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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (258)

Friday
Sep272013

Rachel Klein: The Dead Dream Machine and Around The World in 80 Days Interview

Rachel Klein is a theatre director, choreographer and costume/production designer, recently coined "The Mistress of the Macabre" by Flavorpill. Her production of Around the World in 80 Days received rave reviews for both the production and Rachel herself ("Endlessly clever" New York Post, "inventive" by TheaterMania and "a new generation’s Julie Taymor" by Woman Around Town) and is currently running Off-Broadway at the New Theater at 45th Street (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Rachel's latest production, Dead Dream Machine by Jake Thomas is an interdisciplinary horror anthology. The debut production at La Luz Art Space in Brooklyn (135 Thames Street) through October 13, features frightening and fun fast-paced nightmare scenarios, aerial acrobatics, video art, puppetry, magic and a terrifying twist on classical ballet. Click here for tickets! 

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

1. Let's start with Around the World in 80 Days. What made you want to direct this show? Around The World in 80 Days was a great opportunity to put an interpretive twist on classic inspired material. I was attracted to the project because of both the time period, which I had a lot of fun playing with and glamming up, as well as the action-adventure structure of the piece.

I was able to infuse the piece with a Neo-Victorian edge, larger than life staging, and the convention of the actors weaving in and out narrative and characterization.

2. What did you enjoy most about staging this show in the newly renovated The New Theater at 45th Street? Having a newly renovated space to play in is always exciting. The Around the World in 80 Days design team was given an extraordinary opportunity because we had a blank slate to create from. The space now has panoramic Victorian murals, LED lights, state of the art sound…it’s amazing what we were able to do to bring this show to life!

3. What attracted you to Dead Dream Machine? An omnibus horror anthology? What’s not to love? This show is a series of small plays and vignettes, held together by a nightmare ballerina and ghoulish aerial performances. It’s a hybrid of one act horror pieces and a variety show…pretty intense to put together, but a breath of fresh air to see come to life.

4. What did you enjoy most about working with the cast and creative team of both shows? Both pieces comprise of performers from a multitude of backgrounds. My cast on Around the World in 80 Days was balanced out by classical actors, and hilarious improv comedians. Our original "Phileas Fogg," played by Broadway veteran (and all around awesome guy!) Bryce Ryness, was the ultimate straight man alongside the gorgeous and talented Shrine Babb. The world of hysterical characters unfolds around the romantic leads, and we hired some of the funniest actors ever to create these roles—the boys from the Nuclear Family (Jimmy Ray Bennett, Stephen Guarino, and John Gregorio), a long lasting improv show with an enormous cult following, brought the comedic joy to the show.

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael BlaseWith Dead Dream, we have actors, comedians, burlesque stars, a magician, aerialists, and a ballerina to bring Jake Thomas’s horror-scape to life. Each scene tells a different story, Tales from the Crypt style, and is threaded together using each performer’s various talents as the glue of the production.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing both Around the World in 80 Days and Dead Dream Machine? I feel that both pieces have their own very distinctive artistic voice. Around the World in 80 Days is a comedic romp, where as Dead Dream Machine (although having comedic moments) is an homage to short-form horror. Both provide a lot of eye candy, which of course I hope audiences respond to, but both leave one with a very different feeling.

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael Blase6. Dead Dream Machine is playing at Brooklyn's new space La Luz. What was it like to work in this new space? What does this space offer that another venue might not? The space is brand-spanking-new. The paint on the walls was still drying the night of our first preview. This space really upholds the Bushwick spirit of "we can do it!" which I really admire. The venue owners really believe in what they’re doing, and it’s incredibly refreshing.

7. Dead Dream Machine combines aerial acrobatics, video art, puppetry, magic & a terrifying twist on classical ballet. What's the best part about working with these different genres and make them work together? I love that there is always something to look at. It was a challenge to build it into a cohesive flow, but a joy to put together. I am so excited by the puppets—I had always wanted to work with puppets, and Elena Delgado’s creations have been a blast for us to breathe life into!

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael Blase8. What is it like to watch your artistic vision come alive from concept to execution? Nerve-wracking! There is a lot of pushing to get a vision from the page to the stage, and sometimes things are altered in the process. I always believe in my performers, in their energy and talent, to interpret the staging in ways I hadn’t even foreseen. 

