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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Sondheim’

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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I had the privilege of sitting down with Chip Zien on October 16, 2010 after seeing his show “The History of War” in NYMF, which also starred fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Max Von Essen. My first introduction to Chip was watching him on “All My Children” when he played gossip reporter “Donald Steele,” and from that moment on I was hooked. I then got to meet Chip after seeing him in the Broadway production of “The Boys From Syracuse” in 2002. He was so nice and now to have the opportunity to sit down with him personally for an interview with “Adaumbelle’s Quest” is a real honor!

Chip Zien is an award winning actor who has delighted audiences worldwide in theatre, film, and television! Chip created the roles “The Baker” in Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine’s “Into The Woods” as well as the role of “Mendel” in William Finn’s “Falsettos.” His many other Broadway credits include “In Trousers,” “March of the Falsettos,” “Falsettoland,” “The Country Girl,” the revival of “Les Miserables,” “Grand Hotel,” “The Boys From Syracuse,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “All Over Town,” and “The Suicide.” Off-Broadway and regionally, Chip has entertained audiences in “Merrily We Roll Along” (L.A. Drama-Logue Award), “Anonymous,” “An Imaginary Life,” “Isn’t It Romantic” (Drama Desk Nomination), “Split,” “Moonchildren,” “Hot L Baltimore,” “Kaddish,” “A New Brain” (Drama Desk Nomination), “Diamonds,” “Real Life Funnies,” and “Tuscaloosa’s Calling Me.”

Chip has also written several shows for the stage. His one-man show “Death in Ashtabula,” “Travels With My Discontent” (a new musical written with Deborah Abramson, et al), and most recently “The History of War” which was presented at NYMF this past fall.

When not on stage or sometimes at the same time, Chip has been a fixture on television. In addition to being the announcer on “The Caroline Rhea Show,” Chip has appeared in numerous television shows such as “Lipstick Jungle,” “Rescue Me,” “CSI,” “Law and Order,” “Cheers,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Thirty-Something,” “Judging Amy,” “Cosby,” “The Cagney and Lacey Movies,” “Chips”, “Son of the Beach,” “Madigan Men,” “Wings,” “All My Children,” “Almost Perfect,” “Now and Again,” “Deadline,” “Shell Game,” “Love, Sidney,” “Reggie.”

Chip has also lit up the big screen in “The Siege,” “Howard The Duck” (the voice of Howard), “United 93,” “Snake Eyes,” “Breakfast of Champions,” “Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle,” “Grace Quigley,” “So Fine,” “Hello Again,” “House of God,” “and “The Rose.”

Currently, Chip is reworking “The History of War” for future production. Stay tuned to “Adaumbelle’s Quest” to find out when that will be!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como. I always thought I’d grow up to be like Frank Sinatra, I thought Dean Martin was the greatest actor I’d ever seen, and I wanted to host a variety show like Perry Como. When I first came to NY, it was really my goal to just sing and host a variety show. Danny Kaye was a big influence on me as well…his songs were the first ones I really learned.

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Geoffrey Rush. I would have liked to work with Sinatra. You know early on in my career, I was very friendly with Henry Winkler and I was very jealous of Henry because he got to meet Sinatra and I never did. Of course, I would have also loved to work with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau. I’ve said “Hi” to Angela Lansbury, but never worked with her, though I would love to. I’d like to work with all these wonderful actors in my show (“The History Of War”).

3. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I was motoring down two paths when I graduated college…one was to be a lawyer and one was performing. I grew up in Milwaukee and as much as you could have a stage mother in Milwaukee, mine was one. She would enter me in these tiny tot talent shows and I would always sing in them. I’d sing “Down Yonder Someone Beckons To Me” and be dressed up like a cowboy with six shooters and a cowboy hat and at the end of the song I would pull my guns out and shoot off caps. So, I was always singing and be in shows, but performing seemed like an odd thing to do as a profession. A lot of my family were lawyers, so my real plan was to go to college, be a history major, go to law school and then be a lawyer or work on a political campaign. I actually ran a guy’s campaign my first year out of college and he lost by 1/2 a percentage point and if he had won, I would have gone to Georgetown Law School at night and work on his staff during the day and then my life would have changed. The reason I ended up acting, not only because I had been doing it my whole life through college, but because my step-sister was running a theatre in Chicago and somebody got sick, this was right after that campaign ended and I had to wait until January to start law school, so my sister said why don’t you come down here and you could play “Little Chap” in “Stop The World.” We are doing these three shows in this repertory theater and after a few months there the theatre burned to the ground, so a bunch of us got in a car and drove to New York and I got work right away in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” The rest as they say is history.

