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Posts Tagged ‘“The Who’s Tommy”’

Powerhouse vocals, comedic timing, talent, and a booming personality are just some ways to describe Jenn Furman, performer extraordinaire! Hailing from Trenton, NJ, Jenn’s performing started out like many, doing after school plays, but for Jenn, performing became her passion! From US to International Tours to regional productions, Jenn has dazzled the world with her talent: “Fanny Brice” in “Funny Girl,” “Eva Peron” in “Evita,” “Reno Sweeney” in “Anything Goes,” “Miss Flannery” in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Acid Queen” in “The Who’s Tommy,” “Miss Hannigan” in “Annie,” “Mama” in “Chicago,” and “Woman #2” in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Jenn spent 2009 and most of 2010 touring the country with the 2nd National Tour of “Wicked” as “The Midwife,” and understudied “Madame Morrible,” getting to perform the role several times. Jenn’s voice and talent are one to be recognized and viewed. So be sure to catch Jenn belting it out on November 29 at Birdland in NYC as part of “Bobby Cronin’s: The Roads I’m Taking.” For more on Jenn and her talent be sure to visit theBestArts.com!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? The first time I saw the movie Hello, Dolly!, I was SMITTEN with Barbra. I was playing that role in the school play at the time, and I wanted to be just like her….only with a retainer. She was my first true inspiration; living proof that being different is a good thing.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? My range is about C below middle C to high C. Maybe I can go higher on a good day…..

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There’s a MILLION people I’d love to work with!!! But, working with Mary Testa would be pretty amazing. I think she’s hilarious!

4. Do you have any rituals that must do before a show? On most show days, I like to get a good sweat session in during the day. It gives me confidence, and warms up my lungs and voice. And, of course, the obligatory vocal warmup. How do you decompress after a show? Afterwards, it depends on the night, but some vino and good conversation is always a great way to unwind.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I have always loved drawing. If I weren’t in this business, I’d love to illustrate children’s books. I can also make some pretty hideous faces.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks for the Americano, Dunkin’ Donuts for the Hazelnut.

7. Favorite skin care product? I recently started using Vitamin E ointment with my normal products. You just put it on at night, and in the morning, it’s all absorbed. I swear some wrinkles have disappeared! And it’s cheap!

8. Favorite kind of shoes? I will never be without a good, sexy pair of black heels. EVER. And my sneakers!

9. Favorite website? Right now, I’m kind of addicted to cuteoverload.com.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Poison Ivy 😉

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Some of the best advice I’ve ever received is from my parents. They always taught me to a) love who I am, and not try to be anyone else b) be diplomatic. I still try to live by that advice every day.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would ti be? My husband, Johnathan. Always 🙂

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Talented, vocal powerhouse, and booming stage presence are just some ways to describe Helen Hayes Award Winner Heidi Blickenstaff. Beautiful, kind, and personable are a few more. Heidi has brightened up the Broadway stage in “[title of show],” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Full Monty” while Off-Broadway audiences have seen her shine in “[title of show],” “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” at NYMF 2005. Regionally, Heidi has dazzled audiences in “Meet John Doe” (Ford’s Theatre) for which she won the Helen Hayes Award for her portrayal of “Ann Mitchell,” “The Girl in the Frame” (Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre), “Bat Boy: The Musical” (Theatreworks in Palo Alto), and “Prairie” (New York Stage and Film). Heidi has also delighted audiences around on tour in “The Full Monty,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Steel Pier,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Dreamgirls.” In addition to theatre, Heidi is also part of the voiceover cast for the PBS kids series “Word World.” If you’ve never seen Heidi on stage, be sure to catch her in “I Love My Wife” from October 22-24 as part of the York Theatre’s Mufti Series.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I’m gonna give this one to Judy Garland. When I was a like 6 or 7, we had one of the first VCRs in the neighborhood because my uncle owned a video store, and I remember my mom sat me in front of old Hollywood movie musicals and I saw Judy in Meet Me In St. Louis, and thought, “Wait a minute, you can do this as a job?” It was over then and there.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I get asked this all the time and the answer is I have no idea. In either direction.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? EASY! Brian Darcy. James. End of meeting.

