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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (271)

Saturday
Oct262013

Video Interview with the cast of Bucks County Playhouse's Rocky Horror

In my newest video interview, "Call Me Adam" went inside the rehearsal studio, in New York City, with the cast of Bucks County Playhouse's production of Rocky Horror. Joining me was Broadway's Nick Adams, Kevin Cahoon, Nick Cearley, Jen Cody, and Jeremy Kushiner. Rocky Horror plays through November 2 only! Click here for tickets! 

Bucks County Playhouse is located at 70 South Main Street in New Hope, PA.

For more on Bucks County Playhouse be sure to visit http://www.bcptheater.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Part 1 with Bucks County Playhouse's cast of Rocky Horror:

(from left to right) Nick Adams, Jen Cody, Jeremy Kushiner, Nick Cearley, and Kevin Cahoon

Part 2 with Bucks County Playhouse's cast of Rocky Horror

(from left to right) Nick Adams, Jen Cody, Jeremy Kushiner, Nick Cearley, and Kevin Cahoon

Thursday
Oct242013

Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon: The Vaudevillans Interview

Jinkx MonsoonJerick HofferJinkx Monsoon is the alter ego of Jerick Hoffer who was the winner on Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race on LOGO. He's continuing his New York debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC in The Vaudevillians, a musical comedy co-starring composer and musician Major Scales featuring such hit songs as "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "Drop It Like It's Hot." The Vaudevillans plays through November 11. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jerick/Jinkx be sure to visit http://www.jinkxmonsoon.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Jinkx Monsoon, Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon Photography1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Simply put, the movie Death Becomes Her. At a young age I saw that movie and said, "I want to do that when I'm grown up!" I didn't know what 'that' meant for me at that time, but now-a-days I just refer to it as the moment I realized I wanted to be Meryl Streep.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Bette Midler, Sarah Silverman, Bernadette Peters, Maria Bamford and...hell, let's say Daniel Radcliffe.

3. How did you come up with your alter ego, Jinkx Monsoon? She's a mix of...well, Better Midler, Sarah Silverman, Bernadette Peters, Maria Bamford, Ha ha, and of course some Lucille Ball, Madeline Kahn, Carol Burnett and then (not JUST cuz she's my namesake) Jennifer Saunders as "Edina Monsoon."

The Vaudevillans at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City4. You are about to make a grand return to The Laurie Beechman Theatre as The Vaudevillians. How did you initially come to create this duo? What is like after all these years to be performing your hit songs again? How did it feel to discover these other artists perform them during your absence? For the Vaudevillians, their whole life is to be on stage, so now-a-days when the outcry for Vaudeville has been deafened by movies and stereos, it's nice to find any theater that will take them in. As for all their songs being stolen...that's kinda bittersweet. On one hand, of course they're upset to find all their music has been ripped off...But it's nice to know that it had such an impact that it has stood the test of time. But like I said, any chance to get on stage in front of a live audience once more? We'll take it!

Joan Rivers and Jinkx Monsoon at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City5. What excites you about returning to perform at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? The staff at the Laurie Beechman get our show....They get  theater. They are as in on the joke as anyone else. This is proved by their expert understanding of not just the ins and outs of our show, but what I've seen at every show I've been to there. The entire staff, from concierge to waiter to house manager to busboy....EVERYONE is there to make sure that you get the most out of your evening, and that you leave the show with a positive, theater-going experience. It's rare to find that these days. But it exists! It's alive and well at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.

6. What does this venue offer that another one might not? Intimacy, with just enough theatrical sensibility to make it "an evening of live entertainment" rather than just "dinner and a show." If that makes any sense. Ha ha.

7. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing The Vaudevillians? A new found respect for "the classics"...Meaning, these are songs we all know and love, but presented in a traditional sense. I think the best way of summing up our show is by stating, over the last century, so much has changed, and yet so little.

