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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Bobby Cronin (13)

Monday
Sep092013

Bobby Cronin: INSPIRED Benefit Concert Series Interview

"Call Me Adam" recently caught up with writer/composer Bobby Cronin who is an Alec Baldwin Fellowship Winner, Dramatists Guild Grant Recipient, and NJ Playwrights Winner for his musicals W2ML, The Concrete Jungle, Sunset City, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, Daybreak, and A Christmas Carol.

Now Bobby has created a new bi-monthly concert series called INSPIRED: A Benefit Concert where musical theatre writers perform songs by other writers that have inspired their work. Each concert will spotlight a charity close to Bobby's heart. Featured in this concert are the ASPCA of NYC and The Last Resort Rescue of NJ. In addition to Bobby himself, INSPIRED: A Benefit Concert will showcase the talents of Brad Alexander, David Are, Carner & Gregor, Drew Fornarola, Michael Holland, Rob Rokicki, Georgia Stitt, Katie Thompson and Michael Patrick Walker.

The first concert is on Sunday, September 22 at 7pm at Stage 72/The Triad Theatre (158 West 72nd Street, 2nd Floor). Click here for tickets!

For more on Bobby be sure to visit http://www.bobbycronin.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. INSPIRED, a benefit concert series is your latest creation. It takes today's musical theatre writers performing songs of those who inspired them. What made you want to create this kind of series? I've been wanting to create a benefit concert for a long time now, but it always was on the back-burner due to deadlines and family events, so I just haven't been able to truly find the time to spearhead a benefit. Then driving home from petsitting a couple of weeks ago (I petsit for some extra cash), I was singing along to a song I love on the radio and it hit me: get some people together to sing songs from the radio or iPod that inspired them. Then I thought, "that's been done." So another lightbulb went off and I went a step further: how about taking a group of writers out of their comfort zone and put them behind a piano to perform songs by other writers that inspired their work; their "sound" if you will. And, like a good song, I immediately had a title and a hook!

2. How do you decide which musical theatre writers will be part of each concert? What was their response when you reached out to them about doing this? As mentioned above, I thought asking composers/lyricists would be extremely interesting. We are so used to going to a writer's concert and seeing actors performing their work. And sometimes we see a composer perform their own work, But, we seldom see writers performing other people's work.

We think we "know" a writer from their material, but I don't think that's 100% true since many of us write for characters who are on a certain journey, probably using our own personal approach to said moment, but it isn't always about ourselves. Sometimes we just write a song for no reason or a stand-alone song, but again...it doesn't fully tell an audience who we are as people. So, I thought why not put the writers in the hot seat and have a discussion with them about who they are, what influenced them musically, what are they working on, etc...And, then to see them actually perform! How exciting will that be?

The ten composers will do one song that inspired their work followed by a second song of their choosing: another song that inspired them, a song of their own, a mash up of a song of their own and a song of inspiration, or any variety thereof.

The response was FANTASTIC! Those that weren't available but extremely interested said "if you do another, let me know!" Composers and writing teams I was unfamiliar with contacted me about performing. Plus, I had a waiting list which made me go "Duh! Let's make this a series!!" INSPIRED 2 will be on November 18th, 7pm! And then I'll do another in late January. Hopefully every 2-3 months.

3. What excites you about having this series on it's feet? I love helping people. I love animals. I love writers. I love giving people opportunities (actors, directors, musical directors, etc...). Also, as a community of writers, we are seldom in the same room! Recently, I was lucky to be in a classroom with about 10 writers who are all a part of http://newmusicaltheatre.com and we had SO much fun together and I just knew that we all needed to spend more time together. So this idea kills like 10 birds with one stone (although, I don't think we want to be throwing any stones at birds!).

Also, in the future, I plan on doing a special INSPIRED concert consisting of Broadway performers who are transitioning into singer/songwriters!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with attending? I want them to feel a sense of community and perhaps to go home and do something to inspire someone else. I want them to know that by coming to see some rare performances by those usually behind the scenes, they have helped save the life of an innocent and helpless animal on death row.

Bobby Cronin with his dog Lily5. Each of these concerts will benefit various charities. Two of them are The ASCPA of NYC and The Last Resort Rescue, both dealing with the treatment of animals. How did you decide to partner with them? What other charities are you hoping to give to? As you know, I am a HUGE animal lover. I think I Tweet and Instagram more photos of my dogs and cat and the various dogs I take care of than I do of anything else!

