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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Interview (36)

Tuesday
Oct032017

Call Redialed: Alison Fraser: "Squeamish" by Aaron Mark, All For One Theater

After providing coverage for Aaron Mark's two previous plays Empanada Loca & Another Medea, I'm so excited to get the inside scoop on his third psychological horror play, Squeamish, in this new interview with the show's star, two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser! Alison & Aaron have known each other for several years now, so it's rather exciting to hear about their collaboration and find out how Alison prepares herself every night for this darkly twisted adventure!

Squeamish is the tale of an Upper West Side psychoanalyst, a long-time recovering alcoholic whose bloody quest for personal balance begins when she finds herself in the South Plains of Texas, off her meds, after her nephew's suicide.

Squeamish, produced by All For One Theater, will play The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) from October 6-November 11. Click here for tickets!

For more on Alison be sure to visit http://alisonfraser.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. You are currently starring in All For One Theater's production of Aaron Mark's psychological horror play Squeamish. First, how did you and Aaron come to know each other? What does it feel like to have a role written specifically for you? Aaron and I met when he was assistant directing a reading that I was doing. I believe he was 18 or 19. Five years after this reading he contacted me about a part he had written for me in an excellent little indie film called Commentary he was directing. I read the script, and immediately fell madly in love with his writing. I accepted the role, and have continued to work with him ever since. Having a role written for you is a huge honor of course, and I have been incredibly lucky to have worked on many original plays and musicals for some of the greatest writers around. When you are involved in the creation of a piece, naturally pieces of you end up in the finished product, but my artistic connection with Aaron is very deep. He obviously sees something intriguing in me because he has written five pieces, all of them quite dark, specifically for me. One was very much inspired by a jarring incident in my life -- Deer - a wonderfully funny and scary play about the crazed deer that tried to commit suicide on my car. It's being produced around the country now, and has been published by Dramatists Play Service. Now, thanks to #TheTwistedMindOfAaronMark (yes I came up with that hashtag and he likes it) the deer did not die in vain-now he belongs to the ages. And as for having had Aaron write the astonishing Squeamish for me? He's plumbing depths I had no idea I possessed. It’s thrilling, and more than a little frightening. He saw that in me?

2. What has been the best part about working with Aaron? How does his vision as a playwright line up with what you look for in looking for parts to play? Not only is Aaron a sensational writer and a highly skilled director, he is one of the sweetest, smartest, funniest hardest working people I have ever met. The best part of working with Aaron is getting to be in the room with him every day.

As for his plays? They are exactly what plays should be--inventive, original, dangerous, passionate and challenging. 45-pages-of-solo-dialogue challenging. Who was it that said if theatre doesn't scare you it's not worth doing? With Squeamish, I am shaking in my shoes.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of hers that you are glad you don't possess yourself? I relate to "Sharon's" sense of wonder and discovery, her need to explore what makes her tick, her independence, and of course her low key New York fashion savvy.

As for part two of the question? I am seriously glad that aside from that little pill glitch mentioned below, addiction does not seem to be in my tool belt.

4. How do you prepare yourself mentally & physically for such a heavy show each night? I stopped drinking completely for this show, because I realized I needed all the brain cells I could possibly muster. I try to sleep well, and walk as much as possible. I eat very simple, usually home-prepared food, except for the insidious and delicious Reese's peanut butter eyeballs that keep showing up in rehearsal. They are addictive, which is apropos of our show.

And as for mentally? I will go through the show at home before I perform at night, just to make sure all the pieces are in right order. I already do it on the street & a lot and people are starting to give me a wide berth.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Squeamish? I hope after seeing Squeamish people come away with the feeling that they have just seen a world premiere of a play by an important new playwright, and the realization that actors can indeed (hopefully) hold single court for an hour and a half or so just by telling a compelling, beautifully written story. Not all theatre needs the Phantom’s chandelier.

