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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (226)

Monday
Oct222012

Kyle Dean Massey: Pzazz 101 Interview

Kyle Dean Massey in "Next To Normal", Photo Credit: Joan Marcus & Monica SimoesKyle Dean Massey is an American actor best know for his work on Broadway in "Next to Normal," "Wicked," "Xanadu," and "Altar Boyz." Kyle Dean was raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a town 60 miles northwest of Memphis, TN. He started taking dance classes at age 6 after seeing his older sister perform in a local production of "The Nutcracker." Although he spent almost all of his adolescent years singing in school choirs and studying the piano, it wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school that he did his first musical. He has now performed in over 60 productions.

In addition to his stage work, Kyle Dean has been seen on the screen in "Up All Night" (NBC), "Hart of Dixie" (CW), "Cupid" (ABC), "Sex And the City 2" (HBO Films) and the upcoming film "The Contest." He has also performed on "Good Morning America," "The CBS Early Show," "Regis & Kelly," & "The 62nd Annual Tony Awards." While starring in "Next to Normal," Kyle Dean was the star of his own popular web-blog series, Normal Life, on Broadway.com.

Along with performing 8 shows a week, Kyle Dean serves as a masterclass instructor & panel contributor for several different organizations including Camp Broadway, Broadway Artists Alliance, Broadway Connection, VIP Tours of New York & the Missouri Fine Arts Academy.

Kyle Dean is a passionate supporter of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Trevor Project and various human rights groups.  He frequently performs in charity concerts at various venues across New York City including Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova & The Laurie Beechman Theatre.

Wade Dooley as "Mary Shennanbargger", Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaKyle Dean Massey as "Fiyero" in Broadway's "Wicked"Currently, Kyle Dean is back on Broadway in the Tony Award winning musical "Wicked" as "Fiyero." He also enjoyed a guest spot on the second season of "PZAZZ 101," a new web series centered around "Mary Shennanbargger," a former performer turned teacher, who helps Broadway’s best and brightest find their footing on the Great White Way. "Mary" knows everything there is to know about entertainment and she’s ready to share the wealth. Pull up a chair, grab a Werther’s and get ready to say "Wow!"

"PZAZZ 101" has new episodes every Wednesday! Tune in at http://www.PZAZZ101.com and follow the show on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

For more on Kyle Dean be sure to visit http://www.kyledeanmassey.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Seeing my older sister perform in our local production of the "Nutcracker" is what first sparked my interest to be onstage. After watching her perform in the show I knew that I wanted to be up there as well. My parents enrolled me in dance classes right after that. I was maybe five or six years old.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Bartlett Sher. I think he's a great director and I'd love to get the chance to work with him on something in the future.

3. What made you want to be on the web series PZAZZ 101? Obviously to get a free lesson with Mary! Her rates are normally outrageously high!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope people come away with the knowledge that the end of your career could be just around the corner...but that's nothing a little Vaseline can't fix.

5. What have you enjoyed most about being on the series? What have you learned from working with Mary Shennanbargger? I am a huge fan of Mary's accompanist James...getting to work with him was very cool.  And what have I learned from Mary? Gosh...what haven't Iearned? I'm just so grateful I can watch her lessons online over and over and over.

6. What do you like about filming a web series over starring in a theatrical stage show? Crafty...duh.  I am a huge fan of any working situation where there is a table of free food.

7. My first introduction to you was in "Next To Normal." Looking back, what did you enjoy most about that show? You are currently back in "Wicked." What is the best part about starring in this show? What made you want to go back to it? I loved that "Next to Normal" was an abnormal musical. It was unlike any show I've ever done before. Even though it was practically sung-through, I loved that it felt more like a play than a traditional musical. "Wicked," on the other hand, is pretty much the opposite of an intimate musical. It's big, and flashy and it's so much fun to do. Everyone at that show is like family to me and it has been such a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of it. It's totally gratifying to be a part of a show that people love so much.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That there's pretty much nothing a Pain-Aid can't fix.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Get a gym membership.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Dolly Parton

Sunday
Oct212012

Jeffery Roberson: The Medium Interview

Adam Rothenberg and Jeffery RobersonJeffery Roberson in "The Medium", Photo Credit: M.VonRedlichI first interviewed Jeffery Roberson, a.k.a. "Varla Jean Merman" in September 2011 when I saw his show "The Book of Merman" while vacationing in Provincetown. It was a joy to speak to him then and it was just as great to catch up with him now. Since last we spoke, Jeffery has filmed two movies, "Girls Will Be Girls 2012" and "Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads" (now available at www.sethtv.com/varla)

Now Jeffery is returning to the New York Stage to star in Gian Carlo Menotti's musical thriller "The Medium" from October 25-November 11 at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater in NYC (10 West 64th Street). Click here for tickets!