9. How does it feel to adjust your artistic vision from time to time after it's execution? As with Around the World in 80 Days, when a show runs for a long time, it is inevitable that changes will occur. We have a new cast now (the wonderful James Seol, Guy LeMonnier, Matt Lutz, and Gary Littman) who have added their own touches and flourishes to the performance. It’s the same show, but a different show at the same time. I am proud of its continued energy, and am looking forward to seeing what’s next for it.

10. What other projects do you have on the horizon that you can talk about and get us excited about? I am working with the amazing Angela Harriell on a collaboration we have cooking, Carrie: Blood, Fire & Ballet, a sexy, dance interpretation of Carrie the novel, featuring the Love Show dancers. Stay tuned for details!

BONUS QUESTION:

11. What is something most people don't know about you? That I was once working as a trade show model at a Halloween convention in Chicago, whereupon I was dressed as a pink fairy princess and then acted as arm-candy to Dee Snider (Yeah, that’s right, from Twisted Sister). When we went into the haunted house technology portion of the convention, my fairy wings got stuck to a wall of animatronic zombie arms and Dee’s two bouncers had to pry me free.

More on Rachel:

Recent credits include the Mondo Cane Dance Commission from Dixon Place to create her dance and circus nightmare-scape, Symphony of Shadows and the critically acclaimed morbid fantasia The Tragedy of Maria Macabre. Rachel is set to direct the Off-Broadway-bound rock ‘n roll musical Gay Bride of Frankenstein, which she directed at the inaugural iStar Theater Lab, followed by an industry reading. Her other productions include Go-Go Killers! a 1960’s retro-futuristic dance drama about gang debs on the loose, All Kinds of Shifty Villains, a pulp noir portrayal of a man losing his mind and a Neo-Victorian interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was nominated for an Innovative Theater Award for "Outstanding Director of a Play" and for "Outstanding Choreography/Movement," for the aerial musical spectacular, Circus of Circus at the House of Yes. Her choreographic work has been presented all over the city including at the Kitchen, La MaMa, Theater for the New City, DUMBO Dance Festival, Night of 1000 Stevies, legendary rock ‘n roll club Don Hill's, Galapagos Art Space, (le) Poisson Rouge, HOWL Festival and 45 Bleecker Street. Rachel holds a BA in theatrical directing from Columbia College, is the recipient of an Emerging Artist’s Residency from the Tides Foundation, is an alumnus of the International Director’s Symposium in Spoleto, Italy and is an Associate Member of the SDC.

Tuesday
Sep242013

Charles Busch: Ridin' High at 54 Below Interview

The legendary Charles Busch is a talent like no other. He's a playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, director, drag legend, and now a cabaret star. He is the author and star of such plays as the Tony Award nominated play Tale of the Allergists WifePsycho Beach PartyTimes Square AngelThe Lady in QuestionRed Scare on SunsetYou Should Be So Lucky, Queen Amarantha and Shanghai Moon. His show Vampire Lesbians of Sodom ran five years in New York and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history.

Now Charles is gearing up for his triumphant return to 54 Below in NYC with a brand new cabaret act called Ridin' High with musical director Tom Judson. Charles and Tom will be lighting up the stage at 54 Below on October 17 & 24 and November 7 & 14 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Charles be sure to visit http://www.charlesbusch.com and follow him on Facebook!

Charles Busch cabaret act, Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff1. You are returning to 54 Below this October and November with your new cabaret show Ridin' High. What do you enjoy most about performing at 54 Below? I get a kick out of 54 Below because it was designed by great theatre professionals, so there's a certain intimacy and elegance to it. I just love the whole venue, especially faux 20's look. I love performing at 54 Below because when the show is over, I can walk off the stage, go into the kitchen, count to 10, and walk back out and hold forth by the banquettes where I usually bump into somebody sitting there (where as in a play, after the show's over, I go into my dressing room, get changed, but by the time I am done, most of the people I want to see are gone). I then get to meet everyone who has come to the show, which I throughly enjoy. It's like the second act.

Charles Busch backstage at a Palm Springs Benefit, Photo Credit: David A. Lee2. What do like about performing cabaret? I just love doing this cabaret work which I haven't done since the mid-90s. I used to work with a wonderful music director, Dick Gallagher, who played with so many great singers like Patti LuPone, but sadly, he died very young and after his death, I just stopped doing any sort of musical work and concentrated on my work in (with his famous Charles Busch accent) the legitimate theatre.

