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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in "All My Children" (8)

Friday
Mar302012

Jennifer Bassey

Adam Rothenberg and Jennifer Bassey at "Tartuffe" in 2002 at the Tribeca Playhouse in NYCLetter Jennifer Bassey sent me after sending the picture of her and I at "Tartuffe"I first came to know Jennifer Bassey when I started watching "All My Children" in 2000/2001. I immediately fell in love with "Marion Chandler." It was when I saw her in a 2002 production of "Tartuffe" at the Tribeca Playhouse in NYC, that I finally got to meet this magnificant actress. She was so kind to take a picture with me and after mailing her a copy, she wrote me a very nice note thanking me for coming to the show. Needless to say, I am so honored and excited to be given the opportunity to interview Jennifer about her illustrious career including her time on "All My Children," her theatrical endeavors including "Tartuffe," her new short film "Timeless," and other details of her life and career!

Emmy-nominated actress Jennifer Bassey has enjoyed an eclectic and successful career that has spanned decades. Jennifer has built an impressive resume with credits in television, theatre, and film. She started her life as an entertainer in her native Chicago, where she worked as one of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Bunnies at the very first Playboy Club.  Two years later, she made the move across the pond and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. There, Jennifer honed her craft alongside classmate Sir Anthony Hopkins, and graduated with honors three years later.

Jennifer is perhaps best-known for her portrayal of the hugely popular "Marian Colby" on the hit soap opera "All My Children," a role which lasted nearly 30 years and garnered her an Emmy nomination and two Soap Opera Digest Awards, including a nod for "Outstanding Female Scene Stealer." In 2011, Bassey’s return to "All My Children" as the series closed its run on ABC earned rave reviews from her devoted fanbase. 

Jennifer Bassey with director George Abbott and the cast of "Not Now Darling"Jennifer is no stranger to success on the stage, having starred in a number of Broadway and off-Broadway productions.  She made her mark on a wide variety of roles, including "Katherine" in "Taming of the Shrew" and "Lady MacBeth" in "MacBeth" just to name a few. Jennifer’s experience in theatre has also allowed her the opportunity to work alongside such greats as George Abbott, who directed her in "Not Now Darling," and two-time Tony Award winner Rex Harrison, with whom she costarred in "In Praise of Love."  She also turned in memorable performances alongside Mickey Rooney in "See How They Run" and the legendary Cary Grant in "Straw Hat."

Jennifer has also taken her talent to primetime, having guest-starred on several popular TV series, including "L.A. Law," "Law and Order," "30 Rock," "Coach," and "Body of Proof." In addition to her undeniable television and stage presence, Jennifer has also made a name for herself on the big screen. She starred in the hit romantic comedy "27 Dresses," opposite Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, and Ed Burns. Jennifer also played "Mrs. Dellacroce" in the family-comedy hit "Dunston Checks In."

Residing in New York and Los Angeles, Jennifer spends her spare time writing, singing, hiking, and watching movies. She is also passionate about the environment and enjoys visiting the elderly in senior homes. She is dedicated to raising awareness about animal abuse, children with HIV/AIDS, and world hunger.

Jennifer's latest projects include the short film "Timeless," where she stars as "Sheila Marden" in a moving film that chronicles "Sheila’s" struggles as she succumbs to brain cancer. This movie short is making the rounds on the film circuit and recently won the "Audience Darling Award" at the Louisville Film Festival and will be featured in the upcoming Catalina and Tall Grass Film Festivals just to name a few. Jennifer is also working on a TV show entitled "Nighfall" and is working to revive her late husband's, Luther Davis, Broadway musical "Grand Hotel."

For more on Jennifer be sure to visit http://www.jenniferbassey.com and for more on the film "Timeless" visit http://www.mmfilmsllc.com/TIMELESS

1. I saw you in a production of "Tartuffe" in 2002.

Jennifer: Oh my gosh, you were actually one of the few people who saw it.

Me: Yes, I did and it was wonderful.

Jennifer: Oh Thank You, Jeff Cohen's a very good director. I did "Isn't It Romantic" in that theatre too. Wendy Wasserstein actually rehearsed with us and she gave all my character notes when I was in the ladies room and I didn't get any of them.

Me: Hahaha.

Jennifer: I was so depressed I can't even begin to tell you. Hahaha. It was a good theatre company, Worth Street Theater and we did our shows at the Tribeca Playhouse and after 9/11 we went down to the World Trade Center site and we sang, gave out hot lunches for the workman, we did musical revues and stand-up comedy for the workers just to keep the hard hats eating and a little entertainment away from the horror.

Me: Oh wow. That was very nice to do.

Jennifer: We had some really big people come down to give their time, who didn't even work at the theatre. 

Me: What did you enjoy about starring in "Tartuffe"? I took over from someone who was let go. I had just done "Isn't It Romantic." I had a wonderful time in "Tartuffe." It was very stylized and fun to do. It was a lovely cast. I enjoyed it. I love doing theatre, it's one of my favroite things, but it's the hardest because you have no life. You get home late, you eat late, you stay up late, and then you get up very late and you're afraid to talk on the phone because you are afraid of your voice going and you can't see your friends because you're tired. You kind of have no life when you're in the theatre, but I'm in the midst of putting together a new production of one of my late husband's, Luther Davis, musicals on Broadway. In fact, I just spoke to the producers today about it.

Jennifer Bassey's Broadway debut in Noel Coward's "Ways and Means"2. What do you get from performing in theatre that you don't get from working in television or film? The closet thing you get to the theatre in television is live audience with a sitcom. So the live audience is what you don't get. If you're funny there are no laughs, in a film, if there are, then they have to cut and start over because there are not supposed to be, except from the audience when they see it. So each medium has its own little problems with them. I love sitcom with a live audience, but when you have to redo it, then the audience knows where the laugh lines are and they don't laugh as much, so it's complicated.

3. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I lost my voice when I was about 8 years old ice skating in Chicago and I got my voice that you hear now and I was a Brownie and someone said, "Who let that man into the Brownies?" So, when I was 13, someone told me I should try out for the drama club and I said, "Drama, what's that?" and they said, "Oh that's theatre" and I said, "Theatre, what's that?" and then I got into the high school play as juvenille delinquent and I was kind of addicted. Then I segwayed into being a singing Playboy at the first Playboy club and then I worked in clubs for a while. Then I auditioned and got in, with the lowest entrance marks in the history of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. I got in and graduated with top honors with Anthony Hopkins. So, that is how I sort of segwayed into the business, by losing my voice. I was a high soprano and then went to a mezzo.

4. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I wrote a three page fan letter to Hugh Jackman after I saw him on Broadway in "Back on Broadway." I think he's the greatest living stage star of the last 100 years. I think he's just a genius. Did you see him?

Me: I didn't see this show, but I did see him in "Boy From Oz."