Jinkx Monsoon, RuPaul, and Major Scales8. You were on Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. What went through your head when you found out you were going to be part of this show? What was the best part of being on RuPaul's DragRace and what did you learn from Ru himself? When I heard I was going to be on RPDR5, I remember thinking "this can't possibly be true. I wished, hoped, and dreamed about this....and now it's reality?!? No F*cking way!!!!" And I still, to this day, still kinda feel that way. But what I learned from Ru is, you can't just sit and want it to happen. You gotta fight, finesse and WERK your way into your destiny. But once you get there, be proud of what special things you have to offer. Ru taught me, that no matter who you are, if you do it to 100% of your ability, you can do anything!

9. In addition to The Vaudevillians, you have also appeared in several theatrical stage shows, out of drag as Jerick Hoffer, in Seattle including Spring Awakening, Rent, and the upcoming Hedwig and The Angry Inch. What do you get from theatrical work that you do not get from your singing career? Well, I LOVE singing. But my favorite way to do that is in front of a live audience. You get something in front a live audience that you get no where else. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true. If you truly wanna hone your skills, no matter what they may be, do it in front of a live audience. The laughter, the response, the kinetic energy in the room...that doesn't lie. You can't delude yourself in front of a live crowd. Simply put: "you either got it, or you ain't." - "Mama Rose," Gypsy.

Jinkx Monsoon, Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon Photography.10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Take NOTHING too seriously.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? No matter what critiques or criticisms you face; it's about the WORK, not YOU.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Shapeshifting, like "Mystique" in X-Men. Drag would be ten times easier and I could spend that three hours doing productive things. Ha ha ha.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Portion control and walking any/everywhere you can.

14. As Jinkx, favorite skin care product? Dr. Jen's King of Cool, after shave gel, available from Atomic Cosmetics.

15. As Jerick, boxers or briefs? Briefs. I like to be all in one place.

Jinkx Monsoon, More on Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon:

Jerick graduated with a degree in theatrical performance from Cornish College in Seattle. With ten years experience on stage, Jerick is a seasoned Portland-born entertainer who has captured the attention of his native northwest region. As early as 2006, Jerick appeared as the lead dancer in the world's largest drag queen chorus line, which made the Guinness Book of World Records. By 2012, he had advanced to roles in Seattle theaters, playing "Moritz" in Spring Awakening (produced by Balagan Theatre) and "Angel" in Rent (produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre). Earlier this year, Jerick played "Hedwig" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (produced by Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group).

Wednesday
Oct162013

Celia Keenan-Bolger: The Glass Menagerie Interview

Two-time Tony Award nominee, Celia Keenan-Bolger is back on Broadway in her tour de force performance as "Laura" in the revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at The Booth Theatre in NYC (222 West 45th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenue). Celia is sharing the stage with Emmy and two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones, television and film star Zachary Quinto, and rising actor Brian J. Smith. Click here for tickets and follow the show at http://theglassmenageriebroadway.com and on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Celia follow her on Twitter!

Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Brian J. Smith, and Celia Keenan-Bolger in "The Glass Menagerie," Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch1. What initially attracted you to The Glass Menagerie? John Tiffany, who directed it. John directed a show at St. Ann’s Warehouse called Black Watch and I remembered thinking I would do anything to work with him. Then I found out that Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto were cast. It was more about the people involved than the play itself. I read The Glass Menagerie in high school and it didn’t completely resonate with me, but I felt if John Tiffany, Cherry Jones, and Zachary Quinto are interested in it, then I am too.

2. How do you feel your perspective of the show changed between high school and now? I have a completely different relationship with the play now. It’s a very grown-up play about big family problems. As someone who grew up in a very functional family, I couldn’t find my way into the play in high school or understand what was appealing about the play, but I think the way this production is approaching it on Broadway is that this is a family who cares deeply about each other, but doesn’t necessarily have the tools to take care of each other. That was something I just never saw or felt about the play in high school. I think that is the driving force of what we are doing now with this production.

