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Entries in Broadway (278)

Monday
Nov252013

Joshua Sherman Presents CHARMERS Interview

Joshua ShermanJoshua Sherman is a producer, director, and designer who has just launched, CHARMERS, a new anthology web series that showcases TODAY’S talent via original short films and retro-music videos. Along with his mother, Eileen Bluestone Sherman, Joshua also released a 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.

For more on Joshua be sure to visit http://www.joshuashermanpresents.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Ryan VanDenBoom in A LITTLE IMAGINATION, Photo Credit: Antonio Panetta1. Who or what inspired you to become a producer/director/designer? I’ve always been passionate about theater, and I am a trained artist. My two childhood heroes (because of how they combined theater and art) were the legendary caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld, and Tony/Oscar/Emmy-Winning Designer, Tony Walton. I feel very fortunate that I had the chance to work with both of them.

As for producing/directing…I am most impressed by the "old school showmen" who had both artistic vision and the practical drive to create a great product.

So – at the top of my list are guys like Florenz Ziegfeld, P.T. Barnum, and David Merrick, as well as Ed Sullivan and Dick Clark on TV.  And along those same lines, great visionary directors/choreographers, like Bob Fosse,Michael Bennett, Jerome Robbins, Tommy Tune, Hal Prince and Stanley Donen.

Ryan Kasprzak and Ryan VanDenBoom in CURIOSITY, Photo Credit: Antonio Panetta2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? There are countless celebrities that I would love to have the privilege of working with…but in all honesty, I love discovering new talent or showcasing celebrated artists in a new way. The only thing more exciting than discovery is reinvention. But – if I had to choose…I would actually love to work with Ralph Lauren, Ryan Seacrest, and Justin Timberlake. These guys have built (and continued to build) their empires. They have vision and drive. I’d like to see their process up-close.

3. You have just created a new web series entitled CHARMERS. What made you want to create this kind of web series, paying homage to the past, while fostering today's talent? What made you want to have Ryan VanDenBoom as the lead in this series? I am passionate about developing new works, and I am always on the lookout to discover new talent. My cardinal rule is that the people I work with must be TALENTED and NICE.

Ryan VanDenBoom and I were at lunch - and he told me he was looking for an opportunity to demonstrate his skills as a principal, as well as a director/choreographer. I asked him, "Do you have a reel?" He said, "No." I said, "Let’s make one." And that was that – and we had lunch. And while we ate, we talked about who we really admire. He and I both love MGM musicals, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Rat Pack, and Bobby Darin.

The more I thought about it…I decided rather than create a "Reel," wouldn’t it be cool to create a new classic musical scene - a short film, of sorts. Ryan loved the idea…So we went to work…figuring out the right song, concept, arrangement, location, etc. Because of my background in design, I’m a huge architecture buff – and I love going to historic homes. One of my favorite spots is the former Everett mansion, which is now Southern Vermont College. The library there is spectacular – and I approached the Dean to ask permission to film there. 

Ryan and I finalized the storyline and action. We set a shooting script and rehearsed it. Ultimately, we filmed CURIOSITY in March 2013. It was supposed to be a one time thing. I was really testing the collaboration and trying to create a vehicle for him. We had a great work experience- and we were thrilled with the end result.

So - we decided to make more…When I discussed it with my mom (Lyricist Eileen Bluestone Sherman), she suggested that it could be a web series…and when I discussed it with my dad, he suggested they could be pitched as modern day SOUNDIES, the precursor to the music video. We call our episodes "CHARMERS." 

And that’s the story of how it happened…

Ryan VanDenBoom and Kelly Buck in WE TALK WITHOUT WORDS, Photo Credit: Antonio Panetta4. What do you hope people enjoy most about watching these series? I think these CHARMERS have universal appeal. They have great melodies, unique visuals, and they are fast-paced & short in length. I hope they make people smile. I hope they make people want to sing and dance!