About a year ago, I sort of stumbled into this new chapter of my career because I suddenly got booked on an RSVP Gay cruise and had 3 weeks to get my act together. I went through some old material I had and songs I had done at recent benefits, but then I had to find a musical director. It had to be someone who would be fun to be with on a cruise. So I thought of my friend Tom Judson whom I had known for many years, not well, but I knew he was fun and I thought he played the piano [Laughs]. So, we did this cruise and we had a lot of fun and it really cemented our friendship, and it only took 30 years to do that [Laughs]. Then we started getting booked in different venues around the country for cabaret.

I'm very excited about this new act we are doing because it's truly fresh material as opposed to what I had been doing last year. I get to come to 54 Below with all new songs, new comic material, and new costumes. I'm just having a ball preparing for it.

Charles Busch at The Acorn Theatre, Photo Credit: Gary Ward3. How did you decide to title the show Ridin' High? [Laughs], just on whim [Laughs]. My opening song is Cole Porter's "Ridin' High," and I sing that song at the top of the show, so I made that the title of my act.

If truth be told, I don't really like to title my work, and while I'm known for having some pretty wacky titles like Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, they've always been an after thought for me. I don't think a title is necessary if you are selling yourself as a personality. People like having a title because it shows that you are presenting a new act and that's an important thing for the venue you are performing at and so audiences don't think it's the same act as the year before. I don't want people to think, "Oh I saw that old bat last year, why do I need to go see her again." [Laughs], so I put titles on my shows.

4. How do you feel your relationship with your musical director, Tom Judson, has grown since working on cabaret shows together? You know, he's proven himself, so I'm giving him more to do in the act [Laughs]. We are finding that when we sing together we sound better than when we sing separate, so we are doing two duets. We have great chemistry together and people respond well to it, so I'm developing that more. From our working together more, we really have become best friends and I'm just crazy about him.

Tom Judson and Charles Busch, Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your cabaret show? I hope they come away feeling as though they know me better than before the show started. It's a very weird act I do. I perform my cabaret shows in drag and sometimes I wonder why I am in drag, because really, I am very much myself on stage. I get introduced as Charles Busch, then I come out looking like a very glamorous lady, but the stories that I tell are 95% true and when I sing my ballads, I try to sing as honest as possible, so it's really quite a revealing act, and yet I am in costume. I've thought about not being in drag, but there is something kind of fun about it and I think my audience enjoys me all dolled up, so I do it and it seems to work.

I do feel like cabaret is more of a feminine medium. Don't get me wrong there are some great male cabaret performers, but to me there is something about the glamorous lady nightclub star. The way my plays are able to parody a film genre at the same time as honor it, my cabaret act is similar. I'm doing this cabaret show, singing these songs, but at the same time I'm kind of commenting on the conventions of nightclub acts as well. I guess me being in costume adds to the artifice that I'm poking fun at the genre as well.

Charles Busch as "Judith of Bethulia"6. What have you learned about yourself and your career through cabaret as opposed to writing and starring in plays/movies? Cabaret has been very good for me. I was lucky enough to have a nice long run Off-Broadway in The Divine Sister. It seems to me, and the more I read about it, almost every actor who has a long career at somepoint develops stage fright. For me, it was about two years ago. It wasn't really stage fight as much as stage anxiety that I might possibly forget lines, which was awful to have to work through. I am not sure what it is about. So many people get it and if it phases out, you are very lucky.

So, I've tried very hard to put myself in situations to work through this. I believe that if you have a problem, try to do something about it. So, that's what I did. I put up Judith of Bethulia at Theater for the New City just for fun. I purposely did not invite any critics to see the show which was very helpful, but doing this cabaret work has been great for my stage anxiety. Even though my act is very rehearsed and I know exactly what I'm going to do, there is still a looseness to it. I do a lot of story telling and while I go over the stories a lot when rehearsing, they are free enough where I can suddenly embellish them a bit further when on stage. Talking off the cuff like that makes my stage anxiety less. I'm not that musically experienced and I used to get so nervous to have to learn a song and then sing it for the first time, but I've had do that a lot lately and the more I do something, the less scary it is.

I feel cabaret is looser than a play. I can make more mistakes and be forgiven for them. I was performing a show in Michigan last year, really screwing up the lyrics to the song I was singing, and I could have just continued on, but instead, I stopped, made a joke about it, and said to the audience, "I really love this song and I want you to hear it, just not screwed up, so I'm going to start it over again." People laughed and I went on from there, starting the song over. I like that flexibility.

