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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (279)

Thursday
Dec192013

Call Answered: Facetime with Travis Moser, recording artist and cabaret singer, 54 Below Debut

In my latest video interview, "Call Me Adam" chats with Travis Moser, recording artist and cabaret singer, and Steven Silverstein, Musical Director, about Travis' debut concert at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue) with This Can't Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7pm, with special guest Samantha Shafer. Click here for tickets!

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

For more on Steven visit http://www.steven-silverstein.com and follow him on Facebook and YouTube!

Interview with Travis Moser and Steven Silverstein about Travis' show This Can't Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart at 54 Below January 8 at 7pm.

Travis MoserMore on Travis:

As a cabaret/concert performer, Travis has dazzled audiences with his solo shows in such famed venues as Birdland, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, The Duplex, The Iguana, The Metropolitan Room and the Strand Theater. His most recent show, This Can't Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart, premiered at the Metropolitan Room over several nights to rave reviews and is making it's debut at 54 Below! His debut solo album, This Can't Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart, was recorded live at his stint at The Metropolitan Room and is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Google Play, Spotify and other music retailers. 

Regionally, Travis has played "Action" in West Side Story, "Jack" in Into the Woods, "Master Nick Cricker" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and "Joseph" in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, among others. He also had the opportunity to work with two time Tony Award nominee Margot Sappington in the Pittsburgh Playhouse production of Jekyll and Hyde. On Camera, Travis has been a featured soloist on The Children's Hospital Free Care Benefit Show on CBS and is currently a National Anthem soloist for the New York Roadrunners (NYRR) organization. Travis is a graduate of Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts, earning a B.A. in Theater Arts. 

Steven SilversteinMore on Steven:

Steven has worked as a music director, pianist, vocal coach, composer in the U.S. and Europe. Steven works regularly with Broadway veterans including John Treacy Egan and Neva Small; TV celebrities such as Martha Stewart, John Stamos, Dark Shadows’ Nancy Barrett and the cast of Will and Grace (Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Harry Connick, Jr.). He acted as pianist and/or music director/arranger/copyist for composers Charles Strouse (Annie) and Jerry Herman (Mame).

Steven has played keyboards in the pits of such Broadway shows as Blood BrothersSwinging on a Star, and most recently, Promises Promises and played rehearsal piano for Broadway’s All Shook Up. Steven was the onstage pianist for the TV show Gossip Girl. Off Broadway he has been involved with such shows as MTC’s The Green Heart, When Pigs Fly, A Child’s Garden, St. Barts’ How To Succeed In Business…That’s Life, and Eating Raoul.

Steven has been the pianist for the annual Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention for Will and Anthony Nunziata.   Steven received a MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) nomination for the songs "The Path You Choose" and "A Strong Wind" written with actress Ruth Williamson and sung by Bistro Award winner Gretchen Reinhagen. Most recently, Steven served as music director for Mamma Mia’s Annie Edgerton at the Duplex. He has played piano for the infamous After Party hosted by Brandon Cutrell. Steven has also played piano for ballet classes at Broadway Dance Center for Broadway performer (West Side Story) Liane Plane.

Steven’s music is featured on the CD’s Quel FromageCount The Stars and On Christmas Morning. Steven is the composer of the musical The Human Heart, (with lyricist Michael Colby) which debuted at Marymount Manhattan College and received a grant from The Billy Rose Foundation. His musical, (with book writer/lyricist Blake Hackler) The Boss In the Satin Kimono, was presented as part of the 2009 Fringe Festival. In 2010, Steven contributed "Capture A Queen," with lyrics by Blake Hackler to the Midtown International Theater Festival and won an award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. Steven has written songs for Diary of A Dancer by Wade Dooley, which has been presented at the Bridge Theater in NYC.

Steven is the published composer of two holiday shows for children (One Magic Christmas and The Adventures of the First Easter Bunny), available through Encore Performance Publishing, with original orchestrations.

Steven’s songs have been sung by Broadway performers PJ Benjamin (Wicked), Carolee Carmello (Mamma Mia), and Ruth Williamson (White Christmas) among others. His songs have debuted and presented as part of the Songbook Series – Arts and Artists at Lincoln Center hosted by John Znidarsic.

