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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (247)


Lucie Arnaz: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts Interview

The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz has had an extremely diversified career spanning over 45 years in show business. She made her Broadway debut as "Sonia Wolsk" in Neil Simon-Marvin Hamlisch-Carole Bayer Sager-musical They're Playing Our Song for which she won the Theatre World, LA Drama Critics and Outer Critic's Circle Awards and has gone onto star in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as well as dazzling audiences in both film and television.

Now Lucie is continuing on with her recording career as she comes to Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 8pm with her show "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz" where concert goers can hear new arrangements of favorite standards by Gershwin, Ellington, and Porter, as well as Latin tunes made famous by her father and showstoppers from her Broadway career. Showtime is 8pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lucie be sure to visit and follow her on Facebook!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Not ever going to be sure of that. One would have to guess though, right? My folks were in the biz and I saw that they loved what they did for a living. If they sold fruit and loved it, I might be a produce manager now.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? The list is very long. And most have died. But, for the living, we can start with Ron Howard, Steven Soderberg, George Clooney, Kathleen Marshall, Hugh Grant...........and on and on.

3. You are going to be performing at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on May 18. What excites you about this upcoming concert? I rarely get a chance to perform my shows close to home and my friends are always asking when they can see me. Now they will have no excuse!!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your concert, "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz"? A happier outlook on their lives.

5. With a wide range of material to choose from, how did you decide which material you wanted to perform for this concert? Each show is a bit different from the last. I look at the audience I will be playing for (demographics sometimes matter- often they don't), the money matters only in the size of the band I can provide and the size of the band then decides which of my 200+ charts I will do. Some songs work well with a small band and other arrangements really need the full complement. This is going to be the trio show and so it's a cozier feel. The material is always drawn from the same well, though. GREAT SONGS. Or, at least, what I believe is a great song- fairly new or a vintage standard. Stick with the best songwriters and great stories and you cannot go wrong. Plus, I am an "arrangement whore." A good arrangement of a song can send it into a whole new stratosphere.

6. Your latest album Latin Roots, is a celebration of your Latin heritage. What made now the right time to put this CD together? I had been asked to produce an evening celebrating the music of my father and his Desi Arnaz Orchestra for the 40th Anniversary of Lyrics and Lyricists Series at The 92nd Street Y in NYC. My musical director and I had been discussing the idea of a "Latin Roots" CD for years as we do so much of this music in our shows. It seemed criminal not to have that kind of a CD available for sale in the lobby if we were going to produce this big evening tributing my roots. SO, we produced both at the same time!!!

7. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? The first time I hear the charts played by the full orchestra is pretty fabulous. When you get the head phones on in the booth and start signing to those amazing tracks. And hearing the completed, mixed CD for the first time is bliss.

8. You starred in one of my favorite Broadway shows They're Playing Our Song. Looking back, what was the best part about starring in this show?  That's an almost impossible question to answer. There was so much good about that experience. Working with and learning from the genius that is Neil Simon. Working with and learning from the genius that was Marvin Hamlisch. Laughing harder than I can remember at Robert Klein's humor. Being directed by Robert Moore. Watch Carole Bayer Sager create. I am a lyricist, too, and that was a dream come true for me right there. Being a star in a hit Broadway show. That's like being Cinderella at the ball every night. NOT being nominated for a TONY. There was more love and compassion sent my way because of that than if I had WON. And, best of all, I met my husband Larry Luckinbill, during the run of that show and we have been married 32 years now and he gave me three beautiful children and two delightful stepsons.

9. What do you get from your theatrical ventures that you do not get from your music or television/film work? A sense that, after working very hard and giving it my all during rehearsal, that I did it all by my self once the curtain goes up. There is great pride in that. It's a big wire act that thrills me to no end. It is also a huge amount of work to DO eight shows a week for an extended period, to keep showing up every night and giving 100%. That is something to be very proud of. 

10. You were the executive producer of two specials about your parents Lucy and Desi, the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special and Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie. What was it like going back through all the pictures and footage for these specials? I directed Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie, too, and in both cases, it was a very healing experience. I encourage everyone to try it, whether they have famous parents or not. Walk a mile in their shoes and see what choices you might have made if you had been in their place at the same time. It's a very forgiving experience.

