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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Wednesday
May242017

Call Answered: Conference Call: Dale Raoul & Ray Thompson: True Blood, The Young & The Restless, Marriage, Lighting, & Acting

Ray Thompson and Dale Raoul at the 2017 Daytime Emmy AwardsAt first bite, I was so excited to do a new interview with True Blood's Dale Raoul, but what really brightened up this interview, was the joining of Dale's husband, Ray Thompson, nine-time Daytime Emmy Award winning Lighting Director on The Young & The Restless. From their first date to marriage to working together, Dale & Ray give us the succulent details of their Hollywood romance!

1. How did you two first meet? What did you do for your first date?

Both: We met doing summer theatre together. On our first date, we went to a cast party.

2. How long after your first date did you marry? What was the proposal like? Dale, were you surprised? Ray, were you nervous? 

Both: We were actually together a long time before we got married – about eight years. Now we can’t remember why we waited so long!

Dale Raoul: I was very surprised. We had talked about getting married but were happy with the relationship the way it was. But when he proposed, I knew it was the right time. I always knew he was the right guy.

Ray Thompson: I took her out to dinner and did the whole thing down on one knee – I was fairly certain she would say yes but you never know…yes, I was nervous anyway.

Dale Raoul and Ray Thompson3. You wed in 1986, now have been married for over 30 years. What is your secret to staying in love with each other? 

Dale Raoul: I would say humor is our key to a good marriage. Ray makes lots of puns which are pretty terrible but I still laugh.

Ray Thompson: Well, I’m always late so for me, my secret to make Dale happy is to be early. I’m still working on it.

4. You both work in Hollywood. Dale, a successful actress, best known for your role on the hit HBO series True Blood, and Ray, you are a 9-time Emmy Award winning Lighting Director at The Young & The Restless. Have you ever worked together, meaning, Ray, have you ever designed a show that Dale was on? If so, what was that experience like?

Ray Thompson: I have never lit a TV show or film that Dale has worked on but I have done the lighting on plays she’s been in. We love that as we both started out in the theatre. And it’s so fun to work on a project together. I was an actor in college so I understand the process and enjoy watching rehearsals and seeing the show come together. Dale seems to want my opinions of her work as we’re going along and fortunately, she’s usually good at whatever she’s doing, so I don’t have to give her too much criticism.

Dale Raoul on Nickelodeon's "Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn"5. Dale, most recently, you guest starred on the hit Emmy Award winning Nickelodeon show Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. What made you want to be on this show? How is filming a kids show different than filming a more adult sitcom or drama?

Dale Raoul: I loved being on NICKY, RICKY, DICKY AND DAWN! I auditioned for it just like I would for any other show. I hadn’t really done many other kids’ shows so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In this case, the kids were total professionals. They were all terrific actors and the producers and director kept the tone very light during the week of rehearsal. It’s a sweet, easy job because the union doesn’t allow child actors to work for than eight hours per day. This is not the case on adult shows which can go on for hours and hours every day. I had a lot of fun and I would love to go back on it. They will be doing one more season but the kids are growing up so fast I’m not sure how much longer they can do the show.

6. Ray, what made you want to be a lighting designer?

Ray Thompson 2017 Daytime Emmy AwardsRay Thompson: I studied acting in college and had a minor in theatrical makeup which is very similar to lighting as it’s all about shadow and highlights. When I got out of school, I wanted to get a job that would give me the income to be an actor/waiter, not a waiter/actor. I got a job at CBS on a stage crew and learned all the aspects of production. I suddenly realized that I really loved the creative, technical side of the business. And I also figured out that I’m not a person cut out for the uncertainty of the actor’s life. I want to be in a bit more control of my future. I had a wonderful mentor at CBS who taught me lighting design. It was the right fit.

7. Ray, you just won your ninth Emmy (your fifth in a row) for Outstanding Lighting Director of a Drama Series for The Young & The Restless. Let's go back in time for a moment. What was it like the first time you got nominated & then won the Emmy? Now, that you have won nine times, five times in a row, what do the wins mean to you now? Since you've won so many times, do you feel added pressure during the season?

Ray Thompson: My first Emmy win was in 1994 and all I really remember is being very nervous! And when I got up to accept the award, I pretty much forgot everybody I wanted to thank. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to remedy that mistake! Every time I win, I am amazed, quite honestly. I work hard but so does every other lighting director in our business. It’s a roll of the dice every time. I was just as surprised to win my 9th Emmy as my first one.

Ray Thompson 8. Ray, as a lighting designer, you are the actors best friend, making them look great, or you can be their worst enemy, should they make you mad. Who have you enjoyed lighting the most? Can you tell us a time (maybe without naming names, but I leave that up to you) when you either purposely or jokingly kept someone in the dark? What is one behind-the-scenes story of The Young & The Restless you can tell us?

Ray Thompson: Sorry, I can’t give away any trade secrets or gossip about anybody! Of course I do have my favorite actors. Over the years, there have been a few actresses who insist on doing their own makeup – it’s always a mistake. It drives the makeup people crazy and it’s tough for me as it’s always done incorrectly for the camera and for the lighting. Just because it looks nice in real life does not mean it will look good on camera.

