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Entries in Broadway (295)

Friday
Jan312014

Call Answered Again: Cady Huffman 54 Below Hungry and Horny Interview

After a sold-out run this past January, Tony Award winner Cady Huffman returns to 54 Below on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 7pm with her show Hungry and Horny!. Directed by Will Nunziata, Hungry and Horny! is about life, love and what she ate along the way. From her Gramma’s Pasta Fazool to her 10 seasons as a judge on Iron Chef America, Cady has eaten it all, loved it all, and gone back for seconds. Come hear the beauty, wit, and talent that is Cady Huffman! Click here for tickets!

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

1. On January 14, you made your 54 Below debut with your show Hungry and Horny!. What was it like to make your 54 Below debut? Adam, I was so ridiculously nervous it was stupid. 54 Below is a beautiful room with a great team running it. My musicians are fantastic and my director is amazing. Once I got over the terror, IT WAS A BLAST! Made me realize I haven't been singing enough of the songs I really want to sing lately.

2. Now, on February 5, you are returning to 54 Below for an encore performance of Hungry and Horny!. What does it mean to you to have been asked back? It's GREAT to be asked back! Especially so quickly. It gives me a chance to relax and make the show better and better!

3. What makes 54 Below the right venue for your show? Sexy room with a great menu. It gets everyone in the mood.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your show? Hopefully they understand how personal it is to me while having a rip-roarin' time!

5. What made now the right time to premiere this show? I'd recently been asked by several people to combine my foodie life with my Broadway life. No time like the present!

6. What do you enjoy most about performing this kind of show over a theatrical show? I get to be me. I love seeing the audience, talking to the audience and interacting with the audience. With no 4th wall it can be so personal.

Cady Huffman and Will Nunziata at 54 Below7. Hungry and Horny is directed by Will Nunziata. How did you two come to work together? What has been the best part about working with him? Young Will and I met at a benefit at Joe's Pub several years ago. We recently reconnected when we sat together at an Ann Hampton Callaway show. He told me he wanted to direct. I stowed that in the back of my brain and when I decided to do this show I gave him a call. We hit it off and have had a ball. He's a smarty pants and he knows the art form incredibly well. We're also both Italian, so we don't get upset if someone is yelling.

8. Hungry and Horny! is about life, love, and what you ate along the way. How did you come up with the concept for the show? I'm always hungry and horny. It just seemed the most direct root to what I wanted to say.

9. Since the show is titled Hungry and Horny!, what are some of your favorite foods and what is the best way to get you in the mood for love? Oh, you're cute Adam. Firstly, there's no food I won't try at least once. I'm very adventurous that way. The love stuff? Well, I can't give all my secrets away, but trust me, I'm easy...with the right person, of course. ;)

10. Aside from performing, what else in life are you Hungry and Horny! for? Knowledge. Learning. It thrills me to learn just about anything as long as the teacher is passionate. Please tell me something I don't already know!!

Cady HuffmanMore on Cady:

Winner of the 2001 Tony Award for "Best Featured Actress in a Musical" for her portrayal of "Ulla" in Mel Brooks' The Producers, Cady Huffman is an actress and producer of great caliber, who also spent 10 seasons as a judge on Iron Chef America.

She burst onto Broadway in the original production of La Cage Aux Folles, which then lead to being cast in Bob Fosse's Big Deal, followed by a Tony Award nominated performance in The Will Rogers Follies in 1991.

Cady made her film debut in 1992's Hero which starred Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy García. She has since appeared in Space Marines, Romance & Cigarettes, and The Nanny Diaries, and The Company Men alongside Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper. Cady also starred, produced, and acted as production designer for the independent film Sunday on the Rocks.

Friday
Jan312014

Call Answered: Conference Call: Nick Luckenbaugh and Victoria Weinberg: Libra Theater's Songs You Should Know at 54 Below

Nick Luckenbaugh, Managing Artistic Director of Libra Theater CompanyVictoria Weinberg, Executive Artistic Director of Libra Theater Company"Call Me Adam" chats with Libra Theater Company's Managing Artistic Director Nick Luckenbaugh and Executive Artistic Director Victoria Weinberg about their annual Songs You Should Know concert, this year, at 54 Below on Tuesday, February 4 at 9:30pm!

Songs You Should Know is an annual concert of new and rarely performed songs from some of today’s most talented writers. Click here for tickets!

