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Posts Tagged ‘Michael West’

When you leave a theatre smiling and in a good mood that is usually the sign that you’ve had a good time. A good time is exactly what I had when I attended “NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead” tonight at the Kirk Theatre in NYC.

Highlighting and parodying some of the big news stories from the past year, “NEWSical the Musical” is 90-minutes of enjoyment, humor, and fun! Produced by Tom D’Angora and Elyse Pasquale and written by Rick Crom,”NEWSical” tackles such universal topics as the end of Oprah and Larry King’s shows, Bristol and Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, the crazy JetBlue Flight attendant, sexting, Marriage Equality, airport security, Lipitor, and various celebrity impressions.

Bringing these parodies to life is the extraordinarily talented cast of  Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco, Michael West, and John Walton West. The impressions and comedic chops of each of these performers is amazing! Christina Bianco’s Celine Dion impression is through the roof terrific and if you close your eyes, you’d think Celine was really up on stage. I can’t even describe Christine Pedi as Joan Rivers, Liza Minelli, and Barbra Streisand…unbelievably perfect! Michael West brings down the house as Pee-Wee Herman and George Bush, while John Walton West rocks it out as Morgan Freeman!

If you are looking for a fun night out, then spin on over to “NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead!” at The Kirk Theatre inside Theatre Row complex (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Ave).

Christina Bianco, Michael West, photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

John Walton West, Christina Bianco, Christine Pedi, photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Michael West, photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco, photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

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Tom D’Angora was “Adaumbelle’s Quest” very first interview! (click here for Tom’s previous interview) At that time I focused more on his performing than producing. Now that Tom’s show “NEWSical the Musical” is back on the boards, it was time to revisit with Tom and find out more about his producing ventures.

Tom D’Angora is the producer you’ll want to make your production a success, whether it be a stage show, concert, movie, or CD! Formally an actor himself, Tom easily moved into producing when he produced and starred in his multi award-winning one man show “Divas I’ve Done.” After the success of “Divas I’ve Done,” Tom continued producing successful shows such as Off-Broadway’s “A Broadway Diva Christmas” and “Back in Pictures.” Tom has also taken his talented producing skills to Provincetown, MA where he has produced sold out productions of “Naked Boys Singing” as well as shows for Rue McClanahan, Mary Bond Davis, and The Kinsey Sicks. Tom also executive produced Ellen Greene’s CD “In His Eyes,” “Screams along with Billy” (available at the Marc Jacobs stores), and hit movie “The Big Gay Musical “. Currently, Tom is the producer of the Off-Broadway hit musical “NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead” starring fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest participants Christine Pedi, Michael West, and Christina Bianco. “NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead” plays at Theatre Row’s Kirk Theatre (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Click here for tickets! For more on Tom be sure to visit http://www.tomdangora.com.

1. Who or what inspired you to go from performing to producing? I had self produced Divas I’ve Done as well as starred in it. It was a huge success for many years but I hated having to step on stage after a full days work of producing so I decided to try just the producing end and I had these amazingly talented friends like Ellen Greene, Maya Days, Marla Schaffel, and that brilliant Christine Pedi. My partner Michael and I were out to dinner at Houstons one day talking about how cool it would be to get them all in one show. That’s how Diva Christmas happened. Since 2005 I’ve produced 15 stage shows, 3 albums, and 2 movies.

2. If you could produce any show, what show would it be, who would be your dream cast? I hope it doesn’t exist yet and I get to produce a new classic. But if it were a revival and I could make just make it happen. I would do Once on this Island With an unknown as Ti Moune, Tonya Pinkins as Mama, Chuck Cooper as Tonton, Maya Days as Eurzulie, Mary Bond Davis as Asaka, Norm Lewis as Agwe, and Billy Porter as Papa Ge.

3. How does this version of “NEWSical” differ from the 2009 version? We are lampooning different topics this year of course (with a couple of old favorites mixed in). The biggest difference is this edition covers all of our favorite stories from the last 12 months, so we can do fabulous things like the crazy flight attendant from Jet Blue, or those colorful Mel Gibson Tapes. I believe the material to be even funnier then last year. Rick Crom has really out done him self We are also in a new theater The Kirk at Theatre Row and have a fabulous new cast member John Walton West (you need to hear his Morgan Freeman impression).

4. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Michael Jackson 😦

5. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve worked with? The Amazing Rue McClanahan. What a talent. Her comic timing was not of this earth. Such a wonderful and smart woman.

6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? No matter what you do be the best at it…weather you are a producer, a grocery bagger, a mail person or the President as long as you are at your best you are a total success.

7. Favorite place to plan a show (i.e. coming up with the concept, cast, etc)? Love a nice booth in a diner with lots of caffein coming my way.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off? What is a day off?

9. Favorite way to stay in shape? Well I used to have a trainer 5 days a week and do Bikram yoga, but as of late I just eat and eat and eat.

10. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can’t say in a public forum LOL.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My hero and idol Hillary Rodham Clinton…I often have dream that she is President and everything is wonderful again…that is a dream I hate to wake up from.


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Good looks and the extraordinary talent to back it up, Michael West is a performer you should go see! With impeccable comedic timing, Michael is was a long time favorite at “Forbidden Broadway” which allowed him to showcase his dead-on perfect impressions of celebrities as well as his rich baritone vocals. His other theatrical credits include “Mr. President,” “Forbidden Vegas,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “My Fair Lady,” “Oklahoma,” “Della’s Diner,” “Dracula,” and the 1997 Drama Desk Award winner for Best Musical Revue “When Pigs Fly.” Internationally, Michael also starred in “Forbidden Hollywood.” Currently, Michael can be seen tearing up the stage in the hit Off-Broadway musical “NEWSical The Musical” with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco, and produced by Tom D’Angora. “NEWSical The Musical” plays at the Kirk Theatre in the  Theatre Row complex in NYC (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). For much more on Michael be sure to visit http://www.michaelwest.net.

Michael is not only a performer, but a certified AFAA personal trainer. When Michael is not entertaining audiences around the world, he uses his many talents keeping individuals fit and sexy. To find out how Michael can help you reach your fitness goal, visit http://www.michaelwestfitness.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Merman. I used to go into my basement and put on “Merman Sings Merman” and try to sing as loud as she did. Wait… is that a sad story?

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I’m about a C to an A – a little over two and a half octaves, but paying customers might prefer that I not go quite that low or quite that high.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? ONE?  That list is long. Shall we start with Mr. Sondheim? I guess that makes me a cliché. Or maybe that just reinforces the fact that I am, indeed, a cliché.

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? Before a performance – I find a space in the curtain or the proscenium and peek at the audience. I HAVE to see them before I get out there. I don’t know why. How do you decompress after a show? After a show, generally a rum and diet coke (we supermodels have to watch our figures) and I’m good.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The “clean underwear” advice from my mom has always served me pretty well.  As a performer, I adhere to the old adage “Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I think most of my talents would fall into those categories.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I work out like a maniac. I started working out in my late teens, which has been (cough, cough) twenty – (hack, snort, accidental fart) something years.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Depends on the guy. Oh wait – you mean for myself?  Boxer briefs.

9. Favorite website? I’m an obsessive shopper, particularly for someone who lives on the brink of financial disaster, so I guess my current favorite is gilt.com – I’m keeping them in business. Or… is this where I plug my website?  Well, if you insist.  www.michaelwest.net and www.michaelwestfitness.com.

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Hmmmm… is that a reference from some tv show from long before I was born? OK – Mary. Favorite Mary quote: “I’ve been around. Well alright, I might not’ve been around, but I’ve been nearby.”  That’s my life, in a nutshell.

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“Adaumbelle’s Quest” 2nd Anniversary

Photo by Ben Strothmann

I am so honored to be celebrating my 2nd Anniversary here at “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” It has been very exciting to have the continued opportunity to bring my love of entertainment and interviewing to so many people. I’m very humbled by the growth of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” in this second year and hope that this expansion continues.

