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Archive for January, 2011

On Sunday, January 30, 2011, I was fortunate enough to attend “Chicago’s Facebook Fan Day” on Broadway. The producers of “Chicago” recognized what an important part online marketing plays in building an audience to a Broadway show and as a “Thank You” to their dedicated fans, it was decided to have “Chicago Fan Day.” The initiative started on November 15, 2010 when “Chicago” launched an exclusive online contest on its Facebook Fan Page. Any fan who recruited 10 of their friends to “Like” the “Chicago Fan Page,” would receive a FREE ticket to the Sunday, January 30, 2011 matinee performance. The response was so overwhelming that after just 5 hours, the Fan Page administrators had to shut down the contest.

In addition to the current cast, many alumni were present in today’s audience including the legendary Chita Rivera (who’s interview was just posted on Sunday), Ute Lemper, Vincent Pastore, and Lillias White. I was very fortunate to be able to talk to Chita and personally thank her and give her a button for participating in my blog. She was so gracious and kind!

Before the show started, fans were able to get their photo taken on the red carpet with the famous “Fosse Girls.” One of the “Fosse Girls” was kind enough to show off some of her best “Fosse” moves…Fans were also treated to cupcakes from CupcakeStop and coffee/hot chocolate from Gregory’s Coffee. On their way into the theatre, fans received a “Chicago” hat and special “Facebook Fan Day” t-shirt!

The energy and excitement in the crowd and on stage was huge today. I have to admit, this was actually my very first time ever seeing “Chicago” on Broadway and what  a day to see it. This electrifying show is filled with the legendary John Kander and Fred Ebb music and lyrics (“All That Jazz,” “When You’re Good To Mamma,” “My Own Best Friend,” “and Razzle Dazzle”) as well as the iconic Bob Fosse choreography (revived by the luminous Ann Reinking for the revival).

The revival of “Chicago” IS a classic Broadway production which is why it has been running for the past 14 years, won six Tony Awards at the 1997 Tony Awards, and in March will become the 5th longest running show in Broadway history. With productions all around the world and on tour, “Chicago” still attracts audiences from all over the world to Broadway. To be able to hear such iconic music and see such legendary choreography on stage is a moment in time and we are so fortunate to have a show like “Chicago” on Broadway in New York City, the entertainment capital of the world!

If you have never seen “Chicago” or if you were thinking about re-visiting it again, now would be the perfect time to come down to the Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue) in New York City to be “Razzled Dazzled” by “Chicago!

The whole afternoon was a thrilling experience and I’m so grateful that I was able to be part of it!

(Check me out in the center back right next to the middle row entrance…hahaha)

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This contest is now over…Congratulations go out to Sheryl Beth Silvers and Andrew Beck! It’s another “Tag It To Win It” contest here at “Adaubmelle’s Quest!” This time around two fans at random, will have the chance to win a pair of tickets to the hilarious hit Off-Broadway show “The Accidental Pervert” written and performed by Andrew Goffman and directed by Charles Messina.

Head on over to my Facebook Fan Page or click on the image below to take you there and then “Tag” yourself in the photo. This contest will end this Wednesday, February 2nd at 7pm!


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Chita Rivera is a living legend and I’m thrilled and honored to have her as part of “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to see Chita on Broadway in “Nine” and “Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life.”  Both experiences were special for different reasons. “Nine” was my very first time getting to see Chita live on stage and “Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life” allowed me to really learn about her life, which I found thrilling. I feel very fortunate to now have the opportunity to interview the one and only Chita Rivera!

An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received seven additional Tony nominations. She recently starred in the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, DC in December, 2002, and is the first Hispanic ever chosen to receive this award.

On October 13, 2009, Chita released a new solo studio CD entitled AND NOW I SWING (Yellow Sound label), which pays homage to her stage legacy while also displaying her passion for jazz. From classic theater songs to jazz standards, all tracks featured on this new album have received new arrangements recorded by New York’s finest musicians, reimagining some of Chita’s favorite tunes.

This past Spring, Chita recreated her starring role in The Visit, the new Kander/Ebb/McNally musical at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, which originally premiered at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago in 2001. Her more recent stage appearances include starring roles in the revival of the musical Nine with Antonio Banderas on Broadway; The House of Bernarda Alba at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Venecia, a new Argentinean play directed by Arthur Laurents at the George Street Playhouse; Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at Paper Mill Playhouse. She also starred in the London, Las Vegas and Toronto productions of Chicago-The Musical.

