Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

    

"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Broadway (297)

Sunday
Mar162014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview at The Metropolitan Room with Sarah Rebell and Samantha Massell

"Call Me Adam" sat down with lyricist Sarah Rebell and actress/singer Samantha Massell at The Metropolian Room in New York City to talk about Sarah's show Past Is Present: The Lyrics of Sarah Rebell which takes place on March 24 at 9:30pm at The Metropolitan Room! Click here for tickets!

For more on Sarah be sure to visit http://www.sarahrebell.com and follow her on Twitter!

For more on Samantha Massell be sure to visit http://samanthamassell.com and follow her on Twitter!

Interview with Sarah Rebell and Samantha Massell:

Sarah RebellMore on Sarah:

Sarah Rebell recieved her MFA in musical theater writing (book/lyrics) from NYU Tisch. Her work has been performed in cabarets at 54 Below, the Berkshire Musical Theater Writers Lab, the Duplex, the Laurie Beechman Theater, NYU and the Sharon Playhouse. Her songs have been recorded by Broadway stars Melissa Errico, Alexander Gemignani, Rebecca Luker and Laura Osnes, among others. Her musical ROSE PETALS (written with Elizabeth Hagstedt) was an official selection of NYMF 2013’s developmental reading series.

In April 2013, OFF THE WALL, an original musical with book & lyrics by Sarah Rebell and music by Danny Abosch, was presented at NYU. The cast featured Alexander Gemignani, Jaclyn Huberman, Craig Laurie, Patricia Noonan and Jason "SweetTooth" Williams. Other NYU musicals include TYRANNY’S BED, a one-act chamber musical written with John Grimmett, which was presented in May 2012, also starring Alexander Gemignani.

She has been a publicity consultant for cabarets featuring Emily Bergl, Anastasia Barzee and Katie Thompson and has produced master classes with Kait Kerrigan, Georgia Stitt, Pasek & Paul and Susan Blackwell.

Sarah graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a BA in Drama & Victorian Studies. While at Vassar, she wrote the book & lyrics to ROSE PETALS, an original Victorian musical, as her senior thesis. Sarah currently works in the marketing department at SpotCo, one of Broadway’s premier advertising agencies. 

Samantha MassellMore on Samantha:

Samantha Massell is an actress, singer, dancer, and writer based in New York City who has appeared on Broadway, in films, and in a variety of commercials. A native New Yorker who had a childhood obsession with the Annie movie, Samantha was eight years old when she asked her mother for an agent. It was pretty much all over from there. Samantha is a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Michigan, where she double majored in Musical Theatre and English.

Friday
Mar142014

Call Answered: The New York Pops On Broadway with Steven Reineke, Andrew Rannells, and Stephanie J. Block

"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes at The New York Pops On Broadway press event to speak with The New York Pops Musical Director and Conductor, Steven Reineke as well as their special guest stars Broadway Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells.

The New York Pops On Broadway will take place on March 21 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall (57th Street & 7th Avenue) in New York City! Click here for tickets!

For more on The New York Pops be sure to visit www.newyorkpops.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Call Me Adam and Steven ReinekeSteven Reineke:

1. The New York Pops, On Broadway, will be presented on Friday, March 21 at 7:30pm. What excites you about this upcoming concert? A lot excites me about this concert. One, it's our first concert back at Carnegie Hall since December, so it's always fun to get back to it. I am also getting to perform with two of my great friends Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells. We are doing all this great Broadway repertoire. We got to pick it ourselves, so it's like making our own party playlist of what we would want to sing in my living room, except we are bringing it to life at Carnegie Hall with an 80 piece orchestra.

2. Of the songs being performed, what are some of your favorite selections? There are just so many big 11 o'clock numbers in this concert, but if I had to choose, we are featuring the orchestra in some great music from West Side Story, which I never get tired of performing and conducting. Stephanie J. Block does the best "Defying Gravity" I've ever heard in my life, and hearing Andrew and Stephanie do "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George is another favorite of mine. Andrew is singing a song that I was just introduced to a few years ago by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the song,  called "Love Who You Love," which has become a bit of a mantra for me. It's just so powerful.

Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells preview "Move On"

3. Why should the fans come see The New York Pops On Broadway? I think it's a no brainer to come hear Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells sing with this amazing orchestra and we are going to do great hits that everybody loves. We do one night only, which is very special here in this city. I always try to make our concerts an event that if you weren't there, you missed out on something. You have to be there that night because something great is going to happen.

4. This is The New York Pops 31st Season. What excites you to keep going with them? Well, they are the best Pops orchestra on the planet and we get to perform at the finest concert on on the planet, in the best city on the planet. It's quite a thrill every time I get to take the stage with The New York Pops. We've planned out the next season already, which we are very excited about. We continue to grow by leaps and bounds, selling-out all of our concerts. There's a lot of excitement and everyone is just happy to come to work. So, it's a lot of fun to be part of it.

Call Me Adam and Andrew RannellsAndrew Rannells:

1. You are going to be performing once again with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm in their show On Broadway. What are you looking forward to about this evening? I'm so honored that they asked me to do it. I'm so excited to be working with Steven Reineke again and to be singing with Stephanie J. Block, and while I've known her for a long time, this is our first time singing together. She's no joke, so when you work with her, you got to bring it.

2. You've performed with The New York Pops before, so what excites about coming back to sing with the Pops and work with Steven Reineke again? I was so nervous when I sang with them at their Spring Gala in 2012 that I don't remember it. I mean, I remember that I sang, I think it sounded okay, and then I walked off-stage and I didn't remember anything. So, this time around, I'm sure I'll be petrified, but at least I'll have time to warm up before it. We are doing a whole two acts of many, many songs, so hopefully I'll remember something [laughs].

3. Which songs are you looking forward to performing most? I'm really excited about "Move On" because it's been so fun to bring it to life. I'm getting to sing "Being Alive" from Company, which for every Tenor in my opinion is a dream song to sing.

Andrew Rannells previews "The Streets Of Dublin"

4. If you could give people a reason to come see you perform with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would that reason be, aside from coming to see you? Stephanie J. Block is a big reason. The New York Pops is a huge, huge orchestra which you don't really get to hear anymore, plus we are going to be singing an array of Broadway songs from classics to contemporary. There is something for everyone.

5. I know The New Normal is not part of this evening, but what is like to go from working in theatre to working in television and how do you feel your training in one helps you with the other? I feel very fortunate that while I was doing The Book of Mormon, Lena Dunham, cast me Girls on HBO. I got to do The Book of Mormon at night and work on Girls during the day, which was very exciting. Lena was so generous and so lovely that after we did the first couple of scenes, she would let me watch the playback of them, since she was directing the episodes as well, so I got to see what we did. I saw I didn't have to project as much for television as I do for theatre. I'm allowed to be as internal as I wanna be because the camera picks all of that up. That was a big adjustment for me. So, by the time I got to do The New Normal, I had done two seasons of Girls already, but The New Normal was a little different because network shows move faster, so I didn't have the luxury to check my work after we filmed, but I was more confident in myself by the time we started filming The New Normal. 

6. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would love to be able to teleport.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs today. Not always. Sometimes it's a boxer. You have to mix it up.

Call Me Adam and Stephanie J. BlockStephanie J. Block:

1. What excites you about performing in this concert? I'm thrilled to be back with The Pops. I was lucky enough to perform at The New York Pops Gala last year and sang "Don't Rain On My Parade," and Steven Reineke said to me, "You are going to be coming back to this stage singing that song at some point, I don't know when," and that when is now.

2. Out of all the songs you are performing, which ones are you most looking forward to singing, in addition to "Don't Rain On My Parade"? I think Sondheim because I've never performed it professionally. It's challenging, touching, and so beautiful. When you get an 80 piece orchestra to play his stuff there is nothing like it. The list of composers that were chosen for this program are pretty great. In addition to Sondheim, we are also singing Stephen Schwartz, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and so many more). A lot of big notes. A lot of 11 o'clock numbers.

Stephanie J. Block previews "Don't Rain On My Parade"

3. You've performed with The New York Pops before. What do you love about working with them and Steven Reineke? Their musicianship is remarkable, but Steven Reineke is a showman in of himself. You don't just get his back and a baton, you get a guy who is SO invested in his musicians and his performers and we can tell that he is really there with us and it's not a detached thing where the singers are not part of what they are creating and performing. I love that. You can feel his support. He breathes with you. He's the third soloist, well, he's the first soloist actually.