Steven is the creator of Fearless Audition, an audition master class which he has presented in Washington, Arizona, The Hamptons and Florida. Steven is featured in Voice Teachers and Vocal Coaches of New York: The One and Only Guide. Steven is currently on the faculty of the Neighborhood Playhouse Junior School, as well as AMDA. He holds an MA in Music Education from NYU and BA in Theater and BS in Finance from The University of Bridgeport.

Tuesday
Dec172013

David Serero: All I Care About Is Love Interview

David Serero, Photo Credit: Gigirobb Rue des BrasseursDavid Serero, the internationally-renowned baritone, deaf-born actor and singer, returns to the U.S. to make his New York City, Off-Broadway debut with a one-night-only holiday concert David Serero: All I Care About Is Love, an evening of comedy and music with selections from David's extensive repertoire. David will sing selections from his newest recording, All I Care About Is Love as well as holiday tunes, songs that reflect David's Jewish heritage, and numbers from Man of La Mancha, Fiddler On The Roof, Show Boat, Brigadoon, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, and "Mexico" from Le Chanteur de Mexico.

All I Care About Is Love will play Thursday, December 19 at 8pm in the Bernstein Theater (1627 Broadway at 50th St.) in New York City. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling 212-921-7862.

For more on David be sure to visit http://www.davidserero.com and follow David on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? It actually started by a real accident. I was a pianist and once I had a rollerskating accident and broke my right wrist. During the two weeks of recovery, I started to sing the melody that I couldn’t play with my right hand and that's how I started. Performing music was like a drug, and it still is to this day and I don’t think it will ever stop…I need to express myself!

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Madonna and many others…but to be honest I like to work with everyone famous or not.

3. On December 19, you are making your first NYC appearance in over 10 years in a one night only concert entitled "All I Care About Is Love." What are you looking forward to most about this show? What made you wait 10 years to come back to NYC? I’ve performed more than 600 performances worldwide and I want to bring my signature show and my unique style to entertain a NYC audience. The New York audience is very tough because all the best performers from all over the world come to perform here, so now that I have reached a certain level in Europe, I feel this is the perfect time to come here.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your concert? To tell you the truth, I just want to give them the best evening possible, to entertain them with my singing, by bringing them emotion and my «joie de vivre» and to make them laugh with some funny stories that I tell between musical numbers.

5. The concert will be a mixture of classic Broadway, Opera, Russian, Jewish, and holiday songs as well as selections from your new solo album "All I Care About Is Love." How did you decide to have such a mixture of music for this show? Since I started singing, it was always natural for me to sing several genres and repertoires at once. I love all kinds of music and I don’t think that I prefer one above the other. Before being passionate with singing, I’m passionate about people, and singing a different repertoire helps me to connect with different people. Singing and entertaining is my way to express my love to all the world ! I also want my show to be representative of who I am, so this mixture is inevitable. When I perform a part in a musical, opera or film, it’s another exercise. I need this mixture to always stay fresh in my work.

I like to improvise with the audience. I never do two shows the same.

David Serero6. What makes your story so fascinating is that you were born deaf and did not begin to hear/speak until you were 9 years old. Now at 32 years old, you are fluent in 5 languages, sing in more than 15, play piano, sing, and entertain audiences around the world! What was it like to be able to hear and speak after not being able to do so for so long? I had to work more than anyone else and to prove to others that I was capable of doing something. In the worst period, I’ve never doubted myself. I knew I could do something. Because there is a place for everyone in this world and we’re all unique! Imagine a world where everyone will have the same voice and sing the same songs ? That would be pretty sad.

I also think that as an arrow, when you’re pulled back so far, once you’re relaxed you can only go further. I’ve always been working very hard. I was born with this work ethic: I’m a workaholic. When I was a child I was putting my ear on the piano and I could feel the vibrations of it. I like to say that it was the first conversation I had with someone. My deafness was diagnosed very late because no one knew, they thought I was shy…But my strong voice just grew bigger as if she was in jail, and then when she was released, I wanted the whole world to hear it. I’m very lucky that God put music in front of me so I could have a revenge on my difficult childhood. I want to show to the world that when you really want something and that you do it with love, passion and sincerity: Everything is possible!

