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Posts Tagged ‘“Finian’s Rainbow”’

I will never forget my friend Katie introducing me to your illustrious talent in Broadway’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and I only got to see you in one more show after that which was the Broadway revival of “Finian’s Rainbow” in 2009.

James also starred in Broadway’s original productions of “Big Deal,” “The Life,” and “Ragtime” and the revivals of “Sweet Charity,” and “Once On This Island.” Off-Broadway he was seen in “Romance in Hard Times,” “Stars in Your Eyes,” and “Dessa Rose.” As a writer , James and Hattie Winston wrote “Nativity,” an adaptation of the Christmas story which played annually around New York.

You and your talent will be missed!

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I am a member of the ITBA (Independent Theater Bloggers Association) and each year members of the ITBA gather to nominate the Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway shows we think deserve recognition. After the nominations are picked, the voting period begins and the winners are announced. Listed below are the 2010 ITBA Award Winners:

Outstanding New Broadway Play: Red

Outstanding Broadway Play Revival: A View From The Bridge

Outstanding New Broadway Musical: American Idiot

Outstanding Broadway Musical Revival: La Cage Aux Folles

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Circle Mirror Transformation

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Yank!

Outstanding Off-Broadway Revival: The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Off-Off Broadway Show: Viral

Unique Off-Off Broadway Experience: The Lily’s Revenge

Outstanding Solo Show: A Boy and His Soul

Outstanding Ensemble Performance: Circle Mirror Transformation

Citation For Excellence In Off-Off Broadway Theatre: Company XIV

Citations For Excellence By Individual Perormers:

Nina Arianda, Venus In Fur
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Desiree Burch, The Soup Show
Rebecca Comtois, Viral
Viola Davis, Fences
Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts
Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles
Sarah Lemp, The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side & Happy In The Poorhouse
Laura Linney, Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family & Lend Me A Tenor (fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant)
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime & Yank! (fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant)
Amy Lynn Stewart, Viral

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I attended the 2010 Drama Desk Awards and it was very exciting, especially when fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Jan Maxwell won for Best Actress in a Play for “The Royal Family.” It was so exciting to be there in person when she won and then to be able to personally congratulate Jan after the show was that much more exciting! I also got to meet Brooke Sheilds who was kind, gracious, and absolutely stunning. Before the evening got underway I got to hang out with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Tom D’Angora who’s show “NEWSical the Musical” was nominated for “Best Musical Revue”, but unfortunately didn’t win. We still had a wonderful time as always!

To find out who won awards check out the list of winners below…

Outstanding Play: John Logan, “Red”

Outstanding Musical: “Memphis”

Outstanding Revival of a Play: “A View from the Bridge” & “Fences”

Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “La Cage Aux Folles”

Outstanding Actor in a Play: Liev Schreiber, “A View from the Bridge”

Outstanding Actress in a Play: fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Jan Maxwell, “The Royal Family”

Outstanding Actor in a Musical: Douglas Hodge, “La Cage Aux Folles”

Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Montego Glover, “Memphis” & Catherine Zeta-Jones, “A Little Night Music”

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Santino Fontana, “Brighton Beach Memoirs”

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Viola Davis, “Fences”

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Christopher Fitzgerald, “Finian’s Rainbow”

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Katie Finneran, “Promises Promises”

Outstanding Director of a Play: Michael Grandage, “Red”

Outstanding Director of a Musical: Michael Mayer, “American Idiot”

Outstanding Choreography: Twyla Tharp, “Come Fly Away”

Outstanding Music: David Bryan, “Memphis”

Outstanding Lyrics: John Kander & Fred Ebb, “The Scottsboro Boys”

Outstanding Book of a Musical: Alex Timbers, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”

Outstanding Orchestrations: Daryl Waters & David Bryan, “Memphis”

Outstanding Musical Revue: “Sondheim on Sondheim”

Outstanding Music in a Play: Branford Marsalis, “Fences”

Outstanding Set Design: Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch, & Basil Twist: “The Addams Family”

Outstanding Costume Design: Matthew Wright, “La Cage Aux Folles”

Outstanding Lighting Design: Neil Austin, “Red”

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical: Acme Sound Partners, “Ragtime”

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play: Fitz Patton, “When the Rain Stops Falling”

Outstanding Solo Performance: Jim Brochu, “Zero Hour”

Unique Theatrical Experience: “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

Outstanding Ensemble Performance: “Circle Mirror Transformation” & “The Tempermentals”

Special Awards:

To the cast, creative team, and producers of Horton Foote’s epic “The Orphans’ Home Cycle” “We salute the breadth of  vision which inspired exceptional direction, performances, sets, lighting, costumes, music, and sound that made it the theatrical event of this season.”

