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Posts Tagged ‘Encores’

When three time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara sings, people listen! People listen so intently they are taken away from their daily lives to another world, a world of extraordinary talent, beauty and passion. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kelli after her triumphant opening night of her one woman show “Beyond the Ingenue” at Feinstein’s at the Regency (click here for my review).

From Oklahoma to New York City, Kelli O’Hara moved here to pursue her dream of becoming a performer and a performer she has become, in every sense of the word! Kelli made her Broadway debut in “Jekyll & Hyde” then going on to star in “Follies,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” and “Dracula.” Kelli earned her three Tony Award nominations in a row: her first nomination was for her performance in “The Light in the Piazza” co-starring Matthew Morrison, she received her second nomination for her performance in “The Pajama Game” co-starring Harry Connick Jr, and her third nomination was for her performance in “South Pacific,” co-starring Paulo Szot and Matthew Morrison.

In between “The Pajama Game” & “South Pacific,” Kelli made her Carnegie Hall debut in the NY Philharmonic production of “My Fair Lady” and released her debut album “Wonder in the World.” Kelli then went on to perform solo concerts at some of the biggest halls in New York and DC including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Cooper Union, Joe’s Pub, and Cafe Carlyle.

Off-Broadway and regionally, Kelli has been seen in “Sunday in the Park with George” (Reprise) “My Life With Albertine” (Playwright’s Horizons), and “Beauty” (La Jolla Playhouse). In addition to theatre, Kelli’s film and television credits include “The Dying Gaul,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “NUMB3RS,” “All My Children,” and the upcoming animated series “Car Talk.”

There are two chances now to catch Kelli live on stage: Now through October 30 at Feinstein’s at the Regency in her one woman show “Beyond the Ingenue” and then November 18-21 in “Bells Are Ringing” at Encores! For more on Kelli, be sure to visit http://www.kelliohara.com.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My voice teacher Florence Birdwell in Oklahoma. She’s pretty amazing. She was my mentor and inspired me to come here and do what I’m doing.

2. What’s the highest and lowest note you can sing? Well, I sang a high F above high C in “Magic Flute,” an opera. The lowest note I sing is probably F below middle C.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Mmmm…Hugh Jackman because I almost have worked with him a few times and it just hasn’t worked out yet. I would also love to work with Megan Mullally.

4. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I would be a teacher. I love teaching. I teach, but not full time, just when I can. What do you teach? I teach musical theatre master classes.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? No one’s me. So I’m the only one who can do things the way I do them.  So be proud of it and sell it.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Jogging.

7. Favorite skin care product? Clinique Exfoliating scrub.

8. Favorite store to shop in? Anthropology for sure.

9. Favorite website? Etsy.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My husband, Greg Naughton.

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can imitate people’s walks almost perfectly.

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If you’re looking for an album to lose yourself in, then I’d suggest picking up Jane Krakowski’s “The Laziest Gal In Town,” recorded at her 2009 Feinstein’s at the Regency cabaret debut. This live recording feels as if you’ve been whisked out of your seat and transported to Feinstein’s at the Regency, one of the most intimate and personable nightclubs in New York City.

With a beautiful voice and controlled belt, Jane knows how to deliver a tune and interact with the audience using her humor, sensuality, and sultriness at just the right moments. “The Laziest Gal In Town,” “I’m Old Fashioned/Old Fashioned Girl,” and “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” allow Jane’s pristine voice to sparkle. Bringing out her more humorous/fun side are the tunes “A Little Brains, A Little Talent,” “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” “When I Get Low I Get High/Wacky Dust,” “Rubber Duckie,” and “Tweet,” a song written specifically for Jane by Scott Whitman and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Marc Shaiman to the tune of “Zip” from “Pal Joey.” Jane sings about the infusion of twitter into everyday life along with announcing the latest celebrity headlines that were taking place during the time of recording. “An Englishman Needs Time,”  “My Handy Man,” and “Thirteen Men” brings out Jane sultriness & sensuality.

Far from being “The Laziest Gal In Town,” Jane has entertained audiences on such hit television shows as “Ally McBeal” and “30 Rock” as well as on stage “Guys and Dolls,” the 2003 Broadway revival of “Nine” (for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Muscial) and at Encores! “Damn Yankees” (which starred Cheyenne Jackson). Now would be the perfect time to expand your love for Jane Krakowski and purchase “The Laziest Gal In Town.” Both relaxing and upbeat, this feel good album is one for your collection.

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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.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

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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Nancy Anderson is an Olivier, Helen Hayes, and Drama Desk nominated performer. She delights audiences with her beautiful voice as well as her brilliant acting, especially her comedic timing! She has played multiple roles in a single show and her stage presence reflects her strong skill set. On Broadway she has appeared in “A Class Act” and the revival of “Wonderful Town.” She has appeared on PBS’ Great Performances in the West End premiere of “Kiss Me Kate” as “Lois/Bianca” for which Nancy received an Olivier and Helen Hayes Award Nomination and “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Reba McEntire. Off-Broadway she received Drama Desk Award nominations for playing all the women in “Jolson & Company” and for the title role in “Fanny Hill,” both at the York Theatre. Regionally, Nancy has been seen in “Ordinary Days” (South Coast Rep), “White Noise” (New Orleans), “The Women” (Old Globe), Cape Playhouse’s “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine” and “Sylvia,” “By Jeeves” (Goodspeed, Geffin, & Kennedy Center), “The Black Monk” (Yale Rep), “Sweeney Todd” (Goodspeed), and “Crazy For You” (Pioneer Playhouse). She has also been seen in the Encores production of “No, No Nanette” starring Rosie O’ Donnell & Sandy Duncan as well as appearing with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall in his Valentine’s tribute concert “Hooray For Love Songs.” Nancy has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and is a regular at Town Hall in NYC in Scott Siegel’s “Broadway By The Year” series. Her debut album “Ten Cents A Dance” is available now. Nancy can currently be seen at the York Theatre in the hit Off-Broadway premiere of “Yank: A World War II Love Story” through April 4. For more on Nancy be sure to visit: http://www.nancyanderson.name.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? That’s a tough question, because I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a performer-but my guess is it’s a combination between my grandmother, who was a concert violinist, my sister, who was probably the first person i saw perform, and Judy Garland (from the Wizard of Oz on tv, of course..)

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? High B (high C on a good day). Low E (below middle C).

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Stephen Sondheim.

4. What is your proudest moment? oh, that’s impossible…maybe when I conducted an 80-voice choir of kids at the Summer Stars camp in Rochester, NY.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Well, most people know I play the Ukulele, but not many know that I can tumble-in fact, for the first time in my life I was asked to tumble in an audition for Peter Pan at Papermill-just last week!

6. Favorite skin care product? Elizabeth Arden’s anti-wrinkle serum.

7. Favorite kind of shoes? Platform boots.

8. Favorite play/musical? Sunday in the Park With George.

9. Favorite website? http://www.earthwatch.org.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? In NYC-walking the brooklyn bridge. In San Diego-Surfing.

12. Favorite quote: I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

– John Adams

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