9. Dale, as an actress, what do you look for in a lighting designer when you are on a show? Do you ever chat them up with tips on how to light you best? Has there ever been a time you can home from a set and said to Ray, "Why couldn't they hire you?" That designer almost made me look like the bride of frankenstein the way he shined those lights on me!"

Dale RaoulDale Raoul: Whenever I’m working on a show, I try to meet the lighting people as sometimes Ray will know them and it’s fun to talk with them. It’s a small world. The only time I’ve ever had bad luck is when it’s a low-budget project and the lighting designer or cinematographer might be very young or inexperienced. You just hope for the best! And now that I’m older, I don’t care as much.

10. Dale, I have a new segment in my interviews called, "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions. What is the biggest misconception out there about Dale Raoul?

Dale Raoul: I just attended a fan convention and several people mentioned that they were surprised that I seemed nice! I guess it was because of my role on TRUE BLOOD – they thought I would be nasty and mean and horrible! But guess what? Those are the most fun roles to play. I just try not to bring them home with me…

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day?

Dale Raoul: Take my dogs on a longer walk!

Ray Thompson: Get more sleep!

Dale Raoul and Ray Thompson 2012 Daytime Emmy AwardsMore on Ray:

Ray Thompson has been a lighting designer at CBS Television City for 30 years, honored with nine Emmys, in addition to the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for excellence in lighting. Prior to his work on The Young and the Restless, he worked on CBS This MorningThe Bonnie Hunt ShowFace the NationArchie Bunker’s Place and other TV pilots, game shows and news programs.

More on Dale:

For six seasons Dale Raoul enticed television audiences as "Maxine Fortenberry" on HBO's True Blood. A veteran character actress, Dale has been entertaining stage, film, and television audiences for the past three decades.

Dale began her professional acting career at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA appearing in Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew. From there, she performed at such regional theatres as Indiana Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, the New Mexico Repertory Theatre, and the Montanta Repertory Theatre, the state's first and only professional acting company. A Montana native, Dale was thrilled to star in their production of A Moon For The Misbegotten. Dale later moved to California where she continued to dazzle theatre goers at the Pasadena Playhouse, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Odyssey Theatre, and the Cast Theatre. Amongst her many awards, Dale won A Drama-Logue Award for her work in Steaming at the Ivy Substation.

Dale's foray into television began in 1986 when she booked her first television appearance on Murder She Wrote. Earning a formidable reputation as a character actress, Dale appeared in numerous television series including The MiddleThe OfficeSix Feet UnderFriendsNYPD BlueSeinfeldMister SterlingThe Drew Carey ShowSabrina The Teenage WitchUnhappily Ever AfterNash BridgesParty of FiveKnots LandingValerieWho's The Boss, and LA Law.

In addition to series television, Dale has starred in such made-for-television movies as Mending FencesNet ForceA Match Made In HeavenDeath BenefitFavorite Deadly Sins, and Here To Remember.

Dale's feature film credits include The MexicanBeautifulSeven PoundsForfeitSave the MavericksLove StinksOut to Sea, amongst others.

When not performing, Dale dedicates much of her time to many charitable events such as Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," which benefited Five Acres Orphanage and Caring for Babies with AIDS.

Monday
May222017

Call Answered: Conference Call: Bryce Pinkham & Lauren Worsham: 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists + A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Murder

Bryce Pinkham and Lauren Worsham, Photo Credit: Walter McBride"Stop! Wait! What?" I'm getting to interview Tony Nominees Bryce Pinkham & Lauren Worsham whom I LOVED in the Tony Award winning musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder! With "Poison in My Pocket," I got Bryce & Lauren to open up about GGLAM antics and reuniting for the 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists series From Camelot to California: The Worlds of Lerner & Lowe!

Scotland, California, Covent Garden, Paris, Camelot — lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe evoked entire worlds in their groundbreaking musicals. Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, Gigi and Camelot all were conjured by the Old World Austrian Loewe and the Harvard-educated American Lerner. Rob Berman, music director of the New York City Center Encores! series and recent Broadway musicals Dames at Sea, Bright Star and Tuck Everlasting, makes his Lyrics & Lyricists debut as artistic director for an entrancing show that revels in their romantic songs, from "Almost Like Being in Love" to "I Could Have Danced All Night."

From Camelot to California: The Worlds of Lerner & Lowe will take place June 3-5 at 92Y (Lexington Avenue & 92nd Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Bryce follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

For more on Lauren visit http://laurenworsham.com and follow her on Twitter!

For more on 92Y visit http://www.92y.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?

Bryce Pinkham: My parents were called into a parent/teacher conference in the first grade in which the teacher begged them to find their son a stage other than her classroom. To this day, that compassionate, patient and apparently prescient teacher remains a friend of the family.

Lauren Worsham: My mother inspired me to become a performer. I was a bit of a class clown and a troublemaker, always seeking attention. My mother put me in theater programs as a child in order to channel some of that attention-seeking energy into something positive. It worked. :)

Bryce Pinkham backstage at the 2014 Tony Awards2. This June you are going to be part of the the 92Y's Lyrics & Lyricist concert series featuring the music of Lerner & Loewe. What is it about their music that made you want to be part of this particular concert series?