4. If you could give the fans one reason why they should come to On Broadway with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would it be? On Broadway we are lucky enough to have incredible musicians. There are 15, sometimes 23, but when you hear musical theatre scores with 12 cellos, an entire horn section, 14 violins, there's nothing to explain that experience. The textures, the colors, the nuance, it's really exceptional and takes the music to a completely different place.

5. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Mmmm...I know a lot of people say flying, but I would be invisible. When the time is right, I would love to just disappear and become invisible. I think you would learn a lot and I think you could change the world a lot.

More on The New York Pops:

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.

Steven ReinekeMore on Steven Reineke:

Steven Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his partner Eric Gabbard.

Stephanie J. BlockMore on Stephanie J. Block:

Stephanie J. Block has established herself as one of the most relevant and versatile voices in contemporary musical theatre. She most recently starred as "Sheryl Hoover" in the Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine written by James Lapine and William Finn. She received both a Drama Desk and Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of "Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Broadway credits include Anything Goes and 9 to 5: The Musical, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination. She created the roles of "Grace O'Malley" in The Pirate Queen and "Liza Minnelli" in The Boy From Oz (opposite Hugh Jackman). Ms. Block is best known for her portrayal of "Elphaba" in the Broadway company of Wicked. She also originated the role in the first national tour, for which she won numerous awards, including the prestigious Helen Hayes Award. Ms. Block has sung with numerous orchestras including The New York Pops, Boston Pops, National Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch), Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Pops, among many others. For more on Stephanie be sure to visit: http://www.stephaniejblock.com and follow her on Twitter!

Andrew RannellsMore on Andrew Rannells:

Andrew Rannells is best known for his breakout role as "Elder Price" in Broadway’s Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, which was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame along with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q. The Book of Mormon received 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and on the 2011 Tony Awards telecast Rannells brought down the house with his performance of "I Believe." For his work in The Book of Mormon Rannells received Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League award nominations. He also won a Grammy Award for "Best Musical Theatre Album" for the cast recording of The Book of Mormon. He can currently be seen in third season of HBO’s Golden Globe-winning comedy series Girls, from producers Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow. Last year Rannells starred as "Bryan Collins" in Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking series The New Normal for NBC. Rannells is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. For more on Andrew follow him on Twitter!

Saturday
Mar012014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with Cass Morgan of Broadway's The Bridges of Madison County

Cass Morgan"Call Me Adam" went backstage with Broadway actress Cass Morgan to talk about starring in the new Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County, currently playing at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in NYC (236 West 46th Street). 

For more on Bridges of Madison County be sure to visit http://bridgesofmadisoncountymusical.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube! Click here for tickets!

 


Interview with Cass Morgan:

Cass MorganMore on Cass:

Broadway: MemphisMary PoppinsRing of FireBeauty and the BeastThe CapemanThe Human ComedyPump Boys and Dinettes (co-creator), Hair. Off-Broadway: The ImmigrantFloyd Collins. Regional: 1776, Saint- Ex, Music Man (Geva), Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas (Goodspeed), Cabaret, Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Das Barbecue, Children Of Eden.

Friday
Feb282014

Call Answered: Anne Bobby 54 Below Interview

Anne BobbyFrom NBC's Mad About You, "Call Me Adam" chats with Broadway and Television actress and writer Anne Bobby about her upcoming 54 Below show, entitled The Songs That Came In From The Cold, on Tuesday, March 4 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

Gathering discarded gems from thirty years of workshops, out-of-town tryouts and black-boxes, plus a few new favorites, Anne will sing songs from Alan Menken to Randy Newman, Marc Blitzstein to Bruce Springsteen, as well as should-have-been-hits from Steven Lutvak, David Spencer, Jimmy Roberts, Keith Herrmann, Daniel Maté and more. She'll be joined by special guests Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), Evan Pappas (My Favorite Year), Laura Dean (Chicago), Frank Vlastnik (The Sweet Smell of Success) and Shannon Ford (Chaplin). 

