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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Broadway (323)

Saturday
Sep132014

Call Answered: Natalie Douglas: Hello Dolly: The Music of Dolly Parton

Natalie Douglas, Photo Credit: Susan Block"Call Me Adam" chats with seven-time MAC Award, Backstage Bistro Award and Nightlife Award Winner Natalie Douglas about her concert at Birdland in NYC Hello Dolly: The Music of Dolly Parton this Monday, September 15 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

Natalie honors another notably-buxom performer: the beloved singer, actor, songwriter and Broadway composer. Fans can expect to hear songs that Dolly wrote such as "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors," and "I Just Might" from the Broadway musical 9 to 5, in addition to numbers that Dolly creatively covered like Neil Young’s "After The Gold Rush" and Led Zeppelin’s "Stairway to Heaven." Birdland is located at (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue).

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

Natalie Douglas at Birdland, Photo Credit: Seth Walters1. On September 15, you are presenting Hello Dolly: The Music of Dolly Parton at Birdland in NYC. What made you want to showcase a whole show of Dolly Parton music? Like millions of other fans, I have LOVED Dolly Parton for decades. Since hearing me sing "Jolene" in one of my Birdland concerts back in 2005, Jim Caruso, who’s not only the Broadway @ Birdland impresario, but also a talented entertainer himself, has been asking me when I was gonna sing an entire evening of Dolly music. Recently, there have been a few happy coincidences - I was asked to sing in a Dolly revue, someone sent me a link to Tori Amos' "Jolene" cover, heard someone calling his dog named, "Jolene" - the song seemed to be following me around. Seems like the world is having a Dolly Moment...so I wanted to play along!

2. How did you decide which songs you wanted to include? That's a long story and a short one at the same time...hmmmmm, guess the best way to put it is I try to figure out what best tells the overall story of the concert, plus what songs I REALLY want to sing. That probably seems obvious, but it can be tricky - sometimes a tune I wanted to sing months ago or a tune that seems like the perfect fit, isn't what I want to sing right now - and I've learned the hard way, the best shows are born of what I truly want to say. Also, any tune that makes me cry - that's in!

Natalie Douglas and Jim Caruso at Birdland, Photo Credit Kevin Alvey3. What made you want to do this show at Birdland? Why is Birdland the perfect venue for you to perform at? I've worked a zillion of clubs and they all have things to recommend them, but Birdland has been my NYC concert home for 10 years this month. Ever since my dear friend, Jim Caruso debuted his Broadway @ Birdland series there in June 2004, he, the owner, Gianni Valenti, and the entire brilliant Birdland staff make it a joy to come to play that room! Not only does the room have a truly legendary status, it's run beautifully and it's a thrill to stand on that stage every time! This will be my 28th solo performances at Birdland - it's a room that's all about the music!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this concert? That's an easy one! I hope they have a really GOOD time! I always do scads of research and scour the archives to try to find good stories & good songs, so that each audience member might discover something new about these artists or these tunes or themselves (I really hope they're moved!), but ultimately, in addition to my being a serious history/social studies/culture/politics/trivia geek, I'm out to have a blast & the audience is invited to come along with me! I feel "joined at the soul" with my audience, so I hope they walk away feeling that too!

Natalie Douglas at Birdland, Photo Credit: Kevin Alvey5. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Joe Williams & my Uncle Beau. My parents took me to hear live music often when I was small. One night, seeing the Count Basie orchestra, I watched Joe Williams come out on stage, begin to sing the verse of Ellington's, "Something to Live For," and completely captivate the audience - not a sound in that hall! I decided I wanted to do that. Make that particular kind of magic. 

Also, one of my earliest memories is sitting on my Uncle Beau's lap whilst he played piano. He'd place my tiny hands on the back of his hands and play anything he'd every heard without a leaf of sheet music. I adored him, my mother's brother, and felt as though we communicated perfectly even though he had some difficulties in the outside world and rarely left the facility in which he lived. I thought back on it as I got older & realized how music - the piano & the radio - were his way of making connection. I've always felt so glad he let me into his world.

6. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Oh that's so hard! So many of my Number One choices are no longer with us, (Nina Simone, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Joe Williams) which is the main reason I hope for an afterlife...that would be one cool club in which to hang out.

7. What's the best advice you’ve ever received? Say, "Yes." One of my favorite acting professors in college reminded us how important it is. It's taken me years to really hear what she meant, but since I've started living that way, my life & career have gotten even more enjoyable!

