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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Broadway (381)

Thursday
Sep102015

Call Answered: 54 Below Facetime Interview: Josh Grisetti: Don't Bother I'm Here

On the heels of his Broadway debut in It Shoulda Been You, Josh is gearing up for his 54 Below solo debut on September 23 & 24! Josh was hilarious in It Shoulda Been You, a great character actor! When 54 Below asked me to provide coverage of their press day, I was super excited to see Josh's name in the line up! It was wonderful getting to talk to him about his upcoming 54 Below show Don't Bother, I'm Here, which chronicles his journey to Broadway while battling the heartbreak and pain of his dream! We had so much fun together! Definitely treat yourself to what is sure to be an inspiring and fun show!

Don't Bother, I'm Here will play at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on September 23 & 24 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Josh be sure to visit http://www.joshgrisetti.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

For more on 54 Below visit http://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Call Me Adam Interview with Josh Grisetti:

Josh GrisettiMore on Josh:

Josh made his Broadway debut this past spring in It Shoulda Been You, for which he won the 2015 Clarence Derwent Award and received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Off-Broadway and regionally, Josh has performed in Sheryl Crow’s DinerPeter and the Starcatcher, and the revival of Rent. You may also know him from his show-stopping performance in Enter Laughing at the York Theatre, for which he won the Theatre World Award.

Friday
Aug072015

Call Answered: 54 Below Facetime Interview: Evan Ruggiero: The One-Legged Song and Dance Man: Volume 3

One great thing about this world we live in is that it's made up of all different kinds of people. Everyone has their own struggles in life and I for one, have had my share of challenges in life: from being born prematurely and having the attending nurse tell my parents it was okay they didn't have a name picked out for me because I wasn't going to survive the early birth (and since I'm still here, she probably enjoyed eating her words) to being diagnosed with a learning disability in elementary school (though I am happy to report, I overcame my disability in college, even graduating with honors). It's these struggles that either makes us stronger or breaks us down, but whatever the outcome, lessons are learned and Evan Ruggiero, "The One-Legged Song and Dance Man," learned first hand just what it means to achieve your dreams no matter what the odds are!

I was so moved by our interview at 54 Below's press event about his upcoming show The One-Legged Song and Dance Man: Volume 3 that will be taking place on Friday, August 14 at 9:30pm. Evan's story is inspiring and after talking with him for the few moments we had together, I will never say "I can't" again!

The One-Legged Song and Dance Man: Volume 3 will take place at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Friday, August 14 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on 54 Below visit http://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Call Me Adam's interview with Evan Ruggiero, "The One-Legged Song and Dance Man":

Friday
Aug072015

Call Answered: 54 Below Facetime Interview: Cheryl Freeman: Turn The Beat Around: 54 Below Celebrates Studio 54

Cheryl FreemanThe year was 1993 and my family bought tickets to the Broadway musical of The Who's Tommy. Well, truth be told, I had no desire to go see Tommy as I was not a fan of The Who's music at all, but my brother really wanted to see it, so we went for his birthday. What happened to me during this show, is what should happen to everyone during a theatrical experience. It transformed me. It inspired me. I left this show, singing the songs and thrilled I went to see it. This was the show that made me love Broadway.

One of the highlights of this show, was Cheryl Freeman's performance as "The Acid Queen." Her performance stayed with me long after the show and now all these years later to have the opportunity to sit down with her at 54 Below's press event to talk about her upcoming performance in 54 Below Celebrates Studio 54 was a real honor! Her performance of "I'm Every Woman," is going to rock! Not only did we discuss 54 Below Celebrates Studio 54, but we also got to talk about her performance in "Tommy," my favorite musical!

So get your dancing shoes on and come celebrate the disco years at Turn The Beat Around: 54 Below Celebrates Studio 54 will take place at 54 Below on Monday, August 10 at 7pm and 9:30pm (254 West 54th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on 54 Below visit http://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Call Me Adam's interview with Cheryl Freeman:

Tuesday
Aug042015

Call Redialed: Steven Reineke: The New York Pops: Forest Hills Stadium Summer Series featuring Sutton Foster and Pink Martini 

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit: Michael TammaroFor the sixth time in a row, I've had the opportunity to interview Steven Reineke, The New York Pops Musical Director/Conductor. His enthusiasm, love, and passion for The New York Pops is a joy to be around. Steven sure had a lot of excitement in talking about The New York Pops' inaugural summer series at Forest Hills Stadium featuring two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster on Thursday, August 6 and American band Pink Martini on Friday, August 7 at 7:30pm! Click here for tickets to Sutton Foster and click here for tickets to Pink Martini!