Bryce Pinkham: The style of the music from their period seems to suit my voice. They also understood how to write really complicated characters. Who else could have turned a George Bernard Shaw play into a musical? Also, I really wanted to work with Rob Berman; he is a brilliant mind and an all-around nice guy.

Lauren Worsham: Truth be told, I would giddily be a part of any project involving Rob Berman and Chase Brock. I've worked with both Chase and Rob on different gigs. I've done two shows with Rob through NY City Center Encores!: -  Where's Charley and Big River. Chase choreographed my rock band's piece "The Wildness" at Ars Nova when I was 7 months pregnant. The gorgeous music of Lerner and Loewe is icing on the collaboration cake!

3. What do you think will excited and surprise 92Y audiences about this concert?

Bryce Pinkham: I'll be singing "Eliza Doolittle" songs in drag, I expect that will be a surprising for some and exciting for others.

Lauren Worsham: I cannot imagine a better group of individuals to put on a show. I also know the majority of them personally. Lilli and I played opposite each other in The Wildness and Bryce and I played opposite each other in A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. I think those personal relationships help to fast track our team to dig deeper more quickly. I also know that Rob's knowledge of the musical theater canon is vast and I cannot wait to see how he puts everything together

Bryce Pinkham in Madagascar4. One of the songs being performed is "Almost Like Being In Love." When scenario has happened to you that made you feel it was "Almost Like Being In Love"?

Bryce Pinkham: Well, I've never gone hunting with a buddy in Scotland and met a girl from a mysterious disappearing village, so maybe a better question would be "Have you ever allowed someone else's life to mean more to you than anything else?" To which my answer would have to be: I am trying to constantly find ways to make other people (particularly strangers) lives' better. A good friend and I went to Madagascar and built a theater show with 14 at-risk kids whose language we didn't speak. In the process, we rediscovered why the performing arts have great potential to change lives. We were also reminded how by placing one's attention on someone else one can reconnect to their humanity, that pure empathic generator that show-business so often clouds with ego and shrouds with fear. Watching 14 children who had never seen a stage before ultimately perform a show they created for their own community in their native language and subsequently receive applause from their entire village...that was almost like being in love. Your readers can learn more about our project at www.zaraaina.org.

Lauren Worsham: If you take the song just at its title - I'd say I've felt that way every time I travel to a new city and experience the romance of vacation! Which matches nicely with the musical it comes from - Brigadoon. Traveling to a new city can feel like traveling to a new world! I think the song is trying to say that the protagonist actually IS in love, he's just not ready to say it yet. I think the last time I felt that was when I first fell in love with my husband.

Lauren Worsham and her husband5. Another song on the roster is "I Could Have Danced All Night." When have you had that feeling in your own life?

Bryce Pinkham: I love dancing, but I also love sleep. So I can safely say that I have never had that feeling in my life. *Please Note: This is one of the songs I will be singing in drag ;)

Lauren Worsham: The night that GGL&M won the Best Musical Tony Award, I most definitely could have danced all night!! Also, my wedding night! And bizarrely, the night I gave birth to my daughter. When something that exciting happens - it's hard to let go of that energy. 

6. If you could star in any revival of a Lerner & Lowe show, which one would you like to star in?

Bryce Pinkham: "King Arthur" in Camelot...in a few years time

Lauren Worsham: My Fair Lady!

Lisa O'Hare, Bryce Pinkham, and Lauren Worsham in the Tony Award winning musical "A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Murder"7. Let's play with the title of Lerner & Lowe's "Paint Your Wagon." If you were to "Paint Your Wagon," what would your painting represent?

Bryce Pinkham: Authenticity and the constant search for it in myself and others.

Lauren Worsham: Ummmm....If I'm traveling across the country in the wagon I would like for it to say something important politically. Maybe, This country was built on immigrants! Or Respect each other! 

8. Now, let's talk about the two of you for a moment over these next two questions. You both starred on Broadway together in the Tony Award winning musical, A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Murder. What are you most excited about in performing together again?

Bryce Pinkham: Anyone who gets to sing with Lauren automatically sounds better for it. This will be the fifth time I have said yes to singing with Lauren and that's no mistake. I made my Carnegie Hall debut with her (a night of Gilbert and Sullivan), she even let me come sing with her badass rock band and now I will be lucky enough to work with her after she's become a mom, so that's going to be special. Lauren is delightfully authentic and always comes in with many more ideas than me. I will always say yes to singing with her whenever I can.

Lauren Worsham: I'm really looking forward to hearing Bryce just sing. He has a lovely voice and I miss it.

Lauren Worsham and Bryce Pinkham at the 2014 Drama Desk Awards9. What was one of the funniest moments to happen to you on stage during Gentleman's Guide?

Bryce Pinkham: When Jefferson Mays and Joanna Glushack used to inadvertently spray Lauren, Lisa and I with saliva across the dinner table. You never knew where it was going to land and sometimes it landed in very funny places and we would have a hard time not losing our collective minds. Very good times those were indeed.

Lauren Worsham: Oh, mostly a lot of stuff involving bodily fluids - spit and sweat and snot. Nothing pretty. One time though, someone stepped on my train and I fell to my knees mid-song. It's very hard to get up from the floor in a corset. I didn't stop singing though!

