Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

    

"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Film (55)

Friday
Apr142017

Call Answered: Robert L. Camina: Upstairs Inferno Documentary

Robert L. CaminaThe thing I love most about Facebook is the way it connects people. Robert L. Camina and I have been friends for a few years, so when I found out he was a filmmaker and that his new documentary Upstairs Inferno, about the deadly 1973 New Orleans gay bar arson was the subject, I called Robert and he answered. It was really great connecting with Robert in this way. From this interview, I learned so much about him, his filmmaking process, and more about this tragic time in gay history that is not very well known.

Upstairs Inferno is a poignant and timely documentary chronicling the deadly 1973 New Orleans gay bar arson: an event that remained the Largest Gay Mass Murder in U.S. History for 43 years. Upstairs Inferno is the most comprehensive and authoritative film about the fire and its aftermath. Upstairs Inferno brings humanity to the headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on survivors, witnesses and loved ones. Their interviews are gut wrenching, yet insightful. Some of the people interviewed in the film haven't publicly discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. The film is narrated by New Orleans' own New York Times Best Selling Author, Christopher Rice.

Upstairs Inferno will be making its NYC premiere in the Manhattan Film Festival on Monday, April 24 with two screenings: 5pm (just added) & 7pm (SOLD OUT) at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street). The 7pm screening will be followed by a Q&A conducted by Robert himself. Click here for tickets!

For more on Robert be sure to visit http://www.caminaentertainment.com!

For more on Upstairs Inferno be sure to visit http://www.UpstairsInferno.com and follow the film on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Your latest documentary, Upstairs Inferno, documents the deadly 1973 New Orleans gay bar arson that was the largest gay mass murder for 43 years, until Pulse Nightclub. Why did you want to make a documentary about this tragic event? When I first heard about this tragedy a few years ago, I was shocked. I had never heard of it. The arson was a benchmark moment in history, but it wasn't part of the common LGBT history narrative. I felt that needed to change.  I wanted to educate audiences about this little known event and honor the victims and people affected by the deadly fire.

I didn't want to create a stagnant documentary, with only an exposition of facts. Through very honest and intimate interviews, I wanted to humanize the story and show the real impact the fire had on the victims' friends, families and the LGBT movement. It's easy to trivialize a situation when you gloss over a headline in a newspaper (or a Facebook post). There is something about SEEING and HEARING the story from those who experienced an event, that truly makes it "real." That's what possesses the potential to create change.

The victims are more than statistics, more then names in a newspaper clipping or even names on a plaque. These were unfinished lives, tragically cut short by a senseless act. The victims and their families and friends left to cope with the aftermath deserved better treatment than what they got. I thought, if I have an opportunity to provide any sort of legacy or light for them, I wanted to try.

Up Stairs Lounge2. The arson of the Up Stairs Lounge was the largest gay mass murder for 43 years. Why do you feel this story is not talked about as much as say The Stonewall Riots? You're right. This story hasn't been talked about much and I believe it was nearly forgotten. But why? I think it was because people directly affected by the fire didn't want to talk about it. The impression that I got was that people were embarrassed or ashamed to talk about the tragedy. The fire did not launch a revolution and the little activism that was spawned from the tragedy, fizzled out very quickly. I'm told that it didn't take long before New Orleans saw an indifference within the community after the fire. (However, there are mixed opinions on whether the fire was a birth of gay rights activism in New Orleans, which is something we explore in UPSTAIRS INFERNO.) Also, you have families that didn't claim their dead children. As a collective community, that is shameful and embarrassing. You also have a prime suspect who is a member of the LGBT community. Evidence points to the fact that this horrific crime was committed by one of our own. Furthermore, there isn't any official closure. Police weren't able to charge anyone with the crime. While the evidence points to a primary suspect committing the crime, there is no justice. Lastly, I think few people know about the story because it's been too painful for victims to talk about.

Up Stairs Lounge3. How do you feel the arson of the Up Stairs Lounge and the shooting at Pulse Nightclub are parallel of each other? For nearly 43 years, the June 24, 1973 arson at the Up Stairs Lounge, an event that claimed 32 lives, was considered "The Largest Gay Mass Murder in U.S. History." It’s with tremendous grief, we recognize that's no longer the case. With 49 patrons dead and families shattered, the June 12, 2016 mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub now holds that dubious title.  No one wanted to pass that moniker on and see a horror of this nature again. It was a stark reminder that while the LGBTQ community has achieved a lot in its fight for equality, there are many people who still feel that LGBTQ lives are expendable.

