Posts Tagged ‘“The Pillowman”’

Whether it’s comedy or drama, Benjamin Holmes is the performer for your show. His many theatre credits include: “Villian: DeBlanks,” “The Pillowman,” “The Athlete, Princess, Pirate, Fairy, Welder, Deep-Sea Diver Club,” “Anonymous, Unknown, and Grimm,” “Bartholomew Fair, NJ,” “A Christmas Carol,” “All in the Timing,” and “Urinetown.” Most recently, Benjamin was seen in “10 Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You” written by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Kelly Nichols, directed by fellow participant Billy Mitchell and included songs by fellow participant Bobby Cronin, one of seven contributing composer/lyricists (click here for my review). This fall Benjamin can be seen in the Attic, Jr series at the Attic Ensemble in New Jersey (which was also written, directed, and produced by Billy).

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Well, this will sound a little conceited, but here’s the story: Sophomore year in high school, I went to see the school production of Guys and Dolls. The police inspector (the character’s name escapes me at the moment) was played by this kid named Dan S. Now, Dan didn’t forget his lines or screw up his blocking or anything at all–he was just so incredibly wooden onstage that all I could think as I watched was, I could do that so much better. So I auditioned for the play the next fall, got in, and I’ve been doing it ever since. So thanks, Dan.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There are so many people I haven’t worked with that it’s hard to narrow it down to one. Since I am the worst theatre person ever and pay so little attention to what’s going on in the theatre world, I guess I’ll just go with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He’s incredible in Brick and Mysterious Skin, and, really, everything else he’s in. (Well, the jury’s still out about G.I. Joe.)

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Um…hmm, I’m usually pretty open with my strange and unusual talents. I guess I’m a pretty fair juggler. I can play the ukulele passably. And I can flex a muscle in my palm that I shouldn’t be able to voluntarily flex. So there’s that.

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? Not at all. The most I’ll do is go over my lines, but even then it’ll usually only be monologues or long speeches or the like. I’ve never been someone who likes to do any warm-up exercises or anything; they always tended to wear me out instead of pump me up. I prefer to just plunge in. And as for decompressing afterward, again, there isn’t much I’ll do. I just kind of like getting out of the theatre as quickly as possible. It’s really nice to see people outside after the show and talk to them a little, but I’m actually quite shy when I don’t know someone, so if none of my friends are there, I’ll just try to fade into the background or leave.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? My dad told me before I went to college never to let anyone pressure me into doing something I didn’t want to do. That’s been pretty helpful.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Probably my sister. She passed away five years ago; it’d be nice to see her again.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Skiing, absolutely. Second favorite is soccer. Or, really, running around kicking a ball, since I really only play with one or two of my friends.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers.

9. Favorite website? Um…probably the Onion A.V. Club. Such a snarky hipster I am.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Green Lantern. Or maybe The Flash.


11. Favorite ride at an amusement park? I’ll ride pretty much everything, so it’s hard to pick just one. I used to like riding the Zipper at the fair in the town where I grew up, even though you really took your life into your own hands when you rode that thing. Various nuts and bolts flew off of it all the time. Fond memories…

12. Books or Magazines? Books. Every time.

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Bill Graber is an actor and comedian who has appeared at most theaters and performance spaces below 14th Street: with the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, the performance artist Penny Arcade, at PS 122, and LaMama, to name a few. His solo theatrical works have been produced in New York, LA, and London. As a stand-up comedian, he has appeared at colleges and comedy clubs across the country, including Caroline’s in NY and The Improv in LA. Graber currently resides in Jersey city where he performs at the Attic Theater Ensemble.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I started peforming at age 6, so I don’t know who that very first influence might have been, a theater angel, I suppose. Later on, however, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, and Phyllis Diller were all early comic influences.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? It’s a huge list, but I think Nathan Lane and I could tear up a stage together.

3. What is your most embarrassing on-stage experience? Completely forgetting a punch line to a joke while doing stand up. I admitted it, which probably got a bigger laugh than the joke would have received….

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? It doesn’t matter what you do in life, as long as it makes you happy and you do it well.

5. What’s your proudest moment? I’m very shy about singing (unless it’s a comic bit), so when I auditioned for and was accepted to a vocal performance class at the New School.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Well I have been known to play my high school fight song on a trumpet followed by an interpretive dance to a television theme song – both in heels.

7. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? I alternate, I’m all for moderation. Usually just a tall coffee w/a little milk. During the summer, iced coffee. If I want to shake things up, a latte.

8. Books or Magazines? I dearly love both and worry that the continued advancement in electronic readers will leave us with neither.

9. Favorite website? Most real estate websites, I’m a real estate junkie.

10. “Mary or “Rhoda”? Mary, who didn’t want to live in her apartment? (see above real estate junkie comment)


11. Favorite TV Show? It changes, but I am a huge fan of “Lost,” “Queer As Folk,” and the first season of “Twin Peaks.”

12. Favorite play/musical? Love “Rent” and “Angles in America” – defining moments for me.

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Today I saw the Attic Ensemble’s production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman” directed by fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Billy Mitchell. I can easily say this show was one of the most riveting pieces of theatre I’ve seen. It’s a gripping, edge of your seat time! “The Pillowman” tells the story of a writer who’s accused of killing the people depicted in his stories. What unfolds is the haunting reality. The dark content of the show may not be for everyone, but to be able to bring such content to life in such an entrancing way is no easy feat. Bill Graber, Benjamin Holmes, William Allgood, and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Eddie Capuano do this job splendidly! Bill brings his genius comedic charm & timing to the role of detective “Tupolski,” while one hopes not to run into William’s tough guy cop “Ariel” in a dark alley. Though I haven’t seen Eddie in many previous roles, I can tell he was born to play the role of “Michal.” His mesmerizing performance made me really sympathize with his character and understand so many of his actions. Benjamin Holmes takes the gold by bringing to life the torture, heartache, & survival that “Katurian” endured which made him into the vivid writer he has become.  Billy’s direction was brilliantly thought out & worked extremely well in the intimate theatre in which the show is housed. For instance there are scenes in which some of “Katurian’s” stories are recounted and while on Broadway, the actors acted these segments out, Billy wisely used puppets to bring these scenes to life. Even though the core subject matter may be hard to digest for some, this production is well worth seeing. “The Pillowman” runs through Sunday, February 28. Remaining showtimes: Thursday, February 25 at 7pm, Friday, February 26 at 8pm, Saturday, February 27 at 8pm, & Sunday, February 28 at 3pm. Tickets are $20.

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Be sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants Billy Mitchell and Eddie Capuano (a.k.a. “Naked Eddie”) in the Attic Ensemble’s production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman” from February 19-28. (7 performances only!)

Performances times are as follows: Friday & Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Special 7pm performance on Thursday, February 25.

For tickets, click here or call 201-413-9200.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Favorite way to stay in shape? Swimming.

6. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer-Briefs!

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

8. Favorite TV theme song? The Flintstones.

9. Favorite website? Youtube. Is that sad?

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

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