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Posts Tagged ‘“Rent”’

On Monday, January 10, 2011, I also had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Anthony Rapp after his and Adam Pascal’s concert at Town Hall (click here for my review). Personable and gracious, I was honored that Anthony took the time to answer my questions.

Best known as “Mark” in the Tony Award Winning production of “Rent,” Anthony Rapp received an OBIE Award for his role. He has gone on to do it all…theatre, film, television, and author. His numerous theatre credits include Broadway’s “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Precious Sons” (for which he received an Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Nomination), and Off-Broadway’s “Some Americans Abroad,” “Private Jokes, Public Places,” and “Spalding Grey: Stories Left To Tell.”

Anthony has lit up the big screen in such films as “Adventures in Babysitting,” “School Ties,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Rent,” “Man of the Century,” “David Searching,” “Road Trip,” “A Beautiful Mind,” and “Winter Passing” (a film written and directed by his brother Adam Rapp). On television, Anthony has been seen in “The Lazarus Man,” “The X-Files,” “The Beach Boys: An American Family,” “Kidnapped,” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

In 2000, Anthony released his debut album “Look Around” performing in clubs and colleges around the country and in 2006 his memoir “Without You” was released, focusing on his time in “Rent,” the death of Jonathan Larson, and the passing of his mother. “Without You” was most recently turned into a one man show, debuting at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA and then featured in NYMF 2010 (click here for my review) and moving onto a production in South Korea.

Anthony is currently out on tour with Adam Pascal in “Adam & Anthony Live.” They have one more stop on their US Tour. January 29 at 8pm: The Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My earliest memory is watching some tap dancer on TV and I didn’t think to myself, “I want to be a tap dancer,” I just remember being moved/impressed by the life energy force coming from him and his performance. I feel like that was the seed that was planted as to what performing could be about. Then I started doing shows and had very specific people working with me who were very inspirational at the time.

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with the Cohen Brothers or Martin Scorsese.

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “The only way out is through.” It’s from my friend Cynthia O’Neil who runs “Friends in Deed.” She gave me that advice during a very, very tough time in my life when my mom was sick. I have learned over and over again how to true that advice is.

4. What do you get from performing in a solo show that you don’t get from performing in a Broadway show? There’s a kind of freedom and ownership that is really sweet. There certainly are Broadway shows that I’ve loved, but some of things that have made the biggest impression on me as an audience member are concerts. So, I aspire to communicate/convey/share that kind of thing that has moved me. It’s a very big dream come true doing a concert, like tonight. Being in “Rent” was kind of like both a show and concert at once in a really fantastic way…being able to tell a story, play a character, and act, but kind of also front a rock band. Now I get to do both, separately, but more. “Without You” is kind of like that too, part show part concert.

5. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? It’s hard to think of something else out of the arts entirely…I teach, direct, write, produce, but if had to be something completely out of the arts, I don’t know that I would want to do this as a career, but I love playing poker and it’s such a crazy career that I would never want to do it as a career, but it is a passionate pursuit. It’s more than a hobby, but less than a job. If I had to choose something, I think I would teach.

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? There are so many different ways I like to spend my day off. Like when we were on tour with “Rent” last year, if we were near some place where I could play poker, I would it. Poker is such a different head space. It’s a totally different way to think and be than performing. If we were in a really amazing place, I would spend the day traveling around or hiking or something in the area that you could only do there. I’m also a big believer in true vacation time and vacating, turning off things and have quiet time and chilling to recharge the batteries.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

9. Favorite website? One of them is The Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan’s Blog). He’s a really smart and interesting person full of contradictions. He writes very eloquently about things. I don’t always agree with him, but I find it very provocative.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talents that nobody knows about? I’m very, very flexible.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I have dreamt about conversations with my mom who’s been gone for 14 years now and that’s always been nice. Whenever I wake from those dreams, they feel so vivid. You know, a night like tonight, I think she would really be proud, even though she might not have liked all the songs.

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Adam & Adam Pascal

On Monday, January 10, 2011, I had the fortunate experience of interviewing Adam Pascal after his and Anthony Rapp’s concert at Town Hall (click here for my review, Anthony’s interview is coming soon). On-stage Adam knows how to entertain and off-stage is no different. Personable and humorous, Adam was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions.