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day?

Bryce Pinkham: I want to spend 1% less time every day in front of my screens. I dare your readers to take a whole subway ride without looking at their phone. I try to talk to a stranger once every day - mind you - not in a creepy way, just in a way that reminds me that we have the ability to connect with each other despite having nothing in common. We humans used to depend on each other to fill the void we all feel. Nowadays we increasingly fill that same void with time interacting with machines. I think we are losing our ability and quite frankly, our desire to talk to each other. I hate to break it to you folks, but a Facebook friend is not a friend. A text is not a conversation. With respect, this isn't even an interview, I just typed out the answers on my computer and sent them back in an email. We didn't even talk*.  I understand why we depend so much on our machines, and what we stand to gain from them, but I think we have to consciously spend more and more time away from them if we want to find what I think we are all desperately looking for: genuine connection. 

*A Note from Bryce: Adam graciously offered to talk over the phone, but because of time constraints I chose to answer his questions in email form.

Lauren Worsham: I think it would be nice to improve my nap schedule by 1%. Being a new parent is exhausting!!!

Bryce PinkhamMore on Bryce:

An American stage and screen actor, Bryce Pinkham is most widely known for originating the role of "Monty Navarro" in the Tony Award Winning production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, for which he was nominated for a Tony, Grammy and Drama Desk Award. He also notably appeared in the Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles as "Peter Patrone," for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance in 2015. His other Broadway credits include original roles in Holiday Inn, Ghost and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Bryce's television appearances include as a series regular on the second season of PBS’ Civil War Drama Mercy Street, guest appearances in Baz Lurman's Netflix series The Get Down and Robert DeNiro's feature film The Comedian as well as The Good Wife (CBS), and Person of Interest (CBS).

As a singer Bryce has performed in concert venues across the country, most notably Carnegie Hall, Chicago Lyric Opera, Lincoln Center and The Library of Congress.

As a writer, Bryce has published articles on acting, performing and education in American Theater Magazine, Yale Alumni Magazine and others.

In 2012 Bryce helped found Zara Aina, an NGO that uses the power of theatrical storytelling to empower at-risk youth. In May 2013, Bryce led a team of American artists on Zara Aina’s pilot program to Madagascar. Bryce is also a frequent collaborator with Outside the Wire, a social impact theater company that serves many communities but particularly focuses on military audiences. His most notable international tours include Guantanamo Bay, Japan, Kuwait, and Qatar.

A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Bryce was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Foundation Early Career Fellowship in 2012. Bryce holds a BA from Boston College and an MA from the Yale School of Drama.

Lauren WorshamMore on Lauren:

Lauren Worsham is a Tony-nominated actress and singer. She was nominated for a Tony and won Drama Desk and Theatre World awards for the role of "Phoebe" in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony winner for Best Musical). Most recently, she was seen in New York City Center’s gala production of Sunday in the Park with George. Other favorite roles include "Lisa" in Dog Days at Montclair Peak Performances, Fort Worth Opera and LA Opera for director Robert Woodruff; "Flora" in Turn of the Screw at New York City Opera for Sam Buntrock; "Amy" in Where’s Charley? at Encores! for John Doyle; "Cunegonde" in New York City Opera's Candide, and "Olive" in the first national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Lauren performs frequently in concert at Carnegie Hall, 54 Below, Joe's Pub, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, Oregon Bach Festival, Galapagos Art Space and New York City Opera's VOX. Lauren placed second in the Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya competition. She’s co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company, The Coterie, and is a founding member of the band, Sky-Pony.

Saturday
May202017

Call Answered: Aaron Carty: The Beyoncé Experience at Stage 48 NYC

If you are Beyoncé fan, then this interview is for you! While it's not with Beyoncé herself, it's with the next best thing...Beyoncé impersonator Aaron Carty, who leapt onto the London scene after his audition video for Britain's Got Talent went viral.

Now Aaron brings The Beyoncé Experience, a Beyoncé dance concert, complete with an astonishing all female dance crew, to the US on May 25 in NYC at Stage 48 in Hell's Kitchen (605 West 48th Street) at a fundraiser for Hetrick-Martin Institute, presented by Open Finance. Click here for tickets!

The Hetrick-Martin Institute is the oldest and largest nonprofit agency created to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24. Their After-School programs invite youth to explore the arts, culture, tutoring, job skills, and health issues—with an LGBTQ focus. Their Supportive Services staff provides help in areas from housing to HIV counseling to family therapy, all tailored to the individual.

OPEN Finance is a volunteer network that combines the expertise of almost 50 financial services firms’ employee resource groupstodriveforwardLGBTequalityanddiversityinthefinanceindustryandbeyond.

For more on Aaron & The Beyoncé Experience be sure to visit https://www.beyonceexp.com and follow him Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo!

1. Already a known entity in London, this May, you are making your US debut with The Beyoncé Experience as a fundraiser for Hetrick-Martin Institute at Stage 48 in Hell's Kitchen. What is it about HMI that made you go, "This is the perfect way to be introduced to the US"? It's really important for me to contribute to organizations that work with young LGBT people. It's such a difficult time of your life and organizations like HMI really make an impact. I feel my story of growing up as an awkward and shy teen, to then become a police officer turned Media Entrepreneur...and then Beyoncé impersonator goes to show these young people that no matter what difficulties you have going on, there is always a solution; and if you can't see it - organizations like HMI are there to help guide you.