Natalie Douglas singing, Photo Credit: Lynn Redmile8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I'm still learning it, but I work every day to find the right amount of "me" in my work - actors can be rather self-obsessed, which is understandable - we are our instrument, but connecting with an audience, other musicians & the people who populate the world around you is the point of what we do, so that ego really needs to get out of the way. It's a balancing act & I feel as if I'm always learning to dance that tightrope.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? As a long time Doctor Who fan, I have to go with a combo power - I'd be an absolute darling Time Lord! You'd have, the Power of Regeneration, Super Intelligence, Time Travel, Universal Language & Teleportation. That would be soooooooo totally groovy & also, reduce one's carbon footprint! I mean, I just assume a TARDIS operates green! :-)

10. If you could be an original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be?  Pineapple, duh.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. How do you want to be remembered? Well, I'm not planning to go anywhere for a long time (for example, I think it would be fun to stick around for Birdland's 100th birthday party in 2049!), but sometime in the next century say after I pass on, I'd love to be thought of as kind, funny, smart & good at what I do.

Natalie DouglasMore on Natalie:

Natalie Douglas is a seven-time MAC Award, Backstage Bistro Award and Nightlife Award Winner – has garnered rave reviews for her unique mix of jazz, blues, standards, pop, folk and country music blended together. Most recently, she received the 2014 Margaret Whiting Award at Carnegie Hall from the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Her recent performances include concerts across the U.S. (Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Café Carlyle, and The Appel Room – formerly The Allen Room – at Lincoln Center) and across three continents (Montenegro, Greece, Corsica, Puerto Vallarta, London, Buenos Aires, Cancun & Germany.) In a Greenwich Village tradition, she also performs an annual New Year’s Eve collaboration with Mark Hartman at the Duplex. Her solo recordings include her debut CD, Not That Different – which was nominated for a 2000 MAC Award for Outstanding Recording – and To Nina...Live At Birdland, (a concert recording of her one-woman show, To Nina: A Tribute to Nina Simone) Both CDs, available at iTunes and other outlets, continue to be featured on NPR and Sirius XM Radio. She also appears on Fine and Dandy for PS Classics and Broadway By The Year: 1940 on Bayview Records.

Natalie is also an actress and is featured in feature film The Camera’s Eye, has appeared on ABC’s Cupid and many theatrical productions, including The People vs. MonaThalia FolliestheATrainplays (series 5-22) with The Neighborhood Playhouse, Hillside in Hell with 13th Street Rep and was a featured soloist at the York Theatre Company’s benefit production of Children Of Eden at Riverside Church.

Thursday
Sep112014

Call Answered: Joe Gulla: Faggy at 50: United Solo Festival

Joe GullaAfter two-sold out years in the 2012 and 2013 United Solo Festival, "Call Me Adam" finally gets to chat with The Bronx Queen playwright and actor himself, Joe Gulla about his new show Faggy at 50 which opens the 2014 United Solo Festival starting September 18! Click here for tickets!

For more on Joe be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

1. After two years with the sold-out hit The Bronx Queen, you are back in the United Solo Festival with a brand new show, Faggy at 50. What excites you about premiering this new show? I always envisioned The Bronx Queen as the first of a trilogy! Faggy at 50 takes us further down the road! I’m excited about unleashing this part of my journey on audiences!

2. How did you come up with the title Faggy at 50? How can you be 50 when you look like you are in your 30s??? I wanted the title to be provocative...in the spirit of Larry Kramer’s Faggots and John Leguizamo’s Spic-O-Rama! It’s meant to be funny AND serious. Who gets to define us? How do we define ourselves? Where do we draw the line?

A firm commitment to a good moisturizer..and, um hey, thanks Adam!!!!

3. How do you feel the United Solo Festival fosters your shows in a way another festival might not? The United Solo Festival dares to be specific. They champion the art of solo performance. As a youth, I was incredibly turned on by Spalding Gray and his monologues. Later, I was way into Eric Bogosian. I’ve always enjoyed this challenging and inspiring art form. United Solo celebrates it! If you’re solo performer or a person that enjoys solo performance…it’s where it’s at! They’ve created an incredible and supportive community.