I may be the face of this site, but “Adaumbelle’s Quest” would not be without each and everyone of you:

Every performer and artist I have had the opportunity to interview. The fact that you took time out of your lives to answer my questions is truly a dream come true for me.

Every press agent who has taken the time to help me get so many of my participants. I would not have been able to interview them without your assistance!

Each and every person who takes the time to read “Adaumbelle’s Quest,” whether it’s on a daily, weekly, monthly, or a whenever I can basis. I’m thrilled to have your support and the reality that I have fans is another dream come true for me.

My many friends who provide me with guidance and support, allow me to talk their ear off about ideas, always there to answer my infinite amount of computer questions, and those who help me with my logos, business cards, and buttons. How would I manage this all on my own? I’m so lucky to have you in my life!

ITBA for your support and giving me a place to meet other theater bloggers.

My family for their constant love and support.

    Photo by Ben Strothmann

So once again, thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the time, support, and love you give to me and this site. I’m amazed by these two years, not only of the growth of this site, but how this site has affected my personal growth. I’m so fortunate to have it and I don’t take anyone who has ever had an interaction with this site for granted. Thank you for sticking by me and I hope you all continue to do so!

    1. How do you decide who you want to interview? Initially it was artists and performers I have been a long time fan of, but it quickly became an outlet to also promote new talent I’m introduced to.

    2. Who has been your best and worst interview? You’ll have to wait for the book on this one! (hahahaha)…Seriously though, I just feel fortunate I’ve gotten to interview everyone I have because it’s been a dream of mine to be part of the entertainment community and I finally feel like I’m starting to move in.

    3. What are some of the most popular answers? That’s really tough because everyone is so individualized in their answers, but if I had to choose, many people answer Meryl Streep when I ask “Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to?”

    It’s pretty divided between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts or they don’t like corporate coffee places when I ask “Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?” It’s also pretty divided between “Superman” or “Wonder Woman,” though every now and then someone gets upset I only give choices for DC Comics. The reasoning behind that is growing up I wasn’t a big comic book fan, so when I watched superhero cartoons on TV, I didn’t know one was DC and one was Marvel. To me it was just a superhero. Plus, when I was thinking of these questions, I thought if two superheros were to have it out, it would be “Superman” and “Wonder Woman.”

    For “Boxers or Briefs”…most people answer boxer briefs, but briefs do seem to win out more over boxes, unless they go commando.

    4. Favorite place to write? My apartment and sometimes on vacation, but anywhere that can just allow me to be with my thoughts and little distraction.

    5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “The impossible is something that hasn’t been tried”–Ernst Bulova. “You can’t get a yes without asking the question.”–Bob Trautman.

    6. What’s your proudest moment? The moment I realized I am finally living the life I always dreamed for myself, just in a completely different way than I imagined.

    7. Favorite way to spend your day off? Sleeping in, going to the gym, catching up on TV shows, hanging with friends, taking a nap, going for a walk, or drinking a vanilla chai tea latte.

    8. Favorite skin care product? Origins…Perfect World Toner, Perfect World for Eyes, Matte Scientist (which they recently discontinued…please bring it back!), Never A Dull Moment, Skin Diver, Checks and Balances, and Firefighter. I also used to love Susan Lucci’s hair care products and her Youthful Essence Microdermabrasion.

    9. Favorite TV Show? I’m sure there are many more, but this is what I could remember. Now: “90210,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Modern Family,” “Glee,” “Cougar Town,” “Mike and Molly,” “Hot in Cleveland,” and “Raising Hope.” Then: “The Golden Girls,” “Family Ties,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Saved By The Bell,” “California Dreams,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place,” “Donna Reed,” “Bewitched,” “Punky Brewster,” “Mr. Belvedere,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Silver Spoons,” “He-Man,” “She-Ra,” “GI Joe,” “Superfriends,” “Wonder Woman,” “Ellen” (TV sitcom), “The Class,” “Gobots,” “Jem and the Holograms,” “Bette,” “Sordid Lives: The Series,” “It’s All Relative,” “Strong Medicine,” “Any Day Now,” and “The Practice.”

