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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Broadway (239)

Tuesday
Dec182012

Dennis Christopher: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained Interview

Throughout his career, award-winning actor, Dennis Christopher, has had the good fortune of working with many legendary film directors. In addition to Quentin Tarantino, Dennis has worked with Federico Fellini (Roma), Robert Altman (3 Women and A Wedding), Hugh Hudson (Academy Award winning Best Picture, Chariots of Fire), Peter Werner (Don’t Cry, It’s Only Thunder) and Randall Kleiser (It’s My Party).

Dennis is perhaps best remembered for his role in Breaking Away, as the idealistic cyclist "Dave Stoller," a working class boy who fantasizes about being an Italian bike racer, and looks forward to the day when an international race will bring excitement to his boring hometown. The film, also starring Dennis Quaid, Daniel Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley, Entertainment Weekly's "Breaking Away" Reunion Issue, Photo Credit: Joe Pugliese for EWStern and Paul Dooley, was the sleeper hit of 1979. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination, a British Academy of Film and Television Award (BAFTA) and a Youth in Film Award. His other motion picture credits include Trapped, Mind Lies, Circuitry Man and Circuitry Man II, A Sinful Life and Jake Speed, among others.

Dennis is no stranger to period dramas. He was featured in the final season of HBO’s Deadwood, a re-working of the traditional Western. His other television series credits include starring as "Jack of all Trades" in Profiler and recurring roles in Roswell and Kate Brasher. He has guest starred in series such as Six Feet Under, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Crossing Jordan, among others. Mini-series and other long form credits include Stephen King’s It, Golden Dreams: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, Natural Enemies, Curaçao and Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story.

Joe Ponazecki, Dennis Christopher, Elizabeth Taylor and Anthony Zerbe in "The Little Foxes"In addition to his film and television career, Dennis has had quite a career on stage. He starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of The Little Foxes. His other performances on the New York stage include originating the starring role in Retribution, and in Brothers with Carroll O’Connor. His stage accolades include both the L.A. Drama Critics Award for Lead Performance, Drama-Logue Award for Best Actor and L.A. Weekly Award for his portrayal of WWII code breaker "Alan Turing" in the West Coast premiere of Breaking the Code. He received two other Drama-Logue Awards for his performances in Balm in Gilead and American Buffalo.

He has also starred in the Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Side Man and, more recently, the Unknown Theatre’s production of Grand Motel. Additional Off-Broadway and regional credits include Elegies: For Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, The Slab Boys, A Pound on Demand, Summer and Smoke, Butterflies Are Free, and he originated the title role in Yentl: the Yeshiva Boy.

Now, Dennis stars as "Leonide Moguy" in Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s action epic set in the antebellum American South, about a ruthless bounty hunter and the slave he promises to free upon capturing their quarry. The film, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell, is set for release on Christmas Day, 2012. Dennis portrays the lawyer to DiCaprio’s "Calvin Candie," the owner of a plantation where slaves are forced to fight one another. Into this world enters bounty hunter "Dr. King Schultz" (Waltz) and his slave "Django" (Foxx), whose ultimate goal is to find and free his still enslaved wife.

For more on Dennis be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? "When I was a little boy I thought that priests in the catholic church were magicians. I hadn't hit puberty yet so I couldn't understand why everybody didn't want to be one. It was an easy jump from the church to the theater."

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? "Film directors alphabetically & not complete: Ben Affleck, Jacques Audiard, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, Lena Dunham, Angelina Jolie, Ben Lewin, Sarah Polley, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese & Steven Spielberg. And just about anyone with a great play."

3. What attracted you to Django Unchained? "Quentin Tarantino called, I answered."

4. What do you identify most with about your character, "Leonide Moguy"? "There was very little to personally identify with. But Mr. Moguy was an exceptional lawyer that excelled in keeping Candie Land highly profitable. He was very successful at commerce with national & international cotton markets. Having said that, my character is a wicked man. Who doesn't even realize the depth of his culpability and complacency when it comes to racism."

5. What was the best part about getting to work with Quentin Tarantino? What did you learn from working with him? "Working with a master filmmaker is a rare opportunity. Being on Quentin's set for almost all of four months, I was constantly being swept up in the kinetic, focused, joyous energy that Quentin brings to work every day. It's a great thing to love your Boss and the job you are called upon to do. "WE LOVE MAKING MOVIES" Q. Tarentino"

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Django Unchained? "I know a subconscious thing I believe the audiences will come away with and I really can't explain it, but I believe it's a healing."

