Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Chita Rivera’

Wow, wow, wow is what I have to say after attending the opening night of T. Oliver Reid’s show “This Love I Know” at the Metropolitan Room in NYC. I have never heard T. Oliver Reid sing prior to tonight, but I now see why he was the winner of the 2010 “MetroStar Talent Challenge.” Beating out the other 51 contestants during the 8-week jury and audience-voted elimination-round competition, T. Oliver dazzled throughout.

“This Love I Know” takes the audience on a journey of love. T. Oliver chose songs that have helped him through many loves, both the “falling-in-love” and “on-to-the-next” variety. T. Oliver’s voice is powerful, skilled, and most of all wide-ranged! His voice shined and sparkled throughout the whole set with such classics as “Hooray For Love,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “Autumn In New York,” “This Can’t Be Love,” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”  If you are looking for a show to attend with that special someone or someone you love, then “This Love I Know” at the Metropolitan Room (34 West 22nd Street, between 5th & 6th Ave) is the place to be through February 14 at 7pm! $25 + 2 drink minimum.

T. Oliver Reid has spent the past 12 years entertaining audiences on Broadway in “Chicago,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Follies,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Never Gonna Dance,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Damn Yankees,” and “Mary Poppins.” He has also had the privilege of working onstage with Chita Rivera, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jane Krakowski, Karen Ziemba, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, Marin Mazzie, Sutton Foster, and Robert Goulet. He’s worked with some of the best directors, choreographers, and musical directors including Kathleen Marshall, Rob Marshall, Rob Ashford, Jerry Zaks, Ann Reinking, and Jerry Mitchell.

Over the past decade, he has donated his time and resources to The Actor’s Fund, Jeffrey Fashion Cares, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS where he’s served on several fund raising and grant committees as well as committees to help with the distribution of funds to food banks across the country. He is also a charter member of G4G/NYC (Gay for Good, a non-profit service organization). For more on T. Oliver Reid be sure to visit http://toliverreid.com/

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? It would be what. Literally every Saturday morning growing up I watched Turner Classical Movies and the MGM movie musicals. I would sing along to them and get different cast recordings and sing to those. I had the “Annie” cast recording and would sing to it everyday until my mother finally took me to see the road show which was in Charlotte. We went there and that’s where it all started for me.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? That’s a good question. The highest is a Soprano B flat. I used to be able to sing higher, like high E flats, but somewhere along the way, I lost a few notes. The lowest note I can sing is the low F.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’d love to have David Foster produce something for me. It really goes back and forth between musical theatre and standard pop music composer/lyricists. There are a lot of new composer/lyricist’s I’d like to work with. Me: Which ones? T: I like Scott Alan’s work. I think he’s fantastic.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “You should be singing and not dancing.”

5. What do you get from performing in a solo show that you don’t get from performing in a Broadway show? It’s all about me. Whatever choices I make and songs I choose is about the journey I want to take as opposed to me just being there for someone else’s journey or me filling a part for someone else. It’s a great thing to be able to shape a show myself and to choose all the numbers and sing all the songs and sort of figure out what I want to do. It really becomes more part of you than being part of someone else’s idea.

6. How did you come up with the concept and song selection for your show “This Love I Know?” I had a list of about 40 songs and I would just listen to every song everyday and after a while I was like I don’t want to listen to this one anymore and then take it off the list until I got the list down to a smaller number and then put them in an order that made sense. Me: You did achieve that. I think there was a story that went with the songs and that came through to the audience. T: Thank you, thank you very much.

7. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? When a train is coming into the subway platform that is when I do my loudest singing because I don’t like singing loud around people. When I’m on the train I’m always humming or thinking of songs. I also like to practice in a cafe somewhere because I can’t concentrate well in my apartment, so I’ll go to a cafe and brainstorm my ideas.

8. Favorite way to stay in shape? The gym. Summers I like to ride my bike.

9. Boxers or Briefs? I’ll say briefs, but they are somewhere in between. They are not the usual tighty whities. They are a little bit looser.

10. Favorite website? Facebook.com. I feel like I’m on it all the time.

11. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman definitely!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite place to go on a date in NYC? It would be my favorite restaurant which is actually in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn called Buttermilk Channel. They have the best food on the planet. You really feel like you’re in Brooklyn and the food is amazing.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My best friend who I lost in April 2010.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Memphis’ Ostrander Award Winning actor, Mark Mozingo is another one of our up and coming performers on the rise…Hailing from Kentucky, Mark moved to NYC to pursue his dream and has been working it ever since. His Off-Broadway credits include: Prospect Theatre Company’s production of “Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge” (book by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Cara Reichel), and “Tock Tick,” “The Hidden Sky,” and “Alley of Masks” (Wings Theatre). Regionally, Mark has starred in “The Graduate,” “Take Me Out” (Memphis’ Ostrander Award Best Supporting Actor), “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Foreigner,” and “States of Independence” (written and directed by Tina Landau/Ricky Ian Gordon).  He was also an original company member of Judith Blazer’s The Artists Crossing. Mark is currently entertaining folks upon a cruise ship around Hawaii, but stay tuned because when that ship docks, he’ll be lighting up the stage again soon!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? If I had to pick on specific “who” it would definitely be my high school drama teacher, Vanessa Rogers, who happened to also be my mother’s best friend…she really encouraged me from a young age to perform every chance I got.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I can sing four octaves, with falsetto, starting from the F in the bass clef up to the F above high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are way too many to name just one. Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench, Chita Rivera, Liza Minnelli, Terrence McNally, Jack Nicholson, and Stephen Sondheim. And there are a few dead people I’d love to have worked with, too…Judy Garland, Anne Bancroft, Elvis…to name just a few.

4. Do you have any rituals that you must do before a show? Before a show I have to exercise…and then meditate right before curtain. How do you decompress after a show? Depends on the show usually, but I love to have a drink.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Well I was a competition Irish Step Dancer for 4 or 5 years, but that’s not too big of a secret. Every talent I have has been exploited.

6. Favorite skin care product? Kiehl’s Facial Fuel SPF 15 Moisturizer for Men.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? The Insanity workouts, or a good spin class.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Definitely briefs.

9. Favorite website? dlisted.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Plant a te” from Judy Blazer, which is an Italian phrase which basically means to “plant yourself.”

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Yikes, I can’t admit who I’d like to dream about…I’d love to stop dreaming about some people.

Read Full Post »