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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Actor (47)

Tuesday
Apr152014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with the cast of Greed

"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes to New World Stages in NYC to interview the cast and writer, Michael Roberts, of the new Off-Broadway musical Greed: A Musical For Our Times. Find out about the creation of the show as well as why the show is so much fun to perform in! Greed: A Musical For Our Times plays at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Greed be sure to visit http://www.greedmusical.com and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

Call Me Adam's Video Interview with the cast of Greed:

Michael RobertsMore on Michael Roberts:

Michael Roberts is the author, composer and lyricist of the hit Off-Broadway comedy GOLF: THE MUSICAL. After its critically-acclaimed 2003-2004 Off-Broadway run at the John Houseman Theater, there continue to be dozens of national and international productions. In the nine years since it's New York debut, GOLF has been revived Off-Broadway twice, and has played in twenty-five US states, and in five countries on four continents, from Japan to New Zealand and Scotland. Recently there have been new productions in Texas, Canada, and Finland. He is a two-time recipient of the ASCAP PLUS AWARD for his work in musical theater.

He is the composer and lyricist for the Off-Broadway musical, THE FARTISTE, which won the award for Best Musical at the 2006 Fringe NYC Festival. A successful run Off-Broadway in the 2011-2012 season was followed by a concert performance at The Charing Cross Theatre on London's West End.

His newest musical, (again with FARTISTE collaborator Charlie Schulman), The Goldstein Variations, made its concert debut at the JCC in Manhattan in May, 2008 and has since been produced at American University and in concert at NYC's Abingdon Theatre. It is being prepared for an Off-Broadway opening in 2014. Michael’s Thanks for the Memories, a one-man show about Bob Hope featuring two-time Tony-nominee Joel Blum, received its premiere at Peoria's Prairie Theater in 2006, with a second production in Marin, CA in 2010. He was, for fifteen years, the composer/lyricist and music director for The Broadway Kids, which had a successful run at The Lambs Theater in 2005-2006, and returned to Off-Broadway at New World Stages in December, 2008.

Michael composed the incidental music for 2007's MY SECRET GARDEN at New York's 45th Street Theater, and The Storm Theatre's TIDINGS BROUGHT TO MARY (2009). He also arranged incidental music for the Off-Broadway hit JEWTOPIA.

Michael’s music for the screen includes independent films, documentaries and features, including Tri-Star’s Love Walked In, starring Dennis Leary, and the multiple-award-winning Lemonade Stand. His music for television includes four seasons as a composer for the Emmy-Award-Winning sitcom Remember WENN. Additional television credits include music for ABC, CNN, ESPN, The Golf Channel, and Bravo. As a music director, he has collaborated with Donna Murphy, Rupert Holmes, Richard Kind, Leslie Gore, Hinton Battle, Stephanie Mills, Peter Noone, Bobby Sherman, Joan Rivers, and The Capitol Steps, as well as numerous stage productions. Michael was a nominee for a 2012 Broadway World Award for his work in musical direction.

James DoneganMore on James Donegan:

James appeared Off-Broadway in three editions of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY and on two albums (the Rude Awakening and Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab editions). His CD So Much Spring is available on iTunes. You can also take singing lessons with James (jamesdonegan.net), or he can design your website (jamesdidit.net).

Julia BurrowsMore on Julia Burrows:

Julia is recently back in New York from starring as "Magnolia" in SHOW BOAT with the Central City Opera Company performed at the beautiful 2800 seat theater of The Buell in Denver. A few favorite credits include playing "Marian" in THE MUSIC MAN opposite Peter Scolari at Ogunquit Playhouse; "Lori-Beth" in HAPPY DAYS produced by Garry Marshall at Goodspeed Opera House and Papermill Playhouse and appears on the Original Cast recording; "Cornelia" in PIRATES! at Papermill Playhouse; Company at Reprise! L.A. starring Judith Light and Christopher Sieber; "Darla" in VITAL SIGNS at the Off-Broadway Theater At St. Clements; Les Miserables at Northern Stage; and "Millie" in a concert version of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE directed by Susan Egan. Julia has performed in many concerts, workshops and readings in New York. To keep updated on Julia, you can visit JuliaBurrows.com.