A little known fact: after I decided to no longer focus on directing and to veer into the writing world, I was an animal emergency triage nurse while waiting for my writing career to take off. I thought about becoming a veterinarian or a doctor, but I loved theatre too much. I worked in a shelter too at one point, I have fostered several dogs, and have had numerous dogs of my own (all but one was from a shelter). My first dog "Frankie" was from the ASPCA and my latest dog "Maggie" is from The Last Resort Rescue. So, I wanted to give back to them first.

Our next benefit will be for The Humane Society of NYC which is where I got my sweet dog "Olive" (yes, she is named after SPELLING BEE). I am also going to have The Last Resort again for the next one as they are trying to buy a new facility in order to help even more animals survive the horrible gas chamber (don't even get me started on this!! HOW is this legal?!?!)

In the future, I plan on adding the 11th Hour Rescue in NJ, The WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), The Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals, and the list goes on and on!

Bobby Cronin with his dog Maggie6. One of the things I admire about you is your willingness to pay it forward to people and organizations. In addition to having a portion of the proceeds going to the various charities, how do you hope audiences and participants of the concert series pay it forward afterwards? My dream is that this is a catalyst for paying it forward. There is no feeling in the world better than the feeling of helping someone. Yes, I've been walked all over for this Pollyanna-esque belief, but I believe that we were put on this planet to help, not to harm. We each create our own journey, so make the journey a good one by helping someone like a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger, or a charity that speaks to you like St. Jude's or BC/EFA or the such.

7. Who would you like to perform at an INSPIRED concert that you haven't booked yet? I am trying to represent the various styles of writers in NYC. There are the pop-style writers, the rockers, the classical, the traditional, the comedic, the dramatic, those that represent the voice of youth, those that represent the voice of "wisdom", etc...There are also those who have been working in the business for 20 years and those who have just started the climb, and I'm excited to continue to represent the variety in our community. With that said, of course I would love to have one the "three Stephens" (Schwartz, Flaherty, Sondheim) perform!

8. Since this concert series is all about inspirations, who are some of today's musical theatre writers that inspire you? This is a tough one! I am inspired by so many talented and dedicated writers! Lin Manuel blows my mind. Tom Kitt makes me swoon. Maury Yeston makes me weep. Alan Menken makes me dance and dream bigger. And of course, there are the "three Stephens."

Friday
Dec072012

Daniel Kirkley: Love Is Christmas Interview

Photo Credit: Amy ConnerDaniel Kirkley is a classically trained singer-songwriter who moved New York City this past year from Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, he signed with Centricity Records and released two albums with them. The first, Let Love Win, yielded a chart topping hit, My New Dawn, at AC radio. Since releasing his first album, Daniel has spent the last seven years touring the country performing solo shows in a variety of venues in support of his other album releases (As Tomorrow Comes & Where Healing Starts).

Daniel Kirkley Singing at The Salvation Army's Gathering of Angels Benefit ConcertDaniel Kirkley in Bobby Cronin's "Daybreak"2012 marked a new beginning for Daniel as he set out on pursuing opportunities in the world of musical theater. This past summer, he made his acting debut in Bobby Cronin's award winning musical, Daybreak. Shortly after the completion of that musical's run, Daniel began work on his Christmas album, Love Is Christmas. As part of his Christmas tour, he will make his New York City debut on December 12th under the musical direction of William Demaniow. Come on down to Sidewalk Cafe (94 Avenue A, New York's East Village) to celebrate the release of his Christmas album, "Love Is Christmas" and hear Daniel's stellar voice as he sings selections from his CD and spreads some holiday cheer. Showtimes are 8pm and 10pm. Click here for tickets: 8pm, 10pm.

Click here to purchase "Love Is Christmas." For more on Daniel be sure to visit http://www.danielkirkley.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or iTunes!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I don't know if there was an actual person or event that really every inspired me to start down this path. I've been singing for as long as I can remember; it's always been something that I loved. Growing up, my first exposure to performing was in the church; so that's been a very real influence over the course of my life. I've really just tried to focus on the areas I felt I was blessed to have some talent & walk through the doors that naturally opened because of them.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? One day, I would love to work with David Foster. I've always been such a fan of his songwriting and production style.

3. You just released your new album "Love Is Christmas." What made you want to make a Christmas album? Christmas is (and will always be) my favorite time of year. To me, it brings out the best in people; love, generosity, kindness…plus, to me, it's all about family. I had wanted to record a Christmas album for several years but it just wasn't the right time. Several months back, I looked at my schedule and realized I had the time to really focus on what I wanted to record, how I wanted to approach it & more importantly, who I wanted to work with it on.