2. How do you feel an organization like this would have helped you growing up? It took me a lot longer to come to terms with who I was, what I was and what it was I wanted to be. I also felt like I didn't have people around me who understood what I was going through or the thoughts I was having. The torture you go through wondering if you'll be accepted into society really dents your confidence. I was so introverted an organization would have had to approach me to help me - and this is what HMI do. They reach out to these young people and events like this help. One photo of this event on social media itself could help a young person.

Aaron Carty in his prior "The Beyoncé Experience" life as a Police Officer3. For 10 years you've been supporting the LGBTQ community in London and now you will be supporting us in the US. What do you get from helping LGBTQ youth as opposed to the adult community? I think I'm really relatable to young people. I'm not an adult telling them "you should do it this way." My message is all about expression of yourself - whatever that is. I have young people messaging me and coming to my performances telling me that I'm really bracing for doing what I do. The fact that they think it's brave shows that they've felt insecure about expressing themselves in some way. So we need to continue showing young people that your variety and individuality is what will really make you stand out for all the right reasons.

4. Now let's find out all about you, your love of Beyoncé, & The Beyoncé Experience. Prior to The Beyoncé Experience, you were a cop. What made you want to be an officer of the law and how do you go from cop to Beyoncé impersonator? It's a very slow and unknown process, although I wanted to become a cop because at the time, despite getting accepted to three universities it wasn't something I wanted to do. I couldn't see myself going to university not knowing what I wanted to actually do. So instead I joined the police, and it was the 'J' curve of life experience I needed to pursue anything else I wanted. It 'knocked the shy out of me' and really opened my eyes to the world.

I loved the job but quickly lost faith in the politics and bureaucracy; so I started using my days off to help media production companies. Seven years later I have my own successful company. This is what led to Beyoncé, owning your own business at 22 is hard work! It got to the point where I needed a creative relief...Beyoncé Experience was born! 

Aaron Carty in "The Beyoncé Experience"5. Was Beyoncé the performer who initially inspired you to become a performer or was there someone else first and then you discovered Beyoncé? I always pretended to be Mel B whilst dancing with my sisters in our house when I was younger. But it was really Beyoncé who I look at and thought - wow - what an inspiration, what a role model. I never expected to be a Beyoncé drag impersonator. If you would have told me five years ago, this is what I would be doing, I would have laughed at you.

6. What was it about Beyoncé that made you say, "I want to spend my life traveling the world as a Beyoncé impersonator"? I've never thought that - but it has been a welcomed organic process of just taking a very mediocre talent and training at it to the point where I can show it to people. But there aren't many black artists that sing, dance and produce such an amazing show. There really wasn't anyone else I could have chosen from to impersonate.

7. What has been the hardest part about impersonating her and what's the most fun? The hardest part is dancing for 90 minutes in heels. These routines aren't easy - they're grueling to learn and really need a lot of work. I always rehearse in heels, I don't want a surprise in wearing them for the first time on stage.

Peoples reactions to the performance is definitely what makes it fun. I don't think people really know what to expect from the performance and it definitely has the shock factor. To look at me, I don't think people would say, "That's a Beyoncé impersonator." Seeing their faces and watching their reaction is priceless. It's happened all over the world - seeing it live, really is the only way to experience it.

Aaron Carty in "The Beyoncé Experience"8. Do you know if Beyoncé herself is aware of you & your experience? If so, have you heard from her? I'm not entirely sure she does - we had such a great reaction to our Britain's Got Talent performance, I just hope I'm doing it some justice.

9. What have you learned about Beyoncé from impersonating her that you feel you would not know from just being a fan? I've learned that she works so f**king hard - like, harder than you and I know. As a fan you can sit back and enjoy the amazing performances, as an impersonator you get a tiny insight into the work that goes into it. I can't imagine how much work goes into the creative mindset of an album and a performance. There aren't many artists that can take the risks that Beyoncé has in her music, her messaging and her political stance. She won't play it safe just to sell records, she's expressing herself through her art in a way that she wants to - a message we should be telling young people today.

Aaron Carty in "The Beyoncé Experience"10. Let's play with some of her song titles to find out more about you. Let's start with "Sweet Dreams." What is something that has happened to you where you went, "Is this a sweet dream or beautiful nightmare"? and then what was the result of said event? That event would be becoming a Beyoncé impersonator itself. I was a police officer at 18, I owned my first media business at 22, never would I have thought that I would be performing as Beyoncé in front of thousands of people around the world. It's a dream I think many of us have thought about - and then been terrified by. The end result is a sweet dream, I've learned more about myself and the world doing this than anything else.

11. When have you been "Crazy in Love"? Right now! I brought my boyfriend to New York only this week for his 27th birthday as a surprise and then arranged for a professional photographer (he's an actor) to take new headshots around the city. I'm so crazy in love with him that I'm actually going crazy!!!