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Mostly, it was the only place I wasn't picked on. I was pretty much a loner as a kid - I had four real friends growing up, with two of them being my siblings and another being a cat I fed. This isn't a pity party sort of thing - I was a nerdy kid who found her interior life a hell of a lot more interesting that what was going on around me. Other kids caught on to that pretty quick, and I got teased for it, but performing was my refuge. I think it was the one place where my interior world met with the outside. Thank God I had parents who not only nurtured that part of me, but also knew not to stop me when I had the opportunities to perform, though it must have been stressful as hell for them. I don't know how they did it - I think it's one of the reasons I've never wanted children; I don't think I could survive raising a kid like the one I was. My heart's not strong enough.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Anyone who is still learning, who is still growing as a person. Honestly - I could rattle off a wish list, but the people I admire, who I most want to work with, are people who love what they do and love how it informs their life. I'm spoiled in that I've worked with so many great people who lived - continue to live - with that mindset.

If I was really pressed for a short list? Oy - I'd say Michael Mann, David Eagleman, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Rylance, Naseeruddin Shah, Tim Minchin, Elizabeth Warren, Banksy. They're not as disparate as they sound - they're all so passionate about their work, such inspirations in their chosen fields. They're certainly already a huge part of my life - I'd love to find a way to collaborate with them.

3. On Tuesday, March 4 at 7pm, you will be making your solo cabaret debut at 54 Below. What excites you about this upcoming concert? Spending time with songs that have become like friends to me, playing them with people I love so much, sharing them with a community that's been my family since I was thirteen...what's NOT to be excited about?

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing you at 54 Below? A lot of the songs in my show go back twenty, twenty-five years. They come from shows that very few people got to see - a few of them never had public performances at all! It would be amazing if spotlighting these songs for a night leads to renewed interest in the people who created them.

5. Why is 54 Below the perfect venue for your show? The short answer is the brussels sprouts, but the longer answer is that - I don't know...maybe it's that I was such a nerd as a kid, maybe it's that I've always been challenged and grateful for my close friends, but I seek out friends and family wherever and whenever I can. 54 Below is a place where I find I'm most comfortable, surrounded by people who love what I love...And I'm not just talking about exploring musical theatre, or cabaret - I'm talking about exploring OURSELVES, through song, and exploring how the music in our lives shapes us. Helps us grow. Makes us better people.

To say nothing of the fact that Jennifer Tepper sets the standard for Musical Theater nerds everywhere, and has provided a home for all of us to not just enjoy each other, but to be challenged by each other. If you think of Broadway as a university, 54 Below is a collaborative sort of Independent Study, where the Grad students get to hone their craft and challenge each other.

And the brussels sprouts really are amazingly good.

Anne Bobby Singing6. Your show is titled The Songs That Came In From The Cold. How did you come up with the concept and title for the show? I knew I wanted to do the show when we were past the worst of winter. Given the winter we've been having, I probably should have scheduled this for Memorial Day Weekend, but who knew that back in November?

I also thought about the songs I always said I would do if I had an opportunity like this - I've got a lot of years of workshops and gigs and auditions under my belt, and in those years I've collected some songs that never saw the light of day. Songs that have been lost, or forgotten, from shows that never quite got as far as I would have hoped for them. And I started to think of those songs as just sort of hibernating, waiting to come out of their deep freeze and into the light I've always held them in.

Some of these are songs that are kind of hiding in plain sight, too. There's a great song I'm singing that I've been doing at auditions for years, and it never ceases to amaze me that people are forever asking me who wrote it - because it's actually off what is considered by most people one of the best albums ever made. It's just a song people...sort of miss, I guess. It happened just the other day, actually - someone asked me why _________ never recorded it, and I was like, "Um. He did." (I won't tell you what the song is, it's a surprise - a good one!)

7. You made your Broadway debut at 16 years old. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about this time? What went through your head on opening night? I always knew to never not be aware that I was living an absolutely magical life. I'm so glad I had that foresight, because my memories of that time are vivid, actually, indescribably so. It's hard to talk about a whirlwind in a sentence; it kind of has to be felt that way.

There were scary moments, hysterically funny moments, painful moments. And always, always the precision of doing the show, saying the lines, hitting the marks, hearing the laughter. And then getting on the bus back to Jersey. In New York. On Broadway. In 1984. I've actually started writing a Young Adult book series about it. The first book's nearly done; soon as I finish the script I'm working on now, I'll get back to it.

Anne Bobby with "Lola"8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? In a lot of ways - most ways, actually - I'm still that nerdy kid with the interior world. Performing has continued to be a welcome outlet, but over the years it's been informed by all the other ways I've found to thrive - my books, my plays, my animals, my friends...my life.