What we learned in the wake of the Up Stairs Lounge arson, is that this tragedy will have a tremendous psychological impact, not only for those directly impacted by the shooting, but throughout the entire LGBTQ community.

Unlike after the 1973 New Orleans gay mass murder, most political leaders expressed compassion, grief and determination for justice after the shooting. Communities across the country and world held vigils, standing in solidarity with Orlando. That didn't happen in 1973. Nearly $8 million dollars was raised for Pulse victims through a GoFundMe account. In the aftermath of the Up Stairs Lounge arson, only $17,900 was raised through the National New Orleans Memorial Fund. Adjusted for inflation, that equals $96,951.90. That's a huge difference! And while the outpouring of compassion is far greater than in 1973, there are still community and religious leaders callously turning their backs to the victims and the LGBT community.

Upstairs Inferno4. What did you learn from making this documentary, both about that fateful night and in your directing skills of how you wanted to tell this story? The more I learned about the tragedy, the more important this project became. I believe it is crucial to acknowledge, preserve and honor our history as LGBT people, no matter where you live. The LGBT dialogue has changed SO much in the past few years. As popular attitudes shift around the world on LGBT issues, we risk losing the stories of the struggles that got us where we are today. It's our responsibility to honor the memories of those who came before us, including those who died at the Up Stairs Lounge. The people who experienced this tragedy paved the way for the freedoms enjoyed by the New Orleans LGBT community of today, as well as the overall LGBT movement. I wanted to create a film that honored their forgotten stories.

Making the film underscored the importance of sharing our stories. We must be visible. It's easier for people to hate and fear things they don't understand. No matter your background, in the end, we are more alike than we are different. I think stories like UPSTAIRS INFERNO reminds of us that.

5. Upstairs Inferno is going to make its NYC's premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival with a screening on April 24 at Cinema Village. What excites you about having this film show in New York City? It's NEW YORK CITY!!! I love this town! About 10 years ago, I was fortunate to live in Manhattan for a summer. (I must admit, I left a little piece of my heart there and I miss it a lot!) I attended a film program while living in New York, and the short film I directed there launched my professional filmmaking career. It's great to come full circle -- screening this full length film in the city where my journey began.

In addition, New York is considered by many to be the epicenter of the modern U.S. Gay Rights Movement.  A film about gay rights and gay history belongs in New York.

6. The narrator of Upstairs Inferno is New York Times best selling author Christopher Rice (son of legendary author Anne Rice). How did you approach him to be the narrator for this documentary? When looking for a narrator, I wanted someone who was passionate about LGBT issues and passionate about New Orleans. Chris immediately came to mind. Chris considers New Orleans his "hometown" and is very passionate about keeping its history alive! I knew that passion would come across in his narration. It's not something you can fake. As a New York Times best selling author, much of his writing is heavily influenced by the years he and his Mom (legendary vampire chronicler, Anne Rice) lived in New Orleans. I contacted him and he was immediately on-board!

"The View Upstairs" Off-Broadway7. With the hit Off-Broadway show The View Upstairs currently running, how do you feel this film compliments the show and vice versa? Theater is such a powerful medium! The View Upstairs, which is inspired by the Up Stairs Lounge fire, has introduced theatergoers to a tragic event in LGBT history that few people knew about. It has undoubtedly left audience members wanting to know more about the deadly arson, the actual people it affected, the devastating aftermath and its rightful place in LGBT history. There's so much more to the story. That's where UPSTAIRS INFERNO comes in. The documentary features the real life stories behind the deadly arson and its aftermath. The interviews with survivors and the family/friends of victims are gut wrenching, yet insightful. Some of the people interviewed in the film haven't publicly discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. I believe UPSTAIRS INFERNO brings humanity to the history-making headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on survivors, witnesses and loved ones.

I am thrilled that the creative team and cast of The View Upstairs are planning to attend the UPSTAIRS INFERNO screening. I am glad that we get to share the city for one night, uniting to educate people about this nearly forgotten tragedy from our history.