5. What do you enjoy most about creating a web series? What have you learned about yourself from your careers? My favorite part of any project is the creative process. I love connecting talented people and fostering collaborations. And to have a final product that can be seen by so many around the world is amazing. I love that we’re bringing retro-glamour to the digital age. I also think making these CHARMERS perfectly fits my skill set.

They are fast-paced, involve complex organization and design – and allow me to work directly with great talent in both the recording studio and on location. And then I’m on to the next one. Lol.

6. On many of your projects, including CHARMERS and your newest CD Perfect Picture (based upon the show of the same name) you have collaborated with your mom and aunt. What is it like to work with them in this capacity? What do you like best about collaborating with them? I grew up in a household filled with music, including all of the great musicals of the "Golden Age." I also watched my mom and aunt CREATE new musicals. I saw the sparks of creation and the hours of re-writes. I think seeing the process of development first-hand directly influenced my sensibility and understanding of how to work with and produce artists. I think I understand my mom and aunt's music in a unique way and, frankly, it’s very exciting to share their talent with the rest of the world - and get them the recognition they deserve.

7. What do you get from producing/directing that you do not get from designing? The Final Say. Lol.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? From my Mom & Dad: You CAN have everything, but not at the same time.

From my best friend, Antonio Edwards Suarez: Whenever I encounter conflict, I hear his voice asking: "Do you want to be right – or do you want to be happy?" (I choose happy!)

Ryan VanDenBoom and Kelly Buck in WE TALK WITHOUT WORDS, Photo Credit: Antonio Panetta9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I’d love to be able to time travel.

Quick Shameless Plug:

We’re already developing Season 2, but I must admit, I’m very excited for our Season 1 Finale, featuring Tony Award Winner Lillias White (Fela, The Life) as the Christmas Loon. It's an entirely new character for Christmas! It will make even the meanest scrooges SMILE.

Check out "I Keep Christmas In My Pocket" beginning November 27th. It’s a Charmer!

More on Joshua:

Joshua Sherman (Producer, Co-Director, Designer) began his theatrical career as an archivist and designer. His mentors include Al Hirschfeld, Peter Harvey, Santo Loquasto, Willa Kim, and Tony Walton. As part of Walton’s design team, Joshua worked on the Tony Award winning Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun (Bernadette Peters); Elaine May’s Taller Than A Dwarf (Matthew Broderick & Parker Posey); Harold Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes (David Straithairn); Tommy Tune’s Easter Parade (Sandy Duncan); Finian’s Rainbow; and Terrence McNally/Jon Robin Baitz’s House (Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Rue McClanahan & Daniel Stern).

Producing credits include The Odd Potato, as well as the corresponding Broadway Album (feat. 20 Tony winners including Jim Dale, Sutton Foster & Elaine Stritch) and productions of Perfect Picture, as well as the newly-released album (starring Tom Wopat, Beth Leavel, Lillias White & others).

Joshua is a voting member of the Recording Academy and is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College and Stony Brook University Medical School.  He is a practicing M.D.

Episode 1: Joshua Sherman Presents: Curiosity 2013

Episode 2: Joshua Sherman Presents: A Little Imagination 2013

Episode 3: Joshua Sherman Presents: We Talk Without Words 2013

Thursday
Nov142013

James Barbour: The Holiday Concert Interview

It's that time of year when award winning Broadway star and International Recording artist, James Barbour will bring holiday cheer to New York City with his annual Holiday Concert. This year's concert will take place at New York City's theatre hotspot 54 Below (254 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on December 7 at 11pm and December 12 at 7pm.

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

1. Once again, you will be performing your annual holiday concerts, but this year they are at 54 below on December 7 & 12. What made you want to change venues for this year's concerts? I had been an audience member at a friend's concert there and I thought the space was absolutely beautiful. Within short time the team at 54 Below approached me about appearing there and as luck would have it I was in the planning stages for my 2013 Holiday Concerts. The idea of changing venues came simply because I wanted to bring my audiences (more like extended family) to a new venue. I just like to change things up every once in a while.

2. What does 54 Below offer you that another venue does not? I think each venue is unique and 54 Below is not only beautifully designed it has the sense of being in an upscale club somewhere in Europe. I'm excited to perform there.