7. In addition to film, you have also had quite a career on the stage, starring opposite Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes and Carroll O'Connor in Brothers. What was it like to star alongside these legendary performers? "Awesome. I can't deny it. But with both of these 'stars' I soon learned that they were actors just like me. With many of the same insecurities, obsessions, vulnerabilities and dedication that is required to practice a life long craft. Before they were famous, they were actors."

8. You have won several awards for your film and theatrical work. What do these accolades mean to you? "It's really very nice. But I must say creating a competition out of an artistic expression is kind of strange."

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? "That I love having an effect on people; also that I don't know how to do anything else."

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Save ten percent of the gross."

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? "My dead friends."

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? "Abundant sleep, a trek with the dog, great food & a good snog."

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? "Walking the dog and going to the gym."

14. Boxers or Briefs? "Only one way to find out."

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? "Indestructibility."

Monday
Dec172012

Maureen McGovern: 54 Below/A Long and Winding Road Interview

Maureen McGovern, celebrated as "The Stradivarius Voice," marks the 40th anniversary of the release of her #1 Oscar-winning International Gold Record, "The Morning After" from The Poseidon Adventure, which garnered her a Grammy Award nomination in 1973 for "Best New Artist." Maureen received her second Grammy Award nomination in 1998 for "Best Traditional Pop Vocal" for her solo piano/voice album, The Pleasure of His Company, with Emmy-winning, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, Mike Renzi. She was also a featured guest artist on the Grammy Award-winning Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers. Her hits include "Can You Read My Mind" from Superman, the Oscar-winning "We May Never Love Like This Again" from The Towering Inferno and "Different Worlds" from the TV series Angie. Other critically acclaimed recordings include tributes to George Gershwin, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Harold Arlen and Richard Rodgers. Her current PS Classics CD, A Long and Winding Road has been praised by The New York Times as "A captivating musical scrapbook from the 1960's to the early 70's. Ms. McGovern's vocal technique is second to none."

Maureen McGovern and Sutton Foster in Broadway's "Little Women, The Musical", Photo Credit: Paul KolnikMaureen McGovern as "Sister Angelina," the guitar-strumming nun in "Airplane!"In 2005, Maureen was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role as 'Marmee' in Little Women, The Musical on Broadway. In 1981, she made her Broadway debut as 'Mabel' in The Pirates of Penzance, then went on to star as 'Luisa' in Nine with Raul Julia and as 'Polly Peachum' in Three Penny Opera with Sting. Maureen reprised her role as 'Marmee' in the 1st National Tour of Little Women, The Musical and starred as 'Mrs. Anna' in the Broadway revival National Tour of The King & I. Regionally, she has starred in ElegiesDear WorldThe Umbrellas of CherbourgThe Lion in WinterLetters from 'Nam and Of Thee I Sing-Let 'Em Eat Cake, among others. She is currently performing her IRNE Award-winning "Best Solo Performance" one-woman musical memoir Carry It On (co-written and created with director, Philip Himberg). Her feature films include the role of "Sister Angelina" the guitar-strumming nun in the classic comedy Airplane and Airplane II, The Sequel. Maureen also played the nightclub singer in The Towering Inferno and the role of 'Rachel' in Dreamworks' animated video/DVD Joseph: King of Dreams with Ben Affleck.

For 33 years, Maureen served the Muscular Dystrophy Association as volunteer, performer, Board Member, Shamrocks Against Dystrophy Chairperson and NYC Telethon Co-Host for 6 years. Maureen supports music therapy and has been an Artist Spokesperson for the American Music Therapy Association since 2001.

Now the two-time Grammy Award nominated vocalist and actress will perform her acclaimed show "Home For The Holidays" in New York with an exclusive engagement at 54 Below from December 18 to 23. McGovern will present an evening featuring songs of the season, some unexpected, and some traditional "chestnuts." She will be joined by her longtime Musical Director Jeffrey Harris on piano and Jay Leonhart on bass. Click here for tickets!

For more on Maureen visit http://www.maureenmcgovern.com and follow her on Facebook!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Good question. I grew up singing folk music and I thought I wanted to be either a pop singer or folk singer. I was inspired by all those great singers I watched and listened to from Dusty Springfield to Dionne Warwick to Barbra Streisand. Barbra was an idol of mine and I just devoured her early albums. I also loved the Beatles and Joni Mitchell, who's a goddess, as well as Judy Collins. All the big band musicians also influenced me since my dad listened to them, from Mel Torme to Jo Stafford to Ella Fitzgerald. My dad sang in a barbershop quartet and rehearsed around our dining room table every Tuesday night and music was always in my heart. It was in the 3rd grade that I knew I wanted to sing. I knew that was my life's mission.

