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Entries in Kathie Lee Gifford (5)


Call Answered: Conference Call: The "Georgie" interviews: Ed Dixon, Eric Schaeffer & Kathie Lee Gifford

Ed Dixon has been on my radar for quite some time. I've been lucky enough to see him on Broadway in the original Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, and the 2011 revival of Anything Goes. But it was the enthusiasm of my friend Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf over his autobiography Secrets of a Life Onstage...and Off that really got me interested in Ed. I immediately purchased his book and could not put it down. Needless to say, I was over the moon when my call got answered to interview Ed about his new one-man tour de force show Georgie, about his friendship with actor George Rose. Ed's performance in Georgie is one of the most powerful I have seen in a long time! It's gripping from start to finish!

The best part about this interview was I got to conduct it at the opening night party for Georgie which afforded me the opportunity to not only interview Ed, but also Georgie's director Eric Schaeffer, and one of my long-time idols, Kathie Lee Gifford, whose work with both Ed and Eric as parlayed into a life-long friendship.

Ed Dixon's Georgie plays at The Loft at The Davenport Theatre through April 15 (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Ed be sure to visit and folllow him on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Georgie visit and follow the show on Instagram!

Ed Dixon in "Georgie", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggEd Dixon (Actor/Playwright):

1. What do you miss most about George? He was my connection to an entire world of show business: the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Dame Edith Evans and superstardom in the theatre. And in an instant, he was gone. We would go see openings together, the opera and for months after he died, I would go to the phone to call him because when someone disappears instantly like that with no warning, they just don’t leave you. Obviously no matter what you find out about them, if you love someone for 20 years that doesn’t leave you either. 

2. When you were performing at North Shore Music, you said that was the first time you actually felt as though George was your friend. What was that moment like? Let me tell you, George was not an easy person to get along with. When you see his interviews on line, there’s a great formality to him. He was born the same year as my father, in 1919. That’s a whole different level of gay. A whole different era of gay. Even in 1970, you weren’t allowed to be gay. Casting directors wouldn’t hire you, but he didn’t care. But there was a part of him that did because when you see the interviews, all that joyousness I’m trying to show, that I got personally, wasn’t in any of the interviews. They are very business like, which I found very fascinating.

Ed Dixon in "Georgie", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggGeorge Rose and Ed Dixon, Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi3. In Georgie, there’s a big twist in the show which I don’t want to give away in the interview, but when you found out about it, did your heart just sink? Let me tell you, it takes a long time for a thing like that to sink in. There's a picture of me George took while we were in the Dominican Republic and I look happy. I see that picture now and I go, "My God. That’s amazing." He’s been gone for 30 years. I couldn’t have done this play before. I had my own problems to deal with.

4. Do you think the death of George was the first step towards your own downward spiral? It would be very disingenuous to say that. It’s a very complicated thing when someone loses control of their life. There were many pieces to it. In truth, I had been on a bad road for a while, but it certainly doesn’t help when a good friend is murdered violently and you find out a horrible secret about them.

5. How did you pick-up your life after George’s death as well as the death of two of your other friends at that time? Show business saved my life. I went into treatment while I was working in the original Broadway run of Les Miserables and they gave me my job back. I went back into the biggest hit on Broadway and if I hadn’t, I don’t think I’d be alive today.

Ed Dixon and Director Eric Schaeffer, Photo Credit: Joseph MarzulloEric Schaeffer (Director):

1. As the director of Georgie, what attracted you to the project? Well, Ed…hahaha. We are good friends and because it’s such a personal story for Ed I think he wanted somebody he could trust. When he asked me, he said, "I’m writing this play. It’s a one-man show. It’s really personal to me. Would you do it?" I said "Absolutely!" And I hadn’t even read the play yet, but I think Ed is such a huge talent, not only as an actor, but as a writer/storyteller, so I wanted to be part of that.

2. You worked with Ed on Kathie Lee Gifford’s Under The Bridge as well as Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Sunset Boulevard. You’ve seen him grow as an actor over the course of his career. How do you think, in this show particularly, he’s grown from working with him previously? I think the hardest thing for Ed was to play multiple characters and not just one role. Plus, it’s such a personal story that it’s a challenge to know where the line was to say this was just enough and now it’s time to move on. In a rehearsal room, you have to be able to trust the person you are working with to say, "I trust you to tell me when it’s too much and when it’s not." I think the range of emotions, that Ed goes through, is probably the biggest thing he’s ever done.

3. For people who don’t know George Rose, what could be one reason, in addition to Ed’s incredible performance, they should come see this show? Anyone who loves theatre will love this show because it’s a real history through the theatre and it’s all about what the theatre was and is not anymore. It’s so exciting to re-live those moments to someone who actually lived through them originally.