4. What’s your most embarrassing on-stage moment? I’ve had a few…but one of the worst was when I was doing “Grand Hotel” and I took over for Michael Jeter, who was fantastic. My wife was a dancer in the NYC Ballet and now she teaches at the School of American Ballet and she said to me, you know when you kick your leg up to do those big fan kicks, you’re leg is just not going anywhere. She said what really makes it terrible is that you keep looking at it. So don’t look at your leg, look up instead. I was determined to be a better dancer, so when I went on stage that night I looked up and fell backwards on my head (like doing a back flip) and everyone on stage just gasped. The first thought I had was I hope that I’m still standing, and that everyone else had fallen and turned upside down, so I was momentarily convinced that I was okay and the rest of the cast had fallen. Eventually the cast was hysterical laughing and dancing around me. Another time in “Into The Woods,” the fog machines wouldn’t turn off. The stage became so filled up that we couldn’t see anything and we all had to grope our ways out of the stage door onto 45th Street. We stood on the street hysterically laughing. The orchestra was stuck in the pit, the actors are out on the street, and the audience was trying to get out. Oh that night was a complete disaster. I’ve had a bunch of them…

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? It was actually from James Lapine who said to me: “Stay focused on what you are doing. Just do your job. Don’t project too far ahead. Try not worry.” It’s the old cliche of “Staying in the moment.” My mom told me years ago when I was at camp, which I think she heard someone had said to James Cagney (I played all the great female roles in summer camp shows, I was “Lola” in “Damn Yankees,” I was “Liza Doolittle” in “My Fair Lady”), “You know you’re wandering all over the place. Stand still until you have a reason to move.” Wynn Handman, a great acting teacher in New York once said to me “Go to LA and make lots of money, then come back here and I’ll fix you.”

6. What’s your proudest moment? The birth of my children is probably the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me. I also have to say driving by the Martin-Beck Theatre (now the Hirschfeld) when the big boot from “Into The Woods” went up on the marquee. I stood on the corner with Joanna Gleason and I never thought this would happen to me. We stood there together and thought “Wow, this was awesome.” It was this realization that something I wanted to do my whole life had happened and it happened at a very high level which I probably would have never imagined. One of the really cool things was when we taped that show for “Great Performances,” I had a moment with Sondheim after it was over, and we had a really great audience that night. It was one of those audiences who knew every line in the show and Sondheim said to me, “This is as good as it can get” and I just started to cry.

7. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Not really, but I think the one thing that is different is that I build my own computers. I’m technically pretty sophisticated. I was president of my high school AV squad and I mean old school when you had to thread the 16mm film. As the years have gone by, I was thinking, the things that interested me when I was 12 are the same things that interest me today. I’m also really good at Photoshop…I think it’s the 8th wonder of the world. It’s amazing what you can do. I’m also an excellent Yo-Yoist. I can do really complicated Yo-Yo tricks and that is because there was a Yo-Yo champion in “Grand Hotel” who used to practice back stage.

8. Favorite play/musical? My favorite musical is “Sweeney Todd.” My favorite play I’m stumped on, but I would have to say “Death of a Salesman.” I would love to do that show. I’m old enough to do it. I know they are doing it again, but it’s not with me. Me: Well that’s a mistake. Chip: I also love “Waiting for Godot.” The army scenes in this show are kind of modeled after “Waiting for Godot” at least in my head.

