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On Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:30pm at The Canal Room in NYC, NewMusicalTheatre.com will be presenting a follow-up concert to their explosive coming out party from last spring, with Kerrigan-Lowdermilk’s “You Made This Tour” opening at 7:30pm. Produced by John Johnson and Katie Riegel and directed by David Ruttura and music director Matt Hinkley, this concert will feature songs from 12 of the newest writers added to the NewMusicalTheatre.com community, performed by a hand-picked crew of Broadway’s most-talented stars (A full list of performers and songwriters will be announced shortly). YOU JUST MIGHT HAVE THE CHANCE TO PERFORM ALONGSIDE SOME OF TODAY’S RISING BROADWAY STARS AND WRITERS! (for those of you who just want to attend the concert, click here for tickets)

TO ENTER:

Performers should upload a video to YouTube of their performance of any song available for download on NewMusicalTheatre.com (including songs by Bobby Cronin, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Ryan Scott Oliver, Will Van Dyke, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Joe Iconis, Michael Friedman, Pasek & Paul, and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk) then post it to the site’s Facebook fan page (facebook.com/NewMusicalTheatrecom) or tweet it to @nmtsongs. All entries should be received by Sunday, February 20 and one winner will be invited to perform their song at the Canal Room on February 28. Please note that all entrants should be available to be in New York City the day of the show. Travel and accommodation will not be provided.

NewMusicalTheatre.com is dedicated to the distribution and promotion of a new generation of musical theater writers who self-publish their own digital sheet music. Its goal is to create a direct connection between the people who write music and the people who want to perform and listen to it. It provides an affordable and legal one-stop shop to discover and share the work of self-published writers. It aspires to foster a dynamic community where fans and actors can directly connect and impact the writers of
tomorrow’s next big hits. This is an e-commerce website designed by writers for writers. It allows fans to directly support writers when they need it most – before their shows go to Broadway.

Now boasting over 25 of the most exciting new voices writing for the theater today, NewMusicalTheatre.com fosters the idea that fans and actors can directly connect and impact the writers of tomorrow’s next big hits.

NewMusicalTheatre.com Concert at The Canal Room, Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:30pm (doors open at 7pm, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk open the show at 7:30pm)

 

If you are not watching “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” on WE every Tuesday at 9pm, you are missing one of the best hours of television! Joan Rivers has decided to leave NY and move to CA to live with her daughter Melissa and grandson Cooper as well as Melissa’s boyfriend and a host of others close to Melissa.

Each week is a different scenario about life at the Rivers: Joan moving in and rearranging Melissa’s furniture, Joan pushing Melissa to consider doing “Celebrity Moms Gone Wild,” Joan buying a car, Melissa learning how to cook, the scenario’s go on. Mixing into this “reality” show is the brilliance known as Joan Rivers Comedy! Joan’s comic wisdom adds so much laughter and insight to this show as she pokes fun at herself, Melissa, and the scenarios they play out each week for all of us to see. There is a reason why Joan Rivers is still around today entertaining the masses….and that is because JOAN KNOWS BEST!

After a long work day, it’s nice to know I can come home and watch “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best,” which will provide me lots of laughter and enjoyment. So, turn that TV onto “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” every Tuesday at 9pm on WE and join in on the laughs, enjoyment, and most of all hanging out with The Rivers!

Here’s your first look at Christie Brinkley as “Chicago’s” new “Roxie Hart” both before and after! Christie will be starring as “Roxie Hart” in Broadway’s “Chicago” from April 4-June 19 at the Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue)! Get your tickets here!!