Maureen McGovern with the Boston Pops2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I've been fortunate to work with so many people. I've worked with Mel Torme. We did several PBS specials and toured together, but we never got to record together. I would have liked to have done that. I've recorded with Placido Domingo, sang with Sting on stage in Three Penny Opera, and just got to sing at the Boston Pops with Brian Stokes Mitchell, which was wonderful. I would love to record with James Taylor and would have liked to have had the chance to record with Kenny Rankin.

3. You have a show coming up at 54 Below from December 18-23. What made you want to perform there? 54 Below actually asked me early on to do a show, but I was not available then, so they asked me if I would join them for their first holiday season and I was thrilled to do that. I have a holiday show that I do around the country, so I've taken that show and adapted it for NY. I have had many friends perform at 54 Below who absolutely loved it, so I'm very excited to make my debut there. 

4. What excites you about this upcoming engagement? Anytime I work in NY I love it, but especially during the holidays in NYC. It's such a beautiful time. I lived in NY for 18 years and miss it, so I need to get my NY fix, at least once a year.

Maureen McGovern at the RRazz Room in San Francisco, Photo Credit: Pat Johnson5. What do you get from performing your own concerts as opposed to starring in a Broadway show? They each kind of inform each other. My concerting informs the actor in me and the actor in me informs what I do on stage in concert. I think my cabaret work is the most intimate kind of performance I do, I also translate that to my concerts. The audience always feels as if I'm speaking to them one on one. Everything informs the other.

I love the extended family feeling of being in a theatrical show. As a solo performer, I was on the road for six years early on in my career without any break, just living on the road. To be in one place in a theatrical show and have this extended family was a joy. One thing I loved about touring with Little Women was the real sense of family. I had that on Broadway too with the show, but at the end of the day, everyone went home to their lives, where as on tour, we bonded together more as a family because we all were in one place.

6. Your latest CD is "A Long and Winding Road." How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on the CD and what have you enjoyed most about the road you've traveled in your career? One of my agents said to me, "Why don't you do a boomer album?" I thought, "I've been there done that. I did an album years ago called Baby I'm Yours, which was more of the over pop versions of songs by Burt Bacharach which I love, but I thought if I could find a hook/reason to do it, I would. My musical director Jeff Harris and I spent a summer where we went through about 400 songs from his youth and my youth and in listening to all this material, I was taken back to my folk singing youth. I was such a shy performer and I would quickly go from one song to the next without talking much in between (but now you can't shut me up) and these iconic singers/songwriters were such an influence on me. The music and what the music had to say was a real form of expression for me because it went along with what I had believed. So we just picked songs I loved by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Laura Nyro, Jimmy Webb, James Taylor, and Randy Newman. I didn't want to make a museum record, I wanted to find what was relevant about these songs today and put my own take on them and show that the second half of The Great American Songbook is as equally as rich as the first. Making this album gave me a greater respect for the things that I loved as a kid because it's looking back on them as an adult and seeing the real craft of the songwriting rather than just loving what I was hearing.

My career life has always been highs and lows, there has never seem to have been a comfortable middle, which I guess keeps the artistic juices flowing. They say "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," so there are lessons and assertiveness I had to learn along the way and own what has happened, whether good or bad. That was my journey. The business end of show biz often times doesn't interest me, it's the actual stepping out on that stage and letting go of what has gone on in your life that day and that beautiful release on stage and conversation with the audience makes this all worth while. It's "The Air That I Breathe." I've always felt it not those with the most talent, but it's those that don't give up. You have to find it within yourself to believe in you more than anyone else ever will. None of us get through this life alone, I've always had mentors and people who were the glue that kept me together, so I'm very grateful to all them and what keeps me going. It propels me to give me the freedom to find my path.

7. What does the recognition and accolade of receiving two Grammy nominations and a gold record mean to you? The Grammy nominations were incredibly exciting, especially the second one. I'm grateful to "The Morning After" (for which I received my first Grammy nomination) until the day I die, but the album that went with it had nothing to do with me.

I come from doing folk music and highly personalized music and my first manager had me do mindless Top 40 and the lounge circuit. When the producer in Cleveland who produced "The Morning After," put the album together either picked the songs or had me pick from six terrible ones and I had to pick the best of the worst...hahaha. He would even try to appease me by putting some songs on there that I wrote, but by the time they got to vinyl they had absolutely no resemblance to what I wrote and by the time we got to the end of the album, which was way overproduced, I was the singer lost in the song. While I am very grateful for the opportunity I had with "The Morning After," it just wasn't me and it was somebody else's concept of what I should be. I was told, "I know you want to do that stuff, but you have to do this to get to that other stuff." My career just seemed to be getting farther and father away from what I wanted, so when we got to the end of this overproduced album, the producer wanted me to sing "Until It's Time For You To Go," which is a lovely song and I used to play it on just guitar, so I said let's get a guitarist and we'll do it on just vocal and guitar. He said, "Oh no, we couldn't do that, it would like we ran out of money." That was 1972.