Me: And it has that twist, which I don’t want to give away in the interview, but it’s like you’re watching the show and then bam, where did that come from and it’s such an emotional point, it’s so great. You did a really good job with keeping that hidden and just letting it drop.

Eric Schaeffer: It goes back to the writing. As Ed says in the play, "It’s all about the text."

Kathie Lee Gifford and Ed Dixon, Photo Credit: Joseph MarzulloKathie Lee Gifford (The Today Show):

1. You are here tonight to see Ed Dixon’s Georgie about his friendship with actor George Rose. You had cast Ed in your show Under The Bridge. What do you love about Ed? How did you initially meet? Ed was doing a reading with me of another project that I had written called Saving Aimee, which ended up being Scandalous on Broadway, but at the time, I had also written Under The Bridge, and I took one look at Ed and I said, "You’re my 'Armand' and Ed laughed at me and said OK!" He didn't even know who "Armand" was at that time, but that's what actors learn you to do. You tell them they are a character and they are like, Ok, I'm that character." He was just brilliant to work with and we have remained friends all these years.

2. How does everything come full circle for you by seeing Ed Georgie? You know, any time you are on the road or in rehearsals with Ed, he always has a gazillion stories. I had heard a couple of the stories through the years of his friendship with George Rose, but I’d never known the story in its entirety of how impactful it was on Ed, on his whole psyche, his whole being. How do you process the devastation of finding out something so heinous about the person you admire the most? That is the real question. This show, Ed’s performance, is a tour de force! I’m trying to remember a more unbelievably powerful performance by a man on stage that I’ve seen in my recent memory and I can’t.

Eric Schaeffer was my first director when I made my Broadway debut in Sondheim’s Putting It Together. He also directed Under The Bridge at The Zipper Theatre and then he was my very first, very important director on Saving Aimee as well. And Mary Cossette, one of the producers of Georgie is the widow of one of my husband’s (Frank Gifford) dearest friends, Pierre Cossette. So this is like old home week for me. I’m almost shaking with joy seeing all these extraordinary talented people I’ve been blessed to work with and call friends in my life.

Me: They’ve been lucky to work with you.

Kaithe Lee Gifford: Oh, I don’t know, you’d have to ask them…hahaha. I was the one who was new to the Broadway world and they welcomed me and encouraged me. You never forget the kindess of people.

Ed DixonMore on Ed:

Ed Dixon is the author/composer/lyricist of Shylock (The York Theatre) which garnered him his first Drama Desk Nomination. He wrote Richard Cory with A. R. Gurney, on a Steinberg Grant from Playwrights Horizons. It was nominated for a Leon Rabin Award for Best New Work and won the NYMF Festival Award and the Audience Prize. Cloak and Dagger, his four-person musical recently opened at the Signature Theatre in DC, helmed by artistic director, Eric Schaeffer. Dixon’s Fanny Hill was presented by the York Theater where it won a Dramalogue Award, two Dean’s List Awards and was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. Cather County which opened at Playwright’s Horizons won him a Leon Rabin Award at Lyric Stage in Dallas where it was also named best new theater work of 2000. Dixon’s grand farce, L’Hotel was given its premiere at Pittsburgh Public Theater last year by Producing Artistic Director, Ted Pappas. Ed’s comic thriller, Whodunit…The Musical has had countless productions all over the United States and he is the author of the highly successful book, Secrets of a Life Onstage…and Off.

As an actor, Ed made his Broadway debut in 1971 with No, No, Nanette starring Ruby Keeler and directed by Busby Berkeley. Six months later he was opening the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as a soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, a role he reprised on the recording and at the Metropolitan Opera. Other Broadway credits include "Belasco" in King of Schnorrers, "Cardinal Richelieu" in The Three Musketeers, "Thenardier" in the original company of Les Miserables (a role he played more than 1700 times), "The Baker" in Cyrano: The Musical, "Ozzy" in The Scarlet Pimpernel, "General Wetjoen" in The Iceman Cometh (with Kevin Spacey), "Senator Carlin" in The Best Man (he also went on for Charles Durning as "President Hockstader"), "Mister" in Sunday in the Park with George, "Max" in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, "Admiral Boom" in Mary Poppins, and "the Captain" in Anything Goes. On tour he was "Mssr. De Rougement" in David Merrick’s Very Good Eddie, "Charlemagne" in Pippin with Ben Vereen, "Max" in Sunset Boulevard, "the Governor of Texas" in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Ann-Margret, "Albert Blossom" in Doctor Doolittle, "the Director" in Curtains, "Max" in The Sound of Music and "Doolittle" in My Fair Lady. Off-Broadway he teamed up with Leonard Bernstein again (as well as Comden and Green) for By Bernstein, played opposite Bebe Neuwirth in Here Lies Jenny, joined Len Cariou and Roberta Maxwell in The Persians, and starred in Oliver QuadeHotel BroadwayIdentity and Shylock, all of which he wrote. He has received a Helen Hayes Award, and been nominated for a Drama Desk, a Joseph Jefferson, an Irne, and a Henry.

