Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

    

"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Broadway (341)

Thursday
Feb122015

Call Answered: Sutton Foster: New York Pops: One Night Only

Sutton Foster, Photo Credit: Laura Marie Duncan"Call Me Adam" chats with two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster about making her Carnegie Hall solo debut with the New York Pops and Music Director/Conductor Steven Reineke on March 13, 2015 at 8pm in NYC (57th Street and 7th Avenue)! Joining Sutton for this very special concert will be her Violet co-star Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry and Little Women co-star Megan McGinnis. Click here for tickets!

For more on Sutton be sure to visit http://suttonfoster.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. On March 13, you will be making your solo debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, lead by Steven Reineke. What does it mean to you to be making your solo debut at Carnegie Hall alongside one of the greatest orchestras in the country? It's CRAZY! I had a bucket list that I wrote when I was 15. I think the very first thing on it was "sing at Carnegie Hall." I feel incredibly honored and humbled. I've been doing concerts with my music director Michael Rafter for the past 5 years...all over the country...but it's usually just me and him on the piano or a small combo. To stand in front of 75 + piece orchestra and hear these arrangements that we have been working on come to life on this level is UNREAL.

Steven Reineke and The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna WebberSteven Reineke conducting, Photo Credit: Richard Termine2. What excites you about performing with Steven Reineke again? What do you enjoy most about working with him? Steven has been fantastic and is a real collaborator. Michael and I came in with ideas and Steven was so on board. He is a fantastic conductor and leader and makes it easy.

3. If you had to give someone who has never seen you perform one reason to come see you in this one night only concert, aside from it being your Carnegie Hall solo debut, what would you tell them? Well this show isn't just about me. It's about the New York Pops - it's about Steven and Michael and my friends Megan McGinnis and Joshua Henry who are joining me. What I am most proud about is that it really is a collaboration and everyone gets a moment to shine.

And there are arrangements and orchestrations that just blow my mind. So if I had to give someone a reason to come - it would be to hear these songs performed in a way you have never heard them before.

4. What do you hope audiences learn about you from seeing you perform in this one night only concert that they might not know from seeing you in a Broadway show? The cool things about these concerts is that audiences get to see "me." I'm not playing a character or wearing a costume. I'm me. I also get to choose the material I want to sing...the words I want to say. It's more exposed but also very freeing.

Joshua HenryMegan McGinnis5. While this is your solo debut, you will be joined on stage by two very special guests, your Violet co-star and two-time Tony nominee Joshua Henry and your Little Women co-star Megan McGinnis. How did you decide that you wanted Joshua and Megan to share the stage with you? What are you looking forward to about reuniting with them? I knew I wanted to bring some friends along because it would be less scary! Megan and I recorded a duet of a song called "Flight" written by Craig Carnelia. That was the first song I knew I wanted to do. So asking Megan was crucial. Then during Violet I told Joshua "I have an idea." There's a youtube video of a song and dance routine that I thought would be fun for Joshua and I to do. I pitched it to him and he said YES. So I do a duet with each of them and they each have a solo in the show.

Sutton Foster, Gavin Creel, Sheryl Lee Ralph in "Thoroughly Modern Millie"6. I can't do an interview with you, without asking you about one of my all time favorite Broadway shows Thoroughly Modern Millie. First, what did you enjoy most about starring in that show? What went through your head as you went from ensemble performer to leading the show to winning the Tony Award? Was that whole experience the moment you felt as though you made it? That's a BIG question. Honestly the whole Millie experience was a blur. My entire career changed in a phone call when Michael Mayer called me out of town and told me the role of "Millie" was mine if I wanted it. From then on I was kind of like "WHA????" The whole experience taught me a lot. Taught me how to do 8 shows a week, how to be a leading lady - but I don't think I felt like I had "made it."  I felt like I still had a lot to learn. I stayed with the show for 2 years cause I felt like I still needed to figure her out.

Sutton Foster in "Anything Goes"7. What's the best advice you've ever received? To be kind.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I feel most home, most brave,  most myself when I'm performing or working.

9. How do you want to be remembered? As someone who never stopped growing or learning or getting better.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To fly.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? Ha! Oh my. Well it would probably be a boulevard - which is a Negroni but with Bourbon/Whisky. Maybe we could call it a Sutton Place.