For her starring role in Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway, Chita received the 1993 Tony Award as Best Leading Actress in a Musical, as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Achievement as an Actress in a Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Actress in a Musical, the Drama League Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre and The Astaire Award honoring outstanding achievement in Broadway Dance. Chita first played the role of the Spider Woman in the Toronto production of the show in 1992, receiving unanimous acclaim.  She then repeated her triumph in the fall of 1992 in the London production of Spider Woman, which won The Evening Standard Award as Best Musical of the Year. This was followed by the Broadway and touring productions.

Chita’s performing aspirations began with ballet training at the age of 11 in her native Washington, DC. Five years later, Chita moved to New York, where she auditioned for legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Balanchine of course recognized Chita’s talent and gave her a scholarship to the American School of Ballet, where she began taking classes at the same time as the dancers Edward Villella, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent and Maria Tallchief.

As an aspiring 17 year-old ballerina, Chita decided to accompany a friend to an audition for the chorus of Call Me Madam. Although she had no serious intention of pursuing a part in the show, Chita was cast as a principal dancer, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The ballet world’s loss was Broadway’s gain — a future legend’s theater career was born.

After completing a cross-country tour of Call Me Madam, Chita returned to New York to replace Onna White as a principal dancer in Guys and Dolls. Following Guys and Dolls, Chita joined the cast of the original Broadway company of Can-Can, in which her future co-star, Gwen Verdon, first achieved stardom.

Chita then went Off-Broadway to prove that she could do more than dance, doing so to great acclaim with her amazing performance in Ben Bagley’s Shoestring Revue, in which she did the very first Marilyn Monroe impersonation. Her co-stars in The Shoestring Revue included Beatrice Arthur and Arte Johnson.

Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

Chita then returned to Broadway as a featured performer in Seventh Heaven, choreographed by Peter Gennaro; and Mr. Wonderful, starring Sammy Davis, Jr.

But it was not until September 26, 1957 that Chita made the transition from accomplished Broadway performer to a toast of the town Broadway star with her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story. Chita then took some time off for the birth of her daughter, Lisa. Chita had met and married Lisa’s father, dancer Tony Mordente, during the run of West Side Story.

Chita then went on to star in the London production of West Side Story, which had been postponed until Chita was ready to perform after Lisa’s birth. Chita’s New York success was repeated in London, and she stayed with the show there for a year. She then returned to Broadway to star as Rosie with Dick Van Dyke in the new musical, Bye Bye Birdie, in which she led the show-stopping number “Shriner’s Ballet.” Her rousing performance earned a Tony nomination as Best Actress. Chita then reprised her role in the London production of Bye Bye Birdie at Her Majesty’s Theatre, where she first achieved London stardom in West Side Story.

Back in the US, her triumphant performance as Jenny in the national tour of The Threepenny Opera, was soon followed by the title role in the national tour of Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity. Chita was also cast in the film version of Sweet Charity, in which she played Nicky opposite Shirley MacLaine. During the filming of Sweet Charity, Chita fell in love with Los Angeles and decided to make it her home for the next seven years.

But touring theatre successes often took her from home. She played Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday and Serafina in The Rose Tattoo; she toured opposite John Raitt in Zorba; and she extended her range in such productions as Kiss Me Kate, opposite Hal Linden,  Jacques Brel.…, and Oliver Hailey’s Father’s Day. All of these productions and other projects had kept Chita away from Broadway for eight years, far too long according to her friends and colleagues Fred Ebb, John Kander, and Bob Fosse. So they lured Chita back to New York to star as Velma Kelly, opposite Gwen Verdon, in their new musical, Chicago.

Photo by Walter McBride

But as soon as she arrived in New York, Chita discovered that Chicago‘s rehearsals had been postponed because director/choreographer Fosse was ill. It was then that Fred Ebb, who had written a highly-successful nightclub act for  Chita in the 60’s, went to work on another for her until Fosse recovered. She opened to rave reviews and capacity crowds.

Chicago opened to glorious reviews and Chita and Gwen Verdon were the toast of Broadway (1975). Both received Tony nominations as Best Actress. During the run of Chicago, Chita co-starred with Liza Minnelli for the first time, when Ms. Minnelli subbed for five weeks for an ailing Gwen Verdon.

Chita’s fourth and fifth Tony nominations as Best Actress came in the early 80’s with her performances opposite Donald O’Connor in Bring Back Birdie and then as the Evil Queen in Merlin, opposite Doug Henning. But it was not until 1984, when she re-united with Liza Minnelli in John Kander and Fred Ebb’s new musical, The Rink, that Chita finally won her Tony as Best Actress, along with the Drama Desk Award. Chita returned to Broadway again shortly after The Rink in Jerry’s Girls, co-starring with Leslie Uggams and Dorothy Loudon. In 1988, Chita toured the country (and Japan) in Can-Can, co-starring the Radio City Musical Hall Rockettes. In 2003 she received her sixth Tony nomination for Nine.