I'm doing a new play this winter at Primary Stages, so I'm hoping this new calmer attitude will filter through that experience as well.

Charles Busch Portrait by Thomas Nash, in honor of Charles' being inducted into The Players Club's Hall of FameMore on Charles:

In 1988, he wrote a new libretto for the 1955 musical Ankles Aweigh for Goodspeed Opera and has also adapted the book of the Truman Capote/Harold Arlen musical House of Flowers for a tour with Patti Labelle. On film, he's appeared in Addams Family Values, It Could Happen To You and Trouble on The Corner. He wrote the screenplay and starred in the film version of his play Psycho Beach Party, which is available on video and DVD. In June of 1994, Charles starred in Charles Busch's `Dressing Up', a one night sold out extravaganza at Town Hall featuring guest stars Milton Berle, Beatrice Arthur and the late Charles Pierce. In 1995, he co-authored and appeared in a critically acclaimed run in the Off-Broadway musical Swingtime Canteen. 1997 saw him performing his one man show Flipping My Wig at the WPA Theatre and writing the book for the musical The Green Heart which was produced by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Variety Arts Theatre. During this time, Charles starred as the fabulous "Mame Dennis" in a memorable staged reading of Auntie Mame at the American Place Theatre along with Marcia Lewis, Kelly Bishop, Maxwell Caulfield, Juliet Mills, Barbara Feldon, John Davidson and the late Peggy Cass recreating her original role of "Agnes Gooch." In the summer of 2004 he once again played "Mame" in a full production at Maine's Ogunquit Playhouse and at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York. In 2000, Manhattan Theatre Club produced his play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife starring Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts, and Michele Lee. It was nominated for a Drama Desk for best play and won Charles the Outer Critic’s Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting. It reopened on Broadway in November, 2001, was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Play and ran 777 performances. Charles starred in the film version of his play Die Mommie Die for which he won a 2003 Sundance Film Festival award for best performance. In the winter of 2003, Charles starred in a new production of his play Shanghai Moon for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel award and a Drama League Award.  He was also given a special award for career achievement at the 2003 Drama Desk Awards. For two seasons he appeared as "Nat Ginzburg" in the HBO series Oz. In 2004, Charles wrote the book to the Broadway musical Taboo. His first novel Whores of Lost Atlantis was published in hardcover by Hyperion Press and released as a Penguin paperback and republished in May 2005 by Caroll & Graf. In April, 2005 Charles reunited with his long-time stage partner, Julie Halston, for a Gala Benefit for the Actor's Fund of America at Broadway's Music Box theatre, entitled Charles Busch and Julie Halston, Together on Broadway. The evening featured the 20th Anniversary performance of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Charles made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He directed L.A. Theaterworks' radio production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife starring JoBeth Williams, Richard Kind and Amy Aquino. He appeared as a guest artist in the off-Broadway play Spalding Gray Stories Left to Tell. His play Our Leading Lady was presented by Manhattan Theatre Club in 2007 and starred Kate Mulgrew as the 19th century actress "Laura Keene." He performed in a revival of his 1989 play The Lady in Question with Julie Halston at The Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor New York in August 2007. The New York stage premiere of Die Mommie Die opened at The New World Stages for a limited engagement in 2007-2008 with Charles reprising his role of "Angela Arden." His play The Third Story premiered at the LaJolla Playhouse and was later produced in New York by MCC teaming Charles with Kathleen Turner. In June, 2009, Charles played the formidable "Lady Bracknell" in The Importance of Being Earnest for LA Theatreworks. In 2010-2011, he starred in his critically acclaimed comedy The Divine Sister and his play Olive and the Bitter Herbs premiered at Primary Stages in New York. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

Tuesday
Sep172013

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana: The New York Pops and Ronald McDonald House New York Benefit at 54 Below

On Monday, September 23, 2013 at 54 Below, (254 West 54th Street), Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana will perform an intimate benefit concert titled Remember When…. The New York Pops Music Director Steven Reineke will host the evening beginning with a champagne reception at 5:30PM followed by dinner and a performance at 6:30PM. The evening is a joint benefit in support of The New York Pops Education Programs at Ronald McDonald House® New York, which provide creative outlets to the children and families in residence. Click here for tickets!