Sutton FosterMore on Sutton Foster:

Sutton Foster is an award-winning actor, singer and dancer who has performed in 11 Broadway shows – most recently the revival of Violet – and originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Women, Young Frankenstein, Shrek The Musical, and her Tony Award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was first seen on television on Star Search at age 15, and has more recently starred in Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Bunheads and appeared in Johnny and the Sprites, Flight of the Conchords, Sesame Street, Law and Order: SVU, and Royal Pains. As a solo artist, Sutton has performed all over the country as well as internationally with her musical director Michael Rafter, featuring songs from her debut solo CD, Wish, as well as her follow up CD, An Evening with Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Feinstein's, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, Joe’s Pub and many others. In 2011 she received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Ball State University where she also is on faculty as a teacher and advisor to the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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, Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Principal Pops Conductor Designate for the Houston Symphony, beginning in the 2017-2018 season. 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 husband Eric Gabbard.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna WeberMore 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. Visit www.newyorkpops.org for more information. Follow The New York Pops on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Feb102015

Call Answered: Aaron David Gleason: 54 Below: Midnight at 9:30

Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Prospect Photography"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, producer, and singer/songwriter Aaron David Gleason about his upcoming show at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) Midnight at 9:30 on February 18 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

Midnight at 9:30 is an evening of songs from every genre about "midnight." Joining Aaron in this special evening are his Tony Award winning mother Joanna Gleason, Chris Sullivan, Lucas Papaelias, Brittain Ashford, Or Matias, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Andromeda Turre, Daniel Ballen, and David Ballen.

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

1. On February 18, you are presenting Midnight at 9:30, an evening of songs about Midnight. What are you most excited for about this concert? Getting this crew together. I'm a huge fan of these other artists.

2. What made you want to produce an evening of songs about Midnight? What does this bewitching hour mean to you? My first band was called The Midnight Radio, of course I was inspired by Stephen Trask's song. That song encapsulates all of Hedwig's emotions at that time. It's heavy and exalting all in one. As for "midnight songs": Funny, that a lot of songs with that word in it end up being blues. The non-blues ones end up being epic. Once you get into that subject matter, there's no messing around. You must have something to say. When I posted that I wanted suggestions on songs with "midnight" in them, I got about 100 replies.

3. What do you love most about performing at 54 Below? Nice ambiance. Great history. The other people performing on a nightly basis there are incredible. It's been a fantasy to play there.

Joanna and Aaron Gleason performingAaron and Joanna Gleason in Aaron's music video for his song "Mastermind"4. Joining you on February 18 will be a host of Broadway performers including your mother, Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason, whom you have performed with before at 54 Below. She was also featured in your music video for your song "Mastermind." What are looking forward to most about having your mom as part of this evening? What do you like most about performing with her? My mom asked if she could make soup for everyone. I said, "I've had your soup, how about you sing one song." She agreed to that deal. All kidding aside, I'm as much a fan of hers as anyone. Her interpretations are inspired and inventive. Some people try in vain to distill her talents -- that's pretty tough because she is so nimble and electric.

5. Some of the other performers performing with you in Midnight at 9:30 are Chris Sullivan, Lucas Papaelias, Brittain Ashford, Or Matias, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Andromeda Turre, Daniel Ballen, and David Ballen. How did you decide that you wanted these particular performers to be part of this concert? This is my favorite part. These artists all have something that's impossible to pin down. Anytime I saw them perform, they changed the way I saw theater. I saw Brittain and Or in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and it blew my mind, to be honest. Lucas and I used to play basketball, before I knew anything about the guy. Then, I see ONCE and he damn near steals the show. Nikka and I grew up together, and her mother and my mother were in I Love My Wife. Nikka has infectious charm. I'm a big fan of The Knick, and Chris Sullivan is incredible on that show.  He also happens to sing blues and folk like a mountain man. The Bailens are an up and coming great band and Drew Cooper, my MD, is literally my next door neighbor. I heard his playing coming through the wall, and thought, yeah I have to get that guy. Andromeda and I were in a reading of The Happy Hooker, and she knocked my socks off with her killer energy and voice.

Aaron David Gleason6. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending Midnight at 9:30? Their money's worth. Just having a nice night out. Excitement. Whimsy.

7. In addition to performing in Midnight at 9:30, as mentioned earlier, you are also producing the concert. What do you get from producing that you do not get from performing? Ownership, for better or for worse.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? If someone ever tells you their way is the only way, it probably isn't.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? It's what I live for, totally, completely. It CAN make you take a long look in a close mirror, which is fairly horrifying at first, but then you learn to be at peace with it. What I've learned most though, is that if I go too long between performances, I start to lose my sense of self.

Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Prospect Photography10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to play music at a high level.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could create a signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? The Midnight Special. Ingredients: Gin, Bitters, Grand Marnier.

Thursday
Jan222015

Call Answered: Todd Schroeder: Sam Harris' HAM: A Musical Memoir" at ARS NOVA

Todd Schroeder"Call Me Adam" chats with musical director, composer and performer Todd Schroeder about musically directing and performing in Sam Harris' HAM: A Musical Memoir, currently playing a three week limited engagement at ARS NOVA (511 West 54th Street) in NYC through January 24 only! Click here for tickets!

