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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (272)

Friday
Oct042013

Eileen Bluestone Sherman: Perfect Picture Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday
Oct032013

Video Interview Jack Noseworthy: Two Point Oh

Jack Noseworthy, Photo Credit: Lee CherryIn my latest video interview, Broadway, Film, and Television actor Jack Noseworthy sat down with "Call Me Adam" to discuss his latest project, Jeffrey Jackson's Two Point Oh at 59E59 Theaters from October 3-20. Two Point Oh explores the place where human innovation collides with humanity in a story of love, loss, mortality and the meaning of existence. Click here for tickets!

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

Part 1: Jack Noseworthy talks about Two Point Oh at 59E59 Theaters

 

Part 2: Jack Noseworthy discusses working in Film, Television, and on Broadway

Part 3: Jack Noseworthy discusses his inspirations, who he wants to work with, life lessons, and super powers

Jack Noseworthy, Photo Credit: Lee CherryMore on Jack:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Noseworthy received his BFA from The Boston Conservatory in 1987. A triple threat, Noseworthy has starred in films, television and Broadway. He began his career on stage in the national tour of the musical CATS. He made his Broadway debut in the original company of JEROME ROBBINS BROADWAY, was the final actor to be cast in the recent revival of A CHORUS LINE and played opposite John Lithgow in the Broadway musical SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. In addition to his New York stage work, he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics prize and a Drama-Logue Award as Best Actor for his starring role as Alan Strang in the critically acclaimed Los Angeles production of EQUUS. This summer he stared as Pip in the TONY winning Utah Shakespearean Festival’s production of GREAT EXPECTATIONS, THE MUSICAL, as well as Mr. Charles Bingly, in PRIDE & PREJUDICE.

In the motion picture arena, he has worked with director Jonathan Mostow, five times time in his career. Most recently on the Bruce Willis action thriller “The Surrogates”, as well as, "Breakdown," "U-571," the FOX Network's extraterrestrial thriller "Them" and his cameo in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (DVD cut only). Jack’s other feature film credits include the independent favorites, "Pretty Ugly People" and "Phat Girlz,” as well as, "Undercover Brother," "Poster Boy," "Unconditional Love," "Event Horizon," "The Brady Bunch Movie," "Barb Wire," "Trigger Effect," "Cecil B. DeMented," "Alive" and "Encino Man," his movie debut. In addition to his longtime association with Mostow, Noseworthy's resume also boasts affiliations with directors such as P.J  Hogan, Paul Anderson, Betty Thomas, David Koepp and John Waters.

On television, Noseworthy recently starred in the Hallmark-Hall-Of-Fame western "Aces 'N Eights" and appeared opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the CBS EMMY winning miniseries "Elvis," played Sissy Spacek’s son in “A Place For Annie,” and Anne Bancroft’s fantasy obsession in “Mrs. Cage.” Other television credits include guest spots on such hit shows as "CSI," "The District," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Crossing Jordan" and "Judging Amy" (four episodes).   He has also has the distinction of being the series lead on MTV's first scripted series, "Dead At 21." 

Wednesday
Oct022013

Margo Seibert: Tamar of the River/Rocky Interview

Margo SeibertMargo Seibert is an actress on the rise who's making her mark in New York City's theatre scene. She's currently starring in Prospect Theater's production of Joshua H. Cohen and Marisa Michelson's Tamar of the River through October 20 at Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue). Click here for tickets!

After Tamar of the River, Margo will be making her Broadway debut this February in Rocky as "Adrian" opposite Broadway favorite Andy Karl as "Rocky" at the Wintergarden Theatre.

For more on Margo be sure to visit http://margoseibert.wordpress.com!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? It's difficult to pinpoint one particular moment or person as I think my decision to perform was a cumulative effort, with much encouragement along the way. It starts with my parents cultivating my very active imagination, and instilling a love of music at an early age. Also I credit growing up in Howard County, Maryland, where the arts seemed to be viewed as intensely important, especially in the public school system. I was pretty sold in second grade after seeing a matinee of the Velveteen Rabbit at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia. I ended up working there a little less than ten years after I saw that production.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Working on an original piece of theatre is always a thrill for me, especially when I get to work hands on with the writers. I have had the opportunity to work with many emerging writers/composers and would like to continue to do the same. Looking ahead to the winter, the creatives assembled for ROCKY are a dream team for me. I am a huge fan of Ahrens and Flaherty and fell in love with Alex Timbers's work with Peter and the Starcatcher.

