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Archive for November, 2010

Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

The Musaic Concert Series with performances by Christopher Job and Caroline Selia performing the words of fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant David Caudle and the music of Kristin Hevner and Daniel Wyatt and directed by Margaret Lebron will be making a guest appearance at XOXmas: An Electronica Opera as part of MOVE December Concert Series¬†on Friday, December 10 at 7pm at the Triad Theatre (158 West 72nd Street). The concert will be featuring various young companies that will bring together the best of theatre, dance, rock n’ roll, jazz, and opera and will be benefiting the Rural School Project of Cambodia which seeks to supplement government curriculum by providing students with additional resources and learning opportunities to help them become the leaders of tomorrow.

Admission is only a 2 drink minimum + whatever you can donate.

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Su Thomas Hendrickson is another one of our next generation performers to watch as her star rises! She is just a senior at NYU’s CAP21 program, but already she has been winning audiences and critics over with her fine acting skills and powerful vocals including Tony Award Winner Sutton Foster. She was most recently seen in Tisch’s production of “Nine” and TNT’s “The Cradle Will Rock.” At midnight, on December 11, Su will be showcasing her vocals along with her fellow Tisch Drama Students, in “Crazy For Gershwin” at Joe’s Pub, under the direction of Sutton Foster.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Annie was the first show I saw on Broadway, and in the song “NYC” there’s “A Star To Be” solo which was sung by Sutton Foster at the time and the second I heard that part of the song, I knew that doing musical theatre had to be my life. I knew that it was my calling.

2. What’s the highest and lowest note you can sing? I don’t really know. I really try to hit all of them. I think I can sing lower than I actually can. In “Nine,” the lowest note I sang was E or F below middle C. As for the highest note, I don’t know, but I know I sing high enough.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Besides Meryl Streep, I’d love to work with my best friend, Trent Creswell, who is a playwright. He’s up at Sarah Lawrence right now and he’s incredible. He was at a writing fellowship this summer at Edward Albee’s barn in Montauk and I would love to collaborate with him on a show. I think that’s really my dream.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I have received a lot of advice along the way…one is from my high school improv teacher and every morning before we start, he would say “Jump In.” I say that to myself all the time in many different circumstances. I’m a naturally shy person, so if I just tell myself to “jump in” then I can figure it out from there. At CAP21, their motto there is “You are enough,” which I think is just beautiful and very helpful because it’s so easy to try to wanna be something else or try to be a better version of yourself, but you are the best version of yourself, you are enough. I just think that is beautiful.

5. Favorite place to rehearse on your own? Rehearsing singing, I like to get my note and then hop in the shower because I feel like my bathroom is pretty sound proof. If I’m running lines or lyrics, I used to rehearse with scene partners in Central Park or on the street places. Public places help me know how I would behave in public and it gives me a good spectrum of how to behave.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? We don’t have Dunkin’ Donuts in the South, so I’ve always sort of been a Starbucks person, but the longer I’ve been in New York, and by longer I mean the past 3 1/2 years, the longer my order has gotten. It went from being “Just a cup of coffee, thanks” to “Triple Grande Soy White Mocha.”

7. Favorite skin care product? Water. I’m not really a fussy kind of person.

8. Favorite kind of shoes? On or not on…hahaha…any kind of flats. I don’t really like heels, I like being close to the ground.

9. Favorite website? Your blog…hahaha…it’s xkcd.com. It’s a comic strip that is so smart. The guy that does it, used to work for NASA and he’s just this young, smart, and funny guy.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? I’m gonna have to go with Batman because I’ve never been much of a feminist and Superman kind of freaks me out…I mean, glasses, what kind of a disguise is that? Or Robin…he’s really cute. He’s just a kid that really wants impress somebody that he respects and he wants to do good and I like that about Robin. He’s going places.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I’m gonna say Erik Satie or Mozart because I’ve always had this “Back To The Future” kind of fantasy where I learn their entire canon and then go back to the past and play it for them and they’re like you’re a genius, come be my mistress. I feel the same way about Claude Monet, except I can’t really play him his paintings and I can’t really duplicate them and say “Look at this, you should do one.”