For more on Todd be sure to visit http://www.toddschroeder.net and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. You are currently musical directing and performing in Sam Harris' HAM: A Musical Memoir at Ars Nova in NYC through January 24. You have been working with Sam for over 20 years, but what made you want to work on this particular project? Yes, we have been performing together for many years. One of my favorite aspects of our collaboration is that each show, concert and project we do is an opportunity to try new things and continually challenge ourselves. I was particularly excited to work together on this project because besides musical directing and accompanying Sam, I also act during pivotal moments throughout the show. I play Sam’s father, his baseball coach and a few other voices in Sam’s head. His father has a monologue near the end of the show that presented great challenge and opportunity for me. Also, Sam and I wrote some original material for this show which added another enticement to sign on.

Sam Harris and Todd Schroeder in Sam Harris' "HAM: A Musical Memoir"2. Last year HAM: A Musical Memoir was performed at 54 Below for four shows only. What made now the right time to bring the show back to NYC, but for a limited 3 week run? Last year when we performed at 54 Below, the timing coincided with the release of his book, HAM. The show was a "liter-usical." Sam was at first going to just do book readings and signings in bookstores but we felt that there was an audience that would love to have an experience greater than only hearing him reading the stories from the book, and those shows integrated Sam singing songs that complemented the stories. Those shows were at 54 Below in January 2014, and were attended by our current producers of HAM, A Musical Memoir. They approached Sam about turning the book reading into a full-fledged theatrical production. After we finished the book tour, we quickly changed our focus to theatricalize the stories.

3. Out of all the venues in NYC, what made ARS NOVA the right venue for this run of the HAM: A Musical Memoir? It’s an intimate, warm setting with no obstructions. The sound travels beautifully in there and we use very little amplification. And the crew are all top notch. When I first saw the Ars Nova Theater, they were running a show called Jacuzzi. The set was all turned around in the theater. The seats were built up against a wall and they built a chalet that could accommodate a full-sized operating jacuzzi. But when I came back in January, the theater had been returned to its normal venue and then the beauty of Ars Nova really shined.

Sam Harris in Sam Harris' "HAM: A Musical Memoir"4. What do you identify most with about HAM: A Musical Memoir? At the core of HAM is the message of wanting to feel fulfilled, wanting to feel a sense of belonging and knowing that even if you have different ideas than the community around you, those differences should be celebrated. I grew up in a small town with a musical gift but most people who were like me had left town to pursue their dreams. I had no one to identify and share with. Fortunately, I had amazing support from my family and teachers.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing HAM: A Musical Memoir? I believe that Sam always thought he had to do more to belong or feel chosen. When really, what he needed to do was accept himself and all that made him who he is. Though his story is unique to Sam, and very entertaining, the message is universal. Sam and I wrote a few new songs for the show, of which the most poignant is one called "Broken Wing." The last line is "I’ve only got a broken wing, and it can’t keep me down." It says that we all have obstacles and reasons to doubt and fear our life’s journey. But they are not enough for us to give up. Our obstacles are only broken wings and they will heal and we will fly again.

Billy Porter6. What was the best part about having Billy Porter direct this show? I have known and respected Billy Porter for many years. We first performed together in L.A. many years ago and he was an amazing performer with an incredible voice. What I really love about Billy now, above and beyond his talent, is his confidence in who he is and what he shares. His enthusiasm is infectious and his acting ability is undeniable. (Hello, Tony Award!) He is a wonderful musician and he was the perfect fit to bring this book to life. Billy and Sam had worked together on Grease, and they even shared a dressing room. They have an understanding of each other both growing up in difficult environments and getting national attention from Star Search. Billy directed Sam in a way that only someone who has been there could. And Sam really trusted Billy. It was great to watch, laugh, cry and let the whole process evolve with this talented team.

7. In addition to musically producing HAM: A Musical Memoir, you have produced several of Sam's albums (including my all time favorite Revival). Is your process of musically directing Sam different for a live show than for an album? If so, how is it different? I have had the privilege of producing on Sam’s last five albums and even wrote "Don’t Let the World Step On Your Soul" that was featured on Revival. It’s so great to be in the studio with Sam. His range and control and passion are so unique and combined are the reason he has been called "one of the greatest voices of our time." There is a difference in musical directing and producing Sam live rather than in the studio. When we are doing a show, it’s about choosing the right key, placement and pacing so that he can perform night after night. When we are in the studio, it’s about letting it fly and capturing all the passion and emotion in every note and syllable. It’s about feeling the same sense of awe after listening to it over and over. Then we know we have it.