The great thing about interviewing Steven is that I learn something new about him every time. Needless to say, when The New York Pops announced their summer series at the Forest Hills Stadium, I knew I had to get in touch with New York Pops press rep Dan Dutcher to see if I could yet again speak with Steven and much to my delight, Dan and his team set everything up! My favorite part of this particular interview was learning why The New York Pops' PopsEd Programs are so near and dear to Steven's heart! I got all choked hearing him speak his truth so eloquently!

For more on The New York Pops be sure to visit http://www.newyorkpops.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Forest Hills Stadium1. What made you want to expand The New York Pops concerts from Carnegie Hall to the Forest Hills Stadium? Ever since I was named Music Director of The New York Pops in 2008 I had asked to the upper management, "What do we do in the summer? Is there a summer series? If so, where do we play?" There really hasn't been too many viable options for us in New York City. I have had this dream for six years and luckily for us the Forest Hills Stadium has been refurbished and reopened as a music venue and it just so happens one of the powers behind that happening is a New York Pops board member who came to me and said, "Steven, we might have a home for The New York Pops for the summer." You can imagine the thrill I felt, jumping up and down, saying, "Oh my gosh, we have to make this happen." So, here we are, making this happen. I'm so excited about it. It's a great venue, perfect for the orchestra to perform in.

Sutton Foster, Photo Credit: Laura Marie Duncan2. Your first two guests for the summer season kick-off are quite the names. Sutton Foster on August 6 and Pink Martini on August 7. How did you decide that you wanted them to kick off the new summer series? We looked at several guest artists that we wanted to bring in and Sutton Foster and Pink Martini were both high on our list, so it was a no brainer to ask them. The show we just did with Sutton Foster this past March at Carnegie Hall was a huge success and since then she has been doing that show with other orchestras around the country (including some of the other orchestras I conduct) and it always sells out. The audience always loves the show. But for the summer series, we changed the show a little bit. It will be similar to what we did at Carnegie Hall, but there will be some new surprises...some songs added in, others taken out, and a different guest star. We are excited to announce that Colin Donnell will be joining Sutton Foster on stage as well as welcoming back Sutton's best friend and colleague Megan McGinnis. I'm thrilled to be working with Colin Donnell for the first time.

And then Pink Martini, we have not had a chance to do the Pink Martini show in New York with the New York Pops. We did have them one time as part of our Christmas Show, but that show is quite different from a typical Pink Martini orchestral concert. I'm thrilled to be able to bring them in for our first summer series. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have a very special treat that night for the audience...we will have both leading ladies from Pink Martini with us, Storm Large and Pink Martini's original lead singer China Forbes. It's such rarity to get both singers at one time, it's usually one or the other.

Pink Martini3. What plans do you have for future summer series? We want this to be an ongoing series. We want it to be a three concert series, but if there's room for a fourth or fifth concert, I would be a very happy man. The Forest Hills Stadium has had some wonderful big act offerings since reopening...Santana, The Who, Van Morrison, Mumford and Sons, and booked with mega acts all the time. It's really nice to be able to put an orchestra in that venue and I know that the community of Forest Hills wanted to have an orchestral presence so it wasn't all just big rock bands, but to you know, class it up a bit, so to speak. I envision this to be a larger series in the years to come. We have some large names in the works for future concerts!

The Forest Hills Stadium, because of its size, seating almost 13,000 people, gives us the opportunity to book concerts that are difficult to book in a venue such as Carnegie Hall that seats just under 3,000 people. And by saying that, these summer concerts are the kinds of shows I'd book at Wolf Trap in Washington DC, Ravinia in Chicago, or when I work out of the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, so we are talking big name people that you can draw 10, 12, 13,000 people at. Big time people, big time events.

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit: Michael Tammaro4. One thing you are continuing at Forest Hills Stadium that you do at all The New York Pops concerts at Carnegie Hall is The Kids in the Balcony series. For the summer series, you are going to be giving away at least 1,000 tickets to kids in schools around the area. For many, this will be their first time seeing an orchestral concert. That's correct. We are really excited to be able to expand our PopsEd programs through this summer offering. We are thrilled to be able to offer this [free tickets] to [underprivileged] students in all five boroughs of NYC. And tickets, where else can you buy tickets for $10? Tickets go as low as $10 and with that you can bring 4 children for free under 16-years-old. This is a very family-friendly event and we want to inspire and encourage adults to bring kids to The New York Pops so they can hear a live symphony orchestra.