3. What attracted you to Tamar of the River? About 3 years ago, the ever generous Ted and Mary Jo Shen gave us the opportunity to work on Tamar of the River for a full two week workshop at Signature Theatre in VA. What astounded me and completely intimidated me from the get go was Marisa Michelson's music. We began working on the score together a month in advance at her apartment in Brooklyn. I was completely in over my head, and loved it. Now that we've been working so closely on this material for years, I finally feel like the music can live in me rather than being performed by me.

Margo Seibert and the cast of "Tamar of the River"4. What do you identify most with about "Tamar"? Without revealing too much about the show, I identify very much with "Tamar's" reconciliation towards the end of her journey. After all of her successes and mistakes, she asks "Did I make it better?" I think it's something that we all struggle with while we're here on this earth. Did our choices make any positive impact in the world? Will we be remembered?

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope audiences come away moved by incredible musical landscape. I also hope they find themselves questioning the decisions of the characters....because we, well, I make some pretty questionable ones.

6. What have you enjoyed most about working with Prospect Theater Company? Prospect gave Tamar it's first chance to be fully realized on stage and for that I am ever grateful! Doing new experimental work is always a risk and Prospect dives right in when they see a story that needs to be told.

7. After Tamar of the River, you are going to be starring in Broadway's Rocky as "Adrian." What excites you about making your Broadway debut? What does it mean to you to originate this role on Broadway, made so iconically memorable by Talie Shire in the film? What are you looking forward to most about working with Andy Karl? I'm thrilled to be making my Broadway debut with Rocky! What excites me about this opportunity is not only am I able to originate this role on Broadway, which is a complete dream, but that the creative team took a chance on an 'unknown.' I hadn't had any previous connection with the piece, and didn't know anyone involved with the show. The fact that took this chance speaks to the heart of the creative team as well as to the heart of the show.

Andy Karl and I just found out that we actually grew up rather close to one another in Maryland and worked at the same dinner theatre! Not only do we share a lot geographically, but we both worked our way up the rungs with simple means. He's kind, he's honest, and so hard working. I think he's going to make an exceptional Rocky and can't wait to share the stage with him!

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned there is always more to learn. More theatre to love, more performances to by awed by, more ways to be humbled. I've learned vulnerability is not the enemy, but a damn good friend. I've learned that we are capable of more than we ever thought.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? You are your best investment. 

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? There are so many amazing choices out there, flying, time travel, etc. But I'm a practical girl, and on a practical superpower level, I'd say it's a tie between making the G train come when I will it to, and unlimited access to everything at Whole Foods without it ever being reflected in my checking account.

Margo SeibertMore on Margo:

Since moving to NYC in 2010, Margo has made herself an invaluable addition to the emerging musical theatre scene; developing work at Playwrights Horizons, NAMT, O’Neill Center, New Dramatists, Ars Nova, and NYU. She has originated work for many award winning writers including: Adam Gwon, Josh Schmidt, Marisa Michelson, Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald, Tom Mizer and Curtis Moore, and Jahn Sood and Max Mamon.

Her regional career has taken her all over the country from working with Mary Zimmerman at the Goodman Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, Two River Theatre, to Weston Theatre and more. Internationally, Margo was selected as one of 29 NYC actors for the Old Vic’s UK/US T.S. Elliot Exchange in London for a week of workshops with Kevin Spacey and premiere a new play on the Old Vic Stage.

Margo can be seen on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, on national commercials, and heard on the Naked Angels: Naked Radio podcast.

Sunday
Sep292013

Leigh Ann Larkin: Barry Manilow's Harmony Interview

Leigh Ann Larkin, Photo Credit: Jonathan ResslerFollowing her Broadway runs in A Little Night Music and Gypsy, Leigh Ann Larkin brings her talent to Atlanta, GA's Alliance Theatre in Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow's Harmony which runs through October 6.

Harmony is a spectacular new musical with an original score that celebrates the first sensational boy band: The Comedian Harmonists, six talented young men who came together in 1920s Germany and took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics. Click here for tickets!

For more on Leigh Ann be sure to visit http://www.leighannlarkin.com and follow her on Twitter!

Hannah Corneau and Leigh Ann Larkin in Barry Manilow's "Harmony", Photo Credit: Greg Mooney1. You are currently starring in Harmony, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's new musical at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA through October 6. What initially attracted you to this show? The story. 100%. And also the strength of the character that I play, "Mary." It's not often in musical theater that a great story is told. Not to mention a story that people should hear and know about. Both the script and the score are just magnificent.

2. What has it been like getting to learn from Barry Manilow himself? Barry is incredible!!! So kind, supportive, and collaborative. He is also an incredible musician and an incredible talent. Barry knows how to write music and he knows exactly what works. People will be floored by his new music. It is very different from his pop anthology. It is musical theater music at its best. Between his music and Bruce Sussman's book and lyrics it is a brilliant and magnificent piece of theater.