Chita’s critically-acclaimed concert dates continued to play to ovations from packed houses around the world in such cities as New York, London, Monte Carlo, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Toronto, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Cannes, Chicago and San Juan among many others.

Chita has been seen regularly on television, beginning with early appearances on every major show emanating from New York including Dinah Shore, Garry Moore, Judy Garland, Carol Burnett and Ed Sullivan. Other television credits include Will & Grace, Pippin (Showtime), Kennedy Center Tonight, Broadway Plays Washington, her own Chita Plus Three (HBO), The New Dick Van Dyke Show and Live From Wolftrap. Chita is also particularly proud of her participation in the National Theater of the Deaf’s presentation of The Road to Cordoba.

Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

Chita, who now lives in Westchester County, New York, names her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer, Lisa Mordente, as her most treasured production.

On Thursday, February 17, you can catch Chita live on stage in a special edition of “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party” at Town Hall in New York City (123 West 43rd Street) as a special benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS along with Christopher Sieber, Sally Mayes, Marilyn Maye, YouTube sensation “Miranda Sings,” jazz singer Hilary Kole, R&B tenor William Blake, jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein, Natalie Douglas, Klea Blackhurst, acrobat and comedian Rudi Macaggi, and the Dueling Fiddlers. For tickets, click here!

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

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

3. What do you get from performing in a concert that you don’t get from performing in a Broadway show? A more personal intimate relationship with the audience.

4. What’s your proudest moment? Receiving the Presidential Medal Of Freedom from President Barrack Obama, it was thrilling just to meet them.

5. Was there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so, what career would you have chosen? No, but if so, working with children around the world.

6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice for a show/concert on your own? Ripley Greer, 35th and 8th Ave.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Take class, and exercise with a fellow dancer.

8. Favorite skin care product? Leaf and Rusher skin care.

9. Favorite website? Don’t use a computer.

10.What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? ” Stay in your own lane, focus and enjoy your work, given by my dearest friend Fred Ebb.

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A few months back I interviewed and reviewed Benny Marchant’s EP “Conversations Missed” and today (January 28, 2011) it was officially announced that his full-length album “Cold Weather” will be released on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Part of my review made it into the press release! Thank You Benny Marchant and team for including me! I am completely honored and humbled by this!

 

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Eve Plumb as "Miss Abigail" Photo By Carol Rosegg

Tonight I had the opportunity to see “Miss Abigail’s Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage” for a second time, but the first time since it officially opened. Written by Ken Davenport and Sarah Saltzberg and starring Eve Plumb (“Jan Brady” from “The Brady Bunch, “Fudge’s Mother” on “Fudge”) as “Miss Abigail” and Manuel Herrera (“Legally Blond” and “West Side Story” on Broadway) as her ever so faithful assistant “Paco,” “Miss Abigail’s Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage” takes the audience on an interactive ride through dating, mating, and marriage tips, rituals, and techniques.

Photo By Carol Rosegg

Eve Plumb as "Miss Abigail" & Manuel Herrera as "Paco" Photo By Carol Rosegg

“Miss Abigail” demonstrates her techniques on how to flirt and attract the person you are interested in…whether it’s showing them your “This seat is available” look or seductively licking the “milk mustache” off of your lips or telling them their shoulders look tense and giving them a little massage, “Miss Abigail’s” advice my seem old fashioned, but is still quite relevant today (I have tried several of her techniques and have had great success). As “Miss Abigail” and “Paco” say in the show, “Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.” There to assist “Miss Abigail’s” every need is her ever faithful assistant “Paco” who not only helps demonstrates these techniques, but tries to use a few of them himself! Always wanting to make sure “Miss Abigail” looks her best, “Paco” does whatever it takes to make that happen, even if that means being the bunt of the joke himself!

The chemistry between Eve and Manuel has really grown much stronger since I saw the show this past fall. Not only do they play off of the audience, but they really play off of each other really well, sometimes leaving the audience wondering, “Was that part of the show?” This fun and very entertaining show is so worth it. I have now left this show smiling, feel better than before I went in, and always being reminded that love is possible…I just have to try different techniques along the way!