4. How did you decide which holiday songs you wanted to put on the CD? Honestly, that was the most difficult part of the entire process. I sat down and went through my favorite Christmas songs and at the end of the day had a list of a little over 35 songs. I wanted to combine my love for the sacred tunes as well as the Christmas classics I grew up on. Obviously, the list was WAY too long for any single album so my producer, Jamey Ray, and I sat down and began narrowing them down to the eleven tracks that makes up the album. To me, the outcome was exactly what I set out to do from day one.

5. Rachel Potter and Marty Thomas make a guest appearance on your album. What made you want to record with them and how did you decide which song you wanted to record together? I have such respect for both Rachel & Marty & I'm so thankful to have them as part of this project. In fact, they were among the first people I met years ago on my first trip to New York. Not only are their voices fantastic, but their work ethic is something that has driven me personally since moving here last December. Now in regards to the song itself; I've been aware of it for many years & it's always been a favorite of mine. It was originally recorded by the group Avalon & was written by my friends Joel Lindsey & Wayne Haun. Before moving to New York, I lived in Nashville and worked for Sony/BMG in their Creative Publishing department. Joel and Wayne were both writers signed there & this song is part of that catalog. In fact, Joel was one of the very first people I co-wrote with and in many ways has become a mentor of mine. After deciding to record "Light A Candle", the question then became how to approach it; whether to record it as a solo song or keep the feel of the original recording as a group. Once that decision was made, Rachel & Marty were the first two people that came to mind. Jamey, my producer, is close friends with them both & that's ultimately how that connection was made.

6. You are going to be performing 2 shows at the Sidewalk Cafe on December 12 to help promote "Love is Christmas." What excites you about performing at the Sidewalk Cafe? What does this venue offer that another venue does not? Well obviously, I'm excited about this being my first solo show here in the city. I had several goals that I wanted to accomplish when I moved here last year; one of them was to do a concert. These performances will literally occur three days before the one year anniversary of me signing my lease; so…WHEW…I just made it - hahaha! As far as Sidewalk Cafe goes, it has a wonderful history down in the East Village & they've recently redone their performance space. My shows are part of their new Landmark Wednesdays & I couldn't be happier to be apart.

7. What does it mean to you to be making your NY debut with this concert? It's very exciting for me & something that I've been wanting to do for a while. For the six years prior to moving to New York, while based out of Nashville, I toured full-time as a solo artist performing and promoting my previous three albums. I had never had the chance to play here; so to me, this is a culmination of several years of work. Also, I can't think of a better way to make my NYC debut than with a Christmas concert.

8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? Well I think it all depends on the project. For instance, with my previous release, "Where Healing Starts," I wrote all but two songs on the album. So my favorite process was seeing those songs that started with a pad, pen & rough work tape slowly come together into their final, full produced versions. However, I only wrote one song on "Love Is Christmas," so that aspect was different in this case. For me, when it came to this project, the process of putting my vocals down & hearing them back on these Christmas favorites was the best part.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer? That the longer I work at this craft, how little I actually know & how much more there is to learn. My vocal coach in college told me this, "The moment you feel you no longer have anything to learn, is the moment you cease to be a musician." I've tried to keep that in mind ever since.

Daniel Kirkley singing at a benefit in Mason, OH10. What's the best advice you've ever received? I remember one day chatting with Joel Lindsey (one of the co-writers of "Light A Candle") and I asked him, looking back over his career, what was one of the things he was most thankful for & he said, "I'm thankful for all the people who are better than me that quit before I did." I love that perspective. Ultimately, you can't control how things in the music industry are going to go; things tend to be so subjective. Also, you will meet people everyday that are better singers, musicians, songwriters, actors, dancers, etc…that's just the nature of the world. However, you can control your own drive and determination. I firmly believe what sets someone apart is their confidence in what they do well, working hard to master it & never allow the comparisons to another person/performer get you down.

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would have to be my niece, Ella. I love being an uncle and that beautiful little girl simply steals my heart every time I see her smile or hear her voice. Being away from her is honestly the most difficult part of living here in the city.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? To me, there's nothing better than a day off in my pajamas, a giant pot of coffee & catching up on my DVR or playing a little PS3 - hahaha!!!

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love going to the gym…but since moving here, my favorite thing to do is running the loop in Central Park.

14. Boxers or Briefs? One has to keep a little mystery in the world - haha!

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd want to fly.