6. Your character is long-time recovering alcoholic. Have you ever been addicted to anything? If so, how did you recover? I had about a year in my life when a very bad doctor would call in Xanax and Prednisone prescriptions for me whenever I asked for it. Recovery? I think the show that was stressing me out closed, and my anxiety waned and I didn't have to belt long high notes for a while so I just stopped taking the pills.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova7. "Sharon" is also on a quest to find personal balance. How do you find the balance between work and personal life? Right now my work life is my personal life because of the nature of the Squeamish beast. I basically live like a hermit and am zero fun, because of the daunting task I face. But I am looking forward to the time when I can get out to my sweet little place in the country again and relax without words words words occupying my brain. And reading a book again will be nice. And oh for a glass of fine red wine!

8. The character you play is a psychoanalyst. If you had to psychoanalyze yourself, what is something you feel you need to change about yourself to improve your life? I really have to stop taking politics so seriously because it has led me in this past year down a dark dark path. My doctor and I are working on it. Switching from the constant CNN feed to an occasional Modern Family helps. Temporarily.

9. Since the show is titled Squeamish, what makes you most squeamish? Easy answer. Salt pork. I wish it didn't exist in the world because even the thought of it makes my skin crawl. And don't even get me started on fried pork rinds.

More on Alison:

Alison Fraser was recently seen as "Mommy" in Lila Neugebauer’s production of Edward Albee’s The Sandbox and "The Landlady" in Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro at The Signature Theatre, in addition to "Nancy Reagan" and "Betty Ford" in Michael John LaChiusa’s First Daughter Suite at the Public Theater, for which she was nominated for both a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award. She is a two-time Tony Award nominee for The Secret Garden and Romance/Romance. Other Broadway roles includes "Dorine" in Tartuffe at Circle-In-The-Square, "Helena" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and "Tessie Tura" in Arthur Laurents’ production of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone. She has created many roles Off-Broadway including "Arsinoé" in David Ives’ The School For Lies, "Sister Walburga" in Charles Busch’s The Divine Sister, "Jessie" in Terrence McNally’s Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams, "The Matron" (opposite Shirley Knight) in the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ In Masks Outrageous and Austere, "Trina" in William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and In Trousers, and "Miss Drumgoole" in Todd Rundgren’s Up Against It. Film and TV credits include the new SyFy series Happy! opposite Chris Meloni, High Maintenance, Happyish, Smash, It Could Be Worse, Impossible Monsters, Blowtorch, Socks and Bonds, Understudies, Jack in A Box, and The Thing About My Folks opposite Peter Falk and Paul Reiser. She has been heard on thousands of radio and television commercials, hundreds of audiobooks, and dozens of albums, including three solo efforts: A New York Romance, Men In My Life, and Tennessee Williams: Words and Music.

Thursday
Sep282017

Call Answered: Sam Greisman: "Dinner with Jeffrey" at NewFest LGBT Film Festival

Sam GreismanSometimes a tweet by Sally Field, one of your idols, about her son's film, leads to your next interview. "October 21st. My son's (@SAMGREIS) funny, touching short is playing at @NewFestNYC. Go see it if you can!" After I took a look at the film's description, I called & Sam Greisman answered.

Sam Greisman is a rising film writer/director. As excited as he was I asked for an interview, I'm even more delighted to provide a platform to promote his film Dinner with Jeffrey, which he wrote & directed about a teen who's struggling after coming out when his gay uncle tries to teach him about the "gay lifestyle."

It was great talking with Sam about this film, learning about his creative process, coming out struggles, and so much more!

Dinner with Jeffrey will be playing in NewFest, NYC's premiere LGBT film festival on Saturday, October 21 at 11am in their Shorts Program: Boy Shorts at Cinépolis Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street, between 7th & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Sam follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/producer/director? Well, my whole family is in the business in some form or other. So I'm not sure if one individual person inspired me to be in film. It's really just all I know. What I grew up with. The only way I know how to live, basically.