Best known for playing the original “Roger” in the Tony Award Winning musical “Rent,” which earned Adam a Theatre World Award, an OBIE Award, and a Tony Award Nomination, Adam has gone on to have quite a career! After “Rent,” Adam went on to originate the role of “Radames” in Broadway’s “Aida” by Elton John and Tim Rice and played the “Emcee” in the final cast of “Cabaret” by Kander and Ebb. In 2008, Adam starred alongside Josh Groban and Idina Menzel in London for two sold-out performances of the Tim Rice/ABBA musical “Chess” at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

In addition to theatre, Adam has released three solo albums…”Model Prisoner,” “Civilian,” and his latest CD “Blinding Light” and starred in such movies as “Rent,” “SLC Punk,” “School of Rock,” “Temptation,” and his two most recent films “Falling Star” and “American Primitive.” Adam is also hard at work on a musical for Broadway based on the concept album “Operation Mindcrime,” by the progressive rock band Queensryche.

Currently out on tour with Anthony Rapp in “Adam & Anthony Live” they have one more stop on their US Tour. January 29 at 8pm: The Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Rock music inspired me to become a performer. I got hooked on rock music at 9 years old and shortly after that discovered I could carry a tune and then it just kind of went from there. I just always loved to sing and the harder I sang and the more blood vessels I burst in my neck trying to sing like all of these heavy metal singers I listened to growing up, the better it felt. It was such a feeling of expression and power. If I was feeling vulnerable, it made me feel strong. If I was feeling weak, it made me feel powerful. It’s always been that for me.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Hahaha…I have no idea. I’m so not a schooled singer in that way I couldn’t tell you. I’d just say high and low. Hahaha.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Oh god, there are so many. God, that’s a good question. I would love to work with Jason Robert Brown. We worked a little bit together, but not on a full original production. I love his music and I love his work. I would also love to work with Stephen Sondheim and I would love to work with Michael Greif again. I’m always honored that anybody of note wants to work with me, so I’m open to working with anybody who has an interest in working with me.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? That’s good one too. “Grow up.” I can’t tell you how many countless people I’ve heard that from and it never sticks, but it’s always good advice.

5. What do you get from performing in a solo concert that you don’t get from performing in a Broadway show? For me personally, I’m much more exposed, much more naked. I get to play instruments and get to express myself in what is the most natural way for me to do it. Although, that being said, I’ve always felt a little more comfortable doing musicals than doing a concert and I think that’s because you can hide. You can hide behind a character. You can also hide behind somebody else’s material. I always had this opinion in the back of my mind where I was like, “I know I’m going to go out there and sing well and I’m going to do a good job and if they didn’t like the show, I didn’t write it. There’s a certain security in that. As long as I know people will come away and say that show sucked, but that guy was good, that’s the most I could do.

6. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I never had another career path. I never could do anything else, of value. That’s a really hard question to answer because I’d really be lost. I wouldn’t have a career, I would have a job.

7. Favorite way to spend your day off? At home. At home with my kids smoking weed.  Not smoking weed with my kids, but as two separate events.

8. Favorite way to stay in shape? P90X.

9. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

10. Favorite website? I love Broadway Stars. My wife always make fun of me because of the name. The name is misleading because it’s not really about Broadway Stars. It’s really an amazing hub for everything theatre related, whether it’s Broadway, Regional, West End. It’s so dense with information, so I check that site at least twice a day.

11. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Not really. I wish I did. The only talent I have is what I can do on stage. Anything else I wouldn’t classify as a talent…I can do light carpentry, light electrical, and light plumbing, certainly not talents.

13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Hahaha…other than my wife, Jessica Biel, preferably more than once a night. I could dream about her over and over again.

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Adam & Anthony Rapp

Adam & Adam Pascal

On Monday, January 10, 2011 I got to attend the opening night of Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp’s tour “Adam and Anthony Live” at Town Hall in New York City. What a night! Not only did I get to attend the show, but I was lucky enough to attend the post-show reception where I had the opportunity to interview both Adam & Anthony. Their interviews will be posting soon, so stay tuned!