1. Last time we spoke, you were starring in "The Book of Merman" at the Art House in Provincetown. Since that time you have completed two films "Girls Will Be Girls 2012" and "Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads." What was the best part about working on these two films? I love working with Clinton Leupp (Miss Coco Peru) and Jack Plotnick (Evie Harris) and Richard Day is such an amazing writer. We all had a great time together. I feel very lucky we were able to do this movie again because all the money was raised on Kickstarter, so the fans are the ones who paid for it, which means so much.

"Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads" was so much fun to do, but I was also the producer of the film, which added a lot of responsibility. On "Girls Will Be Girls," I just had to show up and do my part, but with "Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads," there was much more responsibility with the added title of producer. It was like an obstacle course to get to the end, but we got there.

Jeffery Roberson in "The Medium", Photo Credit: M.VonRedlich2. Now, you will be starring in "The Medium," at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater in NYC after a successful run this summer in Provincetown at the Art House. What initially attracted you to this show and what has made you want to stay with it? "The Medium" is a short opera, well technically it's a musical thriller because it was originally written for Broadway, but it is an opera in nature, similar to "Sweeney Todd" or "Passion" as it's all sung. It's a beautifully flowing piece with arias in it, but it's not like a typical opera. It's a great piece of theatre. "The Medium" is done in two acts in about an hour and fifteen minutes. It's so amazing what Menotti has put into this short amount of time.

In one respect the show is about death/grieving, but I believe it's about a woman's demise into mental illness. It's a heavy piece, like a melodrama. The story poses a lot of questions. Is "The Medium" providing these people a service or is she not? Is she conning these people, even though she's getting paid for it?  In another respect she's also helping these people. Then she starts to hear the voices of the people she's conjuring up, which let just say can drive a lady crazy...hahaha. I sometimes describe it as "Ghost, but without the pottery wheel"...hahahaha.

The other thing I love about this show is the challenge of the acting. I haven't done anything serious, so this was a great opportunity for me. I'm not really a trained opera singer even though I've studied it, but it's still a great piece to sing. I will say, it is hard to be angry in falsetto, the two usually don't go together. It's difficult to try to add weight to the voice, but I just love this challenge. The music is so beautiful and complex, but then you just start to see what a genius Menotti was. It's just a great, great piece and while there are some fun moments, it really is a dark piece.

Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman in Menotti's THE MEDIUM directed by Donna Drake from LIPTV1 on Vimeo.

 

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope they have an appreciation for Menotti besides the one piece they know him for which is "Amahl and the Night Visitors." I also hope people come away feeling this was an amazing piece of theatre, not an opera. Even though the whole show is sung through like an opera, it's really more of a dark theatrical production.

Jeffery Roberson in "The Medium"4. What do you identify most with about your character? I've found myself to be pretty mentally sane in my life, but there was this one time in college where I had a lot of anxiety problems and I thought I was losing my mind. The only thing that would calm me down, and I know this is the gayest thing ever, were Barbra Streisand Greatest Hits Volume 1. I listened to that so many times...

I think I was just very depressed and I know I couldn't control the looping of the phrases and thoughts that were causing the panic and anxiety. I identify with the fact that she thinks she has it all together and then one day, whether it's chemical imbalance or the supernatural (which I don't really believe in), things start to happen, and you don't know what is happening in your head. I identify with the fear that you can't control what happens in your head.

5. What excites you about bringing this show to New York? To tell you the truth, it's a little bit terrifying. If there is the one city in the US that knows opera, it would be New York. Even though this is an obscure opera, any regular operagoer knows this piece and it's very, very difficult. Add to the fact that I'm a man and have to sing in falsetto and add anger on top of that, is a very challenging feat. Unlike my own shows, if I don't feel like hitting a note, I'll do what I want, but I can't do that here. 

