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Entries in Broadway (332)

Monday
Nov032014

Call Answered: Scott Lowell: The Elephant Man on Broadway/Queer As Folk

Scott Lowell, Photo Credit: Kevyn Major HowardBest known for playing "Ted Schmidt" on Showtime's Queer As Folk and "Dr. Douglas Filmore" on Fox's Bones, "Call Me Adam" chats with actor Scott Lowell about making his Broadway debut in The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and Alessandro Nivola, which will play at the Booth Theatre in NYC (222 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) from November 7-February 15. Click here for tickets! 

The Elephant Man tells the story of a 19th-century British man who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit. When the renowned "Dr. Treves" takes "Merrick" under his care, he is astonished by the man’s brilliant intelligence, unshakable faith and, most of all, his resounding desire for love and understanding. He introduces "Merrick" to the beautiful actress "Mrs. Kendal," who is deeply touched by this pure and genuine soul. As a complex friendship blossoms among the three, "Treves" and "Kendal" struggle to protect "Merrick" from a world of questionable intentions…and so begins a story of love as unique as The Elephant Man himself.

For more on Scott be sure to visit http://scottlowell.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. In 2012, you starred in the pre-Broadway production of The Elephant Man at Williamstown Theatre Festival with Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and Alessandro Nivola. At that time, what made you want to audition for this production? Growing up and going to school in CT I had always wanted to work at Williamstown (the Crown Jewel of Summer Theatre Fests!) and I had just met Scott Ellis the previous Fall out in CA (and we hit it off immediately). When I saw that he would be directing Elephant Man w/Bradley I got very excited. I had always been a fan of the play and knew there were a few multi-character tracks in it (my bread-and-butter back in Chicago) so I got in touch and asked if I could put myself on tape for some of the roles. Scott graciously agreed and fortunately he was feeling generous when he watched my tape and agreed to let me join in the adventure.

Broadway cast of "The Elephant Man", Photo Credit: Walter McBride2. Now, two years later, you are all starring in the Broadway production from November 7-February 15 at The Booth Theatre. What are you looking forward to most about working with this cast again? Exactly what we have been doing: not merely dusting it off but really re-examining it and going even deeper with it than we were able to with the brief rehearsal period we had up in the Berkshires.

3. What do you identify most with about the story of The Elephant Man? The notion of never judging a book by it’s cover--that you never know what kind of beautiful soul may be lurking under the most off-putting of exteriors.

Scott Lowell "The Elephant Man", Photo Credit: Walter McBride4. You play a few different roles in The Elephant Man. What do you enjoy most about playing several roles in one show as opposed to having one role? Do you relate more to one of your characters than another? It’s a great challenge and can at times be less satisfying than having one character with an arc…but challenges bring great rewards sometimes. In this case, it’s the reward of helping tell the story of this incredible man. I usually do relate more to one of my characters when I’m doing multiple roles but to be honest I haven’t played favorites yet with any of them in this show…but I’m leaning towards "Snork." I mean, his name alone...

5. It's been two years since you performed in this production of The Elephant Man and have had two years of life experience. How do you think these past two years of living will enhance your portrayal of the roles you are playing? ALL my characters will be a lot GRAYER!

Scott Lowell as "Dr. Douglas Filmore" on Fox's "Bones"6. While you are known for playing "Ted Schmidt" on Showtime's Queer As Folk and "Dr. Douglas Filmore" on Fox's Bones, you have had an equally successful career on stage, but never performed on Broadway prior to The Elephant Man. What excites you about making your Broadway debut and what are you most nervous about? This is truly a childhood dream come true for me. I grew up around New Haven, CT and would come to NYC to see shows all the time and read the Sunday New York Times Arts & Leisure section every week (I was VERY good at finding the "Ninas" in the Hirschfeld drawings!) and all this is what made me want to become an actor. I saw Sunday in the Park with George multiple times at The Booth Theatre and the fact that I will be making my Broadway debut on that very stage gives me goosebumps. I LOVE working on stage and to FINALLY be invited to work on a Broadway stage after 27 years of a professional career is absolutely the greatest reward I can imagine. Now, what am I nervous about? Being deemed unworthy of that reward and never invited back. That’s all. No big deal, right?

7. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this production of The Elephant Man? A greater sensitivity to their fellow man and an appreciation for the extraordinary skills and talents of Bradley, Patricia, Alessandro and all my fellow cast mates.