For more on Libra Theater Company be sure to visit http://www.libratheater.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

1. Libra Theater Company has been producing Songs You Should Know, an evening of musical theater songs by some of today's emerging and established writers, for the past three years now. What made you initially start this series?

Nick: When we founded Libra four years ago, we started out with this idea of "balance." We try to make performance opportunities that allow artists to balance art and everyday responsibilities - no matter how creative we have to get with scheduling. But we also want "balance" to apply to our programming. Music and non music theater. New work and the classics. There's so much great work out there, and we feel it’s important to give our artists and audiences access to as wide a variety as possible.

That said, one of the things Victoria and I are most passionate about is new musicals. There is so much good new music theater out there. And a lot of that - whether it’s by an established writer or someone bubbling just under the surface - hasn't gotten the attention that it deserves. So Victoria and I thought, "How do we create a forum where we can bring all that together?" So Songs You Should Know came about.

Victoria: Well, Nick truly had the idea for Songs You Know Know first. So, I can't take too much credit for the initial idea! But, that being said, our mission statement is something we take very seriously. This concert is the perfect marriage of our love for new work and our passion for creating performance opportunities that cater to the schedules of our performers. We rely very heavily on the talent of our artists, but we provide them with as much support as possible. Many of our artists are busy with rehearsals, performances, family commitments, or jobs – so it is our job to find them the rehearsal time and tools they need to fit their busy lives.

For this concert in particular, that’s why a great musical director is so important. Songs You Should Know would not exist without someone with great hands at the piano who’s also so committed to our process. Mark Evans – musical directing for the second time for this – is wonderful. None of this would work without him.

2. How has Songs You Should Know evolved over the past 3 years?

Nick: Libra's definitely a smaller company in the grand scheme of what's out there in New York. Not saying that I'm not proud of the work that we've done - because I'm really proud. But it means a lot to me that as we've continued to do this, we've had talented up-and-comers as well as amazing Broadway performers like Lilli Cooper or Max Crumm continue to agree to perform in a concert organized by a little off-off-Broadway company. And it tells me that there are a lot of people out there who care about musical theater as an art form and want to support the new work that's happening - be it from established artists or from writers just starting out with a guitar and a dream. And I think - looking to the future - it's that love of new work and passion for promoting it that I want to keep at the heart of this concert.

Victoria: Personally, the series has evolved for me in the fact that I care so much more about the bigger picture because of it. As a new graduate when the concert first started, I wanted so badly to be in the concert myself and sing alongside the "big guns." But over the past three years, Libra’s become so important to us and my personal passion for promoting new work has grown. And it’s helped me grow personally. This year, I’ve really come to understand the importance of finding the best performer possible for each song rather than securing the "biggest name" or finding a way to sing something myself because I love the song. (And trust me, there’s a lot to love!) But it really is more important for us to promote all this fantastic new work than to push any individual artistic agenda.

3. This year's Songs You Should Know is going to be at 54 Below on February 4 at 9:30pm. What excites you about having the series at 54 Below? 

Victoria: 54 Below produces fantastic shows. There's no question about that. They have such a varied line-up of concerts from Chita Rivera to Joanna Gleason to Jeff Daniels. I think that any chance a young and growing company has to produce new work on a stage that’s held such storied performers is a fantastic opportunity. We’d love to be part of music theater history and 54 Below offers that in spades. Plus, the drinks are fantastic!

Nick: I second all of that. Also, for me personally, I’m thrilled that we get the chance to work so closely with Jennifer Ashley Tepper, the Director of Programming at 54 Below. I remember that when I was almost out of college and started getting into producing, a director I knew said, "Nick, you have to meet with Jen Tepper and try to learn from her!" And he was absolutely right. She’s taken the musical theater world by storm, and I think anyone who wants to produce on a small or large scale can really learn from her enthusiasm and dedication and sheer ability to get people excited.

4. What does 54 Below offer you that another venue might not?

Victoria: 54 Below offers such a wonderful support system when you’re working on a project there. Here’s where I’m going to echo a lot of Nick’s sentiments. Jen Tepper – in addition to being the world's greatest musical theater historian – is one of the most supportive and lovely ladies you will ever meet. She excels at keeping you to task on your deadlines and also providing you with the best team possible. You’re never out of options, and there’s always someone to go to with a question or for advice on how to get things done. I can’t say enough about the group of people that work at 54 Below.