8. I read that you hope Upstairs Inferno helps remind people to seize the day. What event in your life reminded you to seize the day? And since that event, how have you seized the day? Earlier this month, I had a friend suddenly pass away. He was my age. I get really caught up in my work, but his passing was a stark reminder that tomorrow is not promised. With each passing day, I do my best not to be a workaholic, step away from the computer and spend more time with my partner, our puppies and my family and friends. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Life is fickle.

Brian Long and Robert L. Camina9. Upstairs Inferno is your second full length documentary, the first one being Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, which recounts the widely publicized and controversial June 28, 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar that resulted in multiple arrests and serious injuries. Before that, you wrote, directed and produced several short films. What made you want to switch from short films to documentaries? At my core, I am a storyteller. I am drawn to stories of the human condition. Whether it be through comedy, drama or documentaries, I prefer telling stories that fight for the underdogs and ultimately inspire us to be better people.

The switch from narrative short films to full length documentaries was not a premeditated decision. June 28, 2009, is a date that changed my life forever. That's when police and law enforcement officials violently raided a Texas gay bar, resulting in multiple arrests and serious injuries. That happened to be the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and the parallels were haunting. I had many friends in the bar that night. As the day went on, the facts surrounding the raid were unclear and the future was uncertain. However, my instincts and outrage told me that I needed to capture what was happening on video and potentially create a short film. Little did I know, that decision would define my life for the next 2.5 years. Over the next few months, the story grew. It was quickly apparent that this project wouldn't be a short film, but a feature length film. Since the film's release, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE has helped educate and enlighten audiences around the world. It's been a training tool for law enforcement and city officials across the nation. The film also received attention from the Office of the White House, Department of Justice and a division of the U.S. State Department. Documentaries are powerful tools. They possess the power to create change.  That's one reason why I like them and why I decided to take on the story of the Up Stairs Lounge arson.

10. If you could make a documentary about a living and dead celebrity, who would choose for each? Living celebrity: Dustin Lance Black. First of all, we have a few things in common: Not only do we share a passion for LGBT history, but we both grew up in San Antonio. But beyond that, I greatly admire him. He has done so much for our community through his activism and his storytelling. For years, he has been fighting hard to make our stories more visible. I'm sure that hasn't been easy and it'd be a privilege to tell his story.

Dead celebrity: Morris Kight. "Morris Kight" is not a name a lot of people know, but they should. We wouldn't be where we are without him. He was one of the architects of the modern gay rights movement, spearheading a non-violent movement for social reform.  Kight co-founded the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front in 1969. He went on to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center (now known as Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center). He was also a co-founder of the first Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade in 1970. He also conceptualized and co-founded many organizations that were created to advance the quality of life for all GLBT persons. More people need to know about Morris and his contributions to our fight for equality.

Robert L. Camina, Photo Credit: Gerry SzymanskiMore on Robert:

Robert L. Camina wrote, directed and produced several short films before premiering his first full length documentary, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE (2012) to sold out audiences, rave reviews and a media frenzy. RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE recounts the widely publicized and controversial June 28, 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar that resulted in multiple arrests and serious injuries. The raid occurred on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid. The film, narrated by TV icon Meredith Baxter, screened during 33 mainstream and LGBT film festivals across the United States, Mexico and Canada. The film won several awards including 5 "Best" Film and 3 "Audience Choice" Awards. The film also received attention from the Office of the White House, Department of Justice and a division of the U.S. State Department. At their invitation, the Library of Congress hosted a screening in October 2014. (www.RaidoftheRainbowLounge.com)

Wednesday
Oct122016

Call Answered: Guy Kent: Autumn Lights

Guy KentI love the daylight. While I love the brisk air of autumn and the smell of wood burning fireplaces, summer is my favorite season because the days are so long allowing you to easily lose track of time. When I heard Autumn Lights was filmed in Iceland during their longest daylight season, I felt an instant connection. After watching a preview of this film, I was engulfed. Like the long days of summer, this movie flew by with it's beauty of scenic Iceland and the complexity of the story. Which brings us to Guy Kent, the lead actor, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing.

