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Entries in Actor (116)


Call Answered: Michael Urie: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum: Two River Theater

Michael UrieAlong with millions of viewers, I too, adored Michael Urie on Ugly Betty as "Marc St. James," the assistant to Vanessa Williams' "Wilhelmina Slater." I couldn't wait to see what stunts "Marc" would try to pull week after week to bring "Betty" down. But, like every hit show before Betty, all good things must come to an end, except Michael Urie's career! After Ugly Betty ended, I had the honor of seeing Michael live on stage in some pretty remarkable performances: as iconic fashion designer Rudi Gernreich in The Temperamentals, in his Broadway debut in How To Succeed Without Really Trying as "Bud Frump," and my personal favorite, in Buyer & Cellar. I always knew Michael had talent, but this show, in my opinion, that really displayed the brilliant talent that is Michael Urie.

It's a real honor to get to interview this award winning actor as we discuss his latest role, "Hysterium" in Two River Theater's production of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which will run from November 14-December 13 (21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701). Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

For more on Two River Theater visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

1. After meeting you at Buyer and Cellar and again at Stage 17's launch party, it's a real honor to finally get the chance to interview you! You are getting ready to star in Two River Theater's production of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. What made you want to audition for this show? Thank you, nice to re-e-meet!! I've always loved Forum, since I first found the cast album of the Nathan Lane production at Barnes and Noble in Plano, TX when I was 16 or 17. When I heard this production was happening in Williamstown five years ago, I ASKED to be in it, but was ultimately not invited (AHEM!). Then when there was a Broadway revival percolating with James Corden, I once again ASKED and was supposed to audition before the production fell a part. Then this production magically came back into my life and they asked ME! The lesson? Always ask for what you want!

2. What do you relate to most about your characters "Hysterium"? Given that "Hysterium" is a slave in Roman times, who fears death at every mistake and sings and dances as a part of his normal life, we definitely don't share any real circumstances...That said, I've had bosses I was afraid of...And we both like sandals. 

Michael Urie, Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia3. How are you going to make the roles of "Hysterium" your own? Jess Stone is brilliantly reinventing this show while still playing complete homage to the material, style and history of Forum, so she's encouraged me to make non traditional choices, and made sure I didn't stray away from who "Hysterium" has always been. Our "Hysterium" is good at what he does, but gullible, easily excitable and kind of dumb.

4. What is the funniest thing to happen so far in rehearsals? That's an impossible question, I'm reduced to hysterics every day. Probably a mime riff Chris did about poop.

5. Since A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum is set in Rome, if you were in ancient Rome during the gladiator times and you had to have a gladiator fight inside the Colesseum, who would win, Michael Urie or "Marc St. James," your character from ABC's Ugly Betty? Michael Urie would win, he's way stronger and knows all of "Marc St. James'" moves.

Michael Urie as "Marc St. James" in the Halloween episode of "Ugly Betty"6. Like the millions of viewers who watched, I adored you on Ugly Betty! What are some of your most cherished memories of being on the show? We were a family on that show, we cherished every episode and didn't take a single moment for granted. That was partly due to the amazing material we were working with, but also to the beautiful dynamic of our cast - folks getting big breaks mixed with seasoned veterans. Everyone knew how lucky we were and how fragile any television prospect is - and we were proud of our show.

7. In Buyer & Cellar, the main character you played went to work for Barbra Streisand, whom he secretly was star struck by. What celebrities have you been star struck by? I have found that I'm only really star struck when I meet people that I became a fan of when I was a kid and first discovering how much I loved movies/tv/theatre, so from like 11 years old to around 17. Tom Hanks, Martin Short, Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane and thank god they were all super sweet.

8. You made your Broadway debut in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. What did it feel like when you found out this was happening? Did the reality of your Broadway debut live up to the mental picture you had painted? It was very special, I remember vividly the first moment I walked onstage during the opening number and looked out at the theatre. I said to myself, "Self, remember this."