9. Favorite website? I’m a political junkie. I would say The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and I sneak onto some of the theatrical websites.

10. Mary or Rhoda? Mary.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I used to have a recurring dream where I would drink coffee around a camp fire with John Wayne and he would say “Kid, it’s gonna be okay.” Then that dream mutated to Jack Gilford as I got older. It’s kind of really funny because they are opposite ends of the spectrum. I crossed paths with John Wayne at one moment in my career because at one point we had the same agent, obviously it was late in his career and early in mine, and I was sitting in a lobby across from John Wayne and I thought to myself “Wow, this is really the yin and yang of show business right here.” I said, “Hi” and he said, “Hi, how are you doing kid?”

I would also love to dream about having dinner with Bill and Hillary or President Obama. I liked to dream about being at some of those big meetings they have, like health care. Those dreams can be exciting because you can’t be at them in real life.

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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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Memphis’ Ostrander Award Winning actor, Mark Mozingo is another one of our up and coming performers on the rise…Hailing from Kentucky, Mark moved to NYC to pursue his dream and has been working it ever since. His Off-Broadway credits include: Prospect Theatre Company’s production of “Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge” (book by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Cara Reichel), and “Tock Tick,” “The Hidden Sky,” and “Alley of Masks” (Wings Theatre). Regionally, Mark has starred in “The Graduate,” “Take Me Out” (Memphis’ Ostrander Award Best Supporting Actor), “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Foreigner,” and “States of Independence” (written and directed by Tina Landau/Ricky Ian Gordon).  He was also an original company member of Judith Blazer’s The Artists Crossing. Mark is currently entertaining folks upon a cruise ship around Hawaii, but stay tuned because when that ship docks, he’ll be lighting up the stage again soon!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? If I had to pick on specific “who” it would definitely be my high school drama teacher, Vanessa Rogers, who happened to also be my mother’s best friend…she really encouraged me from a young age to perform every chance I got.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I can sing four octaves, with falsetto, starting from the F in the bass clef up to the F above high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are way too many to name just one. Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench, Chita Rivera, Liza Minnelli, Terrence McNally, Jack Nicholson, and Stephen Sondheim. And there are a few dead people I’d love to have worked with, too…Judy Garland, Anne Bancroft, Elvis…to name just a few.

4. Do you have any rituals that you must do before a show? Before a show I have to exercise…and then meditate right before curtain. How do you decompress after a show? Depends on the show usually, but I love to have a drink.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Well I was a competition Irish Step Dancer for 4 or 5 years, but that’s not too big of a secret. Every talent I have has been exploited.

6. Favorite skin care product? Kiehl’s Facial Fuel SPF 15 Moisturizer for Men.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? The Insanity workouts, or a good spin class.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Definitely briefs.

9. Favorite website? dlisted.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Plant a te” from Judy Blazer, which is an Italian phrase which basically means to “plant yourself.”

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Yikes, I can’t admit who I’d like to dream about…I’d love to stop dreaming about some people.

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On Saturday, November 27, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing cellist Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, direct from the pit of “A Little Night Music.” What makes this interview so special to me is that I’ve known Mairi since I was 15, when we met at Buck’s Rock Camp in New Milford, CT, at which time her kindness and friendship meant a lot to a boy trying to find his way. It was quite exciting for me when we reconnected in 2002 as I saw her exit the stage door at “The Boy From Oz.” And now to be able add this kind of dynamic to our friendship is a real treat for me. Mairi has been a fixture in Broadway orchestra pits since her debut in “The Boy From Oz.” She has played in the orchestra pits of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “LoveMusik,” “Sunday In The Park With George,” “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and currently “A Little Night Music” which is running through January 9 at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave).