Neal MayerMore on Neal Mayer:

Neal Mayer recently returned to New York after performing across the U.S. with the national tour of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT. Neal’s New York credits include the Broadway company of LES MISERABLES and such Off-Broadway shows as FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, BUSH IS BAD (CD), PLAISIR D'AMOUR, and WALMARTOPIA. In addition to the national tour of 101 DALMATIONS (directed by Jerry Zaks), he has appeared at numerous regional theaters such as Arena Stage, Goodspeed, North Shore Music Theatre, Ivoryton Playhouse, Skylight Opera, Weston Playhouse, the Schoolhouse Theater, and the Bushnell. Favorite roles include “Malvolio” in TWELFTH NIGHT, “Harding” in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, “Mendel” in FALSETTOS and “Fagin” in OLIVER! Neal’s television credits include Blue Bloods, All My Children, and numerous sketches on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Neal is happy to reunite with Michael, Chris, and Eric, after previously appearing in GOLF: THE MUSICAL.

Stephanie D'AbruzzoMore on Stephanie D'Abruzzo:

Stephanie D'Abruzzo is best known for her Tony and Drama Desk nominated performances as "Kate" and "Lucy" both off and on Broadway in AVENUE Q, for which she also received a Theatre World Award and a special ensemble award from the Outer Critics’ Circle. She has also graced the New York stage in TOM FOOLERY and THE MAD SHOW (for the York Theatre’s “Musicals in Mufti”), LOVE AND REAL ESTATE, IT MUST BE HIM, STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG, GRAVID WATER at Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, DON'T SAY ANOTHER WORD, PLAISIR D'AMOUR, IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE AND OTHER STORYBOOKS, I LOVE YOU BECAUSE, and CARNIVAL (Encores!), among others. Regional credits include [title of show] at St. Louis Rep and the world premiere of KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY MUSICAL at the Kennedy Center. She has appeared in countless benefits and concerts, including Jim Henson’s Musical World and Skitch Henderson’s New Faces of 2004 (both at Carnegie Hall) and Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday celebrations in New York and at the Hollywood Bowl. Her TV work ranges from 21 seasons of "Sesame Street" to the musical episode of "Scrubs." She is the product of Pittsburgh, PA and Northwestern University. More information available at: stephaniedabruzzo.com.

Monday
Apr142014

Call Answered: Committed Conference Call with Tricia Brouk, Andrew David Sotomayor, Mike Longo

Cast and Creative Team of "Committed", Photo Credit: Theresa Balderas"Call Me Adam" chats with the creatives, Tricia Brouk (Writer/Director/Choreographer) and Andrew David Sotomayor (Lyricist/Composer/Musical Supervisor), and cast member Mike Longo about the new Off-Broadway musical Committed, a dark and beautiful book musical about eight people working through the pain of their mental illnesses in a psychiatric institute. Committed hopes to use art and entertainment to de-stigmatize mental illness and get people talking about it.

Committed plays from April 17-20 at the West End Theatre at Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (263 West 86th Street between Broadway & West End Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Committed be sure to visit http://www.committedthemusical.com and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

Writer/Director/Choreographer Tricia Brouk in rehearsal for "Committed", Photo Credit: Theresa Balderas1. For Andrew and Tricia: How did you two first come to work together and then what made you want to write Committed?