9. You have an allegiance of fans all over the world. What one of your favorite fan encounters? What has been one of your weirder meetings? What has been the scariest? 1) I was in Chicago promoting Buyer & Cellar at a gay bar for their Musical Monday party, and a young guy approached me and said, "My dads and I watched every episode of Ugly Betty together!" 2) In line for the grocery store, a guy turns around with a TV guide opened to an article about me and says, "that's you!" 3) I guess being in a big crowd of people who all suddenly realize it's me and want to say hello - it's always nice, but can get claustrophobic. That is rare, though!

Michael Urie as "Gavin Sinclair" on "Modern Family"10. What is the biggest prank you've played on a cast mate, either on TV or stage, to break character? What is the biggest prank played on you? I'M A PROFESSIONAL!!!! :)  In The Temperamentals, I was offstage during a scene where an actor had to run off stage and quickly grab a clarinet, then re-enter playing it...I liked to be waiting by his clarinet and make him laugh right before he had to play it. One time, I arranged for his wife to be waiting backstage with me.


11. What is the biggest misconception people have about you? That I'm into fashion...I've played fashion people in Ugly Betty, The Temperamentals and Modern Family, but I sometimes have to be reminded what the brown belt/black shoe rule is...

12. During The Golden Girls, the ladies would always solve their problems over cheesecake. If we were to sit down to Cheesecake, what problem of your own would you want to solve? And what kind of cheesecake would we solve this problem over? Holiday travel planning. Junior's, of course.

Thank You!

Michael Urie, Photo Credit: Christopher BeyerMore on Michael:

Broadway: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Off-Broadway/National Tour/London: Buyer & Cellar (Drama Desk, Lortel, Clarence Derwent, LA Drama Critics Awards). Off-Broadway: Shows for Days, The Cherry Orchard, Angels in America, The Temperamentals (Drama Desk, Lortel, Theatre World Awards). Other New York Theater: Red Bull, Foundry, HERE. Regional: Old Globe, South Coast, Seattle Rep, PlayMakers Rep, Folger Shakespeare, Barrington Stage. Film: Beverly Hills Chihuahua, He’s Way More Famous Than You (also director), WTC View, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, The Decoy Bride, Petunia, Such Good People, Thank You for Judging (co-director/producer). TV: "Gavin Sinclair" on Modern Family, Workaholics, The Good Wife, Younger, Hot in Cleveland, Partners, "Marc St. James" on Ugly Betty. Web series: Stage17’s What’s Your Emergency (director). Training: Juilliard.


Call Redialed: Maria Riboli: Rabbit Hole at Full Spectrum Theatre Company

Maria Riboli, Photo Credit: Laura DiCertoJust a little over a year ago I was introduced to Maria Riboli when she directed Panic at the Riverside Motel, written by John Pastore. When Full Spectrum Theatre Company's Suzie Cho (Artistic Director) and Ashley Ford (Associate Artistic Director) reached out to me about doing a new interview with Maria about directing the David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize winning play the Rabbit Hole, I treaded into the darkness to get the inside scoop on this production which will be presented from October 7-24 at The Davenport Theatre in NYC (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

"Becca" and "Howie Corbett" have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. Rabbit Hole charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.

Full Spectrum Theatre Company is committed to diversity on stage. By presenting every day American characters with an integrated cast, we believe our audiences will not only see people of color, they will also see characters who are easily relatable through the common experiences of family dynamics, friendships, and growing pains. The full spectrum of racial and ethnic diversity also encompasses the full spectrum of the human experience, and it is through these experiences that we are united.

For more on Maria be sure to visit and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Full Spectrum Theatre Company visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This October you are directing David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole at Full Spectrum Theatre Company. What made you want to direct this show? I love this play, I had read it in the past and it struck a chord with me. It felt so real and raw and I’ve always been very interested in telling "relationship" stories, from family dynamics, to romantic connections. I’m interested in the human bond and this play was just the perfect material for me to bring to life and tell a story from a real point of view. I always want the audience to feel like they are watching through a window. I’m a very cinematic director, even when I do theater. For me it’s important to recreate a reality, to be sure that everyone in the audience will walk away connecting to someone on stage, recognizing themselves.

