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Entries in Broadway (297)

Monday
Jan272014

Call Answered: Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser: Birdland Concert Interview

Charlie Sohne (left) and Tim Rosser (right)

After years of writing shows about everything from creationists, Afghan dancing boys and a Frenchman with a penchant for identity theft, Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne have had it with each other. They have therefore both decided to launch their solo careers at Birdland. On the same night. At the same time. See them as they bicker over who wrote what in their catalog of songs and decide for yourself who will join the ranks of breakout solo acts like Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake - and who will be relegated to the dustbin of history. Come witness the pair onstage together for the very last time until their inevitable reunion concert.

Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser's Tim and Charlie Go Solo will play New York City's Birldand Jazz (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) on Monday, February 3 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Charlie and Tim be sure to visit http://www.rosserandsohne.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Tim Rosser (left) and Charlie Sohne (right)1. Who or what inspired you to become composers/lyricists?

Charlie: I’ve loved musical theater as far back as I can remember – my mom took me to shows and what not -- but in high school it really became part of my identity. I was lucky in that I had friends who were Sondheim geeks and I could talk to them about the new Adam Guettel or Jason Robert Brown or Andrew Lippa album I had just bought and they’d know what the hell I was talking about. I also had two really phenomenal theater teachers, Ms. Hershey, who sort of got me into theater and Ms. Pressman, who really conveyed that theater was something to be treated with the respect and the hard work with which you would treat other subjects. And I guess I started writing at some point around high school and was lucky enough to go to a college where the student theater organizations would give you money to put any crazy idea up on its feet.

Tim: And, actually, that is how I first heard the hallowed name of Charlie Sohne. I was being a polite composition major in the conservatory, minding my own business, while he was out writing a full length musical about hipsters and pissing off all of the southerners on campus. It was marvelous. Somehow I got my hands onto musical theater songbooks when I was a kid and it turned into my drug of choice. I’d play that music instead of practicing for my lessons. Classic theater songs were made to be played on piano and the juicy harmonies are like candy for a classically trained kid. I played my first "13" chord, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? 

Tim: I'm going to say this and everyone is going to roll their eyes because, well, obviously...Audra McDonald.  It's over, I did it, get over it. 

Charlie: Guess that's all there is to say?"

3. On February 3, you are having a concert of your music at Birdland. What excites you about this upcoming show?

Tim: It's our second big concert! I'm excited to show a bunch of our new material from "Run Away Home," our latest effort, and some new songs from "The Boy Who Danced on Air." I'm blown away by how much support I'm getting from my crazy talented friends with this one. I mean, Paul Staroba ladies and gentlemen. He is music directing and I'm convinced he was born with a fancy musical theater spoon in his mouth. And I've got a small but mighty music team on my side, all practically doing this for free. It makes me feel like other people believe in the material as much as I do, and that's the most exciting thing of all! 

Charlie: This is also our first time working with Shoshana Feinstein who is a brilliant concert producer and I’m pretty sure actually knows every single person in musical theater.

Tim: ShoFein is a goddess.

Charlie: And of course, the cast: we’re getting to work with many of our absolute favorite people…so there’s really no downside.

4. What do you like about performing at Birdland? What does this venue offer you that another one might not? 

Tim: I've always dreamed of doing a show at Birdland. I know and love the Manhattan Transfer song. Same reason I want to do a show at Berkeley Square, wherever that is. Seriously, it's a beautiful club and it's got this amazing legacy. To be allowed to be part of that, in this small way, is such a gift. That's New York for you. So many things that we revere happened right here.

Charlie: Yeah, it makes us sound classy too because it’s called a "jazz club."

Tim: We’re all going to have excellent posture at this concert. I’m going to comb my hair for sure.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after hearing your music?

Charlie: I think we want people to feel the way we felt when we first came up with the idea for the show or read the source material. We choose what we write because the material smacks us in the face in way that leaves us going "that really exists!?" I think that if, over the course of a show, you go places you’ve never been, you develop empathy for people who first seemed distant, you hear music that feels fresh and unlike what you’ve heard in a theater before and, generally, if you’re moved by what you’ve seen – we’ll be happy.

Tim: And it would be great if people want to see the shows these songs have been written for. These songs are tips of icebergs. Which makes them sound as dangerous as they are!

Tim Rosser6. How did you and Tim first come to work together? 

