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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Caruso’

“On Fire” is exactly what Megan Reinking and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Kate Pazakis were this past Monday night at Birdland! As part of Jim Caruso’s “Broadway in Birdland” (another fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant), Kate and Megan performed their show “On Fire: Kate Pazakis and Megan Reinking.”

Together and separately, they sung and belted their hearts out with a mixture of music! From Alanis Morissette’s “So Unsexy” to Extreme’s “More Than Words,” these two powerhouse vocalists really strutted their stuff! My favorite moment of the evening came when these two geniuses interwove Alanis Morissette’s “Your House” and Brooke Fox’s “Breathe The Same Air.” These two songs have similar themes and worked perfectly together, just like Kate and Megan.

With a sound so fierce and so powerful, Kate and Megan are two performers destined for continued greatness and success! Here’s hoping this show becomes a recording…hint, hint.

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To be able to make someone laugh can be a challenge, but to make someone laugh for an hour consistently is a talent few have. One performer who has the wit & skill to do that is four time Mac Award winner & fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” partricipant Julie Halston. On Sunday, April 11, 2010, I got to see Julie’s new one woman show “The Cocktail Hour/A Reality Show” at Birdland, one of NYC’s most famous cabaret spaces. Julie’s show was presented by Jim Caruso’s Broadway at Birdland series. From comedy to song, Julie can do it all. She can take the most simplistic task, like reading an email about cookie sharing, a phenomenon sweeping the nation where people exchange cookie recipes, and turn it into the funniest thing you’ve heard by using her gift of inflection & storytelling.  Her punchline is that the people hosting these parties are probably the ones that shouldn’t be eating all these cookies, in fact they should probably become bulimic. At times Julie can be a little dark with her humor, but it’s all in good fun. One classic Julie Halston shtick is when she talks about how she was anorexic while living in Hollywood. She says there is nothing funny about anorexia, but if you don’t die from it then it’s not such a bad thing & you are incredibly thin. Julie also did a hilarious bit about kids and that if you can’t afford a babysitter, you probably can’t afford to have kids.

After Julie entertained the audience for a while, she brought up a very special guest, two-time Tony Award nominee & fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Alison Fraser who delighted the audience with a hilarious song about how she’s never been cast in “Law & Order”, but has been on “Law & Order: SVU.” Alison then treated the audience to a very touching moment when she sang “The Green Heart,” a song written by her late husband Rusty Magee from the show of the same name written by Magee and Charles Busch. There is an effort to bring this show back to life, so let’s hope it happens. If that treat wasn’t enough, Alison & Julie then graced the audience with a duet of “Gotta Have a Gimmick” from “Gypsy” which both have starred in, Julie in the 2003 revival with Bernadette Peters & Alison in the 2008 revival with Patti LuPone.

One other touching moment came towards the end of Julie’s show when Julie talked about her dad who passed away last year on Christmas Eve and she reinacted how her mom would read the hospital dinner menu to her dad, selecting what his dinner choice would be. When Julie came to visit him and asked how dinner was, her dad would say “Great! I payed the nurse $30 to go to Applebees and get me a burger, ice cream, and soda. I love this place.” Julie delivered this bit with emotion, sincerity, and that style of delivery only Julie can give.

Most comedians can make someone laugh, but it takes a special kind to keep that going.  Julie Halston knows how to keep the laughs coming with skill, style, and most of all humor! Next time Julie Halston has a show, I would highly recommend going to see it!

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On Monday, April 5, 2010, I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Award winning country music artist Bryan White after seeing him perform with Victoria Shaw and Gary Burr at New York City’s legendary jazz club Birdland as part of Jim Caruso’s Broadway at Birdland series. Right before I interviewed him, Bryan took the time to meet with fans, take pictures, and sign cds. Gracious, personable, and down to earth, Bryan White is proud of his success, but hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Since the age of 14, he has been entertaining audiences. He’s won a Grammy award, CMA Horizon Award, ACM Top Male Vocalist Award, had six #1 singles, two platinum records, two gold records and joined forces with Shania Twain for “From This Moment on” which they took to #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. Bryan just released his eighth studio album entitled “Dustbowl Dreams” and is currently touring the country. For tour dates and much more on Bryan, be sure to visit: http://www.bryanwhite.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? First, I’d have to say my parents because they were musicians and they were the first people I saw performing music. The guy that made me want to be a recording artist and make records and do all of this was a guy named Steve Wariner. Steve is just a tremendous artist, singer, and songwriter. I heard his voice and I said to myself that’s exactly what I want to do. If it weren’t for Steve’s music and talent, I wouldn’t be here.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many people already over my career, but I’d love to work with Bonnie Raitt sometime. I think she’s an tremendous talent. I’d love to sit in the same room with Dolly and write a song with her. I’d also love to work with Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood or James Taylor.