Todd Schroeder8. What do you think the secret is to your over two-decade collaboration with Sam? What have been some of your favorite moments working together? Sam and I met in November of 1992. I had just moved to L.A. and was musical directing a Christmas benefit concert and Sam was the headliner. I had watched Sam when he was on Star Search and of course, thought he was amazing. So I was very excited when I got the call to work with him. I remember the day we first met. I went to his place to rehearse. We started working on "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It was instant magic. We both connected emotionally, musically and by the end of the rehearsal, he said "I have to work with someone until New Year’s and then I would like you to be my musical director for the rest of my life." Well, that was 22 years ago. We have had many favorite moments working together. Carnegie Hall, twice. We performed at the White House. Probably my most favorite was when we performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show right after 9/11. It was her first live broadcast and we were brought in for what she called "Healing America Through Music." It featured BeBe and Cece Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Denyce Graves and Sam and myself. It was truly awesome. And Oprah is the real deal.

9. You are also the founder of the Todd Schroeder Young Artist Grant, which presents scholarships to graduating high school students wanting to pursue careers in the arts. This grant has been in existence for 20 years now. What made you want to start this grant?  What is it like to meet the winners of the grant? How do their stories inspire you at this point in your career? I grew up in the small town of Sonora, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains in Northern California. My mom was a social worker and a financial aid director at the local college. So growing up, I was always told how important it is to give back and support your community. In 1995, I was musical directing for Rita Coolidge and decided to do a concert in my hometown to raise money to present a scholarship at my high school. Rita came up to perform and a few of my other friends did too. It was a success. I thought it was going to be a one-time thing but so many people were excited about it, I went back the following year and did it again. Here we are twenty years later and it really is an honor. Other performers in the past twenty years have included Sam Harris, Jason Alexander, David Burnham, Jordan Hill, Kevin Fisher, Mark Espinoza and a bunch of other talented friends who have all generously donated their time and talent.

We have given over 45 scholarships to graduating high school seniors that want to pursue their dream in singing, acting, playing an instrument, dancing, drawing, directing and even stage managing. The concerts are in the spring and I present the scholarship and a trophy right before the students graduate. Many have gone on to become music teachers and one even started a scholarship because of how he felt when he received mine. Their success stories inspire me constantly and remind me that when you throw a pebble in the water, you never know where the ripples will find shore.

10. In 2013, BroadwayWorld named you "Musical Director of the Year." What did this honor mean to you? It is so wonderful and important to be recognized for hard work. I love what I get to do and the many people I get to work with. I know that not everyone gets to wake up and do what they love to do for a living and I assure you, there are days that are tougher than others but at the end of it, I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my gift, my joy and my passion for what I do.

11. How do you want to be remembered? I try to bring passion, enthusiasm and joy to everything I do. Playing piano, acting, singing, golfing, drinking tequila…For me, these are the elements for a full and happy life. If those qualities could be associated with me, and shared, I would like that very much. I am fortunate to have two beautiful daughters that have taken on those qualities (of course, with the exception of the tequila!).

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. What is the best advice you've ever received? I think it would have been a "teaching joke" told by my mother. She often asked, "How do you eat an elephant?" and then without waiting for an answer, said, "One bite at a time." Sometimes, reaching the finish line can be daunting and very overwhelming. It is important to remember that the only way to get there is one step at a time. It’s easier if you focus on what’s in front of you and when you accomplish that, then you can go on. I try and share this advice wherever I can.

Todd Schroeder13. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would have loved to have worked with the late Eva Cassidy. Her voice had so many textures and I would have loved to have explored with her. Such a loss. I would like to work with Audra McDonald. She is glorious and also a Californian. And Hugh Jackman. My wife is an Aussie and I would score big points working with him!!

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would split myself into two identical beings. It’s so wonderful to be on stage every night performing here in New York, but I miss my family in L.A. That superpower would enable me to simultaneously experience the best of both worlds.

15. If you could create a signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The "Frog in Your Throat." I musical direct several shows for Universal Studios Japan located in Osaka. For the past two years, I have show directed the "Frog Choir," part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Experience at USJ. That magic world and wonderful show commands a cocktail of equal stature.

1 oz tequila

1 oz triple sec

1 1/2 oz sweet and sour mix

1/2 oz Midori® melon liqueur

2 oz lemon lime soda

Combine tequila, lemon lime soda, triple sec, and sweet & sour mix over ice. Finish off by slowly pouring the Midori melon liquour over the drink for a colorful mixing effect.