Christie Brinkley in the make-up room pre-photo shoot

Christie Brinkley as "Roxie Hart"

Megan Reinking

Megan Reinking is another of Broadway’s rising performers who will be entertaining us for years to come! Along with the rest of the “The Tribe,” Megan shined brightly in “Hair” first at Shakespeare in the Park, then on Broadway, and then in London’s West End. Her other Broadway credits include “Lestat” and “Dracula the Musical.” She was also seen at City Center Encores! in “Bye, Bye Birdie” and performed to a sold-out crowd at Birdland in “On-Fire: Kate Pazakis and Megan Reinking.” Regionally, Megan has delighted audiences in “Lestat,” “Footloose,” and “The Three Musketeers.” On Television, Megan was seen in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” as “Annabelle.”

On February 13, Megan can be seen belting her beautiful vocals in “Spread The Love: The Songs of Rob Rokicki & Friends” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Ave) and this April, Megan will once again be seen on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company’s “The People In The Picture” at Studio 54 (254 West 54th Street between 7th & 8th Ave) along with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Chip Zien, as well as Donna Murphy, Alexander Gemignani, Christopher Innvar, Nicole Parker, Rachel Resheff, Hal Robinson, Lewis J. Stadlen, Brad Bradley, Rachel Bress, Jeremy Davis, Emilee Dupre, Maya Goldman, Louis Hobson, Shannon Lewis, Jessica Lea Patty, Jeffrey Schecter, Paul Anthony Stewart, and Stuart Zagnit.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I am inspired by many people, but I don’t remember any one specific person inspiring me to perform. Maybe that’s not an answer you are looking for, but it’s true. The first play I ever saw was at the Paul Bunyan Theatre in Minnesota. It was ELEEMOSYNARY. I was transfixed and spent the whole vacation spelling things like the girl in the play does.

People, though: My parents. Debra Brooks, who taught my 4th grade music class and pulled me aside one day and asked if I’d like to take private lessons. John Ryal, my middle school choir director. My high school show choir, and everyone involved with that..and would take forever to name. Broadway Theatre Project, the faculty at the University of Michigan, Anthony Vincent Bova and Bob Krakower here in NY who changed my life as an actor, my agents that I was blessed to find when I moved here 7 years ago, my incredible friends, and most recently, my beautiful family in HAIR…they are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met..and MUSIC. All kinds. Music inspires everything.

And film. Don’t get me started on film..

2. What’s the highest and lowest note you can sing? I’m always stretching myself, so I don’t like to define this. And it’s all circumstantial sometimes. My lowest note is lower if I’m sick or just woke up..ha. All I know is I can’t sing “I’m Not That Girl” from WICKED.. Highest…in legit soprano, usually a high C or D if it’s a good day…belting or mixing, in the F/G range.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? You. 🙂 Seriously, one person? There are countless.

4. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I’d probably teach history. Or write fiction. I may still do those things yet in life 🙂

5. Do you have any rituals that you  must do before a show? How do you decompress after a show? I used to listen to “Peace Frog” by The Doors. It got me excited. I don’t know when I stopped doing that. Now I like to listen to Bach. But right before going on stage is usually when I do last minute stretching or review lines that tie me up sometimes..so I’m not thinking about it on stage. Afterward, an occasional drink with friends, but I usually head home and watch whatever television I DVR’d during the show or write. I know…I’m an old lady at heart..

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? I’ve actually just started getting really serious about this. I get to the gym 5-6 times a week for 60-90 minute sessions, but I really try to mix up what I do there so I don’t get bored – and it’s good for your body to not get stuck always doing the same thing. If it’s a cardio day, I’ll stay on one machine if I’m in a zone…usually an elliptical or the treadmill. If I’m having an ADD day I will divide my cardio time between the two machines, and sometimes a stationary bike. The rest of my time there I focus on a different body-area with weight training or pilates. I do make myself take a day or two to rest each week, though. I think that is just as important. I also try to fit in a pilates class during the week if I can. I really want to add Bikram Yoga to what I’m doing…but I’m still a little intimidated by that. I’ll get over it soon, I’m sure.