Jennifer: He did a little bit from "Boy From Oz," but he did songs from his whole life, every musical he'd ever been in, and had Aborigines from Australia on stage too. I would kill to work in anything with him. I just think he's a genius. I've worked with some pretty big stars already. I would love to work with Meryl Streep. I like really good people around me in plays. I've done a lot of Broadway theatre, but what happens is if you start getting laughs over the star, they want you fired. They want bad people around them often. I stopped doing comedies. I was a redhead for 20 years and did seven Broadway shows back to back, all comedies, and I said I will never do comedy again because I was tired of fighting. The stars were trying to get me fired because I was funny. So, I dyed my hair blonde and didn't do comedy for ten years. That's what the stars are like. They want all of the laughs and you to be bad. I found that out the hard way and just stopped doing it. I do it now, but stopped for a while, because it was too depressing.

Me: I think that says a lot about you that you took the initiative to stop because you didn't want to compete like that.

Jennifer: I kept my jobs, but I would tell everyone to be bad. People would tell me, "I just got a Broadway show," and I would say, "Really, what kind?" and they would say, "A Comedy," and I would say, "Just be bad the first two weeks." They said, "Why?" I said because they might have to buy you out of your contract for the run of the play and if the star sees that you are too funny, they may have to fire you." They said, "Really?" and I said, "Yeah."

Cast of "All My Children"5. When you initially joined "All My Children," what made you want to audition for the show? Before "All My Children," I had already done three soap operas and people would say "Oh my gosh, you do soap operas?" In those days, the 60s/70s, soap operas were frowned upon. Then in the 80s the soaps were really in and I got asked to audition for "All My Children" and my husband said, "Well darling, they're now in fashion, go do it." I did it. I met Jackie Babbin, the Executive Producer of "All My Children" at the time, and she hired me without even auditioning. She said to me, "Well, you're only going to be on three months." Thirty years later, I was still there, having done the last few shows before it went off the air.

6. What was it like having been offerred a contract position on "All My Children"? I was under contract on an off on a lot of soaps, twice on "All My Children." I'm glad they put me under contract. I loved David Canary so much. I think he's a genius. He's an angel to work with. He's a gentleman, he very charming, he very funny, and he's extremely talented.

David Canary and Jennifer Bassey7. What did you learn about working with David Canary? I didn't really learn much of anything, I had already established myself as a performer. We were on the same par and we trusted each other. He used to call me his Geraldine Page. The ball was always in the air, we never dropped the ball, we were always in sync with one another. We laughed a lot.

Marcy Walker and Jennifer Bassey on "All My Children"8. What's your most cherished memory from "All My Children"? Wow, I have so many. When I was first hired, Jackie Babbin said, "You're going to have to sleep with a 19 year old." I said, "Well if it's okay with him, it's okay with me." The story line with Michael Knight and myself in the 80s, is still from what I've heard, even Carol Burnett said recently, "Of all the years she watched the show, her favorite storyline was when I was sleeping 'Tad' and my daughter was sleeping with 'Tad' and we were all sleeping with 'Tad.'" That was one of the most popular story lines on "All My Children." The writers have told me that over the years as well. So that was really exciting and well written, so it was really fun to play. Marcy Walker, was a brilliant, brilliant actress (she's still alive, but I don't think she works in the business anymore). She was extraordinary. She never made a mistake. Working with her and Michael Knight were just as great as working with David Canary. We all trusted each other. I think my most favorite memories is when I started having the affair with "Stuart," thinking it was "Adam." It was funny and moving. At that time, it was unheard of, for a couple to win "Favorite Couple" at the Soap Opera Digest Awards, who were over 40, and we were way over 40 when we won it. We were "Favorite Couple" and it was really, really great.

Jennifer Bassey as "Sheila" in a scene from "Timeless"9. You recently completed the new short film "Timeless," which has been making it's way around the film festivals, and I recently got to see it. I thought it was wonderful. Thank you. It's really a wonderful film and it's helping to bring awareness to brain cancer. The woman I played in the film was misdiagnosed for 10 years and by the time they found out what it was, she had two weeks to live, and she was hanging on to say goodbye to her daughter. The woman playing my daughter in the film also co-wrote it and produced it. We've kind of become mom and daughter now. I've adopted her. She's a beauty, looks just like Angelina Jolie.

10. How did you get invovled with "Timeless"? My manager, Jasper Cole, got me out for the audition. I read it first. I thought this was something I really, really wanted to do. Then, when we started working together, we all kind of meditated and said some prayers, and during that time, I asked "Sheila," who is the woman I played, what it was like to have brain cancer, because I had no time to research brain cancer or find out what it was like to have brain cancer. Basically, I got the role and we started filming and made the film in three days. We did a lot in three days. I did everything myself...all my stunts. It's an extraordingary film. There is a shot for us to get into the Cannes film festival, which we're waiting to hear back on.

11. How do you feel this role helped you grow as an actress? I don't consider myself a great beauty, but when I go out to audition, I get a lot of people saying, "She's too pretty. No, she's too pretty." When people see this film, no one will ever say that again because I'm certainly not pretty in this film. I was really excited about wearing that false eye and having that eye pushed out of my skull by the brain cancer and putting age make-up on. I had a great, A GREAT time!

Jennifer Bassey "Above The Clouds"12. What other projects do you have coming up that you are able to talk about? We are going to be re-doing my late husand's Broadway musical, "Grand Hotel" that Tommy Tune directed. I've written a series called "Nightfall" which I have out to quite a few people. Here's the log line as to what the show is about: "In a secretive world of vampires, warewolves, and animal-sick witches, a special ops group of supernatural dectives collaborate to track down blood-thirsty criminals of their own kind and restore peace in New York City. Think "Twilight" meets "Criminal Intent." We have a pilot already written. My husband has a Broadway-bound play that's never been done and we have a very big star that is reading for the play at the moment. I'm waiting to hear back about that. 

13. I love that you do all mediums: TV, Film, and Theatre.

Jennifer: Well being trained at the Royal Academy, I started out as a stage person. Then my first 10 years, I did back to back Broadway shows. Then I moved out to California and did a lot of movies and sitcoms for about 10 years and then came back to "All My Children" in the 90s when they brought Marcy Walker back and then I did some stuff at the Tribeca Playhouse.

Me: I think it's great that you continue to do theatre. I've seen a few other people I first came to know from seeing them in theatre and then they got a TV show and then they don't come back and do theatre. So, I think it's great that you did theatre throughout your career.

Jennifer: I was supposed to do "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," but since it just closed, that's not going to happen. It's to bad because I was really excited that I was going to be part of this show.