Celia Keenan-Bolger as "Laura" in "The Glass Menagerie," Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch3. What do you identify most with about "Laura"? She is the most different character I've ever played, and yet I do feel really emotionally attached to her, even though I’m not anything like her. Even though I don’t feel this way in my own family, I do identify with what I believe she experiences about the expectations put on her and the disappointment that she is to the family. It’s really easy for me to understand that. When you are an actor, you have a pretty vivid imagination and you are interested in other people’s lives and what makes them tick, and I think she has a very rich interior life, but I think she has a tough time expressing that.

4. How did you get into the character of "Laura"? How did you find how you wanted to play her? On a daily basis, how do you go from your everyday life into character? So much of it, definitely the building blocks of it, had to do with Steven Hoggett, our Movement Choreographer. We did a week with him which was so amazing and informative. He came up with the physical vocabulary of the play. It was a lot about the transitions and building a physical life for the production. That was really my foundation for how I found "Laura," and gesturally how she exists in the world and how that is a mirror for what is going inside of her.

I’m not really a method actor, but since we did the show for so long at The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, I have a pretty easy time of going in and out of character. Once that music starts, I’m there.

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith in "The Glass Menagerie," Photo Credit: Michael J. LutchCherry Jones and Celia Keenan-Bolger in "The Glass Menagerie," Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch5. You are working with an extraordinary cast and I think you all work so well together. What have you learned from working with everyone in the cast? I love this cast so much on stage and off. It was such a wonderful process to make this piece. We all have different approaches to this production. Zachary came in with an enormous amount of information and research on Tennessee Williams because he felt his character of "Tom" would benefit from knowing as much as he could about Tennessee, so that was a very interesting part for me to watch, him transferring this amazing writer onto himself and being a conduit for Tennessee Williams.

Cherry Jones completely works from the inside out. The level of detail and purpose she has with everything and the way she is able to build and build and build with something is where I need to slow down and try to do a little more of. It’s so exciting to be on stage with her.

Brian J. Smith is my entire show. That scene with him is everything. It's is my favorite part of the show and probably my most favorite thing I’ve done on stage. The writing is incredible and we have such a connection. We don’t do it the same way every night. I think he’s extraordinary in his part.

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith in "The Glass Menagerie," Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope they feel the same way that I did, which is "Do we need to see another revival of The Glass Menagerie?" and then they see the show and say, "Absolutely, yes we do." A few people have said to me that they felt like they were seeing the play for the first time or it felt like a new play to them. I love that a play written so long ago still resonates with so many people in 2013.

People have said to me at the stage door, both men and women, that they themselves feel like an outsider, similar to "Laura," so it’s very comforting to see "Laura" up on stage feeling that way too. It feels good to play a character that others can relate to so deeply. 

7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I saw a production of The Sound of Music when I was five years old, growing up in Detroit, MI, and I said to my parents, "I want to do that" and they were like "Ok." So I started doing children’s theatre in Detroit, MI and have been doing it ever since.

8. Who haven’t you worked with that you would like to? Oh my gosh, there are so many people. I would love to work with Annie Baker, who is a wonderful playwright; Sam Gold and Dan Aukin who I think are wonderful directors; Jeanine Tesori, I’ve done little things with her, but never anything big; I will go anywhere and do anything with John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett.

9. You’ve also been nominated a few times for a Tony Award. What is it like to get nominated and be recognized? What does it mean to you? I never got into being nominated for awards, but it sure is nice when it happens. All I want is to be respected by my peers and particularly those I really respect. When you are nominated for a Tony Award, you get to be in a room with a lot of people that you wouldn’t necessarily be in a room with and sometimes they say "You were really great in that show" and you get to feel like you part of a larger community and that is something I’m so, so grateful for.

Andrew, Maggie, and Celia Keenan-Bolger, "Broadway for Obama"10. How do you feel social media has helped you get your name out there more and been able to enhance your career? I’m awfully lucky that I’m Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s sister because he was at the very beginning of the social media. He was growing up while this was all happening. I’ve luckily been able  to get in on that. There are pros and cons to it, but when The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway, the amount of people that posted their good wishes on Facebook and Twitter was very sweet and that meant a lot to me. I also feel that social media is good for whatever political agenda I’m generally interested in putting out there. My brother and I started the "Broadway for Obama" campaign and I think social media was incredibly helpful to get people who weren’t interested in politics, especially young people, who were interested, but didn’t know how to get involved.