Nick: 100% agree. We’ve worked with some wonderful venues over the past three years (special shout out to the Laurie Beechman, which has hosted this concert twice before). But one of the best parts of being at 54 Below is that you’re working with an entire team. And as Victoria said, they’re all so supportive. And as far as the space itself, it really feels like you’re making a mark on theater history when you’re performing there. And that’s really special.

5. How do you decide which writers and performers you going to have on the show?

Nick: There's so much great new work to choose from. But one of the things we've become more and more conscious of as we've programmed each concert is making sure a variety of writers are represented – particularly when it comes to emerging writers. "Emerging" is such a broad term. It can cover writers who've certainly had successes but haven't had their work on Broadway just yet. It also covers writers who've never had anything published or are still working toward their first professional production. And they've all got amazing work that deserves to be showcased. And I think we've really tried to make this concert representative of all the "emerging" writers that are out there. I only wish we had more slots available at each concert to give even more emerging talent time onstage.

Victoria: When we receive these amazing songs, we want to make sure we’re giving them their best debut possible. Carner & Gregor are a great example. Libra’s had the chance to work with these great writers every year since our inception, and this year, they’ve given us a brand new song. Especially given our history with them, we wanted to find a performer that would give the song the a fantastic outing. Molly Hager immediately came to mind. We’re only glad that she was free, because she’s going to be amazing!

We also love returning to artists that have worked with us before whenever possible, such as Marissa McGowan and Blair Goldberg. Honestly, just like a director loves to return to their favorite actors, we as a company value loyalty, and we just can't get enough of the artists that return to us and constantly wow us with their performances.

Nick Luckenbaugh and Victoria Weinberg: Behind The Scenes at Libra Theater Company6. How would you like to Songs You Should Know grow from here?

Victoria: I would love for Songs You Should Know to be the concert for new and hot performers and writers – something that people look forward to all year. And in doing that, I’d always want us to work toward balance and really embrace all new music – putting brand new composers you’ve never heard of onstage with more established ones (and everyone in between). As long as creative people keep pushing the boundaries of musical theater, we’ll keep debuting those songs.

Nick: Honestly, given the resources, I’d love to do this more often. As I said, there’s so much great work, and there just aren’t enough slots in a given concert to showcase what’s out there. Especially when it comes to brand new writers. In my opinion, there are a slew of promising artists just out of grad school or who can’t even afford the awesome grad programs that are out there. These guys just haven’t been able to break out yet, and I think they deserve to be up there debuting new stuff alongside some of the more established writers putting out new work. I mean, how great would it be to regularly give brand new writers the ability to say, "My song premiered at 54 Below alongside new stuff by Tony-nominated writers?" Pretty great, right?

Nick Luckenbaugh, Photo Credit: Robert Mannis PhotographyMore on Nick:

Nick Luckenbaugh is a New York City-based arts administrator and grant writer, serving as both the co-Founder and Managing Artistic director the award-winning Libra Theater Company as well as Manager of Institutional Giving at Atlantic Theater Company. Nick is also a playwright and music theater composer/lyricist. He is currently collaborating with singer/songwriter Amy Molewski on Unbound, a new musical fantasy. His song cycle Royal Fables will receive a workshop at NYU this spring under the direction of Megan Mekjian. http://www.nickluckenbaugh.com

Victoria Weinberg, Photo Credit: Dirty Sugar LLCMore on Victoria:

Victoria Weinberg is proud to have co-founded Libra Theater Company. She is a graduate of NYU/Tisch & a student of Larry Singer, Richard Sabellico & Susan Eichorn Young. In addition to producing, Victoria has performed at regional theaters, theme parks & here in NYC with companies such as the Player's Theatre & her very own Libra. She has performed new works with composers such as Joshua H. Cohen, Mark T. Evans, and Carner & Gregor. She is a proud mama to her chi-weenie, Tobi. http://www.victoriaweinberg.com

Thursday
Jan302014

Call Answered: Conference Call: Broadway couple Chris Henry Coffey and Jennifer Mudge Interview

Jennifer MudgeChris Henry Coffey"Call Me Adam" chats with Broadway couple Chris Henry Coffey and Jennifer Mudge about starring on Broadway in the same season in two different shows. Chris is starring in Broadway's Bronx Bombers at Circle in the Square while Jennifer stars in Broadway's Rocky at the Wintergarden Theatre.

