Posts Tagged ‘“Beauty and the Beast”’

Andrew Keenan-Bolger is yet another one of our next generation actors on the rise! On Broadway, he has starred in “Seussical,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Christmas Carol,” and currently “Mary Poppins,” playing “Robertson Ay” (taking over the role from fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” Mark Price). Around the country, Andrew has been on the First National Tours of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (playing “Leaf Coneybear”) “The Grinch” (playing “Max”), “Mary Poppins” (also playing “Robertson Ay”), and “Ragtime.” His other theatrical credits include “It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman” (Dallas Theater Center), “High School Musical” (NAMT), and “Perez Hilton Saves The Universe” (2008 NYC Fringe). Andrew is also sought after for many theatre workshops/readings. Some of his more recent ones have been “Crutchy” in Disney’s “Newsies,” “Mike TeeVee” in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Marc Shaiman/Scott Whittman, director Sam Mendes), “Jesse” in “Truck Everlasting,” “Omar” in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and “Hal” in “Rocket Scientist” (Playwright’s Horizon).

In addition to theatre, Andrew has shined in such films and TV shows as Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brothers Band” (“Christophe”), “Marci X,” “One Life To Live,” weekly commentator on FNMTV on MTV, and the hit web series “The Battery’s Down.”

On Monday, February 7, you can catch Andrew along with Lindsay Mendez in Ryan Scott Oliver’s Songbook release concert at 7pm and 9:30pm at Joe’s Pub in New York City!  You can also catch Andrew 8 nights a week on Broadway in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” as “Robertson Ay” at the New Amsterdam Theatre (42nd Street & 7th Avenue) in New York City! For much more on Andrew be sure to visit http://www.andrewkeenanbolger.com

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My sisters are my biggest inspiration. My sister Maggie and I grew up watching Celia perform. When you’re a kid and your big sis is doing something she thinks is cool you’re bound to follow in her footsteps.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Oh jeez. I don’t honestly know. I just try to bark out whatever’s on the page.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’ve always wanted to work with Michael John LaChiusa. He writes the most ingenious, challenging material in modern musical theatre. I can now cross Ryan Scott Oliver off that same list 🙂

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To always wear blinders. It’s easy to compare yourself and your achievements to people around you. The time you spend looking side to side, other people are moving forward.

5. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? If I wasn’t an actor, I’d probably be involved in some aspect of filmmaking. Either editing or directing.

6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? It’s such a cliche, but my shower. I’ve come up with some crazy shit standing under that faucet.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I try to walk to Shake Shack rather than take the subway.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

9. Favorite website? I really love flavorwire.com. It’s a totally hipster culture blog filled with lots of free music, art and news stories.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Absolutely Superman! I spent last summer working on the Strouse and Adams musical of the same name and became fascinated with America’s long obsession with the caped hero.


11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I make a mean grilled cheese.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My boyfriend, Brian Letendre 🙂

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Wishing everyone a Safe and Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the holiday here are some of my favorite Halloween themed things:

The Halloween episode from “Beauty and the Beast” (the CBS series starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton).

The Halloween episode from “Beverly Hills 90210” (when “Kelly” is dressed as a seductive witch, “Donna” is dressed as a Mermaid, “Brenda” and “Dylan” dress as “Bonnie and Clyde” while “Brandon” and “Emily” go trick or treating).

“Hands Off” from the movie “Once Bitten” (where “Mark,” “The Countess,” and “Robin” dance it out).

“Halloween” by Aqua (granted this not a video for the song, just the song with their “Aquarius” album as their backdrop, but still one I enjoy)

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No matter the medium, Tony Award Nominee, John Tartaglia is the guy you need to grab your audience. John originated the role of “Rod/Princeton” in “Avenue Q” which premiered Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre before moving to Broadway in 2003 (where it won the Tony Award for Best Musical and John received a Tony Award Nomination for Best Actor). He then went on to star in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway as “Lumiere” as well as “Pinocchio” in Broadway’s “Shrek The Musical.” He has been the host of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert as well as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ “The Leading Men Concert.” John’s one man show, “Ad-Liberty,” enjoyed a sold-out run at Joe’s Pub in 2005. Prior to theatre, John was one of the youngest puppeteers to perform on “Sesame Street,” starting at the age of 16 and continuing for the next 10 years. He has also starred in “Sesame English,” which currently airs worldwide, is an innovative workshop created by Sesame to teach non-English-speaking children conversational English in a fun, exciting, and interesting context. John created, produced, and starred in the popular children’s show “Johnny and the Sprites” on the Disney Channel as well as appearances on Disney’s “Bear in the Big Blue House,” “JoJo’s Circus,” and Discovery Channel’s “Animal Jam.”