Tricia: Andrew and I had already been working together for about four years on various shows I directed. He was music directing and arranging for me. In 2013, I asked him if he wanted to arrange a new show I wrote, and he asked how I felt about him writing an original score. That was the catalyst for it all. We wrote our first musical, 50 Shades of F****D Up. Our first project together was optioned theatrically, and recently has been optioned as a feature film. It was such a positive and inspiring experience working with Andrew, I asked him if he wanted to write the music and lyrics for the next musical I had in mind about "crazy people." Andrew is extremely prolific and works as fast as I do. We are incredibly well suited for each other. For me, it's the perfect creative marriage. Writing Committed came out of wanting to create another project to work on. It was another way for me to work with Andrew and to create more work. What I wasn't prepared for was that Committed would take on a life of its own and become much bigger than me. I started writing it as a comedy. Once I realized just how many people suffer from mental illness, and that no one is talking about it, I knew that I needed to treat this subject matter with much more sensitivity. I knew that I had an opportunity to create art around a painful topic that could potentially change people's lives and open up the dialogue of mental illness. Bringing awareness to mental illness, while entertaining and inspiring, is in the end, why I wrote Committed.

Lyricist/Composer/Musical Supervisor Andrew David Sotomayor in rehearsal for "Committed", Photo Credit: Theresa BalderasAndrew: I had been working as a network administrator for a high school and moonlighting as a music director by night. Someone that was general managing one of Tricia's shows hired me as an audition accompanist for her. I had a day job but I called in sick to take the gig because I knew that if I wanted to create theater I was going to have to start making some little sacrifices. Taking a day off in the summer to play some auditions seemed like a good start. Shortly thereafter she brought me on board to music direct and from there we spent 4 years collaborating with me arranging and music directing shows she was directing. In December of 2013 she asked me if I would do some arrangements for a script she wrote and I countered with asking if she was open to me pitching an original score to her. By January we had completed our first original book musical 50 Shades of F****d Up. After several successful performances and being optioned theatrically (and as a feature film) we began to discuss what else we might be able to create together. Eventually she came to me with an idea about a show dealing with "crazy people" and I, of course, jumped on board. Right before we worked on 50 Shades, I had written a song cycle involving characters dealing with mental illness. I hadn't done anything with the piece and put it on the shelf to focus on 50 Shades. When she asked me to write the music and lyrics to a new piece she was creating involving the same subject matter, I took it as a sign. Somehow, the subject matter had found it's way back to me through someone I had a wonderfully synergistic collaborative relationship with. It was too perfect.

Mike Longo and cast in rehearsal for "Committed", Photo Credit: Theresa Balderas1. For Mike: What attracted you Committed?

Mike: I had worked with the writers Tricia and Andrew on 50 Shades of F****d Up! and I had a blast. They move FAST, go above and beyond, and can have fun all while doing it. What attracted me to the Committed material was my character, "Antonio" who is in treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) or more commonly known as Multiple Personalities Disorder. It feels wrong saying it but it's an actor's dream role. The thought of getting to dive into the emotions of 3 different personalities all in one character is daunting but so juicy. So many possibilities and I get to originate it. What's special about the direction Tricia and I are taking with "Antonio" is that he is very real as opposed to how comically people with DID have been portrayed in the media all these years. It's about relating to "Antonio," not laughing at his disorder. That's important to me.

Mike Longo and cast doing outreach at the Greenhope Services for Women2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Committed? 

Tricia: I hope that audiences feel inspired, and moved and not alone. It's my hope that each audience member can relate to one of the characters and feel a sense of belonging and love, without judgement. I also hope they can have a few laughs at the same time.

Andrew: My hope is that audiences view the piece as both moving and entertaining as well as come to a greater understanding of how vital a sense of compassion, patience, and community is to our existence.

Mike: The feeling that you are not alone!! Sotomayor's finale "Not Alone" really sums it up....Come see it.

Mike Longo and cast rehearsing for "Committed", Photo Credit: Theresa Balderas3. What has been the best part watching this cast bring Committed to life?

Tricia: In our first table read, the cast shared with me their concerns about actually feeling like they had some of the traits of some of their character. When we dig deep and look at ourselves, I think we can all relate to the pain and complexities of all human beings. Seeing each cast member take on their role fully and with abandon, while at the same time, paying the deepest respect to the truth in it, has been very beautiful and inspiring to me. Each actor is approaching their character with sincerity and passion. And there have been a lot of tears, which moves me to pieces. I'm in awe everyday.