Todd SchroederMore on Todd:

Todd has released six original albums and has written a number of original musicals, including Braveheart, The Empower Pack, Unbeatable and Longing4Love.com. For over a decade, he’s served as the vocal director for Disney’s Aladdin, A Musical Spectacular, and vocal director for Universal Studio Japan’s Wicked, as well as a number of live performance shows at their Osaka park. He also regularly teaches a Masterclass entitled Auditioning for Today’s Musical Theater across the US, as well as internationally. He has collaborated with a coterie of distinguished performers, including Angela Lansbury, Jason Alexander, Joan Ryan and Sam Harris, as well as many others. He’s also appeared on TV, acting as musical director on a number of talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and The Late Late Show. And, he’s performed at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to The White House, and with The Boston Pops, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Tuesday
Jan202015

Call Answered: SpazCandy Conference Call with Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte

Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte, Photo Credit: Laura SpectorDesigned by Laura Spector"Call Me Adam" chats with Broadway's Becca Ayers and producer Bradley Dean Whyte about collaborating on their new album Spazcandy, which is out now on Amazon and iTunes! We also premiere their music video for "Map of Your Brain" at the end of the interview!

Click to purchase Spazcandy: Amazon and iTunes!

For more on Becca Ayers be sure to visit https://beccaayers.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter!

For more on Bradley Dean Whyte be sure to visit http://www.listentobradley.com and follow him on Twitter!

For more on Spazcandy visit http://www.SpazCandy.com!

Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte, Photo Credit: Laura Spector1. You recently released your newest album Spazcandy, a collection of original pop songs. How did you two come to work together initially? 

Becca Ayers: Bradley and I had both spent time in Kansas City, on various theatrical endeavors, and met thru a mutual connection in New York. We felt an instant kinship and started collaborating immediately. We also hiked, texted potential band names back and forth obsessively, went to see bands like "The Ditty Bops," and improvised new verses to "This Is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas ad nauseam. Bradley later moved to Thailand, but our connection was so strong that we continued to collaborate, and he produced my first solo EP Lovesick. When he moved back to the states, I started going to Texas to collaborate with him in person again, and between the internet and finally being in the same room together again, Spazcandy was born. It was great to be in Texas with him this last time around, because it was only the second time that we actually played together live-the first being in Austin-and it was so cool to see how people wanted to dance with their pants to our music. I really hope we can tour some day, even if in short spurts. We have such chemistry onstage together that is born out of our mutual theatrical and improvisational backgrounds, mixed with our intense need to continue to try to supercede each others’ ridiculousness by "stage pestering" each other between harmonies.

We're so lucky to have gotten some awesome old friends to play on this album, such as Bryan Crook, who is not only a masterful reed player whose had a permanent chair in The Book Of Mormon orchestra since the beginning, and was also nominated for a Tony for the Motown orchestrations, among countless other projects. I'm lucky to be surrounded by such talented renaissance men.

Bradley Dean Whyte: I met Becca in Kansas City at a UMKC theatre department party back in 1996 but she doesn't remember. This was back when I used to play Sarah McClachlan songs on the guitar, cry on my yoga mat and drink herbal tea. I certainly wasn't ready for Becca. Becca's not really someone you can "get ready" for anyway. She's a constant surprise. Like, have you ever seen two pictures of her with the same expression? No you have not. But I digress. We reconnected in New York around 2004 through a friend and we quickly tapped into each other's musical funny bone, and haven't stopped since.

Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte, Photo Credit: Laura Spector2. After some time apart, you reconnected and created Spazcandy. What was it like to get back in touch and how long after did you decide to make a new album together?

Becca Ayers: We're always thinking of ideas and I like that we push and inspire each other. Bradley is always finding new ways to challenge himself and grow his work. He brings something very special out in me.

Bradley Dean Whyte: I was very lucky to be able to work in person with Becca for two visits during 2014. It's always great to play with her. We stay in touch when we're not in the same town; Skype makes things easier but we're always talking about making albums. That's why she came to visit to begin with. Making things together is an indivisible part of the friendship. So I think it started when we met and it just keeps going…we're in talks for the next one already!

Designed by Chadwick and Spector3. What made you want to call the album Spazcandy? What made you want to give this album more of a pop feel as opposed to the folk/pop feel of your previous album Lovesick?

Becca Ayers: We called it Spazcandy because we know how bad sugar is for you, so we thought we would try our hand at replacing it with the natural high of an album full of ear-candy. We pushed the pop more because we wanted something that was intelligent, yet accessible to a wider audience, that you might find in the soundtrack for Girls or Orange Is The New Black, or that "Indie" film that stars the girl with the pink flats and the yellow polka dotted dress who looks like St. Vincent with no makeup. We'd like to follow in the footsteps of Pomplamoose or Okay, Go; creative, indie writers who are always thinking of new ways to stretch themselves, yet are still capable of producing a Christmas jingle for a car commercial.