Now John has taken his puppetry, theatrical, and producing skills to a new level of greatness as the writer, creator, and producer of “Imaginocean,” a brand-new live puppetry show for kids (and adults) of all ages. “Imaginocean” is a one-of-a-kind live black-light puppet show which takes the audience on an undersea adventure. Join “Tank,” “Bubbles,” “Dorsel,” and their three best fish friends as they set out on a journey of discovery. What they discover on this magical adventure is the true meaning of friendship! “Imaginocean” plays at New World Stages in New York City (340 West 50th Street).

What makes this interview so special to me is that in 2005, I was fortunate enough to take John Tartaglia’s Master Puppetry Class (co-taught by Leo Diagnault). I literally signed up because I thought how great would it be to take a class taught by John Taraglia. What transpired was being taught by one (actually two, because Leo was so amazing) of the smartest, dedicated, and caring individuals I have ever met. Since starting this blog, John has been one of the people I wanted to interview and after months of planning, it finally happened! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did conducting it!

1.  Who inspired you to become a performer? There are a lot of things that inspire me, but the two strongest inspirations inspirations would be my mom and my grandma because they both are performers and I grew up going to see them in shows.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? In my regular voice it would be an “A” as far as the highest. As far as the lowest, I’m not exactly sure, but in school, I was trained for a while as a bass, so I know my lowest is pretty low. In my falsetto, I can go really, really high. We did some “Shrek” event and one of the people in the show double dared me to hit a note higher than I ever hit before and I hit it. He told me at the time what the note was, but I don’t remember now, but I know I have a really high rock falsetto and it’s come in handy a couple of times.

3. Who is the one person that you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Oooh, that’s a really great question. Ellen DeGeneres. I adore her. I think she’s brilliant. I’ve been told I have a very similar sense of humor to hers. I just respect her so much for so many things she’s done. I’d also love to work with Betty White.

4. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so, what career would you choose? I have thought about quitting at times. This business is wonderful and amazing and there are so many great parts, but when you are in the public eye, it can really be hard and hurtful when people say things that are really harsh or you just lose your confidence or something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would and you think you’ll never work again, so there’s definitely times I thought about quitting, but I’m glad I didn’t. If I wasn’t a performer, I think I’d be a teacher or work with animals because I’m very passionate about education for kids and I’m a huge, huge animal lover.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I have this weird thing I can do where I can put a plastic bottle cap in my mouth against my teeth and click it and by changing the space in my mouth I can make it sound musical.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Totally Starbucks. I’m kind of obsessed with Carmel Macchiatos, but during the winter my favorite thing is a Gingerbread Latte. I also love the Huevos Rancheros Wrap that they have.

7. Favorite item off the $1 menu? I’m such a sucker for fries. Even when I’m trying to eat healthy, I always find an excuse for fries.

8. Favorite way to stay in shape? I’m one of those people that need to find a reason to go to the gym because I’m just not naturally drawn to it, but the thing I get the most enjoyment out of is swimming because it doesn’t feel like a work out, it just feels like I’m having fun.

9. Boxers or Briefs? I like briefs, though I try to avoid the tighty-whities, but I’m a victim of those sometimes too, I will not lie. I’ve never been able to do the boxers. I think there’s a skill that goes with that.

10. Favorite website? I’m a huge fan of Disney and Disney Theme parks, so I find myself going to the Disney Theme Park nerd website a lot where everyone goes on message boards and talks about what’s going on at the theme parks. The website is called wdwmagic.com. I love it!

11. Superman or Wonder Woman? For the crush factor is Superman, but I kind of love the toughness and kick-ass style of Wonder Woman.


12. Favorite ride at an amusement park? All my Disney friends are going to hate me for this, but, it used to be Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios in Disney, but I just had the pleasure of going on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal. It’s the most unbelievable ride I’ve ever ridden in my life.

13. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve read about yourself and where did you read it? A friend of mine was writing a bio up for me for a show I was doing and he went to my Wikipedia page (I didn’t even know I had a Wikipedia page, but I guess someone made it for me) and he said I think you should go to your Wikipedia page because somebody wrote something about you that I’m not sure is true. I said okay…so someone had gone to my Wikipedia page and wrote that he and I were living together in Hell’s Kitchen and he was my boyfriend of like four years. First I was like “Oh my God” and then I thought that was kind of sweet, but it was very funny.

14. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “The person who you stand above today is the person you’ll stand below tomorrow.” My mom taught me very strongly and at an early age that you treat everyone the same and you treat everyone the way you want to be treated. I’m glad I learned that and that I apply that because there’s certainly been times where someone was an intern on a show and a few years later they’re producing something and I think Thank God I was kind to them and I wasn’t like oh you’re just an intern or a PA, because those are the people who are going to run the world. I see a lot of my peers not stay true to that and pay for it later.

15. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would be my partner Michael. He’s really amazing and been so good to me.