Autumn Lights is about an adrift American photographer (played by Guy), who after discovering a deserted crime scene in remote Iceland, crosses paths with an intriguing European couple (Marta Gastini & Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson). As his fascination with them intensifies, he slowly finds himself entangled in their mysterious lives. Guy does a great job in this film. His character, "David" is quite mesmerizing and I couldn't wait to find out more about him as the film went on. The story is very layered in plot, but like the photographs Guy's character "David" takes, the layers are slowly peeled back revealing the truths you are trying to figure out in the film.

Autumn Lights will have a limited release starting October 21, including Cinema Village East here in NYC!

For more on Guy be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Autumn Lights follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This October, your film, Autumn Lights, is being released. Angad Aulakh wrote and directed the film, while you produced it. You and Angad met by chance after a death in your family. Through that tragedy came a really great partnership between you two. How, through your pain, were you able to focus enough to connect with Angad? The circumstance of what led to us meeting was definitely unique. At the time, I had just graduated from film school at USC, where I also was studying theater, and I was hoping to meet someone who I could collaborate and create with. But it’s not every day you meet someone who you want to scale a very large mountain with, and then scale another mountain, and then another. And meeting Angad out of that was very much a gift. We’re likeminded and we both thrive when we’re working hard, so it was very natural to fall into working with one another. Less than a year after discussing what would be our first script of four, we were entering pre-production on Autumn Lights.

2. How did you juggle being both actor and producer? What did you learn from the process? From the beginning, we had a very clear idea of the film we wanted to make, and I think I can also speak for Angad when I say that it was crucial for us in juggling two different and demanding jobs, no less for our first feature film together. It was important for us to build trust and create an open line of communication with the entire team during pre-production so that when cameras were rolling, I could focus on my work as an actor and Angad as a director, and feel comfortable with that. I enjoy being busy and I enjoy both of these jobs immensely, so it never once felt like "work" in that sense. And, I learned a great deal about myself in the process and gained a greater understanding of what it means to collaborate with a team. I definitely look forward to continuing to juggle both of these roles.

Guy Kent as "David" In "Autumn Lights"3. Autumn Lights is about an adrift American photographer (played by you), who after discovering a deserted crime scene in remote Iceland, crosses paths with an intriguing European couple (Marta Gastini & Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson). As his fascination with them intensifies, he slowly finds himself entangled in their mysterious lives. What do you relate to most about your character of "David"? I found "David" to be incredibly intriguing on the page. I immediately connected to his curiosity, that sense of rootlessness, his ability to carry on despite circumstances. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface and it’s through his fish out of water experience that the audience gets to experience this very foreign, almost fantasy-like world. And that fish out of water feeling is something I’ve experienced more than a few times myself. It can be an interesting, sometimes surreal thing. You sometimes find yourself taking on the role of observer, which "David" very much so did, and sometimes your actions surprise you, which again for "David," was certainly the case. I also think anyone who’s been in a relationship can relate to the heartbreak he endures and the sadness he carries with him as a result of that.

4. Since you are playing a photographer, what do you, as a person, look for when taking your own personal photos that make you go, "This would make a great moment to capture"? I am a lover of photography. I love photos that have an unexpected candidness to them, ones that encapsulate a moment that can’t quite be replicated. I think my personal tastes in photography actually align somewhere in between "David" and the character of "Johann." In the film, "Johann" shares his love of portraits with "David," portraits that he’s taken of strangers he’s come across. There’s something both fascinating and haunting about those images. They’re mesmerizing in a way.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"5. Autumn Lights touches on themes of obsession, loss, and loneliness. When have you been obsessed, suffered loss, and been lonely in your life? How did you get through those moments? For me, the most important thing is how you get through those moments in time, who you surround yourself with and who your support is. I feel very fortunate to have friends and family whom I love very much and they have been instrumental at certain times in my life.

6. Most of these themes are seen through the eyes of a stranger in a strange land. When have you felt like a stranger in a strange land? What’s interesting is that I don’t think it’s a feeling that is always a result of physical location. I’ve been in Los Angeles of all places, a city where I grew up in, and have felt like that. I’ve been to several dinners while traveling where I did not know the language people were speaking in. And it is during moments like those that you tend to see things very clearly because you’re slightly removed. It can be surreal in a way. There are several moments in the film where "David" experiences that.