James Barbour in concert, Photo Credit: Monica Simoes3. What can fans expect from this year's concerts that they might not have seen in previous years? Yeah...my favorite part. New music selections, great guests (as always) maybe an additional instrument or two and I'm trying my hand at the acoustic guitar (no promises) on a song. Plus the venue.

4. One concert staple you keep in each year, which I hope this year will be the same, is having various members of the audience perform with you for "Twelve Days of Christmas." How did you decide you wanted to have this interaction with your audiences this way? What do you enjoy most about this part of your concert? I love this part of the show. I'm a big goof on the inside and although I tend to play these dark brooding roles on Broadway, growing up it was all about making each other laugh and having fun. I wanted to bring that part of my life to the show. Interaction with the audience is vital to me. It's why I do what I do. Without the audiences and fans we would be performing in a vacuum and that would not be fun. So with 12 Days of Christmas we can all join in together and participate in the joys of the season. At this point the Holiday Concert regulars actually put first dibs in for their "day" when they show up to the venue. Literally people grab my arms and say "I want 6 Geese A Laying" or "We are 5 Golden Rings, make sure our table gets 5 Golden Rings" It's a load of fun.

James Barbour in concert, Photo Credit: Monica Simoes5. Going back a little bit, what made you initially want to have an annual holiday concert? What has been the best part about watching it grow into what it has become today? It came out of A Tale Of Two Cities closing on Broadway. I've always been a big Holiday fan. It's my favorite time of the year and I've had this vision to bring back the Bing Crosby specials of old. In fact years ago my old producing partner and I actually pitched a version of the Bing shows and were vey close to getting it produced on network TV.

So when Tale closed it was just before the Holidays so I thought...why not do a Holiday Concert and I was going to present it in an Off-Broadway house and make an actual show of it (something I'm actually in the process of completing now for the future). But that time I had a conversation with my friend Hershey Felder about the idea. Hershey's got the one man show format down and has become incredibly successful in doing so. We chatted about idea and he suggested that I present them in a space where I can be close to the audience rather than removed like I would be in a theatre. I took his advice, spoke to Max Klimivicus at Sardi's and the rest is history. I'm grateful to Max for opening up his doors to me. He's been a great supporter and has become a good friend. I'll be back there with some other events in the near future.

6. What do you love most about spending the holidays in New York City? NYC is THE destination for the holidays. Miracle On 34th Street! Macy's, the Tree at Rock Center, the window dressings, the lights. I once saw about 30 Santa's all piled into one coffee shop near the corner of Broadway and 52nd street. I mean where else can you see that?

7. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Wow...well now that I have two amazing kids my family is reliving those wonderful traditions my wife and I had when we were children. Cookies and milk (almond milk in our house) for Santa and carrots for the reindeer left out on the fireplace hearth. Christmas music (if I had my way it would be 24/7) playing in the house. Decorating the house with lights and such. But perhaps the most important tradition is family. I made a point, no matter where I was in the world to be home for Christmas. I would fly in, train in, drive in just to be home with my mother, father and sister. It's vitally important to me. Now that both my parents are gone and I have my own family, those same values hold true. No matter what religion or what holiday you celebrate (and even if your not religious and don't celebrate an holiday) spending time with family is imperative so that is my favorite holiday tradition...remembering and being with family.

8. Since starting your holiday concerts, have you adopted any new traditions for the holidays? Well my Holiday Concerts have now become a tradition. I've been asked to perform them all over the world which is a wonderful gift.

9. What are some of your favorite holiday foods? I'm all about deserts but I would have to say my favorite is Apple Pie. 

10. If you could have one Christmas wish come true, what would it be? Both my parents have passed....my wish is that they could have met their grandchildren and that my kids could have met them.

