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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (286)

Monday
Dec092013

Alan Souza Video Interview : Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp Class

Alan Souza, Photo Credit: Tony GeraldIn my newest video interview, "Call Me Adam" sat down with award-winning director Alan Souza at Studio 21C to discuss his "Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp" class. Additionally, "Call Me Adam" got the inside scoop from several of Alan's students as to what makes Alan's class different from other classes being offered.

Fall Sessions of Alan's acclaimed Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp SOLD OUT! Visit http://www.alansouza.net and check under "Instruction" for upcoming information on Winter 2014 Classes!

 

Part 1: "Musical Theatre Audition Boot Camp" class interview with Alan Souza, award-winning director

Part 2: Student Testimonials

Alan Souza, Photo Credit: Tony GeraldMore on Alan:

Alan Souza is a freelance director, based out of New York City. He conceived and directed the world premiere of The Little Hours, based on the short stories of Dorothy Parker, for the New Jersey Repertory Company in 2008. The production received the prestigious Edgerton Foundation Award for New Works – as did Exposure Time, a world premiere play that he led in early 2010.

He has directed both plays and musicals for the Walnut Street Theatre, The Laguna Playhouse, The New Theatre, Virginia Musical Theatre, The Human Race Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival and the John W Engeman Theatre at Northport. He conceived and directed the star-studded benefit concert, First You Dream, for the Actors Fund of America and the Christopher Reeve Foundation, is a frequent Guest Artist at many University Drama Programs throughout the country, and teaches Musical Theatre Audition technique classes in NYC. 

Alan was nominated for the 2008 Carbonell Award for his work on The Full Monty for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre; the show received 8 nominations in total, including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Featured Actress for Mimi Hines.

Coming up: Spamalot AND Camelot! What?!? The former amusingly traditional for Florida State University, the latter audaciously revisionist for Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. And there's a newfangled Damn Yankees in the mix too - for 3D Theatricals in Los Angeles!

Alan is a member of SDC and a Taurus.

Monday
Dec022013

Natalie Toro: Just In Time For Christmas Interview

Natalie Toro, Photo Credit: John BrunoNatalie Toro is a Broadway and Television actress/singer who just released her newest CD, Just In Time For Christmas, featuring classic holiday favorites, new songs, and duets with Ryan Kelly and Grammy Award-winner, Jon Secada. Natalie will be celebrating this release with a concert at NYC's Birdland (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) on Sunday, December 8 at 6pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Natalie be sure to visit NatalieToro.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. You just released your holiday CD Just In Time For Christmas. What made you want to record a holiday CD? It all started last Christmas when I was talking to the brother/sister team Andrew and Dawn Makay. They both LOVE Christmas, I mean like crazy Christmas and thought it was a good idea for me and my voice to live in this genre.

2. How did you decide which songs you wanted to record? Did I mention how much The Makay's Love Christmas? We were on a three-way call and everyone threw out their favorite song. This is where "JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS" got pitched from Dawn and Andrew. They were adamant on how I would sing the sha-poopi out of it. Mine was  "Ave Maria/ O'Holy Night." I have always dreamed of making that arrangement work. I wanted big, huge, symphonic and to intertwine the two songs together somehow. With the help of my Arranger, Edward B Kessel, who arranged the Broadway show A Tale Of Two Cities, was the go-to guy for this mission. And we did just that!

Natalie Toro3. On December 8, you will be having a holiday concert/CD release party at Birdland in NYC. What excites you about this upcoming concert/party and performing at Birdland? Well, the nerves are piling up with every minute that gets closer to the event. I keep reminding myself, it's a PARTY! Do what you do at parties and have fun. Many people get confused as to why I would have the stage gitters after all of my experience. But let me tell ya...that doesn't go away. It keeps me on my toes no doubt. Sorry, I got off of the question. Ha! What excites me that this will be the first time I am singing any of this stuff live. And Birdland is a venue I have always wanted to play. I have known the owner for a very long time and I've played other venues across the city, like Feinsteins. What I am most excited is that this will be the venue that I will remember forever because it's the venue that I will celebrate my very first Christmas CD.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after listening to your CD and attending the concert? First, I hope that they truly "feel" the love that was put into this project. And by feeling that love what will come second is how good it really is. I am not tooting my own horn here. I have been around long enough to know if something is good or bad. Even if I did it. And no one judges me more that I do myself. It's just that I am SO amazed at how all of it was put together. I just kept looking up at the sky and shaking my head. I never questioned the Universe. I was like, "okay," Let's go DO THIS! What I think people are starting to feel is the frequency of the music as a whole. I am getting emails every day about how people can't stop listening to it. I won't deny that that is exactly how I feel. I can listen to it over and over again.

Natalie Toro and John Secada5. What was the best part about working with Ryan Kelly and Jon Secada? I can say, "talent." They have such different styles. I will admit that I was a bit nervous working with both of them. My main concern was if we were going to blend vocally. But we all did what we do best, sing! And the magic happened. What was amazing with Jon was that he just wanted to "knock it out" in the studio and me being a Professional Stage Actress, I am used to a little rehearsal. But who was I to question him? I was like, "okay, we will work it out." And viola!