Andrew: These characters and their illnesses could so easily have become caricatures. Tricia established early on that we are treating these characters and what they are going through with the utmost respect and sincerity. Because that was established from the start I have seen these actors develop these characters in such an honest and moving way. I'm constantly overwhelmed by how much they're willing to give to these characters and this world.

Mike: The personal stories. From it's table reads to yesterday's rehearsal, we learn something about each other whether it is from sharing a very personal experience relating to the piece or seeing a fellow cast member struggle to say a line because he/she is struggling with their own personal pain related to it. It's just beautiful and comforting. I'm not alone!

Tricia Brouk doing outreach at the Greenhope Services for Women4. How do you feel Committed will help bring awareness to mental illness?

Tricia: I've written eight characters with eight different mental illnesses. Each character is relatable, flawed, and strong. It's my hope that by spending 90 minutes at the theater watching Committed, will get people talking about mental illness who have never felt safe talking about it. When I tell people what our show is about, they immediately share personal stories about themselves or people they are close to who suffer from mental illness. It's been my experience, that people are afraid to talk about it. Well, why not sing and dance about it and get that dialogue going?

Andrew: I think anyone that watches the show will be able to personally identify with one of the main characters or recognize traits they share with more than one character, or see someone they know in one of the characters. There is a stigma attached to mental illness that sometimes gives us permission to forget that there is a human dealing with it, coping with it, or suffering through it. All of our characters have a different mental illness, but all of them are innately human and beautiful. I think the music and dance helps to augment the humanity behind the illnesses and hopefully it will give us permission to celebrate the humanity and be more open to candidly discussing the illness.

Mike: This show has such power to bring out awareness because it resembles realism. Again, we are not laughing at these characters.

Andrew Sotomayor in "Committed" rehearsal, Photo Credit: Theresa Balderas5. If you feel comfortable, do you have a personal story you'd like to share about your experience with mental illness? (whether it be your own story, a friend's story, or a family member's story).

Tricia: My family is crazy, but not in the clinical form. I do however, believe that there is a little of me in each of these characters. Pain is pain, we all have it, we all know it. Whether it's depression or mental illness, it's touched us all. Knowing we are not alone, is what keeps us all going.

Andrew: In college a dear friend of mine took his own life. He had been suffering from severe depression for many years. It pains me to think of how alone he must have felt despite being such a light to all of us that knew him. It's so important that we acknowledge those that personally suffer and those that love someone who is suffering, and constantly remind each other that we are not alone.

Mike: I've had an encounter with a close friend that myself and many of his peers believed had sociopathic tendencies. And the sad part about it is none of us were ever sure it would be diagnosed. None of us said anything and I separated myself from him because I was so unsure and didn't feel safe. Later in life, I met someone who's own father was diagnosed sociopathic and saw how much abuse she went through growing up and how it hurt her but it was only until adulthood that his condition was treated. I kept thinking if only this wasn't something this man's family thought he would "grow out of," lives could be saved.

Tricia BroukMore on Tricia:

Tricia Brouk recently wrote, directed and choreographed 50 SHADES OF F****D UP, A MUSICAL PARODY, for the stage and has now adapted it for the screen, which will be made into a feature film. Tricia is choreographing BLACK BOX for ABC, starring Kelly Reilly, directed by Simon Curtis. She is also choreographing THE ZOMBIES: A MUSICAL, directed by Max Resto. Her work has been recently seen at Joe's Pub, BC Beat and Stage 72 in New York City. She directed/choreographed BROADWAY VARIETEASE, I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE!, BINGO, THE WINNING MUSICAL and POPESICAL, which played the Lyric Theater in LA.