Follow both Chris and Jennifer on Twitter @chriscoffey1 and @JenniferMudge!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?

Chris: I originally thought I was going into broadcasting or broadcast journalism. I’ve always been interested in current events, issues of the day, and what makes people tick. And the idea of telling those stories of the day for a living sounded interesting to me. But when I stepped on stage, and literally into someone else’s shoes for the first time, I knew I had found the missing link: the psychology of why and how people live, and the permission to investigate that from the inside, out. The rehearsal process has always been a favorite part of the process whether it’s my curiosity about a subject I know little about, or the desire to understand why a person behaves the way he does.

Jennifer Mudge and Chris Henry Coffey at the Naked Angels 25th Anniversary Gala, Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North AmericaJennifer: I never really wanted to do anything else... I was a big reader as a kid, and when I discovered I could basically "read out loud" as a job, I was hooked. I also think I felt more comfortable onstage, in other worlds, than my own.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to?

Chris: I’ve been very lucky in my career having worked with some giants of the theater. (Arthur Miller, for instance.). But there’s a long list of people I hope to work with some day—actors, writers, directors, designers. In terms of actors, the first person to pop into my head is Mark Rylance. I’d love to watch his process, learn from him. And then ACT with him. Richard Greenberg is a playwright whose work I’ve always admired and would love the opportunity to collaborate with him. I’d also love to be in the same room as the director Sam Gold, actor/director Terry Kinney and the actor/writer Tracy Letts, to name just a few. And, well, if I could go back in time it’d have to be with Shakespeare of course. 

Jennifer: Wow - that is a big list - not to mention all the wonderful people I'd like to work with again...but I would eat my own shoes to be in anything with Emma Thompson or Didi O'Connell or Richard Jenkins, and I would love to be able to create a role in a Caryl Churchill or Edward Albee or Annie Baker play.

3. Chris, you are currently in the new Broadway show, Bronx Bombers and Jennifer, you are currently in rehearsals for Broadway's Rocky. What made each of you want to audition for your perspective shows?

Chris: For me, Bronx Bombers actually began as a workshop through Primary Stages in the mountains of Colorado (Perry-Mansfield) back in June of 2013. This gig is a great example of how, as an actor, you just never know where your next job is going to come from. Though one could argue that essentially I auditioned for the role through the development of the play in workshops, I do find it ironic that my Broadway debut came out of a project I never had to technically "go in for." The play developed through that original workshop, then readings, followed by an Off-Broadway run at Primary Stages and now at Circle in the Square.

Jennifer: ha! Well - like everyone, I thought "Rocky, a MUSICAL?" And then of course was sent a script by the amazing Tom Meehan (who created my role for the stage version), and saw that the music was by Ahrens/Flaherty, and that of course I would get to be in the room with Timbers.....And I realized it was something unexpected and awesome.

Chris Henry Coffey as "Joe DiMaggio" in Broadway's "Bronx Bombers", Photo Credit: James Leynse4. Chris: What do you identify most with about playing "Joe DiMaggio?" Joe DiMaggio was a man of great talent, integrity, and discipline. He lived his life the way he played baseball – highly competitively, and with hugely high standards – always searching for a certain sense of perfection. He wasn’t known to have many close friends, and he was a man of few words in the public eye. I get the sense that he was a loner, and not the happiest of people in a general sense. But he was also fiercely loyal, and people always gave him the respect he craved and deserved. I can identity w/ pieces of all those traits, and though I’m probably more accessible as a person than he was, I’m sometimes accused of a certain aloofness in social situations, similar to what I’ve heard and read about DiMaggio.

Chris Henry Coffey as "Joe DiMaggio" in Broadway's "Bronx Bombers"4a. What is like to portray such a well-known public figure? There's a certain standard of DiMaggio that I feel compelled to live up to both on stage and off. Also, because Bronx Bombers is playing here in NYC, I'm constantly meeting people who knew him when he was alive. So I feel a strong sense of responsibility to getting his essence right, or at least my version of what I understand that to be. Hopefully it translates well to the audience, the response has been very positive. It's a great challenge and a great honor to step into his shoes for a time.