Aaron Carty in "The Beyoncé Experience"12. Who's your "Halo"? My instant thought is my mum, she's so honest, down to earth and normal. She's the only one I've ever opened up to when I've made some terrible mistakes in my life, she's never judged me and always supported me. Even when I've been in the wrong. I'm lucky to have her.

13. Have you ever told some one, "If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it?" HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - yes I have, but I'm glad they now didn't. I might be crazy in love now, but I think we've all been stupidly in love at some point haven't we. It's funny, when those ex's see you in the public eye and begin texting you again...I could easily send back a Single Ladies GIF, and I have. Slightly arrogant - but very true!

14. Let's twist up Beyoncé's song "Irreplaceable." What is something that you lost that you felt was "Irreplaceable"? Just like the song itself. There aren't any things in my life that at the time I thought were irreplaceable (most of them boyfriends) but you soon come to your senses and realize that they were in fact "replaceable" in a minute.

15. We both live in world, you in London with Brexit & me here in the US with that orange balloon in the White House, where are political leaders and climate are in flux and causing such stress, panic, & fear. If you were to "Run The World" as "The Beyoncé Expereince," what changes would you make? (Can you use any of her songs to illustrate your plan?) I'd firstly ask everyone to "Hold Up" a minute and really think about why they vote the way they do. Don't vote in anger and fear. I'd "Ring The Alarm" and get everyone in "Formation." It's us as the people who can make a difference. Stop thinking about "Me, Myself and I" and start thinking as a whole. It could be the "End Of Time" if we'are not careful, we all live in such luxury, we're not all a "Survivor," start working harder so you can pay those "Bills, Bills, Bills" and listening to those leaders with the "SuperPower" driving a "Partition" between us all. Everyone would be responsible for their own actions and stop playing the blame game, living their lives through their "Telephone" and begin making real change through action!

Aaron CartyMore on Aaron:

International Beyonce impersonator Aaron Carty is back, with a vengeance. Having burst onto the scenes at Sitges Pride 2014, wowing the judges on Britain's Got Talent and becoming a viral smash - making Alesha Dixon get up and dance, with Simon Cowell throwing a sly smile his way to closing Pride In London, Trafalgar Square 2015. He was memorably axed before making it onto the live show. Since walking off Simon’s stage this cop-cum-drag superstar has strutted on, amassing nearly a million views for his youtube audition clip, performing to a crowd of thousands at London Pride, and then independently putting on his own show The Protest at the iconic Troxy in London. Giving a truly Beyoncé dance concert experience, complete with an astonishing all female dance crew.

Tuesday
May162017

Call Answered: Brooke Lewis: Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonBrooke Lewis is an award winning author and actress. Known as a "Scream Queen" for her horror genre films, I was most taken by Brooke as a life coach. I'm all about entertaining, heck, I stand for entertainment, but nothing feels as good as helping people through tough times. Brooke's new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support.

What a thrill it was to speak with Brooke about her vast and varied career. From acting to life coaching to being a professed hot mess, Brooke & I cover it all!

For more on Brooke be sure to visit http://brookelewis.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress? I was an incredibly emotional and sensitive child with a vivid imagination. When I hit my teenage years, I became obsessed with drama, old Hollywood and my inspirations Elizabeth Taylor and Mae West. I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theatre in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first "break" in the New York Off-Broadway Comedy Tony N' Tina's Wedding, then went on to do TV sitcoms like Quintuplets and Mafiosa, then acted in mobster dramas like Pride & Loyalty and Sinatra Club, then broke out in the horror, thriller genre with films like Kinky Killers, iMurders and Slime City Massacre earning the title of a "Scream Queen," then combined my experience in comedy, mobster movies, and horror and created the role and brand, which I am best known...Ms. Vampy!!!

2. What was the moment you decided to also become a life coach? Ironically, many of my most powerful career choices have been made while facing challenges or hitting walls! I had been a working actress and producer for many years, and shortly after the economy crashed in 2009, my investors pulled out of my production company and projects and I was forced to make changes. In 2011, we launched the award-winning TV pilot/talk show for teen girls Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk and In Between Tawk and I was hugely inspired by my young cast and their issues and messages. It was the first time anything beyond acting inspired me, so I paid attention. When my reps were pitching my show and I to TV talk shows, we were receiving incredible feedback, BUT…the networks were all asking if I had a "credential" as a therapist, counselor or life coach. Of course, I had two college degrees, but they wanted a certification in the coaching arena. Since I am not one to leave any stone unturned, I chose to go back to school again to receive my life coach certification at the Life Purpose Institute. My initial intention was for the purpose of my Ms. Vampy brand and TV series in development, but I became so passionate about my support career, I launched my company Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach.

3. You just released your new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, which is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support. What made you want to put all these tips into a book? What is the most heartwarming comment you've heard about the book and what is the cruelest thing someone has said about it? Again, I had been facing challenges and hitting walls in my support career as a Life and Dating Coach (see the pattern that pushes me into being tenacious?) I was paying my dues again and feeling overworked and underpaid, shelling out fabulous advice for various publications and morning shows and several people had suggested that I should write a book for myself and my coaching business, instead, and my "blessed lil bedside table book" was born! Now, I am going to cheat a bit here to answer the first part of your question, as I pull an excerpt I love right from my pages: "Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my "crazy" and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess..."I am a HOT MESS!" Yup...I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an Actress, Life Coach and Dating Expert in the public eye, some may think I am really "crazy" sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and judging) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not "air her dirty laundry." Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my "flaws." Along with my strengths, my "flaws" and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?"