2. This October, your short film, Dinner with Jeffrey, is part of NewFest, New York's LBGT Film festival. What made you want to write Dinner with Jeffrey as a short as opposed to a feature film? I wrote and directed Dinner with Jeffrey as part of my coursework at Columbia Film School - I graduate in May. So it wasn't really an option to make this as anything other than a short, that was really just how the concept came about.

3. Why did you want it to be part of NewFest? What do you feel this film festival will offer your short that another one might not? I know NewFest has a really great reputation among the LGBT community. They show a lot of great stuff and I'm really just glad to be included with all the other work. I'm pretty new to getting my stuff out there, so any opportunity, especially in New York is huge.

Owen Campbell in "Dinner with Jeffrey"4. Dinner with Jeffrey is about a young teen who is struggling to fit in after just coming out when his uncle tries to teach him about the "gay lifestyle." What was the most challenging part of the short to write and was was the easiest? Well, the short is based on something that happened to me shortly after I came out at 19, so I guess most of the dinner stuff was the easiest, but taking reality and turning it into something that felt like a story was definitely the challenge.

5. What did you learn about your own coming out experience from writing this short that you didn't know while you were going through it? I'm not sure that I learned this while making it, but I definitely think it's the message of the film and I learned it as I was coming out, which is that coming out doesn't necessarily mean one's own work is done. There's still a lot of figuring out and messiness happening. That's kind of what the short is about.

Reed Birney and Javier Spivey in "Dinner with Jeffrey"6. Looking back, I think, one of the funniest things my dad said to me, though at the time, this was him processing what I just told him, my dad said, "So you would rather look at a picture of a naked man instead of a naked woman?" and I said, "Yes." He said, "Ok." What was something, that looking back, you felt was the funniest thing one of your parents said to you after you came out, but at the time it was their way of processing that you were gay? I think my parents processed the fact that I was gay by the time I was five years old, so I kinda wish I could hear what they were saying to each other and my brothers about it then, because by the time I came out, they were more like "Ok, great, good job, lets go eat." Although when I was twenty, my grandmother did ask me if I had "taken a lover yet" and when I told her "Eww, please don't use that word," she said "why that's what all my friends called it when were in our 20s" (which was sometime in the 40s), which I thought was pretty cool.

7. How do you feel this short will help teens with their own coming out? Ha. I'm not sure that this film will help teens with their coming out, honestly. I think it's something someone should watch after they come out. Maybe future films of mine will deal with the actual coming out process and all that entails.

Javier Spivey and Owen Campbell in "Dinner with Jeffrey"8. Like the main character, "Oliver," who feels he must change who he is to fit in with the gays, was there a time in your life when you felt you had to change who you were to fit in? When did you realize you are perfect just the way you are? I definitely remember feeling VERY conflicted when I was in my teens. Realizing I was gay and really the only kids I knew that were out, didn't share my interests and I felt like I had to fit into some kind of stereotype because I was gay and I couldn't just be myself. I also think the early 2000s were such a different time than now, which is saying something since it hasn't been that long at all. I'm not sure if I ever felt perfect just the way I am, but only cuz I am naturally a very anxious person.

Owen Campbell and Javier Spivey in "Dinner with Jeffrey"9. If you had to describe Dinner with Jeffrey with a Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, & Cyndi Lauper song, what songs of theirs would you use? Wow. I don't think any of them have songs that basically just mean, everyone is the worst and life sucks. But if they did I would choose that one, cuz that's the best way to describe the film ha. I'm sure Gaga will get around to a song like that eventually. If she gets to like, a Joni Mitchell phase or something.

10. Since the short is called Dinner with Jeffrey, if could you have dinner with 5 of your favorite gay icons/influencers, who would you invite? What would you serve? And some would say, most importantly, what would you wear? Tough. Truman Capote, Laura Dern, Jane Fonda, Reese Witherspoon (she's on her way to being a gay icon) and Troye Sivan (cuz I have a crush on him). I wouldn't serve food. All booze and weed.