I came off the road in 1975 and had no label for several years and then I had "Can You Read My Mind" from Superman and "Different Worlds" from TV's Angie and also did Airplane and then did Pirates of Penzance, which was a second wind of my career, but I decided to stop recording until I could do it on my own terms, however long that would take, and in 1986, Mike Renzi (a brilliant jazz pianist) and I went into a tiny little studio owned by Jerry Ragovoy, who gave it to us on the "if come," if a studio buys it fine and if not then just pay the engineer. So we paid the engineer and we went in there and did absolutely nothing but what we loved. We took the album to CBS Masterworks, who wanted to sign me, and I asked them to listen to the album at home over the weekend, away from the office, and it was strictly a piano/voice album, and on Monday I got a call that they loved it. We released "Another Woman In Love," which was just piano and vocal, and that's the album I feel was my first album. It was the album my heart was revealed on. It was me to the core of my soul. Reviewers and public alike really took to it. They wanted to know who this singer was; it certainly wasn't the same woman who sang "The Morning After."

So twelve years later, I was being asked, when are you going to do a follow up to "Another Woman In Love," so Mike Renzi and I went back into the studio again and recorded just what we loved. The album was "The Pleasure of His Company" and the joy for me/sweet revenge was this second album was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Traditional Pop Vocal," and again it was just piano and voice, nothing else. The label at the time initially balked at it, but I said, "Trust Me," and they did. I got my second Grammy nomination.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? You always have more strength, power, and determination than you think you have. You only lose that when you start to doubt. Life is always a learning curve.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? To really do what's from your heart. It will either work or it won't, but when it works, it really works.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I've lost both my parents, my mother in 1981 and my dad in 2004. The older I get the more dreams I have about them, but they are good dreams. I had a dream about my mother right before Pirates of Penzance started. It was within in the first year after her death and I had a dream that I saw her one night at the foot of my bed in a rocking chair, just rocking comfortably. It was a turning point in my grief because I felt as though she was okay.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? One thing artists never get is enough sleep. One thing that is great is a pajama jammy day. I live on a river with the state park behind it, which is my little sanctuary. It's nice to just stay at home with my puppies reading or watching old movies. I just like to chill out. I go at such a fast pace and if I push my body too much, it will stop me. I always know when I've gone too far.

12. Favorite skin care products? I love Aveeno products, Lancome, Mac, and Clinique.

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I think passion is a super power. I think everyone should cultivate that. Me: I like that. That's very different than what I normally get. Maureen: What do most people say? Me: Most people say to fly or the power to heal. Maureen: I think there's a difference between power and force and I go for power, not force.  

Friday
Dec072012

Daniel Kirkley: Love Is Christmas Interview

Photo Credit: Amy ConnerDaniel Kirkley is a classically trained singer-songwriter who moved New York City this past year from Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, he signed with Centricity Records and released two albums with them. The first, Let Love Win, yielded a chart topping hit, My New Dawn, at AC radio. Since releasing his first album, Daniel has spent the last seven years touring the country performing solo shows in a variety of venues in support of his other album releases (As Tomorrow Comes & Where Healing Starts).

Daniel Kirkley Singing at The Salvation Army's Gathering of Angels Benefit ConcertDaniel Kirkley in Bobby Cronin's "Daybreak"2012 marked a new beginning for Daniel as he set out on pursuing opportunities in the world of musical theater. This past summer, he made his acting debut in Bobby Cronin's award winning musical, Daybreak. Shortly after the completion of that musical's run, Daniel began work on his Christmas album, Love Is Christmas. As part of his Christmas tour, he will make his New York City debut on December 12th under the musical direction of William Demaniow. Come on down to Sidewalk Cafe (94 Avenue A, New York's East Village) to celebrate the release of his Christmas album, "Love Is Christmas" and hear Daniel's stellar voice as he sings selections from his CD and spreads some holiday cheer. Showtimes are 8pm and 10pm. Click here for tickets: 8pm, 10pm.