4b. Jennifer: What's it like to be in a show, based upon one of the most popular movies of our time? Well, I think what we are really focusing on is the fact that when Stallone made it, he was an unknown underdog trying to get his voice heard and find his place in the world (as "Rocky" and as Stallone). So approaching it with the respect and integrity of the original film, but with the added drama of music and (live!) boxing....I won't lie, everyone's faces light up when the "Rocky" theme plays. I do have the advantage of having a "new" role, so I don't have the same burden of expectation, but it's still a process to figure out how she fits in that world.

Chris Henry Coffey and Jennifer Mudge at "Don't Go Gentle's" Off-Broadway Opening Night, Photo Credit: Bruce Glikas5. What is it like to be engaged and working on Broadway in the same season?

Chris: Incredible. First of all, what a gift it is to be able to work together, literally across the street from each other, in Broadway shows. How rare that is, and a first for us. Jen and I got engaged in December in Puerto Rico right before we both started rehearsals for our respective shows. We’ve been together for a number of years through thick and thin, and through all the ups and downs, the celebrations and the defeats, we’ve stuck together and supported each other, held each other up. I think we’re both entering new phases in our lives now and I wanted to acknowledge that by offering my commitment to her in the biggest gig of all, spending our lives together. And she agreed.

Jennifer: Yes! and I want to add - the proposal itself was really a total surprise - we had talked of getting married, and maybe when and where - but I really didn't expect the old-fashioned, on the knee (in the Caribbean!) proposal. It was very romantic, and actually, classic Chris Coffey. Also, the night I booked Rocky (Chris already knew about Bronx Bombers), we had the most surreal hour or so of disbelief, and excitement - but really kind of overwhelmed by the sheer crazy coincidence of being half a block away, in sports plays! It's a good story - and we both feel lucky - we've been in this business long enough to know that you really have to relish the good things when they come.

6. With your busy schedules, how do you find the time to see each other?

Chris: We have our mornings together, and generally evenings together as well, whether it’s at home or out socially w/ friends or colleagues. Occasionally we’ve been able to commute to work together in midtown as well, which is a real treat. Once our shows are both open, we’ll have our days to be together and work on other projects together as well.

Jennifer: I also text him lots of pictures of our kittens.

Jennifer Mudge and Chris Henry Coffey at Naked Angles 25th Anniversary Gala, Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski7. Being engaged and in the same competitive business, how do you support each other in the ups and downs of a performers lifestyle?

Chris: It can be tough finding a balance there, but that’s one of the reasons we’re together and always will be. We both know the ups and downs so well, and can really hold each other up when the other needs it. We do well with that. We love each other and also need each other too, so there’s a shared agreement I think to really be the support the other needs, even if it’s sometimes hard to do.  And I also make excellent martinis or manhattans after a long day, and that certainly helps sometimes.

Jennifer: He makes Excellent drinks....Also I think we're both pretty on board with the idea that what is good for one, is good for both. We also have similar goals in terms of life/work balance - and we are so very fortunate to have incredibly great friends and family. Who love his drinks.

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

Chris: I’ve received a lot a great advice from mentors, parents, friends and teachers...but I have to say, the one that first popped into my head just now is that great speech "Polonius" has in Hamlet to his son "Laertes." The line I remember is: "This above all: to thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

Jennifer: "You can do it." - my Dad. Also, I've discovered when people say cruel or disheartening things it is NEVER about you. I take them as compliments or blessings now. Like "Lady Violet" on Downton Abbey.

Jennifer Mudge and Chris Henry Coffey at the Tribeca Film Festival, Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America9. What have you learned about yourselves from being a performer?

Chris: I’ve learned a great deal through performing. It’s a window into the world, and a window into myself.  I learn about myself through every job: my strengths, fears, apprehensions, fortitude...my ability to overcome adversity as well as my endurance through it all.

Jennifer: I really love our profession - the community, the fellowship, the struggle. I've learned how to be a better person - a better listener and friend (I hope) from the extraordinary people I've met in this industry. I very, very often think of Nina's lines from Seagull (which I worked on in grad school but never being the classic ingenue, it was not, alas, meant to be anytime else): "I know now what being an actor is. It's not about the fame or glory....but enduring." That is a probably badly recalled quote from a translation - but I guess it is telling that that is how I remember it!

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

Chris: I’m not sure this is a super power, but I do wish I had the ability to be two places at once. Along those lines, I daydream sometimes when I look up at beautiful old buildings and gorgeous architecture here in NYC and wish I could go back in time to other eras.