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I think everyone knows my strange and unusual talents, but I can close/plug up my nose.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I like to go to “Yoga to the People” and I like to jog in the real world, but what I’ve been doing lately is going to this thing called “Boogie Box” with my “Nine” costar Gillian Munsayac who played “Carla.” “Boogie Box” is like an aerobic dance class that is a combination between kick boxing and latin dancing. It’s basically an hour of non-stop jumping around, kickboxing, and dancing, with maybe 2 minutes of break and it’s so intense. It’s the kind of thing you think you are going to pass out 3/4 of the way in and then you do pass out, but you’ve realized you’ve done the whole thing. If you are familiar with “Zumba” it’s like “Zumba” on crack.

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I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to do what I love and share that love with you. If it wasn’t for all of you: my fans, participants, the press reps, as well as my incredible supporters behind the scenes, “Adaumbelle’s Quest” would not exist!

Thank you for being part of my life and allowing me to share my love with you! I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving!

I can’t let the holiday go by without a word about the importance of life, safety, and love: If you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or anything in between and you are coming out this holiday season and need someone to talk to, remember, you can always call the Trevor Project 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 866-488-7386 and talk to someone who understands what you are going through. No matter how it goes, IT DOES GET BETTER and the Trevor Project is here to help you get through it, so hang in there because IT DOES GET BETTER!


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Are you looking for a fun, relaxed, and enjoyable way to spend the later part of your Saturday night? I suggest heading over to the downstairs lounge at Comix Comedy Club (353 West 14th Street) for “Bordello,” a delightful evening of glam drag comedy, song, and fun, hosted by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Hedda Lettuce.¬† This weekly show features some of NYC’s finest drag queens. Hedda’s guests this week were Dusty Pouche and Frostie Flakes.

Hedda knows how to move the evening along and really work the audience with her quick wit, topical comedy commentary, and her live sung parodies. This week’s edition was definitely the one for me to be at because it featured three Dolly Parton songs (2 parodied by Hedda and 1 performed by Frostie Flakes). Hedda did a parody of “Jolene” entitled “Jolie” all about Angelina Jolie as well as a parody of “9 to 5” called “12 to 5” about the nightly hours of escorts. Frostie performed “Backwards Barbie” taking the audience on a journey from her glammed up self back to her male counterpart. It was a smart way to perform the song.

Dusty certainly had her moment to shine when did a sexy and fun performance to “Let Me Entertain You” from “Gypsy.” Using her body, sensuality, and fabulousness, the crowd certainly wanted more…

With two different shows every Saturday night at 11pm and midnight, “Bordello” is the perfect beginning or end to your Saturday night festivities! For $10, you get comedy, song, and total fun!

So, the next time you and your friends are looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday night, remember to check out “Bordello” at 11pm and midnight in the downstairs lounge at Comix Comedy Club in NYC (353 West 14th street, between 8th & 9th Avenue).

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On November 4, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with real-life married couple Jonathan Walker and Jennifer Van Dyck after seeing them in hilarious new Charles Busch show “The Divine Sister” at the SoHo Playhouse. This was my very first joint couple interview (Thank You James Valletti for the idea!) and it was thrilling! With impeccable comedic timing, Jonathan and Jennifer bring the house down while on stage both together and separately.

Jonathan has delighted audiences on Broadway in “20th Century” and “After the Fall,” while Off-Broadway audiences saw him in Charles Busch’s “The Third Story,” “The Divine Sister” at Theater for a New City as well as numerous productions at The Public Theater, MCC, MTC, Women’s Project, The New Group, Playwrights Horizons, Roudabout Theatre Company, La MaMa, and P.S. 122. Jonathan has lit up the big screen in such feature films as “Far From Heaven,” “People I Know,” “Heights,” “Michael Clayton,” and “Malevolence 2.” Television audiences have seen Jonathan in “The Big C,” “The Good Wife,” “Eli Stone,” “Sex and the City,” “Chapelle’s Show,” and lots of “Law & Order.”