David Serero in "Carmen"7. How does it feel to have this career, knowing what you overcame to get to this point today? I enjoy every single day. I’m lucky to be able to sing and to be on stage. I also have the diversity that I can perform an Opera, a Musical, act in a film, a play, record albums, travel, work with stage directors, conductors and others actors and singers...etc. If success would have never come, I would have still been happy to be on the smallest stage. Because singing and entertaining IS my way of living.

8. What have you learned about yourself from your life experience and career? Allow me to quote this: "This is my quest! To follow that star! No matter how hopeless, no matter how far, to reach the unreachable star!" This is from "Don Quixote" from Man of La Mancha that I performed in Paris and other productions. I’m not afraid to have dreams and to work everyday to make them come true. Actually, the path to get there is amazing. The longer, the better. Life is good!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Be yourself because the others are already taken!

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To be able to print money! (lol)

David SereroMore on David:

A Parisian native, the 32-year-old David enjoys a career as a musician having overcome considerable odds: he was born deaf, but after numerous operations he began to hear/speak when he was 12. He started playing the piano at age 13 and began singing when he was 16. He performs in 15 languages including English, French, Italian, Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian, having studied for two years at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.

David Serero has performed over 600 concerts around the world at venues such as Opera Garnier Paris, L'Olympia, Eiffel Tower, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Budapest Opera conducted by Placido Domingo, and a sold-out debut at London's Dominion Theatre in the West End. In Israel, he played the lead role in the first Hebrew opera THE DYBBUK and has performed for Israeli President Shimon Peres and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, among others.

David arranged and produced an album of jazz standards, I WISH YOU LOVE for Jermaine Jackson (formerly of the Jackson Five), and together they recorded the French classic "Autumn Leaves." The duo appeared together in the new musical written by David Serero, YOU ARE NOT ALONE throughout France. ALL I CARE ABOUT IS LOVE is David's debut solo album. His other recordings are L'HOMME DE LA MANCHA (Man of La Mancha in French version), and BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY, Duke Ellington's only musical, a rare revival of which David starred in last year in Paris.

David studied at the prestigious Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, going on to make his operatic debut as Scarpia in TOSCA and Germont in LA TRAVIATA. He was the first foreigner to be accepted into the Young Soloists Academy, also in St. Petersburg, touring France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Russia, U.S. and Israel. His other operatic roles with U.S. and international companies include CARMEN, TALES OF HOFFMANN, CAVALLIERA RUSTICANA, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, DON PASQUALE and I PAGLIACCI.

David's philanthropic work includes performing concerts for UNICEF and Hadassah Medical Center, and he founded Forbidden Talents, an organization dedicated to restoring the music of composers suppressed during the Nazi regime.

Monday
Dec162013

Philip Chaffin: Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields Interview

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van SteltenPhilip Chaffin is a performer and co-founder of PS Classics, a record label dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Broadway and the popular songbook. Philip has just released his fourth solo recording, Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields, the first ever all male recording of Dorothy Fields' songs. 

For more on Philip and PS Classics be sure to visit http://www.philipchaffin.com and http://www.psclassics.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter! 

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I grew up in the Deep South -- Louisiana and Mississippi -- and when I was a small kid, I used to dream about going to Hollywood and being on The Carol Burnett Show, or The Lawrence Welk Show, or Heehaw. That was a Southern's boy's dream! I should mention I come from a large family: I have five brothers and sisters, and they're really outgoing, and as a result, I didn't speak much until I was in high school. I sort of lived in their shadow. So when my high school announced that it was doing West Side Story, and I told my family that I wanted to audition, they all laughed, because they'd never heard me speak much, let alone sing. But I auditioned, and won the role of "Tony," and from that point on, I was hooked.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Well, I guessed I've missed my shot at being on The Lawrence Welk Show and Heehaw. Do you think there's a chance I could still work with Carol Burnett?  When she did Putting It Together on Broadway in 1999, I think that playing "The Younger Man," the John Barrowman role, would have been my dream job.

