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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Groff’

Photo credit: Stephen Mosher

Whether he’s in front of the camera acting or behind the scenes as a film maker, Michael Stever, is making art for all to see. Michael has worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment. As an actor Michael has performed in both theatre and television in such shows as “Super Force,” “Deadline,” and “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring the legendary Betty Garrett. He has filmed Debbie Reynolds induction into The Friars Club, Mary Bond Davis in her “The Next Food Network Star” video, Judy McLane at the Laurie Beechman theatre, musical virtuoso Janice Martin, various events for The Screen Actor Guild’s BookPals group, Barnes and Noble, and Playbill magazine columist Ellis Nassour. He also filmed and lent his voice to Broadway Impact’s “Defying Inequality” Broadway concert where he interviewed such performers as Lynda Carter, Gavin Creel, Jonathan Groff, and Tamara Tunie. He was the Unit Production Manager on the critically acclaimed documentary “Broadway: The Golden Age” while his short film “Ghosts of Zion & Michael Nyman” was featured on the Indie film website “Shooting People.” Michael also shot and edited the Actors Fund benefit reading of “Valley of the Dolls” as well as ABLE Rigging Contractors’ brand new website. He is the official camera man for “The Brini Maxwell Show” podcasts and most recently he completed filming and editing the new commercial for Boy Butter Personal Lubricant starring drag superstar and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Hedda Lettuce. Finally, in what will be his first independently produced short film, Stever is producing “Saturday Nightmares; The Ultimate Horror Expo of All Time!” No ordinary Horror Expo, this unprecedented event brings together the entire George A Romero family! Also features Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Savini, Roy Fumkes, Ken Foree, John Amplas, Joe Pilato & many more.  Coming soon to Amazon.com. For much more on Michael and all of his projects be sure to visit: http://www.michaelstever.net.

1. Who inspired you to be both an actor and a film maker? That’s a hard question, but as a filmmaker, I would say “King Kong” and Fay Wray were my first muses in that sense. I started playing with my mom and dad’s 16mm video camera from the time I was 7 or 8 years old and was a big fan of “King Kong” and Fay Wray and I basically wanted to re-create King Kong.  All I had at my disposal was a “Planet of the Apes” doll which I used as my King Kong then stuck him on this round plastic garbage can, and got a plane and put that on a string and that was my King Kong, it was very simple. As an actor I would have to say Jessica Lange. I was a big fan of the 1976 remake of “King Kong” which she was in, but the movie itself got ripped to shreds and she didn’t get a lot of respect for it, but she worked really hard and gravitated to really challenging things as an actor and she got an Oscar nomination for her role as “Frances Farmer” in “Frances.” To me that was pretty great.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’d love to work with the amazing Jan Broberg who I worked with years ago. She has had some great opportunity’s as an actor, specifically in the WB series Ever wood. Jan also published a book a couple years ago called Stolen Innocencewhich chronicles her kidnapping when she was 12 years old at the hands of a trusted family friend. We have discussed shooting a documentary together that centers around her and her ordeal, but nothing is finalized on that, though she was recently in Los Angeles to see if Lifetime would produce her story into a film, which is pretty exciting. I’d also love to work with Margot Kidder, who I’m a big fan of and Angelica Torn (the daughter of Geraldine Page and Rip Torn). Angelica’s been out on tour with “August: Osage County.” She’s brilliant. She is also the person who murders the little girl in “Sixth Sense.” Would love, love, love to work with her.

3. What’s your proudest moment both as an actor and as a filmmaker? As an actor that would definitely be “Arsenic and Old Lace” with Betty Garrett and Carole Cook. It was one my first straight plays I did and Betty Garrett is a legend. My other proudest moment is when I made my TV debut in a sci-fi series called “Super Force” and I had a fight scene with Traci Lords, which afterward I became a big fan of hers.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “To do your homework” and “Try not to project expectations onto other people.”

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I can tell you who I have dreamt about. I actually had the fortunate experience of meeting Fay Wray, who of course was the original star of “King Kong” who was also a silent film icon. I kind of had a thing for Fay Wray as a kid and I never thought I’d actually meet her, but fate intervened and I got to meet her when I was working on “Broadway The Golden Age” and I learned we had so many things in common. When Fay passed away, I finally read her autobiography learned there were more things we had in common. I had this vivid dream about us, but I really think she was a muse and guiding force for me on many levels.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks. Their coffee is stronger. I used to do coffee all the time, but now I do espresso. I get 2 shots of espresso, with a pump of cherry syrup and chocolate.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Since I’ve been editing, that’s been really difficult, but over the past few years, my favorite way to stay in shape has been yoga and bike riding.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Both…it depends on what I have.

9. Favorite website? Youtube and Rottentomatoes.com.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Both, with a lean to Wonder Woman, though I do think the original “Superman” movie is one of the best movies ever made. The scene where “Lois Lane” crashes into the Daily Planet in the helicopter, I think is probably next to King Kong my favorite scene in all of movie history.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite TV Show Theme Song? There’s been so many. I was one of those kids who wanted to capture everything from the television so I would just stick my parents tape recorder up to the television and record things.

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love to watch movies, take yoga, or ride my bike.