14. What have you learned about yourself from being an actress? I never knew what I was capable of doing until I did it. I had an agent one time who told me I was going to audition for "Lady Macbeth" and I said, "I can't do Lady Macbeth," and she would say, "Yes you can," and I was say, "No, I can't," but then I read for it and played "Lady Macbeth." I think actors limit themselves, but if you have a good agent, they can expand the stuff you go out for. What I love most about being an actress, I did a job in Africa because I wanted to go on a safari and there was a terrible television show, which I don't remember the name of, but I said to my agent, "I want to read for that show." and he said, "Why? It's a terrible show. It's one of the lowest rated shows," and I said, "I know it is, but it's in Johannesburg and I want to do a safari." I got the show, flew to Africa, did a safari. Now, I can't wait to go back to Africa.

My husband's show that we're reviving on Broadway was done in Japan twice, we were in Berlin and France, and now that we're reviving it, hopefully it will be done all over the world again.

15. What's the best advice you've ever received? I'll tell you a funny story about Bette Davis. Someone said, "Miss Davis,  what advice do you have for actresses coming to Los Angeles?" Betty said, "Tell them to take Fountain" (which is a specific street in LA). As far as advice that's been given to me, I worked with a famous director George Abbott, who directed the "123 Praise" on Broadway (his first Broadway show, 1913) and he died at 107 redoing "Damn Yankees," which he directed. I learned more from that man in the few months I was in his Broadway show than I learned from anybody. He was a genius at comedy. He could tell you how to get a laugh. He was on panel with some of the most famous directors in the country, Elia Kazan and Joshua Logan, and they said to him, "Mr. Abbott, we understand that you say there is only one way to say the line in a comedy show." George said, "No, no, no, no, I never said that. I said there is only one right way to say the line in a comedy show." He was right. I finally said to him, "George, which was rare, because most people called him Mr. Abbott, but I said to him, George, why didn't I get my laugh?" He said, "Because you took your hand off the doorknob." I said, "Oh, damn! Oh, thank you." He knew everything. He knew exactly why your performance was on or off. All the advice I got from him was the best advice. We stayed friends for many, many, many years. I shall miss him always.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

16. Favorite way to spend your day off? You mean when I'm heavily working? I just try to catch up with my life. When you are doing a Broadway show and you're doing 5 or 6 days a week. You have to do your life things. It's not like you can go, wow, it's my day off, I can do this, this, and this. You have a lot of life things you have to do. My favorite kind of day off would be, if I still had my country house in upstate NY, would be to jump in my car and go there. I would like to light the fire and look out at the mountains, with my feet up on the coffee table.

17. Favorite skin care product? I've got so many skin care products. I have a new lipstick that I'm wearing, that I add a little gold to. It's $65 a tube, but the reason it's $65 a tube is because it does not move. It's the only lipstick I've put on that stays there. It doesn't bleed, it doesn't move, it just stays there. It's made by Claire de Peau. There's a product called Awake and you take a little bit on your finger and put it on your eyes wherever you have lines and you touch it. It's liquid collagen and then it dries in the wrinkles and the wrinkles are gone.

Luther Davis and Jennifer Bassey18. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My late husband.

19. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would like to be someone who helps the planet and tries to abolish poverty and starvation and homelessness. Some wonderful creature who can wave a wand and end hunger and cruelty to man, or comfort a someone who's lost their husband or wife. I just want to be a help to humanity. That's the kind of super figure I'd like to be.

Wednesday
Mar282012

Alicia Minshew

Alicia Minshew and Adam Rothenberg at Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig's Fan Club PartyI first came to know Alicia Minshew from "All My Children" when she made her debut in a big way. She burst into the court room and looked "Erica Kane" in the eyes and said, "Hello Erica," to which "Erica," in typical fashion, slapped "Kendall" right across the face. It was that moment, I knew Alicia was going to be a welcomed addition to the cast! As her popularity grew, a fan club was started for her and I became a fan. From the fan events, I got to know Alicia. Now to have the opportunity to interview her, is a real honor. We had a lot of fun catching up and chatting about what's next.

Alicia Minshew at the 2011 Daytime Emmy AwardsPhoto Credit: Paul GregoryTwo-time Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominee Alicia Minshew was born and raised in South Florida. After graduating high school, Alicia received a musical theatre scholarship to Indian River College. She acted in several plays and musicals including "Grease," "Kiss Me Kate," "Godspell," and "Nunsense." She also hosted a satellite music program, "The Music Zone," where she introduced videos and broadcasted live reports. After college, Alicia began working as a model in Miami and shot her first commercial. She was soon invited to audition for "All My Children" in New York. She wasn’t cast at this time, but the experience pushed her to take the leap and relocate to the big apple. Once in New York City, she signed with a talent agent and a commercial agent, joined SAG, and quickly booked two national commercials. Alicia built an impressive acting and modeling resume, appearing in numerous national commercials, voiceovers, and print ads. On the New York stage, Alicia has starred in productions of "Beggar on Horseback" and "Of Love and Betrayal."

Alicia Minshew as "Kendall Hart" on "All My Children"Alicia’s big break came when she was cast in the leading role of "Kendall Hart" on "All My Children," filling the shoes of Sarah Michelle Gellar. Alicia’s portrayal of "Kendall" soon became a fan-favorite, earning her more screen time with a pivotal storyline. Her portrayal of "Kendall" earned her two Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Awards nominations, as well as a huge fan base.

Alicia's other film and television credits include "Celebrity Death Match," "Hit and Runway," "The Caprice," and a starring role in "Game Day."

In addition to her performing, Alicia has become a holistic living, fitness, and healthy food advocate. To date, she has been featured in Allure, TV Guide, Soap Opera Digest, People, Soap Opera Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, CelebrityBabyScoop, and the cover of Pregnancy, to name a few. She has also appeared on "The View," "Entertainment Tonight," "Extra," "E! Online," and "Gayle King." Alicia is also a philanthropist and has recently committed a great deal of her time, energy, and resources to charities that help children, including the AmeriCorps program City Year. In her free time, she enjoys long distance running, weight training, pilates, dancing, and writing.

Photo Credit: Paul GregoryNow that "All My Children" is off the air, Alicia's work continues on. She did a guest spot on Oxygen's "Jersey Couture" and is about to start shooting an independent film later this spring. Alicia will also be appearing at the Brokerage Comedy Club on April 14 at 2pm and Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club on April 15 at 11:30am with Jordi Vilasuso to greet fans, sign photos, and participate in a Q&A. Alicia is entering the next phase of her career and I am (along with her allegence of fans) looking forward to what's in store.

For more on Alicia be sure to visit http://aliciaminshewofficial.com!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I would have to say that this is something I've wanted to do since I was very little. My grandfather was a vaudeville performer, and I used to watch his shows and I just knew that's what I wanted to do. My sister and I put on shows which were fun, I had my mom put me in classes, I was a dancer for a while, and I did community theatre shows and it all just sort of evolved from there.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with Paul Rudd. I've seen several of his movies and he can do anything. He can do drama. He can do comedy. He's in all these great movies and he's so funny that I feel he doesn't get enough attention for how great he is.  I recently saw his movie "Wanderlust" and laughed my ass off. I was watching him do these scenes and I'm sure he had to ad-lib in some of them. I think to get to work with him and ad-lib with him would be a riot. I think he's comic genius.