4. In 2012, The Bronx Queen won United Solo's "Best Comedy Script" award and in 2013, it won United Solo's "Most Popular Show." What do these accolades mean to you and what did it mean to you to personally be asked back by the festival? Adam, it is a funny moment in a man’s life when his autobiographical show wins "Best Comedy!" Ha! Seriously, it is very satisfying to receive recognition like this! I am trying to give these shows and their messages a life! Winning awards garners attention. We’re in show business…gotta keep people interested!

This year, United Solo gave me the honor of opening the ENTIRE festival. This was in recognition of The Bronx Queen breaking records last year! I am BLOWN AWAY...complimented, thankful, wildly appreciative! It’s my intention to do them proud!

Joe Gulla5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Faggy at 50? I hope my audiences have a few good hearty laughs! Also, I hope they see that once we get past life's "static"…the important and satisfying stuff reveals itself!

6. What do you like about writing and starring in your own shows? How do you separate yourself between actor/writer? Writing’s a great vehicle of expression and it comes naturally to me! I take it seriously! Delivering MY words MYSELF...to a LIVE AUDIENCE. You’ve heard the expression before, "There’s nothing better! Nothing!" That being said, actors get more free drinks than writers and I’m all about the free drinks!

7. Who or what inspired you to become an actor/playwright? I’m a Bronx boy, a native New Yorker. My family came to Broadway all the time! The thought of being an actor/playwright was fascinating to me, but the reality of it seemed so elusive! I can name the names: John Guare, Terrence McNally, Tom Stoppard. Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, David Drake. But, at the end of the day, I was ROCKED when I saw Torch Song Trilogy on Broadway…so let’s go with Harvey!!!

Joe Gulla8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Nicky Silver…call me!!!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Never underestimate the value of the Third Avenue Bridge!"

10. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor/playwright? I’ve learned that sharing one’s story is satisfying, gratifying and, surprisingly, healing!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Easy! With a snap of my "super powered" fingers, the cashiers at my local CVS turn into shirtless, hunky, humpy go-go boys…who I tip a dollar for my toothpaste purchase!

12. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Lime! To enliven my green eyes!

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Equinox Made Me Do It!

14. Boxers or Briefs? Roberto Cavalli Trunks are my go-to!

15. How do you want to be remembered? I wore the SPY Magazine t-shirt in 90’s! On the back, it said: "Smart. Fun. Funny. Fearless."

Joe GullaMore on Joe:

Joe Gulla is an American playwright, actor, and reality television participant. He is best known for the autobiographical monologues that he writes and performs for the theater. His best known work, The Bronx Queen is based on his experience growing up as a gay boy in the Bronx. It was awarded "Best Comedic Script" and "Most Popular Show" at NYC Theater Row's 2012 and 2013 United Solo Theatre Festival.

Joe was a contestant on the NBC Adventure Reality Series, Lost in 2001. The show followed three teams of two as they made there way from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia back to the United States.

His play, Garbo was based on an unrequited love affair experienced while living in Rome, Italy. Garbo was selected to be part of the New York City's Times Square International Theater Festival in 2012. He played the role of "Frankie" in Off-Broadway's long-running hit, My Big Gay Italian Wedding.

The Advocate Magazine named Joe Gulla its "Anti-Bullying Hero." in 2012.

Sunday
Sep072014

Call Answered: Joan Shepard: Confessions of Old Lady #2 2014 International Fringe Festival Encore Series

Joan Shepard in "Confessions of Old Lady #2""Call Me Adam" chats with actress Joan Shepard about her show Confessions of Old Lady #2, chronicling her 74 year career on Broadway and Television that is part of the 2014 International Fringe Festival Encores Series at Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street) on September 18 and 28. Click here for tickets!

For more on Joan be sure to visit http://www.joanhaydenshepard.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Your show, Confessions of Old Lady #2, about your 74 year career on Broadway & television, just finished its initial run in the 2014 NYC Fringe International Theatre Festival and is now being presented in their Encore Series. What excites you about having your show in the Fringe Encore series? Excited & pleased to have been chosen.

2. What made now the right time to present Confessions of Old Lady #2? The last 2 summers I took the show to the Edinburgh Fringe. I loved it and would have gone back this year. But my daughter, the esteemed director Jenn Thompson, persuaded me to shoot for NYC Fringe as a higher target.

3. How do you feel the Fringe Festival helps foster this show in a way another festival might not? Plainly the attention given to Fringe NYC is extraordinary. I  got 4 reviews. The other Festival I applied to, offered a single performance as opposed to 5. 