Click here to purchase "Love Is Christmas." For more on Daniel be sure to visit http://www.danielkirkley.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or iTunes!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I don't know if there was an actual person or event that really every inspired me to start down this path. I've been singing for as long as I can remember; it's always been something that I loved. Growing up, my first exposure to performing was in the church; so that's been a very real influence over the course of my life. I've really just tried to focus on the areas I felt I was blessed to have some talent & walk through the doors that naturally opened because of them.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? One day, I would love to work with David Foster. I've always been such a fan of his songwriting and production style.

3. You just released your new album "Love Is Christmas." What made you want to make a Christmas album? Christmas is (and will always be) my favorite time of year. To me, it brings out the best in people; love, generosity, kindness…plus, to me, it's all about family. I had wanted to record a Christmas album for several years but it just wasn't the right time. Several months back, I looked at my schedule and realized I had the time to really focus on what I wanted to record, how I wanted to approach it & more importantly, who I wanted to work with it on.

4. How did you decide which holiday songs you wanted to put on the CD? Honestly, that was the most difficult part of the entire process. I sat down and went through my favorite Christmas songs and at the end of the day had a list of a little over 35 songs. I wanted to combine my love for the sacred tunes as well as the Christmas classics I grew up on. Obviously, the list was WAY too long for any single album so my producer, Jamey Ray, and I sat down and began narrowing them down to the eleven tracks that makes up the album. To me, the outcome was exactly what I set out to do from day one.

5. Rachel Potter and Marty Thomas make a guest appearance on your album. What made you want to record with them and how did you decide which song you wanted to record together? I have such respect for both Rachel & Marty & I'm so thankful to have them as part of this project. In fact, they were among the first people I met years ago on my first trip to New York. Not only are their voices fantastic, but their work ethic is something that has driven me personally since moving here last December. Now in regards to the song itself; I've been aware of it for many years & it's always been a favorite of mine. It was originally recorded by the group Avalon & was written by my friends Joel Lindsey & Wayne Haun. Before moving to New York, I lived in Nashville and worked for Sony/BMG in their Creative Publishing department. Joel and Wayne were both writers signed there & this song is part of that catalog. In fact, Joel was one of the very first people I co-wrote with and in many ways has become a mentor of mine. After deciding to record "Light A Candle", the question then became how to approach it; whether to record it as a solo song or keep the feel of the original recording as a group. Once that decision was made, Rachel & Marty were the first two people that came to mind. Jamey, my producer, is close friends with them both & that's ultimately how that connection was made.

6. You are going to be performing 2 shows at the Sidewalk Cafe on December 12 to help promote "Love is Christmas." What excites you about performing at the Sidewalk Cafe? What does this venue offer that another venue does not? Well obviously, I'm excited about this being my first solo show here in the city. I had several goals that I wanted to accomplish when I moved here last year; one of them was to do a concert. These performances will literally occur three days before the one year anniversary of me signing my lease; so…WHEW…I just made it - hahaha! As far as Sidewalk Cafe goes, it has a wonderful history down in the East Village & they've recently redone their performance space. My shows are part of their new Landmark Wednesdays & I couldn't be happier to be apart.

7. What does it mean to you to be making your NY debut with this concert? It's very exciting for me & something that I've been wanting to do for a while. For the six years prior to moving to New York, while based out of Nashville, I toured full-time as a solo artist performing and promoting my previous three albums. I had never had the chance to play here; so to me, this is a culmination of several years of work. Also, I can't think of a better way to make my NYC debut than with a Christmas concert.

8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? Well I think it all depends on the project. For instance, with my previous release, "Where Healing Starts," I wrote all but two songs on the album. So my favorite process was seeing those songs that started with a pad, pen & rough work tape slowly come together into their final, full produced versions. However, I only wrote one song on "Love Is Christmas," so that aspect was different in this case. For me, when it came to this project, the process of putting my vocals down & hearing them back on these Christmas favorites was the best part.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer? That the longer I work at this craft, how little I actually know & how much more there is to learn. My vocal coach in college told me this, "The moment you feel you no longer have anything to learn, is the moment you cease to be a musician." I've tried to keep that in mind ever since.

Daniel Kirkley singing at a benefit in Mason, OH10. What's the best advice you've ever received? I remember one day chatting with Joel Lindsey (one of the co-writers of "Light A Candle") and I asked him, looking back over his career, what was one of the things he was most thankful for & he said, "I'm thankful for all the people who are better than me that quit before I did." I love that perspective. Ultimately, you can't control how things in the music industry are going to go; things tend to be so subjective. Also, you will meet people everyday that are better singers, musicians, songwriters, actors, dancers, etc…that's just the nature of the world. However, you can control your own drive and determination. I firmly believe what sets someone apart is their confidence in what they do well, working hard to master it & never allow the comparisons to another person/performer get you down.