James BarbourMore on James:

James Barbour was nominated for the Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Awards for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of "Sydney Carton" in the Broadway musical version of A Tale of Two Cities, and won the Sarasota Magazine Best Actor Award for the Asolo Rep pre-Broadway production. He has starred on Broadway in such Tony-Award winning shows as Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as "The Beast," Carousel as "Billy Bigelow", Urinetown as "Officer Lockstock" and as "Edward Rochester" in Jane Eyre (Drama League Award nomination). He also appeared in the Broadway production of Cyrano and the national tour of The Secret Garden.

His voice can be heard on the upcoming international recording of A Tale of Two Cities, the PS Classics recording of Assassins, the Sony Classical cast recording of Jane Eyre, The Gift on Geffen Records, the upcoming release of Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula, as well as on the live CD recording of his self-produced stage show Broadway in Concert (for which he won an LA WEEKLY Garland Award).

His television credits range from the pilots of The District, Just Shoot Me, and Flashpoint to appearances on Sex and the City, Ed, That’s Life, Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein (PBS), Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice (CBS), the PBS mini-series American Experience: John & Abigail Adams (playing "Thomas Jefferson") and the upcoming film version of A Tale of Two Cities for public television.

Film credits include Alchemy (Tribeca Film Festival and ABC Family) starring opposite Tom Cavanagh and Sarah Chalke; Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, Waiting for Lefty, The Tell-Tale Heart and Twinkle Toes with Sally Kirkland.

As an author and producer, James is responsible for creating three concert series, James Barbour: The Holiday Concert and Love Songs (both at New York City’s famed Sardi’s Restaurant) and Back From Broadway/Broadway in Concert (the latter in conjunction with Steinway Concert Artist Hershey Felder).

James is considered one of the most sought-after performers on Broadway today. He is on the A-list of actors asked to develop new works for the industry’s leading writers and composers including Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Frank Wildhorn, and Christopher Durang to name a few. He is currently developing a new musical concert called The Romantics.

His voice can be heard on the cast recordings of JANE EYRE, ASSASSINS and A TALE OF TWO CITES as well as his own CD’s BRING ME GIANTS and THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS.

James is also the host of the critically acclaimed international radio show THE STAR POWER HOUR on Empowerment Channel of www.VoiceAmerica.com.

Monday
Nov112013

Glen Berger: Song of Spider-Man Interview

Glen Berger, Photo Credit: Don HamermanGlen Berger is an Emmy Award-winning television and theatre writer who just released his new book Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of The Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History, chronicling his side of what happened behind-the-scenes of creating Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Click here to purchase the book!

Follow Simon & Schuster at http://www.simonandschuster.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Click here for tickets to Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

1. You just released your new book, Song of Spider-Man, your side of what happened behind-the-scenes in creating Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. What made you decide to write this book? Man, I so didn’t feel like writing this book. At first. After the show opened in June, 2011, the last thing I wanted to do was dive back into the six years I was involved on the project and comb through every memory and scrap of paper related to it. But I’m a writer, and the story was just too fascinating for a writer to pass up, and all the reporting to date had been too lacking-in-nuance (or just plain inaccurate). And I thought maybe I’d attain a bit of wisdom, or at least closure, if I went back and took a hard look at how the whole thing unfolded. And then I realized that the book was really about all the things I write about in my fiction anyway—humans striving toward grand ideals that fall short; invention; regret; love; etc. etc. So I decided to write the book, and the next day I come across a quote from Jack Kerouac: "Public confession in the literary form is a frazzler of the heart." And he wasn’t half-wrong.

2. Why is now the right time to release it? Memories are still fresh in the public of those days when news of the show’s tribulations seemed to monopolize pop culture media coverage. And Turn Off the Dark is still running—though its weekly grosses lately have been wobbly. That is, it’s been grossing $800,000 or so a week, which is good enough to keep many a show afloat, but probably not a sustainable number for a large show like Spider-Man, so who knows how much longer it will last on Broadway. So it was either release the book now, or wait until after I’m dead.

Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, co-book writers of Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark", Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times3. What do you hope readers come away with after reading Song of Spider-Man? In a positive review of the book, the fellow reviewing Song of Spider-Man for the Times nevertheless said the book was part-"snicker," and later employed the word "smirking" to characterize the tone. A snicker and a smirk are my least favorite kinds of laugh and smile, so I hope there was just some misreading going on. He wrote that Turn Off the Dark was "conceived in cynicism.” But I truly hope the reader comes away seeing that the show was actually conceived in an endearing idealism. In other words, rather than snickers and smirks, I hope the laughs in the book come from a more existential place, and the smiles from a more compassionate one. Because every person involved in the show—from beginning to end—was a good person and a talented person earnestly doing what they felt needed to be done, given their expertise and their convictions. And yet—even with all that—you can still end up with the wild rumpus that we ended up with. So the book isn’t about Spider-Man so much as it’s about "collaborating," and collaboration—human beings working with other human beings—will always promise the potential for both transcendental connection and epic exasperation.

4. When considering whether to write this story or not, did you ever worry that publishing this book might make others leery of possibly working with you in the future for fear of releasing another memoir like this? I think—I hope—that there’s an unspoken assumption between me and the industry that I’m a One Book Johnny. And seriously, if my future projects are destined to contain similar amounts of memoir-worthy tsuris…just shoot me now.

"Song of Spider-Man"5. Do you feel this book will enhance your career? If so, how? Based on my years of experience, I will never ever ever again predict what will and won’t enhance my career. That said…at least with a book (unlike a play—with all its other collaborators contributing to the finished product), readers get a straight shot at assessing my skills (or lack thereof) as a writer.

6. While writing Song of Spider-Man, did you learn anything new about that time in your life? I learned anew that my wife Karin had her own challenges raising three young children alone upstate while I was living in the city for what was supposed to be 3 months and turned into nearly a year. She was so stoic about it at the time, it was only in reliving the days day-by-day that it struck me just how long my absence was. I still owe her a spa weekend.

Bono, Julie Taymor, Glen Berger, and The Edge, Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/O & M Co.7. Looking back, what did you enjoy about the journey that was Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark? I was involved with the project for six years, and for more than five of the six years, it was nothing but a blast. We all got to live in dreams—not just dreams of success, but dreams of creation. All the possibilities—visually, musically,  narratively—that we had access to, that we could explore together—it was heady, and it was fun. And even in those last trying eight months, it may not have been so enjoyable, but—speaking as a writer—it sure was edifying.

8. Who or what inspired you to become a writer? I guess everyone has a knack for something that wins us a measure of esteem, and since 2nd grade, it seemed like I had a knack for writing. But what started as something enjoyable, became something I really wanted to do, and eventually became something I needed to do. The size of the universe and the almost-constant awareness that I’m going to die inspired me to devote my life to writing.

Glen Berger, Photo Credit: Don Hamerman9. What is your favorite part of the writing creative process? Writing for me is like doing a psychedelic, multi-dimensional crossword puzzle. When a plot-point or a character trait gets figured out, I get the same hit, the same buzz, that one gets from filling out the spaces correctly in a crossword. However, instead of taking a day, this puzzle takes at least a year and sometimes years and years. Working on it every day. On one crossword puzzle. So really, writing for me is almost entirely misery.

10. What is the best advice you've ever received? Maybe it came from Rumi, or maybe I gleaned it from Rumi: "Practice bewilderment." Which is to say—Life, the universe—it’s too large, ancient, and inexplicable not to leave you perpetually bewildered. So if you’re generally not bewildered, then you’re not thinking straight.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power to go back in one’s life and try out different approaches to the same period of time. Like in Groundhog Day, only you’re in control of it. The aim is an impeccable life. I’m sure I could replay a moment in my life three-hundred times and still not get it quite right. As it is, we’re stuck with the old Chinese proverb: "Wisdom is the comb life gives you after you’ve gone bald."

