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Entries in "Chicago" (4)

Monday
Jan092012

T. Oliver Reid: Do I Love You Interview

I first interviewed T. Oliver Reid last February after his triumphant cabaret show "This Love I Know" at The Metropolitan Room in NYC. Since that time, he's been working on his debut CD "Do I Love You." Now, "Do I Love You" is being released on January 17 and will be available on Amazon.com and iTunes. T. Oliver Reid and I recently chatted about "Do I Love You."

For more on T. Oliver Reid be sure to visit http://www.toliverreid.com/ and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. What made you want to release a CD? It's honestly what I've always wanted to do...Record beautiful music. As far back as I can remember, that has been a constant goal. Having a studio recording that can hold the intimacy of being in the same room with the listener is what I hope to have accomplished.

2. How did you come up with the title, concept, and song selection for "Do I Love You?" All of the songs were taken from a show I did last year. There are some different arrangements but the sentiment of finding love/losing love is still there. It's the music of the journey we all seem to have in common while looking for love.

3. What do you hope listeners come away with after hearing your album? A new love for the songs they know and a brand new love for the songs they've not heard before...To see themselves and their stories in the lyrics.

4. What excites you/mean to you to be releasing your debut CD? It's the beginning of a journey that had been postponed. Life took me in a side road but I'm finally back doing what I should be. This music shaped and shapes my life daily. The music of the American songbook is my life long lover.

5. What's your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? Every part of making this CD has been grand. Working with Lawrence Yurman, my MD, and figuring out arrangements, getting in the studio and doing scratch tracks and recording the entire CD in two days ( an apparent record for the sound engineer) and being able to create an amazing recording. I found myself in tears a few times at the joy of doing it and the sheer happiness at how wonderful it sounds.

6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/recording your CD? The years of watching great and not so great directors, choreographers and music directors were not in vain. I've learned to create and edit my work and what works or doesn't. It's all been part of my journey to becoming a great artist. I hope I'm on my way.

BONUS QUESTION:

7. If you could record a song with anyone, who would you choose? Oof...hard question. So many great voices around but I think it would be someone who really tells a story with the lyric...Argh!!! Audra MacDonald? Kelli O'hara?

Wednesday
Dec072011

Sebastian LaCause

Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaFrom the corn fields of Ohio to the stages of Broadway, Sebastian LaCause has been entertaining audiences since the age of eleven, when he appeared in the ensemble of the Goodyear Community Theatre’s production of "The Music Man." Sebastian first stepped into the Broadway spotlight in the smash hit revival of "Chicago" as "Roxie Hart's" self-absorbed lover, "Fred Casley" and has continued to shine. His other Broadway credits include, "Once Upon A Mattress" with Sarah Jessica Parker, Liza Minnelli's, "Minnelli on Minnelli," and the Tony-Award Nominated revival of "The Rocky Horror Show" as the perfectly engineered boy-toy, "Rocky." He toured nationally with Chita Rivera in "Kiss of The Spiderwoman" and starred as "Zach" in the first national tour of the "A Chorus Line" revival. Regionally he starred in Richard Greenberg's Tony Award Winning play, "Take Me Out," as baseball super-star "Darren Lemming," "Marco" in the Kennedy Center’s production of "Carnival!," and at The Arena Stage as "Steven Kodaly" in "She Loves Me" and "El Gallo" in "The Fantasticks."

Sebastian has also developed new works with Emerging Artists Theatre Company, The Wings Theatre Company, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre .

After spending much time on stage, Sebastian switched gears and parlayed into film and television. He landed roles on "Gossip Girl," "Law and Order: SVU," "All My Children," "One Life To Live," and can be seen as "Agent Kandarian" in the season finale of the critically acclaimed Showtime series, "Homeland," starring Claire Danes.  On the big screen, Sebastian appeared in the Oscar winning "Chicago," had small supporting roles in "Showgirls," "Ghost Town," and "Premium Rush" (2012) and larger supporting roles in "Bear City," as "Fernando" and the upcoming Ira Sachs film, "Keep The Lights On," as "Russ," which will premier at Sundance in January 2012.

Now Sebastian is combining all of his talents and discovering new ones with his new original web series, "Hustling," about growing older, starting over, and figuring out what the hell you're doing. Created out of love, hard work, personal stories, and most of all, talent, Sebastian enlisted many friends to help him out including Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gerald McCullouch, Brian Keane, Gary Cowling, Andrew Glaszek, Brent Barrett, Shannon Lewis, Max Carpenter, Greg Gunter, Emily Shapiro, Todd Riegler and Jessica Press.