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would have to be my niece, Ella. I love being an uncle and that beautiful little girl simply steals my heart every time I see her smile or hear her voice. Being away from her is honestly the most difficult part of living here in the city.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? To me, there's nothing better than a day off in my pajamas, a giant pot of coffee & catching up on my DVR or playing a little PS3 - hahaha!!!

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love going to the gym…but since moving here, my favorite thing to do is running the loop in Central Park.

14. Boxers or Briefs? One has to keep a little mystery in the world - haha!

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd want to fly.

Monday
Dec032012

Anthony Crouchelli: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Interview

Anthony Crouchelli is a rising actor to take notice of! From film to television to theatre, Anthony is making headlines in every medium. His theatre credits include Carner and Gregor Downtown Showcase (Soloist) and God's Favorite (Lipton), How to Succeed in Buisness (J.Pierrepont Finch), Next to Normal (Henry), Children of Eden (Japeth/Dance Captain), Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour), and Rent (Mark/Dance Captain). On film Anthony has lit up the screen in Thirty ThirdThe Yard Sale, and Step Up 3! while television audiences have seen Anthony on The Good Wife , Law and Order SVU, Gossip Girl, and Rihanna "What's My Name" and in National Commercial/Print campaigns for Journey Shoe's and Bosco Jeans.

Now Anthony is taking his talent on the road as "Huck Finn" in the National Tour of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer!

Catch this exciting show, coming to a town near you.

Dec. 3, 2012: New Roads, LA

Dec. 4, 2012: Amite, LA

Dec. 5, 2012: Bogalusa, LA

Dec. 6-10, 2012: Bastrop, LA

Dec. 11, 2012: Vidalia, LA

Dec. 12, 2012: Jena, LA

Dec. 13, 2012: Shonglaloo, LA

Dec. 14, 2012: New Orleans, LA

Jan. 6, 2013: Tyler, Texas

Jan. 7, 2013: Dallas, Texas

Jan. 14-26, 2013: Baton Rouge, LA

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

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Theater for me started in a really funny situation. I had three teachers in High School named Kerr Lockhart, Alexander Diaz and John Coviello whom I recieved detention from all the time on a weekly basis. After ditching about half of my detentions for soccer practices and games, I faced the scenario with in-school suspension or auditioning for the school play. I auditioned for Lockhart and Coviello's plays, and the musical directed by Alexander Diaz. I fell in love with theater and never looked back.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Lindsey Mendez, there is just something about her when she is on stage that makes people in the audience who are watching her fall in love with her.

3. What made you want to audition for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer National Tour? I have a good friend who is currently on the tour playing Tom Sawyer (Chris Grimm), has done nothing but speak about how amazing and incredible the process has been for him up to this point.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope they come away with the true value of what friendship is, and I also hope they are able to exit the theater singing some of the songs and smiling for the rest of their day.

5. What do you identify most with about "Huck Finn"? Playing collegiate soccer and being a BFA Musical Theater major is probably the craziest combination, so when I come to think of scenarios of where I am like Huck I find those times when I feel out of place with being what people thought was cool (playing soccer), and what I truly loved (Theater).

6. What excites you most about being on a national tour? The opportunity to discover myself as a performer, and just how I will be able to join a group of people and see the country while performing live art for various audiences throughout the country.

7. You just finished playing "Finch" in Rhino Theatre's production of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying." What did you enjoy most about starring in this production? The Rhino Theater will always be my home away from home. The family that I made throughout the five months I was working on the production with these people is something that I will always hold dear to my heart. My fantstic director Carmela Barranco Wolosz gave me the opportunity to step into a company where I didn't know anyone, and trusted me with such a demanding role, which to me meant the world.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That life is too short to keep your head down. Theater allows people to come together in the worst of times, and allows them to watch a production that sometimes would only last an hour with a message that would carry in someone's heart for the rest of their lives.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Sam Carner and Derek Gregor also know as the composers carnerandgregor, told me about three weeks ago to not just wish that I could be like an Aaron Tviet or a Brian Crum, but to find the great things inside yourself that allows you to become the person that people want to admire in the future.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Emma Watson. She is the definition of everyhting I would ever want in a woman and more.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? I am a huge family person so anytime that I get to spend with my family or friends is a huge deal to me.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? I am the definition of a gym junkie. I go anywhere from two to three times a day.

13. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs all day.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Ability to go back in time, I feel that there is alot of situations where I feel like I could go back and help people out when they really needed someone at that moment.