Joan Shepard in "Confessions of Old Lady #2"4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Confessions of Old Lady #2? The promise that there is life after 80.

5. Since this show is about tales from your career, is there a story that did not make it into the show that you can share with us? In the show I tell about playing a 5 line part in The Member of the Wedding on Broadway. I don't want to distract from the impact of quoting Miss Ethel Waters &  telling how "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" got into the show, so I don't tell how (11 years after Bway) Miss Waters chose me to play the leading role of "Frankie Addams" on the West Coast, opposite her. One of my proudest possessions is a program cover showing me on her lap as we sing the famous hymn.

6. What was it like to go back through your whole life and career to put this show together? Were there moments when it was all too much for you? It was exhilarating rather than upsetting.

Joan Shepard in "Confessions of Old Lady #2"7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was totally hooked by my first show Romeo & Juliet, starring Laurence Olivier & Vivien Leigh. I never considered any other profession from, that day to this.

8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with Liza Minnelli. She's in my show, but we never shared a stage at the same time.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Don't ever let yourself be bitter." (too many character ladies have made this mistake).

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That being scared is okay. I am still terrified before each performance, particularly of CONFESSIONS, and I know it's part of the deal.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? No question: the power to fly.

12. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Mint.

13. How do you want to be remembered? As someone who brought delight.

Joan ShepardMore on Joan:

Joan Shepard has enjoyed 74 years as a working actress, beginning with being cast as an extra in Laurence Olivier's Broadway production of Romeo & Juliet in 1940. Since then she has racked up 8 more Broadway plays, including The Member of the Wedding with Ethel Waters and Foolish Notion in which she played Tallulah Bankhead's daughter. As a child, she was one of radio's Quiz Kids, as a grown up she has had a distinguished career on stage and on television. Most recently she has appeared regionally at such theatres as the Human Race, New Harmony, the Pasadena Playhouse and the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut. At the latter, she served also as Managing Director and was, along with her husband, Evan Thompson, directly responsible for saving that historic theatre from the wrecking ball. At Ivoryton she received a record number, seventeen of Pictorial Gazette Awards for her performances, and on television she was a memorable shoplifter on ABC's What Would You Do? as well as appearing on the HBO series Girls. In 2012 & 2013 she took her one-woman show CONFESSIONS OF OLD LADY #2 to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she was critically hailed as "a musical powerhouse" remotegoat.com, "a must see for any aspiring performer" StageWon, "Marvellous" (Whats'On), "a wonderful raconteur" Carrie Gooch SGfringe; "fabulous but not fading" (Scotsgay), 4 stars, "a gleeful account" (Libby Purves, the London Times). NYC's Cabaret Scenes described her show as "fascinating and fun" and called her "an eternal sprite whose company is a true pleasure".

Friday
Sep052014

Call Answered: Wendy Ho: Greatest Shits CD Release and Concert at The Triad/Stage 72

Wendy Ho, Photo Credit: Dusti Cunningham at Dragonfly Trannyshack La!!! Wig styled by Curtis William Foreman and provided by RockStar Wigs"Call Me Adam" chats with "The Queen of Raunch and Soul," Wendy Ho about new CD Greatest Shits, releasing on September 25 as well as her concert in support of this release called Wendy Ho (And Friends) on September 29 at The Triad/Stage 72 in NYC (158 West 72nd Street)! Click here for tickets! 

1. On September 29 you will be having your official NYC concert/release party for your new CD Wendy Ho: Greatest Shits at The Triad/Stage 72. What made you want to have this concert/release party at the Triad/Stage 72? Yes, it’s true! I am pleased to be hosting my "Greatest Shits," album release and concert at Stage 72 on September 29. My friend Michael Doane runs the theater booking, and I actually was just going to come into town to visit friends, but he offered the date to me—and since it coincided with my album release I said, "Why not?"

2. The concert will feature some of today's biggest names in theatre including Ben Rimalower, Natalie Joy Johnson, and Daniel Reichard. I love all three of them! How did you decide who you wanted to have as a special guest? Well, we have something in common because I love them too. The name of the show is Wendy Ho and Friends, and these "names," just so happen to be people who are dear friends of mine, and they have encouraged and inspired me throughout my artistic journey.

Daniel Reichard and I actually met at a one year "Never Forget" 9/11 commemorative party on a roof top on the lower east side—3 days after I had moved to New York in 2002. We hit it off instantly and were inseparable for quite some time. He was actually at the piano playing "Get Here," in his Chelsea apartment when I started to sing what is now the opening line of "Fuck Me," as a joke.