Cast of Showtime's "Queer As Folk"8. In addition to The Elephant Man, you are also creating a web series called Adoptable!, based upon your life experience of finding your birth parents. What made you want to create a web series based upon this experience? What advice would you give to other adoptees searching for their birth parents? This web series reunites you with your Queer As Folk castmates Sharon Gless and Gale Harold. What is the best part about working with them again? The story of the search for my birth parents back in 1997 - 99 is one I’m often asked to relate by friends and storytelling groups mostly because it’s a world mysterious to most people and because there were so many awkward and humiliating (and therefore FUNNY!) moments all along the way. Also, because it taps into that basic question I think everyone has: Who Am I? I decided basing a long-form storytelling method was the best way to do it and an independently produced web series offered me the best chance to tell the story MY way.

My biggest advice to adoptees wanting to begin the search process would be to enter into it with very low expectations and need. If you’re looking for your birth parents to somehow fill a void in your life or replace the family you grew up with somehow, you will be setting yourself up for too much disappointment. I can’t imagine a harder decision for a woman to make than to give up her child so just be prepared that after doing something like that opening that door again for her may be complicated.

We haven’t shot the first season of ADOPTABLE! yet (only a teaser so far) as we are currently raising money for it through 11/9th (http://igg.me/at/adoptable/x/267079) but I know Dame Sharon, Gale and I will have a WHOLE lot of fun in the scenes I have written for us.

Scott Lowell and Peter Paige on Showtime's "Queer As Folk"9. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about starring on Queer As Folk? Did the success of the show change you in anyway? I loved that QAF was actually a very theatrical, collaborative, ENSEMBLE-based experience for most of us and that it challenged me to a degree I NEVER thought television acting would. Also, to be part of a groundbreaking series that still, ten years after we stopped production, is something people THANK me for doing all over the world and tell me how it changed their liveswowI mean, its everything you hope to achieve as an artistPLUS having a steady gig for FIVE years was intoxicating. The show definitely made me a better actor and a better heterosexual too!

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I’m happier when I’m working and entertaining others even if it’s for free!

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Once when I was feeling a lot of pressure that I was put here on this Earth for a reason and that I wasn’t living up to my potential my mother said: "Well, maybe you were put here for a reason but maybe that reason is nothing more than touching the peoples' lives that you touch on a daily basis. That’s reason enough, don’t you think?"

12. How do you want to be remembered? For fulfilling many dreams while harming very few.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

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

14. If you could be an original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Wint-O-Green.

15. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea. Raccoons, Spider Monkeys, Puggles, Sushi, Peace, Love and Understanding.

Scott Lowell, Photo Credit: Steve GranitzMore on Scott:

Scott Lowell is best known for his role as "Ted Schmidt" in Showtime’s popular and critically acclaimed Queer As Folk for which he was twice nominated for a Prism Award. The groundbreaking and provocative series originally ran in the U.S from 2000 –2005 and is currently airing in countries all over the world. Scott was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the suburbs of New Haven, Connecticut. He majored in theater at Connecticut College and also studied acting at the National Theatre Institute (he was fortunate to study at both schools with the legendary Morris Carnovsky). He shortly moved to Chicago where over the course of a decade, he immersed himself in the local theater scene, including performances at the famed Steppenwolf and Goodman. He also landed his first TV role in Chicago on Early Edition.

Scott moved to Los Angeles in 1998 and quickly found himself busy in a number of successful commercial campaigns, guest roles on sit-coms and a lead in a sci-fi television film. In 2000 he landed QAF and spent the next five years shuttling back and forth between LA and Toronto, Canada where the series was filmed. He also kept busy traveling around making speeches for a number of civil rights organizations (including the Human Rights Campaign) and political campaigns as well as appearing as a presenter and Host of a number of GLAAD Awards shows.

Since QAF has wrapped Scott has appeared on stage in 12 Angry MenOrson’s Shadow and Present Laughter (Pasadena Playhouse); The Big Meal (Artists Rep); The Elephant Man (Williamstown); Blithe Spirit (A Noise Within); The Pain and the Itch (Furious/Boston Court); The Heidi Chronicles (Berkshire Theatre Fest). Chicago: Picasso At The Lapin Agile and Twelfth Night (Steppenwolf); Light Up The Sky (Goodman); Chicago Conspiracy TrialA Perfect Ganesh; Laughter on the 23rd FloorAssassins as well as a number of independent films and television series including Bones where he has appeared as "Dr. Douglas Filmore," CSICastle, CSI:NY, NCIS, Heroes, Criminal Minds, Leverage and as various voices in the animated series American Dad. He has also been hard at work writing screenplays on his own and with his writing partner, Eddie Jemison as well as developing ideas for television and the web including the series Adoptable and the podcast CharActors!. Scott also works as a mentor for the Young Story Tellers Foundation and raising awareness for the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Thursday
Oct302014