She directed/choreographed EROTIC BROADWAY: VINTAGE VARIETY, FRANKIE AND DEBBIE LIVE AT THE MARTINI LOUNGE, and the Off Broadway TOKIO CONFIDENTIAL at Atlantic Stage 2. Tricia also choreographed John Turturro's feature film ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES where she received a Golden Thumb award from Roger Ebert for her choreography in the film. She also wrote, directed, choreographed and dances in ROLLING IN THE RING OF FIRE, a short film. Her choreography can also be seen in Dennis Leary's RESCUE ME starring Steve Pasquale and in Lasse Hallstrom's THE HOAX, starring Richard Gere. Her choreography is also featured in Capitol One Commercials and on the Travel Channel. She choreographed and produced a one woman show called Dining Alone at Dance Theater Workshop and created work for The A Train Musicals and THE FRED ASTAIRE AWARDS as well as New York Musical Theater Festival shows DRIFT and LOVE SUCKS, directed by Andy Goldberg. www.TriciaBrouk.com

Andrew SotomayorMore on Andrew:

Previous credits include music directing CUTMAN: A BOXING MUSICAL, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, EROTIC BROADWAY: VINTAGE VARIETY, Counting Squares' WOYZECK, FRANKIE AND DEBBIE: LIVE AT THE MARTINI LOUNGE, I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, BINGO: THE WINNING MUSICAL, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, the Honeck and Moss productions of SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, FROM BOOK TO BROADWAY, SING ME A STORY, and the 2012 and 2013 DUPLEX GALA. As a composer he has provided music and lyrics for 50 SHADES OF F****D UP as well as scores for BENT, and the short films CUBA 1961: A LOVE STORY and TIMELESS. His original song "MOVIN' ON" earned a nomination for a 2013 MAC Award. He is also the recipient of a 2014 MAC award for his original song "THE RIGHT TIME."

Mike LongoMore on Mike:

Mike Longo has gladly committed himself to the Brouk/Sotomayor team after first submitting to their last piece, 50 SHADES OF F****D UP! (Red House Theatre, Syracuse). Other credits: White Plains Performing Art's Center's LES MISERABLES (Marius), world premiere of TAMAR OF THE RIVER at Prospect Theater (Onan, dir. Daniel Goldstein), MOTHER DIVINE (NYMF'13) and the international tour of HAIR (dir. Diane Paulus). www.mikelongo.info

Saturday
Apr122014

Call Answered: Michael Stoyanov Interview: Space Station 76, Blossom, Justified, Beverly Hills 90210

Michael Stoyanov, Photo Credit: Bjoern Kommerell"Call Me Adam" chats with actor and writer Michael Stoyanov, best known for his role as "Anthony Russo" on NBC's Blossom and writing for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He most recently guest starred on FX's Justified and starred in and co-wrote the new feature film Space Station 76 alongside Patrick Wilson and Matt Bomer.

For more on Michael be sure to follow him on Twitter and his IMDb page!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor/writer? The audience. I had always been a bit of a clown, and when I found myself on stage for the first time in 7th grade, I knew immediately that this is where I wanted to be. Immediately, that is, upon getting my first laugh. I enjoy performing/acting anything; any role, anywhere, any time. But, I've always been drawn to comedy. It's the clown in me, I guess. I've always been happiest when I'm making people laugh.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Wow. That's a long list, but I'll give you the highlights. I would absolutely love to be directed by the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson. I think they're all geniuses and I'm a huge fan of their films. For actors, I grew up idolizing Dustin Hoffman and Robert Deniro. In terms of my contemporaries, I love watching George Clooney act; and Cate Blanchett is incredible. I also think Michael Cera is an amazing young actor. Vince Vaughn, Tina Fey, Robert Downey Jr. Told ya' it was a long list.

Cast of NBC's "Blossom": Jenna Von Oy, Michael Stoyanov, Mayim Bialik, Ted Wass, and Joey LawrenceMichael Stoyanov as "Jimmy Gold" on FOX's "Beverly Hills 90210"3. Like many, I spent my teenage years watching you on Blossom, and your guest starring roles on Beverly Hills 90210 and Safe Harbor. What do you think about now when you look back at your time on these shows? Blossom was like my second family. I mean, we were a family. I miss those days and those people dearly. I still am in touch with members of the cast, but that was five pretty special years, and I think anytime you play a family for that long, a unique bond is formed. 90210 was a great experience, and a very challenging role. Most of my scenes were with Jennie Garth, and she was absolutely terrific in every possible way. However, it was fairly grueling; I think when you are playing someone who is dying, as was the case on 90210, it's tough, enervating. But, it was thrilling and rewarding, like almost every acting job I've ever had, just emotionally a little difficult to spend so many 16 hour days in that "mode." Safe Harbor was great fun, with great people, and on location in Florida. I wish that show had run longer, I really enjoyed my part and the people involved with the production.