Friday
Sep212012

Wade Dooley: PZAZZ 101 Interview

Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaWade Dooley is yet another rising performer/writer to keep your eye on! As a performer, some of his favorite credits include: "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" (Tour); "Scott Alan’s Monday Night New Voices" (NYC), "Forever Plaid," and "Over the Pub" (Saint Michael’s Playhouse) along with regional productions of "Grease," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "CATS," and "Crazy for You." Also, Wade is the creator and book writer of a new musical, "Sunset City," with lyrics by Brett Teresa and music by Bobby Cronin. Wade is a graduate of Bradley University with a B.S. degree in Business Administration and proud member of Actors’ Equity.  

Wade Dooley as "Mary Shennanbargger", Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaNow Wade has taken his writing and performing talents to web to create his hilarious Broadway-themed web series "PZAZZ 101," directed by Isaac Klein. Just wrapping up it's second season, "PZAZZ 101" is centered around "Mary Shennanbargger," a former performer turned teacher, who helps Broadway’s best and brightest find their footing on the Great White Way. She knows everything there is to know about entertainment and she’s ready to share the wealth. Pull up a chair, grab a Werther’s and get ready to say "Wow!"

"PZAZZ 101" has new episodes every Wednesday! Tune in at http://www.PZAZZ101.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

For more on Wade be sure to visit http://www.thewadedooley.com

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? I have always been performing. I was huge in the family room and the backyard. I like to make people smile, and I love to make people laugh. But, Raul Esparza in the revival of "Company" truly sealed the deal for me. I moved to New York the following summer. I knew I wouldn't be happy doing anything else.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Kristin Chenoweth, Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera....just to name a few.

Wade Dooley as "Mary Shennanbargger", Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia3. What made you want to create and star in PZAZZ 101? How did you come up with the character of "Mary Shennanbargger"? I grew up watching SNL, MAD TV, Tracy Ullman's "Tracy Take On," etc. I love characters, and I love seeing one person become different people. "Mary" is one of my different people. I was doing a production of CATS about six years ago. While applying makeup, I would start talking in this voice. It slowly became "Mary," a retired performer turned coach that was mad that she hadn't been asked to choreograph the show. I worked on her bit by bit over the years along with other characters, and she always seemed to stick out. Fast forward two years later. I moved to NYC, and I started piecing together a stage show for "Mary." I ended up doing the show at the DC Fringe Festival and with Prospect Theater Company here in the city. Then, I met Isaac Klein, my now director, and we came up with the idea to create the web series "Pzazz 101." We joined the online craze, and we have been trying to spread "Mary's" words of WOW ever since. In the end, we hope that a following for the character and series will help the stage show to get a run in the city or maybe "Mary" could take to the small screen!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after watching the series? First, I hope people laugh. Second, I hope people recall their time in "class," and they can reminisce a bit. Third, some of "Mary's" lessons actually work.

5. How did you decide which theatre stars you wanted to have on the show? I invited performers that I really enjoy watching onstage. We put offers out to a bunch of different people, and we ended up with a great, fun group. Every person was up for anything, and that's what was so great about it.

Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia6. What do you enjoy most about writing a web series as opposed to a theatrical show? Well, we don't write the web series, and I do have to write for the stage. Our "Pzazz 101" episodes are improvised. We agree on a premise and then we film for an hour to produce a 5-8 minute video. I love the spontaneity of improvisation. If we had scripted it, it would have been funny, but not as funny as it is because it is truly in the moment.

7. What can you tell us about your upcoming collaboration with Bobby Cronin and Brett Teresa on "Sunset City"? What have you enjoyed most about working with these two talented guys? Well, "Sunset City" will be a very funny musical with a lot of heart. It's about a failing retirement home in Central Illinois (my stomping grounds) and the residents that live there. People aren't writing shows for older actors. Why? I'd much rather hear a 75 year-old tell a story or sing a song compared to a 15 year-old. It's the years of experience and the history that make it more interesting.

First and foremost, they are very fun, and we have a good time. Most of all, I enjoy our spirited debates that never end with someone winning and someone losing. We have debate, the work is better for it, and in the end, we're still friends.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/writer? I have learned that preparation for me is everything. I used to be the guy that laughed about warming up. I have come to realize how wrong I was. Whether performing a song or a scene, I can only be fully present if I have done the preparation. I'm more confident, uninhibited, and "in" my body.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "It's not about you." Whenever I'm upset about an audition, it softens the blow when you realize, most of the time, it's not about you. It's about the costume size or my body type or my height. You can't change those things. Well, you can't change most of those things.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? To be honest, I don't really dream while I sleep. But, when I do, it's usually very odd and scary i.e. trees growing out of my hands, being chased, falling, etc. I should probably talk to someone about that.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love going to the movies, roaming around the city, and window shopping for things I can't afford...yet.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Mark Fisher Fitness! It's not a gym, it's a clubhouse. Fun, friendly, and I feel the burn every single time.