Jennifer has dazzled Broadway audiences in “Hedda Gabbler,” “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “Two Shakespearean Actors,” and “The Secret Rapture.” Her many Off-Broadway credits include Charles Busch’s “The Third Story” and “The Divine Sister” at Theater for a New City as well as plays by Austin Pendleton, Bathsheba Doran, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Douglas Post. Film/TV audiences have seen Jennifer in “Across the Universe,” “Michael Clayton,” “Stealing Martin Lane,” “Series 7,” “States of Control,” numerous “Law & Order” episodes, “Fringe,” and “New Amsterdam.”

Now you can see both Jonathan and Jennifer shine in “The Divine Sister” at SoHo Playhouse (15 Van Dam Street) along with fellow Adaubmelle’s Quest participants Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, and upcoming participant Amy Rutberg! This show is a MUST SEE, so click here for tickets and enjoy an afternoon or evening in heaven…

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?

Jennifer: I always wanted to be an actress. There was never any question. It really began growing up…my friend and I would always put on productions of “The Wizard of Oz” and she played “Dorothy,” of course, and I played “The Scarecrow.” As far as people who inspired me, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. I was completely mesmerized by “I Love Lucy” reruns growing up.

Jonathan: A number of the guys I gleaned for this show, and I mean this in a good way, the cheesy leading men in the 60s/70s who I admired growing up, like Chad Everett who was on a show called “Medical Center” (who was actually in the “Singing Nun”), Charlton Heston, Dick Van Dyke, and Dick York. Also as a child, we were church going (look how it all blends with this show) and a troupe came to our church called the Alpha and Omega Players (who still exist today) and they travel around in a van and put on religious-themed (but not evangelical) shows. They came into our church, I must have been 6, and they transformed it into a performance space. They did a shortened version of “St. Joan” and I was undone. To see that space I was in three days a week turned into this thing and I have a distinct memory of standing out front of the church as the van pulled away, bursting into tears and saying to my father “I wanna go with them,” (you know instead of running away to the circus). So from “Bewitched” to “St. Joan” was the real early inspirations for me.

Jennifer: The other side of that for me was The Paperbag Players. My parents took me to that when I was very young and they terrified me. I remember they were doing Grimm’s Fairytales and people’s fingers were being cut off and people were being locked in cellars, but I was utterly transported to another world. I remember being both terrified and thrilled by the whole thing and remember saying “I want to do that.”

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to?

Jennifer: Mike Leigh, the filmmaker (he’s directed “Topsy Turvy,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Vera Drake,” etc), who comes from a theatre background. I just read his book and I’m just so in awe of him. I love his films. He does like six months of rehearsal with his actors, so by the time they shoot the film, the actors really know their characters inside and out. It sounds like a terrifying prospect, but I’ve always been fascinated by rehearsing as if you were living a character. Then getting to do it for film, which normally has no rehearsal, but his way you seem like you get the best of both worlds with theatre and film combined.

Jonathan: I would have to say it’s always been Vanessa Redgrave. I put out feelers for “Driving Miss Daisy” you know when they were casting it and I heard with in two days that Boyd (Gaines) was getting it and I was like “Yes, of course he is.”

3. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose?

Jonathan: We were just talking about that with our friend Matt. You know the actor Matt McGrath, well Matt is always talking about “Drop out dream #whatever, opening a candle shop” because it’s so up and down in our profession. You go through a 2-3 month foul period and you’re like “I stink,” “They stink,” “It all stinks.” Then you go okay, Surfboard shop, masseuse, priest, baker…I always wanted to be a UPS delivery man. They have those lovely brown outfits with the shorts and the socks and I see them on the street and I go “Oh, oh, I’d love to do that, wouldn’t that be fun delivering packages all day.” (no, no that would be terrible). All jobs are difficult, all jobs are hard, that’s why they call it jobs! In all seriousness, I’d like to work with a not-for-profit group. I do a lot of volunteer work and now I’m working with a group called “Transportation Alternatives.” It’s a cycling, pedestrian, and mass transit advocacy group. I worked for the Green Gorillas for a while and God’s Love We Deliver. They’re just great because people are there for a reason. That is something I would probably do because they do good work so if I could get job with one of them full time, I would.