Me: I think you guys would work well together. You have great comedic skills.

Alicia: Oh thanks. It's so funny you say that because I'm actually taking comedy classes right now. I didn't get to do that on "All My Children." For 10 years, I was mostly crying over something. So to have a chance to do something completely different, would be very fun for me.

Me: Are you taking comedy classes for stand-up comedy or comedy for acting.

Alicia: I don't have the balls to do stand-up comedy. It's a comedic class for working actors or for actors who would like use their comic muscle to work on comic scripts. Since I've been doing drama for so long, this is a class for actors who would like to work on their comedy skills working with scripts. I've never taken a class like this, so it's cool for me to see other TV actors out there that are working on their comedy skills.

"All My Children" Cast3. Speaking of "All My Children," what initally attracted you to "All My Children" and what was it like to step into the role of "Kendall," which was a character that fans were already attached to? I had never watched the show, but my very best friend from high school did and I remember her rushing home from school and her saying, "Come watch 'All My Children' with me." So I was kind of familiar with it and of course I knew who Susan Lucci was. My manager kept sending me out on these auditions to meet with "All My Children" for several years, I was being called in. For whatever reason, "All My Children's" casting director, Judy Wilson, liked me and was a big supporter of mine and ultimately she found the part she thought was perfect for me. To fill the shoes of Sarah Michelle Gellar was terrifying because I knew how great she was. It was very intimidating, but I said, "You know what, I've worked hard and this is where I'm supposed to be and I'm just going to try to make this character my own." It took me a while to feel comfortable with it and find my way with her, but once I did, I kind of discovered who "Kendall" was, and I kind of made her my own. It definitely was intimidating in the beginning, but Sarah was so nice and so gracious, she sent me a basket of flowers and cookies saying "Congratulations on playing 'Kendall,' it's a fun role, I hope you have fun with it." It was very gracious of her.

Me: If I remember correctly, your first scene on the show, was during a court room trial. You stormed into the court room. 

Alicia: Yes, that's right. I still remember my first line, I said "Hello Erica" and Susan Lucci slapped me across the face.

Me: Yup.

Alicia: That was sort of like, "Welcome to daytime." I look back and I was like, "Wow, I'm a nervous wreck just trying to figure out who this character was." Now cut to 10 years later, I know her so well, I feel for her, and she's a part of me now. It was a fun transformation to go through.

Me: Now that you mention it, I remember watching you go through that transformation from being nervous to becoming so comfortable in role. It was fun to watch you go through it. I would just cheer for you as you became more confident in the role.

Alicia: Oh thank you. You know, I learned a lot as a person and an actor. It definitely was a fun ride, especially when the writers start to write for you, you get to experience so many things. It changed my life.

Susan Lucci as "Erica Kane" and Alicia Minshew as "Kendall Hart" on "All My Children"4. What did you learn from working on "All My Children" and from working with Susan Lucci? One thing about Susan is that she is the most professional, preparred person I ever met. She shows up always knowing her lines. She's kind to everybody from the stars of the show to the janitors. That's something everyone can learn when being on a set. Just be kind everybody. Treat everybody the same. Constantly be professional, no matter what. Even if you are tired or in a bad mood, just put on your game face. She was always so professional. I learned that. I also learned how to be emotional in the moment, from memorizing the scripts. I learned how to use my instincts and tap into my emotions quickly. You have to do that on a soap. It was a great thing for me to learn.

Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig5. What's your most cherished memory from starring on "All My Children"? There are so many. Definitely getting to play Susan Lucci's daughter and sharing these really special bonding scenes with her was amazing. She's an icon and here I am playing her daughter, getting to bond with her during these emotional scenes where we are crying together was really special. One moment in particluar comes to mind when "Kendall" was helping "Erica" while "Erica" was reliving her rape and we were by the fireplace and "Kendall" was covering "Erica" with her robe and combing her wet hair. That was the moment where Susan and I became very close. Another great thing that came out of "All My Children" is my friendship with Rebecca Budig. She's one of my best friends now and that's because of the relationship "Kendall" and "Greenlee" had on the show. They hate each other, they love each other. They'd be enemies, they'd be best friends. As often as I got to work with Rebecca, it was great to form this real life freindship as well. I'm still friends with everyone I worked with on the show.

Adam Rothenberg, Alicia Minshew, Andrew at Brokerage Comedy Club6. You and I initally met at the Brokerage Comedy Club on Long Island back in 2002/2003 at one of the fan events.

Alicia: You know what. I know you Adam. You have dark hair?

Me: Yes.

Alicia: I know you. I can picture your face perfectly. It's so cool to be talking to you and it's so great that you are doing this. 

Me Oh thank you. It's awesome.

Alicia: I have pictures with you honey. It's so funny because when I heard your voice, I was like, "I know this Adam. I have pictures with this Adam. You are so cute!

Me: Oh thank you.

Alicia: This is so funny. You know how many years ago that was. That was like 8 or 9 years ago. How cool is this.

Adam: It means a lot to me. It really does. 

Alicia: Oh, I'm so happy to be talking to you. Rebecca and I both know you. It's so funny because I think I have pictures with you, me, and Rebecca.

Me: Yes, we do. I love that you still have them.

Alicia: Oh my gosh, I totally still have them. I have a whole photo album. I love how this has come full circle and even though "All My Children" is off the air, I love how we are reconnecting. It's so great.

Me: Yes, it is wonderful.

Alicia: Cool.

Me: I actually got to interview Rebecca 2 or 2 1/2 years ago.

Alicia: That is so fantastic. Good for you! You know, Rebecca is my pal. She's here in LA with me. I will forever have this friendship her now because of the show.

Me: Both of you were always so nice to me. It's really a pleasure.

Alicia: Oh well, you're great. You're a good egg, we like you. 

Me: So what do you like about the fan events, like the ones at the Brokerage Comedy Club (which you have one coming up on April 14 and on April 15 you will be at Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club in Point Pleasant, NJ). Yes, I do, my friend. I have one with Jordi Vilasuso. Everyone is going to love him. As gorgeous as he is, no one knows, but he is really a funny, out going guy, but on the show he played this serious doctor. One of the things I love is connecting with the fans and finding out how it is we affect them and seeing who they are. It's cool to know you are in people's living room everyday, or wherever they watch you. The connection that the fans have with our characters is unbelieveable. I've had mothers come up to me and say, "You remind me of my daughter." Or people who lost their husbands would say, "When you did those scenes when "Zach" died, I felt your pain because I went through the same thing with my husand." To hear the real human stories of people that you're affecting is so awesome. I just love meeting people and having fun. I love being up on that stage and telling fun stories. For me, it's fun to do it and connect with the people. I can't wait. Even now with the show off the air, it's more important to connect with the fans and let them know that while the show maybe off the air, we appreciate them and want to reconnect with them and re-live the fun stories together.