I've always said that there's a sort of theorem to acting, and performing in general. Actors recreate life; the more you live, the more experiences you have at your disposal to recreate, the better your chances of being a great actor.

Every part of my life informs my performing. Every part of performing informs my life. It took a long time for me to catch up with myself, but I'm glad I finally did!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never use soap on your face; makeup comes off with hot water and moisturizer. And there's no such thing as not enough money for a good book.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? What a great question! Growing up, I used to wish for the power to instantly know the answer to any question I had. Over time I learned how the acquiring of knowledge is just as satisfying as the obtaining answers - kind of how I feel about rehearsal, by the way; I could rehearse forever, I swear. Now...? I'd say what I would wish for was the ability to take away shame; too much suffering in the world comes as a result of it.

Anne BobbyMore on Anne:

Anne Bobby made her Broadway debut at 16 and a year later starred in Marvin Hamlisch’s cult classic, Smile. She is known for roles on TV's Mad About You, Cop Rock, Law & Order, and As The World Turns as well as such films as Happiness, Born on the Fourth of July, and Nightbreed.

Friday
Feb282014

Call Answered: Jim Brochu Character Man Interview

Jim Brochu"Call Me Adam" chats with award winning actor and playwright Jim Brochu about his new Off-Broadway one man show Character Man, a salute to the memorable character actors of Broadway, filled with hilarious theater stories and touching personal recollections. Sprinkled with juicy backstage lore, the show spotlights the careers of, among others, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Jackie Gleason, George S. Irving, Barney Martin and Brochu’s own mentor, two-time Tony Award-winner David Burns.

Character Man plays at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street) through March 30. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jim be sure to visit http://www.jimbrochu.com!

Jim Brochu in "Character Man"1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was very lucky to have born at the right time (mid 20th Century) and the right place (New York City) to be able to witness some of the greatest actors ever born up close. My father was a widower who loved the theatre and so he would take me to Broadway shows at least once a week while I was growing up. He also had many friends in the theatre and so the backstage became as familiar to me as the front of house. There was an electricity in the theatre that I never felt anywhere else on this earth and I knew at an early age that it was a world of which I wanted to be a part. My father was a friend of Ethel Merman and so, seeing her in Gypsy, I aspired to do what she did. But then within a month I would get to see performers like Jackie Gleason, Walter Pidgeon, Rex Harrison, Gwen Verdon, Robert Preston, Richard Kiley, Alfred Drake and watched as the audience bathed them in thunderous applause and standing ovations. When I was 13 I gathered all the kids in my Bay Ridge neighborhood together and produced, wrote, directed and starred in a musical review. When I heard that applause and got my own standing ovation, I was hooked.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I always love working with actors that make me better. Acting is like a tennis match and the better the player, the better the game. I’ve had the wonderful fortune of working with some of my heroes already, most of whom are gone now. I know Nathan Lane and would love to work with him sometime. Also Bryan Cranston who I think is one of the greatest actors EVER!

3. What made now the right time to write and premiere Character Man? Because the old Broadway is disappearing. There are no more Merricks, Fosses, Champions, Bennetts, Mostels or Mermans. I feel like I was a witness to theatre history as well as being a link in a chain of character man. If my life is a play, I think I’ve just begun act three and wanted to tell this story while I still had the time and the energy before the curtain comes down.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Just what I always came away with after a show…that the theatre is a great place to spend a few hours. Perhaps an appreciation of a time gone by populated with characters, the likes of which we will never see again. I hope the show brings these performers back to life through their work and through their music and I hope audiences leave the theatre with a smile on their face, a tear in their eye and a song in their heart.

Jim Brochu in "Character Man"5. Why is Urban Stages the perfect venue for your show? Every theatre is more than the brick and mortar of a building; it’s the people committed to presenting new works that change people’s lives. I don’t believe anything in the world has the power to change people more than theatre. I know it’s true of myself.   The people who have dedicated their lives to Urban Stages –like its founding artistic director Frances Hill and producer Peter Napolitano have great passion for theatre. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Urban Stages gives tremendous support to us playwrights and actors to create an encouraging, safe atmosphere for an artist. Frances and her staff are some of the most fervent, talented artists I have worked with in  a career that is now approaching 45 years. It’s also a perfect venue because I can walk to work.