7. Favorite skin care product? L’Occitane – Fresh Face Water, Ultra Comforting Mask, and Gentle Face Buff.

8. Favorite store to shop in? Barnes & Noble/Borders, Bed Bath & Beyond, Victoria’s Secret, and…once upon a time…Virgin Megastore. They had an excellent variety of music t-shirts. I get most of my summer dresses at this place called Backwoods on 57th between 8th & 9th…great inexpensive dresses. Also, for boots…I love The Rose. Also on 57th.

9. Favorite website? www.loc.gov. Yes, that’s the Library of Congress. They have amazing digital collections..I’m a nerd.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Why do I only have options from DC Comics? I was always a Marvel girl.. 🙂 My favorite was always Phoenix. The Phoenix Saga was the best..until they ruined it in the X-Men 3 movie. Or Rogue. I loved Rogue, too.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Professional: The casting directors don’t necessarily know what they are looking for. I was told by a director I worked with that the second I walked through the door, he sat up and said…”That’s what I want. If she can sing, she’s got the job…” It was that simple. It has taken the pressure of auditioning away for me since hearing that, and left me more able to just do my work. Personal: “In the absence of information, never create a negative scenario.”

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? That no one knows about? No. If I have a cool unusual talent, I’m sharing it with everyone. I do this thing people call the “doll eye”. I can close either eye without moving another muscle in my face. It’s a little creepy, but OH so fun to do to people on stage sometimes 🙂

On Saturday, February 5, 2011, I had the pleasure of heading down to Deal, NJ with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Billy Mitchell, Eddie Capuano, and our friend George to see Broadway superstars Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley (who just finished a triumphant run in Broadway’s “Next To Normal”) premiere their new show “He Said/She Said.”

These two dynamic performers have such amazing voices that it’s just pure delight to see them live! Singing mostly standards and a few showtunes with a “swing,” Marin and Jason kept the audience mesmerized and entertained from solo moments to duets! Both performers can hold their own, but together it’s pure magic. When Marin and Jason sing, people listen!

As of now, you can catch Marin and Jason live:

April 15, 2011 at 8:15pm at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford, IL performing their show “Opposite You”

May 2, 2011 as part of the Pearl Theatre Company’s 2011 Benefit Gala at BB King in NYC.

For more information on both shows and everything Marin and Jason, visit:

http://www.marinmazzie.com/

http://jasondanieley.com/

Jim Caruso: Cast Party

Photo credit: Bill Westmoreland

I first interviewed Jim Caruso in 2009 when “Adaumbelle’s Quest” was just starting and Jim just finished starring in Liza Minnelli’s “Liza At The Palace.” Two years later, it’s a real honor to be able to interview Jim again and dedicating this interview to Cast Party on the heels of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party Benefit at Town Hall on Thursday, February 17 at 8pm, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Produced by Scott Siegel, this very special edition of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party will be featuring a host of talent! Joining Jim Caruso, will be Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Billy Stritch, Lucie Arnaz, Larry Gatlin, Marilyn Maye, YouTube sensation “Miranda Sings,” Tony nominee Christopher Sieber, two-time Tony nominee Sally Mayes, 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.

Photo credit: Bill Westmoreland

Jim Caruso recently made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning smash hit Liza’s At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of the late, great Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. For his nightclub work, Caruso has won six MAC and two BackStage Bistro Awards for his sold-out New York shows at Birdland, the Algonquin Hotel, and Arci’s Place; and has also performed in runs at the Gardenia and Cinegrill in Los Angeles, The Vic Theater in Chicago, Libby’s in Atlanta, the Colony Palm Beach Hotel and the Connaught Room in London. He sang with the New York Pops in an all-star tribute to Kander & Ebb at Carnegie Hall, and returned to “The Hall” in a tribute to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, hosted by Michael Feinstein. On the small screen, Jim was seen co-starring with Kathie Lee Gifford on Showtime Television in “Personal Assistant,” and co-starred on the Nostalgia Network variety sit-com, “Café DuArt” for two seasons. Jim and his vocal trio, Wiseguys, were invited to sing at President Clinton’s First State Dinner at the White House, and celebrated Bing Crosby in concert at Carnegie Hall with Rosemary Clooney. He guest-hosted “Broadway On Broadway 2000” in Times Square for a crowd of 100,000 theater fans, hosted the 2000 MAC Awards at Town Hall in Manhattan and has co-hosted the Drama Desk Awards webcasts for four years. For the past eight years, he has hosted a Monday night showbiz bash called “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party,” which was honored with a New York Nightlife Award, as was his Broadway at Birdland concert series. His new cd, “The Swing Set,” was released on January 11, 2011.