4. What made you want to guest star on Justified? Justified is just a flat out great show, with great writing, populated by tons of characters that look like I currently look. It was one of the shows I was hoping to get up for when I adopted this more "rustic" look, and when the opportunity came I was lucky enough to make the most of it.

Cast of "Space Station 76," Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano5. Your most recent movie is Space Station 76, in which you co-wrote and star in (at least your voice does) alongside Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, and Jerry O'Connell. What do you like about writing and acting in the same project? What do you get from writing that you don't get from acting? Everything about Space Station 76 thrills me. I'm so proud of this film, and my work on it as an actor and screenwriter. This was my first experience as an actor/writer on something of this magnitude and it was a blast. Though, independent features tend to shoot very quickly, so it didn't last as long as you might think. I did all my "Dr. Bot" scenes in one voiceover session, and spent two days on set working with my scene partners, Patrick Wilson and Marisa Coughlan, who were both brilliant. I guess the thing you get from writing you don't get from acting is that writing feels more solid, more permanent. To me, acting has a fleeting quality to it, even when it's memorialized on film forever. I love them both dearly, but acting feels ephemeral, whereas when you write something it feels like you've made a genuine connection to posterity.

6. In Space Station 76, you play the robot "Dr. Bot," so audiences actually only hear your voice. What do you like about voiceover acting over "in person" acting? Is your preparation process different? Voiceover acting is great because you can roll out of bed and put on sweats and a t-shirt and go do your thing. It's a lot less intensive; no hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, blocking, etc. I think most actors will tell you their process is the same, though. It definitely is for me. I'm basically full on acting in front of a microphone. Gesturing, gesticulating and basically physicalizing the role as if it were an on-camera performance. It must look a little crazy to the sound techs on the other side of the booth, but it's the only way I know to get it done.

Michael Stoyanov, Photo Credit: Bjoern Kommerell7. I've read that when you left Blossom to go write for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, you later regretted that decision. Why did you regret it? While you did regret that decision at one point, have you gotten to a point where you were glad you did leave Blossom for Late Night with Conan O'Brien because of where you are at now? That's a great question, and thank you for asking it. I have seen that in the media from time to time, and it's on my IMDb page, too, but I think it's overblown a bit. I think I may have mentioned in an interview, one time, that I regretted leaving Blossom before it ended, which I did, and I do, but I definitely don't regret going to Conan. That was an amazing experience, working at 30 Rock in New York, and I worked with some super talented people like Louis CK, Robert Smigel, and Dino Stamatopoulos. And it led to a lot of other great opportunities, so absolutely no regrets in that sense. To be fair, though, I do still think it was a mistake not staying on Blossom until its run had finished. Those opportunities still would've been there for me. I consider myself a very loyal person, and, in that specific sense, I still regret that I left the show.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Don't be afraid to just go for it, because the worst feeling in the world is not going for it and failing, it's wondering why you never dared to try.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor/writer? That I wear my heart on my sleeve. That I'm emotional, passionate, invested in life. And that it's probably better to figure out ways to work with that, than to pretend to be otherwise.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Time travel. Duh.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? I like them all. I like sports a lot; basketball, snowboarding, tennis, racquetball. I also like running, swimming, and yoga. Lately I've been doing a lot of boot camp style classes at the gym, which is a fantastic total body workout. One of my favorite things to do is travel to a city I've never been to and just run all over the place. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with a new city, and a great workout. My least favorite way to stay in shape is eating right. Dear god, I love pizza and tacos and ice cream.

12. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.

Michael Stoyanov, Photo Credit: Ward RobertsMore on Michael:

Michael Stoyanov is a writer and actor. In addition to writing for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Michael has written for MADtv, The Dana Carvey Show, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and his latest movie Space Station 76. As an actor Michael has been seen on such hit series as Beverly Hills 90210, Married with Children, Baywatch, Prison Break, Reno 911!, Monk, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with the cast of Mama and Her Boys

"Call Me Adam" went on location to Sophie's in NYC to chat with 2 out of 3 cast members of the hit Off-Broadway musical Mama and Her Boys, Sarah Kleeman and Steven Baker. Featuring an eclectic mix of music from virtually all genres, this funny and poignant musical explores the dynamic relationship with mothers, sons and families.

Mama and Her Boys plays every Wednesday at 8:30pm at Sophie's in NYC through May 7, 2014 (318 West 53rd, between 8th & 9th Avenue, inside the Broadway Comedy Club). Click here for tickets and be sure to follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

Interview with Sarah Kleeman and Steven Baker from Mama and Her Boys at Sophie's:

Saturday
Mar292014

Call Answered: Raul Castillo Interview: HBO's Looking and Jose Rivera's Adoration of the Old Woman

Raul CastilloFrom HBO's Looking, "Call Me Adam" chats with actor and writer Raul Castillo about starring on the hit HBO show as "Richie," working with Jonathan Groff, and his current run in Jose Rivera's Adoration of the Old Woman at INTAR Theatre in New York City. According to press notes, Adoration of the Old Woman tells the story of an ancient woman. A haunted bed. An angry teen. A sexy ghost. Political turmoil. Will Puerto Rico really become the 51st state or will it fight for its freedom? And all the coquis are dying. Adoration of the Old Woman has been extended through April 19! Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? No one thing. There have been so many influential people in my life and experiences I've had coupled with my own innate sense of wonder and curiosity, I think, and a need for artistic expression. Maybe it's being a middle child. Maybe it was my upbringing in the South Texas punk rock scene. Maybe it was John Farr, my high school Drama teacher, a complicated and thrilling teacher. Maybe it was the playwright Tanya Saracho, my teenage girlfriend and now one of my best friends who coincidentally is a staff writer on Looking. Maybe it was Carlito's Way. Maybe it's Tennessee Williams. Maybe it was Miguel Piñero, Anthony Quinn, James Dean, Matt Dillon, John Leguizamo, every rock singer and bass player I imitated in my room in front of my mirror religiously throughout my teenage years, perfecting and crafting performances. I could go on forever.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That list could also go on forever. There are so many filmmakers and theater artists out there doing their thing, whose work I love. I wouldn't know where to start and then I would know how to end.

3. What attracted you to Adoration of the Old Woman? A couple of things. First, it gave me another opportunity to work with Jose Rivera. This is our fourth collaboration. I love his characters and the worlds he concocts, they are always a thrill for any actor to interpret and inhabit. The dialogue the play initiates regarding Puerto Rican statehood and U.S. involvement in the Island and it's affairs, I felt was an important one. And Jose finds a beautiful way to express this very complicated issue, through humor and passion. It's an exciting play to perform. In addition, it is a pleasure to be back at Intar, a company dedicated to producing new Latino voices. I got my start with the company, my first acting job in New York City, back in 2003. I love what Lou Moreno, their Artistic Director, is doing there! He asked me to come in and read for our director Patricia McGregor. "Ismael," my character, seemed like the right fit. He's very different from "Richie," my character on Looking.  But like "Richie," he's a lot of fun to play.

Raul Castillo as "Ismael" in Jose Rivera's "Adoration of the Old Woman," Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg4. What do you identify most with about your character "Ismael"? His love for this old, crazy woman, the character of "Doña Belen," played by the amazing Socorro Santiago. Also, his pride and his sense of loyalty. He feels strongly about his beliefs and backs them up, elegantly and forcefully, when pushed into a corner.