3. What’s your proudest moment? When I saw my children being born, that was my proudest moment. That’s when I realized life is so much bigger than me and us. Being a dad is about as good as it gets.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? That’s a great question, ’cause it makes me think.  I tell a lot of singers that they need to warm up and don’t drink a lot of caffine and try to drink a lot of water. I try to stay adamant with staying hydrated and warm up a 1/2 hour before a show, but I’m not always real diligent about it.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My granddad. My granddad was my hero. He passed away about 5 years ago and that was very difficult for me. Sometimes he’s in my dream and I wake up and I realize it was just a dream and I think man what a bummer cause it was cool to see him. It was like we were hanging. I would also like to dream that I was in heaven hanging with God.

6. Favorite ride at an amusement park? I love wooden roller coasters because their fun, their fast, and their scary, but they give the impression like their gonna fall apart at anytime because you hear the wood and the clacking and all the noise and it sort of adds to the illusion of the fear.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Walking definitely not running. I hate running. I like basketball too because it’s faking you out by thinking you are not working out, but really you are.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs most of the time, but I have two pairs of boxers and on occasion when it’s really hot outside, I’ll wear boxers.

9. Favorite website? I tend to go to Twitter almost every time I go online. I like Twitter from my phone, but I really like it from my laptop better because it’s faster. Sometimes I’ll get into a conversation with a fan and that is really fun for me. I love going to Wikipedia because if I think of some big celebrity that I’ve always wondered about and wanted to know where they are from, I’ll go to Wikipedia to find out. I’m big into where people are from. That’s typically how all my conversations with people start because I’ve been so many places I can usually bring up something about their hometown and engage them in conversation.

10. “Transformers” or “Gobots”? Transformers. I don’t remember buying Gobots.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love to laugh and hang with friends or have a bbq in the backyard with all my favorite people. I also love recreational stuff outside, especially on a boat. I’m an avid fisherman and I don’t get to do it as much because of my schedule, but I’m getting ready to go Wyoming and I’m really excited because there might be an opportunity for me to go fly fishing. There is just something about being outside where I can see a long ways and think and reflect. I’m a song writer so I typically think better and most of my ideas come when I’m out in the wilderness.

12. Out of everyone you’ve worked with, who did you learn the most from? That’s a tough one because I took something from everyone, but I would have to go back to Steve Wariner. He’s been not only a mentor in respect to the artistry but also in respect to the business side of the industry. He’s given me some of the most priceless advice in terms of staying in there and fighting through. I’ve learned a lot from being on the road with Vince Gill and Mark Miller from Sawyer Brown. There are a lot of real people in the industry and you just hope that you are directed to those people. When you find them, you just try to hang on to them because they’re really blessings.

13. Who do you consider to be your hero? My granddad. Like many of our grandparents, he comes from a whole different generation. It’s a generation where people really worked for their living and they didn’t know what sitting around meant or they didn’t know what it meant to surf the web and kind of veg out. Veg out was not a term back then and I respect that about him. He got up every morning and he was a hard worker and he enjoyed his work and he enjoyed his family even more. I know now, looking back, why he worked so hard because every ounce of energy he put into his work was for all for his kids and all for his family and he loved people. So I think everyday when I do things or when I meet people or working, I try to think about how he approached life and I try to apply what I learned from him to my life as well. I want to leave that same kind of legacy one day.

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Happy Anniversary! I am really excited and honored to be celebrating my one year anniversary! “Adaumbelle’s Quest” is a dream come true for me. I would like to take this opportunity to send a big, huge “THANK YOU” to  everyone that has given their time to “Adaumbelle’s Quest” over this past year…from my participants to the press agents who helped get some of my participants to my dedicated and wonderful fans to those who helped get “Adaumbelle’s Quest off the ground which I could not have done on my own. I have thoroughly enjoyed this first year of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” and look forward to the coming year.