For more on:

The New York Pops: http://www.newyorkpops.org

Ronald McDonald House New York: http://www.rmh-newyork.org

54 Below: http://54below.com

Cinderella on Broadway: http://cinderellaonbroadway.com

1. On September 23, you both are participating in The New York Pops/Ronald McDonald House benefit concert "Remember When...," a concert benefiting the The New York Pops' Educational program at Ronald McDonald House in New York. How did you both get involved with this benefit? Santino and I were approached by Steven Reineke, who asked if we'd be interested in performing a duo concert together for this event. We eagerly said Yes!

2. What does it mean to you to be part of this special benefit concert? I have done a couple birthday concerts with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall and am always thrilled to collaborate with them on any project. This one is special because we get to celebrate and honor their relationship with the Ronald McDonald house. I lost my mom to cancer two years ago and Santino has also had family members battling this horrible disease, so our hearts are deeply connected to the cause, especially its focus on children.

3. What are you looking forward to most about the evening? To be honest, Santino and I have discussed the idea of doing a concert together for a while now, so this was a perfect opportunity! And to do it all for such a worthy cause makes it all the more exciting and fulfilling.

4. What excites you about working with New York Pops' Musical Director/Conductor Steven Reineke? Steven not only possesses immense talent, but a tremendous respect and passion for music. Santino and I were honored to be personally invited by Steven to headline this special event. We are bringing in our musical director, Andy Einhorn, to accompany, arrange, and musically direct our concert, but Steven has been pivotal in overseeing the process and coordinating with 54 Below and the Ronald McDonald House.

5. What do you enjoy about performing at 54 Below? The venue is classy yet comfortable. The sound is superb, the food is delicious, and the intimate setting makes performing there such a treat!

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this benefit? We hope to not only entertain but truly touch the hearts of our audience that evening. Our theme of "Remember When..." hearkens back to our childhoods. From playful songs that Santino and I each sang as youngsters, to heartwarming songs that conjure up some of our most special memories, there's sure to be a "remember when" moment that each audience member can relate to.

More on Laura:

Laura Osnes is currently starring on Broadway as the title role in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (Drama Desk Award; Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Astaire Award nominations). She also received a Tony nomination for her performance as "Bonnie Parker" in Bonnie & Clyde, which she originated at Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award).

Photo Credit: Janet Mayer / PRPhotos.comMore on Santino:

Santino Fontana was nominated for a 2013 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical for his work in Broadway's Cinderella. He was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Sons of the Prophet at the Roundabout (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards). Broadway: The Importance of Being Earnest (Clarence Derwent Award), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Drama Desk Award), Billy Elliot, and Sunday in the Park With George.

More 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.

Thursday
Sep122013

Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again Interview

Lane Bradbury was the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy, starring opposite theatre legend Ethel Merman as "Rose."

Lane is taking to the stage once again in her new autobiographical one-woman show Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again! this Sunday, September 15 at 7pm at the Abingdon's June Havoc Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

1. On Sunday, Sept 15, you are premiering your one-woman show "Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again!" What made you want to create this show? This show was Doug DeVita's idea. When I was here for the Marathon 33 Fund Raiser at the Abingdon, Doug took me to see Next To Normal...I flipped out. I couldn't get out of my seat! Doug sent me the CD! It was always playing when ever I was in my car. I confessed my feelings to Doug about Next To Normal...that I was thinking of what I had to do to go after the part of "Diana" the mother, and play it on the road or what ever.

I received an email from Doug proposing that he had come up with this "insane idea" of writing a "one woman show" for me. "You could sing songs in French and songs from Next To Normal. My feet went COLD. Could I really resurrect a voice that had not sung for 30 years? But, the temptation was too great. I found through my daughter, Elkin, an accompanist, Jan Roper, who has since become the show's musical director. Jan introduced me to Robert Edwards, who became my vocal coach.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" in Los Angeles2. What made now the right time to premiere it? That is a secret that you will learn by coming to see the show and I don't want to give it away.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your show? I hope the audience will have such a good time going on this journey with me and come away feeling, "Yes, everything can still come up roses." 

4. You are premiering the show at the Abingdon Theatre's June Havoc. What do you feel this venue offers your show that another one might not? I respect so much what the Abingdon does as a creative force for New York and because we will be in The June Havoc Theater and I played "June" in Gypsy and was in Marathon 33 it has emotional connections for me.

5. What was it like going back through your career and life to create this show? Did you learn anything about yourself through this process or did you rediscover something you lost? This question is answered within the show and the audience will discover the answer as we travel together. What I did discover and can talk about is what the power of love did as I worked with my daughter Elkin, her husband, Bobby Garabedian and the times that Doug and Joe were able to see the show as it as coming together in Los Angeles.