1. What made you originally start “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party” and how did you originally come up with the concept for it? I was doing PR for a nightclub that didn’t have much going on, busying myself writing press releases about drink specials. To entertain myself, I threw a Christmas party in the club for my pals. Everyone sang around the piano, and stayed till 3am. The next day, the manager, Lionel Casseroux, asked if I’d do it every Monday. I said no. A few clubs and eight years later, we’re still packing ‘em in and meeting some of the most brilliant, shocking talent in the world!

2. How do you come up with the line-up of talent for each week’s “Cast Party?” Cast Party is an open mic! I don’t come up with the talent at this point…they just show up! Every single week, I have about 30 folks wanting to perform for a packed house! I’m so lucky to be able to do it at Birdland, which is right in the theater district, and certainly one of the premiere music rooms in the world!

3. What made you decide to bring “Cast Party” out to Los Angeles? The Hollywood Cast Party has been a complete gift to Billy and me. I’d heard that The Magic Castle was planning to open one of their rooms for musical entertainment, so I called Matt Patton, who does the booking. He immediately signed onto the idea, and we were off and running! Now, we make the schlep out west every other month!

4. Do you plan on expanding “Cast Party” to any other cities? Yes! It looks like we’ll be taking Cast Party to Chicago and Las Vegas – and there’s a bit of talk about London. Can you imagine? We’re like the Ice Capades! The Jim Capades? I love a capade!

5. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve had perform at “Cast Party” in NY & LA? Who is the one person you were most surprised by showing up at “Cast Party?” Who is the one person who hasn’t done “Cast Party” that you would like to? Well – there’s interesting, and there’s ‘interesting!’ Betty Comden made one of her last public appearances at Cast Party, and sang “One Hundred Easy Ways To Lose A Man,” from Wonderful Town, which she wrote with Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein. Carol Channing spoke of her commitment to arts education, then did the “Ephraim, let me go” monologue from Hello Dolly, and launched into “Before The Parade Passes By.” Last week, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura on “Star Trek”)discussed her friend and mentor, Martin Luther King, on the night of his birthday – then sang a stunning “Summertime.” There have also been memorable performances of a different kind – the man who yodeled Elvis tunes comes to mind, as does the woman who sang an original song about pollution. They were showstoppers in every sense of the word. I’m desperate to have my two heros – Carol Burnett and Dick Van Dyke – join us. I just know they’d have a swell time, and I’d be in heaven to finally be able to entertain them!

6. When you first started “Cast Party,” did you ever think it would turn into what it has become? I’m in shock and awe that Cast Party has become the entity that it has! I’m thrilled and proud and dazzled by the fun we’re allowed to have every week!

7. What has been the best and most difficult part about “Cast Party?” The best part of it all has been the friendships that have been forged, due to Cast Party. What did I do before? It’s a wonderful meeting-place for theater and music buffs and the people who love them! I’m not sure there IS a bad part, other than having to hear “Orange Colored Sky” a skrajillion times.

8. You’ve been doing “Cast Party” for almost 8 years, what made now the time to do a special benefit show for it? How did you decide which performers would participate? Scott Siegel, who produces a fabulous series of events at Town Hall, called me and asked if we’d like to do a Very Special Cast Party as a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take our event to a huge stage, raise money for one of my all-time favorite organizations, and have some fun with my friends! It’s a big theater, and I knew we’d have to score some big names to sell tickets, so I just started calling my most fancy friends – and was thrilled that they said ‘yes!’