3. What do you identify most with about your character "Mary"? Her strength. It seems like I do gravitate and play a lot of strong women! Lol! But she is also very smart, very knowing, and has a lot of heart.

Leigh Ann Larkin and Shayne Kennon in Barry Manilow's "Harmony", Photo Credit: Greg Mooney4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? An awareness of these six men, the women they loved, and what they all went through. I also hope that they leave humming some beautiful music. Each audience member will have a different emotional journey which is just one of the reasons this show is so special.

5. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Alliance Theatre? I love the art and passion that this theater celebrates!! The Alliance believes in the heart and soul of the theater which lends itself to making great art. It's an incredible place to work.

6. Tony Yazbeck, who was your co-star in Broadway's Gypsy is now co-starring with you in Harmony. What has been the best part about working with him again? It's always great reuniting with other actors that you know because you have already developed a professional rapport. He is very talented and adds his spark to every show. We have known each other for such a long time. Even before Gypsy! It's comforting to walk in a room, starting a new project and see a familiar face.

Leigh Ann Larkin, Photo Credit: Kristy Firg7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I will never ever stop growing. I will never stop striving to be better. I will always give 100%. I've also learned to appreciate the normal everyday things in life and to be very grateful for everything that I have. I love what I do so much and don't take a minute of it for granted.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? To never, never give up and to be thankful for everything.

9. In this day and age of social media. How do you feel Social Media has enhanced your career? Oh boy! Lol! I'm kind of terrible at social media and definitely need to get better!! Any advice?:)

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Probably to fly or beam myself somewhere. That would make things so much easier when it comes to seeing those that I love more frequently when I am away from them.

Leigh Ann Larkin, Photo Credit: Dave CrossMore on Leigh Ann:

Broadway: A Little Night Music ( Petra), Gypsy (Dainty June). National Tours: Disney's On The Record. Regional Theater: The Kennedy Center's Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), New York City Center’s Gypsy (Dainty June), Williamstown Theater Festival, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, The York Theater. Cast Recordings: A Little Night Music, Gypsy, Disney's On The Record. Film/TV: Elementary, Lipstick Jungle, Flight of the Conchords, Remember to Breathe.

Friday
Sep272013

Rachel Klein: The Dead Dream Machine and Around The World in 80 Days Interview

Rachel Klein is a theatre director, choreographer and costume/production designer, recently coined "The Mistress of the Macabre" by Flavorpill. Her production of Around the World in 80 Days received rave reviews for both the production and Rachel herself ("Endlessly clever" New York Post, "inventive" by TheaterMania and "a new generation’s Julie Taymor" by Woman Around Town) and is currently running Off-Broadway at the New Theater at 45th Street (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Rachel's latest production, Dead Dream Machine by Jake Thomas is an interdisciplinary horror anthology. The debut production at La Luz Art Space in Brooklyn (135 Thames Street) through October 13, features frightening and fun fast-paced nightmare scenarios, aerial acrobatics, video art, puppetry, magic and a terrifying twist on classical ballet. Click here for tickets! 

For more on Rachel be sure to visit http://www.rachelkleinproductions.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Let's start with Around the World in 80 Days. What made you want to direct this show? Around The World in 80 Days was a great opportunity to put an interpretive twist on classic inspired material. I was attracted to the project because of both the time period, which I had a lot of fun playing with and glamming up, as well as the action-adventure structure of the piece.

I was able to infuse the piece with a Neo-Victorian edge, larger than life staging, and the convention of the actors weaving in and out narrative and characterization.

2. What did you enjoy most about staging this show in the newly renovated The New Theater at 45th Street? Having a newly renovated space to play in is always exciting. The Around the World in 80 Days design team was given an extraordinary opportunity because we had a blank slate to create from. The space now has panoramic Victorian murals, LED lights, state of the art sound…it’s amazing what we were able to do to bring this show to life!

3. What attracted you to Dead Dream Machine? An omnibus horror anthology? What’s not to love? This show is a series of small plays and vignettes, held together by a nightmare ballerina and ghoulish aerial performances. It’s a hybrid of one act horror pieces and a variety show…pretty intense to put together, but a breath of fresh air to see come to life.