7. What were the top three funniest moments to happen during filming? Perhaps the funniest moments were when delirium set in after long nights and long days shooting. Then add in constant sunlight, we didn’t know up from down. We really enjoyed the company of everyone we were working with. Marta [Gastini] and I were always laughing with one another when we were not filming, and I think we needed it given "David" and "Marie’s" intense scenes together.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"8. Autumn Lights marks the first independent American-Icelandic co-production in history to have been shot and fully completed in Iceland. What does it feel like to be the first independent film to have this co-production? Why did you choose to have the film take place in Iceland? The decision to shoot and then also complete the film in Iceland just felt like we were doing what was best for the production. But we didn’t have any awareness of its significance when we were doing it. It just felt like the right decision.

As for the initial choice of Iceland, it happened fairly organically and began with my and Angad’s love of Scandinavian film and Scandinavian chamber films. It also came out of practicality, given the region’s geography and isolation and what that meant for the story. And, the time of year we chose to film gave us nearly 24 hours of sunlight. That was instrumental in helping to create a surreal sense of time. You can lose sense of where you are in the day.

Originally though, we were focusing on production in Norway because of Angad’s family ties, however, production there wasn’t feasible and so we started to broaden our look of the region. We had been in contact with our Icelandic producers prior to that and the timing was right, so it made the decision to go in that direction fairly simple. I remember seeing a film shot in Iceland just before then, and afterward, I was in complete awe over the landscape. I remember my friend saying to me, "you’re going to shoot in Iceland, aren’t you?" It just felt like something that had to happen. But Iceland is a real jewel in so many ways and I think you can see that in the film. And it’s a country that is incredibly film-friendly.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"9. Since the film is called Autumn Lights, what is your favorite part about the fall season? I can proudly say that Autumn is my favorite time of year. It’s a time that brings people together. And I enjoy when the air is nice and brisk. I also think the sunlight in the Fall is the most beautiful. Angad has spoken about the title of the film, and how it’s not so much about the time of year that the film takes place in, but instead, it’s about the feeling that the season and its beauty evokes, that melancholy sense of time passing. I love that sentiment.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Probably to keep reminding myself that it’s my world just as much as anyone else’s. Someone very wise has told me that on one or two occasions.

Guy KentMore on Guy:

Guy Kent is both an actor and producer. Guy’s entrance into film was twofold, receiving his B.A. in Film Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and training in theater at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Following Guy’s introduction to NYU Tisch filmmaker Angad Aulakh, the two began a collaborative partnership forming Last Carnival. During the course of seven months, they developed four feature projects and produced two short films, one of which starring Guy alongside American Crime’s Caitlin Gerard. AUTUMN LIGHTS marked their fourth script developed and after just a year of meeting, Guy and Angad were entering pre-production on the project. The film signifies their first feature film collaboration, Guy as both actor and producer.

Wednesday
Jun292016

Call Answered: Matthew Morrison: New York Pops Summer Series, Glee, Broadway

Matthew Morrison, Photo Credit: Christian RiosThe year was 2002 and a new Broadway musical was opening that summer called Hairspray, starring Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Morrison and newcomer Marissa Jaret Winokur. The moment Matthew took the stage and started singing, he definitely had a new fan. Matthew's vocals are like no other and ever since Hairspray, I have had the pleasure of seeing him in almost all his Broadway endeavors, getting to hear that golden voice raise the roof time and time again! It has been a pleasure watching Matthew's career rise and then watching the world over get to know him and his voice because of his starring turn in Fox's Glee.

Ever since I started "Call Me Adam," I have been eager to interview Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Morrison. It is a real honor to have been granted this opportunity, not only because we got to talk about Broadway, Glee, and his upcoming concert with The New York Pops, but because we got to the heart of what makes Matthew tick. Matthew's enthusiasm, excitement, and genuineness really shine through.

Matthew will be reuniting with The New York Pops and conductor/musical director Steven Reineke on Thursday, July 7 as he takes the stage with them at their summer home of Forest Hills Stadium (1 Tennis Place, Forrest Hills, NY). Matthew and The Pops' will be joined by Tony nominee Megan Hilty. Showtime is 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Matthew be sure to visit http://matthewmorrison.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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

Matthew Morrison1. This July you are once again going to be performing with The New York Pops at their summer home of the Forest Hills Stadium. What do you love about performing with The New York Pops? The Pops have such an amazing history, and do such a great job of including all members of its community. Its involvement with public schools and children’s hospitals in particular really resonates with me and my values.  I’ve had such great experiences working with The New York Pops in the past, and I look forward to sharing the stage once again with this amazing group of professionals, led by my good friend, conductor Steven Reineke.