I love working with my fellow cast members, who all reside here. I've done so much comedy that this role and show is a great challenge for me. 

Me: It's always great to challenge yourself and do something different than what you normally do.

Jeffery: Oh yes. Even in my comedy stuff, I've gotten to do some characters that are based in some sort of reality. I've gotten to do Charles Busch's "The Divine Sister" in Boston. He's such a great writer, you know he bases all his plots in truth. There were some very sad story lines in "Divine Sister," where I lost a baby, and even though it's very campy, there is a thread of reality in it that you need to play with his stuff. I loved doing that.

6. What do you like about performing in New York as opposed in Provincetown? I haven't performed a lot in NY recently. I did my solo show here and was in "Lucky Guy," which I had a great time doing. Audiences are very smart here, which is great, but it's also scary. They'll know if I don't hit a note. In Provincetown, I was able to get away with it a little bit. That's also why we did a run in Provincetown...it's sort of like a marathon, you have to train for it. I did the training and now it's time to do the race, which is exciting.

Jeffery Roberson as "Varla Jean Merman"7. What do you get from performing as "Varla Jean" that you don’t get from performing as yourself? I've been "Varla" for so long that she sometimes just drives herself and controls my life....hahaha. I have been cast in shows because of "Varla" and that show has a character similar to her. But anytime I'm in a show people do always ask me, "Is "Varla" in this?" and I have to tell them I'm not playing "Varla," I'm playing a character similar to her.

In "Medium," I'm definitely not playing "Varla." My character in this show is a completely different person, a different sound, a different look, etc.

8. What has been your worst on-stage mishap? One time I was singing Diana Ross' "Reach Out and Touch" and I did this thing where I had to pick someone out of the audience I'd been picking on all night and I was singing the song as "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Man." So I found this couple in the audience and then I found one person in the audience who was single and made him touch one of the people in the couple. So, the whole show has been building up to this one moment. I finally went out into the audience to grab this single man to go touch the couple and I look and he didn't have any arms. I couldn't see that he didn't have any arms. I'm singing, "I want you to reach out and touch" and he had no arms. I looked at him and he looked at me and I just picked up and hugged him and then went to use my hand to touch the couple.

Another time I picked somebody to come up on stage and I would sing this song, "You're perfect, except this," then I'd put a wig on them, then I would sing that line again "You're perfect, except this," then I'd put a robe on them and eventually I would dress them up as me. I found this guy, who I could tell didn't want to be on stage, and I was like "Loosen-up, you're in Provincetown, you're on vacation, where do you live?" And he was like, "I live...here." And then it just got worse and this story is why I've never done this since. By the end of the night, he was almost crying and I just felt terrible, but people had told me you can never accept no for an answer if they don't want to come up on stage because if one person doesn't do it, then no one is going to do it. That is sort of true and I had that in my head, but I learned that there is a time when no means no. It was just a terrible moment.

9. What other projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about? I'm going back home to New Orleans to do a Christmas Show that I helped my friend write called "Scrooge and Rouge," which is a three person version of "A Christmas Carol". It's presented as a Victorian Music Hall style show. Then after that I'm doing a show I did a couple of years ago called "Shut Up Sweet Charlotte."

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Teleporting myself. I can't get on another airplane. I'm so tired of them.

Thursday
Oct182012

Will Reynolds: Love Story/Poems and Moon Songs Interview

Will Reynolds as "Bruno Hauptmann" in "Baby Case" at NYMF 2012, Photo Credit Bill BustamanteI was first introduced to the leading-man talents of Will Reynolds in the summer of 2012 when I saw him star in the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of "Baby Case" as "Charles Lindbergh/Bruno Hauptmann." After seeing Will in the show, I knew I had to interview him. Now, that time has come!

Will's other theatrical credits include "The Illusion" (Signature Theater), the North American Tour of "Mamma Mia," "Emma" and "A Room with a View" (The Old Globe), "George Bailey" in "A Wonderful Life" (Engeman Theater), "Huck" in "Big River" (Goodspeed Opera House), and "Jason" in "Ordinary Days" (Adirondack Theatre Festival). Will also created the leading role of "Chad" in Seth Rudetsky's musical "DISASTER!" and had the privilege of working with Robert De Niro on the film "Good Shepherd."