Photo By Carol Rosegg

"Love, Lust, or Stalking" Photo By Carol Rosegg

If you’re looking for the perfect “date” show, girls night out, anniversary celebration, or just an evening of pure delight, then I would highly suggest checking out “Miss Abigail’s Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage” playing at Sophia’s Downstairs Theater (221 West 46th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave). If you enter discount code DATING after you click on the performance you want to see, you can get discounted tickets for just $45! (Regular price: $75)

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Lance Horne, the Emmy Award winning composer, musician, vocalist, and producer just released his long-awaited debut recording “First Things Last” on the Yellow Sound Label. “First Things Last” is one CD you need to add to your collection. Combining pop, rock, theater, and jazz, “First Things Last” features a host of stage and screen stars singing several songs from his upcoming musicals “The $trip” and “The Center.”

With mostly emotionally charged lyrics, Lance knows how to draw a listener in and make them stay with a perfect mixture of lyrics, music, and talented performers. Along the way, Lance intertwines a few comedic songs which helps recharge you for the next wave of emotions that are about to come through.

“American”

Alan Cumming open this CD with a bang on “American.” Using his beautifully skilled vocals, Alan sings with feeling about everything that makes him be an American. Lance’s lyrics and melody combined with Alan’s vocals are entrancing and make you want more.

“In The Name of the Father”

Bryce Ryness continues making “First Things Last” a must have with his rock-style voice being wonderfully matched to “In The Name of The Father,” all about struggling through rough times and eventually rising up to conquer through them.

“Orpheus”

Continuing to ignite this CD is two time Tony-Award Nominee and fellow “Adaubmelle’s Quest” participant Daphne Rubin-Vega singing to her love “Orpheus” from the world beyond, hoping he’ll see her and know how much she loved him. Daphne’s voice perfectly exposes the emotion, passion, and yearning her character in this song is experiencing.

“Leap”

Emma William’s rich vocals shine brightly on “Leap,” a song all about taking chances and pushing through your fears, discovering the strength and courage hidden underneath.

“Strange Bird”

Cheyenne Jackson’s golden voice makes “Strange Bird” a song you could listen to over and over again. The song is about a couple that have split, but remember the strong love and bond they once had, though each are hoping to get over the hurt and move on.

“January”

Between Meow Meow’s sultry voice and Lance’s music, “Janaury” is a sexy jazzy song about a woman trying to move on, but recounting her relationship after her lover leaves.

“Every Moment”

Julie Atherton beautiful voice brings “Every Moment” even more alive as she too struggles through her weak days and strong days in the after-math of breaking up with her boyfriend, remembering “Every Moment” together.

“Haircut”

To help break up the seriousness of the album is none other than former talk-show host Ricki Lake who sings “Haircut,” all about a woman so excited about all aspects of getting a “really good haircut.”

“Last Day On Earth”

Hannah Waddingham’s powerfully strong vocals bring a chill and deep connection to “Last Day On Earth” in which she sings about her character’s final day of being alive.

“Little White Asparagus Blues”

Adding the next wave of comic relief is Lance Horne himself on “Little White Asparagus Blues” which was written for T.R. Knight to sing in the documentary “Asparagus! Stalking The American Life” all about the issues white asparagus have living amongst the dominant green asparagus.

“Anyone Who’s Ever Been In Love”

Alexandra Silber’s luscious vocals bring much emotion to “Anyone Who’s Ever Been In Love” about a woman who longs to be in love, but as she gets older, she finds dating just as hard and daunting as in her younger years.

“Hurry Up And Take Your Time”

Lea Delaria brings her expert jazz vocals to “Hurry Up And Take Your Time,” about a woman trying to lure her lover away from her current flame and be with her.

“6 Hours”

Paul Spicer’s enjoyable voice makes “6 Hours,” how long you wish you had to listen to him, though one could listen longer. “6 Hours” tells the tale of a guy who has 6 hours to make the girl he meets on an airplane to fall in love with him.

“The Little Prince”

The final comedic song, “The Little Prince” is sung by Amanda Palmer, former front woman and keyboardist of the internationally acclaimed punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. A cute song about how she hates “The Little Prince.”

“Tell Me The Truth”

Aneurin Barnard closes “First Things Last” with “Tell Me The Truth” about a man wondering when love will find him. Aneurin’s soothing voice helps bring the out the emotion and universally relatable topic most everyone wonders about.

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Be sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Billy Mitchell, Eddie Capuano, and Bill Graber in Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show” at Monroe Theatrespace, in Hoboken, NJ from February 10-26.

This hilarious, fun classic is also being directed by Billy Mitchell! Dress up, dress down, or don’t dress at all and take  “a jump to the left, then a step to the right” to enter a world of sexy fun with your favorite cult classic!

The Rocky Horror Show” plays at Monroe Theatrespace, 2nd Floor of the Monroe Center For The Arts (720 Monroe Street, Hoboken, NJ). Show times are Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, with extra special Saturday night performances at 11pm. For tickets, click here!

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