Natalie Toro and Ryan Kelly: "Baby It's Cold Outside" Official Music Video

6. What's your favorite part of the creative process in putting a CD together? Talking to the arrangers and trying to get your vision across what has been swirling in your brain for a while. I look at things like a movie. If it has a beginning. middle and an end, then it will work. Both of my Producers work the same way. The BEST part is when I start to get some samples of their creations. If my little hairs on my arms stand up, then I know we are going in the right direction.

Natalie Toro7. Since this is a holiday CD, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I like getting out the ornaments from storage, putting on some Christmas music, lighting a candle that has that scent of pine, and decorating. Usually, I dress in red and put on a Santa hat. I pretend I have a lit fireplace. Don't have one of those in The Bronx!

8. What do you love most about NYC during the holiday season? Well, I used to LOVE the way the city decorated for The Holidays. I feel like in the last few years, there are less and less decorations or anything Holiday even in December! That is sad for me. NYC gets a bad rap for mean people. But I think the pace of the city gets even more frenzied during The Holidays. Then on Christmas Day, there's the AH moment and everything is relaxed. You can actually feel the crisp air breathe.

9. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have always been a "dramatic child." My family had all sorts of nick-names for me. I guess it didn't help that I performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Amateur Night at five years old. I sang Streisand to my hair bush in front of a mirror all the time. I just had to hold that last note in "Evergreen" as long as she did. I cannot say there is one thing that inspired me. I didn't choose it. It chose me.

10. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Oh gosh, there are many. But if I had to pick...hmm...a few top of the A list actors for me are Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, and Glenn Close. You never know where your next project can take you. I would love to be in a feature film next. And I always dream BIG! I could sing with Lara Fabian.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Natalie Toro as "Mary Magdalene" in "Jesus Christ Superstar"11. What's the best advice you've ever received? The same advice I give to everyone, "Always be pleasant and professional to work with, even if you don't like where you are. You never know if that person you hated and disrespected will be the next big Director of the show or film you are auditioning for."

12. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That thank God I am really pleasant and professional in real life. I don't have to pretend. I have also learned that I am an open book and sometimes, you have to learn to close the page to protect yourself. I am REALLY sensitive. Doesn't help that I am a Pisces either. Can you say, mush? I struggle with the difference between compassion and idiot compassion and have learned to decipher the two.

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Oh, great question! I would absolutely have magic to manifest whatever needs to be done. But I would only use it for good. 

Natalie ToroMore on Natalie:

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Natalie made her stage debut at the age of five at the legendary Apollo Theatre during their "Amateur Night." After studying at The Manhattan School of Music she received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory of Music. It wasn’t long after graduating that the professional theatre world took notice of her unique talent.

Natalie Toro as "Eponine" in "Les Miserables"Natalie was the first American to play the role of "Eponine" in Les Miserables on Broadway, for which she played for over three consecutive years. She also received accolades and critical acclaim for her portrayal of "Madame Defarge" in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway. (She also filmed a concert version of this musical for PBS.) Other New York credits include originating the role of "Sally" in Alan Menken’s A Christmas Carol at the Paramount Theatre. Just some of her National Tour and theatrical credits include playing "Grizabella" in Cats, "Mary Magdalene" in Jesus Christ Superstar and, "Camila" in the Tony winning musical, In The Heights. Her acclaimed portrayal of "Eva Peron" in the 20th Anniversary Tour of Evita earned her a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination.

Television audiences might also recognize Natalie from her guest appearances on such shows as Elementary, Person of Interest, Law and Order, and Law and Order SVU. Natalie charmed audiences while performing with Symphony Orchestras across the country and graced the stage at Carnegie Hall and The National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Natalie Toro and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton FosterWith the help of her Producer, Dawn Makay, they produced her self-titled CD, a tribute to Broadway where she sang a duet with two-time Tony Award winner, Sutton Foster. Toro’s first album, Bailando en la Luz (Broadway Salsa Fusion), was the last to be recorded at the famous Power Station Recording Studios before it closed its doors. Natalie’s other recordings include the original cast recordings of Zombie Prom and A Christmas Carol; a dance single of "Rainy Days and Mondays" for BetBoys; and a compilation CD with other Latin artists called, Latin Broadway, among others.

Friday
Nov292013

Cheyenne Jackson: I'm Blue, Skies Interview

Cheyenne JacksonCheyenne Jackson is a multi-talented actor, singer, and songwriter. He recently released his debut album, I'm Blue, Skies with collaborators Sia, Stevie Aiello, and Charlotte Sometimes. His first three singles were released in 2012, "DRIVE," the Top 40 hit "BEFORE YOU," and "DONT WANNA KNOW," all produced by Thomas "Tawgs" Salter. Whether on stage, film, television, or in concerts Cheyenne continues to have one of the most diverse careers in entertainment.