Glen BergerMore on Glen:

Glen Berger’s plays include Underneath the Lintel (more than 450 performances Off-Broadway, 150 productions worldwide), O Lovely Glowworm (Portland Drammy Best Script Award) and Great Men of Science, Nos. 21 & 22 (L.A. Weekly Best Play Award). Glen has also collaborated on two new musicals: On Words and Onwards and Loewe Award winner A Night in the Old Marketplace, with commissions from theatres including Berkley Rep and the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis. In television, Glen has won two Emmys (12 nominations) and has written more than 200 episodes for children’s television seen on PBS, NBC and the BBC including Arthur, Curious George and Peep. He was the head writer for all five seasons of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. He is a New Dramatists alumnus.

Tuesday
Nov052013

Alison Lory: Distant Melody Interview

Alison Lory is a Broadway actress and singer who is on the rise. She's making her New York City solo concert debut in Distant Melody, directed by Will Nunziata and musical direction by Andy Roninson, on Wednesday, November 13 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Come hear Alison some of her favorite pop, folk, and Broadway songs as well as sharing humorous and poignant anecdotes from her life. For tickets call 212-695-6909!

For more on Lory be sure to visit http://www.alisonlory.com!

1. On November 13, you will be performing at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in your NYC solo concert debut called Distant Melody. What excites you about this upcoming show? I'm excited to share with the audience music that means a lot to me. It's been a great rehearsal process where I've been able to live inside the lyrics and discover how each and every song I am singing relates back to my life. This discovery has given the music a deeper experience for me, and one I hope the audience can relate to as well.

Alison Lory, Photo Credit: Laura Marie Duncan2. What does it mean to you to make your NYC concert debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? What does this venue offer you that another one might not? When I first came to NYC, I would go to the Laurie Beechman often to see friends' one-person concerts. The intimacy of the room excites me (and scares me!) because people will literally be in the palm of my hand. I mean hey, if I get hungry in the middle of the show, there's a mozarella stick only three feet away.

3. Why was now the right to make your solo concert debut? It's funny you should ask. I met my director, Will Nunziata, a year ago at a Christmas party. We were dancing around at 2am pretending we were Betty Comden & Adolph Green backstage during the 1985 Follies concert documentary. It was musical theatre love at first sight! Fast forward to only a month ago, when we bumped into one another by my apartment and while catching up, Will told me how he's really jumping into doing more directing, and I told him about my recent interest in putting together a one-woman show of my own. It was kismet!

Alison Lory, Photo Credit: Laura Marie Duncan4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your concert? I hope audiences come away with enjoying the songs and some of my anectdotes, and realize that in life, hope is never lost, dreams never die, and when life sometimes throws you curve balls, to quote Monty Python, "always look on the bright side of life." 

5. What has been the best part about working with Will Nunziata as your director and Andy Roninson as your musical director? What have you learned from them? They have kept me from trying to do everything all at once. At first, I wanted the whole thing done in a day! Andy really had me focus on doing one song at a time, which allowed me to breathe and find each moment in the music. Will reminded me that "it's a marathon, not a sprint," which allowed me to really enjoy the "process." Both are so solid in their respective positions, and even more importantly, Will & Andy provided a "safe space" for me to be vulnerable, open & honest.

6. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I think it's part genetic, part obsessive interest. My maternal great grandparents were vaudvillians and growing up, I felt most at "home" with the theater kids. I would memorize Playbills as if they were Baseball Cards! Mostly, I love the collaborative aspect of the theatre.

Alison Lory7. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Wow, so many amazing people to choose from! The list is endless! But I do have to say that I would love to continue to work with many of the wonderful up and coming musical theater composers who are Broadway's next generation. Another dream of mine is to sing with Symphony Orchestras- to be able to sing with all of those lush instruments behind me would truly be a dream come true.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Keep it in perspective and always help others.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned that I am simply a vessel in which to tell the story.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would be the superhero of health. I would keep all my friends and family healthy. And if I could have one more super power it would be the ability to order free delivery of sushi anytime I wanted. Talk about heaven on earth!