Sam GreismanMore on Sam:

29-year-old Sam Greisman grew up in West Los Angeles and has lived in New York City for the last nine years, since he moved there to attend undergrad at NYU. After years of running from the pressure of the family business, every member of his immediate family is in someway involved with television or filmmaking in some capacity, he discovered that storytelling is inescapably in his DNA.

He is currently in his thesis years as a Screenwriting/Directing concentrate at Columbia University. So far his scripts and films have dealt with his experiences as a young gay man, a very cynical young gay man and his feelings of not fitting in with the gay community.

Tuesday
Sep052017

Call Redialed: Sir Ari Gold: "POP OUT" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Sir Ari GoldIt's so great to catch up with Sir Ari Gold, Billboard Top 10 award winning recording artist. I have been a fan of Ari's since the 1980s, when he was a child actor voicing characters on Jem and the Holograms and The Cabbage Patch Kids. It's been a real joy watching Ari's star rise. I always love interviewing Ari because he goes in deep, telling it like it is.

This time around, Ari & I discuss his new one-man show POP OUT, about becoming the first openly gay chart-topping pop singer-songwriter. In the 80’s, Ari Gold, a closeted orthodox Jewish boy from The Bronx, is discovered singing at his brother’s bar mitzvah…setting the stage for becoming America’s First Openly Gay Pop Star. From doing child voices for Cabbage Patch Kids and Jem and the Holograms to performing with Diana Ross and RuPaul, Ari's paradoxical, emotional, musical memoir tells a story of family & religion, sex & pop, and the search for a community of one’s own. When a community renders you invisible, there’s only one choice: POP OUT.

POP OUT will play for one night only on Sunday, September 17 at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, in the basement of the West Bank Cafe). Click here for tickets!

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

1. Last time we spoke in 2012 you were premiering your one-man show Bashert at NYMF. Now, this September you are coming to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with POP OUT, a brand-new show about becoming the first openly gay chart-topping pop singer-songwriter. Did performing Bashert inspire POP OUT or were you working on POP OUT already? Bashert was autobiographical, as is POP OUT, and both traced my journey from being a child performer to being an openly gay pop singer. But POP OUT is way more personal and I discovered why I am telling this story right now. The show is really about community and the ways in which we both need community and yet are often injured most by our own communities that reject us-sometimes even the "community" that is our own families.

It took a long time and many rewrites to discover and it also took life happening. Someone I loved very much had to die in order for me to be able to write about the relationship. And I have David Drake to thank for getting the piece to this place, as well as a reading I did for New York Theater Workshop. What I didn’t anticipate was the turn of events in our government that make the show that much more relevant.

2. Like me, you grew up in the 80s. The acceptance of gays was very different back then than it is now. When did you first realize you were gay? How long after this discovery did you come out to your family? My awareness of my gayness was a process that started as soon as I can remember being alive. It mostly manifested in me liking things only girls were supposed to like and only became about sex and an attraction to men later on. I came out to to my family as soon as I was able to leave the confines of the orthodox Jewish community which was in college. I wrote an 18-page handwritten college ruled coming out letter with additional reading materials stapled to the back, handed them each a copy and read it to them outloud. I talk about it in the show.

Sir Ari Gold3. As a gay man, navigating his way through the music world, how do you feel being closeted growing up affected your work or the choices you made along the way? When did you decide to come out in the music business? What happened that made you go, "Now is the time to tell the world?" Getting politicized in college at NYU, reading queer theory, my relationship with Jose Munoz, it all really helped solidify the kind of artist I wanted to be. I knew I had to be the kind of openly gay pop singer I didn’t have growing up. But I don’t think I grasped how many gay men who were older than me, who had survived AIDS, also needed to see a proud out young gay man. And then there were gays in the industry who I believe were too traumatized to appreciate and understand what I was doing—especially those in the music industry. They were scared that the world was still not ready. All I knew is that I was ready. The chutzpah of youth!

