders” in “Billy Carver and The Children In Mind” at Manhattan Theatre Source through July 24!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? There is a 9 1/2 year age difference between my brother and I. In a time before DVR, he used to record episodes of Saturday Night Live on a VHS tape so he could re-watch them throughout the week. Watching those videos with him as a kid and seeing people running around in costumes and wigs making folks laugh was the first time I remember thinking, “I want to do that.”

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Woody Allen. I live for his films.

3. Do you have any rituals that you need to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? Before a show, I warm up my voice and do some stretches on the stage while listening to music. Every character I portray gets their own play list on my I-pod…listening to songs that for whatever reason make me feel like the person I am playing is really useful. After a show, there is really nothing specific that I do to decompress….unless you count the long train ride I usually have going home.

4. Do you have any strange and unusual talent that no one knows about? I know every word to every line of the movie “The Three Amigos.”  I can recite it forwards and backwards.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? “Just take the f*cking note,” and “an actor should never get a tattoo…not even on their labia.” Both bits of wisdom I picked up from professors in college.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? The Muppets. I think it would be a lot of fun to hang out with them.

7.  Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks, venti drip with room for milk.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off? I am a huge film nut, so I like to go to the movies when I can on a free day. However, I usually use my days off to “G.S.D” (get sh*t done.)

9. Favorite website? I really want to say something that makes me sound super intelligent here, but the honest answer is either Perez Hilton or the entertainment page on “Huffington Post.” I like being constantly updated on Mel Gibson’s racist ranting and Lindsay Lohan’s legal woes.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman, all the way. Her special power is the ability to make a man tell her the truth whilst tied up and she handles a costume change like no one else can!

BONUS QUESTION:

11. Favorite skin care product? I am in love love love with Weleda’s Foot Balm. It is like a cup of coffee for tired feet!

12. Favorite kind of shoes? Really well worn-in Converse low tops.

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The second annual “Broadway Meows,” a benefit concert to support the Humane Society of New York will be this Monday, July 19 at Don’t Tell Mama at 7pm in NYC (46th Street, between 8th & 9th Ave). $20 cover + 2 drink minimum. Click here for reservations!

Created by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Seth Bisen-Hersh, come hear the songs of Seth as sung by some of today’s rising Broadway stars while helping benefit the Humane Society of New York.

Performers include “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Autumn Hurlbert (“Legally Blonde”) along with Brian Childers (“Danny and Sylvia”), Bryan Fenkart (“Memphis”), Russell Fischer (“Jersey Boys”), Kimberly Faye Greenberg (“Danny and Sylvia”), Lara Janine (“Rock of Ages”), Briane Moore (“The Visit”), Brooke Sunny Moriber (“The Wild Party”), Olivia Oguma (“Mamma Mia”), Kate Rockwell (“Hair”), Brian Charles Rooney (“The Threepenny Opera”), Brandon Ruckdashel (“Co-Ed Confidential”), Kevin Vortmann (“A Little Night Music”), Correy West (“South Pacific”), Kristen Beth Williams (“Promises, Promises”).

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