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? They talked a lot, in college, how other people’s successes are not your failures and how important it is to take care of the people in the business with you and to be supportive and to try to understand that your career is your own career and comparing yourself to other people will pretty much lead to madness and not fulfillment. That is life’s work, but that is good advice for any career.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. You also come from a family of performers with Andrew and Maggie. Have you guys ever talked about creating a show together? We would love to do something together. Growing up we did a ton of shows together. It would have to be something very specific and we haven’t quite found it yet. We did a concert about 5 years ago for a theatre company my sister was running which was really fun. The good thing and the bad thing is that we are all busy now, but when we find the right thing, it will happen.

Celia Keenan-Bolger in "Peter and the Starcatcher"13. After the show, a lot of fans wait at the stage door for you. What do you enjoy about meeting your fans and interacting with them? Particularly for this play, I’m so moved at how many young people are coming to the show for the first time, so that is very fulfilling for me. It's so wonderful to hear from the number of people who tell me how much they enjoyed seeing me in Peter and the Starcatcher, which I loved so much! It’s very moving to see so many people coming to theatre and spending all that money to have an experience and then wait afterwards to tell me about it. I love that part of my job.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I guess flight. That seems pretty rad. 

More on Celia:

Broadway: Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk nomination, Drama League nomination), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble, Theatre World Award), Les Misérables (Drama Desk nomination). Off-Broadway: Peter and the Starcatcher, New York Theatre Workshop; Merrily We Roll Along, Juno, City Center Encores!; A Small Fire, Saved, Playwrights Horizons; Bachelorette, Little Fish, Second Stage. Regional: Sweeney Todd, Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration; Our Town, Intiman Theatre; The Light in the Piazza, Goodman Theatre. Television/Film: Law & Order, Heartland, The Education Of Max Bickford, Mariachi Gringo. Celia is a graduate of the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department.

Wednesday
Oct092013

Kelly Carlin: A Carlin Home Companion Growin Up With George Interview

Kelly Carlin, Photo Credit: Dan DionGeorge and Kelly Carlin 2003As the daughter of legendary comedian George Carlin, Kelly Carlin has found her own niche in the world of entertainment. From writer to radio host to solo performer, Kelly keeps audiences laughing with her own brand of comedy. 

Now Kelly's one-woman show A Carlin Home Companion: Growing up with George, will be making it's New York premiere at the All For One Theater Festival from October 11-19 at The Cherry Lane Stuio Theatre (38 Commerce Street). Deftly weaving her amusing yet poignant family stories with classic video footage of her father’s career and family memorabilia, Kelly Carlin, the only child of iconoclastic comedian George Carlin, takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions and pulls back the curtain on their life together off stage. Click here for tickets!

For more on Kelly be sure to visit http://thekellycarlinsite.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? As a child, when I saw Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball on TV, some part of me said - I want to do that; make people laugh; play funny characters. But when I was in my late 20s I saw Spaulding Gray and then Karen Finley and knew - THAT is what I want to do...autobiographical storytelling that brings the struggle of what it is to be a human front and center.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Being a solo artist, I haven't worked with anyone! But if I had a chance to work with others...oh, dear...I think the list is as long as my love for all the great writers, directors and actors (comedic and dramatic) alive. Off the top of my head: Baz Luhrman, Jane Campion, Mary Zimmerman, Tom Stoppard, Tina Fey, Mel Brooks, Laura Linney, and on and on...