6. What was the best part about going back through your life to come up with the material for Character Man? What was the hardest part? The best part was reliving memories while going through a lot of photographs from when I was first starting out. I knew all the character actors I celebrate in this show. They touched my life in a very personal way - being mentored by David Burns, making my first television commercial with Barney Martin, learning how to deliver a joke from Lou Jacobi, timing from George S. Irving and how to create a life in the theatre from Charles Nelson Reilly. The hardest part was feeling that I would never live up to their legacy and realizing just how much I still miss them all these years later.

7. You were also the writer and star of Zero Hour, about theatre luminary Zero Mostel. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about writing and performing this show? Zero is one of the actors I talk about in Character Man. I first met Zero through David Burns when he was appearing in Forum. He was a complicated man whose life was filled with obstacles, personal, political and profession, that he overcame with courage, style and humor. I had been compared to Zero since my high school days and as I was approaching the age he was when he died (62) I thought it was the right time to create a play about him. The play wrote itself and one of the great joys was that it brought so many new friends in to my life, most of whom were friends of Zero. A lot of them came to the theatre with arms crossed thinking "Who is this putz who thinks he can pull off Zero Mostel?," like Theodore Bikel, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara and Doris Roberts. We are all friends now. I used to start the show with my back to the audience at an easel because Zero considered himself a painter first. I used to love to hear the audience gasp when I turned around. There is no feeling in the world like knowing you have moved people to laughter and tears. And I think more than winning the Drama Desk or the Helen Hayes Award was the night that Zero’s son Josh Mostel saw the show, came backstage and said, "You got him!"

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Two things. The first was given to me by a teacher who saw I could do many things reasonably well and it was to focus. Not to try to do everything in an average way but to find the greatest talent and be excellent at it. And an agent who once told me that if I was serious about a career in the theatre, I had to do something to nurture it EVERY DAY, without exception.

Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel in "Zero Hour"9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and playwright? They are two very different dynamics. Being a playwright is a very solitary, almost lonely profession. You sit by yourself with nothing but an idea, a pen and a piece of paper. Then when the play is finished it attracts the army of producer, director, designers, stage managers and stage hands to fully realize your idea. It’s always been fulfilling to me as a playwright that my thoughts have turned into jobs for people that I had never known before who became very important in my life. As an actor, there is no happier place on earth for me than being on a stage in front of an audience. Playwrighting is theory, performing is the proof of your pudding. There is no more rewarding feeling in the world that to write a joke, think it’s funny and then hear an audience explode with laughter. It makes all the lonely hours worth it.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. Maybe I’ll do Peter Pan one  day. But of course a character man would rather play Captain Hook.

Jim BrochuMore on Jim Brochu: 

Jim Brochu is the only actor in America to win New York’s Drama Desk Award, the Washington D.C. Helen Hayes Award, the Los Angeles Ovation Award and Florida’s Carbonell Award. He won these prestigious honors for Zero Hour, which he wrote and in which he portrayed the great Zero Mostel for over six hundred and fifty performances across the United States and Canada. Jim has appeared on Broadway in many special events, including Brigadoon, playing Andrew McLaren in opposite Christine Ebersole and Len Cariou, and Oliver!, taking on the role of "Mr. Brownlow" to Brian Stokes Mitchell’s "Fagin." Most recently Jim played Broadway's legendary Palace Theatre starring opposite Tony Sheldon in Broadway Backwards 8, directed by Robert Bartley. In Washington, DC he was "Willy Clark" to Theodore Bikel’s "Al Lewis" in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys and Harry Binion opposite Eddie Albert in Room Service. Brochu made his Off-Broadway debut in the 1968 American Place Theatre production of Endicott and the Red Cross by Robert Lowell, followed by Ephraim Kishon's Unfair to Goliath at the Cherry Lane. Recently, he starred in the Off-Broadway revivals of The Man Who Came To Dinner as "Sheridan Whiteside" and as "Sir" in The Roar of the Greasepaint; The Small of the Crowd at the York. He is the author of two books, ten plays and three musicals (The Last Session, Manhattan Clam Chowder and The Big Voice: God or Merman?) written with his partner of 30 years, Steve Schalchlin.