To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to interview myself for this special day and let my fans and participants learn a little bit more about me.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer/blogger? Every actor, artist, and performer I’ve ever been a fan of, plus every participant of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” (after all if they didn’t inspire me, I probably wouldn’t have interviewed them). Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to entertain people. I never really knew how I would do that, I just thought it would happen, but eventually I learned. I always enjoyed making people laugh with my stories and parody lyrics. The comedians that inspired my style of comedy were Ellen DeGeneres, Sandra Bernhard, and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Wendy Liebman. It wasn’t until an open mic night while volunteering with AIDS Action in Boston in 1999 that I thought about pursuing comedy as a potential career. That night was magical with all of us volunteers performing, including fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant CeyJay Jumo-as. After 7 years of trying to make it as a comedian, I took what I thought was going to be a hiatus, but instead turned out to be a retirement. During that time I sure did miss entertaining people on-stage and thought very hard about what my next move would be. It wasn’t until I attended fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Gavin Creel’s concert at The Zipper Factory and heard him sing “The Upperhand,” that I knew something was going to come my way. The song is all about letting “The Upperhand” guide you and that is just what I did. You see, as a theatre lover, I would read all the interviews on Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, and Broadway.com and thought to myself, I would love to interview the artists and performers I admire and ask them what I consider to be the everyday burning questions. One day at work, I was sitting in the lunch room with some of my coworkers and we were talking and I was telling them my thoughts and next thing I knew we were rattling off questions and potential titles to call my blog. I immediately thought of “Adaumbelle” because of the history behind the name (which you can read by clicking on the “Adaumbelle’s Origin” tab) and “Quest” came out of the fact that I’m on a quest to get answers to my burning questions.  With the help of a lot of people, I started researching blog sites and decided to settle here at WordPress.com. With the popularity of Myspace and Facebook, I started “friending” the artists and performers I wanted to participate, sent them e-mails asking to them be part of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” and next thing I knew, I started getting responses and “Adaumbelle’s Quest” was born into reality.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t interviewed that you would like to? That’s not fair to make me single out just one person I still want to interview, so I will list a few…Dolly Parton, Liza Minnelli, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Rivers, Cheyenne Jackson, Lynda Carter, Cher, Chelsea Handler, RuPaul, John Tartaglia, Tyler Maynard, Kathy Griffin, Stephanie J. Block, Betty White, and so, so, so, so many others that I could spend all day listing names.

3. Who do you consider to be your hero? My parents and grandparents.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My grandparents, so I can spend more time with them and update them on what’s been happening since they’ve been gone.

5. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Vanilla Chai Latte with Skim Milk. Most of the time it’s Starbuck’s, but if I could go to an independent coffee shop I would. Oh how I do miss The Factory (they used to be in the West Village in NYC), not only did they make the BEST vanilla chai latte, it was just a great place to hang out.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? By watching what I eat, and by watching I mean watching it go from my plate to my mouth. When that doesn’t work, I enjoy going for a walk to get a vanilla chai latte and lifting the cup to and from my mouth for that extra bit of exercise.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs because they accentuate the positive.

8. Favorite website? Besides, “Adaumbelle’s Quest,”  Olivia Newton-John.comDollymania.net, Amazon.com, and Facebook.

9. Favorite TV Show Theme Song? “Wonder Woman,” “Patty Duke,” “Mr. Ed,” “Punky Brewster,” “Jem and the Holograms,” “Beauty and The Beast,” “Family Ties,” “Silver Spoons,” “Sister Kate,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “The Facts of Life,” “Saved By The Bell,” “California Dreams,” and “Sordid Lives: The Series.”

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Best holiday gift ever? My signed and framed picture of me and Olivia Newton-John swimming with dolphins.

12. Favorite play/musical? To pick one is very, very difficult, but I will say the one musical that really changed me was “Tommy” because it was a show I had no desire whatsoever to see and afterwards I left the theatre singing and dancing. That experience is what I consider to be “The Power of Broadway.”

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Liza at the PalaceIf you’re in Las Vegas from September 25-October 1 be sure to catch Liza Minnelli, along with “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Jim Caruso, Cortes Alexander, and Billy Stritch at the MGM Grand performing in “Liza At The Palace.” You’ll get to hear Liza sing her hits and pay tribute to her Godmother Kaye Thompson. The September 30 & October 1 shows are being taped for  distribution to Public Television and eventually DVD. This is your chance to see a true legend live on stage! Don’t miss out…

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Jim Caruso“Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Jim Caruso along with Billy Stritch will be making their Provincetown debut as they host the Provincetown Cabaret Fest this weekend May 15 & 16. For tickets and info, click on the link below:

http://www.ptown.org/cabaretfest.asp

 

 

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