7. Now that "All My Children" is over, what upcoming projects are you able to talk about and what direction to you hope or want your career to go in? That's an awesome question. Right now, I am doing an independent film that I'll be shooting in Savannah, GA at the end of April/beginning of May. The film is a romance/love story. I play a polite southern girl who is nothing like "Kendall," which is exciting. I've been working with a dialect coach on my southern accent which has been totally fun because it's not like anything I did on "All My Children." We are just starting to get the logistics of getting the cast together and shooting dates, but this is a completely different ball game than working on a soap script. I've had months and months to learn the script where on "All My Children," I usually had one night. I just love to work, so for me, this has been a great experience so far and I'm looking forward to getting to act with new people. 

As far as how I want my career to go, I love to work. I would love to do some comedies, which I think would be refreshing for me. I would love to more film. I would love to do prime time. At this point, it's really what am I right for and what kind of characters are out there for me to play right now. I'm really open to whatever the universe will throw my way. It's an exciting time for me because I feel like the sky's the limit and whatever is meant to be will be and I'm ready for it. I'm out there auditioning for pilot season and meeting some great people. I'm really excited for this next chapter in my life. With that said, I really do miss "All My Children." Luckily, I'm still keeping in touch with everyone because they are my family.

Me: Do you think you might to come back to NY and do theatre?I would love that. Right now, I'm in LA and my husand and I are trying to figure out where we want to raise our daughter. We love NY so much, so if we do end up there, I would ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY love to do theatre or film/TV. As long as it's a fun character that I can play, I am really open to anything.

Alicia Minshew on Oxygen's "Jersey Couture"8. One show you recently guest starred on was "Jersey Couture" on the Oxygen network. That was a really fun time. It was a riot. I did that just a few months ago when I was in New York. One of the producers who I knew, is such a sweetie, reached out to me, and said that "Diane" the star of "Jersey Couture" is a HUGE "All My Children" fan and would I be willing to come on the show to suprise her. I thought, why not. I went there looking for a dress for the red carpet and I thought, "Oh, I'm  never going to find a dress for the red carpet at this dress shop." But, low and behold, I got two beautiful dresses at this dress shop that they gave me, so I scored! It was really fun to surprise her and represent the show. I had never done any reality TV thing before, nor do I have any interest in doing it again, but because I knew she was a fan and I knew I would be surprising her, that's why I said I would do it. I had such a good time. They were so nice and so hilarious that I would send anybody to that dress shop anyday for sure.

For those of you who missed Alicia's appearance on the show, check it out below:

9. Prior to being on "All My Children," you worked in the modeling world. I did when I lived in Miami, not so much in NY. I'm a petite little thing, I'm not 6' tall. I did some fitness stuff and catalog work. I did a lot of commercials which was great because it paid my rent for several years. I was in some funny commercials...a maxipad commercial and a Coppertone commercial. It's funny now to think I could have a Coppertone commercial because I'm not tan anymore, but back then, I was tan. The maxipad commercial, I mean, I was the feminine hygenie girl. It was just hilarious, but don't knock 'em. They pay really, really well and are fun to do. That was a fun time for me and a different time in my life. I was younger and just getting out there. It was all about turning on the personality. Just turn on the personality in front of the camera and have your fun.

Here's one of Alicia's maxipad commercials from 1997, for "Always":

Alicia Minshew NOH8 Campaign, Photo Credit: Adam Bouska10. How do you feel you've stayed grounded in an industry which can lead others down a darker path? Number one is I have a really great support system. I'm very, very blessed to have an unbelieveable family who all supported me. I'm originally from Florida and I told them I wanted to go to NY, take classes, and be an actress, and they supported me and were there for me 100% when I was auditioning and not getting any work and had to borrow money. What goes around, comes around, because I was able to pay them back because of my success. If you don't have a great family, then to have the support of your friends is just as good. I think it's very important with who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with good people, they will keep you grounded. In the end, it is just a job, it's not all of who I am. If you stay true to who you are, I think you'll be even more successful.

I also think it's important to be grateful for every opportunity you've been given. That is something I really try to do. I keep a gratitude journal and try to write what am I grateful for everyday. I think just having gratitude is something that will keep people grounded.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? It's from my dad and it's actually a book that I'm reading now, but one of the things he said, "Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff." The other piece of advice he gave me was to make sure you laugh everyday because laughter will help you get through the really crappy times. Maybe that's why I want to do a sitcom or something funny because something about laughing just makes the bad times bearable and makes the good times even better.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Hehehe...if I could dream about anyone, oh gosh, that's funny. Well, sometimes very often I dream of my husband because in the crazy world of being parents we are so often consumed with our child, which we love, but we miss each other. Very often I'll be like "Honey, I had a dream of you last night and it was just the two of us." 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Alicia Minshew, Adam Rothenberg at Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig's Fan Club Party13. Because I know you love peanut butter so much...

Alicia: Because you gave me peanut butter, didn't you? 

Me: Yeah, I gave you peanut butter and a peanut butter cookbook.

Alicia: I have a picture with you of me holding up a jar of peanut butter, that's how I remember. 

Me: So do you like crunchy or smooth? Crunchy baby. I need something to chow my teeth on.

14. Favorite way to spend my day off? Running around with my daughter and taking her out for lunch. Just having lunch with my husband and my daughter. A few years ago, I would have never said that, but when you have a child, it changes your life. When you run around with a two year old, it's so amazing because you get to see everything through their eyes. Everything is fun for them, which in turn, makes everything fun for you.

15. Favorite skin care product? Dr. Alkaitis. It's this organic skin care line. They have this day cream and night cream that is all organic oils and vitamins and beautiful flowers. It's so good for your skin and it smells good. Your skin is all glowy when you put it on. I swear by this. It totally agrees with my skin. I love it, LOVE IT! I order it online from NY because I have to have it. Hahaha.

Adam Rothenberg singing "Pine Valley Girl" at Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig's Fan Club PartyAlicia's signed photo to me in response to my singing at Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig's Fan Club Party16. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I was going to say read minds, but I don't think I really want to know what people are thinking. You know what I would love it to be, I would love to be able to fly. 

Me: I have to tell you, I still have the picture that you signed for me from the last fan club event. When I was singing and I did that parody of "Material Girl" to plots of "All My Children" and you signed that picture, "Keep singing you rock star!" I still have that. It's hanging in my apartment and I look at it everyday.

Alicia: Oh, that's so sweet! I remember it. I'm so happy you are doing this. Congratulations to you! This is awesome! I feel as though our paths will cross again, if not at the fan events, then somewhere else.

Me: Thank you so much for your time.

Alicia: Oh my pleasure! I'm going to go have peanut butter now...this was so much fun!