Ben Rimalower and I became close when he directed my first one woman show at Ars Nova in December of 2007. I met him through my friend Scott Nevins, and we hit it off in that same sort of instantaneous way that Daniel and I did. Natalie Joy and I met through Ben at Posh one night when we were doing a show with Poppi Kramer. I knew we were kindred spirits when we found ourselves outside of Posh on the street belting Jill Scott songs, and someone shouted from their apartment "shut the fuck up," and we CACKLED ourselves right off the curb.

3. What made now the right time to release your Greatest Shits album? There were many songs that were not allowed on iTunes because of liberal and ignorant sampling that we used when I first started recording. I kept finding myself at shows where people would either ask one of two questions, the first being— "Is this on itunes?" To which the answer was always a sad "I’m sorry, but no." So first, we rearranged the instrumentals to make them legally sellable on iTunes. The other thing they would ask is, after looking over the 2 hard copies of albums that I had for sale was inevitably— with tears in their eyes, "Where’s poop noodle????" So supply and demand told me that I had to get all of the favorite songs onto one album, and I really needed to make them available on iTunes.

4. Your Greatest Shits Tour includes stops in Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles. What are you looking forward to most about this tour? What do you like about interacting with your fans? What I am looking forward to most is what I always look forward to when I hit the road, getting to be in the middle of, and getting to co-create all the little pockets of love that I have luckily accumulated throughout my tenure as Qween Hobag! I love being with friends and fans because there’s a mirror affect, they give me encouragement and I in turn give them permission to be shameless attention whores like myself!

Wendy Ho, Photo Credit: Eileen Keenan Photography5. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment. How did you come up with Wendy Ho? How did you get the title "The Queen of Raunch and Soul?" What do you like or dislike about having this title? My real name is Wendy Jo, and when I was an acting student at Missouri State, I used to write and perform raps about my teachers and some of the students. They were all dirty and funny, so a friend of mine started calling me, "Wendy Ho," and it stuck. I never considered it a career move, nor did I ever take it seriously, but "she" followed me from place to place and job to job. I would inevitably end up performing her for other performers and cast members, and people would clamor for more. I eventually made a couple of albums of standard songs that I loved singing just to see what it was like to record, along with those albums I decided to put out a joke album of all the Wendy Ho bits I would do at parties, called Wendy Ho: Bitch Off a Leash, and this was the album that everyone wanted. Then, I was fumbling around New York, an out of work entertainstress when I met music producer, Craig Levy. Again, I tried my hand at legit singing-songwriting, and while we were working together I gave him a copy of the Wendy Ho album. He listened to it and immediately called me and asked, "Why aren’t we working on this? This is so funny, and no other artist I know is doing this…above all certainly no white woman."  It took me a while to get comfortable with being Wendy Ho on a public level. Although I had all of my friends encouraging me, I didn’t know if it would be enjoyed on a larger level. So Levy and I started to work on flushing out some snippets of songs, and then I put out an email to all of my performer friends asking if they knew where I could perform. They answered, and I found myself performing at Caroline’s on Broadway and then at just about every gay bar in the city. It was accepted and encouraged immediately. Of course there are those that don’t get it/don’t like it, but it’s really not for them. I eventually came to look at it like, if I can accept this over the top, dirty, loud, and crazy part of myself—maybe others will accept it in me and in themselves too. "The Queen of Raunch and Soul" came from my friend Roman Feeser, a writer, I met at Caroline’s on Broadway, and I love it!!! He also penned the line in "Fuck Me," "blow my coochie up like the taliban." I go back and fourth between the titles, though, in some circles I am known as "The Queen of Poop."

6. Many of your songs are "adult-themed" parodies of popular songs. For instance "Fuck Me" is set to the tune of "Get Here," "Poop Noodle" is set to "I Love The Night Life." Your songs are very fun and brilliantly written. What made you want to write this kind of music? Thank you. I have to say a lot of it, came naturally. I am merely the vessel from which all poop flows. I really was and am just playing catch with the universe a lot. I just thought and think this shit is funny, and when others did too, I was strongly encouraged. Laughter is truly my crack. I am addicted. If laughter was currency, I would be a very rich woman sitting on stacks of it, but there would still never be enough.