2. What is about Full Spectrum Theatre Company that made you want to be part of their season? I was so honored that they asked me to direct this production for them. I’ve known Suzie Cho, the Artistic Director, for over 17 years now and when she told me about her company I was blown away. Suzie together with Ashley Ford, the Associate Artistic Director, are truly revolutionizing the theater as we know it. Their mission is to bring diversity on stage with racially integrated casting, they "believe audiences will not only see people of color, they will also see characters who are easily relatable through the common experiences of family dynamics, friendships, and growing pains." I find all this extremely inspiring. We live in a very powerful moment where new barriers are coming down and I strongly believe Full Spectrum is bringing a very important (and very needed) voice to the theater world. I’m truly honored that they asked me to direct Rabbit Hole. Suzie Cho and Ashley Ford are a force to be reckoned with and it’s inspiring to be walking next to them right now.

Designed by Em Grosland3. What excites you the most about working with this cast? Their commitment and their hard work are inspiring to me. From the first day of rehearsal I just couldn’t get enough of them! I love being with them, working and creating. They are all extremely talented actors who are bringing to life characters who are deep and touching. Suzie Cho (Becca) has created such a beautiful character, with so much dignity, her "Becca" is colored with so many different layers, very moving and so powerful. She makes me laugh out loud and cry all at the same time, in every rehearsal. Ashley Ford (Izzy) has a beautiful energy, she’s so vibrant and real and has found a sarcastic side of "Izzy" that I adore. She has worked so hard and went so deep creating her character and I catch myself smiling with pride while I watch her on stage! Amar Srivastava (Howie) has been just a pure joy to work with. He’s such a hard working actor! His performance is heartfelt, there’s a sweetness that he brings that is very touching. His relationship with "Becca" (Suzie Cho) is beautiful to watch. Rebecca Smith (Nat) has such a strong presence on stage, she captivates me. You can’t take your eyes off of her. She’s so committed and true to her character. I love her sense of humor and sensitivity both on stage and off! Justin Hsu (Jason) is heartwarming. He’s been working so hard on all the details and to see it all come together is pure joy for me. He has a deep understanding of his character and the layers he created are very touching. They all inspire me and I couldn’t be more proud of this fantastic cast!

Maria Riboli4. Rabbit Hole is about finding comfort in the darkest of places or figuring out how to get back to the light of day. When has there been time in your life where the darkness surrounded you more than the light? How did you find your way back? There have been a few times where I found myself in a dark spot, and every time I reacted differently. That’s also something I’m interested in showing with this play, the fact that we all react in a different way, and that’s ok! There’s no "right" way. We are all trying the best we can, with what we have.

Personally, through my darkest times, I’ve learned that the only way out of that pain was to go through it. I knew that I had to feel it and walk right in it, it was going to be the only way for me to come out of it. As they say "If you’re going through hell…keep going." The pain never goes away, but as "Nat" in Rabbit Hole says, "It changes." And if you are brave enough to face it, you will come out the other side a stronger person.

Maria Riboli directing "Locked in You"5. In addition to directing, you are also an actress. What do you get from directing that you do not get from acting? Directing is such a complete experience for me. I love being able to create every single aspect of a story. I love being involved in all details. After I read a script I usually know if I want to direct it or act in it. If I "see" the whole picture I know I need to direct it, if I feel the emotional connection with a character I know I need to be in it. And sometimes it’s both, like with my latest short film Locked in You that I directed, produced and starred in. It truly was a tour de force, but I loved every moment of it. And it’s exciting right now to see it hitting the festival circuits out there.

6. What do you like about working in theatre over working in film? I’m a rehearse-aholic (just ask the cast hehehe). I love being in the rehearsal room for hours creating. I keep getting inspired, I keep finding new things. I also love the feel of a live audience, there’s nothing like it. And that magic that you have in the few seconds the house lights go down and the chit chatting of the audience dies out and you know you’re about to step into a parallel universe for a few hours…there’s something magical in the theater.

Maria Riboli in rehearsal for "Rabbit Hole"7. What's the best advice you've ever received? It came from my mother "Never judge anyone. Always try to understand them."

8. What have you learned about yourself from directing/acting? Everything. Truly. Some characters showed me sides of myself I had forgotten. They taught me new things, they showed me things about myself I didn’t know. I’m in a moment in my life where I can honestly say I know who I am and what I want. I stand strong in the person I am. I think it’s important. As actors we are a collage of so many different lives. If you don’t know who you are, you get lost in this business.