5. We have briefly spoken about this in previous interviews, with The New York Pops' PopsEd Programs and Kids in the Balcony, what is it like for you knowing that this is their first time coming to a live event like this and they get to experience The New York Pops? Oh, well, it makes my heart swell because I know this feeling personally and intimately. When I was a young kid, it was exactly experiences like this, that inspired me to pursue a career in music. That's not going to be everybody's path to pursue a career in music, but we want to give people an education, an introduction, and perhaps a life long love of the arts. It makes me feel very good that The New York Pops is able to do that and that myself and the orchestra can potentially help to change a young person's life. I know exactly what that feels like and I'll never forget the meaning that that had for me in the course of my life.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

6. With the new summer series if you could choose anybody to come and perform with you, who would you like that to be? (laughs) Oh, that's a very tough question because you know I already have a list, quite a substantial list, but my gut reaction, if I could pick anybody on the planet to come perform with us at Forest Hills Stadium, my gut instinct would be Adele. She's somebody I've wanted to work with for quite some time. Forest Hills Stadium would be the perfect venue to do a concert with her backed by an 80-piece orchestra.

7. If you could have any artist that has passed perform with The New York Pops, if there was a way to bring them back to life for one performance, who would you chose? Ella Fitzgerald, without question!

Steven Reineke conductingMore on Steven Reineke:

Steven Reineke is the Music Director and Conductor of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Pops Conductor Designate of the Houston Symphony, beginning in the 2017-2018 season. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh.

Steven Reineke conducting NY Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna WeberMore on The New York Pops:

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun. Visit www.newyorkpops.org for more information. Follow The New York Pops on Facebook (facebook.com/newyorkpops), Instagram (@thenewyorkpops), and Twitter (@newyorkpops).

Sutton FosterMore on Sutton Foster:

Sutton Foster is an award-winning actor, singer and dancer who has performed in 11 Broadway shows - most recently the revival of Violet - and originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy ChaperoneLittle WomenYoung FrankensteinShrek The Musical, and her Tony Award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was first seen on television on Star Search at age 15, and has more recently appeared in BunheadsPsych, Johnny and the SpritesFlight of the ConchordsSesame StreetLaw and Order: SVU and Royal Pains. As a solo artist, Sutton has performed all over the country as well as internationally with her musical director Michael Rafter, featuring songs from her debut solo CD Wish as well as her follow up CD, An Evening With Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Feinstein's, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, Joe’s Pub and many others. In 2011 she received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Ball State University where she also is on faculty as a teacher and advisor to the Department of Theatre and Dance. Sutton is currently starring in TV Land’s new series, Younger created by Darren Star.

Pink MartiniMore on Pink Martini:

In 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale founded the "little orchestra" Pink Martini to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join Pink Martini. Their first song "Sympathique" became an overnight sensation in France, was nominated for "Song of the Year" at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards, and to this day remains a mantra ("Je ne veux pas travailler" or "I don’t want to work") for striking French workers. Says Lauderdale, "We’re very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America…the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world…composed of people of every country, every language, every religion." Featuring a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America. Pink Martini made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Since then, the band has gone on to play with more than 50 orchestras around the world, including multiple engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return sold-out engagements for New Year’s Eve 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011; four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall; the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Governor’s Ball at the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008; the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia; multiple sold-out appearances, and a festival opening, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, two sold-out concerts at Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theatre in 2011; and Paris’ fashion house Lanvin’s 10-year anniversary celebration for designer Alber Elbaz in 2012. In its twentieth year, Pink Martini was inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Monday
Jul062015

Call Answered: David Geist: Geist Cabaret and Inside The Flame

David Geist"Call Me Adam" chats with musician David Geist about playing in the orchestra pits of Broadway's biggest shows, moving from Broadway to the hills of Santa Fe where he opened up his own cabaret room Geist Cabaret, coaching Linda Eder and Betty Buckley as well as his newest album Inside The Flame.

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

1. From playing in the orchestras of hit Broadway shows to being named one of Santa Fe's top 25 residents, you have been making music for most of your adult life. Who or what inspired you to become a musician? To be the life of the party, to get the girls, ya know, all that stuff that comes with being a teenager!