Wendy Ho7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I really was one of those cliched babies that sang before I could talk, I just loved music and singing. But performing was not something that came naturally. I was actually really shy, really self conscious, picked last for the team, fat and awkward, but when I was around my family and close friends I would come out of my shell. I would sing and act and always liked pretending and stories. My dad encouraged me to audition for a play, so I did, and the exhilaration of even being called back had me hooked. Then there was the amplified pretend element, and I was IN. I guess I was just one of those kids that reality just wasn’t enough, and I certainly didn’t feel like I was enough, so that lead me to the life of a theatrical misfit. I had no idea that avoiding myself and reality would in essence circle right back around to require acceptance of myself, my limitations, and strengths.

I’ve met so many entertainers with a similar story and those people REALLY inspire me. I consider myself very lucky to have found not only self acceptance, but in so doing— my tribe. OH! and when I was 11 and saw Bette Midler singing "Otto Titsling" in Beaches I just knew that was the type of performer I would be. It was a definitive moment.

8. Who would you still like to work with? Gosh, there’s so many that I haven’t worked with. I don’t even know where to begin! The orignial cast of 9 to 5 would be great!! Margaret Cho and I are working on something, and I’m super excited by her. She is a gawdess! I love Bianca Del Rio and we go way back, I’d love to do something with him. Musically I’m still waiting on Michael McDonald to call me! Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Coolidge both still owe me one for ripping off "I Stole Yo Purse." There really are too many to name. My world is so abundant with artists. I’m so lucky!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Was from my high school theater teacher Lee Hitchler—"Always work with people that are more talented than you."

Wendy Ho10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? The main thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am a crazy contradiction of different shades of gay, maybe not sexually—but theatrically, yes.…I said GAY. I’ve learned that at my worst I can be petty, selfish and insecure, and at my best I can be forgiving, generous and confident. If you can’t deal with all that, then we’re breaking up. I also have learned that I really think poop is funnier than farting.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite skin care product? My favorite product is "City Skin" moisturizer from the all natural skin care line developed and created by Dr. Jen at Atomic Cosmetics in Seattle. Plug, plug!!!! Seriously, this woman makes everything right in her own lab, and the entire line is amazing. The moisturizer smells like an orange blossom and just glides on my skin like silk! She makes the best stuff, and I adore her.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Well, making some people laugh is pretty super...but if it’s gotta be SUPER, I’d have to say self multiplication, it’d be great to play 80 different shows at once!

13. If you could be an original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Cayenne Pepper! Wait, that’s not a flavor…Purple. I would be purple flavored.

14. How do you want to be remembered? As that funny, nasty, generous, forgiving, loving ho lady!

Wendy HoMore on Wendy:

Wendy Jo Smith, better known by her stage name, Wendy Ho is one part skilled singer, one part comedienne, one part rap artist, and 100% entertainer. Over a million youtube views, having drag queens around the world cover her songs, and being spoofed by Ryan Murphy are just a few of this ho's claim to fame.

Wendy got her start as a little honey boo boo child in a trailer court in Ohio. She had a dream of being a stage performer moved to New York City to pursue it. In her starving artist years, she flirted with the idea of stealing ladies’ handbags from coat rooms at parties where she catered, of course, this inspired her track "Bitch, I Stole Yo Purse!," which became the #1 Funniest Video of 2008 on the MTV/LOGO Network, and was parodied on FX’s Nip/Tuck with Jennifer Coolidge playing their version of Wendy Ho. This track came from the beloved cult classic album, The Gospel According to Ho which includes the torch song parody of Brenda Russel/ Oleta Adams' "Get Here," now known as the drag classic, "Fuck Me!" This irreverence and balls-out femininity struck a special chord with the gay community, inspiring drag queens around the world to perform her songs and celebrate Ho.

With a rainbow hurricane of gay support behind her, Wendy Ho tours non-stop nationally with her one woman show, The Wendy Ho Show playing at gay bars, comedy clubs, theaters, and cabarets. Her act is always evolving with original songs and parodies. Her YouTube Channel, "HOtube," is also always growing its web presence with regular music videos and sketches, her newest single, "Public Place," a parody of Rihanna's "We Found Love," is picking up traction.

Wendy currently resides in Los Angeles with her film-maker husband Stas Tagios (who collaborates with her on many videos), and she's a regular at The Comedy Store, Hamburger Mary's, Rage, and The Abbey. RuPaul and Victoria Beckham are two of her biggest fans, and her work has been featured on Logo, Showtime, and HereTV. She has also opened for comedy legends Sandra Bernhard and Leslie Jordan.