Jennifer: He stole mine! I love time travel....But if we are a band of caped crusaders and everyone must have a different power, I guess mine would be bringing people back to life.

Chris Henry CoffeyMore on Chris:

Most recently Chris was seen in A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room at the Westport Country Playhouse, directed by Mark Lamos and in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Water by the Spoonful at Second Stage, directed by Davis McCallum. Most recent film and TV credits include The Little Tin Man (which will release 2013) and Epilogue (which premiered at Tribeca FF 2013). Also Neil LaBute's BFF and David Schwimmer's feature Trust. Recurring roles on Law & Order: CI, guest-stars on The Good Wife, Cupid, Law & Order, and others. Chris is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Jennifer MudgeMore on Jennifer:

On Broadway The Philanthropist and Reckless. Her additional New York credits include Fault Lines, The Big Meal, Don’t Go Gentle, Ooh-Rah, The Pavilion and The Stendhal Syndrome. Her film and TV appearances include Law & Order, The Good Wife, The Big C, You Don’t Know Jack, Boss, and the forthcoming film My America.

Monday
Jan272014

Call Answered: Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser: Birdland Concert Interview

Charlie Sohne (left) and Tim Rosser (right)

After years of writing shows about everything from creationists, Afghan dancing boys and a Frenchman with a penchant for identity theft, Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne have had it with each other. They have therefore both decided to launch their solo careers at Birdland. On the same night. At the same time. See them as they bicker over who wrote what in their catalog of songs and decide for yourself who will join the ranks of breakout solo acts like Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake - and who will be relegated to the dustbin of history. Come witness the pair onstage together for the very last time until their inevitable reunion concert.

Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser's Tim and Charlie Go Solo will play New York City's Birldand Jazz (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) on Monday, February 3 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Charlie and Tim be sure to visit http://www.rosserandsohne.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Tim Rosser (left) and Charlie Sohne (right)1. Who or what inspired you to become composers/lyricists?

Charlie: I’ve loved musical theater as far back as I can remember – my mom took me to shows and what not -- but in high school it really became part of my identity. I was lucky in that I had friends who were Sondheim geeks and I could talk to them about the new Adam Guettel or Jason Robert Brown or Andrew Lippa album I had just bought and they’d know what the hell I was talking about. I also had two really phenomenal theater teachers, Ms. Hershey, who sort of got me into theater and Ms. Pressman, who really conveyed that theater was something to be treated with the respect and the hard work with which you would treat other subjects. And I guess I started writing at some point around high school and was lucky enough to go to a college where the student theater organizations would give you money to put any crazy idea up on its feet.

Tim: And, actually, that is how I first heard the hallowed name of Charlie Sohne. I was being a polite composition major in the conservatory, minding my own business, while he was out writing a full length musical about hipsters and pissing off all of the southerners on campus. It was marvelous. Somehow I got my hands onto musical theater songbooks when I was a kid and it turned into my drug of choice. I’d play that music instead of practicing for my lessons. Classic theater songs were made to be played on piano and the juicy harmonies are like candy for a classically trained kid. I played my first "13" chord, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? 

Tim: I'm going to say this and everyone is going to roll their eyes because, well, obviously...Audra McDonald.  It's over, I did it, get over it. 

Charlie: Guess that's all there is to say?"

3. On February 3, you are having a concert of your music at Birdland. What excites you about this upcoming show?

Tim: It's our second big concert! I'm excited to show a bunch of our new material from "Run Away Home," our latest effort, and some new songs from "The Boy Who Danced on Air." I'm blown away by how much support I'm getting from my crazy talented friends with this one. I mean, Paul Staroba ladies and gentlemen. He is music directing and I'm convinced he was born with a fancy musical theater spoon in his mouth. And I've got a small but mighty music team on my side, all practically doing this for free. It makes me feel like other people believe in the material as much as I do, and that's the most exciting thing of all! 

Charlie: This is also our first time working with Shoshana Feinstein who is a brilliant concert producer and I’m pretty sure actually knows every single person in musical theater.

Tim: ShoFein is a goddess.

Charlie: And of course, the cast: we’re getting to work with many of our absolute favorite people…so there’s really no downside.

4. What do you like about performing at Birdland? What does this venue offer you that another one might not? 

Tim: I've always dreamed of doing a show at Birdland. I know and love the Manhattan Transfer song. Same reason I want to do a show at Berkeley Square, wherever that is. Seriously, it's a beautiful club and it's got this amazing legacy. To be allowed to be part of that, in this small way, is such a gift. That's New York for you. So many things that we revere happened right here.