Lucy Arnaz, Desi Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr, Lucie Arnaz, Photo from www.luciearnaz.com11. What do you miss most about your parents? Boy, you ask the big questions, don't ya? I feel like I should have a book deal and a big advance at this point for these answers!!!!! I miss now what I missed when they were both alive. I miss them being there.

12. What is like to be the daughter of two people who made such a big impact on the world of entertainment? A gift. A bonus. A pain in the ass.  A huge responsibility. A challenge. An inspiration. A reason to search for the real truth in life. SO, ultimately, a blessing.

13. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I can be a light in this world.


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

From my father: "There must be a way."

 From my mother: "Be good to Lucie." 

 From Unity: That we are all ONE and the power of God is within ME.

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I have not got a clue. Can I see the list of super powers? Is there a power to bring peace to all nations? If so, that would be my choice.

More on Lucie:

Lucie Arnaz's other New York stage credits include Lost in YonkersDirty Rotten Scoundrels and Grace and Glorie; in the London premiere of The Witches Of Eastwick; in the Coconut Grove Playhouse premieres of Once Removed and A Picasso; in national tours of SeesawWhose Life Is It Anyway?Social Security and My One And Only (Sarah Siddons Award); and in regional theatre productions of Wonderful Town, Master ClassCabaretThe GuardsmanAnnie Get Your GunI Do! I Do!Educating RitaVanities, and Mack And Mabel.

She has appeared on television in The Lucie Arnaz ShowSons And DaughtersThe Black DahliaThe Mating SeasonWho Gets The Friends?Washington Mistress, Death Scream and six seasons of Here's Lucy; on the big screen with Neil Diamond and Sir Laurence Oliver in The Jazz Singer (Golden Globe Nomination), Down To YouSecond ThoughtsBilly Jack Goes To WashingtonThe PackWild Seven and has lent her voice to the new animated fantasy about the NY Yankees, Henry And Me.

Lucie has performed the opening number on the Academy Awards (1981) and at The White House several times. She was Executive Producer of the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special (Emmy nomination), and Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie (Emmy winner 1993). She recorded her first album for Concord Jazz, "Just In Time," and her newest CD, "Latin Roots," is a celebration of just what the title says. Lucie has been traveling the country and the world with her various concerts for over 20 years. With her brother, Desi, she manages Desilu, too, LLC. With her husband, actor Laurence Luckinbill, she manages five grown children.


Call Me Adam gets interviewed by Benjamin Simpson of Raving Octopodes

Adam Rothenberg and Benjamin SimpsonRecently I was interviewed by, Benjamin Simpson of Raving Octopodes, a new blog on the rise covering theater, life, and adventures in New York City. We had a really great time together and Benjamin asked me some questions I've never been asked, which was a lot fun. Come take a listen and find out more about my beginnings, my creative juices,  and where "Call Me Adam" is headed!

Click here for the direct link to audio interview



Hunter Ryan Herdlicka: You Make Me Feel So Young at 54 Below Interview

Carlyle HotelIn my third video interview, "Call Me Adam" sat down with rising Broadway and cabaret star Hunter Ryan Herdlicka at New York's famous Carlyle Hotel to talk about his new cabaret show "You Make Me Feel So Young" which will be at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Monday, March 25 at 7pm. We also discussed his Broadway debut in "A Little Night Music" alongside Catherine Zeta Jones, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, and Elaine Stritch, and many other details about his life and career!

Click here for tickets to Hunter's cabaret show "You Make Feel So Young" at 54 Below where Hunter will dazzle the audience with songs by Sondheim, Comden and Green, Rodgers and Hart, Jerry Herman, and more as Hunter tells his story of growing up in Dallas and his eventual path to the Great White Way.

For more on Hunter visit and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!