Charlie: We went to the same college, Oberlin – and we didn’t know each other there, but a mutual friend recorded demos for both of us and sort of set us up. Tim, at the time, had a collaborator but recommended I go into the BMI Workshop – that’s where he was and that’s where we both learned a lot about the craft of songwriting. And that worked out well because we basically had the same education from two vastly different institutions – so I think it lead to a unique outlook. And that really helped when Tim finally drove his previous collaborator into the seminary and therefore needed to find someone else to work with.

Tim: It’s proven harder to drive this Jew into the seminary, but I’m working on it.

7. What has been the best part about this venture? 

Tim: We're doing a lot of new stuff, and I'm very excited about that, but I must say -- I am loving revisiting songs and orchestrations, taking what I've learned about them in the past year and trying to improve them.  We're using a lot of flugelhorn in this concert and I'm obsessed with it. I did "She Loves Me" this summer with a chamber pit, and I was so taken with the trumpet/flugel part. It's right at home in a small ensemble, and it's capable of such great effects. I know I'm going to go overboard with it and make some mistakes, but challenge: accepted.

Charlie: It’s also great to work on songs in the context of a concert – it reveals another side to them. I think we’re very "show focused" writers, which generally is a good thing, but it’s nice to be reminded of how awesome it can be to craft a song in a way that it can also stand alone on stage without context or costumes or staging.

Charlie Sohne8. What have you learned about yourselves from being composers/lyricists and from working together?

Tim: It's amazing to me how different my life is from what it would be if Charlie and I weren't writing shows together. Somehow, in a short time, everything I do has come to revolve around our projects. It's really wonderful, I'm very grateful. I've learned that the things I thought were my assets as a composer and person are just plain who I am, and the things I thought were my flaws are just who I am not. Luckily, Charlie is a lot of things I'm not and vice versa. That's lucky.

Charlie: Yeah, that’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently – because very often, we try to stretch ourselves by purposely writing things that are different from how we would normally approach a song. And what’s kind of remarkable is learning that the products of those exercises – while always helpful – are more often than not a lot more similar to the way we normally write than we expected. To a certain extent, you can’t escape yourself.

Tim: Aaaaaah, get me out!

Charlie: Shhhh. Not now.

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

Charlie: I think for both us, ASCAP’s Johnny Mercer Retreat was really defining – it was moderated by Andrew Lippa and Craig Carnelia and they were very active in shaping the way we think about writing. I think it was our first presentation where Andrew was like "you don’t have to try and show off everything you can do with every song." Basically giving us the freedom to clear away a lot of the BS that we thought was what made us different but to a certain extent was us focusing on tricks that didn’t really serve the dramatic moment.

Tim: I mean, these guys are consummate theatre professionals. There is really no end to their knowledge base and breadth of experience. The Johnny Mercer retreat is a really exceptional program. I’ll never forget it.

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

Tim: The ability to grant wishes!

Charlie: Moderation.

Tim: Haha. That’s so depressing!

Tim Rosser (left) and Charlie Sohne (right)More on Charlie and Tim:

Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne were finalists for the 2013 Ebb Award. Their most recent show was The Boy Who Danced on Air (2013 NAMTFestival of New Works, 2013 Rodgers Award Finalist, developed through The Lark’s Monthly Meeting of the Minds and Roundtables). Previously, they wrote The Profit of Creation (2011 Yale Institute for Musical Theater,one of ten finalists for the O’Neill Music Theater Conference 2011 and 2012, developed at The Lark and through ASCAP’s 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Program) and the short musical Political Speeches (The CultureProject’s IMPACT Series). Their work has been seen in a sold-out 54 Below Show, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub, NYTB at the D-Lounge, NEXT’s EmergingComposers Series, and The Holiday Concert at the Lincoln Center Library. They were both members of the Advanced Class of the BMI Workshop.

Saturday
Jan252014

Call Answered Again: Will & Anthony Nunziata 54 Below Encore Interview

After a SOLD-OUT engagement at 54 Below in NYC, recording artists and concert performers, Will & Anthony Nunziata, have been asked back for an encore performance! Come join these talented guys and their alliegence of fans for "Broadway, Our Way," on Thursday, February 6 at 7pm at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

"Call Me Adam" caught up with Will & Anthony for a post-show discussion about what excites them about their encore concert! (Click here for our previous 54 Below video interview)

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://www.willandanthony.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

1. On January 9, you made your 54 Below debut to a sold-out house. What was that evening like? Did the reality live up to the fantasy you created in your head about this night?

Will: The evening was a dream come true. To be able to perform for family members, my closest friends, and celebrities that I have been looking up to since I was a kid…it was a crazy, fun night, and it was above and beyond anything I could have ever fantasized!