Lane Bradbury as "Dainty June" and Ethel Merman as "Rose" in Broadway's original "Gypsy", Photo Credit: Friedman-Abeles Photograph Collection6. As the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy, what are some of your cherished memories from that time? This question is answered in the show as the audience travels with us through with song and dance.

7. Your "Rose" in the original Broadway production of Gypsy was Ethel Merman. What was your experience of working with her? What did you learn from it? Come see the answers come alive.

8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Maybe you could ask me that question again sometime, because right now I love so much who I have been working with. I am just so happy to stay in this sacred place for a while.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" in Los Angeles9. In addition to acting, you are also a teacher. What have your students taught you? That I had a privileged life and if a student doesn't show up for class or disappoints me for one reason or another I don't have the privilege of getting all huffy and put out because I never had to go home to the things the "kids in crises" have to go home to...if when they go home or if they even have a home.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? My Mother always told me: "Where there's a will, there's a way." and "There's no such word as can't." Put that together with visualizing a better world, cooperative conversations and the fact that each of us are special and have something marvelous to contribute. This is my choice of a Super Power and a gift we can all use and give.

More on Lane:

Lane began dancing at age five with Dorothy Alexander, founder of the Atlanta Ballet, and was made a member of the company at age twelve. By age 17, she auditioned for the Actor’s Studio in New York. She was admitted, and at that time she was the youngest actor ever to achieve the honor of becoming a lifetime member. After seeing her work at the Actor’s Studio, Elia Kazan cast her in the Broadway play, JB. She then went on to originate the roles of "Dainty June" opposite Ethel Merman in Gypsy, "Charlotte Goodall" in Night of the Iguana, and "Mick" in June Havoc’s Marathon 33. She has appeared in such films as Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Hawaii, The Barony, and Consenting Adults. She has had guest starring roles in many Movies of Week including: Maybe I’ll Come Home in the Spring, Dial Hot Line, A Real American Hero, and To Dance With the White Dog. She has also appeared in over 40 series including such classics as Gunsmoke, In the Heat of the Night, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, The Partridge Family, Walking Tall, Serpico, The Waltons, Police Story, McCloud, The Mod Squad, and The Streets of San Franscisco. Lane is now the artistic director of Valkyrie Theatre of Dance Drama & Film, a non-profit organization that utilizes the arts to bring hope, healing and identity to "at risk" children and teenagers.

Tuesday
Sep102013

Sheri Sanders: In Concert Interview

Sheri Sanders, the mastermind behind the revolutionary rock musical theatre audition technique, Rock The Audition, took time out of her busy schedule to once again sit down with "Call Me Adam." This time around we discussed her upcoming not-to-be-missed concert experience at the American Theatre for Actors in NYC from September 25-October 2 (314 54th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Sheri be sure to visit http://www.sheri-sanders.com and follow her Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. You are about to kick off your concert tour right here in NYC from September 25-October 2 with a unprecedented format: part concert, part pop music history lesson, and a special inside look at your rock class, Rock The Audition. Why did you choose to format the concert tour this way? Well, people don't have ANY idea what on earth goes on in my classroom unless they take the class. They just know that people change...A lot. I wanted the theatre community to see how I work, what I ask of people, and most importantly, what I stand for as a teacher and liberator. Oh, and I am a performer FIRST so that part is just me getting to "fill my own cup" so it can "runneth over" for everyone else. I couldn't perform while I was pioneering and I hated that part.

Sheri Sanders at Transcendence Theatre Company with Steve Mazurek, Photo Credit: Ryan Daffurn2. What made now the right time to do this concert? Um, these amazing young producers Kenny Metzger and Kristin Morris from the Araca Project contacted me to see if I knew anyone who needed something produced and I said, "yeah! Me!" I tried to do this concert in NYMF a few years ago, but I was so exhausted from writing then launching my book, that producing my own concert was too much for me. So I cancelled the concert until further notice. And now, it's further notice cause Rock The Audition has really hit a new and exciting level. And I've gotten some sleep :) And I have two people producing it now. I don't have to do it all myself!