CD designed by Derek Bishop3. You just released your new CD Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields, which is the first ever male solo recording of her lyrics. What made you want make this album? What do you identify most with about Dorothy's songs? I'd spoken with my husband Tommy Krasker, who runs PS Classics with me and has produced all my albums, about my doing an album devoted to the work of one songwriter, and we worked on it for a few years -- we tried Jerome Kern and we tried Johnny Mercer, but we couldn't find the right fit. But then Tommy, who's a huge Dorothy Fields fan (he has a huge collection of her songs: over 300), suggested her work, and it felt so right. There was such range to the material, because of course her career spanned almost fifty years, but also, I think, because she was a playwright as well as a lyricist, there's always something to "play" in her songs, and that really appealed to the actor in me. You know, in a lot of songs of the '20s and '30s, they're a lot of fun to sing, but there's nothing to sink your teeth into.  Dorothy Fields' lyrics have so much personality: she really wrote for the actor as well as the singer.

4. What, if any, barriers do you feel you might help break with this album? Well, as you said, I'm the first male singer to devote an album to Dorothy Fields' work. So maybe more men will start doing her songs.  You know, Stephen Sondheim, who loves Dorothy Fields' lyrics, wrote something in one of his books, noting that because when she started writing, musicals weren't "integrated," the lyricists pretty much wrote in their own voice. Which is what she did, so the early songs especially have a slightly female or feminine or earthy or urbane tone to them. Maybe that's scared away some male singers before, but now here we are in 2013, I don't think we worry about stuff like that anymore. A great song is a great song.

5. What do you hope listeners come away with after hearing this album? Well, I hope folks will come away with an appreciation of her work, but I also don't pretend this is a compendium of her whole catalog; I mean, she wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs, and these are just my favorite seventeen. Mostly, I hope the listener will come away with the real sense of joy that we had in putting the album together. I have never had a better time doing an album.

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van Stelten6. What was the best part about putting this album together? Working with the orchestrators and musicians. We knew we wanted a lot of orchestrators involved, and we went to a lot of our favorites -- many of whom are always busy scoring Broadway musicals, like Jonathan Tunick and Doug Besterman -- and they all said yes. They loved the idea of the album, and they loved the songs. So suddenly you have these Tony Award-winning arrangers taking your ideas, and doing their thing, and making them ten times better than you ever dreamed. And then the orchestra was amazing. 23 players, and we handpicked them, so it was being in a room with these great arrangers and incredible musicians. I was hearing the charts for the first time just minutes before we recorded them; I think you can hear the sense of excitement and wonder in my performances.

7. In addition to performing, you are the co-founder of PS Classics. What made you want to start your own record label? What do you enjoy most about running the label? It's funny, Tommy and I never wanted to start a record label. We did my first CD back in 2000, and then we reached out to our accountant, because we needed to know what we had to do to sell it. And he said, you need to form a company. And we formed PS Classics, and suddenly -- because Tommy has been producing music theatre albums since 1989 -- all these artists started coming to us and saying, "I hear you have a new label devoted to show music," and they came to us with ideas for albums, or albums that were half-completed. It was right around the time that a lot of the major labels were getting rid of their music theatre divisions, so we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. And although occasionally I'm sad if I have to turn down an acting job because we're right in the middle of a big cast album and I can't get away, mostly I've been able to juggle the acting career and running the record label, and I love doing both. It's wonderful to see a Broadway show you love, and then get the opportunity to preserve it on disc.

CD designed by Derek BishopCD designed by Derek Bishop8. You have received two Grammy nominations for producing the CDs of Follies and Sondheim on Sondheim. What did these nominations mean to you? As I said, Tommy's the record producer in the family, but anytime we're doing an album, he'll call me into his office all the time and ask me to listen to something, and he'll say, "Are the strings too loud," or "Is the acting too over-the-top," or "Does that note bother you?" So I started producing albums with him sort of behind the scenes. But on Follies and Sondheim on Sondheim, they were big productions, and two-disc sets, and Tommy said, "Can you do these with me," and I was there every step of the way, from recording to editing to mixing, and I realized how much I'd picked up from him over the years. I found I was good at it. So getting Grammy nominations for those two discs was just icing on the cake!