Friday
Mar232012

Seth Rudetsky

I was first introduced to Seth Rudetsky by my friend Veri when we were working in group sales together, but it was in 2002 when I really got to know Seth during his critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show "Rhapsody in Seth." As someone who has read his weekly column on Playbill.com for years, it's a real honor to be able to interview Seth Rudetsky: theatre extraordinaire, Sirus/XM Radio host, Broadway star, Musical Director, and author.

Seth is the Broadway host, seven days a week, on Sirius/XM Radio. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ and PHANTOM. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut playing "Sheldon" (singing “Magic to Do” in a devastating unitard) in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater. Off-Broadway he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed RHAPSODY IN SETH (directed by Peter Flynn) at the Actors Playhouse and has also appeared on TV on LAW AND ORDER C.I. and had a recurring role on ALL MY CHILDREN. As an author, he penned the books THE Q GUIDE TO BROADWAY, now in it’s third printing, BROADWAY NIGHTS (also released as an audio book on audible.com featuring Andrea Martin, Jonathan Groff and Kristin Chenoweth) and the recently published "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan." Seth was also the vocal coach on MTV’s LEGALLY BLONDE reality show and he continues to write a weekly column on Playbill.com.

Seth's newest show, co-written with his friend Jack Plotnick, "Disaster!" is currently enjoying a sold-out run at the Triad Theater in NYC, through March 25. This June, Seth will be hosting the 2012 Broadway Specactular. From June 8-11, theatre lovers will be able to come to NYC and see PORGY AND BESS, starring four time Tony Award Winner Audra MacDonald, EVITA starring Ricky Martin and the hit sensation SPIDERMAN – TURN OFF THE DARK. Attendees will also experience private performances with Tony Award Winner Michael Cerveris (Evita) and Tony nominated star Joshua Henry (Porgy and Bess)  while induldging on our  delicious cuisine and libacious cocktails. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets!

For more on Seth be sure to visit http://sethrudetsky.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to work in theatre? My parents played Broadway albums all the time while I was growing up. Here's a little proof of how young I was when my obsession began.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Barbra Streisand. There are so many things I want to deconstruct in front of her and ask her about. Specifically this:

3. You are the Broadway host on Sirius XM. What made you want to have your own radio show? I love showing people across the country what's amazing about Broadway music. Specifically asking them to listen to certain notes (Judy Kuhn's high B flat at the end of A HEART FULL OF LOVE) or telling them that just because a show is a "flop" the music can be amazing (MACK AND MABEL) and I love that kids listen to the show. I get so many emails from parents who say they listen with their kids...I feel like I'm passing the torch because my parents introduced me to Broadway.

4. You also co-created, co-wrote, and star in the hilarious Off-Broadway musical "Disaster!" at the Triad in NYC along with a host of Broadway performers. "Disaster!" is a musical comedy paying tribute to the disaster movies of the '70s. What made you want to make a musical based upon the disaster moveis of the '70s? What has been the best part about this show so far? I've always been obsessed with disasters. I was constantly reading about them as a child and knew so many facts (ask me about the Anchorage earthquake of 1964 or the NYC blizzard of 1888). I also, of course, loved the slew of Irwin Allen disaster movies that I watched as a child. Me and my friend Drew Geraci (with whom I did FOREVER PLAID) thought it would be funny to do a disaster movie as a musical with music from the 70's. This was WAY before MAMMA MIA or any of the jukebox musicals hit broadway. But, because of my adult ADD, I didn't start writing it til last year...and I wound up writing the bulk of it with my friend Jack Plotnick. The best part has been how we wrote it in a vacuum and all the jokes we thought were funny actually work! It's still surprising to me to hear laughs because we only run once a week so even though we opened in January, we've only done around 8 performances. Also, it's very satisfying hearing the audience sadness when certain characters die. We worked really hard to make the show funny but to have real characters that you care about.

5. You recently released your 3rd book, but first young adult book, "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan." What made you want to write a book for young adults? What do you get from writing that you don't get from performing/musical directing? Where is your favorite place to write? I love love love reading. It's probably my favorite thing to do besides perform, so it's very satisfying for me to write a book. Also, I love young adult books. I've read them ever since I was a young adult! My recent favorite is the "Pretties/Uglies" series and my all time favorites is "The Great Gilly Hopkins" and the "His Dark Materials" series. Writing is a little less stressful than performing because there is no performance anxiety. Once it's written, it exists and you don't have to worry about messing up the material because you're nervous. I don't have a favorite place to write. I pretty much just write in my apartment. But I will say, that I could never write a book free hand. I think so fast and handwrite so slow I have to have a computer to write everything down as it comes into my ADD brain.

6. This June you will be hosting the 2012 "Broadway Spectacular," a weekend celebrating theatre during it's most magical time, The Tony Awards. What made you want to host this weekend? How did you decide which shows were going to be involved? What do you hope attendees come away with from this weekend? My Dad lives in California and has been begging me to host a Broadway weekend. A lot of them exist, but they're not hosted by actual Broadway insiders and he kept telling me that tourists would love to see Broadway stars up close with me leading the whole weekend. So, when a big travel agency approached me, I said Y-E-S. I chose the shows based on what I think people will enjoy/want to see. "Spider-Man" is an eye-popping crowd pleaser, no matter what people think of the show. People are consitantly blown away by the stage craft. "EVITA" is one of my favorite shows EVER and "Porgy and Bess" has some of the best singing I've ever heard on Broadway. I hope people leave and think they've had the most special Broadway experience they've ever had where they truly felt like they were on the inside.

7. In addition to everything we've discussed, you also travel the country with your "Deconstructing Broadway" show. How did you come up with the ideas for this show and what do you get from doing it? I came up with the idea of DECONSTRUCTING BROADWAY because of that Barbra/Bea Arthur clip I linked in question #2. Rosie O'Donnell saw me perform that (at "Gypsy of the Year") and told me I should do a whole show of "that." So, I guess, SHE actually thought of the idea!!! She told me if I did it, she'd produce the show. I wrote the whole show, and...she never produced it. Wah wah. BUT I had a show that I've been able to take EVERYWHERE. Big cities like Boston (Where I won the IRNE award), Los Angeles (where I sold out at REPRISE) and small places like Springfield, Ohio and Red Deer, Canada (twice!). In terms of what I get, I love making people obsessed with Broadway. I love when folks leave and say "Now, I have to get the CD to 'Pajama Game!'"

8. What have you learned about yourself from your varied career? hmmmm....One of the big things I've learned is to not be freaked out by feeling blocked. Well, it's one of the things I'm trying to learn. Meaning, right now, I have a writing assignment and I feel totally blocked and, because I've been through this before, I can feel more relaxed. AKA I was COMPLETELY blocked doing the re-write on DISASTER with Jack but suddenly something happened and after two months, the re-writes were made in two weeks. Same thing with my young adult book, my editor wanted a plot point changed and I could NOT think of how to do it, then on a set doing the Varla Jean Merman movie (!) I suddenly thought of how to solve it.