Bradley Dean Whyte: I have a strong affinity for the late 60s/early 70s "Golden Age of Bubblegum Pop":  Monkees, Jackson 5, and those old mail-order, As-Seen-On-TV, K-Tel compilation albums. But I also love 80s and 90s brainy alternative music like They Might Be Giants and The B-52s, Beatlesque power pop like Jellyfish and Badfinger. So, I don't know who came up with it, but the name just seemed to fit the schizophrenic genre-hopping that occurs from track to track. Nilsson is also a big influence on me personally and I think I'm always trying to play with opposites in each song the way he did…between the highs and lows, the happy and sad, the juxtaposition of nice palatable melodies and gnarly imagery in the lyrics. Vinnie Zummo who plays lead guitar on a few tracks understands this. Check out his guitar voices on "WaterSlide" and "Never Forget Your Technicolour Voodoo" or his soloing on "Dark Night Of The Soul" and you'll hear what I mean.

Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte, Photo Credit: Laura Spector4. How do you feel you've grown as artists with Spazcandy?

Becca Ayers: I feel like I’ve become more trusting, as an artist, with Spazcandy. The more I work with Bradley, the more I respect and trust his talent. Releasing the album has also given me the opportunity to flex my live performance muscle in regards to my own music. For one show, I openend for our band with a solo set on the guitar. Performing my own material terrifies me much more than acting in a show, because there is no one to blame but myself if it sucks, and "selling" my own material has always been an unnatural challenge for me. Hiding behind a character while someone else picks out my clothes and does my hair is much less vulnerable.

Bradley Dean Whyte: I think I'm best working with Becca. This album reminded me of that. To me, the songs we composed together, I think, are the most interesting ones. Also, it's great to have real drumming on the album. I learned a lot about how to work with real drummers. Keith Matthews does some great drumming on SpazCandy. So does Anton Fig and Dan Gluszak. This process was a constant reminder that the best things come from collaborations. I could do it alone if I had to but it just wouldn't be as good!

Bradley Dean Whyte and Becca Ayers, Photo Credit: Laura Spector5. What should make fans excited about Spazcandy?

Becca Ayers: For me, the most exciting thing about Spazcandy for audiences is that it’s danceable and happy-inducing without compromising thought-provoking undertones. The first track on the album that Bradley wrote; "Bait And Switch" is brilliantly exisitential. It's one that you can listen to over and over and keep learning from, and that's my favorite kind of song.

Bradley Dean Whyte: I know everyone says this but "It's something different!" But, truly, this is different. Like, I'm really proud of how this record is somehow completely weird and completely pop at the same time.   Not an easy thing to achieve. I think fans will enjoy all the different colors. Dan Gluszak, who mixed the album, remarked how each song is an entirely different musical statement. There's variety there, for sure. Also, there's two kinds of psych music in the world. The kind you have to be on drugs to enjoy and then there's the kind that just makes you just feel like you're on drugs. I prefer the latter. I think SpazCandy is that kind of music. Something to give people a sober acid-tinged high.

6. Since the album is called Spazcandy, what is your favorite kind of candy to go spazztic over?

Becca Ayers: Nerds.

Bradley Dean Whyte: Okay, I'm gluten-free these days and sometimes sugar free…for chunks of time…when I'm feeling ambitious. And my wife Laura makes an amazing shake in the Cuisinart from cacao nibs, almond milk, ice and bananas…You know what? Never mind. That's bullshit. I do love that snack. But, let's be honest, we just had Christmas and I ate a lot of crap. The best thing was probably those little Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Squares with Mint Filling. I'd like to get some more right now actually. Hold on. Be right back.

Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte in the recording studio, Photo Credit: Laura Spector7. What is your favorite part of the creative process in making an album?

Becca Ayers: "Imagine that I am on stage - under a watchtower of punishing light - and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow - and what’s beyond you is hidden from sight - and somebody right now is yawning - and watching me like a tv - and I’ve been frantically piling up sandbags against the floodwaters of fatigue and insecurity - and suddenly I hear my guitar singing - and so I just start singing along - and somewhere in my chest, all the noise just gets crushed by the song - yeah, imagine that I’m at your mercy - imagine that you are at mine - oh, pretend I’ve been standing here watching you watching me all this time - now imagine that you are the weather in the tiny snow globe of this song - and I am the Statue Of Liberty; one inch long - and here I am at my most hungry - and here I am at my full - and here I am waving a red cape, locking eyes with a bull - just imagine that I am on stage - under a watchtower of punishing light - and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow - and what’s beyond you is hidden from sight" -Ani Difranco

Bradley Dean Whyte: Working with so many great people, co-writing with others, emailing parts to one another. Becca and I enjoyed a lot of help on SpazCandy. Anton Fig played drums for me a long time ago on the song "Bound To Find" which I wrote with country singer-songwriter Joe Thompson and I'm glad to finally have a finished recording. Keith Matthews, an acquaintance from my childhood, randomly contacted me and we've been collaborating ever since. Annie Van Bergen, someone I met on Facebook, once sent me a poem and it became the verses for "Dark Night Of The Soul". The amazing Bryan Crook played horns for us. Folk singer/songwriter Meghan Cary shared a song with me years ago and encouraged me to expand on it, and "Last Cigarette" was written. Dave Ulrich, a classmate from my college days, wrote "Let It Go Down" with me during a Christmas break over a decade ago.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received?