From directing I’ve learned that I’m truly a perfectionist, and that is ok to be one! I make sure everything is as perfect as it can be. Right now for Rabbit Hole we have so many props and every single one has a meaning. I want the actors to walk on stage and find themselves at home. If they look at their library, the books on the shelves have to make sense, there can’t just be "any books." This excites me. To be able to create this world.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I wish I could have a healing power. Every time I see pain I wish I could take it away…then again flying and being able to transform into anything I want would be pretty cool too ;)…and let’s not even get me started on the outfit I’d wear ;)

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I have to say the only thing I drink is Jack and Coke so maybe I could rename that "Jack & Mary" (also because my cat’s name is Jack) hehehe…but if I would have to create a brand new one, I think I would like something tropical, some rum, pineapple, coconut, a splash of lime, a pinch of sexiness, a sprinkle of magic and a whole lot of love…and it would be called "Straight till morning."

Maria RiboliMore on Maria:

Maria Riboli has been active in the acting world since the age of 6; First as an actress then jumping into the director seat as well. She directed, acted and produced numerous plays both in Europe and in the United States.

In 2007 she directed, produced and acted in BAAAHHH!!! The play was accepted at the FringeNYC, then the run continued at the Payan Theater and in 2008 she was able to bring it to London at the historic Pleasance Theater. In November 2012 she once again produced, directed and starred in Want & Need, an acclaimed love story from a guy point of view. The show had a sold out run in the heart of NYC (StageII Theater). Maria followed that success with another sold out run. She directed Family of Strangers by John Pastore, in March 2013. During the same time, Maria also directed the webseries Catch-30. In June 2013 Maria directed the video portion of the Off-Broadway show Tesla directed by Sanja Bestic. January 2014, Maria directed an Off-Broadway dark comedy, Panic at the Riverside Motel written by John Pastore, once again a sold out run. In December 2014 she once again directed, produced and starred in the short film Locked in You ( that is now hitting the festival circuits all around the world. In April 2015 she directed and produced the short film Meet me Here ( by Kirsten Russell, now in post-production. 2015 is going to be a busy year for her, with two more short films to direct and produce.

Maria is also an acting coach, a voice over artist and the spokesperson for the world-renowned beauty brand Borghese.


Call Answered: 54 Below Facetime Interview: Josh Grisetti: Don't Bother I'm Here

On the heels of his Broadway debut in It Shoulda Been You, Josh is gearing up for his 54 Below solo debut on September 23 & 24! Josh was hilarious in It Shoulda Been You, a great character actor! When 54 Below asked me to provide coverage of their press day, I was super excited to see Josh's name in the line up! It was wonderful getting to talk to him about his upcoming 54 Below show Don't Bother, I'm Here, which chronicles his journey to Broadway while battling the heartbreak and pain of his dream! We had so much fun together! Definitely treat yourself to what is sure to be an inspiring and fun show!

Don't Bother, I'm Here will play at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on September 23 & 24 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Josh be sure to visit and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

For more on 54 Below visit and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Call Me Adam Interview with Josh Grisetti:

Josh GrisettiMore on Josh:

Josh made his Broadway debut this past spring in It Shoulda Been You, for which he won the 2015 Clarence Derwent Award and received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Off-Broadway and regionally, Josh has performed in Sheryl Crow’s DinerPeter and the Starcatcher, and the revival of Rent. You may also know him from his show-stopping performance in Enter Laughing at the York Theatre, for which he won the Theatre World Award.


Call Redialed: Stuart Williams: The Report: 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival!

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Taylor Hooper PhotographyIt has been five years since I first interviewed Stuart Williams. We first met when he was starring in Billy Carver and the Children in Mind at Manhattan Theatre Source. With talent, good looks, and that enticing British accent, I had no choice but to approach Stuart after the show to see if he would be willing to do an interview with me. Stuart was so kind, that he agreed, on the spot, to do an interview. I have been following Stuart's career ever since that fateful day, which is why I am beyond excited that Stuart is back on stage this summer (reuniting with fellow Billy Carver alum Jenny Green) in the world premiere of The Report which is part of the 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 15-28 at Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street). Click here for tickets!