To Jerry Herman, “For enchanting and dazzling audiences with his exhuberant music and heartfelt lyrics for more than half a century.”

To Godlight Theatre Company for “consistent originality and excellence in dramatizing modern literature, and especially for the vibrant theatricality of its innovate productions.”

To Ma-Yi Theater Company for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.”

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Max von Essen is one of those performers who has it all…the voice, the talent, and most of all the personality. When Max von Essen sings, you never want it to end and when he’s on stage, he’s the focal point of the action. Starting his career off with a boom, he was a back-up singer on tour with the one and only Liza Minnelli and his star has continued to shine brightly. On Broadway, Max has starred in both the original and revival of “Les Miserables,” “Dance of The Vampires” starring Michael Crawford, and the 2000 revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He also starred in “Jerry Springer: The Opera” at Carnegie Hall, “Finian’s Rainbow” at the Irish Repertory Theatre, and “The Fantasticks” at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. Max has been in regional productions of “The Baker’s Wife” at the Paper Mill Playhouse and “Mame” at The Kennedy Center. Other theatre credits includes productions of “Girl Crazy,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Dorian,” “Pirates of Penzance,” “My Fair Lady,” “Hair,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” When Max is not performing in a show, he’s dedicating his time to many charities close to his heart including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Matthew Shephard Foundation. Currently, Max is skating around the country in the national tour of “Xanadu” as Sonny Malone, so be sure to check him out when he rolls into your town. For more on Max, be sure to check out his website http://www.maxvonessen.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? All my teachers (and old movie musicals!!!)

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Haha, my range? Well, I’m a baritone so I have like a low G and then I can sing up to an A above middle C. But I have an odd falsetto and have played “Mary Sunshine” in “Chicago” and “Tremont” in “Jerry Springer The Opera,” so I’ve had to go up another octave and sing high A’s and B’s in the soprano range.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Oh god, there are so many! I’d love to work on broadway with Brian D’Arcy James in something and in a movie someday with Meryl Streep. I mean, could you imagine?

4. What’s the best advice someone ever gave you? “Follow your bliss.” An older friend told me that when I was a teenager, and it guides me constantly.

5. What is your proudest moment? That is such a difficult question. My proudest moment is simply every time I feel like I’m living my life as a decent human being. That may seem cliché but it’s true. It’s not about booking the next big job or anything for me, but at this point in my life, I just strive to be a good friend, son, brother and uncle.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Eight shows a week. Other than that, I hardly work out. I hate it!!!!

7. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs. Although now that I mostly wear skinny jeans, I usually wear briefs. 🙂

8. Favorite skin care product? Haha, good old Cetaphil cleanser, Kiehl’s Eye Alert, and Mac Studio Fix! Must haves!

9. Favorite website? None that I can tell you about. Well, other than Facebook and Twitter. (I’m slightly obsessed).

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? SUPERMAN all the way!!!!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Books or Magazines? I love magazines. But I really should read books more. Grrrrr.

12. Favorite TV Show Theme Song? Easy…The Nanny!!!!! Love it!

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J. Robert SpencerTony Award Nominated actor J. Robert Spencer has had quite a career. He has been seen lighting up the stage in “Side Show,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Heartland,” “Tommy,” “Cats,” and “Lady Duck.” He also originated the role of “Nick Massi” in the Tony Award Winning Musical “Jersey Boys.” In addition to theatre, J. Robert Spencer is also an Independent Film Director, Producer, and Writer, heading up his own Independent Film Company “7 Spencer Productions.” His first independent feature film was “Farm Girl in New York” which was the official selection of the Sacramento International Film Festival (receiving nominations for Best Comedy and Best Actress), Big Apple, Atlanta, Buffalo Niagra, and the Seattle True Independent Film Festivals. “7 Spencer Productions” is currently in post-production of their second Independent Feature titled “Heterosexuals” featuring J. Robert Spencer, Ashley Williams, Tovah Feldshuh, and Natasha Lyonne. J. Robert Spencer has been the lead voice in two Japanese Animated Features, “Nightmare Campus” and the award winning “Grave of the Fireflies.” He also received a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the SMMASH Film Festival for his role as Psychopathic Killer “Bob” in the Independent Feature Film “Night of the Dog.” In addition to his nomination, the film won “Best Feature Audience Awards” at Palm Beach, Santa Barbara, SMMASH, and PBIFF Film Festivals. Currently, J. Robert Spencer can be seen in the Tony Award Winning Musical “Next To Normal” as “Dan”, a role for which he received a 2009 Tony Award Nomination as well as the one night only  “Rockers on Broadway” concert this Monday, November 2 at B.B. Kings and in the CD/DVD release of “Handel’s Messiah Rocks.” For more on J. Robert Spencer including photos, videos, and merchandise, visit: http://www.jrobertspencer.com/