13. Boxers or Briefs? Some things need to remain a surprise.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I think I would choose the power to teleport different places instantly. I don't LOVE riding the train.

Wednesday
Jul112012

Julie Reiber: Love Travels Interview

I first met the extremely talented Julie Reiber in 2010 at a reading of Bobby Cronin's "The Beaten Path" (now retitled "W2ML"). Since that time she has been seen in the recent Broadway production of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," alongside Harry Connick, Jr., was "Connie Bradshaw" in the World Premiere performance of "Tales of the City" at ACT in San Francisco, sang the music of Jason Sellards (Jake Shears) and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters, starred as "Cathy" in "The Last Five Years" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and "Betty Haynes" in the classic "White Christmas" at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Julie just finished up her run in one Broadway's most fun and colorful shows "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and has released her debut CD "Love Travels."

"Love Travels" is a joyous trip through the musical realms of theater, pop, folk and soul from one of New York's brightest and most compelling voices, supported by a 12 piece band of Broadway veterans. The disc takes advantage of Reiber's considerable Broadway experience by opening with an effervescent take on "I Got Love" from the 1971 musical Purlie. She then offers a majestic reading of "Still Hurting" from one of her favorite stage roles in the Jason Robert Brown musical "The Last Five Years." Her careful interpretation of "Through The Mountain," a selection from Adam Guettel's "Floyd Collins," echoes the score's Americana influences. Of course there is her unique version of Elphaba's anthem "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, a special bonus track on the CD. She performed the song over one hundred times both at the Gershwin Theater on Broadway and with the show's original Los Angeles company, opposite Adam Lambert as "Fiyero."

Julie recording "Love Travels" CDJulie also finds inspiration in some of the 20th Century's most beloved singer/songwriters. She is able to display her more introspective side – and an appealing folksy charm – on Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet." Burt Bacharach and Hal David might not recognize their famous 1960s hit "Walk On By," which is recast by Julie as a funky jam, but still retains the song's yearning and naked emotion. James Sampliner’s swirling string arrangements intensifies Julie's vibrant performance of the John Mayer hit "Back To You." Other highlights include her lilting version of Joni Mitchell's "Little Green" and the exciting groove of Chaka Khan's "Stay."

Her three original compositions are no less impressive. "When You're Around" is a dreamy yet introspective love song with an irresistible lyrical quality. "Be My Love," which she wrote for her husband soon after they met, is an eager declaration with a driving rock beat that would fit in on today's Top 40 radio. The sunny "There's A Way" expresses Julie's innately positive attitude with an upbeat and modern sound.

"Love Travels" is arranged and orchestrated by James Sampliner, the Musical Director of "Legally Blonde," "The Wedding Singer," and "Brooklyn" on Broadway – who also serves as co-producer along with Julie. Jack Sharkey serves as Executive Producer.

For more on Julie be sure to visit http://www.juliereiber.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. We first met in 2010 at a reading of Bobby Cronin's "The Beaten Path" (now retitled "W2ML"). Since that time you have been seen in the recent Broadway production of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," alongside Harry Connick, Jr., were "Connie Bradshaw" in the World Premiere performance of "Tales of the City" at ACT in San Francisco, singing the music of Jason Sellards (Jake Shears) and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters, starred as "Cathy" in "The Last Five Years" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and "Betty Haynes" in the classic "White Christmas" at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Now you just finished up your run in one Broadway's most fun and colorful shows "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and you released your debut CD "Love Travels." You've certainly done a lot! What made now the right time for you to release your debut CD "Love Travels"? What did you get from working on your album that you do not get from your theatrical endeavors? Yes. I've been busy and it’s been wonderful. I've had the chance to play a lot of great roles over the past couple years AND I also got engaged and married within that time as well. ;-) So it has most definitely been a very busy time...but all amazing stuff!

Julie having fun during the recording of "Love Travels" CDThe process of the album was slow and steady. I had been working on it slowly over a course of about two years before we got into the studio. And even our studio time ended up being divided because of other jobs interfering. My musical director James Sampliner and I were very busy with other projects, so it was about fitting in sessions to work when we could. Our schedules took us out of town and kept us really busy, so although I was eager to finish it all and get it in my hands, I had to trust the process and not rush it. Pushing timelines and forcing things wouldn't allow me to be thoughtful and really make it my own and exactly how I wanted it. So I tried to just relax into the process and take my time knowing that when it was done the time would be right.