Will Reynolds and Alexandra Silber in "Love Story" at Walnut Street Theatre, Photo Credit: Mark GarvinNow, Will is starring in the US premiere of the new musical "Love Story" along with fellow "Call Me Adam" participant Alexandra Silber at the Walnut Street Theatre (825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107), based upon Erich Segal's best-selling iconic novel and one of the most romantic films of all time. "Love Story" runs through October 21 only! Click here for tickets!

From November 10-12 Libra Theater Company is presenting a concert of Will's music entitled "POEMS and MOON SONGS," directed by MK Lawson and featuring Sara Jean Ford ("How to Succeed…," "A Little Night Music"), Marissa McGowan ("The Nutty Professor," "Bonnie and Clyde"), Drama Desk nominee Jeremy Morse ("Bloodsong of Love," Libra’s "12th Night"), and Zachary Prince ("On a Clear Day…," "Baby It’s You") at Underground Lounge in NYC at 7:30pm, with additional 10pm performances on November 10 and 11. Click here for tickets! Updated: All profits will be donated to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, for Hurricane Sandy relief.

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

Will Reynolds and Jeremy Jordan in "Big River" at Goodspeed Opera House1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was one of those little kids who was always running around in a cape in the backyard. In pre-school, we were putting together a class circus, and my teacher asked who wanted to be the ring-master and introduce each "act." No one volunteered, but I, naturally, saw this as the starring role, so I grabbed my cape out of my backpack (never leave home without it) and ran to the front of the class. And I was always the last kid out of the music room. I had some incredibly inspiring teachers early on, and never encountered anything else growing up that might have veered me from the path. That's either lucky or crazy.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I became obsessed with Sondheim in high school. And all the actors and cast albums from his shows. I did a semester long independent study on him that culminated in a half lecture/half concert...obsessed. I had written him a letter that summer with questions for my project, and he responded, on TAPE with his answers. It was my holy grail. My dream of working with him is actually coming true next January, when I start work on the NY revival of PASSION directed by John Doyle at Classic Stage. I'm still pinching myself.

Will Reynolds in "Love Story" at Walnut Street Theatre, Photo Credit: Mark Garvin3. What attracted you to "Love Story"? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I connect to so much of this story. I lost a close friend to cancer, and going through a similar journey as Oliver in LOVE STORY has been incredibly healing. But everyone can connect to it, because we all have lost or will lose someone, at some point.  It also has a lot to say about fathers and sons - parents and children. It's universal, and every night I can feel that our audiences "go there" with us, and it is both rewarding and extremely moving. It is truly a gift to tell this story every night. And Howard Goodall's score is stunning.

4. What do you identify most with about your character "Oliver Barret IV"? Beyond bringing my own understanding of loss to the character, there is also a lot of joy in "Oliver." He is a bit of a smart aleck and a total romantic, which I can absolutely tap into. I get to blend my own love stories with his. Falling in love every night, and experiencing all those firsts again and again...it's a blast. Plus I happen to play opposite the most incredible leading lady a guy could ever be lucky enough to work with, Al Silber.

Will Reynolds and Alexandra Silber in "Love Story" at Walnut Street Theatre, Photo Credit: Mark Garvin5. What has been the best part about working with Alexandra Silber? We had instant chemistry with each other, from the CALL BACK! The second we met, there was this 'thing,' and as we became friends and got closer during this process, it continued to grow. I feel so SAFE on stage with her, so supported. We basically don't leave the stage for 90 minutes, and it is an honor to live this story with her, daunting though it may be. She keeps me sane, and God is she funny!

6. What excites you about performing at the Walnut Street Theatre? The fact that it's the oldest theater in the country and that Thomas Jefferson himself enjoyed a few skits here...that's pretty cool. You can really feel the energy and presence of the generations of actors who played here before you, and to now be a part of that ... again, pretty cool. I'm also loving Philly - such a cool town with a really thriving art scene.