Anthony: Adam, what a thrilling evening! The energy in the room was electric and to share it with friends, fans, family and special guests made the concert such a memorable evening!

2. As a result of your success, 54 Below has invited you back for an encore performance of "Broadway, Our Way," on Thursday, February 6 at 7pm. What did it mean to you to get invited back?

Will: It's fantastic! 54 Below is such a classy venue, and everyone who works there has really taken care of us.

Anthony: It feels great. I'm excited for round 2 at 54 Below!

Anthony & Will Nunziata singing at 54 Below3. What excites you about this upcoming encore performance?

Will: I'm excited to be able to perform this encore concert because I know a lot of friends were unable to get in! So, to be able to have another "party" at 54 Below with some nearest and dearest in the audience…and some new friends as well!…will be amazing.

Anthony: I'm looking forward to sharing this concert with folks who were unable to make the show the first time around. We have some surprises in store!

4. What, if anything, are you going to do differently during this encore performance?

Will: We have a few fun surprises and songs planned. And that's all I am going to say!

Anthony: A few different songs and a few surprises! 

Will & Anthony Nunziata pre-show 54 Below5. If I had to give one line as to why people should come see you at 54 Below, I would say, "Will & Anthony Nunziata's dynamic talent as singers and entertainers raised the roof 10 times over at 54 Below turning this intimate club into a grand stand stadium of cheers and ovations." What is one line you would give as you why people should come see you at 54 Below?

Will: Adam, that's so nice of you! If I had to say something, I would say if you're looking to have an evening where you can sit back, relax, and truly just enjoy yourself, come on by!

Anthony: Adam, thank you for that one-line review! A grand stadium of cheers? Wow. I'll take it! My one line pitch would be "If you love Broadway songs and improv comedy, I think you're going to have a great time. My brother Will is pretty good, too."

Will & Anthony NunziataMore on Will & Anthony:

Recording artists, actors and concert performers Will & Anthony Nunziata have won acclaim for their performances throughout the country and around the world bringing their fresh take on classic pop standards, Broadway showstoppers, as well as contemporary and classic Italian music.

Their mission is to introduce timeless classics to younger audiences and reacquaint adults with the soundtrack of their childhood.

The brothers bring their powerful and nuanced voices along with their undeniable charm and comedic interplay to both their concerts and brand new symphony programs. A full description of all touring concerts can be seen below.

They have recently appeared as Headlining Soloists with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, and Brockton Symphony Orchestra. In New York City they have headlined Michael Feinstein's nightclub and recently performed as part of the New York Pops' Ronald McDonald Fundraising Gala at the club. They've appeared in concert as part of the Mabel Mercer Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall and sang during the Finale of Stephen Sondheim's 80th Birthday Concert Celebration at Avery Fisher Hall.

On television, they have been recently featured on Good Morning America, NBC’s Columbus Day ParadeThe Rachael Ray Show. Will & Anthony are classically-trained tenors and have trained extensively in improvisational comedy with the famed Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York City. The brothers both reside in New York City (separately).

Friday
Jan242014

Call Answered: Frenchie Davis Metropolitan Room Interview

Frenchie DavisBroadway star and The Voice contestant Frenchie Davis is making her Metropolitan Room debut with her musical soulmate/non sexual life partner, pianist and comedian Kathryn Lounsberry as they proudly present The French & Kat Show. This Pop Cabaret is one part Bach, two parts Kander & Ebb, a dash of Britney, and a sprinkle of Claire Huxtable all served in a Blanche Devereaux martini glass-neat. French and Kat draw audiences on their voluptuous musical bosoms with legit, inventive, and soulful arrangements of songs spanning every decade.

The French & Kat Show will play The Metropolitan Room from February 8 at 7pm, February 9 at 4pm, and February 10 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Frenchie be sure to visit http://www.frenchiedavis.org and follow her on Twitter!

Frenchie Davis1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have been inspired by so many different performers but my favorites include Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Nell Carter, Whitney Houston, Freddie Mercury, Sylvester, and Grace Jones. Aside from the inspiration I take from my Idols, I also take much inspiration from my genuine love of singing.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Um....EVERYONE! Sorry. I didn't mean to yell but there are so many people I'd love to work with, I got excited. I sat next to Rob Marshall at a benefit once. That's pure magic waiting to happen.