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In 2009, I was introduced to four amazingly gifted and talented singers/songwriters/composers: Scott Alan, Bobby Cronin, Katie Thompson, and Jonathan Reid Gealt, all of whom became “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants. I have also been fortunate to attend a concert of each of their music.  Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending “The Music of Jonathan Reid Gealt” at The Canal Room. Jonathan’s music is sophisticated, contemporary, and at times quite humorous. He gathered some of the best musical theatre talent to sing his music tonight including the powerhouse vocals of Tituss Burgess (fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant), Natalie Weiss, Lauren Kennedy, Jeremy Jordan, Bridie Carroll, Quentin Earl Darrington, and Zak Resnick. These performers not only knew how to bring Jonathan’s music to life, but how to knock it out of the park. I was blown away so many times tonight that a smile was kept across my face the whole time. One of the most touching moments was watching his proud mom see her son’s dream come true, especially after one of the songs was dedicated to her. Jonathan is on his way to greatness (he’s currently working on his debut musical “Forward” and a screenplay of his life). The next time his music is being presented, I will be there and hopefully you will too. For more on Jonathan and his music visit: http://www.jonathan-reid-gealt.com, http://www.myspace.com/jrgealt, and TheBestArts.com/jrsongs.

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Come to “The Music of Jonathan Reid Gealt” in Concert this Monday, January 11 at 8pm at the legendary Canal Room in NYC. His music will be performed by some of today’s hottest Broadway stars including fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Tituss Burgess (Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, Guys & Dolls) and Katie Thompson (“R.R.R.E.D.,” “Giant”), as well as Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot, Vanities, Les Miserables), Jeremy Jordan (West Side Story, Rock of Ages), Quentin Earl Darrington (Ragtime), Alysha Umphress (American Idiot), Bobby Steggert (110 In the Shade, Ragtime), Zak Resnick (Broadway Boys), Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime), Matt DeAngelis (Hair), Kasey Marino (Hairspray), Michael Mahany (High School Musical, Spring Awakening), Natalie Weiss (Wicked, American Idol), Adam Armstrong (History Boys), Bridie Carroll (Grease), Rachel Potter, and Jonathan Reid Gealt with music direction by Josh Clayton (Finnian’s Rainbow, City Center Encores).

To sample some of Jonathan’s music prior to the concert you can visit TheBestArts.com.

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Jonathan is currently working on his debut musical, Forward. The Forward demo recordings have gained buzz online and around the city with such Broadway heavyweights as Kelli O’Hara, Liz Callaway, Lauren Kennedy, Shoshana Bean, Michael McElroy, Jonathan Groff, Michael Arden, Lewis Cleale, Tituss Burgess, Max Von Essen, Marty Thomas, and more.

Jonathan’s music has been featured in concerts and venues in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manila, Japan, Australia, London, and New York including the Broadway in South Africa Benefits, UNSUNG 2007, Miracle on 13th Street, Performers for Peace, Cutting Edge Composers II, The MNNV series, The Laurie Beechman, The Duplex, The Triad, The Canal Room, and the MAKOR. He also wrote jingles for The Barn Theatre’s 2003 summer season in Michigan.

Jonathan is a performer as well as a composer and some performing credits include [NEW YORK]: Jason Robert Brown: In Concert (Birdland), The Music of Lucy Simon (Joe’s Pub) Unsung 2007 (BCEFA Benefit), The Secret Garden (Hammerstein Ballroom), Rags (The Nokia Theater) and Miracle on 13th St. [NAT’L TOUR]: Junie B. Jones [REGIONAL]: Les Miserables (Atlanta Theater of the Stars, Kansas City Starlight, The Wolf Trap), MameAnnie Get Your GunThe Sound of Music (Saint Louis MUNY), Thrill Me (Stoneham Theatre), CatsJesus Christ Superstar (Barn Theatre). [FILM/TV]: Kidnapped (NBC), Across the Universe.

Jonathan has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops under the baton of Keith Lockhart and is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory.

To learn more about Jonathan, his music, his upcoming projects, and to purchase sheet music…check out the following two sites: http://www.jonathan-reid-gealt.com AND http://www.myspace.com/jrgealt. This Monday, January 11 at 8pm come hear “The Music of Jonathan Reid Gealt” in concert at The Canal Room with performances by some of today’s hottest Broadway stars.

1. Who inspired you to become a songwriter? Adam Guettel, Jason Robert Brown, Andew Lippa, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Sondheim, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, my best friends, and my mom.

2. If you could have anyone perform your music, who would you choose? Everyone! Ha! I’ve been really fortunate to work with some of my favorite singers of all time. However, Steven Pasquale, Gavin Creel, Audra McDonald, Caissie Levy, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Justin Timberlake, Laura Benanti, Kristin Chennoweth, Christina Aguilera, and Pink are just a few that are way up there.

3. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so, what did you consider doing? Not really. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Although, I did want to be a professional baseball player when I was a kid. Massage Therapy is also great!

4. What’s the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Stay true to yourself and everything you do will be original.

5. Favorite way to stay in shape? Swimming.

6. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer-Briefs!

7. Favorite play/musical? As far as musicals go, I have 3. “Ragtime,” “The Secret Garden,” and “Sweeney Todd.” As far as plays go, “The Pillowman” blew me away. “Reasons To Be Pretty” was incredible.

8. Favorite TV theme song? The Flintstones.

9. Favorite website? Youtube. Is that sad?

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

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