9. Whose album or cast recording would you like to have on PS Classics? I'd love to have a Bernadette Peters solo album on our label. I think I actually first saw her when she was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show, and I thought she was amazing. And then I bought one of her solo albums, and I played it and played it until it wouldn't play anymore. We worked with her on Follies, and she was not only so talented, of course, but so gracious. I would love us to put out a Bernadette Peters solo disc. Will she be reading this?

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and running a record label? I've learned I can be tough when I need to be. When I moved to New York in 1997, I think I was in many ways still that shy boy from Louisiana. I would cower in front of casting directors -- they scared me! But when you run a label, you learn how to be strong, you learn when to say no, you learn to stand up for yourself. That's really helped me as a performer, both when auditioning and also when I land a role and I'm in rehearsals.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Breathe. Just breathe." An acting coach told me that years ago. I was running PS Classics, and performing in a show, and there was so much to do, I wasn't enjoying any of it. I wasn't taking the time to enjoy it. She encouraged me to slow down, breathe and really enjoy the opportunities I've been given.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Can I be like Superman and break the time barrier, or whatever it's called? I'd love to go back to the 1930's or 1940's, and be one of those singers who sings with a big band.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I run several times a week. We live near a park, and I love running through it. For some reason, I can never get in to running at the gym, but give me some scenery, and I'm there! Again, I think that probably goes back to my Southern roots, and growing up on a farm.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van SteltenMore on Philip:

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana –moved to New York in 1997, and within two weeks, was cast in his first concert (the Encores! revival of Sweet Adeline, in which he sang the solo "Pretty Jenny Lee") and his first Broadway musical, Alan Menken and Tim Rice’s King David. He continued to appear regularly in and around New York, then in 2000 founded the label PS Classics with his partner, album producer Tommy Krasker.

When his first solo disc, the big-band album Where Do I Go From You?, debuted that year, All Music Guide greeted the new artist as a "a singer with a highly engaging voice who clearly loves what he is doing. His mellifluous-toned tenor fits this music like a formfitting suede glove, and he does so seemingly without any effort at all, like honey running off the tongue." Show Business hailed his "flexible and soaring instrument. He is as comfortable swinging the beat as he is singing a ballad, and he has a clean, unpretentious sound that is both refreshing and sexy." His second album, Warm Spring Night, which celebrated a century of Broadway love songs, was released in 2005. Chaffin’s third album, When the Wind Blows South, was named one of Playbill.com’s "year’s best" in 2008. He is featured on recordings of Nonesuch Records’ Pardon My English, New World Records’ Tell Me More, and several PS Classics discs, including Sweet Little DevilSweet Bye and Bye and The Maury Yeston Songbook. Since 2000, Chaffin has divided his time between performing and running PS Classics; he has received two Grammy Awards nominations, for co-producing the Broadway cast recordings of Sondheim on Sondheim and Follies.

More on PS Classics:

PS Classics, founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin, has received eight Grammy Award nominations (for its cast albums of AssassinsNine: The MusicalGrey GardensCompany, A Little Night MusicSondheim on Sondheim, Follies and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). The label’s rich and varied catalog includes award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Victoria Clark, Maureen McGovern, Kate Baldwin, Jessica Molaskey, Steven Pasquale and Liz Callaway; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Bye and Bye and Strike Up the Band.

Monday
Dec092013

Alan Souza Video Interview : Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp Class

Alan Souza, Photo Credit: Tony GeraldIn my newest video interview, "Call Me Adam" sat down with award-winning director Alan Souza at Studio 21C to discuss his "Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp" class. Additionally, "Call Me Adam" got the inside scoop from several of Alan's students as to what makes Alan's class different from other classes being offered.

Fall Sessions of Alan's acclaimed Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp SOLD OUT! Visit http://www.alansouza.net and check under "Instruction" for upcoming information on Winter 2014 Classes!

 

Part 1: "Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp" class interview with Alan Souza, award-winning director

Part 2: Student Testimonials

Alan Souza, Photo Credit: Tony GeraldMore on Alan:

Alan Souza is a freelance director, based out of New York City. He conceived and directed the world premiere of The Little Hours, based on the short stories of Dorothy Parker, for the New Jersey Repertory Company in 2008. The production received the prestigious Edgerton Foundation Award for New Works – as did Exposure Time, a world premiere play that he led in early 2010.