9. Liza Minnelli and Billy Stritch are two performers that will be performing at your Feb. 17 “Cast Party” benefit. How did you first come to work with them and what has been the best part of working together throughout your career and what have you learned from them? Billy Stritch and I have been best friends for about 30 years, which is shocking, considering we’re both in our late twenties. We met when we were both singing in clubs and living in Texas. We moved to New York around the same time, and have been hanging out, singing and making each other laugh ever since! One night, he met Liza while he was playing piano at a wonderful place called “Bobo’s.” He invited her to his show the next night, and stationed me next to her table, so that I could hear what she thought. That was the beginning of a friendship that changed both of our lives! He started arranging, playing and conducting for Liza, she asked me to open for her, assist her on Minnelli On Minnelli, and finally dance and sing in Liza’s At The Palace! What have I learned from Liza Minnelli? Are you kidding? We don’t have that kind of time! She’s a genius at what she does. Her work ethic is amazing – she will rehearse for eight hours non-stop. Her urge to please her audience is beyond compare. And her musical knowledge is something that might surprise a lot of people. If a clarinet is playing the wrong note in a chord, she hears it. Not surprisingly, she has a huge over-view of how showbiz works, and I love that.

10. What are you most excited for about the Feb. 17 “Cast Party” benefit? I’m most excited to get all of those brilliantly talented people into one room and tell them how much I love them for making this dream come true. We’re going to blow the roof off of Town Hall!

Lindsay Mendez

Lindsay is yet another one of our next generation performers who’s fast on the rise. She was recently seen in Roundabout Theatre’s Tony Nominated Broadway production of “Everyday Rapture” (as well as 2nd Stage’s Off-Broadway run) and prior to that she was seen in Broadway’s “Grease.” Lindsay has also been seen in Off-Broadway’s “The Marvelous Wonderettes.” Regionally, Lindsay  has been seen in productions of “Princesses,” “Footloose,” “Sounds of Plaid,” “Grease,” “Lucky Stiff,” “Gidget,” and “Call Me Madam.”  Lindsay is also a sought after performer for many industry readings, workshops, and concerts such as “Rated RSO,” “Tales of the City,” “Band Geeks,” “Go The Distance,” and “An Evening with Andrew Lippa.”

Next up, Lindsay will be lending her powerhouse vocals to Ryan Scott Oliver’s February 7 Songbook Release Concert at Joe’s Pub along with Andrew Keenan-Bolger! Monday, Feb. 7 would be a great time to come check out Lindsay and Andrew as they sing the music of Ryan Scott Oliver! For much more on Lindsay be sure to visit: http://www.lindsaymendez.net.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Definitely Judy Garland. (yes, I did grow up basically as a gay man.) I loved watching her movies when I was a little girl, and I always wanted to sing just like her.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? The highest belt note would be an A flat, and soprano is probably a high E. Lowest note, comfortably…I’d say an F below middle C.

3. Who is the one person that you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I would LOVE to work with Bette Midler. I absolutely think she is brilliant, and has really made her own career…one that I extremely admire.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Run your career as a marathon…not a sprint.

5. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I would probably be a History teacher. I DO enjoy teaching, and I am a huge history buff.

6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? My car….when I have a car…

7. Favorite way to spend your day off? A Manicure/Pedicure and a dinner at DINNER TIME with my husband.

8. Favorite skin care product? Mario Badescu Glycolic Cleanser.

9. Favorite website? ummm…Netflix.com.  It’s sort of my new obsession…rating movies, and seeing what it picks for me.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Duh…Wonder Woman.  Her outfit is FIERCE.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can flip my under eye-lids into my eyes and look extremely scary. But…it hurts.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My future child…I just made myself throw up a little.