Becca Ayers: "In your heart, if something feels wrong, don’t do it. If it feels right, knock yourself out." Allison Mondiser - Hair woman extraordinaire for Miss Saigon in Toronto, Canada.

Bradley Dean Whyte: Anton Fig told me once, when I was freaking about how long it was taking me to record stuff at home, said "Don't worry. It'll take as long as it takes…" And that was that. I try to remember that time is only a self-imposed relationship to desire. That said, I'm still keenly aware that I will die someday and it's important to get shit done. I haven't discussed death with Anton but maybe he's got some insight there too.

Bradley Dean Whyte and Becca Ayers performing9. What have you learned about yourselves from working together?

Becca Ayers: Stop overthinking and go with your gut and stop overthinking your gut and what that means and how you can tell if it’s your gut talking or not; you'll never know so what's the point of thinking about it?

Bradley Dean Whyte: I've learned that Becca is in better cardiovascular shape than me. Man, a song starts, and off she goes. She's amazing. I've also learned that I should keep comparing myself to her because, while it's unhealthy, it's good motivation for me to sing in tune and keep a journal.

10. How do you want to be remembered?

Becca Ayers: I would like to be remembered as someone who helped people. I want to be an advocate for change and equality. I want to be a different voice; an alternative option. I would like to be an example of someone who carved out a life that she wanted, not one that society expected of her. I’m still trying to figure out what that life is, but I know that it probably doesn’t involve having children and it may not even involve having a permanent significant other, which I am coming to think is another belief that has been societally engrained. All I know so far is that family is important. Be it blood relatives or chosen family. I want to empower myself and my loves as a means to empower others.

Bradley Dean Whyte: It's way too early to ask that question. And not too early in the day or anything, I mean…just way too early in my career.  Besides, it seems the whole world is on the path to fame of some sort.  Literally everyone. So it's possible that no one will be remembered that we'll all just get lost and blend in with each other. I'm not sure what I mean by that but it makes emotional sense to me when I say it. "No one will be remembered." See, doesn't that feel good?

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Bradley Dean Whyte and Becca Ayers, Photo Credit: Laura Spector11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

Becca Ayers: The power to be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, and to make others do the same.

Bradley Dean Whyte: First off, I have to say that I think this whole superpower fantasy appeals to a person's desire to control things. And I work so hard trying to accept that I don't control anything that it's hard for me to enjoy entertaining a power that is seriously awesome. Like flying or invisibility. So my imagination insists on a compromise; I resort to allowing myself to fantasize about one of those tortured-soul superpowers. Like the kind that David Banner struggles with. Or Sam Beckett (not the playwright but the Quantum Leap guy). So, okay, get this: whenever I'm in a dangerous situation, I have the freakish ability to explode into countless pieces of bio-debris, randomly spreading in all surrounding directions. Then, when the dust settles, I re-materialize in the location where the farthest piece of me has landed. I can't control where, or in what direction, but it's just enough to cause a diversion and get away. And I'm always naked when I come out of it, so that's a bit of a problem too. I can't control when it's going to happen either, so I just sorta try to stay out of trouble. Some days I think it'd be easier to just get punched in the face than to have to use my superpower. I'm sorry, but it's the best I've got.

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be?

Becca Ayers: The Super Duper Becca Boost - 1 Tablespoon of  Agent Cooper Copper Protein, lemonade, 4 Sprees, Daisies.

Bradley Dean Whyte: Waking Dream. Made with Ginger, Caffeine and Absinth. Not the 20th century kind, but the 100-year old mythological Absinth…the kind that makes you see fairies. The Ginger and Caffeine is there to help people stay alert and centered while they hallucinate.

Bradley Dean Whyte and Becca Ayers, Photo Credit: Laura SpectorMore on Becca and Bradley:

We are Becca Ayers and Bradley Dean Whyte, musically kindred spirits. Many moons ago, we made sweet, sweet music together in New York. We’d hike, drink tea and write music. Then Bradley moved to Thailand and it seemed the collaboration was finished. However, because of the new-fangled technology that the kids are calling "the internets," we were able to continue making music. Sweet, sweet music. Bradley co-wrote and produced Lovesick with Becca from the jungles of northern Thailand just before releasing his first home-made studio record, The Emperor’s New Tea.