Working on the album was such a personal endeavor. It's a unique opportunity to express myself in a different way then I get to experience when I'm playing roles in shows. Although I love playing roles and stepping into someone else’s shoes, it's a very different experience to put yourself out there as just you. And musically this was an opportunity for me to show who I truly am as an artist and what kind of music I love to sing. This album is a full expression of me which is really special to me. It's a full experience of who I am, what I stand for and the kind of music and singing I love to do.

2. How did you come up with the title and song selection for "Love Travels"? When picking the tunes for the set list I realized that everything I was looking at was related to love in some way. Not just the heartbreak, but the joys, the yearning, giving, receiving....all the different spaces and forms and stories of love. The album concept was always to be an old school album that could be listened to from beginning to end and take you on a journey. All the tunes moving from one to another in regards to tune, but also story, so it can take you on a ride. Hence, the "Love Travels" idea for a title came from that concept.

3. You have contributed three original songs to your debut CD "Love Travels." Out of all the songs you have written, why did you choose these three to debut? I am a fairly new songwriter and my guitar skills are pretty basic. I was actually terrified to put any originals on the album at all, but I got enough encouragement from friends that I went for it. And I'm really glad I did. I've only written about 11 tunes in my life so there wasn't a ton to choose from really. And it was also pretty clear which ones had potential and which didn't....so I just tried to go with my gut about which ones I felt most confident about and my favorites.

4. What was your favorite part of the creative process in putting the album together? This one is tough because I loved so much of it. The beginning process with James and I in his apartment was awesome! We would throw ideas around and make it up as we went along. I'd find myself jumping around with excitement at the prospect of an arrangement. It was such an amazing, creative part of the process. And I'd also have to say the studio. I had such a great crew of guys and recording at Avatar was such a tremendous feeling. And it didn't hurt when Roberta Flack stopped by who was recording next door either. ;-)

Julie as "Marion" in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert"5. You just finished up your run in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" on June 24. What was the best part about being part of this terrific show? It really was a blast to do this show! It was such a blessing how it fell in my lap. The group of actors and crew on this show were so terrific and how can you not have a great time going to work when you're singing disco music all night and talking with an Aussie accent. The show flew by because we were so busy running around and it was such a great feeling to have your audience EVERY night....no matter how big or small the crowd....singing along, jumping to their feet at the end smiling ear to ear. It was a wonderful feel good show. Broadway is gonna miss it.

6. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? The list of actors I admire and would love to work with is many. If I could do a scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman I'm sure I would learn a lifetimes worth of knowledge. There so many composers as well that I admire. I love singing Jason Robert Brown's music. I would love to sing anything he writes anytime. I also have my lifelong dream of being a back up singer for Stevie Wonder someday. That would make my life!

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/songwriter? Oh gosh. I have discovered myself. As you grow and move through life and especially through a career like this, with its many ups and downs, you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and what you're all about. It pushes me to question who I am, what I think of myself, and what kind of a person and talent I want to be. I've learned to trust myself as a performer and it's given me confidence over the years. There is so much rejection and judgment that you feel in this business and through it all the most important thing I've learned is to be myself. I am enough and whatever I bring, if I am my full self and I give it my all, then that is all I have to do. Enjoy what I do and be my full self.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? I can definitely reiterate what I said above. The advice to just be myself and trust that that is enough is the biggest lesson I've learned. Also learning to just trust in the universe and that I'm right where I'm suppose to be always. Sometimes in this business you want a gig so bad and you're sure it's made for you, but sometimes you don't know what's in store for you and I have always headed the advice of trusting that I'm right where I'm suppose to be, no matter what.

9. Favorite way to spend your day off? Yoga. Catching up on my DVR. Being outside. Lunch with a friend. Spending the night lounging around with my husband. 

10. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga and walking in the park.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Ooh. Time travel! Only at times of my choice of course, not like in "The Time Traveler's Wife."  But that would be amazing to see other moments in time.

Sunday
Mar182012

Bobby Cronin: Daybreak Interview

I first interviewed three-time ASCAP Award winning composer/lyricist Bobby Cronin in 2009 when he had his CD release concert for "Reach the Sky" at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. Since that time Bobby has become continued to rack up the awards. He won the 2010 Award for "Outstanding Music & Lyrics" for "Ten Reasons I Won't Go Home With You" at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, "Best Original Web Score, Mockumentary Division," for his web-series, "THANK YOU, NEXT," and his new original musical "Daybreak" won the 2011 NJ Playwrights Contest. Now "Daybreak" will be having two productions this June, one in London and one in New Jersey! Bobby's other new original musical, "Welcome to My Life" (W2ML), his under option for a Broadway premiere!