4. After you came out, what fell into place for you that you were hoping would? Came out of the closet or came out as an artist? The fact that the LOGO network debuted my video during the commercial breaks for the launch of their network definitely helped bring me to a larger audience. There’s nothing like TV and we didn’t have YouTube then! After I came out of the closet I was hoping I’d have hot sex with men and that has definitely happened!

5. If you were growing up today/just starting out in your career, what barriers/challenges that you faced, do you feel you would not have had to go through because of the world we live in? Well, now because of YouTube and social media, it would have been even easier to get my music out. But early internet did help me by having arigold.com in the 90’s and even myspace! Back in 2005 I worked with a book publisher to get my CD in a coffee table book so that I can get my music out in stores cause there wasn’t any other way except to buy a CD in a store. I also think with artists like Sam Smith, Adam Lambert and viral sensations like Steve Grand, and quite frankly because of the barriers that I worked so hard to break myself, we are more comfortable with the idea of an openly gay artist. Although we still have a huge lack of representation in music. Also, so many more people know that homophobia is wrong thanks to greater representation on TV and such. When I was doing my thing, there really was no one else doing it in the pop world and I still often don’t get the credit for that. It even used to say I was the first American openly gay artist to be out from the beginning of my career on Wikipedia and then someone took it down. It was a whole debate on whether it was true or not. I loved it. I also loved that no one could prove that it wasn’t true.

Sir Ari Gold6. While you hid your sexuality growing up, did you feel you had to hide or play down the fact you were an Orthodox Jew as well? How did being so religious come into play, like, did you sacrifice your religion to work on Shabbat or one of the Jewish holidays? As a kid my parents turned down a lot of work that took place on Shabbat. I remember my Mom taking me on the subway during a holiday for a job, I think it was Sukkoth, and it felt very rebellious and sinful. You can say I received some mixed messages regarding the importance of religion over show business. I did take my Yarmulke off for jobs and tucked in my tzitzit. I was also considered too ethnic to be on camera which you’ll learn about in the show from my actual parents.

7. You've had quite a ride on your journey in pop music. As a kid you were doing child voices for The Cabbage Patch Kids and Jem and the Holograms to performing with Diana Ross & RuPaul. Everything we do in life leads us to where we are, but do you feel there was one thing in particular on your journey that if it did not happen, you would not be where you are? Well I think I’d be a lot further in my career had HBO not stolen my brand with the show Entourage! But I am where I am not because I've ever had a big break or I’ve doing something that made the zeitgeist. It's because I keep working, making music, telling my story and putting it out there and allow it to touch whoever its meant to. It’s what I was put here on earth to do. I’m lucky enough to know that.

8. Now that you are an adult, how do religion and sexuality come into play in your professional life? How do you navigate this business differently than before? I am not religious anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t have reverence for many of its traditions and rituals. And I also have reverence for breaking the traditional and subverting a ritual. Like wearing teffelin naked in "My Favorite Religion."

9. I'm in the midst of my writing my own one-man show all about my dating life. I feel that show will help release my demons/ghosts of my past relationships. What do you feel writing this show released for you? I realized that I cannot contain my story only in the form of a long form pop record - a form I still love despite a singles driven that’s been going on way too long! Writing and performing this show is Madonna "Blond Amebition level "cathartic" for me every time. I learn so much.

10. What would Ari Gold today tell Ari Gold of yesterday? Yesterday as in Monday? Yesterday as in my 30’s? My 20’s? My teens? My childhood? I’d probably tell them all to forgive myself for the shame and guilt I felt about stuff that was never my fault.