Kelly Carlin in "A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George", Photo Credit: Don Dion3. What made you want to write, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George? Strangely, I did not set out to, want to, or plan on writing this particular show. I had done a one-person show about my life in 2000 called Driven to Distraction that covered some of the same territory as this show, but was mostly focused on the experience and lessons my mother's death brought to my life. For certain reasons - my father being uncomfortable with it and my desire to move away from the entertainment industry - I only performed it three times. So, some part of me felt like I had never had the chance to tell MY story the way I had wanted to. But, after my dad died, I did not know what I wanted to do about that. I thought maybe a book.

And then in the fall of 2010, Lewis Black, invited me and my husband to come on Lew's Cruise - a comedic/alcohol fueled adventure in the Caribbean - and asked if I would play a few of my dad's videos and tell some of my family stories. I did, and before I knew it, 400 hard core Lewis Black fans, 8 comics, and a handful of managers were all telling me I had to go on the road with it. A few months later Paul Provenza said to me that if I wanted to do the show, he would love to direct it. Four months after that, I was premiering at Just for Laughs in Montreal in front of 500 people. Paul and I then took another four months and shaped it into the show that it is today.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope that audiences see that even someone that they love, adore, and even possibly worship, is a human just like them. We all struggle with our own shit. We all have families that are flawed and yet we still love each other dearly. Like most artists, I am just hoping that we can all share our humanity without shame or fear with each other, and that THAT just might make the world an easier place to live in.

5. What excites you about bringing this show to the All For One Theater Festival? I am honored that I can be a part of a festival that focuses solely on solo shows. I have been a big fan of the form since the late 1980s, and it is a dream come true to come to NY and be a part of this art form's legacy.  The advisory board of AFO is the who's who of solo shows. I genuflect in their presence.

6. In putting this show together, did you learn anything new about your father, his legacy, or your relationship with him? I learned that my struggle to find my own voice was not that different from his in the end. He may have had a very clear idea of what he wanted from his life (unlike me who felt lost in the woods most decades), but he too had to be able to let go of all the voices in his head telling him to do it "their" way, and follow his instincts and heart. That is what I am learning every day I step forward and stay committed to my writing, speaking and performing.

Kelly and George Carlin 19667. What was it like to grow up as the daughter of George Carlin? What do you miss about most about your dad? Being the "daughter of George Carlin" has put an invisible pressure on me to be perfect, to live up to some impossible standard of success. I put the bar of achievement very high, and this paralyzed me for a long time. Luckily, doing this show has allowed me to find my own bar of achievement. It has been very freeing. And of course, all one really needs to do is see the show to see what it was like to grow up as the daughter of George Carlin (add winking icon here).

As far as what I miss most about him? His laugh, the sparkle in his eye, calling me, "kiddo" and "squirt," and being in the presence of his impeccable kindness and generosity toward everyone he met. He was an incredible role model in how to be a very decent human being.

Kelly Carlin 19698. In addition to writing this show, you are also the radio host of The Kelly Carlin Show on Sirius XM where you have conversations with famous comedians and Waking From The American Dream on smodcast.com where you talk with authors, visionaries and artists about the comedy and tragedy of life. How did you decide this was the format you wanted for your radio shows? What do you enjoy most about being a radio host? I love the medium of radio/podcasts. It is where I have found my true voice, the "True North" within me. It is a place that does not care about looks, ratings or soundbites. I can go deep, take my time, really listen to my guests and follow the topic that reveals itself in the moment. To me, THAT is heaven.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? So so so much. I have learned that I am still a good human even if I drop a line or lose my place. I have learned that I bring a sense of calm and grounded-ness to the stage that allow people to walk through difficult material. I have learned that I am not my father, my strengths are different, but that every once in a while, my DNA leaks out and I gesture, inflect or express something just like him. I have learned that I do not live to "get the laugh" but that I still enjoy it when it happens. I have learned that if I can do a 90 minute show all alone on the stage, I can do anything.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? My friend Wendy Hammers taught me that every time I go on stage to tell my story, it may be the last time I'll ever have the chance to do so. I love this thought. It helps me connect to what is important in the moment - my heart connecting to the audience's heart.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying. How fucking cool would that be?