Robert Whul: HIT-LIT Interview

Robert Wuhl began his career in stand-up comedy. His acting roles in films have included Tim Burton’s Batman, Bull Durham, Cobb, Mistress and Good Morning Vietnam. From 1996-2002 he wrote and starred in the HBO series Arli$$ as the title character, an agent for high-profile athletes. He won two Emmy Awards for co-writing the Academy Awards in 1990 and 1991. He starred on HBO in a one-man show Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl

Now Robert's new show HIT-LIT, a mistaken-identity screwball comedy, will play Queens Theatre from March 7-17. It tells the story of Phoebe Saint-Anne, an ambitious young editor who is searching for the next best seller. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? Adam, I really don't know what else I wouldn've done. But, among those who inspired me were Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Kaufmann and Hart, Paddy Cheyevsky, Cary Grat, Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, William Powell, and Preston Sturgess.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Besides the above, I'd like to work with anyone who's willing to put their ass on the line for what they truly believe in. The Cohn Bros., Theresa Reback, David Mamet, Jason Reitman, and Alexander Payne.

3. What made you want to write HIT-LIT? HIT-LIT actually started out as a film script, but the feedback I got from the studios was that it was "too smart" for the demographics. One film exec actually said he was passing on it because it reminded him of Tootsie in style. When I asked what was wrong with that, he replied, Tootsie would have a hard time getting made today. I wrote it because I wanted to do a better romantic screwball than I was seeing.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? A big smile on their faces and a feeling of "that was a fun night of theater."

5. What excites you about having HIT-LIT as Queens Theatre first Mainstage Production of 2013? What does Queens Theatre offer your show that another venue might not? Ray Cullom, Executive Director of Queens Theatre, read a draft of Hit-Lit and within minutes said he would do a reading of it, and within two weeks he had it on his main stage. Among the actors in that reading were Richard Kind and Tracee Chimo. Afterwards, Ray offered to put it on his season. That kind of support and belief was overwhelming.

6. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a show? The organic nature of watching a comdy evolve and finding both truth and humor.

6a. Where is your favorite place to write? In my home listening to baseball.

7. You wrote and starred in HBO's hit series Arli$$. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about this time in your life? The fact that I could think of a topic to explore, whether it be steriods, homophobia in sports, domestic abuse, fallen idols, fantasy baseball, whatever, and within two months that story would be on the air. I fondly remember being at a party when Fran Leibowitz came up to me (in her chain-smoking melodious tone) and said, "I hate sports, but I love your show!" That's because Arli$$ wasn't about sports; it was about CHARACTERS in the world of sports -- and that's totally different. Most sports stories are all about "the big game." We never had a big game, we had stories about not only the athletes, but about the people who sold peanuts in the venues, the woman who choreographed the cheerlearders. The college athletic directors on the take,  the female golfer who was fighting alchoholism, etc. Much more interesting to me than just the jocks.

8. You also won two Emmy Awards for co-writing the Academy Awards in 1990 and 1991. What did this honor meant to you? It was fun and working those years with Billy Crystal was terrific.   Unlike today where you'll see a dozen or more writers on the show, it was originally just me and Billy. And then the great Bruce Villanch joined us. And don't underestimate the contribution of Marc Shaiman for the "medleys."

9. What made you want to transition from stand-up comedy to acting to writing? Actually, I was a writer first, then started doing stand-up as way to show off my writing skills. I had a strong drama and acting background from my years at the University of Houston. Among my classmates were Dennis Quaid, and my dorm roommate (believe it or not) was Julian Schnabel.

10. What have you learned about yourself from your career? That anything is possible.


11. What's the best advice you've ever received? What makes the unskilled eye laugh makes the skilled eye cry.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power of making Donald Trump and Ann Coulter shut up.


Ann Harada: Cinderella Interview

Photo Credit: Bruce Alan JohnsonBest known for originating the role of "Christmas Eve" in the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, Ann Harada continues to dazzle audiences with her talented acting, exquisite vocals, and most of all her comedic genius! I first interviewed Ann back in 2008, just as she was getting ready to open on Broadway in 9 to 5. It's an honor to once again have the opportunity to interview Ann as she is now starring on NBC's SMASH and in the new Broadway musical Cinderella, currently playing at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street).