Adam and Anthony performed solo sets as well a joint one, playing a mixture of Broadway, pop, rock, and original tunes. The energy and excitement they each gave on stage ran right through the already electrified audience to make the evening really shine!

Adam and Anthony each have their own individual sound, but when they come together, their sound is golden. Their voices mesh so perfectly together. With great banter of personal stories, Adam and Anthony also know how to entertain the audience in between songs.

If you never had the opportunity to see Adam and Anthony together in the Tony Award Winning Broadway show “Rent,” then this evening together is a sure fire must and if you did get to see them together, then this evening will bring back so many fond memories as well as a bunch of new ones.

Some come on “Out Tonight” for “Adam and Anthony Live” which continues on with the following stops:

January 15 at 7pm: “Landmark on Main Street” in Port Washington, NY

January 29 at 8pm: The Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA

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On Thursday, September 30, not only did I see Anthony Rapp’s “Without You” at NYMF, but I was engulfed in it! Based upon his New York Times best-selling memoir, Anthony recounts his journey in “Rent” (including the passing of Jonathan Larson) to his first boyfriend to the passing of his mother. With openness, honesty and most of all heart, Anthony has a very engaging way of telling a story. Interweaving songs from “Rent,” REM, and original music, this is one journey I enjoyed taking and would take again! If you are able to score a ticket, it’s so worth it!

Without You” plays at the TBG (312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor) through October 9.

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Shayna Steele is a performer with one of the biggest voices (and belts) around! If you’re looking for someone who has stage presence along with a powerful, soulful, and controlled vocals, then Shayna Steele is your go to girl! She has lit up the stage in such Broadway hits as “Rent,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Hairspray” as well as on her many TV appearances on “The Grammys,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Conan O’Brien,” “David Letterman,” and “Carson Daly.”

While in NY, Shayna studied jazz with her Godfather and gospel with Grammy-nominated (and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant) Michael McElroy and really started to develop her own sound blending the music of her idols with new influences. Everything changed in 2005, when she got an unexpected call from Moby that would place her right in the middle of a genre she had no experience in: Electronica. Moby was looking for a “screamer” to record a track for his new album at the time “Hotel,” and Shayna came highly recommended by a mutual friend. Together they recorded “Raining Again, the discs second single. Super impressed with Shayna’s talent, Moby had her back to record “Extreme Ways” in 2007, which was the theme song to “The Bourne Ultimatum” and then again in 2008 Shayna recorded “Disco Lies” for Moby’s album “Last Night.” “Disco Lies” reached #1 on the US Billboard Dance charts and went on to be featured in J.J. Abram’s summer blockbuster hit “Cloverfield.” Since working with Moby, everyone has wanted to work with Shayna…she has appeared on such albums as Scott Alan’s “Dreaming Wide Awake,” (also a fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant), the Grammy-nominated “Great Joy with the Broadway Inspirational Voices,” “Legally Blonde 2,” “Bambi 2,” and the 2007 remake of  “Hairspray” as well as singing on “The Sopranos” in it’s final season on HBO.

Shayna has released two albums of her own: 2004 EP “Shayna Steele” and her first full-length album in 2009, “I’ll Be Anything.” She most recently finished singing back-up with the one and only Divine Miss M, Bette Midler in Bette’s show “The Showgirl Must Go On” at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and Shayna’s kicking off her solo tour September 6 right here in New York City at The Bar Next Door at LaLanterna, October 15 at Blue Note in NYC, October 29 at Show at Barre in Los Angeles, CA, October 30 at Coda Jazz Supper Club in San Francisco, CA, November 18 at Musig Bistrot in Bern, Switzerland, November 19 at Kultur im Dampfschiff in Brugg, Switzerland, November 20 at Cafe-Henrici in Zurich, Switzerland, November 21 at Musig Im Ochsen in Muri, Switzerland, December 5 at Il Teatro Manzoni in Milano, Italy. Come hear one of the most powerful and soulful singers around belt out her hits! For much more on Shayna be sure to visit http://www.shaynasteele.com!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My father.