2. What was the first Broadway show you played in the orchestra for? What was that moment like for you? Did it live up to what you had imagined it would? CATS was the first Broadway show I ever played in. I had done the tour for almost two years so I knew the keyboard part pretty well. Still, when I performed and walked out of the stage door at the Winter Garden Theatre I was reminded of the line Diana Morales says in A CHORUS LINE, "I’ll never be old enough to come out of that stage door," and realized that just happened.

3. You have played for some of Broadway's biggest shows: CatsLes Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Wicked, The Producers, The Boy From Oz, Sunset Boulevard and Parade. What did you enjoy most about playing on Broadway? The sense of collaboration and community you feel when you’re a part of something so wonderful. Certainly, playing for THE BOY FROM OZ and having Hugh Jackman include you as part of his shtick while he’s channeling Peter Allen was pretty memorable!

David Geist4. In 2005, you left the great white way for the mountains Santa Fe. What made you want to make this change in your life? How do you feel this change has improved your life? When thinking about this change, were you influenced by the song "Santa Fe" from Rent? You just know when you’ve hit a wall and want to "break through to something new," quoting Sondheim right now. The reception I’ve felt since moving to Santa Fe has helped my art grow into something personal and unique that couldn’t have happened in any other way. Regarding a theme song, "Santa Fe" from NEWSIES was popping through my head a lot when I moved out here!

5. Since moving to Santa Fe, you have opened up your own cabaret room, Geist Cabaret. What made you want to open up your own cabaret room? Was this always the plan for you when you decided to move to Santa Fe? I actually did want to open a music room before I made the move to Santa Fe, so I wasn’t surprised when the pieces began to fall into place. I wanted to create a space where I could program and celebrate the music I love which is the Great American Songbook, invite friends to come perform here, and in a sense, become a community builder.

6. What has been the best part about having your own cabaret room? What are some challenges you face running your own cabaret? The artistic freedom is the greatest reward. Cabaret rooms are usually synonymous with restaurants, so part of the challenge is to bridge the world of show business with the service industry.

7.  In addition to playing music, creating your own music (as you just released your latest CD Inside The Flame), you have also coached some of my favorite singers including Linda Eder and Betty Buckley (both of whom I've had the pleasure of interviewing for "Call Me Adam.") What did you enjoy most about working with them? What did you learn from coaching them? Linda Eder is a wonderful actress and musician and has Streisand-like qualities in her voice that haven’t been heard onstage in years. Regarding Betty Buckley, she is one of the most powerful theatre singers Broadway has ever seen. Betty connects and incorporates character into her core- emotional voice at all times, and she gave me an inside view to that world. Betty mentored me during a time in my life that I will always be grateful for and introduced me to my piano teacher Kenny Werner.

8. With the release of your latest CD Inside The Flame, you went with a sound that is more George Winston than Broadway. Why did you want to go this route with this album? Categorizing music can very tricky. This music has spacious, meditative passages that could fit into a New Age label, thus the term "George Winston-like." But I feel this music has a lot of structure, dynamics and theatricality that could easily make it appeal to theater, pop, and film score listeners as well. I want to do scoring. In fact, I'm talking to ABC now about scoring a news special.

David Geist9. What is your favorite part of the creative process in producing an album? It’s such a cumulative experience, composing the material, recording it, titles, artwork- ultimately it’s about telling a story, and in this case an extremely vulnerable and personal story, because all these pieces are originals.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a musician? Not to take the whole thing too seriously!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Do your art for others.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? One of my favorite movies is Back To The Future, so time-travel would be pretty neat!

13. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I’d call it an "Espresso Dave," two shots so you could wake up!

David GeistMore on David:

David Geist has created himself as one of the keepers of The Great American Songbook. Whether he's playing on Broadway or in Santa Fe, his talent and art is undeniable.

David Geist was a Broadway musician, who played piano and keys in the pits of many shows. His credentials are impressive - Les Miserables, Cats, Miss Saigon, Passion, Wicked and The Lion King all were all his homes over the years. David says one of his career defining moments was when Stephen Sondheim congratulated him on his work in the musical Passion.

In 2005, when the Broadway hit The Boy from Oz ended, David, the boy from New York City, packed his bags and headed west. David says he was looking for a different quality of life. Santa Fe was quick to embrace one of Broadway's greatest talents. He quickly began wooing the locals and Santa Fe tourists. It wouldn't take long before Pranzo, a local favorite Italian eatery, took note of David's talent and teamed up with him. Pranzo Geist Cabaret opened in 2006.

The Santa Fean magazine named David one of Santa Fe's top 25 favorite residents. David plans to keep recording original compositions and playing at his cabaret room. He looks forward to touring more often.