Cheyenne will be showcasing his talent this Sunday, December 1 and Monday, December 2 at Birdland Jazz in NYC, featuring special guest two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole! Click here for tickets for December 1 at 6pm and click here for December 2 at 9:15pm.

For more on Cheyenne be sure to visit http://www.cheyennejackson.com and follow him on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. On December 1 and 2 you will be performing at Birdland in NYC to help promote your debut CD I'm Blue, Skies. What excites you about this upcoming concert? The intimacy of the room. My first solo show at the iconic venue. Sharing some of my new music with people.

2. What are you looking forward to most about performing with Christine Ebersole? What has been the best part about collaborating with her for these concerts? She has one of my all time favorite voices. So versatile, so delicious. She is hilarious, and whip smart. My favorite kind of dame.

3. What does Birdland offer that another venue might not? Great vibe. Great history. Great up close vantage points, and Jim Caruso, who is walking sunshine.

4. What made now the right time to release your debut CD I'm Blue, Skies? I'm at a point in my life where my personal struggles and breakthroughs manifest through my music and I felt the need to share.

5. What was your favorite part of the creative process in putting the CD together? Making a cohesive album. Telling a story. Not being too specific as to allow the listener to make personal connections to the lyrics and hopefully inspire and entertain.

6. You have released music videos for several tracks off of I'm Blue, Skies, including "Drive," "I'm Blue, Skies," "Don't Look At Me," "She's Pretty, She Lies," "Don't Wanna Know," and "Before You." I LOVE that you made music videos with a story line, like I grew up watching on MTV/VH1. What was the best part about making these videos? I love making videos. Having worked in film so much the past three years I love the medium and the impact a visual can have. I am getting into filmmaking myself in this next year and this was just a natural step for me as the videos are in their own right, short films.

Cheyenne Jackson, Photo Credit: Karl SimoneMore on Cheyenne:

He can currently be seen in Steven Soderbergh’s "Behind The Candelabra" with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. And will next be seen starring opposite Gena Rowlands in the feature film SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS releasing in theaters in early 2014.

Cheyenne has appeared in a number of films, including portrayal of Mark Bingham in the 2006 Academy Award nominated "United 93," "The Green" opposite Julia Ormond and Ileana Douglas, "Price Check" with Parker Posey, and "Lola Versus." 2013 films include; "Mutual Friends," "Lucky Stiff," and "Behind The Candelabra."

Cheyenne Jackson as "Sonny" in "Xanadu" on Broadway, Photo Credit: Peter Lueders/Paul Kolnik StudioOn & Off Broadway, Cheyenne has starred in The Performers, 8, Finian’s Rainbow (Drama Desk nomination), Damn Yankees, Xanadu (Drama League , Drama Desk nominations), The Agony & the Agony, All Shook Up (Theater World Award, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nomination), the premiere cast of Altar Boyz, Aida, Thoroughly Modern Millie, On the 20th Century, and The 24 Hour Plays.

Tina Fey as "Liz Lemon," Cheyenne Jackson as "Danny Baker," and Judah Friedlander as "Frank Rossitano" in rehearsal for "30 Rock", Photo Credit: NBCUIOn television Cheyenne was seen on NBC’s 30 Rock portraying series regular "Danny Baker" and recently portrayed "Dustin Goolsby," the new coach of "Vocal Adrenaline" on Fox’s hit TV series Glee. Other television credits include; Family Practice, Life on Mars, Ugly Betty, It Takes a Village, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Local Talent, Mockingbird Lane, and The Onion News Empire.

Carnegie Hall Poster – Cheyenne Jackson “Music of the MadMen” Era, Photo Credit: Karl SimoneIn concert, he has sold-out Carnegie Hall twice. The Power of Two in 2010 with Michael Feinstein followed by his solo debut concert with the NY Pops Music of the Mad Men Era in 2011. The Power of Two was hailed by the New York Times as "passionate," "impeccably harmonized," and "groundbreaking." Variety acclaimed it as "dazzlingly entertaining." Music of the Mad Men Era was lauded by critics, the NY Daily News said "Cheyenne Jackson has got it all and he showed it all: the voice, the moves, the quirky self-effacing humor. He gleamed like Don Draper’s Brylcreemed hair."

Cheyenne Jackson, Photo Credit: Viacom / MTV Network 2012Cheyenne continues to play an active role in a variety of social issues including; LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, and HIV/ AIDS Research. Cheyenne is a Board appointed international ambassador for amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) and he serves as the national ambassador for HMI The Hetrick-Martin Institute.

 

 

 

 

"I'm Blue, Skies" Music Video:

"Before You" Music Video:

"Don't Wanna Know" Music Video:

"Drive" Music Video:

"She's Pretty, She Lies" Music Video:

"Don't Look At Me" Music Video:

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.