Cast of "Baby Case", Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteWill Reynolds as "Charles Lindbergh" in Baby Case at NYMF 2012 Photo Credit Bill Bustamante7. This past summer you, along with fellow "Call Me Adam" participants Anika Larsen, Melissa van der Schyff, and Jason Collins starred in the "Best of the Fest" winning show "Baby Case." What did you enjoy most about starring in this show? I had the rare opportunity to play both the protagonist and the antagonist - Charles Lindbergh, who's baby is kidnapped and is the catalyst for the story, and Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the German immigrant who is ultimately accused and executed for the crime. Each man had such a profound impact on the other, and though extremely different in most ways, they are both men desperate for answers, justice, and peace. I love when a show examines the role perspective plays in history, and BABY CASE did that brilliantly. I was really proud of what we were able to accomplish at NYMF, and so glad that it got all that recognition.

8. On November 10-12 Libra Theater Company is presenting a concert of your music entitled POEMS and MOON SONGS at Underground Lounge in NYC. What made you want to start writing your own music and what excites you about this upcoming concert? So much excites me about this project. It's a very special collection from my songbook, and I'm honored to have been approached by Libra to share it. I love setting poetry - my show THE GREENWOOD TREE (NYMF '09, Kennedy Center "Page to Stage Festival" '10) is a musical based on the love triangle embedded in Shakespeare's sonnets.  In POEMS & MOON SONGS, my settings of some of the greatest poetic voices of all time are featured (Emily Dickinson, A.E. Houseman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and more). I also have always had a fascination with the moon, and there's a corner of my songwriting that is a response to that fascination, in my own words. The evening is an attempt to capture the conversation that unfolds when we look up at the night sky - feeling both tiny and alone, yet utterly and deeply connected.

I started writing music in earnest while in drama school at Carnegie Mellon. Coming from the suburbs of Chicago with no real formal training, I started out very overwhelmed by what a conservatory demands of a young artist. Unaware of it at the time, I needed a release and an expression that was completely mine - "hands off" from my teachers and the rest of my training. I started spending more and more time in the practice rooms, and I ended up crafting songs for the incredible talents surrounding me. Before I knew it, I had a handful of original tunes, and we made a homespun album and did a concert at the drama school.  It was an incredibly exciting time, and I'm so grateful for my fellow schoolmates, teachers, and the countless people beyond CMU who helped me unlock my voice as a writer.

9. Why did you want to partner with Libra Theater Company for this concert? What does Underground Lounge offer as a venue that another one might not? Libra approached me last season to use a few songs for their "Songs You Should Know" concert. A relationship developed, and their artistic director, Nick Luckenbaugh, came to me with an offer to present an evening of my work. POEMS & MOON SONGS had been kicking around in my mind as a title, and I pitched it to them. It has been fast and furious since then! They are a fantastic young company - their award winning production of TWELFTH NIGHT was at The Underground Lounge, and it is a space they have a strong affinity for. There are many theatrical concert hot spots out there, but I'm excited about opening up fresh new venues, especially in different parts of town. Also, the Underground Lounge is extremely intimate, which to me is its most attractive quality. We have 5 performances and a really exciting cast that I can't announce just yet...COME!

10. What do you get from writing your own music that you don't get from performing other's people's music? Where is your favorite place to write? At the end of the day, no matter what, it is all about honing your skills as a STORYTELLER - whether as an interpretive artist or a creative artist. I write with my actor hat on, and I act with my writer hat on. They each inform the other, and I wouldn't have gotten into writing in the first place if it wasn't for the work I've done as an interpretor. As actors, we get pigeonholed pretty quickly in this business into some "type," which can limit the sort of roles you'll play, the kind of stories you can be a part of.  But as a writer, anything goes - those restrictions don't apply. It is incredibly freeing.

My favorite place to write? I do a lot the broad strokes work while on my feet, walking around NYC (or whatever city I may be in at the time). I go to an instrument once the idea is starting to cook. I usually make a rough demo as soon as I can, and then I go back to being on my feet, listening and reviewing - which starts the seemingly endless (but incredibly important!) revision process. I think a writer is only as good as their willingness to revise.