Steven Reineke and The New York Pops2. When performing with The New York Pops, what do you learn from The Pops' Musical Director/Conductor Steven Reineke that you don't learn from working with other musical directors? Steven and I are good friends who share a similar taste in music. He understands my brand and takes the time to work with my Music Director, Brad Ellis, and myself to really bring the best show to the audience. He’s a team player who works extremely well with the artists that share the stage with The New York Pops. It’s always a fun and exhilarating show with Conductor Reineke.

3. Since Forest Hills Stadium is an outdoor venue, do you vocally prepare yourself differently than if you were getting ready to sing at an indoor venue? If you do you prepare differently, what do you do that's different? My regimen is pretty consistent no matter the setting. Days leading up to the performance, I rest my voice as much as possible. The day of the performance, I stay away from any types of dairy. To help coat the throat, I drink plenty of warm tea with honey and lemon. The only difference between preparing for outdoor vs. indoor shows is when I’m faced with temperatures that aren’t ideal for vocal performances. However, I don’t see summer in New York posing any issues!

Matthew Morrison4. We first met when you were starring on Broadway in Hairspray and since then, I've had the pleasure of watching your career take off. What has this journey been like for you? Is the reality of the trip the same as what you envisioned or hoped for? Thank you for the kind words. Looking back at my career, it’s been an amazing journey. Through it all, I have never chased success. Instead, I have always pursued happiness, and what that meant to me personally. To me that’s the key. I never thought I’d be in the position I’m in today, working with amazing creative professionals and having the liberty to decide which projects I want to attach myself to. But when you pursue your passion and stick with it even through challenging times, it’s amazing what opportunities will present themselves.

Matthew Morrison and Call Me Adam after "The Light in the Piazza"5. I've also had the pleasure of seeing you on Broadway in The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific, both productions played at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. When you walked back into the Beaumont for the first time during South Pacific what memories came up for you from starring in The Light in the Piazza and what new memories did you make during South Pacific? In The Light In The Piazza, I was faced with the extreme challenge of learning a foreign language in a very short window of time. Unlike television or film, you only get one shot at executing lines in theater. So memories of going through that challenge stood out. Each night on stage, the amount of emotion and energy that translated from the stage was unparalleled to any show I’ve been in. I will always cherish my tenure with that production, and once I walked back on to that stage for South Pacific, those memories came flooding back. In South Pacific, there was a different emotional connection I had with that show. "Lieutenant Cable’s" internal struggle through each performance often left me leaving the theater a bit melancholy. Playing a character who was being sent on a mission from which the likelihood of return is slim was a difficult task. I had to learn to pace myself in order to keep going with the run.

Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch on the set of Fox's "Glee"6. While many people know you from your Broadway shows, lots of people got to know your talent when you starred on Fox's Glee for six years. What songs or artists did you never get to sing on Glee that you wished you had? What were the top three funniest things that happened to you during the taping of the series? We covered a very diverse repertoire of songs throughout the series, and I recall very fond memories of performing many of them with my cast mates. "Singin’ in the Rain" with Gwyneth Paltrow was amazing, aside from being wet all day! When we performed "Proud Mary," we were all in wheelchairs, and that was one of the biggest workouts on set that I can remember. We were up and down ramps, giving it our all in camaraderie for "Artie." "Don’t Stop Believin" was the Glee anthem, although now I can’t listen to that song just because at every event we attended for the show, they would be playing it. "You’re All The World To Me" was my favorite because of the creative direction. It’s the performance where I danced on the ceiling and walls. It was choreography at its finest, and was such an exhilarating day for me. Jane Lynch was my comedic crutch – she was always there to brighten spirits and bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Matthew Morrison7. With all the interviews you do, what is one question, you are so tired of people asking and what is one question you have not been asked that you wish you would be (and please provide your answer to that question)? The one question I get a lot is "Would you ever do a Glee reunion show?" The show was extremely special to me, and had its place in pop culture. Sometimes you just need to appreciate an ending and move on without entertaining a possible comeback, especially this early on. One question I haven’t been asked is "What do I value most in life?" My answer – happiness.