9. I was fortunate enough to get to see you in your Off-Broadway one man show "Rhapsody in Seth," your Broadway debut in "The Ritz," and on "All My Children." Looking back, what did you enjoy most about these experiences? Wowza. Well, RHAPSODY IN SETH was thrilling because it was my experience writing/performing my own show. Plus, I was really happy that so many people, from so many different walks of life, came up to me and said "That was my childhood." THE RITZ was amazing because it was BROADWAY! And we added that section with me singing MAGIC TO DO so it was fun to do a revival yet get big laughs from something that we made up. ALL MY CHILDREN was amazing because it was a blatant TV show! It was such a new experience. And I had the real ALL MY CHILDREN experience...I got to play my scenes opposite Susan Lucci!

10. You have also recently brought back "Seth's Broadway Chatterbox." How did this originally start and what made now the right time to bring it back? Seth's Broadway Chatterbox began because I felt Broadway people get 5 minutes on TV to discuss their careers and it's always horribly watered down/boring and/or wrong. I remember when Faith Prince was on Jay Leno and obviously there had a been a pre-interview and she was going to talk about when she's nervous she makes pancakes. So, when she was waiting to hear if she was nominated for a Tony, she made a ton of pancakes. Of course, instead of asking "Where were you when you were waiting to hear if you were nominated for a Tony?" he asked, "Where were you when you won the Tony?" Huh?  Um...at the Tony Awards. oy. I can't take it. So, I wanted a full hour where people can tell all the stories about Broadway I love to hear whenever I'm hanging out with my theater friends. What was the worst audition ever? Funniest onstage mess-up? How did you come up (fill in the blank) etc. And it wound up being an easy way to raise money for BC/EFA (with the admission price and the sale of the DVD's). I stopped doing the Chatterbox because I was doing the SIRIUS XM LIVE ON BROADWAY show every Wednesday and it was too overwhelming to do them back-to-back, but the Broadway League cancelled our contract to do the live show, so I began to miss doing the interviews and I brought back the Chatterbox!

Friday
Jan272012

Zachary Spicer

Zachary Spicer is another one of our next generation performers who's on the rise! Between theatre, film, and television, Zachary is crossing over into every medium! On stage, Zachary has been seen in "The Whipping Man" (MTC), "The Irish Play" (Irish Rep), "American Buffalo" (Hartford Theater Works), and "Anna Christie" (Metropolitan Theater). His television and film credits include "Law & Order: SVU," "CSI: NY," "All My Children," "Pan Am," "Something Like Reality," "The Gary Effect."

 

Now, Zachary is making his Broadway debut alongside Tony and two-time Emmy Award winner Cynthia Nixon, in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Margaret Edson's "Wit" through March 11 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in NYC (261 West 47th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave). Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was really awkward as a kid. My mother told me that the theater was a good place to meet girls. She was right, but I was still awkward. And thus an actor was born.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Bill Irwin and Billy Crudup. My first summer in NYC I saw "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf" and "The Pillowman" back to back, and it was the greatest artistic day of my life. Two performances that just blew me away. I have been a great admirer of their work ever since.

3. What attracted you to "Wit" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? When I was at Indiana University, the theater department actually did a production of "Wit" my senior year and after auditioning for it and failing to get cast I really enjoyed watching the play. I come from a family of teachers and my grandfather was a professor of William Blake’s poetry, so there’s a real soft spot in my heart for the literary themes of the play. What I love about this play is that it stays with you long after you leave the theater, and I hope that audiences enjoy the waves of self reflection that this show brings.

4. What does it mean to you to be making your Broadway debut in "Wit"? I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than working on this show. From the very first audition to the very last tech rehearsal, the entire cast and crew of the show are the best in business. To be working with a director like Lynne Meadow, who literally built this theater from the ground up, is the greatest honor a young actor could wish for. I feel very blessed.

5. This is your second time working with MTC. Your first endeavor was in "The Whipping Man." What initally made you want to be in one of their productions? What has made you want to come back? My very first audition out of school was for Nancy Piccione at MTC, and it may have gone down as one of the worst auditions of all time. I tried to walk out of a fake prop doorway at the end of it. Needless to say I did not get the part. However, there were more auditions, more readings, then "The Whipping Man," and now "Wit." It’s like being brought up in the farm system of a great theater and now being offered a chance at the major leagues. MTC is the greatest theater family I have ever had the privilege to know. They are the nicest people in New York. Anytime they want me for a show, I’m there.

6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Honestly, my favorite part is that first week or two of rehearsals. I’m a research nerd, so I love the work that is done outside the room just as much as inside it. For "Wit," I just sat in the waiting room of a hospital for hours and just watched people. Doctors, nurses, patients, visiting families, friends, EMT’s. Nothing small ever happens in a hospital.

7. Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? Outdoors. Somewhere where you are not completely closed off from the world around you.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I have a tendency in my work and my life to seek the destination instead of enjoying the journey.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Breathe.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Peyton Manning.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? If I had my dog or my horse here in New York I would be playing with them every free second I have. But seeing as I live in Manhattan, I typically sit on the couch and watch an entire season of Breaking Bad.

12. Boxers or Briefs? There is no greater invention for mankind than the boxer-brief in my opinion.

13. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

Wednesday
Dec072011

Sebastian LaCause

Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaFrom the corn fields of Ohio to the stages of Broadway, Sebastian LaCause has been entertaining audiences since the age of eleven, when he appeared in the ensemble of the Goodyear Community Theatre’s production of "The Music Man." Sebastian first stepped into the Broadway spotlight in the smash hit revival of "Chicago" as "Roxie Hart's" self-absorbed lover, "Fred Casley" and has continued to shine. His other Broadway credits include, "Once Upon A Mattress" with Sarah Jessica Parker, Liza Minnelli's, "Minnelli on Minnelli," and the Tony-Award Nominated revival of "The Rocky Horror Show" as the perfectly engineered boy-toy, "Rocky." He toured nationally with Chita Rivera in "Kiss of The Spiderwoman" and starred as "Zach" in the first national tour of the "A Chorus Line" revival. Regionally he starred in Richard Greenberg's Tony Award Winning play, "Take Me Out," as baseball super-star "Darren Lemming," "Marco" in the Kennedy Center’s production of "Carnival!," and at The Arena Stage as "Steven Kodaly" in "She Loves Me" and "El Gallo" in "The Fantasticks."

Sebastian has also developed new works with Emerging Artists Theatre Company, The Wings Theatre Company, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre .

After spending much time on stage, Sebastian switched gears and parlayed into film and television. He landed roles on "Gossip Girl," "Law and Order: SVU," "All My Children," "One Life To Live," and can be seen as "Agent Kandarian" in the season finale of the critically acclaimed Showtime series, "Homeland," starring Claire Danes.  On the big screen, Sebastian appeared in the Oscar winning "Chicago," had small supporting roles in "Showgirls," "Ghost Town," and "Premium Rush" (2012) and larger supporting roles in "Bear City," as "Fernando" and the upcoming Ira Sachs film, "Keep The Lights On," as "Russ," which will premier at Sundance in January 2012.