Ann Harada on the set of SMASH as "Linda", Photo Credit: Philip Spaeth1. Last time we spoke, you were getting ready to join the cast of Broadway's 9 to 5. Since then, you created Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve, a benefit for BCEFA and are a series regular on NBC's SMASH! What do you enjoy most about being on SMASH? What is the best part about getting to work with Megan Hilty again (the two of you worked together in 9 to 5)? The thing I most enjoy about being on Smash is hanging out with all the theatre people, both regulars and guests. It is so much fun to run into bigwigs like Manny Azenberg and Jordan Roth and to meet up with old friends like Lewis J. Stadlen, who was in my first Equity show, and I hadn't worked with him in the 20+ years between that and Smash! And the cool young dancers are so sweet to me, teaching me how to use my phone.

Ann Harada and Megan Hilty in Broadway's "9 to 5"The best part about working with Megan Hilty again is that even though now she's a big TV star, she's just the same sweet girl she always was. I was in awe of her talent during 9 to 5 and I'm still in awe of her talent...the only difference is the rest of the country knows about it now.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Lots of people, but especially Angela Lansbury.

Ann Harada as "Charlotte" in "Cinderella"3. Now you are starring in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. What made you want be part of this show? I did a reading of the show in January 2012 and I just fell in love with the characters and with Doug Beane's script. I always loved the music. So it was a no-brainer.

4. What do you identify most with about your character "Charlotte" in Cinderella? We both like pink? We're both kind of awkward and have a hard time wearing heels?

5. What does it mean to you be getting to originate a role in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical? Being able to originate a role in a Rodgers and Hammerstein show is knowing you will be a part of history. I grew up knowing that Rodgers and Hammerstein was the gold standard of musical theatre...even people who didn't go to the theatre much (like my entire family) owned a record of The Sound of Music or The King and I. So to be able to share in that legacy is extremely moving to me.

Ann Harada, Harriet Harris, and Marla Mindelle at rehearsal for "Cinderella"6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Cinderella? I hope audiences experience the sense of romance and delight that I always felt when I watched the TV version as a child (Lesley Ann Warren...though I do adore the Julie Andrews one as well).

7. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? Haha! I love the rehearsal period of a show. I love the first few days when we're learning the music the most. My favorite place to rehearse on my own is my bedroom. In my own little corner, I can be whatever I want to be!

8. Since you are starring in Cinderella, if you could have anyone slip a glass slipper upon your foot, who would you choose? I plead the fifth.

9. What do you relate to now about the story of Cinderella that you might not have when you were a child? I actually feel a little sorry for the stepmother now...her dreams for her own daughters are thwarted.

10. In addition to being an actress, you are also a mother. Has being a mother influenced your decisions in choosing what roles you audition for? If so, how? I try very hard not to take long-term work away from NYC. The last time I went out of town for a long time was for the LA tryout of 9 to 5 and I was away from my son for 5 weeks without seeing him...that was too long.

Jordan Gelber, John Tartaglia, Ann Harada, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, and Natalie Venetia Belcon in Broadway's "Avenue Q"Ann Harada in "Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve" 2011, Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski11. You are known for originating the role of "Christmas Eve" in Avenue Q. Looking back, what was the best part about creating this role and starring in this show? Now that Avenue Q continues Off-Broadway at New World Stages, would you ever consider going back to it? What made you want to revive your character "Christmas Eve" for your holiday show Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve, a benefit for BCEFA? The best part about creating "Christmas Eve" was that so much of her is me. So there's a little bit of me in that show no matter where or who plays the part! Of course I would consider playing her again, but I don't think they really need me Off-Broadway! Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve is special because playing her permits me to indulge my wildest musical fantasies (It was really just an excuse to riff on this character that I love and know so well, and to have a great excuse to hang out with cute guys. What can I say? I'm shallow. (Oh! See question 4!)


Ann Harada and Marla Mindelle in "Cinderella", Photo Credit: Laura Osnes12. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? You can be as brave as you make believe you are. (see question 5)

13. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Stick your dick out." It means, take a chance, go for it.

14. Favorite way to spend your day off? Reading under the covers.

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying, flying, flying! Invisibility is cool too but really, flying!