3. From February 8-10, you will be presenting (with Kathryn Lounsberry) The French & Kat Show at the Metropolitan Room. What excites you about this upcoming show? I think I am most excited about the fact that it combines my love of pop music with my love of musical theatre. Someone once hilariously described the show as Broadway meets Britney and I think that's the perfect description.

Frenchie Davis Singing4. What are you looking forward to most about making your Metropolitan Room debut? I am looking forward to seeing all of my theatre friends and Rent Heads in the audience. I am looking forward to being back in New York. For an artist and performer, New York is truly one of the most magical places in the world.

5. What does the Metropolitan Room offer you as a venue that another space might not? I love the intimacy of the Metropolitan Room. It allows us to feel as if the audience is a part of what's happening on stage and it allows the audience to feel the same.

6. How did you and Kathryn first come to work together? What do you enjoy most about this collaboration? Kathryn and I met because I needed a pianist for a gig a year ago. The person booking me suggested Kathryn and we hit it off immediately. Her sense of humor is so similar to mine and it didn't take long for us to realize that the musical magic and hilarity between us should be shared with the world and The French and Kat Show sort of evolved out of that.

7. In addition to music, you have performed in quite a few theatrical endeavors including Broadway's RENT, the West Coast Tour of DREAMGIRLS, and the 30th Anniversary National Revival of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'. What do you get from your theatrical work that you don't get from your music? Theatre was my first love. Musical theatre is how I first fell in love with singing and performing. There is a discipline required from theatre performers that is completely absent from the majority of recording artists. In theatre, you actually have to be a good singer which has become less and less a requirement in the music business. Musical Theatre is Auto-Tune free and it challenges me to be a better vocalist and a better artist, overall.

Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis in Ain't Misbehavin'8. What was it like to be nominated for a Grammy Award for the Cast Recording of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'? That was surreal and unbelievable. I think it was so unexpected because we literally learned all the music in 2 days and then recorded it on day 3. We were so terrified of screwing up the harmonies lol!! None of us were expecting it to come out as good as it did so we were all shocked when we learned of our nomination.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "The elevator to success is broken. Take the stairs." Thank you Jenifer Lewis!!!!!!

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned and grown up so much on this journey and I've learned that if I am not finding ways to laugh everyday, I'm screwed. Laughter is my life's breath and without it I would truly be lost.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'm not quite sure how to fully articulate it but I have a feeling that it would be some sort of hybrid power comprised of Spanx and Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.

12. What's your favorite skin care product? I am a third generation Dove Girl. My late grandmother, my mother, and I have all used Dove products over the years. I just LOVE their Campaign for Real Beauty. It is so empowering.

Frenchie DavisMore on Frenchie:

Frenchie Davis first made her mark on Season 2 of the mega-hit reality-television show American Idol where judge Simon Cowel predicted she could win the show! During the filming of American Idol, her stage presence, charismatic performances and power-house vocals cemented her as an audience and critic favorite nationwide. After Idol, Frenchie headed straight to The Great White Way where she starred in the hit Broadway Musical RENT written by Jonathan Larson. Originally only contracted for a six-week run, Frenchie again wowed audiences with her vocal prowess, and the show's producers quickly extended her contract where she starred for the next four years! Frenchie has also starred in the West Coast tour of Dreamgirls playing "Effie White," Sing, Mahalia, Sing playing Gospel great Mahalia Jackson, and in the 30th Anniversary National Revival production of Ain't Misbehavin' (opposite American Idol winner Ruben Studdard) playing the role which won Nell Carter the Tony Award. Frenchie and the cast were honored with a 2009 Grammy Award-nomination for Best Cast Recording! In 2012, Frenchie performed alongside fellow Grammy-nominees Natasha Bedingfield and Taylor Dayne at the Americana At Brand's Summer Concert Series in front of an audience of over 10,000. Frenchie recently starred in Cinderella playing the "Fairy Godmother" at Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, CA and was a special guest performer at the 2010 Christmas Tree Lighting event in Sacramento for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Frenchie was educated at Howard University in Washington DC!

Friday
Jan172014

Call Answered: Facetime with Donna Vivino, Beautiful Dreamer and 54 Below Interview

Best known for her roles in Broadway's Wicked and Les Miserables, "Call Me Adam" sat down with actress and recording artist Donna Vivino to discuss her debut album Beautiful Dreamer, her new 54 Below show It's Not Easy Being Green on January 23, 2014 at 9:30pm, and many other details of her life and career!

For more on Donna be sure to visit http://www.donnavivino.com and follow her on Twitter!