Jennifer: I guess I would be a teacher. I have no experience teaching, I know nothing. My mom’s a teacher and my dad’s a minister, so that’s what I’ve seen (they’ve seen this show many times already and love it, the irreverence and all).

4. How did you guys meet?

Jennifer: Doing a play…we did a production of “Hamlet” at the Old Globe, directed by Jack O’Brien. Jonthan was “Laertes” and I was “Ophelia” and Campbell Scott was our “Hamlet.”

5. What’s it like to work together and live together? How does the whole dynamic work?

Jonathan: We spend 23 hours a day together and that 1 hour apart is if you add up all the bathroom time, okay, so maybe we spend 22 hours out of the day together, if we’re including gym time. (Jennifer laughs)

Jennifer: It’s great. When we worked with Jack at The Globe, we did a couple of seasons there doing plays, but then we didn’t work together, other than readings, for like 15 years, before Charles (Busch) put us both in “The Third Story” by sheer accident…We did that in La Jolla and then that came here and all the while we got to know Charles and then he wrote this play for us…

Jonathan: We’ve been in like four plays together with Charles (2 productions of “The Third Story” and 2 productions of “The Divine Sister” (the previous one being the limited run in March ’10 at Theatre for a New City). So, we really like it. You know, we’re married, we live together, we love each other, but really like each other too and respect each other’s work…

Jennifer: I’m always amazed when actors marry civilians because schedule wise, you have no weekends, you can not plan ahead, you can’t do anything when you’re working because you’re so focused on the show…

Jonathan: (not in reference to Jennifer) But you’re also a nut job, you know, you’re out of your mind, you’ve got opening night and you’re like “Blahhh,” but the other person understands…

Jennifer: Right, so we get it, and it’s been amazing with “The Divine Sister” because it’s not just understanding one of us is in a play, we’re in the same play, so we go home and we’re like “oh that sucked” or “wow, that was great” or “what about that…”

Jonathan: Or we go “oh you had a great show, no I had a rotten show, you had a great show….”

Jennifer: We have some of that.

Jonathan: When we were opening, I was thinking maybe it would be interesting to come home to someone who has no connection to the show, because, it’s hard to come home and just detach. We’re always dissecting the show, but we don’t senor that cause it’s actually nice, even on our night off or on Sunday nights we’ll often go out to dinner and we kind of refrain for 20 minutes or so from talking about the show and then we just give into it…

Me: You guys, the whole cast, work so well together. I really feel like it’s such an ensemble piece.

Jennifer: It’s a great bunch and we all work great together. You know, Charles wrote this show for all of us and we’ve been together since the beginning and there is a real sense of comfort and ease with each other.

Jonathan: You know it’s not a lie, we really all get along and like each other. It’s really a cooperative thing, like tonight, the audience is really part of the ensemble. It’s not like “Long Days Journey Into Night” which drags you along, but the audience goes through something too and that’s part of Charles’ charm, and talent, and genius. He comes right out and puts you in his hand and he’s kind of taught us to do that a little bit and be there for the audience, and say “Come on, let’s go, let’s go do a dirty nun’s story.” (everyone laughs).

6. Favorite place to rehearse on your own?

Jennifer: In our building, our dear friend Richard Easton lives upstairs from us (as does Julie and her husband) and he was away during the time we were rehearsing “The Divine Sister” for the first time and we would take turns going up to his place to learn our lines because in our one bedroom apartment there is only a door that you can close, which usually isn’t enough to learn the lines separately….

Jonathan: It worked out great, one in his apartment and one in our apartment. The street is another good place to rehearse on your own. John Gielgud who lived in the country, used to talk about walking the roads saying lines to himself and thinking all his neighbors thought he was crazy.