Kelly CarlinMore on Kelly:

Kelly began her dream of a showbiz life watching her dad take the stage everywhere from college campuses to Carnegie Hall, and watching her heroes Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett on TV. As a teen she began working in TV production for her mother and father on various shows for HBO (read - production assistant who does all the Xeroxing).

In her early 20s, she got the acting bug when she got to play a punk rock Girl Scout in an HBO pilot Apt-2C opposite her father. She never fully pursued this bug, and instead, at the not-so-ripe age of 30, she graduated from UCLA, Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications Studies (no she was not stupid, it’s just that she had a few panic attacks, a crazy first husband, and what felt like the weight of the world on her shoulders for a few years). While at UCLA, Kelly discovered her voice as a writer, which lead her to a brief career in writing for film and TV with her writing partner and husband Robert McCall where they penned the Rose McGowan b-movie thriller Devil in the Flesh, and an episode of Fox’s The George Carlin Show.

In the late 1990s, after she was pretty sure that mainstream showbiz was not her cup of tea, she pursued her craft through various media such as writing/producing/hosting Lost in LA LA Land on the earliest online comedy channel Comedynet, and writing/performing her one-woman show Driven To Distraction about her tumultuous childhood and her mother's recent death.

In 2001 after two decades in "the biz," Kelly stepped away to pursue her love of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and mythology and received her masters in Jungian Depth Psychology. She thought she might become a therapist, but then after a few years away from writing and performing, her desire to be on a stage and yell the word "fuck" kept gnawing at her, and so she decided to follow the call of the stage once again. She began writing and performing stories in the Los Angeles area.

Kelly is currently busy with numerous projects. Monthly, she hosts a Sirius XM radio show The Kelly Carlin Show which spotlights her conversations with iconic comedians, and live weekly she hosts her podcast Waking from the American Dream at smodcast.com where she converses with comedians, authors, visionaries and artists about the comedy and tragedy of life. Currently she is selling out theaters with her one woman show A Carlin Home Companion.

In the recent past, she has interviewed a few legendary comedians for Laugh.com's On Comedy CD series, and had a blast talent producing for Showtime Network’s The Green Room with Paul Provenza.

Friday
Oct042013

Eileen Bluestone Sherman: Perfect Picture Interview

Eileen Bluestone ShermanA playwright, lyricist, children’s author, television writer, and theatre producer, Eileen Bluestone Sherman wrote her first musical for young audiences for Hallmark’s Coterie Theatre in 1982. Since then, her many plays entertained audiences around the country, and her books delighted readers around the world. 

Eileen's latest project is her new CD Perfect Picture, a studio cast recording of the new musical inspired by the life of Norman Rockwell, featuring such Broadway favorites as Debbie Gravitte, Ron Holgate, Judy Kaye, Mark Jacoby, Beth Leavel, Andrea McArdle, Emily Skinner, Randy Skinner, Bob Stillman, Tom Wopat, Lillias White, and Karen Ziemba. Perfect Picture releases later in October, available at the Broadway Cares Online Store, but musical theatre fans can enjoy a pre-release concert on Monday night, October 7th when cast members present selections at the Drama League (32 Avenue of the Americas). Click here for tickets!

For more on Eileen be sure to visit http://ebsoriginals.xbuild.com!