Click here for tickets to Donna's 54 Below show It's Not Easy Being Green on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:30pm!

Click here to purchase Donna's debut CD Beautiful Dreamer!

Interview with Donna Vivino:

Donna Vivino, Photo Credit: Ismael Cruz CordovaMore on Donna:

Donna Vivino starred for two years as "Elphaba" in the First National Tour of Wicked and performed the role on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include HairsprayMartin Short: Fame Becomes MeSaturday Night Fever and Les Misérables. Her film and television credits include A Gifted Man, The Sopranos, Everyday People, Married to It and All My Children as "Young Erica Kane." She is currently a regular on the hit web series Submissions Only.

Thursday
Jan162014

Call Answered: Mark Milano: The Lyrics Left Behind Interivew

Mark MilanoMark Milano is an actor, singer, longtime AIDS activist and showtune queen. He will be performing The Lyrics Left Behind, a cabaret show composed of "trunk songs," "dummy lyrics," and other unused lyrics from many well-known songs to benefit Health GAP, an organization that campaigns for drug access and the resources necessary to sustain access for people with HIV/AIDS across the globe.

The Lyrics Left Behind will take place Saturday, February 8 at 7:30pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC (407 West 42nd Street) and include such well-known songs as "The Man That Got Away," "A Star Is Born," "Tomorrow," and "You're The Top," but performed in their original arrangements and lyrics. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I've always sung - it has literally kept me alive. When I'm walking down the street, I'm singing. When I'm at work, I'm humming. On the subway, I'm silently singing.  I sing everywhere except the shower, I think. But my introduction to musicals began when I was five, and waited to watch Singin' In The Rain on TV every year (back when they only showed films once a year). I dreamed of being Gene Kelly - but unfortunately, I can't dance!

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? My dream has always been to sing with a big band, so I'd say the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

3. On February 8, you will be performing The Lyrics Left Behind at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. What made you want to create this show? I was amazed to find the backstories to some of the most famous songs in history. Who knew that "The Man That Got Away" was not written for Judy Garland? Great performers make songs their own, so you assume they were written with them in mind - but often that's not the case at all.

4. What are you looking forward to most about performing this show? Doing some classic showtunes in arrangements that breathe new life into these chestnuts, and surprising people with what they don't know about the songs they love.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after The Lyrics Left Behind? An appreciation of the craft of songwriting. I've done a ton of research into the stories behind songs like "Blue Moon," "Tonight," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," etc. and am fascinated by the creative process composers and lyricists use. Many standards have stories behind them that are completely contrary to what you would expect.

6. What does The Laurie Beechman Theatre offer you as a venue that another one might not? It's a wonderful, intimate setting that makes me think of the great nightclubs of the 30s and 40s - people sitting at tables, having a drink, and enjoying a floor show. I think I must have been a nightclub-goer in a previous life, since I so regret missing those days.

7. Tickets to The Lyrics Left Behind benefit Health GAP, an organization working to widen access to HIV/AIDS treatment. What made you want to do a fundraiser for this organization as opposed to other HIV/AIDS organizations? How did you first get involved with them? I've joined Health GAP in 1990, when I discovered that it actually was possible to get HIV treatment to people in Africa. I'm amazed by the dedication and expertise its members bring to the fight against global AIDS. These people have the smarts and the passion we need to end this crisis - I wish they were in charge of U.S. AIDS policy!

8. You have been an activist in the fight against AIDS for more than 25 years now. What has it been like to watch the progress being made in the fight against this disease? What more do you feel can be done? It's been exciting and disheartening at the same time. My work with ACRIA has been so exciting, especially teaching people that HIV can now be controlled with meds that have very few side effects.  But it's so depressing that rates of HIV infection continue to rise in gay men. And the stigma that gay men with HIV face from HIV-negative gay men ("Are you clean?") seems to be getting worse.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Think for yourself." I think it should be carved in stone over the door of every school in the world.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned about taking care of myself. I now understand why performers have "people" to take care of them. For my first cabaret show, I did everything myself, right up to showtime. That made it very difficult to get into the right space to give the best performance. So now I understand that you have to have someone else handle all the little problems that pop up before a performance, so you can calm down, focus, and be in the right space to connect with your audience.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would it be? Probably the same one "Pee-Wee Herman" wanted: to fly!

More on Mark:

He has been active in ACT UP/NY, Health GAP, and the AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition for over 25 years. He sang with Cantori New York for ten years, performing at Carnegie Hall with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and at Avery Fisher Hall with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.