Call Redialed: Seth Rudetsky: Seth's Broadway Diary

"Call Me Adam" caught up with Broadway's Seth Rudetsky to talk about his new book Seth's Broadway Diary, published by Dress Circle Publishing. A one of a kind Broadway journal, Seth's Broadway Diary chronicles Seth's unique life on and around the Great White Way. Click here to purchase your copy!

For more on Seth be sure to visit http://www.sethtv.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. On October 22, you launched your 4th book, Seth's Broadway Diary, a one of a kind Broadway journal chronicling your unique life on and around the Great White Way. What made now the right time to release this book? My A.D.D. plus harrasment. For years I've been talking about getting my Playbill columns published. Basically since I started writing them in 2007. My A.D.D. prevented me from actually doing anything about it. Finally, my husband harrassed me and commandeered my old assistant Joey Monda to send out samples. Joey sent one to Dress Circle Publishing and I got a book deal!

2. What excites you most about this release? I love seeing all these really hilarious stories and interviews in one book instead of tracking them down online. I love the kind of book that you can open and read something fun. Even though this book is in chronological order, you can open it up to any page and get a great story about Sutton Foster, me missing a flight to rehearse with Betty Buckley or some amazing inside scoop about Donna McKechnie and the original cast of A CHORUS LINE.

Seth Rudetsky and Matthew Broderick at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party3. What was it like to go back through your life on and around Broadway to write this book? How did you narrow down what you wanted to include in the book? This is literally the columns I published. I only added sassy 2014 side comments (in a different font) when I went through it to edit. For instance, I wrote about seeing the show 13 and I added that the cast featured a then-unknown Ariana Grande!

4. While you were writing this book, did you come across any events that you wish you had done differently? I wish I didn't call James my boyfriend in every column. I mean, he was my boyfriend at the time, but every time I mentioned him I reiterated it in case I had new readers. A few months after I began writing the columns, I interviewed Nathan Lane and he told me he had HAD IT with me writing "my boyfriend James" every month. "WE GET IT ALREADY! IS JAMES YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND!?!?!"

Kelli O'Hara and Seth Rudetsky at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party5. What advice would you give your younger self that you didn't know then, but do now? Stop eating cereal late at night. Cardio stops working after age 39.

6. What did you learn about yourself from writing this book? I've done a lot of things I've forgotten about!!! I was reading about an interview I did with Barbara Cook to promote her upcoming concert with Audra McDonald that benefitted the Obama reelection campaign. I wished I had seen the concert. Then I read the following column where I wrote about how great the concert was!

7. What do you hope readers come away with after reading this book? So many fun stories about Broadway they can tell their friends! "Did you know Chita Rivera kicked herself in the head every night at the end of "America" because she's so flexible?" "Did you know Betty Buckley's agent prevented her from getting the role of "Catherine" in PIPPIN because he wanted his other client (Jill Clayburgh) to get the gig?" "Did you know Andrea McArdle hid 64 easter eggs on the set of LES MIZ and they only found 58? And it wound up breaking the barricade?"

Jackie Hoffman, Seth Rudetsky, and Alysha Umphress at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party8. What was the most emotional event you came across while writing this book? What was the happiest event? The most emotional was reading about Loretta Sable Ayres audition for SOUTH PACIFIC and how she almost didn't go because she thought they'd be mean to her like the judges on AMERICAN IDOL. Her husband talked her into going...she got the part...and a Tony nomination!

The happiest is reading about all these amazing Broadway people I've worshipped that I got to hang out with. My inner 14-year-old's childhood dream!

9. Of the celebrities you write about in your book, did any of them have an issue with you telling any of these behind-the-scenes antics or was everyone okay with it? Bebe Neuwirth once said "Seth has an ability to make you reveal things you never thought you'd say in public." So...no!