8. Some actors who start in theatre and then find success in television/film, stay working in television/film. What keeps you coming back to the stage? How do you feel your theatrical training prepared you for television work? Performing on stage is my air. I will always prefer being on stage because of that live interaction with an audience. There’s no substitute for the energy I receive from an audience. Live performances, to me, are a symbiotic relationship between the talent and the audience, where we both feed off of each other’s energy. My experience in theater prepared me for the work in television and film by instilling the sense of immediacy in my performances. In live theater, you get one take to get it right. In television and film, when you’re performing to a lens, there can be a number of takes on a single scene. I learned discipline with my techniques, and I think that helped a lot when transitioning to TV/Film.

9. On your album Matthew Morrison, you recorded Sting's "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" and on Where It All Began you recorded Stephen Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns." When in your life, have you "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" and when was there a time you wanted someone to "Send In The Clowns" to help cheer you up? "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" – When I made the decision to pursue the arts professionally. "Send In The Clowns" – Now that’s a bit too personal J

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent every day? To continue pursuing my passion and always striving to be a better person, husband and friend.

Matthew MorrisonMore on Matthew:

Matthew Morrison is a versatile actor who is recognized for his work on-stage and on-screen. He has been nominated for Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. Matthew most recently starred as "J.M. Barrie" in the Harvey Weinstein musical Finding Neverland through January 2016. The Broadway production is an adaptation of the 2004 film written by David Magee. The story follows the relationship between "Barrie" and the "Davies" family, who became the author’s inspiration for the creation of "Peter Pan." Matthew received two Drama Desk nominations for his role, and won the category of Favorite Actor in a Musical in the Broadway.com Audience Awards. In 2015, Morrison wrapped the final season of Fox’s musical comedy series Glee, where he starred as the director of the glee club, "Mr. Will Schuester." The show was created by Ryan Murphy and received the Golden Globe award "Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical" in 2010 and 2011. Morrison was the first artist signed to Adam Levine’s record label, 222 Records, where he released his Broadway standards album, Where it All Began, in June 2013. In 2012, Morrison starred in the Lionsgate film, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which was based on the book of the same name, directed by Kirk Jones. The film also starred Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Dennis Quaid among others. Matthew played a famous dance show star who is faced with the unexpected demands of fatherhood. The film was released on May 18, 2012.

In March 2012, Matthew hosted and narrated the PBS special entitled Oscar Hammerstein II - Out of My Dreams, which focused on the Broadway producer’s life and career. Also in March 2012, Matthew was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black’s play, 8, a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California’s Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage. The performance raised money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

Matthew studied musical theater, vocal performance and dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He made his debut on Broadway in Footloose but his big break came when he was cast as heartthrob "Link Larkin" in the hit Hairspray. Matthew was later nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Light in the Piazza, and received a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for 10 Million Miles. He also starred in the Tony-winning revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater in New York. Matthew currently resides in New York.

Steven ReinekeMore on Steven Reineke:

Steven Reineke is the Music Director 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 the Principal Pops Conductor Designate for 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. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration FanfareLegend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband Eric Gabbard.

Steven Reineke and The New York PopsMore 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 onFacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 

Tuesday
Apr192016

Call Answered: Lukas Raphael: TRYST Movie

Lukas RaphaelI love independent films because I get to see who's on the up and up. When Lukas Raphael's movie TRYST came to my attention, I couldn't wait to watch this film about dating in today's society. Gone are the days of going out to meet people. Today it's meeting from the comfort of your own home via the numerous dating apps available. No matter what your sexual orientation, this film is for you!

Lukas and I had so much fun discussing TRYST, the filmmaking process, dating, and dancing. 

TRYST is going to be in the Manhattan Film Festival on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on TRYST visit: http://www.trystmovie.com and follow the film on Twitter @TrystMovie!

For more on Lukas be sure to visit http://www.lukasraphael.com and follow him on Twitter @lraphaelactor!

Call Me Adam interview with Lukas Raphael:

Thursday
Oct152015

Call Answered: Rebecca Bloom: The Peanuts Movie

Rebecca Bloom, Photo Credit: Cathryn FarnsworthI have always been a big fan of The Peanuts gang from reading the comic strip to my annual viewings of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Valentine. When I was asked to interview rising actress Rebecca Bloom about starring, as "Marcie," in The Peanuts Movie, I got out my popcorn and strung up my Christmas Tree as Rebecca and I chatted about this new venture! The Peanuts Movie will be released in theaters on November 6!