11. I have a new segment in my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I like to clear up misconceptions about people. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about you that you would like to shoot down here and now? I was doing a phone interview and this journalist asked me the same question. And then she said, "You know like people who think you’re stuck up." OK, then, I guess people say that! I've read some nasty comments online that I know I shouldn’t read too. But I know how much feedback I get for being a good kind hearted person especially from the people I care most about, so I know what they say about me can’t be true. I’m an Aquarius, so we can be a bit hard to read. RuPaul always says I couldn’t hurt a fly. I hope that’s a compliment!

12. 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? Kindness and appreciation toward my apparent imperfections.

Sir Ari GoldMore on Ari:

Award Winning Billboard Top 10 Recording Artist SIR ARI GOLD was born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish household in the Bronx with his brothers Elon and Steven. His show-business career started at age six when he recorded a CBS Children’s Record Pot Belly Bear: Songs & Stories and made his national TV debut on the Joe Franklin Show. He went on to sing on over 400 TV jingles including voices for characters on Jem and the Holograms, Cabbage Patch Kids, and singing with Diana Ross on her Swept Away album. Ari also recorded many Jewish children’s music like 613 Torah Avenue and Uncle Moishe. He released his eponymous debut album in 2000, receiving critical attention from Billboard, Hits and Vibe for being the first openly gay pop singer who was out in his music from the beginning of his career. He’s toured Europe, Canada and in over 50 cities across the US alongside Chaka Khan, Debbie Harry, and Cyndi Lauper. Ari holds a "Visionary Award" from the LGBT Academy Of Recording Arts and he was Knighted by the Imperial Court Of New York. "Make My Body Rock" from his fourth studio album Between the Spirit & the Flesh debuted at #1 on Logo making him the artist with the most #1’s since the networks launch in 2005. His Billboard Top 10 and #1 Sirius/XM Radio dance hit, "Where The Music Takes You" was voted Logo’s #1 Video of the Year and is the Grand Prize Winner (in all genres) of the 12th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. "I’m All About You" co-written with hitmaker Desmond Child and released by Universal Records saw Ari perform on the legendary Top Of The Pops and gave him another Top 10 hit. Ari’s coffee table book and remix CD, released in 25 countries, includes contributions by Boy George and RuPaul. Ari is an Independent Music Award Winner (Best R&B Song, "Love Wasn’t Built In a Day" featuring Dave Koz), a 2x Outmusic Award Winner, one of the 25 People That Make Us Proud by Metro Source, one of Genre’s Men We Love, and Out Magazine's Out100 Most Influential.

Thursday
Apr272017

Call Answered: Emily Kratter: Dead End at Axis Theatre 

Emily Kratter, Photo Credit: David PerlmanAnother rising actress that has recently come to my attention is Emily Kratter. From theatre to film to TV, Emily is appearing everywhere! She's currently starring in Axis Theatre Company's revival of Sidney Kingsley's Dead End, a Broadway hit in 1936, which was later turned into a film starring Humphrey Bogart which included the first appearance of "The Bowery Boys" who went on to become the iconic "kid gang" of American movies.

Dead End takes place in a New York where tenement houses and luxury apartments stand side by side and extreme wealth and abject poverty intersect every day. Gangsters and bankers, prostitutes and lost children, failure and dreams of the future all live on this street. Axis Theatre Company illuminates these stark contrasts with an understanding of their mythology as well as their contemporary mirror in the city of today.

Dead End plays at Axis Theatre (1 Sheridan Square) through May 20. Click here for tickets!

For more on Emily be sure to visit http://www.emilykratter.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My earliest memory is seeing Peter Pan...I must have been four or five. "Peter" took off and started flying and it was magic. So, I guess at the time you can say I just wanted to fly? But now, I can tell you for sure that I am inspired every single day to stay a performer by my brilliant friends and collaborators and fellow artists. The theatre community in New York City inspires me.