4. Do you have any rituals that you must do before a show? I stretch the bod a bit. I warm up the voice a little. And sometimes I drill certain parts of the show that make me nervous. (I’m trying to do better with that though, because drilling is the Devil’s work.) How do you decompress after a show? I usually eat a bowl of cereal. And it’s usually a sugar cereal disguised as a healthy cereal like Peanut Butter Puffins or Peanut Butter Pows. I like peanut butter cereal… It takes the edge off after a hard day.

5. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?  What do you order? Neither lately. But if I have to pick, I pick Starbucks and I’ll have a grande soy misto, please.

6. Favorite skin care product? This is a hard core indulgence for me. I use La Mer face wash, moisturizing cream, and eye concentrate. Stop judging. That shiz works.

7. Favorite store to shop in? I can loose my mind in Saks, but the customer service at Nordstom is a force to be reckoned with. I also heart Rag and Bone.

8. Favorite play/musical? I was just talking about this today. I will happily never be free from The Light In The Piazza. Oddly, I don’t listen to many musicals, with the exception of Piazza. Can’t explain it. Seeing it live wrecked me forever and listening to the cast album makes me cry every time

9. Favorite website? Lately, I’ve been addicted to the NYTimes real estate website, but I just found a new apartment, so I’m going to need a new obsession. What’s a good decorating website?

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Can I pick Wolverine? Wait, can I pick Hugh Jackman?

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I’d love to spend a little more time with my Grandma.

12. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? From my friend Andre Ward about me having a lot of performance anxiety – “Remember. You’re not saving France.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I think about it all the time when I’m taking things too seriously. It always makes me calm down and smile.

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Michael McElory has one of the best males voices on Broadway. His voice has the power to transport you from reality to a heavenly world where all is good. Michael is the founder of the “Broadway Inspirational Voices,” a group of Broadway actors, who come together and volunteer their time and talent to perform traditional American Music with an emphasis on Gospel all around the country. He has been nominated for both a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for his role in the Roundabout Theatre/Deaf West’s Broadway production of “Big River” in 2004. Michael has also belted out in such Broadway shows as “Rent,” “The Wild Party,” “The Who’s Tommy,” “Miss Saigon,” “Patti LuPone on Broadway,” and “High Rollers.” Off-Broadway, Michael has entertained audiences in “Some Men” (Second Stage), “Blue” (also with Roudabout Theatre), “Violet” (Playwrights Horizon), and “Richard III” (NYSF). On-tour and regionally, Michael has been seen in “Big River” for which he won the 2006 Helen Hayes Award, “Sarafina,” “Broadway Three Generations,” “Blue,” and “Angels in America I & II.” On Television, Michael has light up the screen in “Cantebury Law,” “Love Monkey,” “All My Children,” and “Spin City.” Currently Michael can be seen touring the country in “Rent” as Tom Collins (which he also played on Broadway in the final cast, which is available on DVD).

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was inspired by my mother. Growing up in Ohio, she would take me to see all the tours that came through Cleveland. I saw the National tours of “Porgy and Bess,” “The Wiz,” “West Side Story,” “Best Little Whorehouse,”…I loved it.

2. What has been your best and worst experience in a show? The Deaf West Production of “Big River” was definitely a highlight for many reasons. I’d never done a show like that. I learned sign language and gained a new perspective through another’s experience.

My worst experience shall remain nameless. The funny thing is I didn’t know it was an awful experience until many years later when I looked back.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I don’t think so. Does that make me boring? The only thing I can think of is I love to sing off key. Love it.

4. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible folks: Eartha Kitt, Leslie Uggams, Phylicia Rashad, George Wolfe, Michael Greif, Graciela Danielle, Jeanine Tesori, Michael John LaChiusa. Can’t think of anyone offhand that I’m dying to work with. I just take each experience as it comes. I’ve been really blessed.

5. Favorite store to shop in? Macy’s. They have clothes that fit me.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Go to the gym 6 days a week.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Hmmmm   pass   lol.

8. Favorite pastime? Cooking for friends.

9. Favorite website? Amazon.com. They love me. I buy all my new books, dvd, music, and electronics on this site. Youtube is a close second. Love watching footage of seasoned and new performers.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. The theme song alone puts her over the top.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. What’s the best advice you’ve given, but not taken for yourself? Be present. Live fully in the moment.

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