Bobby is the first American writer to pen an original piece ("The Concrete Jungle") for the esteemed London ArtsEd School, which will also open in June 2012. Bobby's performed concerts around the globe: he headlined the March 2009 Lincoln Center Songbook Series, made his Los Angeles debut in May 2010 at Show at Barre, and made his London debut in February 2011 with a sold out concert at The Players Theatre.

To see the talent that is Bobby Cronin, make sure you go see his award winning new original musical "Daybreak," in London or New Jersey this June!

In London, "Daybreak" will play at Tristan Bates Theatre in London's Covent Gardens from June 5-30, directed by Hayley Cusick, produced by the award-winning Notion Theatre Company.

In New Jersey, "Daybreak" will play the William Patterson University campus on from June 7-24, directed by Edward Matthews and musically directed by Warren Helms & Charles Santoro. Click here for tickets!

For much more on Bobby be sure to visit http://www.bobbycronin.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. What made you decide to write "Daybreak"? My previous agent, the awesome Chris Nichols, suggested that I add a song cycle or small musical to my project list. So, I racked my brain and looked through my "project ideas" folder (which I have had for about ten years now) and my mind started to create a framework for DAYBREAK starting with the Golden Gate Bridge which is the most notorious suicide structure in the world. I have lost several friends to suicide and am a supporter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( http://www.afsp.org/ ) and wanted to explore this idea in a musical. And while this creative process was just starting, my father's health was suffering, eventually leading to him falling into a coma. I would drive to the hospital in Boston twice, sometimes three times a week, and on those long car rides, I started thinking about my relationship with him and how I felt about all of the ups and downs we'd had. This was the true spark for what is now DAYBREAK. While the story is entirely fictional, there are many, many personal moments in the show.

2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Daybreak"? DAYBREAK is emotional roller coaster. I want the audience to go on the ride and leave the theatre believing in the power of truth, the power of change, the power of self-worth, the power or family, the power of dreams, the power of communication, and the power of love and self-love -- all without being preachy or corny. See, everybody makes mistakes and everybody feels lost at one time or another, but you must believe that there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel if you want to truly "live."

3. What was it like to write the music for this show? I loved writing this score! It is passionate, darkly humorous, witty, emotional, haunting, textured, and technically challenging. The harmonies are very tight, so that there is always tension. These characters start the show at the height of despair and end the show seeing the daybreak, feeling the weight lift off their shoulders, so to speak. So I needed to create a score that would give that musical journey for both the actor and audience.

4. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting a show together? Getting the work off the page: rehearsal. Working with the actors and musical director and director...the whole team that creates a night of theatre. Watching and feeling the excitement in a rehearsal room is one of the greatest feelings in the world. With DAYBREAK, I have been blessed to have worked with some phenomenal actors and creative team members who really helped develop the piece through their own passion for the work. I am very lucky and very grateful for those kind and supportive people: Brett Teresa (who did some amazing additional lyrics and supportively guided me along the way), Johanna Pinzler, Sheri Sanders, Jenny DiNoia, David R. Gordon, Kasey Marino, Tricia Tanguy, E. Clayton Cornelious, LaQuet Sharnell, Ray Lee, Maria Pendolino, Marty Thomas, Brad Bass, Kate Pazakis, Eric Michael Krop, and the amazing William Demaniow, and more!

5. Where is your favorite place to write/practice on your own? I am big on "positive energy" and I have two places that have amazing writing energy:

1) In my music room in my apartment. I live right across the water in NJ and have the entire first floor of a 2-family house. The "sun room" has become the music room. And there is nothing like writing in a sunny room with four windows looking onto trees, grass and the sky.

2) I also have been very fortunate to have a steady outlet to my friend and big supporter Andi Poch's house on the Jersey Shore where I will go for several days at a time to write in her large house, a stone's throw to the most beautiful private beach. I take care of her sweet old beagles while there and write day and night. I love writing there...very quiet and it is just me and her two dogs (though very sadly, the oldest went to doggie heaven just last night...but she lived a long and happy 17 years and was very loved!)

6. What have you learned about yourself from being a composer/lyricist/writer? I have learned so much about myself! One of the biggest things I have learned it to trust my instincts, in every way possible. I have also learned that patience is a virtue, hard work pays off, and that I love my job! Since I was a little kid, I always "heard" music. I would sing ALL THE TIME. Night and day. On the ice while playing hockey (which I started at age 3 and stopped at age 22), while taking an exam in college, while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, walking around campus, walking around NYC: I'd sing these songs, complete with lyrics, that I'd "hear" in my head. Sometimes it's hard to quiet my brain down, but I am grateful to whomever keeps singing these songs to me! This is what I mean about instinct. I have no idea where these songs and scores come from, but I don't question it anymore. I just go with the flow, trying to put into my fingers what I hear in my head at that particular moment, for a particular character. So for me, like Friedrich Nietzsche said,  "Without music, life would be an error."

