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Posts Tagged ‘“Kiss Me Kate”’

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.

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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.

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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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Actor, director, and playwright, Jeff Seabaugh, travels across many aspects of theatre. Acting since the 2nd grade, Jeff has starred in such productions as “Oliver!,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Diary of Anne Frank,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Enrico IV,” “The Cenci,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and most recently “The Producers.” He is one of the founders of the Off-Off-Broadway theatre company Native Aliens Theatre Collective in which Jeff both performed and directed many of their productions as well as wrote his first play as a playwright, “In My Dreams.” His performing credits with Native Aliens include: “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Harvey Milk Holiday Pageant,” “Butch It Up!,” “Butch It Up: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” “Butch It Up: Behind Bars,” and “Young Stowaways in Space” while his directing credits include: “In My Dreams,” “Swing Out Bernadette,” “Furious,” “Civilized,” “A Loss of Color,” “Vieux Carre,” “Vessels,” “My Father’s Son,” “Songs from the Third Floor,” and “Pillow Talk.” He has also directed several productions at the Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick, Maine including: “All Shook Up,” “Oliver!,” “Seussical,” “The Music Man,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” Jeff’s most recent play “How to Make An American Family” was featured in the 2009 Midtown International Theatre Festvial, starring Jeff. For more on Jeff, be sure to check out his website: http://www.jeffseabaugh.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Carol Burnett.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I was in a school play in 2nd grade and I knew I had the bug! I was “the ringmaster” at a Circus.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I like to flare my nostrils to the beat of a good song.

4. What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Say your words loud and don’t fall off the stage. -Josie Helming, Professor, The University of Memphis

5. Who do you consider to be your hero? My partner, Randy.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Bavarian Creme Donut and oh, maybe a medium coffee with H/H & sugar.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

8. Favorite website? http://www.huffingtonpost.com.

9. Books or magazines? Both.

10. “Ellen” or “Seinfeld”? Ellen.

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Be sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant & two time Tony Award Nominee Carolee Carmello in “The Addams Family” pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago through January 10, 2010.  The show also features Tony Award winners Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane as well as Tony Award Nominees Terrence Mann and Kevin Chamberlin and the always hilarious comedian Jackie Hoffman.

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