2. What is the highest and lowest you can sing? Lowest: C (2 octaves below middle C). Highest: (full chest voice) A-Bb (2 octaves above middle C). Head voice…about 2 or 3 more notes higher than that…on a good day.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Dead: Miles Davis. Alive: Quincy Jones.

4. Who do you consider to be your hero? My mom.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Can sound exactly like a newborn baby crying.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? I buy the beans, grind them myself, make my own coffee. Stumptown, preferably. Black. It’s very Brooklyn…

7. Favorite meal? Tacos Carnitas with guacamole and mexican style corn washed down with an icy cold Pacifico.

8. Favorite skin care product? Mary Kay eye makeup remover. The Best. Ever.

9. Favorite website? www.runnersworld.com.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Myself, 20 years from now warning me about what NOT to do.

12. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? You have the power within you to make yourself happy.

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Congratulations go out to fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Joey Taranto who will be taking over the role of “Drew” in “Rock of Ages” starting September 10 (Constantine Maroulis plays his final performance September 9).

I saw Joey star in the Attic Ensemble’s production of “Tommy” in 2009 (directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell). It was after that performance I knew I had to have Joey to participate in my blog. Luckily, he was kind enough to do so!

Be sure to come see this rising star shine under the bright lights he deserves to be seen in starting September 10 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in NYC (256 West 47th Street).

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With one of the most beautiful and powerful voices, Jose Llana is a performer to go see! From Broadway to regional and national tours to film and television, Jose delights and mesmerizes audiences where ever he goes. He made is Broadway debut in the 1996 revival of “The King and I” and in 2005 he created the role of “Chip Tolentino” in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” His other Broadway credits include the revival of “Flower Drum Song” (with Lea Salonga), “Rent,” and “Streetcorner Symphony.” Off-Broadway, Jose has delighted audiences in “Adam Guettel’s Saturn Returns” and “On The Town.” He’s been seen in the national tours of “Martin Guerre,” “Ballad of Little Jo,” and “Candide,” while regionally he’s performed in “Wonderland” at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and The Alley Theatre. Jose’s film and television credits include “Hitch” (Ross) and “Sex and the City” (Damian).

Jose has also released his self-titled solo album “Jose” under the VIVA Philippines label. Other recordings Jose can be heard on are “Broadway Romances Manhattan,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and the revivals of “The King and I” and “Flower Drum Song.” Currently, Jose can be seen lighting up the stage in the York Theatre’s production of “Falling For Eve” (along with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Adam Kantor, click here for my review) through August 8. For more on Jose, be sure to visit http://www.josellana.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was obsessed with movie musicals as a kid. Gene Kelly, Julie Andrew, Fred Astaire. Then I moved onto the splashy mega-musicals of the 80’s, “Cats” and “Les Miserables.” But I’d have to say the moment that meant a great deal to me was when I watched Lea Salonga, a fellow Filipino, win the Tony when I was in high school. It was the first time I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that.”

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I sing as low as I need to and as high as the part needs. If I’m lucky that means no higher than a high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Mr. Sondheim is still someone I would love to work with. I’ve sung for him a couple of times but have never done a show with him.

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? No weird rituals besides the normal warm up, etc. I do get a little superstitious before callbacks, sometimes I make sure I have the same breakfast or wear the same underwear as the first audition. To decompress after a show I usually veg out in front of the television with a cold beer.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Hmmm… strange and unusual? I’m a pretty good cook, especially Filipino food. Also, I possess a slightly manic need for organization passed down from my mother. I will organize a room, desk or closet to DEATH. I’m talking labels and color coding.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Along with my normal 4 mile daily run and weight training, I’ve become hooked on P90x, but only the Plyometrics Training.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs. And usually in funny prints.

8. Books or Magazines? Both. I always try to have a good book on my nightstand and I can’t let the week go without the bibles Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine.

9. Favorite website? Playbill.com, Huffington Post, CNN, and my sister’s Baby Blog for my Goddaughter.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Oh, easily Wonder Woman. My sister and I were hooked on the cheesy TV show from the 80’s. I actually own the DVD’s.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite play/musical? “West Side Story,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Company,” and “Violet.”

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Gym, Food Network, movie date night, dinner with friends, couch time with my dog, Charlie.

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