More on Marcie:

Peppermint Patty’s best friend, loyal follower, and complete opposite, Marcie is the smart one of the duo—even if she doesn’t know the difference between baseball and hockey. She’s horrible at sports, but terrific at friendship, especially with Charlie Brown (whom she calls "Charles") and Peppermint Patty (whom she calls "sir").

For more on The Peanuts Movie visit http://www.peanutsmovie.com and follow The Peanuts Gang on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

For more on Rebecca be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Rebecca Bloom, the voice of "Marcie"1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress? My brother was in a production of Annie and I was asked to be one of the orphans. After that, I was hooked.

2. Your latest role is going to be playing "Marcie" in The Peanuts Movie, which was one of my favorite cartoon specials/comic strips growing up. What made you want to audition for this movie? When the audition came in I was happy to be auditioning. But, the fact that it was for a chance to portray a Peanuts character made it extra special and motivated me to the max.

3. What do you identify most with about "Marcie"? "Marcie" has the guts to say what she thinks and looks at the positive side of people’s personalities. She adores "Charlie Brown" for being so unique.

4. Prior to auditioning for this movie, were you a fan of The Peanuts gang? If so, what is it like now to be starring in a movie based upon a cartoon you grew up watching? Yes I was. My mom has a vintage Peanuts book and she has been reading it to me since I was very young. It is very cool that I can be the voice of a character that I have loved for years.

5. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see The Peanuts Movie, what would that reason be? The new Peanuts movie is going to be the biggest one yet. It will have cool new music and be available in 3D.

Rebecca Bloom, Photo Credit: Cathryn Farnsworth6. You got your big break at the age of seven, when you starred in an Apple iPhone 5 commercial, which lead to a string of other national commercials. What do you enjoy most about filming commercials? What is it like to see your commercial on TV? Shooting commercials has given me the opportunity to work with new people. I have made some very good friends from working on them. It's always a different experience to actually see the commercial air and see how it was put together.

7. After much commercial work, you started doing voice overs. Your first voice over work was "Masha" for the TV series Masha and The Bear. What was this experience like for you? Playing "Masha" was an incredible learning experience. I had to learn how to match my dialogue to the animated character on the screen. It was my first time doing that.

8. In addition to being an actress, you are also going to school. How do you balance acting and school? Some of your extracurricular activities include basketball, singing, and guitar. Who are some singers and guitarists you look up to? I always share my school work with my set teachers. When I am on a set and away from class, I get assignments from my school teachers so I can stay current.

The Peanuts Gang9. You are also involved in several charities that help homeless animals. What made you want to give your time to this important cause? Seeing the movie Blackfish made me feel bad for Orcas and Dolphins so I have decided to speak out on their behalf. "Cats and Dogs should live with people. Orcas and Dolphins belong in the open ocean not in cages."

10. What's the best advice you've received so far? To always be prepared when auditioning and working. My dad has always said that working as an actor is a privilege and I believe that.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would like to be able to fly.

12. If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be? I would like to play Minnie Mouse.

Rebecca Bloom, Photo Credit: Cathryn FarnsworthMore on Rebecca:

Rebecca Bloom is a phenomenal young American actress from California, who caught the acting bug at the tender age of seven. Her first role was in a TV commercial for Apple’s iPhone 5. That commercial launched a successful string of other national commercials. Soon after, she and her parents discovered that Rebecca has a very unique voice. So they decided to put her in the direction of a voice over career. Her first voice over work was the role of "Masha" in the TV series Masha And The Bear. That series opened doors to the next biggest opportunity in her career where she landed the role of "Marcie" in the upcoming animated feature film The Peanuts Movie. She then discovered her natural funny bone, which led her to pursue improv at the LA Comedy Connection. Her goal is to continue landing roles in animation and comedy projects. While acting, Rebecca attends a regular school where she plays basketball, sings, and studies guitar.

Rebecca is also heavily involved in several charity organizations, which helps homeless animals. Some of these organizations include "PETA" and "The Orca Project." In addition, Rebecca has a big Labrador dog named "Junior" and two kittens. Her goal is to be involved in several other animal rights organizations.