The Report examines the true, unknown story of the British government’s cover-up of the deadliest civilian tragedy of World War II. On March 3, 1943, 173 people died in London’s Bethnal Green tube station, which served as a bomb shelter during air raids. But not a single bomb was dropped that fateful night. The cause of this disaster was kept secret for almost 30 years, until a young BBC journalist making a documentary began to uncover what actually took place. As the truth is revealed, we discover how trauma, fear and the paranoia of war impact our very humanity, and how the specter of a single public calamity resonates throughout multiple generations. If you are inspired by this play, please consider making a donation to the funding of a beautiful monument paying tribute to the victims at the site of the disaster:

For more on Stuart be sure to visit and follow The Report at, on Facebook and on Twitter!

1. This August you are starring in The Report, as part of the NYC Fringe Festival from August 15-28. The Report is based upon the largest WWII civilian disaster in the UK and the subsequent cover-up by Churchill's war department. What made you want to be part of this production? Last summer I was approached by the founding members of Cutting Hedge Productions to take part in a staged reading of The Report. I was exceedingly grateful and absolutely riveted upon reading the script. I called my Nan who was living in the East End of London at the time and would have been about 12 years old. Although she lived only five miles away from Bethnal Green, where this tragic incident occurred, she had no knowledge whatsoever of it's occurrence. I knew then that this was a story that needed to be told.

2. What do you identify most with about your character? He is driven and spirited but at the same time humble. He is well aware of his strengths AND his shortcomings. And his sideburns. I really identify with his sideburns.

Stuart Williams rehearsing "The Report"3. The Report is being directed by Alan Muraoka. What has been the best part about working with him so far? This is a true ensemble piece and it volleys between past and present at a tremendous pace. There's a lot to keep an eye on. With a beautiful balance of nurture and determination, Alan has managed to paint a very detailed and specific picture of those two worlds. He also happens to be a kind, genuine and generous artist.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing The Report? As an audience member, nothing makes me happier than leaving the theatre with unanswered questions buzzing in my head. If it's truly effective, they're still there in the morning. Moral scruples make for fantastic stories. "What would I have done?" "Where is the line between right and wrong?" Black and white are boring. Grey is where it's at.

5. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see The Report, what would that reason be? To be reminded of the human condition. There will always be tragedies, but so, too, will there always be hope. Only through accepting our grief may we move beyond it.

Stuart Williams and "Report" writer Martin Casella6. It's been three years since you were on stage. What made you take a break from acting and what was it about this show that lured you back? I wasn't taking a break from acting necessarily, but I got caught up in the business of acting. I was making a push to get more on-camera experience, so there were student films, short films, commercials, and my first television job, but the goal all along was to get back to the theatre. I was just trying a new strategy. I had a friend give me a great analogy describing the journey of acting in a play as a piece of music; with an arc, rising intensity, climax, denouement, etc., whereas acting in a film is akin to singing the same 4 bars over and over, very loudly. Go! I knew that it was going to take a stellar piece to knock me off that trajectory and remind me I'm really better suited at being an actor than a hustler.

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Taylor Hooper Photography7. How does it feel to be back on the boards? Will we have to wait another three years to see you after this run or will you keep entertaining audiences with your talent? Fantastic! Nothing creates a spark in me quite like the very cerebral process of stepping into a text and the very visceral process of stepping into a character. I can't explain the high I get when things start to fall into place one discovery at a time. I certainly hope it's not another three years, Adam, and that's very kind of you to say so.

8. What did you learn about yourself during this hiatus? In stepping away from the stage, I was reminded why I chose to do this with my life.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would instantly be able to speak every language I came in contact with.