New episodes of "Hustling" premiere every Wednesday, with the first three already making waves! For more on "Hustling," follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Sebastian be sure to follow him on Facebook!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was deeply inspired by Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse and the original "Fame" movie. I used to watch a lot of those MGM movie musicals as a kid. "Singing In The Rain" and "The Bandwagon" were big influences on me as child. I would watch Gene Kelly and be mesmerized by his awesomeness. The dance sequence in "The Bandwagon" with Cyd Charisse branded itself into my psyche as the ultimate cinematic blend of style and movement...that is until I saw "All That Jazz." Then the sexuality and darkness of "Take Off With Us" into that dance orgy stole the top spot. And when I saw the "Fame" movie I knew that the arts was the road for me. I started out as a dancer, trained really hard, and ended up at NYU's dance program at Tisch. I only lasted...a short while until I heard the call of the wild and started auditioning and booked my first gig and left school, with the thought of returning after a year's leave of absence. However, heading back to school was not in the cards for me. I kept working and made my way out to LA and had a prolific career as an LA commercial dancer, working on films and on TV and with recording artist like, Madonna, Prince, Tina Turner and Toni Braxton, as well as working on the East coast on Broadway. But soon it wasn't enough creatively anymore. I felt the call of New York and the desire to become an actor was too strong to resist. So I left LA, moved back to NYC and began the next phase of my career which was transitioning from a dancer to an actor...not an easy task when you're already well established as a commodity as a dancer. But I didn't care. I stopped going to dancer calls, focused on my acting class and slowly but surely I made the transition and started working as actor.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Where do I start? Lol.

3. How did you decide to create your web series "Hustling?" What excites you most about it? What do you hope audiences come away with after watching it? How did you go about casting for the series? Hustling came about because I had reached another crossroad in my career. So much of being an actor is waiting around...for the phone to ring. I wanted to take more control of my artistry. I wanted to "do" something. So I got inspired by an idea. I had met some interesting people during a stint in LA when I was auditioning and I became fascinated by their stories. These "sex-workers" shared a common denominator...they wanted out of the business but didn't know how to get themselves out. I actually thought this was very relatable. I know people in all walks of life, accountants, lawyers, bartenders, professional dancers who are unhappy with their current careers/jobs/life situations. People who desperately want to be doing something else or who feel stuck but don't know how to make a change. I added those themes to what I was going through myself, turning forty, and the story practically wrote itself. I started writing it in June and I was shooting in August. I was also inspired by this independent TV movement I was noticing from other theater actors like, Jake Wilson and Andrew Keenen Bolger. I was so moved by the action they had taken in jumping of into these waters. I was greatly inspired by the great work they were doing.

I hope what people come away with after watching the series is how alike we all are as human beings.  No matter what your life situation may be, we all are going through the same shit. When it came to casting I basically wrote for my friends. I wrote for people I wanted to work with and who popped into my head when I started creating the characters. I wanted to have fun making this. That also factored in to who I wrote for and who I cast. Fun, genuinely awesome, authentic people whose work I admired.

4. How did creating "Hustling" stretch your creative abilities? Creating "Hustling" stretched my creative abilities in ways that I had never really imagined before. I've always loved being the "Talent" but what I didn't know was how much I would love being a "Creative" or, that I was capable of doing some of the things I was going to have to do on this project. I discovered that I really love being not only a director working with talented actors but also being the director of photography and being the creator of the composition of the photography. That really excited me. It was fun having the opportunity to have complete creative control in every aspect. I also loved working with my collaborators. The other director of photographer, Max Carpenter really has an incredible eye and he brought so much to the table. I learned a lot about film making from this kid. And my associate producer who is also my art director and fellow editor, brings a lot of creative juice to the playground. He's fun to bounce ideas off of and I was inspired by him as a fellow artist.

5. What is your favorite part in creating a web series? Do you feel your prior TV/Film experience prepared you better for creating "Hustling"? If so, how? My past work experience in TV and film has certainly been helpful in this process but being in front of the camera does not necessarily prepare you for being behind the camera. It's a completely different set of muscles. But being an actor certainly helped when I was directing my friends. I hope that I was able to be clear about what I wanted from them or how I saw the scenes working tonally.

6. Prior to "Hustling," you starred in numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatrical productions. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? My favorite part of the process in theater I would have to say would be twofold, I love the rehearsal process and I love when you reach the performing part. I really get into developing a character and exploring and making different choices and trying new ways into a scene. I love getting awesome direction from a director that comes at you with a new way of thinking about something. I never think I have all the answers. In fact, sometimes I think I don't have any of them. And I love reaching that place in the rehearsal process and during performance when you don't have to think anymore. When you let go of everything and you're just "there" and present. That is the best high. That is my drug of choice.

My favorite place to rehearse or practice when I'm in a show is on the stage.

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I guess what I've learned about myself from being a performer is that I'm extremely sensitive, I love to take risks and I'm very tenacious and headstrong. I have known from a very young age that I wanted to be an artist and I have never wavered from that...no matter how hard it has been and how many doors have been closed in my face or how many times people have said "no." 