Charlie: Yeah, it makes us sound classy too because it’s called a "jazz club."

Tim: We’re all going to have excellent posture at this concert. I’m going to comb my hair for sure.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after hearing your music?

Charlie: I think we want people to feel the way we felt when we first came up with the idea for the show or read the source material. We choose what we write because the material smacks us in the face in way that leaves us going "that really exists!?" I think that if, over the course of a show, you go places you’ve never been, you develop empathy for people who first seemed distant, you hear music that feels fresh and unlike what you’ve heard in a theater before and, generally, if you’re moved by what you’ve seen – we’ll be happy.

Tim: And it would be great if people want to see the shows these songs have been written for. These songs are tips of icebergs. Which makes them sound as dangerous as they are!

Tim Rosser6. How did you and Tim first come to work together? 

Charlie: We went to the same college, Oberlin – and we didn’t know each other there, but a mutual friend recorded demos for both of us and sort of set us up. Tim, at the time, had a collaborator but recommended I go into the BMI Workshop – that’s where he was and that’s where we both learned a lot about the craft of songwriting. And that worked out well because we basically had the same education from two vastly different institutions – so I think it lead to a unique outlook. And that really helped when Tim finally drove his previous collaborator into the seminary and therefore needed to find someone else to work with.

Tim: It’s proven harder to drive this Jew into the seminary, but I’m working on it.

7. What has been the best part about this venture? 

Tim: We're doing a lot of new stuff, and I'm very excited about that, but I must say -- I am loving revisiting songs and orchestrations, taking what I've learned about them in the past year and trying to improve them.  We're using a lot of flugelhorn in this concert and I'm obsessed with it. I did "She Loves Me" this summer with a chamber pit, and I was so taken with the trumpet/flugel part. It's right at home in a small ensemble, and it's capable of such great effects. I know I'm going to go overboard with it and make some mistakes, but challenge: accepted.

Charlie: It’s also great to work on songs in the context of a concert – it reveals another side to them. I think we’re very "show focused" writers, which generally is a good thing, but it’s nice to be reminded of how awesome it can be to craft a song in a way that it can also stand alone on stage without context or costumes or staging.

Charlie Sohne8. What have you learned about yourselves from being composers/lyricists and from working together?

Tim: It's amazing to me how different my life is from what it would be if Charlie and I weren't writing shows together. Somehow, in a short time, everything I do has come to revolve around our projects. It's really wonderful, I'm very grateful. I've learned that the things I thought were my assets as a composer and person are just plain who I am, and the things I thought were my flaws are just who I am not. Luckily, Charlie is a lot of things I'm not and vice versa. That's lucky.

Charlie: Yeah, that’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – because very often, we try to stretch ourselves by purposely writing things that are different from how we would normally approach a song. And what’s kind of remarkable is learning that the products of those exercises – while always helpful – are more often than not a lot more similar to the way we normally write than we expected. To a certain extent, you can’t escape yourself.

Tim: Aaaaaah, get me out!

Charlie: Shhhh. Not now.

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

Charlie: I think for both us, ASCAP’s Johnny Mercer Retreat was really defining – it was moderated by Andrew Lippa and Craig Carnelia and they were very active in shaping the way we think about writing. I think it was our first presentation where Andrew was like "you don’t have to try and show off everything you can do with every song." Basically giving us the freedom to clear away a lot of the BS that we thought was what made us different but to a certain extent was us focusing on tricks that didn’t really serve the dramatic moment.

Tim: I mean, these guys are consummate theatre professionals. There is really no end to their knowledge base and breadth of experience. The Johnny Mercer retreat is a really exceptional program. I’ll never forget it.

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

Tim: The ability to grant wishes!

Charlie: Moderation.

Tim: Haha. That’s so depressing!