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? This one's easy. When I'm not on stage or in front of a camera, I can be found behind a bar. Unheard of, I know! My creation "The Highland Hussy" can be found on the cocktail list at Annabel in Hell's Kitchen. It consists of Bank Note Blended Scotch Whisky, Cherry Heering Liqueur, house infused Ginger-Orange simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, a few dashes of orange bitters and a splash of seltzer. Served in a Collins glass with healthy lemon twist and a sexy brandied cherry. It's somewhere between a Debonair and a Blood and Sand. And it's pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Alberto Hidalgo VergaraMore on Stuart:

My grandparents were children of the blitz; heroes quite by happenstance. My nan lived just five miles up the road from Bethnal Green and, like many others, had no knowledge of this incident. The fear, of course, is that we will learn nothing from history, but the greater fear is that we might be denied these lessons because history has been silenced. I am humbled to play a part in telling this story and beyond grateful to Marty, Alan and my own nanny Joy. Deeply proud I am of my East End heritage. NY credits: U.S. premier of Dr. Andrew Harrison’s The Future (Isaac) at P.S.122, rogerandtom (Rich/Will) at 59E59 Theaters with Personal Space Theatrics, U.S. premier of The Safari Party (Daniel) by Tim Firth (also P.S.T.), Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (Lord Goring), Louis Nowra’s Cosi (Henry) with Australian Made Entertainment, Gary Owen’s Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco (Matthew D. Melody), and David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky (Nick) with Mind the Gap Theatre Co.  Television: Turn: Washington’s Spies, AMC


Call Answered: Adam Overett: Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy: 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival

Adam Overett and Call Me Adam at "Bound for Broadway with Liz Callaway"

Update: Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy has been selected to be part of the 2015 Fringe Encore Series at the SoHo Playhouse. If you did not get the chance to see Popesical: A Papal Musical this summer in the NYC International Fringe Festival, you have four more chances to confess your sin and see this show, through October 26! Click here for tickets! 

It's Adam x 2! Can you handle all this Adam?? I first came to know Adam Overett when I attended Bound for Broadway with Liz Callaway in 2013. I was so impressed by Adam's performance (okay and good looks), I knew, I just had to talk with him. Well, after two years of staying in touch, I am overjoyed that we finally get to do an interview together for his show Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy that is premiering in the 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 20-29 at Theatre 80 in NYC's East Village (80 St. Marks Place), presented by Tilted Windmills Theatricals. 

In Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy, The Pope is dead. The Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel, where they will compete in a series of grueling "Papal Challenges" to choose the new Pope. For whom will the white smoke rise?

For more on Adam be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. Your show, Popesical, is playing in the NYC International Fringe Festival from August 20-29. What made you want to bring Popesical to the Fringe Festival as opposed to one of the other theatrical festivals in the city? This is my first show with the Fringe, but the producers of POPESICAL, Tilted Windmills Theatricals, have produced shows at the Fringe before, including SILENCE! THE MUSICAL and YEAST NATION, so they know the territory and thought Fringe was the best place to start this show off. They love the fun, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants scrappiness of this festival, and I've been having a blast myself. It's a great lesson in being flexible and economical, and I love theater that calls on those qualities.

2. Popesical is about a group of Cardinals who compete in top-secret "Papal Challenges" to succeed the Pope. What made you want to write this show? When Pope John Paul II died, I was fascinated by the idea of this conclave, this centuries-old tradition that is conducted entirely in secret in the Sistine Chapel, one of the most incredible rooms on earth. I found myself wondering, what could they possibly be doing and talking about in there? How does one prove that he is the best person to serve as the Vicar of Christ? Years later, I had the opportunity to write a 15-minute show in a week for a group of eight talented theater students from UC Irvine, and I wrote a short piece about the conclave, with all of them in Cardinal roles that showed off their particular talents. As I worked on it, I started to think it was also, in a way, a kind of metaphor for religion -- you don't know what happens in there, so you have to take it on faith. You are asked to trust what is hidden from you, what you can't see. And I think that faith and trust have their upsides and their downsides, and I'm very interested in that. So I expanded it into a full-length musical.

Cast of "Popesical: A Papal Musical"3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Popesical? I want them to laugh like crazy. And then I want them to be surprised to find themselves really moved. And I hope they leave thinking that maybe the real point of all this -- all these traditions, all this faith and trust -- is to learn to love each other and ourselves better.

4. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see Popesical, what would that reason be? If you don't, you'll go to hell. It's definitely one of the Commandments.