Alison Lory, Photo Credit: Laura Marie DuncanMore on Alison:

Alison made her NYC debut in the Original Broadway Cast of the TONY Nominated musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1.0 & 2.0). Other venues include Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, regional theaters and network television. Originally trained by the legendary Marni Nixon and the late Dodi Protero (Juilliard) as a lyric coloratura, she also has a firm grasp on the contemporary Pop/Country/Folk genre, having performed with luminary artists from Nashville and New York City. In addition to her theatrical work, she holds a Master’s Degree in High School Literacy from Fordham University. Alison dedicates all work to the Levy family.

Friday
Nov012013

Adam Dannheisser: The Cottage Interview

Adam DannheisserAdam Dannheisser is the Resident Director of Rock of Ages on Broadway as well as an original and current cast member. He's currently directing Sandy Rustin's (Rated P [For Parenthood]), (mostly) non-violent, romantic comedy, The Cottage presented by The Award-Winning Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) at Good Shepard United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St (@30th Rd), in Astoria, Queens.

The Cottage is a rollicking farce inspired by the works of Noel Coward. Set in the English countryside in 1923, this tale of sex, betrayal and, oh yes, love, unfolds when Sylvia Van Kipness decides to expose her love affair to her husband and her lover's wife. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a director? I have wanted to direct for a long time. I love performing, but feel that I experience a fair amount of tongue biting -- always wishing to have more of a voice in the shaping of things. I was most inspired in grad school (NYU acting program) by innovative and daring directors such as Mark Wing-Davey and Robert Woodruff.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I have so many amazingly talented friends that I have never gotten a chance to work  with. That is why it is a real joy to be directing Kevin Isola in The Cottage. We went through NYU together -- his ethic, aesthetic and comic abilities have always floored me. I haven't gotten to spent this much time with him since 1995 :-)

3. What attracted you to directing The Cottage? The play is really well crafted and realized. I instantly felt connected to it. The style, the comedy, the room for some playful conceptual ideas -- I'm thrilled that Sandy felt like writing a play. :-)

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I want people to laugh, to recognize themselves at times in the play and to think for a bit about the meaning of fate, love, fidelity, and true destiny. But not for too long. I don't want anyone leaving their spouse over it :-) Although that would be kind of cool. Ha?

5. What are you looking forward to about working with this cast? They were all my first choice for their respective roles. They are hilarious and honest actors. Brave and curious. And awfully nice people to boot.

Playwright Sandy Rustin6. What has your favorite part of the creative process to bring Sandy Rustin's script to life? Sandy and I have a wonderfully collaborative relationship. Maybe it's because our kids play baseball together in the suburbs of New Jersey. But it has been a real joy shaping this with her. We both love funny, and know that it must be steeped in truth. It's not enough to lay on top of the covers of this play-- you've got to get under the sheets. Basically, Sandy and I are metaphorically sleeping together.

7. What do you get from being a director that you don't get from being a performer? A fuller voice. A chance to work with this creative and committed design team. And I don't get into trouble for being late to rehearsal.

Adam Dannheisser in Broadway's "Rock of Ages"8. What have you enjoyed most about being the resident director and a performer at Broadway's Rock of Ages? I love the challenge of maintaining the tautness of comic storytelling -- both as director and performer. It is one thing to make people laugh, but a far greater challenge to make people laugh at the same moment 1500 times. It's a real exploration in comic detail and freshness.

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

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Gotta go with Spinjitzu. My sons would never forgive me. Google it.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? Wait, who said I was in shape? Just kidding. Triathlons.

12. Boxers or Briefs? Neither. Wink.

Adam DannheisserMore on Adam:

Broadway: CymbelineThe Coast of Utopia, Proof, Twelfth Night, The Tempest. National Tour of Contact (Ovation Award Nomination). Off-Broadway: Henry V, Henry VIII, The Tempest, Macbeth (All with NYSF, Public Theater); The Arabian Nights (BAM), The Blues Are Running (MTC). Regional: Awake and Sing! (Arena Stage), Safe In Hell (Yale Rep.), The Provok’d Wife (ART), Beast On The Moon (Portland Stage). Film: Down to Earth, A Price Above Rubies. TV: Damages, Law And Order, Brotherhood, Third Watch, Law And Order: CI, Sex and the City, Mad About You. MFA: NYU.