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? The Audience inspired me…. I was in fourth grade and I auditioned for the role of Alligator from Really Rosie. I did something funny, spur of the moment kinda thing, and all the kids and teachers starting laughing. And I went… (pause) “Hmmmm…”

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? All the greats. All of them. I wanna work with them all…in front and behind the camera/scenes. And….I so wish I could have worked with the late John Cassavetes.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Strange or unusual…..well, before 40, I used to be able to put both legs behind my head.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I’M MARRIED! We don’t dream of anyone else except our loved ones!! ANGELINA JOLIE.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? To stop doing questionnaire’s.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? In my dressing room I like to work out with my yoga and medicine ball.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Usually Boxers, but recently purchased some briefs by accident….and I’m enjoying them.

8. Favorite musician/singer? Group – RUSH

9. Favorite TV Theme Song? Three’s Company.

10. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? I love Chocalate Glazed, Coconut, and Eclair.

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Chad KimballActor, singer, and entrepreneur, Chad Kimball stretches across many avenues. On Broadway, Chad has starred in Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine’s “Into The Woods” as “Milky White, the Cow,” garnering a spot on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Entertainment.” Other Broadway credits include “Lennon,” “The Civil War,” and “Good Vibrations.” Off-Broadway Chad has been seen in “Godspell,” “My Life with Albertine,” “Batboy,” and “Finian’s Rainbow.” Regionally, Chad has performed in Signature Theatre’s production of “Sweeney Todd” in Arlington, VA, Papermill Playhouse’s “Baby” in Millburn, NJ, and the Blank Theatre’s “Little Fish” in Los Angles, CA.  While in CA, Chad and his brother Todd founded “Obvious Clothing,” (a line I personally am a proud wearer of) an “elegantly edgy”, high end graphic t-shirt line. Their shirts can be found at department stores and boutiques across the country including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Von Maur, Fred Segal Melrose, Barney’s Japan, and M. Frederic. In addition to the many cast albums Chad has lent his vocals to, he is in the midst of recording his debut solo album due out in February 2010, but before that, you can hear him sing his heart out in the new Broadway show “Memphis” which opens tomorrow, Monday, October 19 at the Shubert Theatre on 44th Street in NYC (click here for my fantastical review). For more on Chad, visit http://www.chadkimball.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My cousin Marty lived in NYC and was a triple threat. I was enamored by his talents.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? When I played Joe Crowell in “Our Town.”

3. What is your most embarrassing audition? For “Producers”. Fell flat and wasn’t funny…in front of Mel Brooks!

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can roll my belly like a wave.

5. Favorite way to say in shape? Playing Huey Calhoun in “Memphis.”

6. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. Hanes.

7. Favorite musician/performer? Peter O’Toole.

8. Favorite TV Show? The Cosby Show.

9. Favorite kind of shoes? Flip Flops.

10. “Gobots” or “Transformers”? Transformers.

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Finian's RainbowIf you’re looking for an old-fashioned feel-good musical then you should get yourself over to the St. James Theatre in NYC to see the Broadway revival of “Finian’s Rainbow.” “Finian’s Rainbow” tells the story of a charming Irish dreamer and his stubborn daughter and the host of complications that arise as they make way in their newly adopted land. It stars Kate Baldwin, who shines & sings her way beautifully, as “Sharon McLonergan.” Cheyenne Jackson, plays “Woody Mahoney,” who finesse’s his way into “Sharon’s” life with his charm, while his big tenor voice captivates the audience. Interjected throughout is Christopher Fitzgerald shimmering his comedic genius as “Og,” the Leprechaun. So “Look to the Rainbow” & treat yourself to an evening of enchantment at “Finian’s Rainbow.”

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