2. This spring you are starring in Axis Company's production of Sidney Kingsley's Dead End, about the legendary kid gang, "The Bowery Boys" who grew up on the streets of NYC during the Great Depression. What made you want to be part of this show? Well, for one the Axis Company is a group of fearless artists who march to beat of their own drum and create stunning work that is unlike anything I've seen elsewhere. Their artistry is only matched by their hearts and overall awesomeness as humans whom I genuinely always want to be around...So there's that. Working with wonderful people is a huge factor. But also -- immediately when I read this script, I was so taken with the characters, particularly the kids. There is this raw energy that excited me. Their emotions live entirely on their sleeves. They are silly, and scared, and yearning, and manipulative, and just trying to survive. The piece has so much going on. Our director, Randy Sharp has said, "It's like there is one miracle after the next" and I feel that to be true. There's not one moment in the play that does not propel us forward and nobody is ever on even ground. I felt that potential in my first read.

3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one trait of theirs, you are glad you, yourself, don't have? Hmm well, "Milty" is hilarious. I think I definitely see elements of myself as a kid in him...He has a wild imagination that I know I had, and hope I still do. He is not self-conscious, and fully self-expressed and I love that, and it's a thrill to play. He also looks up to the gang leader, "Tommy" with such fierce admiration. I DEFINITELY did that as a kid. I had a group of older friends that I thought were the coolest. I upped my "cool" cred, just by being around them. As far as one trait I don't have? He is a SPAZ. And honestly, I guess I am too...but he takes it to a new level. I think I can say I'm not quite that bad...(I hope).

Cast of "Dead End", Photo Credit: Pavel Antonov4. How do you feel "The Bowery Boys" story resonates in today's world? Dead End takes place in the 1930s where luxury apartments and tenement housing stand side by side. It examines the intersection of wealth and poverty and at the heart of it is the impact on this gang of kids. It's astonishing how much and how little has changed since that time. I live on the west side of Manhattan where buildings of grandeur are going up every day, and at it's base lay homeless men and women. It is our hope that while these characters might have once been labeled as archetypes, "gangster," "prostitute," "lost boy" etc, that we are examining the humanity underneath. And that humanity, I think will resonate forever.

And one more point of note: While "The Bowery Boys" are certainly a pillar in this play, there are 14 ACTORS making up this ensemble. I'll repeat: This is a downtown theater that hired 14 ACTORS to produce this baby. I think that's awesome and worth emphasizing.

5. What is something you learned about "The Bowery Boys" in preparing for this show that made you go, "Oh wow, I wonder how I would have faired or what would I have done in this situation? Hmm...I'm not sure how to answer this question without giving too much away. But there is a theme regarding "survival of the fittest." How far are you willing to go to build the life you've dreamed of? Or how far are you willing to go to for love? For a friend who's in trouble? And what is that point when one makes the decision to do what's best for him/herself despite everything else?

Cast of "Dead End", Photo Credit: Pavel Antonov6. Since this story focuses on a kid gang, growing up, did you have your own gang or posse? Oh, I DID indeed. I was so lucky to have the most amazing friends growing up. Most of them are still my best friends today. I had a group of friends that I met doing theatre together, and now they are running the world -- they became attorneys and doctors and entrepreneurs and social workers and parents. Some have become successful actors too! And in school, I was in a group of five girls that were inseparable. We even had a name...We called ourselves, "PENT" because there were five of us. They are going to die a little when they read this. We are bonded for life...well, four of us...(long story).

7. In Dead End, gangsters and bankers, prostitutes and lost children, failure and dreams of the future all live on this street. If we break each of these categories down, when have you felt like a gangster, a banker, a prostitute, and a lost child? WOW. I guess I could most relate to the lost child... given these choices, I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I'm holding on to a hopefulness that I'm not going to let this world take from me. As for gangster? I'd be terrible...When I was in high school, my friend and I went through the turnstile together for the subway. A policeman grabbed us and told us not to do it again, and I think I had a panic attack. A banker? I think my soul would die if I worked in a cubicle. They work in cubicles right? or desks? I think I would die at a desk all day too. And prostitute? Yikes. Luckily things haven't gotten that rough yet...Ask me in a few years ;)