    10. Favorite Comedian? Ellen DeGeneres, Wendy Liebman, Sandra Bernhard, Jessica Kirson, Leslie Jordan, Chelsea Handler, and Julie Halston.

    BONUS QUESTIONS:

    11. Favorite kind of sundae? Cookies & Cream ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

    12. Peanut Butter: Crunchy or Smooth? Smooth, so it spreads perfectly when I make my yummy peanut butter and cheese sandwiches!

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Rory O’Malley is a performer on the rise…He is best known for  playing “Dave” in the motion picture “Dreamgirls,” stealing the song “Cadillac Car” from Eddie Murphy. Rory made his Broadway debut in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and just made his Off-Broadway debut in “NEWSical the Musical.” (which was produced by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Tom D’Angora and starred fellow participant Christine Pedi as well as upcoming participants Christine Bianco & Michael West). Regionally, he created the role of “Richie Cunningham” in Garry Marshall’s “Happy Days: The Musical” at the Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse and recorded the original cast album. Rory is also the co-founder of “Broadway Impact” (along with two-time Tony Award Nominee and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Gavin Creel), a coalition of the theatre community fighting for marriage equality. To keep up with Rory and all he has going on, be sure to follow him on Twitter!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My Aunt Peggy when I was eight.  She cast me as Saint Joseph in our church’s Christmas pageant. Probably my only opportunity to take advantage of nepotism in the business 🙂

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Audra McDonald.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can make my hands look like they are made of rubber by shaking them fast. It’s on my resume. RUBBER HANDS!

4. Favorite way to stay in shape? Love to run, but fellow “NEWSical” cast member Michael West has gotten me into P90X.  So hard!

5. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

6. Favorite TV Show? “MAD MEN” on AMC and “THE UNIVERSE” on The History Channel.

7. Books or Magazines? Magazines.

8. Favorite meal? Mac and Cheese.

9. Favorite website? I read Andrew Sullivan’s blog “The Daily Dish” almost hourly. I’m a political junkie 🙂

10. “Family Ties” or “Growing Pains”? “Growing Pains.”

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Movie Marathons.

12. Summer Resort or Winter Retreat? Summer Resort even though I need sunscreen with an SPF of 100.

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NEWSical The Musical

Tonight I saw the revival of the Off-Broadway show “NEWSical the Musical” and let me just say it hits all the right notes! Produced by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Tom D’Angora and Fred M. Caruso (“The Big Gay Musical” & “I Love You Because”), the show is a musical revue making fun of all things current from news stories to TV personalities to celebrities. With its cast of four amazingly talented performers, Christine Pedi, Michael West, Christina Bianco, and Rory O’Mally, each one not only impersonates their personality, but embodies them, as if they were on stage with them.

The cast takes on such news stories as the Obamas moving into the White House (“1599 Pennsylvania Avenue”), wondering who you have to shag to get a flu shot (“Flu Shot”), and how the world stopped for “The Boy in the Balloon.”

Each cast member lends their comedic talents of impersonation to a roster of personalities. Christine Pedi blossoms as she transforms into Joan Rivers, Nancy Grace, E Harmony girl, and Suze Orman. Christina Bianco brings Nancy Pelosi, Carrie Prejean (former “Miss California”), and Sarah Palin to life with her on target facial expressions and hand gestures. Rory O’Mally reminds us about “Restless Leg Syndrome” as well as being the E Harmony guy whereas Michael West hits the nail on the head as our fearless leader Barack Obama. One of the many highlights of “NEWSical the Musical” is the “Celebrity Unemployment” skit, when all the performers shine brightest. Christine Pedi rocks it out as Liza Minnelli while Rory O’Mally captures the essence of Susan Boyle with his perfect facial expression and vocals. When “Liza Minnelli” interviews “Susan Boyle,” the laughs keep coming. Christina Bianco tears the house down with her amazingly spectacular powerhouse vocals as Celine Dion while Michael West shows us, with such perfection, what it’s like to be John McCain working at Walmart.

The true brilliance of “NEWSical the Musical” is that it’s identifiable for everyone. It’s up to date topics are change as quickly as life itself, so be sure to come back often to see what’s new at “NEWSical the Musical.”

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