To answer the second part (and, as an actress I learned early on to not take any positive or negative comments too seriously) I will share two comments on Amazon that stayed with me. I received one three-star review that was by no means "cruel," but upset me because the reviewer stated that in the dating chapters of my book, I created the perspective of "needing a significant other." This frustrates me greatly, because I breathe, coach, speak and write the antithesis of that statement! I am all about self-empowerment and female empowerment and how we need to love ourselves first and want, not need, a partner to share life with! But, as we know, we cannot control others’ interpretations of our art and work!

I am blessed to have received so much positive feedback with this book! It is always heartwarming to receive praise from my friends and family (because we know they tell us the truth! I have had some of my best girlfriends tell me they keep my book on their bedside table to reference daily! I recently received a fabulous review on Amazon and I will share my favorite part, "This woman is a genius and the most useful and relevant life coach in the world (before this book I thought they were useless and overrated). Even if you do not need life coaching this book is still an amazing read!" Now, is that a compliment to keep doing what I am doing or what? Serious author gratitude here!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson4. In describing the book, you have classified yourself as a HOT MESS. What events/activities in your life, made you go, "You know, I'm a HOT MESS?" What behaviors have you changed or become aware to not be a HOT MESS? Um…have you seen me at the Spike TV Scream Awards or Saturn Awards in 105-degree-heat with my hair frizzy and makeup running down my face? Yeah, HOT MESS!!! And, at that point, there is nothing I can do, but own it and rock it! But, yes, I use the term HOT MESS, both literally and figuratively! That’s the beauty of it…and, life! None of us are "perfect!" We are all perfectly imperfect! We make mistakes and lousy choices in life and I have surely made many! I have made some poor career choices and even more really poor dating choices! I have had emotional meltdowns over nothing and I have locked myself in the house for three days, after gaining five pounds on the scale that weekend...life is full of a whole mess of messes, so let’s make them HOT!!!

5. In writing this book, what did you learn about yourself that you didn't realize while living through it? If I may humbly declare this, I learned that I have much more value as a woman, actress, life coach and dating expert, than I ever imagined! I, too, struggle with worthiness and never feeling "good" enough, so it was a huge catharsis and gift to empower and acknowledge myself through writing this book. I also learned how much I need to take my own tips and advice!

6. Your book will help readers exist in the world around us, gain clarity and fulfillment. What used to give Brooke the biggest sense of fulfillment and what fulfills Brooke of today? Thank you! That was a fantastic and revealing question! I used to receive a sense of fulfillment by being liked, loved and praised by others. I focused a lot on my external appearance and fame. I would try to fill the void, and based my worth on the above. As I have worked hard on myself and become more evolved over the years, the things that fulfill me have drastically changed! The things that fulfill me now are integrity, truth, loyalty, being a "good" person, staying artistic, having integrity, committing to great work, surrounding myself with people who support each other, true love and charity work. The one constant that has always fulfilled me (and always will) is being an actress and doing the best work I possibly can!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson7. What do you get from being a life coach that you don't get from acting? I suppose I have a bit more control over my coaching career and I get to be my own boss! Both my careers are rewarding in so many ways. However, I love the instant gratification of knowing I just supported a client in having a huge breakthrough, while coaching her.

8. I read that your favorite genres to act in are horror and mystery. So, I'm going to take these genres in a different direction and relate them directly to your life. What is the scariest thing to have happened to you that you are willing to talk about? What is something about yourself that you are still trying to figure out? One of the scariest things in my life (that I have not shared often publicly) was when I got the chicken pox at 21 and ended up hospitalized with 104 fever, encephalitis and nerve damage. I was blessed to make a full recovery, but I live with chronic pain and a compromised immune system ever since. It is a challenge every day, but it taught me that life is short, there will always be obstacles to overcome and to live fully and follow your dreams!

As far as the thing I am still trying to figure out, I could write another book here (wink)! One of my biggest frustrations is trying to understand how I could work as long and hard as I do, yet not have my hit TV series (yet). I always feel like I have to work just a little bit harder than most to bring my dreams to fruition! Things appear to come easier to others sometimes. But…appearance vs. reality, right? You can’t buy into the social media hype!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? May I acknowledge you for a moment and tell you this is fabulous? 

I want to take things less personally…by One Percent Better…every day!

10. I have a new segment in my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions. What is the biggest misconception about Brooke Lewis that you'd like to put to rest? I feel like a lot of people in my personal and professional life perceive me as "courageous" and "fearless," because I preach my mantras and quotes quite often:

"Be You…And Be Fearless!" – Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach

"Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?" – Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess

"When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner vamp, and Vamp It Out!" - Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk

But, remember, this is a misconception, as we teach what we need to learn!!!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonMore on Brooke:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brooke always had dreams of being an actress. Brooke soon moved to New York City where she cultivated much of her acting career and landed her first role as "Donna Marsala" in the off-Broadway, hit comedy Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. After four years of making a name for herself on the east coast, Brooke decided to move to Hollywood where she currently resides. Brooke has built up quite the impressive resume by launching her own production company, Philly Chick Pictures and has worked with many veteran actors including Mark Ruffalo, Andy Richter, Charles Durning, Michael Pare, Dominique Swain, Joey Lawrence, and many more!