Will at the Leaning Tower of PisaWill at The Sanctuary, Koh Phangan, Gulf of Thailand11. You are an avid traveler. From September to November of 2007 you backpacked through Europe by yourself and in December 2008 you backpacked through South East Asia. What did you enjoy most about traveling? What was the best part about this experience? What did you learn about yourself? YES! I toured with MAMMA MIA! for about a year and a half when I first started out, and all that travel made me hungry for more. So after I got off the road, I had a lot of flight miles saved up, and I used them to take me to Europe. I saw 28 cities in 11 different countries in 6 weeks. I slept on trains. I did the hostel thing. I played my uke on top of the Eiffel Tour. I hiked the Cinque Terre, saw lots of different theater, and met some incredible people. But mostly, I learned how to follow my gut, and how to be open to all the possibilities of the present. Is that cheesy? I had an idea of a plan, but no true plan, so it was a lesson in grand improvisation. A year later I flew to Asia and joined up with 2 friends who were on tour with Lea Salonga in CINDERELLA - we trekked through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam together on their 2-week layover. We explored Angkor Wat, took a 3 day river trip down the Mekong Delta staying with families along the way...it was beautiful. I learned so much about living simply, simply living, and was inspired by the heartwarming kindness of all the people I encountered there. I then travelled back to the islands of Thailand for another week on my own. It truly is paradise. I also came back a vegetarian. So there's that.

Will Reynolds and Patti Murin in "Emma" at The Old GlobeWill Reynolds in rehearsal for "A Room With A View" at The Old Globe12. What's the best advice you've ever received? In show biz? "Run your own race." Don't look around and compare yourself with what every one else is doing, just do your best and keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Ooh, now you're getting personal. This may be TMI, but I have this bizarre ability to control my dreams, usually, so I pretty much have free reign over the casting anyway. That said, I'd always like a chance to hang out with my grandmother again. She was really important to me and had some great stories. Or if I could put on a cape and run around with 8 year old me (Billy) in the backyard, that be pretty fun too.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

14. Favorite way to spend your day off? Sleeping late and eating well!

15. Favorite way to stay in shape? Usually it is yoga, recently it has been Bikram yoga, and MOST recently (because LOVE STORY has a love scene that involves just a pair of boxers) it has been the Insanity workout. It is truly insane, but it works! At least that's what my fictional wife says.

16. Boxers or Briefs? That amazing hybrid - the boxer briefs.

Friday
Oct122012

Tituss Burgess: Comfortable Interview

Photo Credit: Jennifer Leigh MannI first interviewed Tituss Burgess in 2009 when he participated in the Cutting-Edge Composers II. Since that time, the rising R&B vocalist and songwriter who has starred on television in the Emmy Award winning NBC comedy "30 Rock" and on Broadway in "Jersey Boys" and "The Little Mermaid" has announced the release of his exciting and personal debut album "Comfortable."

Produced by Tituss Burgess and Donnie Kehr, "Comfortable" is a unique and intensely-personal collection of Tituss's original R&B songs that frankly and emotionally explore issues of life and love. In a project that's been in development for two years, he sings boldly and openly about feeling safe in his own skin. "All I Need" is melodic and reflective request for a new love. Displaying his incredible vocal range, "I'll Be Alright" is a nakedly emotional reaction to a troubled relationship, further heightened by a stirring string arrangement. "Stop Calling Me," riding a groove influenced by Steve Wonder's hits of the 1970s, takes an honest look at the financial realities of being a performer in New York. Both this track and "It's Over" hold up expertly with the best of adult contemporary radio. The driving "Glass Ceiling" reflects the inspiration of 1980s performers like Phil Collins. The album's bonus track is a soaring rendition of the popular standard, "For All We Know," recorded live at B.B. King's.

To celebrate the release of "Comfortable," Tituss will perform a special CD release concert at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) with a 10-piece band on Sunday, October 14 at 11:00 PM. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets!

"Comfortable" will be available at iTunes and CDBaby.com.

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

1. Since we last spoke in 2009, you have been starring on NBC's hit Emmy Award winning comedy show "30 Rock" in the recurring role of "D'Fawn." What attracted you to "30 Rock" and what have you enjoyed about being on the show? Well, what actor in his right mind would turn down an offer from "30 Rock." And besides they gave me great freedom with my character.

2. You have also performed with some of the biggest symphonies around the world. What does it mean to you to have these opportunities? What did you like most about getting to see the world in such style? If it weren't for the symphonic work I would not have the opportunity to see the world as I've had. I'm not much of a traveler so this has been a bit of a push to get me to see the world.

Photo Crediit: Jennifer Leigh Mann3. Now you are about to release your debut album "Comfortable." How did you come up with the title for the album? "Comfortable" is kind of the common denominator between all of the songs. Not to mention its the title of one of the tracks.