Tom Wopat recording "Perfect Picture" CD1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? First, Adam, I would like to thank you for your interest in Perfect Picture. I'm really excited about our CD's debut. Now, you may or may not know that I am also a young adult novelist. However, growing up, I never considered a career in writing, although I was an avid reader. I skipped most of the standard children's literature and, at nine years old, graduated from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women to Harold Robbins' A Stone For Danny Fisher. Yes, I know that's quite a leap! Of course, musical theatre was my first love. I was that kid who sang and danced around the living room while I blasted the albums from Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Gypsy and Fiorella over and over and over and over again!! Just by coincidence, when I moved to Kansas City with my husband, I happened to notice an audition notice in The Kansas City Star for a relatively new family theater called "The Coterie." On a whim, I auditioned. Afterward, the director inquired where she might find my monologue. When I told her I wrote it, she asked if I would be interested in writing a musical for her new company. Without missing a beat, I said, "SURE!" That year I made the most amazing self- discovery. I learned that what I love about theatre is the art of storytelling. I really think it goes back to my impressionable years reading Harold Robbins.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Perfect Picture is my second CD to feature an incredible all-star Broadway cast. My first, The Odd Potato: The Broadway Album included 20 Tony Award Winners with cameos from the legendary Hal Prince and Elaine Stritch. Honestly, I listen to BOTH albums and pinch myself. Broadway's greatest talents have performed my work. That said, I still have a growing list of favorites. The VERY short answer? Hugh Jackman.

3. What made you want to be part of the creative team for Perfect Picture? I think the more accurate question is what made me want to write Perfect Picture. I really credit my husband. Years ago, we were enjoying a family vacation in New England, and we discovered a tiny Norman Rockwell gallery in Arlington, Vermont. We learned that all the volunteers at the gallery were former neighbors of the Rockwell family and that they or their family members posed for the artist. I was intrigued, but once we returned home to Kansas City, I didn't give Mr. Rockwell another thought. Then, one day, my husband returned home from the public library with a book called Norman Rockwell: My Adventures As An Illustrator, an autobiography by Norman Rockwell as told to his son, Thomas Rockwell. The writing was lyrical. Titles of songs popped off the page. The opening description at a seedy side-show, featuring a larger than life carnival performer named "Amy the Wild Woman," was pure musical theatre. Of course, what fascinated me most was the lesson Norman learned as a 10 year old kid at that side-show. "Don't show life as it really is, but how folks want it to be." The artist admitted that theme guided the spirit of his early work resulting in fabulous fame and fortune but costing him dearly among the art elite. Curiously enough, even his book glossed over more painful and even shocking details about his personal life. What he did reveal was totally unexpected. Needless to say, I decided hidden in the text was a fabulous musical and poignant love story. At the time, my sister, Gail C. Bluestone, and I were writing musicals for a Chicago television series for kids called The Magic Door. I called her and told her about our next project. It's been quite an adventure and a true family endeavor.

4. What was it like to write lyrics about a well-known public figure? It's funny. I never thought about it that way. I simply tried to tell a compelling, memorable, and authentic tale. Obviously, the lyrics have to serve the story. Mr. Rockwell was heroic, passionate, fiercely loyal, and determined. Still, like all of us, he was flawed, and at times, those flaws created serious conflict…….but for our purposes, great drama. Really, he's an ideal protagonist.

Lillias White recording "Perfect Picture" CD5. You wrote the lyrics, while your sister wrote the music for Perfect Picture. What was the best part about working with your sister on this project? How did your relationship strengthen as a result? I love Gail's music, and I'm not the only one. After almost every recording session, I would hear from a Broadway artist how beautiful or hummable or how much fun a rhythm was of a particular song. More than once, I heard how they just could not get a song out of their head. I always took that as a very good sign! Of course, every single song begins as a crazy puzzle, and it's the actual work that strengthens a partnership. There's nothing like struggling and finally succeeding to cement a relationship. But, we're lucky. Our biggest champion was and remains our Studio Producer, Joshua Sherman, who also happens to be my son. From start to finish, Josh knew exactly what he wanted from a song. In the recording studio, he was an amazing captain of the ship, directing each performer, adjusting arrangements and tempos with our Musical Director, Sam Willmott, and supervising every engineering nuance. Inevitably, after each initial recording, our test audience was my husband and daughter. Oh, Jenny by the way, is also my entertainment lawyer. See what I mean? Perfect Picture is a family endeavor. Actually, my kids and husband have been instrumental in all my writing projects for years. Our family company is called 6-10 PRODUCTIONS, L.L.C.