Seth Rudetsky and Jennifer Ashley Tepper at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party10. What do you like about being an author that you don't get from doing your live interviews on Sirius XM or at Seth's Broadway Chatterbox? Sometimes people don't know how to build a story when they tell me and when I write it, I can give the details for maximum emphasis. Example...Rebecca Luker told me they didn't want to see her for MUSIC MAN. She asked her agent to get her an audition as a courtesy. The powers-that-be finally agreed but let it be known that she was not what they were looking for. Rebecca went to the audition knowing they didn't want to see her or cast her (so nervewracking!), but she got a callback, the role and a Tony nomination! When I asked Rebecca in person "How did you get MUSIC MAN?" she said "I auditioned." Wowza. I had to get her to tell the story in increments for the full effect!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? The flavor Red whatever that is.

12. How do you want to be remembered? For loving art/music/comedy and spreading that love around!

Seth Rudetsky at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch PartyMore on Seth:

Seth is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s ON BROADWAY as well as the host of SETH SPEAKS on Sirius/XM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ and PHANTOM. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut playing Sheldon (singing “Magic to Do” in a devastating unitard) in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater. Off-Broadway he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed RHAPSODY IN SETH (directed by Peter Flynn) at the Actors Playhouse and has also appeared on TV on LAW AND ORDER C.I. and had a recurring role on ALL MY CHILDREN. As an author, he penned the non-fiction Q GUIDE TO BROADWAY, the novel BROADWAY NIGHTS and the recently published MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN (Random House). BROADWAY NIGHTS is available on Audible.com starring Kristin Chenoweth, Andrea Martin and Jonathan Groff and MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ana Gasteyer and Megan Hiltly. Seth played himself on Kathy Griffin; My Life on the D-List, was the vocal coach on MTV’s LEGALLYLONDE reality show and starred opposite Sutton Foster in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG for the Actors Fund. Recently, he co-wrote and starred in DISASTER! (which the NY TIMES called a "triumph"), and he currently writes a weekly column on Playbill.com and tours the country doing master classes and performing his one-man show "DECONSTRUCTING BROADWAY."

Tuesday
Oct282014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with Dream Interpreter Jefferson Harman

Jefferson Harman"Call Me Adam" went across the pond to Weehawken, NJ to chat with Dream Interpreter Jefferson Harman about how he got into interpreting people's dreams, what celebrity he'd love to interview, and why people should go to him. In the coming weeks, we'll be posting his dream interpretations of some of today's rising Broadway actors and composers...so stay tuned!

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

"Call Me Adam" interview with Jefferson Harman:

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 InterpretationOvercoming 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).

Friday
Sep262014

Call Answered Again: Alec Mapa: I Remember Mapa

Alec Mapa"Call Me Adam" once again chats with actor and comedian Alec Mapa. This time around we discuss the revival of his one-man show I Remember Mapa, which recounts Alec's experiences in film, television and performing in the original Broadway cast of M. Butterfly. It is the comic journey of a gay Filipino American actor struggling for work, love and acceptance that examines the role of Asian American actors in American culture. The piece also touches on his humorous and moving recollections of his mother.

I Remember Mapa plays on Saturday, October 11 at Baruch Performing Arts Center in NYC (55 Lexington Street, 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue). It is part of Baruch Performing Arts Center's LGBT month celebration. Click here for tickets!

For more on Alec be sure to visit http://www.alecmapa.com and follow him on Twitter

Alec Mapa performing1. On October 11, you are reviving your one-man show I Remember Mapa at Baruch Performing Arts Center as part of their LGBT month. You are performing this show on National Coming Out Day. Does doing the show on this specific day add any special meaning to the show? Absolutely. My show  is about finding a place where you belong in a world that appears to have absolutely no place for you. The decision to be completely authentic when everyone else is trying to fit in, is always an empowering one.

2. I Remember Mapa is about your experiences as a Filipino American actor in film, television, and on Broadway in the original cast of M. Butterfly. What excites you about reviving this show? Has it been updated since you last performed it? Obviously I've had to update it. Jokes about Courtney Love and Vh-1 aren't quite evergreen. But the story of my journey from misfit drama nerd to Broadway to Broadcast TV is essentially the same.

3. What makes Baruch College the perfect place to revive this show? What does it offer you that another venue might not? Colleges are such idealistic places. It's easier to do a show about believing in your dreams to a college audience instead of a bunch of bitter old drunks.