5. What has been the best part about doing a show with INTAR? Getting back on stage. INTAR has great, enthusiastic audiences. Lou has done a great job of fostering a community that's growing all the time. It's a great place to be. There's a lot of young people doing lots of cool stuff there. And it's all very much tied to a past and a legacy of giving voice to important Latino stories. A lot of Latino theater artists have been directly influenced by work that has come out of INTAR, I certainly was. It's great to be back!

6. What excites you about working with this cast? The range of experiences, both work and life, that they all bring. There's a lot of love in the room and everyone's working really hard and dedicated to telling this story. And they're all bringing it to the stage. I learn a lot from them, I feel lucky to go to the theater every night.

Raul Castillo as "Richie" in HBO's "Looking"7. In addition to Adoration of the Old Woman, you just finished the first season of HBO's Looking. What made you want to audition for the role of "Richie" and how did you prepare for the role once you were cast? I worked on the short film Lorimer with Michael Lannan, which he made essentially as a prototype for Looking. He reached out to me through a mutual friend and sent me the script. I read it and thought it was very elegantly written, the characters seemed very real and natural, and so I said "yes" and worked on "Richie" then. I still had to audition for the pilot once HBO picked it up. But I loved the pilot script and once I saw Andrew Haigh's movie Weekend I was even more thrilled. His characters seem to just walk in from the street. I didn't feel like I had to do much to prepare, necessarily. Just stay true to the story and the moment. Figure out "Richie's" life and his history and what I feel motivates him, etc.

Jonathan Groff ("Patrick") and Raul Castillo ("Richie") in a scene from HBO's "Looking"8. What do you like about working with Jonathan Groff? He's an ideal scene partner. Hard working, true, real, honest and very present. I feel like he's the kind of actor who knows if I've missed a moment but doesn't judge me for it. He always brings his best, makes me want to do the same. I think if you asked any person on our cast or crew, they'd tell you the same. He's a great friend and a guy I care a lot about. It's fantastic bringing this story to life with him. Also, he's very funny and fun to be around. That doesn't hurt.

9. What do you get from your theatrical endeavors that you do not get from your film/television work? Telling a story moment to moment. You can't go back and shoot it again. The was the moment. That's how it will live in the minds of this night's audience. Throwing control out the window and really living and breathing in the moment. It's frightening every time, but I love it.

Raul Castillo and Socorro Santiago in Jose Rivera's "Adoration of the Old Woman", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg10. What's the best advice you've ever received? My dad's always said this Martin Luther King quote. He tells his own version of it, in Spanish. But it stuck with me from when I was a kid. Whatever you do, whether it's mop floors or run a bank, you do the best you can.

11. How do you feel you've grown as a person from being an actor? Hard to say but I'm sure it has exposed me to experiences and culture that have formed a great part of who I am. Hopefully it's made me more empathetic. That's what we strive for, I think, or should be. I hope I continue to grow and get to experience more and more. I love storytelling, it teaches us so much about life.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Invisibility.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Eating healthy, unprocessed and nutricious foods.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

Raul CastilloMore on Raul:

Raul Castillo can currently be seen in the HBO series Looking in the role of "Richie." He is a proud member of LAByrinth Theater Company. Theater credits include Fish Men (Goodman), A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages), Contigo (Signature), and Jose Rivera's School of the Americas (Public Theater/Labyrinth), Flowers (E.S.T.) and Reference's to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot (Abroad).

Born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border and based in New York City, Raul studied theater at Boston University's School for the Arts before making a name for himself on both stage and screen as an actor and writer. He made his feature film debut in Amexicano, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Variety's Ronnie Scheib referred to his performance as "pitch-perfect." Raul followed that up with a string of roles in independent films, including Cold Weather, Don't Let Me Drown, My Best Day, The Girl, and Bless Me, Ultima, in addition to garnering an honorable mention for performance at AFI Fest 2012 for the Student Academy Award-winning short film Narcocorrido. Television credits include Blue Bloods, Law and Order, and Nurse Jackie.