He has directed both plays and musicals for the Walnut Street Theatre, The Laguna Playhouse, The New Theatre, Virginia Musical Theatre, The Human Race Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival and the John W Engeman Theatre at Northport. He conceived and directed the star-studded benefit concert, First You Dream, for the Actors Fund of America and the Christopher Reeve Foundation, is a frequent Guest Artist at many University Drama Programs throughout the country, and teaches Musical Theatre Audition technique classes in NYC. 

Alan was nominated for the 2008 Carbonell Award for his work on The Full Monty for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre; the show received 8 nominations in total, including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Featured Actress for Mimi Hines.

Coming up: Spamalot AND Camelot! What?!? The former amusingly traditional for Florida State University, the latter audaciously revisionist for Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. And there's a newfangled Damn Yankees in the mix too - for 3D Theatricals in Los Angeles!

Alan is a member of SDC and a Taurus.

Monday
Dec022013

Natalie Toro: Just In Time For Christmas Interview

Natalie Toro, Photo Credit: John BrunoNatalie Toro is a Broadway and Television actress/singer who just released her newest CD, Just In Time For Christmas, featuring classic holiday favorites, new songs, and duets with Ryan Kelly and Grammy Award-winner, Jon Secada. Natalie will be celebrating this release with a concert at NYC's Birdland (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) on Sunday, December 8 at 6pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Natalie be sure to visit NatalieToro.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. You just released your holiday CD Just In Time For Christmas. What made you want to record a holiday CD? It all started last Christmas when I was talking to the brother/sister team Andrew and Dawn Makay. They both LOVE Christmas, I mean like crazy Christmas and thought it was a good idea for me and my voice to live in this genre.

2. How did you decide which songs you wanted to record? Did I mention how much The Makay's Love Christmas? We were on a three-way call and everyone threw out their favorite song. This is where "JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS" got pitched from Dawn and Andrew. They were adamant on how I would sing the sha-poopi out of it. Mine was  "Ave Maria/ O'Holy Night." I have always dreamed of making that arrangement work. I wanted big, huge, symphonic and to intertwine the two songs together somehow. With the help of my Arranger, Edward B Kessel, who arranged the Broadway show A Tale Of Two Cities, was the go-to guy for this mission. And we did just that!

Natalie Toro3. On December 8, you will be having a holiday concert/CD release party at Birdland in NYC. What excites you about this upcoming concert/party and performing at Birdland? Well, the nerves are piling up with every minute that gets closer to the event. I keep reminding myself, it's a PARTY! Do what you do at parties and have fun. Many people get confused as to why I would have the stage gitters after all of my experience. But let me tell ya...that doesn't go away. It keeps me on my toes no doubt. Sorry, I got off of the question. Ha! What excites me that this will be the first time I am singing any of this stuff live. And Birdland is a venue I have always wanted to play. I have known the owner for a very long time and I've played other venues across the city, like Feinsteins. What I am most excited is that this will be the venue that I will remember forever because it's the venue that I will celebrate my very first Christmas CD.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after listening to your CD and attending the concert? First, I hope that they truly "feel" the love that was put into this project. And by feeling that love what will come second is how good it really is. I am not tooting my own horn here. I have been around long enough to know if something is good or bad. Even if I did it. And no one judges me more that I do myself. It's just that I am SO amazed at how all of it was put together. I just kept looking up at the sky and shaking my head. I never questioned the Universe. I was like, "okay," Let's go DO THIS! What I think people are starting to feel is the frequency of the music as a whole. I am getting emails every day about how people can't stop listening to it. I won't deny that that is exactly how I feel. I can listen to it over and over again.

Natalie Toro and John Secada5. What was the best part about working with Ryan Kelly and Jon Secada? I can say, "talent." They have such different styles. I will admit that I was a bit nervous working with both of them. My main concern was if we were going to blend vocally. But we all did what we do best, sing! And the magic happened. What was amazing with Jon was that he just wanted to "knock it out" in the studio and me being a Professional Stage Actress, I am used to a little rehearsal. But who was I to question him? I was like, "okay, we will work it out." And viola!