7. "Daybreak" recently won the NJ Playwrights contest. What did it mean to you to achieve this honor? It means a lot to me! This is a tough somewhat unforgiving business (and boy have I experienced that from many). Being a "go getter", I started my career doing as many concerts as possible so that my work could get out there. This has/had its advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage was that I became known as "that concert guy" who could write good songs. Nobody knew that I was writing scores and that I had several musicals in development. Now that all of those projects are finished (W2ML with book writer Alicia Dempster; 'TIL DEATH DO US PART with book writer Allen Mogol; A CHRISTMAS CAROL with Angelyn Benson, and DAYBREAK with Brett Teresa), it is thrilling to be able to say that my MUSICAL won an award. Not my song. Not my concert. But an original book musical, not based on a movie or novel or play, won a statewide playwrighting contest. My agents are as excited as I am, believe me!

8. "Daybreak" is going to have a production in London and one in NJ this June. What excites you about these two upcoming productions? What is it like to be an international success? As I have been working my tush off the past few years, I am most excited to see the world of DAYBREAK come to life in two fully realized productions, complete with sets and costumes and sound cues and lights and a band and, you know, the real thing!! Every writer's dream, really. And, I am excited to see how the two productions differ, being performed for two very different audiences.

I am very lucky to have met an amazing agent in London, James Beresford, who literally saw me perform an 8-song concert of my work in a pub featuring members of the London cast of HAIR. (again with the concert, but look what this concert did for me...I have Daybreak and a new song cycle called THE CONCRETE JUNGLE which is being written for the ArtsEd School, Lord Webber is the president of the school, opening in the spring). James has been instrumental in getting my work to the West End community, a community that has been extremely welcoming and supportive of my work and that of other US composers.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? I was at a holiday party a handful of years back,and having arrived late due to work, there were only five people there. We were sitting around drinking, chatting and this man next to me asked what I did for a living. I said "babysit, petsit, and bartend for now. I'm a composer/lyricist starting my career, waiting for someone to take notice..." He said, "oh really? I'm a composer. It's a tough business, believe me." We chatted for a while and then I said, "Oh, I'm Bobby, by the way." to which he replied, "I'm Frank...Frank Wildhorn." Well, I almost spit up my spiked egg nog, but did my best to keep my composure. He told me some really cool stories, some trivia, etc...He was so nice! As we were all leaving he said to me, "You're one of the nice guys, aren't you? Let me give you some advice: don't lose that. Stay a nice guy. And, contrary to what most composers would say to young writers, give your music to anyone who asks for it, because you never know who/what they will become."

Well, a few months later I nervously did my very first NYC concert and my friend Caissie Levy, an ensemble member of WICKED at the time, had heard my song "Dear Daddy" from W2ML (then called BRAT CAMP). She asked if she could sing it at this concert, which she did with her usual brilliance. Somehow the song got up on YouTube just as Caissie became Elphaba in LA. Suddenly I was getting daily emails asking if I sold my sheet music for "Dear Daddy" and "Reach The Sky" and others...I had no idea anyone other than the fifty people at the D-Lounge concert knew my music!

That same week, I happened to be doing a benefit with the amazing Scott Alan who also gave me great advice: "get a website, get more songs on YouTube, and sell your sheet music! I promise you, it will all pay for itself." So, I got a website and indeed  started to sell my sheet music. Shortly after, Caissie graced Broadway with her beautiful performance as Shelia in HAIR. Again, "Dear Daddy" on YouTube got tons of hits and I sold lots of sheet music. Suddenly I was making a living as a composer/lyricist! And then Caissie blew it up as Molly in GHOST (side note: I found out the casting directors of GHOST passed around an iPhone with her singing "Dear Daddy" on YouTube saying, "check this out. This is Molly!" -- note: what goes around, comes around. So spread around goodness. There's enough evil in this world.)

I now have tons of UK fans who are singing my music at auditions and showcases! It's a really cool feeling!

I am eternally grateful to Caisse, Frank and Scott...and all of the actors who have sung their hearts out for me.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I really want to say something intelligent or poignant, and even though I already have my dream man...I could dream all night about Hugh Jackman.