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your concert? Your questions are always amazing. That popular music is not just important to study how to audition for Rock Musicals, it also creates a profound opportunity to soul search. Something that I fear too many actors don't get a chance to do because they are told they are "ingenues" and need to sing "ingenue songs" and play "ingenue roles" is ask themselves how they FEEL. About ANYTHING. They have messy raw wild feelings that get completely lost in the shuffle. Popular music allows for those feelings. Insists on them actually!

Sheri Sanders in concert4. Joe Barros is directing. How did you decide that he was the one you wanted to work with? What has been the best part about the collaboration so far? Joe Barros knew me from a concert we did. I had a cold for it, but I was like," OK, cool. My voice is gonna have some texture on it" as opposed to freaking out. So my guess is he remembered that about me and called me in as an emergency replacement in a Fringe show. I had 3 days to learn the show before it opened. Why I chose him for this was that in those 3 days, he allowed me to be who I was, do my best, find my way through, be imperfect, with some real clear guidance and trust. And he is a FANTASTIC director/choreographer that I was dying to work with anyway. So when I asked he was like," F*&% yes." And so was I.

5. The NYC leg of the concert is being presented at the American Theatre of Actors. How did you decide on this venue? What do they offer that another venue might not? This venue came along with getting booked with the Araca Project. The Araca Project is really cool. The Aracas are these FAB producers whom I had the pleasure of working with when I did Urinetown. They have this UNBELIEVABLE mentorship program for Syracuse University. They mentor young producers, writers, casting directors. You name it. So when they asked if I wanted to do my concert with them, that's the spot they do it at! How wonderful for me since thats where Urinetown had its off-Broadway run!

Sheri Sanders with one of her "Rock The Audition" masterclass studentsSheri Sanders and her "Rock The Audition" masterclass students6. As part of this concert, you are going to be bringing students on stage and adjusting their rock songs in front of the audience. What excites about this part of the show and what makes you nervous? Love this question too. The same thing excites me and makes me nervous. I have no idea what they are gonna do. They are brave enough to get in front of the audience. Just like they're brave enough to take my class and get up in front of class as well. But I don't know them, I don't know who they are or what kind of acting technique they have. So it REALLY is a gamble. It feels a bit dangerous and that really excites me!

7. You are also going to have emerging contemporary pop/rock musical theatre artists and songwriting teams to present selections of their work as the "opening act" of the shows. How did you decide which artists you wanted to feature? Well, it's funny cause this was the producer's idea, and the producers and I had different lists. They did the reaching out on my behalf and got some coooool folks, like JOE ICONIS!!!!!!! Then I said hey hey can I get these other folks too? Some are my friends who NEED to be seen, some are HUGE influences in the musical theatre scene. We've got a little of everybody which is awesome.

8. In this day and age of Social Media, how do you feel Social Media outlets have helped your brand? How do you think it will help promote this concert? I think social media has been INCREDIBLE for me because I have created a "Facebook persona" that invites people to come explore lots of stuff with me. If I say, "look at this" or "do this" people do it cause they KNOW I am doing my homework for them about growing in this genre. I am gonna do my BEST to send them to the right places to learn the coolest things. So social media may have turned me into the pied piper. :)

Sheri Sanders proud of her students in "Rock The Audition" class9. What are you looking forward to most about taking this tour around the country? Well I've ALREADY gone to 24 colleges with my classes and that will continue. It's really about, for example, going to Chicago where there are several musical theatre programs and a VIBRANT musical theatre community. And that I get to do this concert as part of my "residency" there so people get to see the impact popular music has had on ME. It turned me into a much cooler person.

10. What do you enjoy most about teaching your students and interacting with your fans around the country? What have you learned from them? This is my favorite question. My students have given me courage. When they break through I come back to my own life and say, "Sher, are you gonna break through your crap like that boy did today? Or sit in your dirty diaper and do nothing about it?" So thats the best part. What their courage gives me. I can speak honestly when I say it's saved my life.

More on Sheri:

Sheri Sanders is the acclaimed author of Rock-The-Audition—a required read in more than a dozen top musical theatre training programs around the country, and her in-demand master class has been a part of the syllabus for students at renowned institutions like Pace University, Boston Conservatory, NYU, Syracuse, Berklee School of Music and Oklahoma City University, to name a few. Sheri has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Out Magazine, Playbill, The Huffington Post, as well as on NBC News, Good Day New York, and on Oprah’s OWN Network. Sheri’s students consistently receive callbacks and are cast in Broadway’s top rock shows, concerts, and national tours; many also number among the top competitors on reality competitions like The Glee Project, The X Factor and American Idol.