Today, Bradley resides in Houston, Texas. When Becca came to visit from NYC this past winter, we rekindled our musical shenanigans and we were all, "this sh*t’s for real, yo. Time to make some… SpAzCaNdY."

We have that certain complex, volatile relationship that the fans just love: Bradley annoys Becca, but Becca annoys Bradley even more.

For most of our lives, we have been lucky enough to earn our living in the performing arts — creating theatre, music, recordings, and teaching. Becca continues to perform in NYC and has spent the last 7 years working on Broadway (Avenue Q, Les Miserables, South Pacific, and Addam’s Family, where she had the diverse opportunity to perform alongside Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, and Brooke Shields). Bradley began his career as an actor, performing with regional theaters and Shakespeare festivals. Over the last 10 years, he has written and produced music for regional theaters, international children's cartoons and educational CDs, he has been a contributor for NPR's The Next Big Thing and, in 2011, he released his debut LP Emperor's New Tea.

"Map of your Brain" Music Video:

Map Of Your Brain (Explicit) - The Perfectly Violent Dream With Becca Ayers from Bradley Dean Whyte on Vimeo.

More from Spazcandy:

Tuesday
Jan062015

Call Answered: Facetime Dream Interpretation video with Bobby Cronin and Jefferson Harman

Jefferson HarmanBobby CroninIn this special episode of "Call Me Adam," dream interpreter Jefferson Harman reveals the meaning behind the dreams of award winning composer/lyricist Bobby Cronin.

 

 

 

For more on Jefferson be sure to visit http://www.everydaysymbology.com and follow him on Twitter!

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

Dream Interpretation with Jefferson Harman and Bobby Cronin:

More on Jefferson:

Jefferson Harman is a Symbolic Intuitive, Dream Interpreter, Radio Personality and Writer who reads the symbols present in your dreams & everyday life. By interpreting this invisible language, he identifies your blocks and challenges and ways to overcome them. He has been actively studying the relationships among metaphysics, psychology and anatomy for over 25 years.

Jefferson is available for private readings in person, by phone and through Skype. He conducts workshops on various topics including Dream Interpretation, Overcoming Your Phobias and The Healing Power of the Mind. In his workshop series, New Thoughts, New Lives®, Jefferson explores the transformative power of Affirmation. He also teaches workshops in Origami as a meditation tool to promote World Peace.

Jefferson is a recurring guest on Life Unedited with John Aberle, on WCHE Radio 1520 AM, in the Philadelphia area on the first Saturday of each month - listen live at http://www.wche1520.com/lifeunedited.htm. Listeners can call in to have their dreams interpreted LIVE on the air and are welcome to ask questions on dreams, phobias and more.

Jefferson's podcast series Everyday Symbology® is available at iTunes and on the web. The show includes interviews with holistic practitioners, artists and musicians, presenting topical discussions on all things holistic and metaphysical. Jefferson also has a book in the works by the same title.

Jefferson writes a regular column entitled Night Sailing, originally printed in the holistic publication MARCI Magazine. In each article he interprets dreams that readers have sent him via email. Send your dream to jefferson@everydaysymbology.com. He also contributed articles and book reviews to the magazine, which will be reposted over time to this website.

Jefferson is a former Member of the Board of Trustees of the Holistic Mentorship Network and the former Chairperson of the HMN Publishing Committee, which included the Network's flagship publication, MARCI Magazine. He is also a Board Member of the Pompton Lakes Residents for Environmental Integrity (PLREI).

More on Bobby:

Bobby Cronin is a multi-award-winning composer/writer whose current projects include: Sunset City with bookwriter Wade Dooley and co-lyricist Brett Teresa (2013 Running Deer Theatre Lab, Goodspeed Mercer Project); The Concrete Jungle with co-bookwriter Crystal Skillman, which went into workshop March 2014 and was commissioned in 2012 for London's esteemed ArtsEd School (President: Andrew Lloyd Webber) which opened in June 2012. Welcome To My Life (W2ML) currently under a Broadway option; 'Til Death Do Us Part with Harrington winning bookwriter Allen Mogol (2012 Alec Baldwin Fellowship Winner, UK's S&S Award Finalist). Daybreak (add'l material by Brett Teresa) which won the 2011 New Jersey Playwrights Contest and premiered in Wayne, NJ and London's Tristan Bates Theatre June 2012. Currently writing Mary & Max with Crystal Skillman and Stafford Arima, Alone In The US for CAP21 with Terry Berliner, and the short musical film A Mile In Her Shoes for NYFA. Other: 54 Below, Lincoln Center Songbook Series, Birdland, Symphony Space, London's The Players Theatre and St. James Theatre, and more. Reach The Sky: Live at The Beechman and The Concrete Jungle International Studio Cast Recording both on iTunes. Yale graduate, Member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild, and MMD (UK).