Tim Rosser (left) and Charlie Sohne (right)More on Charlie and Tim:

Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne were finalists for the 2013 Ebb Award. Their most recent show was The Boy Who Danced on Air (2013 NAMTFestival of New Works, 2013 Rodgers Award Finalist, developed through The Lark’s Monthly Meeting of the Minds and Roundtables). Previously, they wrote The Profit of Creation (2011 Yale Institute for Musical Theater,one of ten finalists for the O’Neill Music Theater Conference 2011 and 2012, developed at The Lark and through ASCAP’s 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Program) and the short musical Political Speeches (The CultureProject’s IMPACT Series). Their work has been seen in a sold-out 54 Below Show, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub, NYTB at the D-Lounge, NEXT’s EmergingComposers Series, and The Holiday Concert at the Lincoln Center Library. They were both members of the Advanced Class of the BMI Workshop.

Saturday
Jan252014

Call Answered Again: Will & Anthony Nunziata 54 Below Encore Interview

After a SOLD-OUT engagement at 54 Below in NYC, recording artists and concert performers, Will & Anthony Nunziata, have been asked back for an encore performance! Come join these talented guys and their alliegence of fans for "Broadway, Our Way," on Thursday, February 6 at 7pm at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

"Call Me Adam" caught up with Will & Anthony for a post-show discussion about what excites them about their encore concert! (Click here for our previous 54 Below video interview)

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://www.willandanthony.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

1. On January 9, you made your 54 Below debut to a sold-out house. What was that evening like? Did the reality live up to the fantasy you created in your head about this night?

Will: The evening was a dream come true. To be able to perform for family members, my closest friends, and celebrities that I have been looking up to since I was a kid…it was a crazy, fun night, and it was above and beyond anything I could have ever fantasized!

Anthony: Adam, what a thrilling evening! The energy in the room was electric and to share it with friends, fans, family and special guests made the concert such a memorable evening!

2. As a result of your success, 54 Below has invited you back for an encore performance of "Broadway, Our Way," on Thursday, February 6 at 7pm. What did it mean to you to get invited back?

Will: It's fantastic! 54 Below is such a classy venue, and everyone who works there has really taken care of us.

Anthony: It feels great. I'm excited for round 2 at 54 Below!

Anthony & Will Nunziata singing at 54 Below3. What excites you about this upcoming encore performance?

Will: I'm excited to be able to perform this encore concert because I know a lot of friends were unable to get in! So, to be able to have another "party" at 54 Below with some nearest and dearest in the audience…and some new friends as well!…will be amazing.

Anthony: I'm looking forward to sharing this concert with folks who were unable to make the show the first time around. We have some surprises in store!

4. What, if anything, are you going to do differently during this encore performance?

Will: We have a few fun surprises and songs planned. And that's all I am going to say!

Anthony: A few different songs and a few surprises! 

Will & Anthony Nunziata pre-show 54 Below5. If I had to give one line as to why people should come see you at 54 Below, I would say, "Will & Anthony Nunziata's dynamic talent as singers and entertainers raised the roof 10 times over at 54 Below turning this intimate club into a grand stand stadium of cheers and ovations." What is one line you would give as you why people should come see you at 54 Below?

Will: Adam, that's so nice of you! If I had to say something, I would say if you're looking to have an evening where you can sit back, relax, and truly just enjoy yourself, come on by!

Anthony: Adam, thank you for that one-line review! A grand stadium of cheers? Wow. I'll take it! My one line pitch would be "If you love Broadway songs and improv comedy, I think you're going to have a great time. My brother Will is pretty good, too."

Will & Anthony NunziataMore on Will & Anthony:

Recording artists, actors and concert performers Will & Anthony Nunziata have won acclaim for their performances throughout the country and around the world bringing their fresh take on classic pop standards, Broadway showstoppers, as well as contemporary and classic Italian music.

Their mission is to introduce timeless classics to younger audiences and reacquaint adults with the soundtrack of their childhood.

The brothers bring their powerful and nuanced voices along with their undeniable charm and comedic interplay to both their concerts and brand new symphony programs. A full description of all touring concerts can be seen below.

They have recently appeared as Headlining Soloists with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, and Brockton Symphony Orchestra. In New York City they have headlined Michael Feinstein's nightclub and recently performed as part of the New York Pops' Ronald McDonald Fundraising Gala at the club. They've appeared in concert as part of the Mabel Mercer Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall and sang during the Finale of Stephen Sondheim's 80th Birthday Concert Celebration at Avery Fisher Hall.

On television, they have been recently featured on Good Morning America, NBC’s Columbus Day ParadeThe Rachael Ray Show. Will & Anthony are classically-trained tenors and have trained extensively in improvisational comedy with the famed Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York City. The brothers both reside in New York City (separately).