Jennifer: I do learn plays when I run. Once the lines are starting to go in, I do them on the run and then I add on to what I’ve already learned. I make faces and sometimes I think other runners are like what the hell is going on. That is sort of a very meditative time for me to learn my lines.

7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Jennifer: The first professional job I had was at Trinity Rep and Richard Jenkins was directing me in a production of “The Crucible” and he basically said to me “There is no clear path how one goes through this life (for a career). One step does not lead to another. There are side steps and vertical steps and horizontal steps. Let the unknown be your compass.”

Jonathan: I was working a lot in LA doing television and there’s a famous story that someone asked Estelle Getty “What advice do you have for a young actor trying to make it in LA?” She said, “Take Fountain” (that’s a street in LA that cuts below Sunset Blvd). You know, she’s absolutely right, you were able to get right across town, the lights worked, you were out of traffic. In LA, all you do is drive from audition to audition and I would drive down Fountain and be like, “She’s right, Estelle Getty was right.” But in line with what Jennifer said, Richard Easton gave me a piece of advice “Say, Yes” and he means that in all senses. If someone calls you up and says do you want to do a reading, say yes, because work leads to work.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off?

Jennifer: It would be to be together…

Jonathan: Often. I would say, “There ain’t enough hours in the day for the nothing I want to do.”

Both: Being in Vermont, walking in the woods.

9. Favorite website?

Jennifer: BBC News, Merriam Webster Dictionary (because I do a lot audio books and they have a pronouncing key where you can type in a word and then hear how it’s pronounced.

Jonathan: There’s a website called Chowhound.com which is an amazing resource for food. It’s a place for people who like food and like to talk about food, give recipes, restaurant suggestions, etc. There was also a website called Loronix.com, it’s a Brazilian music website and you can download all this music legally.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman?

Jennifer: Wonder Woman

Jonathan: Superdog, for me, but if I had to answer the question exactly, I would say Superman because I never quite got Wonder Woman with the rope and the bracelets. But I also love Richie Rich, Scrooge McDuck, and Baby Huey.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about?

Jennifer: I’m a ferocious burper. I don’t know if I’d call that a talent, but I got it from my mother and I can really let ’em rip…

Jonathan: You can really let ’em rip…I think that your portrayal of “Timmy” in “The Divine Sister” was a hidden talent. It wasn’t “Timmy” per say, but she’s very, very silly at home and pulled “Timmy” out of a hat and I’ve never seen anything like that before from her in my life…

Jennifer: (to Jonathan) What’s your secret talent?

Jonathan: I used cage drinks doing this…I can take 2 toothpicks and put them in my mouth, in my lower lip, and actually cross them, and then put them up my nose without touching them and then move my lower lip and make my nose go up and down. I know, it’s totally a stupid human trick. It’s vile and creepy and it’s odd and very few people can do it.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?

Both laughs…

Jennifer: You (meaning Jonathan)

Jonathan: and I’ll have to say Kate Winslet, but seriously the happiest dreams I have are when Jennifer’s in them.

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Fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Zachary Infante’s acapella’s group video for the song “The Bed Intruder Song” just went viral and ya’ll should check out because Zach is an amazing, amazing singer!

 

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Tonight I attended “The Meeting” at the Duplex in the West Village in NYC. This monthly event is a comedy/variety show for homosexuals and their friends hosted and created by the brilliant Justin Sayre and produced by Adam Rosen and Rudy Scala.

With special guests stars (such as tonight’s Ben Cameron, Emily McNamara, and Molly Pope), this delightful evening of stand-up, singing, sketches and humorous discussions about some of today’s hottest topics from current events to pop culture is pure enjoyment!

Justin’s humor is raw, honest, and down-right funny. The best line of the night was when Justin said, “So I was called a faggot and to that I said, yes I am, but you also forgot actor and model.” It’s brilliant lines like that that fill the evening!

If you are looking for a fun gay night out with friends, then I suggest you go to “The Meeting” and every month after that at the Duplex. The next installment will be December 16 at 9:30pm ($10 cover + 2 drink minimum).

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