Monday
May152017

Call Redialed: Marshall Pailet: Baghaddy at St. Luke's Theatre

Marshall PailetIt's so great to catch up with playwright Marshall Pailet, who I first got to interview in 2015. This time around we get talk about the remounting of his show, Baghdaddy, co-written with A.D. Penedo, a new musical based upon the true story of the Iraqi defector whose false intelligence was passed all the way through the CIA to become the justification for the Iraq War, which continues today. 

Baghdaddy plays St. Luke's Theatre (308 West 46th Street) through June 25 only. Click here for tickets!

For more on Marshall be sure to visit http://www.marshallpailet.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

For more on Baghdaddy visit http://baghdaddymusical.com and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

1. It's so great to get to finally get to interview you about Baghdaddy! The show is coming back around after a sold-out run in 2015. What made now the right time to remount this show? I wish we could say we were inspired by the current state of the country, the fact that this administration's foibles and reliance on alternative facts makes our story about one of the most significant alternative facts in modern history all-too relevant. But the truth is we've been planning this production since we closed the 2015 production. It takes a long time to put these things up.

2. Let's go back to the beginning. How did you decide to write Baghdaddy? Baghdaddy was a commission from our then and current producer, Charlie Fink. Doing a show about the intelligence blunder around Curveball (Rafid Ahmed Alwan) was his idea, and it was his idea to make it a musical comedy.

Cast of "Baghdaddy"3. Baghdaddy is based upon the true story of the Iraqi defector whose false intelligence was passed all the way through the CIA to become the justification for the Iraq War, which continues today. What was it about this time in history that made you go, "This would make a great musical as opposed to a play?" Again, that was Charlie's idea. Our challenge was to find the why of it. We found the comedy in the actions of the people involved - their negligence was almost farcical. But they were grounded and real because they were motivated by such human things - wanting to be loved, respected, finally getting what they deserved. The music comes both from the comedy and the emotion - this story has both, so musical comedy felt like a perfect (if unexpected) fit.

4. After the show's initial run and prior to this one did you revise/rework the script at all? If so, what was the easiest revision to make and what was the most challenging? Yeah, for sure. Our biggest re-write came between the first version and the 2015 version - the script is almost unrecognizable from that first draft. But for the 2017 production we've made a bunch of changes - some new songs, dialogue. But the story and structure remains the same.

Cast of "Baghdaddy"5. In Baghdaddy, characters are contending with their own ambitions, rash decisions, inflexible bosses, unrequited affections and unremitting boredom, until a fax arrives from Germany, with it a golden opportunity. Let's break these down over the next few questions. When has there been a time you contended with your own ambitions? I struggle with that a lot. There's thousands of years of literature proving that when we follow our ambitions blindly, it leads to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. I know that's true, but I still want that stuff. I've gotten better over the past couple of years - when I get jealous of a fellow artist, I admit it, say it out loud to myself, realize I sound like a douchebag, then the jealousy slips away. It's made me a calmer person.

6. What is one rash decision you made that you now wish you didn't? I dunno - I tend to game out decisions - think through all the possible outcomes to an annoying extent. I made a couple rash decisions in college (and a lot more in high school) that I wish I could take back though.

Cast of "Baghdaddy"7. Have you ever had an inflexible boss? If so, what were they most inflexible about? Honestly, I've had some pretty boss bosses. The producers and executives I've worked for have all been great. Not sucking up - I've just gotten lucky that way.

8. If you ever had unrequited affections for someone, how did you finally make yourself understand, they were just not that into you? Haha. Um, yeah. What I learned is that when it's meant to be, it's obvious for both parties. If you have to convince someone they love you, they're probably (definitely) not your soulmate.

9. How do you cure your unremitting boredom? Podcasts. And X-Box.

10. What is a golden opportunity to happened to you? The day I met my future wife. (Cue violin)

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? To not need a screen in my face at all times of the day.

Marshall PailetMore on Marshall:

Marshall Pailet is a director, writer and composer for musical theater, plays, animated films, and is the proud owner of a wildly untrained, but ultimately well-meaning terrier-mix. He directed, composed, and co-wrote the Off Broadway musicals Who’s Your Baghdaddy (New York Times Critics’ Pick) and the now internationally licensed Triassic Parq (Chance ’13; Ovation Award, Best Musical; Ovation Nom, Best Director). Other Theater: Claudio Quest (Chance ’17); Loch Ness (Chance ’15; Best Musical, OC Weekly); Shrek the Halls (DreamWorks Theatricals). Film: VeggieTales: Noah’s Ark starring Wayne Brady (Original Songs). As Director Only: Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat (Adirondack Theater Festival); Wonderland (Atlantic Theater Company); EudaemoniaUncle Pirate; Stuck; The 49 Project; Thursday; With Kings in the Back; Bat Boy; Escape Artists; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He is also on faculty at Molly College, Cap 21, and the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Graduate Yale University.