5. What excites you about having this cast bring Popesical to life? What made you want to have Drew Geraci direct this show? In my first conversation with Drew, I knew he had both the humor and the heart that this show requires -- that he really got it, and that we were passionate about it in the same way. Same with the cast -- they're unbelievable. Watching them in rehearsals is a total delight. Each of them belongs in this crazy conclave. Being an actor myself, I find that the best part of creating a show is finding a synergy between the material and the cast, and the connection among the actors themselves. I want the cast of this show to feel like a family, a wacky family of Cardinals that love to play together, and with this group we've found them. It's incredibly rewarding.

The Cardinals of "Popesical; A Papal Musical"6. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/performer? I started writing new lyrics to songs we learned in first grade. I showed them to my teacher and she said, "You should be a lyricist. Do you know what is?" I didn't, but I was happy to find out. Not long after that, I started listening to cast albums, thinking, "I want to have made this, and to be in it." And off I went.

7. What's the best advice you've ever received? "People will try to pigeon-hole you. Don't let them. Be yourself." It can be very hard -- to trust yourself, love yourself, be yourself -- but it is always the best thing you can do. I got this from a producer I worked for shortly after graduating college. He turned out to be very right. (And a good producer -- he won the Tony for GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE).

Adam Overett composing8. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer/performer? I've learned a lot about the different sides I have. It may be sort of a given that a writer's main character will reflect the writer strongly, but I've found that every character, including the villains, expresses something I carry in me. I find myself surprised after writing something, like, "I didn't know I thought or felt that way."

After writing this show, I realized I have a much more complex relationship with religion than I thought I did. My stories tend to be about people who find in themselves a greater strength than they ever thought they had. So perhaps a lot of what I do as a writer is looking for my own inner strength.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying. Cliche I know, but I think it would be freaking awesome.

10. Favorite way to stay in shape? Ice cream and pizza. They have never steered me wrong.


11. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs, or boxer-briefs. Some compromise can be a good thing.

Adam OverettMore on Adam:

As a composer/lyricist/librettist, he is the creator of MY LIFE IS A MUSICAL (2014 world premiere production at Bay Street Theatre; 2013 developmental lab production at the Duke Theatre, produced by Martin Platt, David Elliott, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, Patrick Blake, Jhett Tolentino & Joan Raffe, 2013); POPESICAL (2012 developmental production at the Lyric Theatre in LA, 2013 concert performance at Joe’s Pub, NYC); CALL IT COURAGE (based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Armstrong Sperry), which had its premiere youth production at the Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin, TX (2010), where it was nominated for five B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Production of Youth Theatre; and many other works. He also contributed music and additional lyrics to the current off-Broadway hit CLOWN BAR (The Box, summer 2014, NYC) by Adam Szymkowicz.

As an actor, Adam has appeared on Broadway and on national tour in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, understudying and performing the role of "Fabrizio." He played "Neil Kellerman" in the national tour of DIRTY DANCING, and is currently in the cast of MURDER FOR TWO at New World Stages, after appearing in productions of the show at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and the 42nd St. Moon Theatre in San Francisco. He originated the role of "Herb" in the off-Broadway show JUNIE B. JONES (by Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich, based on the bestselling book series) at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, and has performed in many other productions throughout New York City and the country.

He has been a Musical Theater Fellow at the Dramatists Guild (2010-2011), a Lucille Lortel Award nominee for his contribution to the score of the Off-Broadway musical WE THE PEOPLE (2011), and a two-time Harrington Award winner as a member of both the BMI Advanced Musical Theater Workshop and Librettists Workshop. He has also been a resident writer at the Goodspeed Mercer Colony and CAP21 (2013). His song "My Sky," performed by Stephanie J. Block, is featured on the album No More Revivals, released by Sh-K-Boom Records.

Adam is a member of the Lehman Engel Musical Theater Advanced Workshop at BMI, where he won the Jerry Harrington Award for Excellence. He has studied musical theater writing with Tony Award-winners Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (RAGTIME), Adam Guettel (THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA), and with Andrew Lippa (THE ADDAMS FAMILY), and participated in the Nautilus Workshop on musical theatre collaboration at New Dramatists in 2010. Adam has also authored the short musical MAKING THE CALL; the screenplay The Swallow’s Nest; and several plays, including PASSPORT, STANDING GUARD, and THE BIRDBATH.

Adam is a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a B.A. in dramatic literature and music, and won the John Golden Prize for New Musicals. He is represented by Abrams Artists.