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I had the fortunate experience of having a one on one interview with Autumn Hurlbert after seeing her in Bobby Cronin’s concert “Not The Same: The Music and Lyrics of Bobby Cronin” on Sunday, March 28. With a big beautiful voice and stage presence to go with it, Autumn not only has the talent, but she is gracious, personable, and full of energy. From starring in the first national tour of “Little Women” to regional productions of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Les Miserables,” and “Evita,” Autumn gained national attention as the runner up in MTV’s reality series “Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods.” Since then, she has continued entertaining audiences. She joined Broadway’s “Legally Blonde” until it closed in 2008, then starred in “Glimpses of the Moon” at the Algonquin Hotel, “On The Town” at Encores, “Beehive” at the Maltz Jupiter Theater in FL, and “A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage (c) 1959” (which also starred fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Lee Aaron Rosen) at the 2009 NYC International Fringe Festival. Autumn has a few projects in the works, so stay tuned to find out when they come about and in the meantime be sure to visit http://www.autumnhurlbert.com for more on Autumn.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My dad because he was in a band when he was in college, but his dream of becoming a musician never came to fruition. He became a banker instead. My parents never pushed anything on me and just allowed me to explore the arts and it was very obvious very quickly that this is where I belonged. Growing up I loved Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters…all the curly haired girls.

1a. Is that where you get your big beautiful belt from, from loving Bette and Bernadette? You know where I get my big beautiful belt from, I had colic when I was a baby and my mom said I screamed every single day of the first year of my life. So I think I have a big voice because I got good training, screaming, as a baby.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? The lowest note I can sing is Low E below C, highest note I can belt is a high B flat or B, highest note I can sing is High F or G.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Too many names to pick, but I would really, really, love to  work with is Lin-Manuel Miranda. He has such great energy. I’ve seen “In The Heights” a bunch of times and he’s so smart, humble, and really innovative. I think he’s really fabulous.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Oh, I’ve never been asked a question like that. That’s scandalous! I would probably dream that Henry Krieger wrote a fierce song for me.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I am able to stick objects in my nose. I can make a q-tip disappear into my nasal cavity. If I stick 2 things in my nose, I can make them hang from my nostrils. Actually, everybody can do that because if you cut your nose off your face you just have two holes and I found mine. It’s disgusting, I know, but I love freaking people out.

6. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & toppings)? If I got a Sundae with lots of toppings it would be vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate and strawberries. If I had just plain ice cream my favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip all the way.

7. Favorite kind of shoes? All Shoes.

8. Favorite skin care product? Burt’s Bees when I’m not working and Origins when I’m employed.

9. Favorite website? Etsy.com or Apartment Therapy.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. I was her for Halloween. Rope, cuffs, and starred undies included.


11. Favorite quote? I have a lot of favorite quotes, but I will say “leap and the net will appear.”

12. Favorite play/musical? Play: “Lend Me A Tenor” or “August Osage County.” Musical: “Once on this Island.”

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Photo Credit: Kirsty Furg

I had the pleasure of personally interviewing Leigh Ann Larkin during the Abingdon Theatre’s “Marathon ’33” benefit back in October. In person, Leigh Ann radiates kindness and joy with an energy that shines as bright as the sun. On Broadway she has starred as “Dainty June” in the Tony Award winning revival of “Gypsy” starring Patti LuPone, Boyd Gaines, and Laura Benanti, while Off-Broadway, she starred in “The Yellow Wood.” Leigh-Ann has toured with country in Walt Disney’s “On The Record” (which also starred fellow “Adaubmelle’s Quest” participant Andy Karl) and has been seen regionally at the Pittsburgh Musical Theatre (“Belle” in “Beauty and the Beast”), Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (“Deborah Sue” in “Bye, Bye, Birdie”), West Virginia Public Theatre (as “Emma” in “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Lily” in “The Secret Garden,” and “Liesl” in “The Soud of Music”), Williamstown Theatre Festival (Featured Dancer in “Where’s Charlie”), and at the Cincinnati Conservatory (“Claudia” in “Nine” & “Jen” in “Jon & Jen”). Her TV roles include “Lipstick Jungle,” “The Flight of the Concords,” and recurring roles on “Guiding Light” & “All My Children.” Currently, Leigh Ann can been seen back on Broadway in the revival of “A Little Night Music” starring Angela Lansbury & Catherine Zeta-Jones. For more on Leigh Ann Larkin visit: http://www.leighannlarkin.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Patti LuPone and my mother who got me started and was very supportive.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Low E, high C, and high E. I’m working on high E flat.

3. What has been your most embarrassing on-stage moment? When I punched a hole through the train in “Gypsy.”

4. Out of all the people you have worked with, who did you learn the most from? Arthur Laurents.

5. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Meryl Streep and Mary Louise Parker.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I’ve got a “green” thumb–love to garden.

7. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks. one pump of soymilk in a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

8. Favorite skin care product? I’m an organic girl. I love Alba moisturizer and face wash. Actually, I love all their products.

9. Favorite website? http://www.steelers.com/ (Pittsburgh Baby!)

10. “Saved By The Bell” or “Beverly Hills 90210”? “Saved By The Bell.”

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