On Sunday, December 19 at 8:30pm at Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Corneila Street, Greenwich Village, NYC) you can catch Mairi playing cello in “Joni and Johannes” (the music of Joni Mitchell and Johannes Brahms) along with Simon Mulligan on piano, and Randy Landau on bass with special guest vocalists Jessica Molaskey (“A Man of No Importance,” “Parade,” “Tommy,” “Crazy For You,” “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “Sunday In The Park With George,” etc) and Mary Beth Peil (“The Good Wife,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Nine,” “Sunday In The Park With George,” “Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”). For just $15 + one drink minimum, you will get a real opportunity to see accomplished musicians and performers live up close and personal! For reservations call 212-989-9319.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a cellist? It was my cello teacher in high school, Nancy Green, who I also went on to study with in college. I went to a music boarding high school, so I was away from home and lonely, and her style of teaching was so expressive. She taught us about the connection to every note, the vibrato, the tone, what you were trying to say, what the emotion was, what part of your body the note came from – were you trying to sound like an alto voice or a tenor? With all the different types of tones and voices, I often came up with a storyline to go with what I was playing. Discovering what I could do by holding one note on the cello was exciting, and cathartic. I often think about that time in my life when I play “Miller’s Son” here at “A Little Night Music” because that first “B” that you hold for a long time is like yeah, this is what I dug about cello when I was fifteen. I moved to the US for graduate school and had another phenomenal teacher, Judith Glyde, who gave me the confidence to go out and actually work. Then I started playing shows and it all made sense…that emotional story telling feel.

There’s a masterclass of Sondheim teaching “Later” that was filmed at my undergraduate school (some time in the 80s, I think). It’s odd to know that so many years after being there, I’d be trying to express the quality he’s talking to the singer about in “Later” and I’d be trying to bring that to “A Little Night Music.”

1a. What was your first Broadway show that you played here in NYC? “The Boy From Oz” although I moved here to play “The Last Five Years,” which I had played first in Chicago. Me: I had no idea that you played that show, I saw it quite a few times, but it was “Boy From Oz” that I saw you at the stage door and we reconnected. Mairi: Yeah, it’s an amazing community that we are in because we see each other again and again, even though it’s nerve-racking when the shows keep closing… but the energy keeps going!

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Joni Mitchell, although even saying her name makes me a little breathless so I couldn’t imagine working with her! But that would be incredible. Me: You never know…whenever I ask this question I always put the person’s name in the tag so you never know who from Joni’s team might see this. Mairi: During that time in undergrad it was the music of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Sting that I listened to when I wasn’t practicing. It was such an aggressively competitive classical environment, that I spent my downtime listening to their music. I actually worked with Sting recently and got to tell him that without “Soul Cages” I don’t know that I would be a musician.

3. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? That’s hard because I really like this. I guess I’ve thought about law every now and then. I was in graduate school for a really, really, really long time and at some point in that process I realized I could have gotten a law degree…hahaha.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? So much…There was a line in “Cast Away,” which I thought was in the movie, “You never know what the tide is going to wash up tomorrow,” although I’m not sure he ever actually said that! The idea is that you’ve just got to have faith that something good is going to wash up tomorrow. This gig, “A Little Night Music” is a spectacular job and it’s hard not to get depressed that we have only 6 more weeks – to believe that there will be something just as great. You see where we are and how much space we have. It’s such an incredible environment, not to mention playing for Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch every day. I have a little TV screen on my stand so that I can follow Hunter (Ryan Herdlicka) when he’s playing the cello on stage. Plus it’s run for over a year and I’ve never had a show run that long. You just gotta hope that there will be something else!

5. What’s your proudest moment? Anytime I get to play with my husband. He’s a saxophone doubler. Me: Have you ever played a job together? Mairi: Yeah, he’s played here at “Night Music”. We haven’t had a show together, but we’ve played shows together when one of us has been subbing. Outside of shows, we’ve done various gigs together. It’s fun, ’cause he works in the ‘other side’ of the orchestra (reeds/brass), so I’ve gotten to know a lot of those guys through him.

6. Favorite place to rehearse on your own? Somewhere that is cushiony with carpeting and tons of pillows. Anything that soaks up the sounds so I can hear everything, so when I go and play, I won’t be surprised by any little sound. To be honest I don’t like to practice. It’s a necessary evil. There are some people who want to practice every day, but I never felt that way.