Monday
Nov262012

Dorothy Lyman: August Osage County Interview

Dorothy Lyman as "Opal Gardner" and Kim Delaney as "Jenny Gardner" on ABC's "All My Children"Dorothy Lyman is an actress, director, writer and producer who has won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of "Opal Gardner" on ABC's All My Children. This lead to a starring role on the CBS sitcom Mamma's Family as Vicki Lawrence’s daughter-in-law "Naomi." Other television appearances include a recurring role on ABC's Life Goes On and several guest starring roles on Bob, The Practice, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Judging Amy, Battlestar Galatica, and Reba. Dorothy also produced and directed three seasons of CBS' The Nanny

Dorothy has also lit up the big screen in the films Ruby in Paradise, World Trade Center, The Departed, Blow and I Love Trouble. Most recently, Dorothy has produced and directed three films The Northern Kingdom (2006), Split Ends (2009) and her first documentary film, Janet’s Class.

In addition to television and film, Dorothy has bestowed her talents on stage. She wrote and starred in A Rage in Tenure for which she won four Dramalogue Awards. She also directed and starred in both the New York production and national tour of John Ford Noonan’s A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, Snoo Wilson's Loving Reno, the Los Angeles production of Denis Spedaliere's Vicious, Last Summer at Bluefish Coveand adapted and starred in My Kitchen Wars.

Now, Dorothy is taking center stage in Hot Summer Nights Theatre Raleigh's production of Tracy Letts' Tony Award winning play August: Osage County from November 29-December 9 at the Fletcher Opera Theatre (2 E South Street, Raleigh, NC). Click here for tickets and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My brother had a theatre group in the basement of our church when we were in High School in Minneapolis. He let me work on the productions and finally act in one of them: Thornton Wilder’s Skin of our Teeth. I played the Tallulah Bankhead role at age 15. The Tyrone Guthrie Theatre opened at the Walker Art Center that year and we got to see so many wonderful productions. That company of actors headed by Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy really inspired me. I also have vivid memories of all the films I saw as a child (Gone with the Wind, Auntie Mame, Sound of Music). They opened up a magical world to me. I also realize now how influenced I was by the TV stars I watched as a child. My work is very reminiscent of Eve Arden, Ann Southern and Lucy, of course!

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I've gotten to work with so many people like Liz Taylor, Bette Midler, and Milton Berle (all of whom I directed in episodes of The Nanny, everyone came on that show for Fran). I admire Vanessa Redgrave very much. It would be great to work with her. I've had a great career so far and I'm hoping there's a third act, so maybe August: Osage County will start the ball rolling and I'll get out more. I'd love to continue to work with Alan Campbell and Lauren Kennedy as well as a host of writers whose plays I'd like to do.

Dorothy Lyman as "Violet Weston" in "August: Osage County", Photo credit: Curtis Brown Photography3. What attracted you to "August: Osage County"? What attracted me to this production was the director Eric Woodall. He is a casting director in New York City and I went in to meet him and he offered me the part. I wasn’t really looking to be away from my new Grandbabies this Thanksgiving, but Eric wanted me, and I don’t get many offers these days, so I said yes. I actually hadn’t liked the play when I saw it on Broadway, but since I have been working on the role I have come to see there is more to it than I originally saw. It's a straight play, but there are a lot of laughs in it. If I'm acting in it, it's going to be funny. Tracy Lett's is a very creative writer and I'm so happy I got to see him in the Broadway revival of "Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf" before I left New York. 

4. What do you identify most with about your character "Violet Weston"? Her views about aging. She takes getting old very hard with regards to losing her looks and her sexuality and femininity. Aging has important psychological challenges and needless to say, she is not doing well with it.

The "Weston" Women: Pamela Dunlap, Dorothy Lyman, Julie Fishell, Lauren Kennedy and Lisa Brescia, Photo Credit: Curtis Brown Photography5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "August: Osage County"? I hope they feel they saw a great piece of theatre. I hope they are blown away by the quality of the production that Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell and their producer Michele Weathers put together. I hope audiences have a deeper appreciation for their own families and with a desire to heal their own family problems. The "Westons" are not honest with each other. I hope people will realize it's important to tell the truth at every opportunity.

6. What excites you most about performing at Hot Summer Nights Theatre Raleigh? This is the first time I've been on stage since 2003, so I'm excited about that. When you get to certain age, the roles tend to be fewer and farther between. Since I've worked mainly in television, I don't have a lot of stage experience. I'm excited to show people I know how to build a character and sustain the arc of a character over the course of an evening. Working in theatre you have to maintain the character from beginning to end. In television, if you forget your part they just cut it out and you start over. On stage, if you forget your line, you are out there in front of hopefully at least 600 people, and you have to find a way to move forward.