4. All of the songs on the album are originals which you penned. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing songs? Where is your favorite place to write? My favorite part of the creative process is that no one gets to tell me what to do. Haha. Inspiration strikes me in the most random places.

5. From the press release, it seems the songs you are presenting, are very personal. What is like to expose yourself in this way to your fans? People who know me know that it's hard for me to hide my feelings. And so why would I hide from my fans. I want them to know what's going on.

6. What do you hope listeners come away with after hearing your album? I think listeners would be pleasantly surprised with the new material while still getting the classic sound of Tituss.

Photo Crediit: Jennifer Leigh Mann7. What do you get from writing your own music that you do not get from starring in a theatrical or television show? Because I'm saying/singing my words and not theirs.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/songwriter/actor? I've learned that I have a wide emotional range and I must express it.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? If you want something done do it yourself.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I would love to dream about Beyonce, of course!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Eating and sleeping.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Fly like Superman.

Wednesday
Oct032012

Aaron Lazar: New York Pops Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein

Drama Desk Nominee Aaron Lazar is a performer to go see for he has a voice that will leave you breathless. On Broadway, Aaron has lit up the stage in "A Little Night Music," "Impressionism," "Les Misérables" revival (Drama Desk nomination), "The Light in the Piazza," "A Tale of Two Cities," "Oklahoma!," and "The Phantom of the Opera," as well as City Center Encores! production of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." His film and television credits include "J.Edgar," "Notorious Bettie Page," "Company," "Person of Interest," "A Gifted Man," "Ugly Betty," "New Amsterdam," "White Collar" and "O'Brady Shaw" on IFC's "Onion News Network." Aaron has lent his incredible vocals to numerous concerts including "Company" (NYPH), "South Pacific" (Hollywood Bowl), "Carousel" (Boston Pops); New York Pops at Carnegie Hall with Steven Reineke, National Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, and a solo show at The Kennedy Center.

Steven Reineke conducting NY Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna WeberIn addition to currently starring in Broadway's "Mamma Mia," Aaron is once again taking center stage at New York's Carnegie Hall when he, Kelli O'Hara, and Paulo Szot help the New York Pops, under the musical direction of Steven Reineke, open their 30th Anniversary season with "Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein" on October 12 at 8pm. Click here for tickets! Carnegie Hall is located at 881 7th Avenue (between 56th & 57th Street).

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

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My paternal great-grandparents used to dress up in tux and ball gown for their senior community talent shows. Morris would sing Jolson's Mammy and Lena would accompany him on the piano. It was amazing. And probably planted the performer seed for me.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I'd love to be directed by Mike Nichols in a play with Al Pacino, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Liev Schrieber, & Meryl Streep...but who wouldn't?

3. You are one of the guest performers at the New York Pops opening concert of their 30th Season entitled "Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein." What made you want to be part of this concert? I can't think of a more beautiful way to spend an evening with Rodgers & Hammerstein.

4. How did the music Rodgers and Hammerstein influence you as a performer? Like so many, I grew up with their movie musicals as an introduction to the American Musical Theater. Their shows are at the heart of my love for the art form.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending the concert? Joy. And the desire to share with each other stories of their connection to this music and the music itself with their friends and family. We must keep it alive.

6. What excites about helping open the New York Pops 30th season? What a blessing! This is my 4th time with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall. What's not to be excited about?? 80-piece orchestra, 80-voice choir, and my favorite conductor Steven Reineke at the helm...Every time is a gift and a thrill.

7. What are you looking forward to most about performing with Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot? I adore Kelli as a fan and a friend, and I truly love singing with her. She is magnificent. Paulo I've not worked with before, but I had the privilege to see him as "Emile" with Kelli in "South Pacific" and was totally wow'd. I'm so looking forward to sharing the stage with him.

8. What have you learned about yourself as a performer? Searching for truth turns me on.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Live life big in small chunks. Or Focus on all that you have rather than all that you have not.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Ooooh naughty ;)  Nerd answer: a dream where Pavarotti gave me a voice lesson or Sinatra asked me to tour the world singing with him would be cool.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? With my family in the yard.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Eat well. Try and get to the gym. Play with my kids.

13. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power to see into the past and the future.