Ho is an artist. Ho is a state of mind. Ho redefines women in music and comedy with true liberation. She is funny and sexy, never sacrificing one for the other. A pretty bitch, a witty feminist, a self-possessed, self-assured mashup of street and trash who makes you laugh while she makes you think. The responses she evokes from audiences are as diverse as her roots, but at the core there is no question about who she is. Wendy is all woman. All Ho.

Tuesday
Sep022014

Call Unmasked: Cooper Grodin: Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary National Tour

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth Kirkpatrick

While Norm Lewis stars as "The Phantom" on Broadway, "Call Me Adam" decided to take a road trip to chat with Cooper Grodin, who is playing "The Phantom" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. We unmasked Cooper to discuss what it is like to play this iconic role around the country.

Click here to see Cooper on tour in The Phantom of the Opera and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

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

1. You are currently starring as "The Phantom" on the 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. This iconic role has been played by numerous actors. How are you putting your own spin on this classic role? I suppose I don't think I'm putting a spin on it. I have a script, a director and my instincts. We try to tell an honest story with distinctly strong choices.

2. What do you identify most with, about "The Phantom"? That he is a composer and that he is passionate about music.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy3. This 25th Anniversary National Tour has new scenic design, new choreography, new staging, but still boasting the original costume design. How do you feel these additions breathe a new life into this classic show? Because they are, in fact, all new, it's a chance to revisit legendary material with new eyes and technology of today. The chandelier, fire and automations are all very current.

4. What excites you most about being on this special 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera? Getting to embody this iconic role.  I would like to come back to it over and over again as I grow as an artist.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this new National Tour? I hope they are entertained, moved and leave with questions about relationships and the choices we make in life.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy6. What is the best part about performing with your talented cast mates? We have the whole spectrum, from new comers to Tony nominated veterans and that is indescribable. We all work as one.

7. What is your favorite part of the show to perform (if you can even choose one)? The final lair scene. There is an immense amount of energy flying around the three of us. The action is always spontaneous and honest.

8. If you saw Phantom of the Opera growing up, what is it like to now be on the flip side and performing in the show? Is it as magical as you remember or even more so because now you are more part of the magic? When I saw the show I knew the role would someday be a great one for me to play, that I am actually doing it – that’s a dream.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy9. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? I suppose I'm still, and always will be working towards becoming the best actor I can be. I don’t know that any one thing inspired me, it seems to have just evolved out of my musicianship but I must admit, when I saw Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire, I thought, now that's something.

10. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Michael Fassbender, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, too many to list all.

11. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor? As I delve further into the craft of acting I find that the rules of great acting, which are to say, behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances, are the same rules that you apply to living a great existence. To simply respond, to get out of your head by getting the attention on the other person.

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth Kirkpatrick12. What's the best advice you've ever received? If you think you'll succeed or fail, your right. No one can make you feel anything. Who ever is in front of you is your teacher. "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Basketball, swimming, weights. But I'm always looking for fun new ways to do fitness. My cast mates are currently getting me into racquetball.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying.

16. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Red or Cherry.

17. How do you want to be remembered? When they think of me, let them smile.

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth KirkpatrickMore on Cooper: 

Cooper was born and raised on the isle of Manhattan where he attended LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts. Cooper earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and received his Masters in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He is an avid singer of all genres and an accomplished pianist and composer. He has performed in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of Les Misérables (Combeferre), Into the Woods (Rapunzel’s Prince) at NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park, Grease (Danny), Les Misérables (Javert), A Little Night Music (The Count), Joseph… (Pharoah), Carousel (Billy) at Chicago’s Light Opera Works, Parade (Governor Slaton), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik) and The Fantasticks (El Gallo). Cooper has sung numerous concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic and The American Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in the New York premiere of Grendel at City Opera directed by Julie Taymor, and Zaide as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival directed by Peter Sellars. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Paul McCartney’s Ecce Cor Meum. He can been seen in such films as Music and Lyrics and Salt. He was awarded a Lys Syonette Award for "Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number" in the Lotte Lenya/Kurt Weill competition. His new original album It’s The Little Things is now available on iTunes. Cooper would like to honor all the wonderful people in his life by dedicating his performances to them, especially his beautiful parents, Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, and Laurence O'Connor his teachers, coaches, and About Artists Agency for their belief in him and their continued love and support.