Now Sebastian is combining all of his talents and discovering new ones with his new original web series, "Hustling," about growing older, starting over, and figuring out what the hell you're doing. Created out of love, hard work, personal stories, and most of all, talent, Sebastian enlisted many friends to help him out including Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gerald McCullouch, Brian Keane, Gary Cowling, Andrew Glaszek, Brent Barrett, Shannon Lewis, Max Carpenter, Greg Gunter, Emily Shapiro, Todd Riegler and Jessica Press.

New episodes of "Hustling" premiere every Wednesday, with the first three already making waves! For more on "Hustling," follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Sebastian be sure to follow him on Facebook!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was deeply inspired by Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse and the original "Fame" movie. I used to watch a lot of those MGM movie musicals as a kid. "Singing In The Rain" and "The Bandwagon" were big influences on me as child. I would watch Gene Kelly and be mesmerized by his awesomeness. The dance sequence in "The Bandwagon" with Cyd Charisse branded itself into my psyche as the ultimate cinematic blend of style and movement...that is until I saw "All That Jazz." Then the sexuality and darkness of "Take Off With Us" into that dance orgy stole the top spot. And when I saw the "Fame" movie I knew that the arts was the road for me. I started out as a dancer, trained really hard, and ended up at NYU's dance program at Tisch. I only lasted...a short while until I heard the call of the wild and started auditioning and booked my first gig and left school, with the thought of returning after a year's leave of absence. However, heading back to school was not in the cards for me. I kept working and made my way out to LA and had a prolific career as an LA commercial dancer, working on films and on TV and with recording artist like, Madonna, Prince, Tina Turner and Toni Braxton, as well as working on the East coast on Broadway. But soon it wasn't enough creatively anymore. I felt the call of New York and the desire to become an actor was too strong to resist. So I left LA, moved back to NYC and began the next phase of my career which was transitioning from a dancer to an actor...not an easy task when you're already well established as a commodity as a dancer. But I didn't care. I stopped going to dancer calls, focused on my acting class and slowly but surely I made the transition and started working as actor.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Where do I start? Lol.

3. How did you decide to create your web series "Hustling?" What excites you most about it? What do you hope audiences come away with after watching it? How did you go about casting for the series? Hustling came about because I had reached another crossroad in my career. So much of being an actor is waiting around...for the phone to ring. I wanted to take more control of my artistry. I wanted to "do" something. So I got inspired by an idea. I had met some interesting people during a stint in LA when I was auditioning and I became fascinated by their stories. These "sex-workers" shared a common denominator...they wanted out of the business but didn't know how to get themselves out. I actually thought this was very relatable. I know people in all walks of life, accountants, lawyers, bartenders, professional dancers who are unhappy with their current careers/jobs/life situations. People who desperately want to be doing something else or who feel stuck but don't know how to make a change. I added those themes to what I was going through myself, turning forty, and the story practically wrote itself. I started writing it in June and I was shooting in August. I was also inspired by this independent TV movement I was noticing from other theater actors like, Jake Wilson and Andrew Keenen Bolger. I was so moved by the action they had taken in jumping of into these waters. I was greatly inspired by the great work they were doing.

I hope what people come away with after watching the series is how alike we all are as human beings.  No matter what your life situation may be, we all are going through the same shit. When it came to casting I basically wrote for my friends. I wrote for people I wanted to work with and who popped into my head when I started creating the characters. I wanted to have fun making this. That also factored in to who I wrote for and who I cast. Fun, genuinely awesome, authentic people whose work I admired.

4. How did creating "Hustling" stretch your creative abilities? Creating "Hustling" stretched my creative abilities in ways that I had never really imagined before. I've always loved being the "Talent" but what I didn't know was how much I would love being a "Creative" or, that I was capable of doing some of the things I was going to have to do on this project. I discovered that I really love being not only a director working with talented actors but also being the director of photography and being the creator of the composition of the photography. That really excited me. It was fun having the opportunity to have complete creative control in every aspect. I also loved working with my collaborators. The other director of photographer, Max Carpenter really has an incredible eye and he brought so much to the table. I learned a lot about film making from this kid. And my associate producer who is also my art director and fellow editor, brings a lot of creative juice to the playground. He's fun to bounce ideas off of and I was inspired by him as a fellow artist.

5. What is your favorite part in creating a web series? Do you feel your prior TV/Film experience prepared you better for creating "Hustling"? If so, how? My past work experience in TV and film has certainly been helpful in this process but being in front of the camera does not necessarily prepare you for being behind the camera. It's a completely different set of muscles. But being an actor certainly helped when I was directing my friends. I hope that I was able to be clear about what I wanted from them or how I saw the scenes working tonally.

6. Prior to "Hustling," you starred in numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatrical productions. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? My favorite part of the process in theater I would have to say would be twofold, I love the rehearsal process and I love when you reach the performing part. I really get into developing a character and exploring and making different choices and trying new ways into a scene. I love getting awesome direction from a director that comes at you with a new way of thinking about something. I never think I have all the answers. In fact, sometimes I think I don't have any of them. And I love reaching that place in the rehearsal process and during performance when you don't have to think anymore. When you let go of everything and you're just "there" and present. That is the best high. That is my drug of choice.

My favorite place to rehearse or practice when I'm in a show is on the stage.

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I guess what I've learned about myself from being a performer is that I'm extremely sensitive, I love to take risks and I'm very tenacious and headstrong. I have known from a very young age that I wanted to be an artist and I have never wavered from that...no matter how hard it has been and how many doors have been closed in my face or how many times people have said "no." 

8. "Rocky Horror" was one of my favorite Broadway shows. Looking back, what was your favorite part of that whole experience? What did you learn from working with so many diverse performers? My favorite part of working on "Rocky Horror" was getting to work that incredible cast. It was crazy! Not only was everyone wickedly talented but everyone was kick ass cool. I had some really good times doing that show. Going to work every day and getting to play with, Alice, Daphne, Raul, Tom, Lea, Jarrod, Joan, Ana and Dick Cavett was an absolute riot. And on the first day of rehearsal extremely intimidating. I was crazy nervous for most of that rehearsal process. I was having a blast but I was afraid of screwing up and not being good and blah, blah, blah. All those insecurities that come with your first co-starring role and first principal contract out of the chorus lol. It's everything you've hoped for but then you're like, fuck...I hope I can pull this off!! But what I learned from working with these diverse performers was not to be afraid.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I ever received was that if I was going to really pursue being an artist then I had to really love it and not want to do anything else in the world...and to have A LOT of patience.

10. Favorite way to spend your day off? My favorite way to spend a day off is to cook a nice dinner and drink a delicious bottle of wine.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs...for sure.

12. Favorite website? Cooksillustrated.com

13. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman AND Wonder Woman....each for different reasons.