7. Favorite way to spend your day off? At home, sleeping, watching TV, knitting, eating, and hanging with my husband.

8. Favorite skin care product? Cetaphil and Shea Butter (in the winter). I sadly don’t use any of those fancy skin care items.

9. Favorite website? Facebook. I’m hooked on it. At this point I have friends all over the world and it’s pretty cool to be able to keep in touch with them so easily and see what they are up to.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman of course!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can be an archer (you know with a bow and arrow). Me: Like Geena Davis. Mairi: Sure, but I don’t know that I have her strength. Those bows are heavy and super tension-filled, and my elbow sticks out a bit so it’s tricky when the string comes back after you release the arrow…

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Dreaming at all would be great. Last night I watched the PBS Sondheim Gala before I went to sleep and oh my gosh, they had those six incredible women come on stage in those stunning bright red gowns: Elaine Stritch, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, etc. One after another they stood up and sang and after watching that special I was wide awake until 5:30am. I’m looking at 2 shows today on 4 hours of sleep…haha

13. When one of the cast members are out during a show, how does that affect you as a musician in the show? It depends. Sometimes if there’s a different key, we’ll pull out a different part depending on their range, but as to the timing, it’s all up to the conductor because they are the ones leading and making those choices. The great thing about this show, particularly with Elaine Stritch, is that you get a different theatrical performance each time and I love that.

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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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Christine Pedi is an award winning performer who will crack you up with her dead-on impersonations and impressions, while dazzle you with her vocals. Her cabaret shows have earned Christine a MAC Award, New York Nightlife Award, a Backstage Bistro Award as well as being named one of the “Top Ten Memorable Theatre Moments of the Year” by Broadwayworld.com and Show Business Weekly named her “Best Female Cabaret Performer.” In addition to her cabaret work, Christine is a well known theatre performer who has performed in multiple incarnations of “Forbidden Broadway,” earning herself a Drama Desk nomination and LA Ovation award. Her Broadway credits include “Talk Radio” and “Little Me.” Her other stage credits include “The A Train Plays,” “The 24 Hour Plays,” Edith Wharton’s “Xingu,” “Dalliance in Vienna,” “Fanny Brice,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “A Broadway Diva Christmas,” and “Carlotta the Gypsy Cow.” Christine just finished up a run in the Off-Broadway’s “NEWSical the Musical” produced by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Tom D’Angora along with Fred M. Caruso. Stay tuned because Christine is planning her next move…but for more on Christine, in the meantime, visit http://www.christinepedi.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Nobody specifically just the love of music and theatre. Probably the composers.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? One? Are you kidding? Let’s start with Stephen Sondheim….

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I AM strange and unusual but not for any particular reason.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? RELAX!

5. What is your proudest moment? A toss up between a few well received performances I did at Gypsy of the Year and Avery Fisher Hall and some wonderful compliments given to me by a few of my theatre idols.  Those are my most cherished possessions.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks: (get ready) Tall, Decaf, espresso frappuccino with mocha chips. Use HALF the Frappucino mix and extra ice. (This baffles many a barrista but I don’t give up till they get it right since this gives me a super thick less caloric coffee experience.)  Bill Mahers “New Rules” states “You’re an asshole IF: it takes more than two words to order your coffee”…color me ASSHOLE.

7. Best holiday gift ever? Mom & Dad gave me a star shaped brass paperweight engraved with “Never give up love Mom & Dad”

8. Favorite comedian? I love many for many different reasons Dame Edna, Don Rickles, Fran Drescher, Carol Burnett, Robert Klein, Lucille Ball…

9. Favorite website? iTunes Music Store, IMDB.com & Zappos.com (they deliver shoes for FREE!)

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Rhoda.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite store to shop in? Lord & Taylor, Bed Bath and Beyond (The happiest place on earth).

12. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I can hit a high C (maybe a note or 2 higher tho seriously when am I ever gonna have to?)I have a little over 3 octaves with a pretty low range.  Call me before 11am and you can hear what I mean.

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