Alec Mapa on CBS' "Some of My Best Friends", starring Jason Bateman4. You were the very first openly gay Asian series regular on CBS' Some of My Best Friends starring Jason Bateman. What did it mean to you at the time to be the first openly gay Asian series regular on network television and what does it mean to you now? How does it feel to be a trailblazer? I didn't feel like a trailblazer at the time, I just needed a job really bad. The Broadway experience had been years behind me and I was so broke. I really needed something wonderful to happen so I wouldn't quit. In retrospect I realize it was kind of a bigger deal than I thought. Network TV didn't employ a lot of people who looked or sounded like me, so it was a big leap forward.

5. You have been a role model for many people who got to see you open doors for those who have come after you. Who do you feel opened the door for you? There weren't really any Gay Asian role models when I was growing up, so I just wanted to emulate the people who made me laugh. Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, Paul Lynde, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, and Bette Midler always fascinated me by how much they stood out and how shameless they were. I wanted to be a funny lady. It all kind of worked out.

Alec Mapa and family6. If you were just starting your career out today, do you feel your experience would have been different? I think it  would be harder! The audience is now so divided over so many media platforms. It's the difference between trying to find an audience on three channels as opposed to three thousand.

7. I Remember Mapa also touches upon your relationship with your mom. What do you miss most about her? If you could have a conversation with her today, what are the most important things you would want to make sure she knew about your life today? I miss her optimism. My mother always believed in a better future and she always got one. She was my safe place. Moving ahead without her reassuring presence was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'd want her to know most of my dreams came true. I got married, had a kid. I'd want her to know my hair is greying in exactly the same way hers did.

Alec Mapa, Betty White, and Vanessa Williams on ABC's "Ugly Betty", Photo Credit: Dean Hendler/ABC8. Out of all the television shows you've been on either as a guest star, series regular, or recurring role, which ones were your favorite? What made them your favorite? Playing "Suzuki" on Ugly Betty was like winning a prize on a game show. The cast and crew were so much fun. I got to be mean, which is always fun to play. I got to fly to NYC first class twice a month and stay in a fancy hotel and work for two days at a time. While in the city I'd visit with friends and see shows. It was a pretty cushy gig. I'm a work to live sort of person. If a job sends me to a nice location with per diem, color me happy.

Alec Mapa, Photo Credit: ContactMusic.com9. What do you hope is next for Alec Mapa, both career and personally? I'm visualizing a series regular role on a hit TV show that runs long enough for me to fund my retirement and my son's college tuition. My kid is heading into his teens shortly, so I'm praying he's not a total douche when that happens. As I head into my 50's my therapist said everything resets and you become a very young old person. I'd like to think I may live out the rest of my days as a very young old person. Wise, curious and absolutely ridiculous.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I don't want to fly, because heights give me vertigo and I don't want super hearing because I'd probably get my feelings hurt. I always thought knowing every single language would be a cool super power. I'd also like to give anyone an orgasm just by shaking their hand. How much fun would THAT be?

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could be any original Life Saver, which flavor would you be? What are the ones that make sparks in your mouth? I'd want to be those.

12. How do you want to be remembered? Thin and in my twenties. I was so pretty.

Alec MapaMore on Alec:

Alec Mapa’s television career has gone from desperate to ugly with recurring roles on ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. On Wisteria Lane Alec is known as Gabriel Solis’ personal shopper "Vern." On "Ugly Betty" no gossip report would be complete without the latest from Alec as fashion reporter extraordinaire "Suzuki St. Pierre."

Audiences first discovered Alec on Broadway in the Tony Award winning production of M. Butterfly. He guest starred on over 40 television series, including Alias, Friends, Roseanne, Seinfeld, and NYPD Blue. Alec played network television’s very first gay Asian series regular role on the short-lived CBS sitcom Some Of My Best Friends. He then starred in four seasons of the UPN sitcom Half and Half. Film audiences howled at Alec as N’Cream in the wildly popular drag queen musical Connie and Carla. Other films include Playing By Heart, Marley and Me, and You Don’t Mess with The Zohan. Alec’s stand up comedy specials Wisecrack and No Fats, Femmes, or Asians continue to air on Logo and have gained him a huge cult following.

Alec has entertained live audiences with Rosie O’Donnell aboard her R Family Cruises and all over the world with Atlantis Cruises. Alec was awarded the prestigious Davidson Valentini GLAAD Award for promoting equal rights for the LGBT community. A tireless fundraiser, Alec has toured the country on behalf of The Human Rights Campaign and The Matthew Shepard foundation earning him the unofficial title of "America’s Gaysian Sweetheart."

Saturday
Sep132014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS QUESTION:

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

Natalie DouglasMore on Natalie:

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

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

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