Natalie Toro and Ryan Kelly: "Baby It's Cold Outside" Official Music Video

6. What's your favorite part of the creative process in putting a CD together? Talking to the arrangers and trying to get your vision across what has been swirling in your brain for a while. I look at things like a movie. If it has a beginning. middle and an end, then it will work. Both of my Producers work the same way. The BEST part is when I start to get some samples of their creations. If my little hairs on my arms stand up, then I know we are going in the right direction.

Natalie Toro7. Since this is a holiday CD, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I like getting out the ornaments from storage, putting on some Christmas music, lighting a candle that has that scent of pine, and decorating. Usually, I dress in red and put on a Santa hat. I pretend I have a lit fireplace. Don't have one of those in The Bronx!

8. What do you love most about NYC during the holiday season? Well, I used to LOVE the way the city decorated for The Holidays. I feel like in the last few years, there are less and less decorations or anything Holiday even in December! That is sad for me. NYC gets a bad rap for mean people. But I think the pace of the city gets even more frenzied during The Holidays. Then on Christmas Day, there's the AH moment and everything is relaxed. You can actually feel the crisp air breathe.

9. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have always been a "dramatic child." My family had all sorts of nick-names for me. I guess it didn't help that I performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Amateur Night at five years old. I sang Streisand to my hair bush in front of a mirror all the time. I just had to hold that last note in "Evergreen" as long as she did. I cannot say there is one thing that inspired me. I didn't choose it. It chose me.

10. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Oh gosh, there are many. But if I had to pick...hmm...a few top of the A list actors for me are Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, and Glenn Close. You never know where your next project can take you. I would love to be in a feature film next. And I always dream BIG! I could sing with Lara Fabian.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Natalie Toro as "Mary Magdalene" in "Jesus Christ Superstar"11. What's the best advice you've ever received? The same advice I give to everyone, "Always be pleasant and professional to work with, even if you don't like where you are. You never know if that person you hated and disrespected will be the next big Director of the show or film you are auditioning for."

12. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That thank God I am really pleasant and professional in real life. I don't have to pretend. I have also learned that I am an open book and sometimes, you have to learn to close the page to protect yourself. I am REALLY sensitive. Doesn't help that I am a Pisces either. Can you say, mush? I struggle with the difference between compassion and idiot compassion and have learned to decipher the two.

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Oh, great question! I would absolutely have magic to manifest whatever needs to be done. But I would only use it for good. 

Natalie ToroMore on Natalie:

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Natalie made her stage debut at the age of five at the legendary Apollo Theatre during their "Amateur Night." After studying at The Manhattan School of Music she received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory of Music. It wasn’t long after graduating that the professional theatre world took notice of her unique talent.

Natalie Toro as "Eponine" in "Les Miserables"Natalie was the first American to play the role of "Eponine" in Les Miserables on Broadway, for which she played for over three consecutive years. She also received accolades and critical acclaim for her portrayal of "Madame Defarge" in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway. (She also filmed a concert version of this musical for PBS.) Other New York credits include originating the role of "Sally" in Alan Menken’s A Christmas Carol at the Paramount Theatre. Just some of her National Tour and theatrical credits include playing "Grizabella" in Cats, "Mary Magdalene" in Jesus Christ Superstar and, "Camila" in the Tony winning musical, In The Heights. Her acclaimed portrayal of "Eva Peron" in the 20th Anniversary Tour of Evita earned her a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination.

Television audiences might also recognize Natalie from her guest appearances on such shows as Elementary, Person of Interest, Law and Order, and Law and Order SVU. Natalie charmed audiences while performing with Symphony Orchestras across the country and graced the stage at Carnegie Hall and The National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Natalie Toro and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton FosterWith the help of her Producer, Dawn Makay, they produced her self-titled CD, a tribute to Broadway where she sang a duet with two-time Tony Award winner, Sutton Foster. Toro’s first album, Bailando en la Luz (Broadway Salsa Fusion), was the last to be recorded at the famous Power Station Recording Studios before it closed its doors. Natalie’s other recordings include the original cast recordings of Zombie Prom and A Christmas Carol; a dance single of "Rainy Days and Mondays" for BetBoys; and a compilation CD with other Latin artists called, Latin Broadway, among others.