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after listening to the CD? Even when I was a very little girl dancing in my living room to "Hernando's Hideaway," I understood an album's effect. While the recording can never completely fulfill the "in the moment" experience of watching live theatre, every subtlety of a great album transports the listener into the world of the musical. I hope audiences listen to the CD and share my fascination with Norman Rockwell and the women he loved and lost. I hope they want to play the CD over and over again, trying to simulate a powerful theatre experience. I hope they love the songs and sing them in the shower. I hope some other five year old hears the music and wants to dance around her living room.

7. You've got quite a roster of performers on Perfect Picture...Debbie Gravitte, Lillias White, Beth Leavel, Andrea McArdle, Judy Kaye, Tom Wopat, Emily Skinner, and many others. How was it decided which performers would be asked to be on the CD? To be exact, we have a cast of twelve distinguished award winning Broadway artists. The list includes Debbie Gravitte, Ron Holgate, Judy Kaye, Mark Jacoby, Beth Leavel, Andrea McArdle, Emily Skinner, Randy Skinner, Bob Stillman, Tom Wopat, Lillias White, and Karen Ziemba. By anyone's standard, it's a dream cast! Actually, Josh and I always figure this part out together. This time, we immediately reached out to several actors with whom we worked previously and adored and then approached other new artists, whom we admired from shows we love. Josh and I know the exact qualities we want for each song. It's easy to get what you want when you work with the best. Everyone was fabulous in the studio. My fingers are crossed that I will be working with all of them, again, soon. Of course, anyone can go to my website www.ebsoriginals.com and preview their terrific performances.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright and lyricist? Listen carefully…… even when no one is speaking. Pauses can be very informative.

Bob Stillman recording "Perfect Picture" CD9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never, Never, Never give up! My husband says my personal theme is Dorothy Fields' lyric, "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over, again." Hey, it's not over till it's over!

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Actually, I'm not a "super hero" sort of gal, although I loved Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. (Of course, I love him in everything!) However, I always adored "Samantha" on Bewitched. Yes, I know she's a witch, but a really, really cute one. Still, to be able to wiggle my nose, and make things the way I want them to be, sounds heavenly. I mean that wiggle included everything! (She could fly, be invisible, travel through time, even change nasty gossips into clucking hens….) Of course, I am always reminded to be careful what I wish for. Like it or not, in the end, only tenacity, sweat, and guts win the day. O.K. If I can still have that magic wiggle, I'll just use it for washing dishes. Deal?

Eileen Blueman Sherman with her book "The Odd Potato"More on Eileen:

Her novels for young adults include Monday In Odessa, Idependence Avenue, and The Violin Players. Perhaps, her most popular story is The Odd Potato, originally a picture book, adapted for stage, television, and CD.

Through the years, her work received numerous honors, including two Emmy Awards, The National Jewish Book Award, The International Reading Association’s Teacher’s Choice Award, and a Thorpe Menn Honorable Mention Award.  Several years ago, the author received the distinct honor of being listed on Kansas City’s Central Library’s "Community Bookshelf," nationally acclaimed free-standing public art at Tenth and Baltimore.

When writing new musicals, Eileen collaborates with her sister, Gail Bluestone, an award-winning composer and educator in Los Angeles.

In 2003, Eileen formed her family’s Production Company, 6-10 PRODUCTIONS to produce the New York holiday event, Broadway Sings The Odd Potato, starring (Batmans original Riddler) Frank Gorshin. In 2005, the CD followed. The Odd Potato: The Broadway Album features 20 Tony Award winners, with narration by Judd Hirsch. The CD competed in the 49th Grammy Awards Contest in the category of "Best Musical Show Album" and raises money every holiday season for special needs children.

Currently, 6-10 PRODUCTIONS is developing a new children's CD, called Listen Up! starring the Tony and Emmy Award winner, Broadway Diva, Lillias White, singing a variety of novelty songs composed by the Bluestone Sisters for their many family-friendly shows.

Eileen is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, The Authors Guild, Inc., ASCAP, The Drama League, and The Recording Academy, where she serves as a Grammy Voter.