I'm very impressed with the group of people with whom I am working with on this production: Pamela Dunlap (AMC's Mad Men) and Lisa Brescia (Broadway's Mamma Mia) along with Raleigh's very own Phil Crone (Beverly), Julie Fishell (Barbara), Jeffrey West (Bill), Mary Mattison Vallery (Jean), Jesse Gephart (Little Charles), Paul Paliyenko (Charles), Estes Tarver (Steve), Kathleen Lynch (Johnna) and David McClutchey (Sheriff Gilbeau).

Dorothy Lyman preparing for the cutting of her hairDorothy Lyman after donating her hair to Locks of Love7. You recently donated your hair to Locks of Love. What did that mean to you? When I came here to North Carolina, I had very long hair. While they were cutting it, I wanted it to be used for something good. I was very happy to find out that I was able to donate to Locks of Love. It feels great to know that it's going to be used for such a good cause.

8. In 2004 I had the pleasure of seeing you in "My Kitchen Wars," which you also helped adapt for the stage. What made you want to adapt and star in the show? How great that you saw My Kitchen Wars! The woman who was the subject of that script, Betty Fussell is a long-time friend of mine, and I read the memoir in galley form and we discussed and agreed to my adapting it for the stage. I produced and acted in two productions of it, one in LA and one in NYC. I am always looking for interesting material to act in, and have always generated my own projects. That was in 2003-4 and I haven’t been on stage since! So this gig in Raleigh is a milestone. At my age, you don’t know if there will ever be another opportunity to play a great role. Most parts available to an older gal are pretty small and unrewarding and not enough of an incentive to leave my farmstead!

Dorothy Lyman on CBS' "Mamma's Family"9. You've also starred in some of my favorite TV shows and movies such as All My ChildrenMamma's Family, and Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story as well as directing three seasons of The Nanny. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about working on these endeavors? What did it mean to you to win two Emmy Awards for portraying "Opal" on All My Children? Winning two Emmy awards for playing "Opal Gardner" on All My Children (1981-1983) was the highlight of my career. It meant everything to me. Luckily I knew when I was playing her that it would be the best role of my life; that is until this one as VIOLET WESTON in August: Osage County. We had a ball, Kim Delaney and I, playing mother and daughter, and I think we revolutionized Daytime TV. People refer to "Opal" as the first comic character on Daytime, and the role opened up the writing to a broader sensibility. I spent 15 years acting in soaps in New York. Carol Burnett was a fan of All My Children, and she and Vicki Lawrence decided to invite me to come out to co-star with Vicki in Mamma's Family. I loved getting to know Joan Rivers, Fran Drescher, Vicki Lawrence, Carol Burnett, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White and getting to work with Ken Berry and everyone over at The Nanny. I directed 75 consecutive episodes of that show, three years straight as producer and director. Fran Drescher is the best gal in the world as are Joan and Carol. These are the people that made differences to my career.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I retired to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York in 2003 when I left Hollywood. After directing 75 consecutive episodes of The Nanny I was ready for the farm! I raise organic free-range eggs for local restaurants and markets. I live on 43 wooded acres with my chickens and horses and dogs and cats! Since I have "retired" from Hollywood, I have been extremely creative and regained my perspective as an artist. I have made (produced and directed) three films: The Northern Kingdom, Split Ends, and a documentary called Janet’s Class, about aging. I followed a group of senior citizens around Manhattan as they took an acting class from a fabulous teacher/director/actress named Janet Sarno. That film is being submitted to festivals and having screenings, seeking distribution. The first two are available on NETFLIX.

11. What did you enjoy about making these movies? Making movies is the best. I got to choose the cast and the setting and do the scenes in a reality that no set can approximate. I was able to create my own private world. I guess there is something about me that make people want to sit in the dark and be quiet and listen to me...hahahaha. These movies are the ultimate expression of that. The films are not subject to human error like theatre is. You only have to do it right once for the camera and then everybody that sees the movie sees the same exact performance, unlike theatre where it's in the lap of the Gods as to how it is going to go down.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I ever received was to say YES to everything! YES takes you somewhere, NO stops you cold.

13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My farm. I have my boyfriend-a 22-year-old Thoroughbred retired hunter/jumper living up there with me as well as a retired polo pony. I definitely would rather come to Raleigh to play this great role than dream about my farm. Everyone has been so welcoming. My return to the stage is a happy respite from cleaning out the coops!