4. What did you enjoy most about working with the cast and creative team of both shows? Both pieces comprise of performers from a multitude of backgrounds. My cast on Around the World in 80 Days was balanced out by classical actors, and hilarious improv comedians. Our original "Phileas Fogg," played by Broadway veteran (and all around awesome guy!) Bryce Ryness, was the ultimate straight man alongside the gorgeous and talented Shrine Babb. The world of hysterical characters unfolds around the romantic leads, and we hired some of the funniest actors ever to create these roles—the boys from the Nuclear Family (Jimmy Ray Bennett, Stephen Guarino, and John Gregorio), a long lasting improv show with an enormous cult following, brought the comedic joy to the show.

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael BlaseWith Dead Dream, we have actors, comedians, burlesque stars, a magician, aerialists, and a ballerina to bring Jake Thomas’s horror-scape to life. Each scene tells a different story, Tales from the Crypt style, and is threaded together using each performer’s various talents as the glue of the production.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing both Around the World in 80 Days and Dead Dream Machine? I feel that both pieces have their own very distinctive artistic voice. Around the World in 80 Days is a comedic romp, where as Dead Dream Machine (although having comedic moments) is an homage to short-form horror. Both provide a lot of eye candy, which of course I hope audiences respond to, but both leave one with a very different feeling.

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael Blase6. Dead Dream Machine is playing at Brooklyn's new space La Luz. What was it like to work in this new space? What does this space offer that another venue might not? The space is brand-spanking-new. The paint on the walls was still drying the night of our first preview. This space really upholds the Bushwick spirit of "we can do it!" which I really admire. The venue owners really believe in what they’re doing, and it’s incredibly refreshing.

7. Dead Dream Machine combines aerial acrobatics, video art, puppetry, magic & a terrifying twist on classical ballet. What's the best part about working with these different genres and make them work together? I love that there is always something to look at. It was a challenge to build it into a cohesive flow, but a joy to put together. I am so excited by the puppets—I had always wanted to work with puppets, and Elena Delgado’s creations have been a blast for us to breathe life into!

Cast members of "Dead Dream Machine", Photo Credit: Michael Blase8. What is it like to watch your artistic vision come alive from concept to execution? Nerve-wracking! There is a lot of pushing to get a vision from the page to the stage, and sometimes things are altered in the process. I always believe in my performers, in their energy and talent, to interpret the staging in ways I hadn’t even foreseen. 

9. How does it feel to adjust your artistic vision from time to time after it's execution? As with Around the World in 80 Days, when a show runs for a long time, it is inevitable that changes will occur. We have a new cast now (the wonderful James Seol, Guy LeMonnier, Matt Lutz, and Gary Littman) who have added their own touches and flourishes to the performance. It’s the same show, but a different show at the same time. I am proud of its continued energy, and am looking forward to seeing what’s next for it.

10. What other projects do you have on the horizon that you can talk about and get us excited about? I am working with the amazing Angela Harriell on a collaboration we have cooking, Carrie: Blood, Fire & Ballet, a sexy, dance interpretation of Carrie the novel, featuring the Love Show dancers. Stay tuned for details!

BONUS QUESTION:

11. What is something most people don't know about you? That I was once working as a trade show model at a Halloween convention in Chicago, whereupon I was dressed as a pink fairy princess and then acted as arm-candy to Dee Snider (Yeah, that’s right, from Twisted Sister). When we went into the haunted house technology portion of the convention, my fairy wings got stuck to a wall of animatronic zombie arms and Dee’s two bouncers had to pry me free.

More on Rachel:

Recent credits include the Mondo Cane Dance Commission from Dixon Place to create her dance and circus nightmare-scape, Symphony of Shadows and the critically acclaimed morbid fantasia The Tragedy of Maria Macabre. Rachel is set to direct the Off-Broadway-bound rock ‘n roll musical Gay Bride of Frankenstein, which she directed at the inaugural iStar Theater Lab, followed by an industry reading. Her other productions include Go-Go Killers! a 1960’s retro-futuristic dance drama about gang debs on the loose, All Kinds of Shifty Villains, a pulp noir portrayal of a man losing his mind and a Neo-Victorian interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was nominated for an Innovative Theater Award for "Outstanding Director of a Play" and for "Outstanding Choreography/Movement," for the aerial musical spectacular, Circus of Circus at the House of Yes. Her choreographic work has been presented all over the city including at the Kitchen, La MaMa, Theater for the New City, DUMBO Dance Festival, Night of 1000 Stevies, legendary rock ‘n roll club Don Hill's, Galapagos Art Space, (le) Poisson Rouge, HOWL Festival and 45 Bleecker Street. Rachel holds a BA in theatrical directing from Columbia College, is the recipient of an Emerging Artist’s Residency from the Tides Foundation, is an alumnus of the International Director’s Symposium in Spoleto, Italy and is an Associate Member of the SDC.