8. "Rocky Horror" was one of my favorite Broadway shows. Looking back, what was your favorite part of that whole experience? What did you learn from working with so many diverse performers? My favorite part of working on "Rocky Horror" was getting to work that incredible cast. It was crazy! Not only was everyone wickedly talented but everyone was kick ass cool. I had some really good times doing that show. Going to work every day and getting to play with, Alice, Daphne, Raul, Tom, Lea, Jarrod, Joan, Ana and Dick Cavett was an absolute riot. And on the first day of rehearsal extremely intimidating. I was crazy nervous for most of that rehearsal process. I was having a blast but I was afraid of screwing up and not being good and blah, blah, blah. All those insecurities that come with your first co-starring role and first principal contract out of the chorus lol. It's everything you've hoped for but then you're like, fuck...I hope I can pull this off!! But what I learned from working with these diverse performers was not to be afraid.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I ever received was that if I was going to really pursue being an artist then I had to really love it and not want to do anything else in the world...and to have A LOT of patience.

10. Favorite way to spend your day off? My favorite way to spend a day off is to cook a nice dinner and drink a delicious bottle of wine.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs...for sure.

12. Favorite website? Cooksillustrated.com

13. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman AND Wonder Woman....each for different reasons.

Monday
Jun132011

Lindsay Nicole Chambers

Lindsay Nicole Chambers is another rising performer with great stage presence and comedic timing. When Lindsay is on stage, people are watching! She has delighted audiences in Broadway's "Legally Blonde" and "Hairspray" while regional audiences got the chance to see her in "All Shook Up," "Hairspray" (1st National Tour), "She Loves Me," "Chicago," "Damn Yankees," "Oklahoma," and "West Side Story."

Currently, Lindsay is tearing it up in the Transport Group's Off-Broadway smash hit "Lysistrata Jones" which is playing at The Gym at Judson through June 24! Click here for tickets! (and here for my review). She can also be seen in the hit web series "Submissions Only" created by fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Andrew Keenan-Bolger!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I've always wanted to perform, but seeing Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball and women being hilarious really showed me that it was something I could do. Another inspiration: Stevie Nicks. I STILL want to be her.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett and Zach Galifianakis. That's more than one person...

3. What attracted you to "Lysistrata Jones" and what is your favorite part of the show? I did the show in Dallas when it was called 'Give It Up!' so I definitely wanted to be part of it again. I really wanted to work with Dan and Doug. My favorite part of the show is 'When She Smiles'- it's fun to be sung about and Josh is so great be on stage with.

4. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? I like that first time, after you've been rehearsing and rehearsing, you start to realize you've got a great show. That's really fun.

5. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? The only place I ever rehearse alone is at home, so...at home?

6. How has performing strengthened you as a person? I think the more you perform the more confident you are in yourself and my instincts. Unless you get a bad review, and then you wonder why you spent all that money on school.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I like to do shows that make you dance and jump up and down a lot. Or any show where I play a teenager. I stay really fit doing those kinds of shows.

8. Favorite skin care product? What are you trying to say?

9. Favorite website? Submissions Only TV on youtube. Can you say plug?

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Batman! He's always been my fave.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What is the best advice you've ever received? Just to keep going. Keep doing what I love to do and doing the best job I can. To believe in myself. Totally corny, but really true. And good to remember.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? If I could go to sleep at a reasonable hour THAT would be a dream.

Sunday
Feb142010

Mary Testa

When two-time Tony Award Nominee, Mary Testa takes the stage, the audience takes notice, whether it's her impeccable comedic timing or beautiful singing voice including a belt that knocks the roof off. It's no wonder she was nominated for her roles in the Broadway revivals of "42nd Street" and "On The Town." Her other Broadway credits include "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," "Barnum," "The Rink," "Marilyn," "Chicago," "Marie Christine," "Xanadu," and the 2009 revival of "Guys and Dolls." Mary has also delighted audiences Off-Broadway in such shows as "See What I Wanna See," "First Lady Suite," "String of Pearls," "The Vagina Monologues," "From Above," "A New Brain", and "In Trousers." She was also a series regular on NBC's "Whoopi" and guest starred on HBO's "Sex and the City." Mary can currently be seen in the Off-Broadway revival of "Measure for Measure" (also starring fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Jefferson Mays) playing at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York City (229 West 42nd Street between 7th & 8th Ave).

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Marcel Marceau.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you sing? high c (with my arms over my head) and low a.

3. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Luis Bunuel (unfortunately, he is dead).

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Probably God.

5. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? Actually, I order decaf coffee from both.

6. Favorite play/musical? Play: A tie between "The Ruling Class" & "Comedians."  Musical: Anything by Michael John Lachiusa &  Floyd Collins.

7. Favorite store to shop in? Berdorf's during the shoe sale, and Lord and Taylor.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off? Shopping.

9. Favorite website? dilsted.com and awfulplasticsurgery.com.

10. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? Rhoda.