Emily Kratter, Photo Credit: David Perlman8. What are some of your dreams of the future? What are some of your failures of the past? I have had so much fun working on this show. It hasn't felt like work for one second. That's what I dream of...To have a fulfilling career "working" and never feeling the labor. To do what I love with the people I love. To tell stories that move people...to laughter or tears, whatever. To make some kind of impact and affect people by sharing these tales of flawed, broken, beautiful humans. I think at one point I told my parents I was going to double major when I was at NYU, have some sort of a "back up plan"...I failed at that promise. I'm not sure I even really tried, but shhh!

9. Let's play with the title of Dead End for a moment. What is a path or an idea you started out on, but unfortunately hit a "Dead End," with nowhere to go? I have gone through so many periods where I have wracked my brain and tried to trick myself into believing that perhaps I could be satisfied doing something else with my life. Something with more security, with structure. It's a dead end for sure. I think this crazy business is stuck with me for the long run.

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? That's amazing!! I love this!! There are SO many things!! But to keep things light, I need to sharpen my cooking skills. I have a crock pot I bought off of Amazon last year that's still in the box....well, it's actually out of the box, but that's as far as I got :( Terrible....Shameless plug: Our director Randy Sharp actually has a BRILLIANT cooking show on youtube called DINNER PARTY TONIGHT - One day I'll make her proud and replicate one of her to-die-for recipes. Ina Garten better watch out.

Emily Kratter, Photo Credit: David PerlmanMore on Emily:

Emily Kratter Favorite credits: Axis: Dead EndEvening – 1910, The Groundling and Solitary Light. Other Select NYC theatre/workshops: Confederates (LAByrinth Theater Co, The Lark/Workshop); Be More Chill (workshop/Dir. Scott Ellis); Death For Sydney Black (TerraNOVA Collective/Dir. Kip Fagan); Boomer's Millenial Hero StoryBelieber (TerraNOVA Collective/Groundbreakers); The Austerity of Hope (The Barrow Group); Greenwood (NYMF); Progress In Flying (The New Group/New Works); Pooka (Dramatists Guild/Playwrights Horizons); Five Second Chances (The Playwright's Realm/INK'D); The Physicists (Williamstown); The Holy Ghostly (Williamstown/workshop), The Children's Hour (APAC). Film:  Adelaide, Half Brother (Amazon/Itunes) TV: Unforgettable (CBS). Web: Fomo Daily NYU Tisch. 

Wednesday
Apr262017

Call Answered: Part 2: Facetime Interview with Michael Zam, writer of "Feud: Bette and Joan"

"Call Me Adam" and Michael Zam live at The Algonquin HotelIf you loved the finale of Feud: Bette and Joan, then be sure to check out the second part of my interview with Feud writer Michael Zam, who gives us the backstage stories that didn't make it into the show as well as some insight to Bette Davis and Joan Crawford!

Live from The Algonquin Hotel, Michael Zam and I go at it again with even more tales from Feud: Bette and Joan!

Click here to watch Part 1 of our interview!

For more on Feud: Bette and Joan be sure to visit http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/feud and follow the show on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Part 2 of "Call Me Adam's" Facetime interview with Feud: Bette and Joan writer Michael Zam:

Michael ZamMore on Michael:

Michael Zam, BFA/MFA, author of the Black-Listed screenplay, Best Actress, has been developed into the hugely popular and highly-acclaimed 8-part miniseries, Feud, for FX, starring Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis. He has also written scripts for DreamWorks, Plan B, and many others. Michael wrote the book for the Off-Broadway musical The Kid, based on Dan Savage’s memoir, which won the Jerry Bock Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre and the Outer Critics Circle Award. The musical was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Awards, and GLAAD Media Awards. Michael has been honored twice with the SPS Award for Teaching Excellence. He teaches screenwriting, film, and television writing at NYUSPS in the Center for Applied Liberal Arts.