Eric SchaefferMore on Eric:

Eric Schaeffer is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.  Under his leadership, the Theatre was honored with the 2009 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theater in America, as well as 90 Helen Hayes Awards over the years, with an additional 340 nominations for theater excellence in Washington, DC.

At Signature, he has directed numerous productions that include Elmer GantryCloak and DaggerBeachesCrossingMiss SaigonSpinHello, Dolly! (Ford‘s Theatre co-production); The Best Little Whorehouse in TexasBrother RussiaHairspraySunset BoulevardChessShow BoatFirst You Dream: The Music of Kander & EbbThe HollowLes MisérablesACEKiss of the Spider WomanGlory Days; The Witches of EastwickSaving AimeeInto the WoodsMy Fair LadyNevermoreThe Highest YellowOne Red FlowerAllegroTwentieth Century110 in the ShadeHedwig and the Angry InchThe Gospel According to FishmanGrand HotelThe Rhythm ClubOver & OverThe FixWorkingThe RinkCabaretFirst Lady SuiteWingsPoor SupermanUnidentified Human Remains and The True Nature of Love; and the Sondheim musicals Merrily We Roll AlongSunday in the Park with George (Arena Stage co-production), PassionInto the WoodsCompanyAssassinsSweeney ToddFollies and Pacific Overtures, among others.

On Broadway, Eric directed Gigi, the critically acclaimed revival of Follies, as well as the Tony Award®-winning Million Dollar QuartetGlory Days and Putting It Together. His national tours include Million Dollar Quartet and Big. Off-Broadway, he has directed Sweet Adeline (City Center Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert) and Under the Bridge. His West End credits include Million Dollar Quartet and The Witches of Eastwick.

Kathie Lee GiffordMore on Kathie Lee:

Kathie Lee Gifford has enjoyed a diverse and successful four-decade career as a television host, actress, singer, playwright, songwriter and author. Though best known for her 15 years on Regis and Kathie Lee (11 Emmy nominations), and currently acting as the three time Emmy-winning co-host of the fourth hour of the Today Show with Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee has always pursued projects which inspire and challenge her.

In 2013, Kathie Lee launched her podcast, Kathie Lee & Company, with Podcast One. Each week, Kathie Lee is joined by a friend from the world of TV, film, music, sports and news for a special one-on-one conversation.

Kathie Lee made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim's Putting it Together in 2000, then originated the role of "Marta Dunhill" in Rupert Holmes' Thumbs and played "Miss Hannigan" in a record-breaking run of Annie at Madison Square Garden. In 2005 her first musical Under The Bridge (book and lyrics, contributing composer) opened off Broadway. In November of 2012, her musical, Scandalous (book/lyrics) opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theater and received a Tony nomination.

She is the NY Times best-selling author of many books including, Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg-Life and Other Calamities, Party Animals, and The Legend of Messy M’Cheany. Her ninth book, The Three Gifts, was released in November 2012 with proceeds going to Childhelp. She currently writes a weekly article for the NY Daily News with Hoda Kotb.

Kathie Lee devotes much of her time to the Association to Benefit Children, which spawned the Cody Foundation. The resources from the Association continue to support Cody House and Cassidy’s Place. Cody House provides a transitional home for infants and children who have severe disabilities and serious medical problems. Named for Kathie Lee's daughter, Cassidy’s Place, is the home of the Association to Benefit Children’s (ABC) national children advocacy.


Call Answered: Janine Nina Trevens: TADA! Youth Theater

Janine Nina Trevens"Call Me Adam" chats with TADA! Youth Theater founder Janine Nina Trevens about celebrating TADA's! 30th Anniversary. We discuss TADA's! current season of shows, the founding of TADA!, TADA's! hardships, celebrations, and accomplishments!

Their latest production of this anniversary season is Princess Phooey, which will play from July 10-August 1. Princess Phooey is a musical fairy tale like no other with a rebellious princess, and a gaggle of kooky chambermaids and stable boys- and of course a handsome prince! Click here for tickets!

For more on TADA! be sure to visit and follow them Facebook and Twitter!

1. TADA! Youth Theater is currently celebrating its 30th Anniversary. What does this milestone mean to you? Did you ever expect that when you opened TADA's! doors in 1984, that you'd be celebrating 30 years of shows, education, and entertainment for families? I am lucky that I have been able to do this work for the last 30 years. I love meeting and working with these talented kids year after year. I can't imagine my life without TADA!

I honestly can't believe it's been 30 years. I'm shocked and honored. It's hard work - keeping a non-profit theater going year after year. The fundraising is what's hard -- not the programming. I have many more ideas for new musicals and know great writers. There are always so many kids auditioning for TADA!, and taking our classes, and schools that want our programs. It's just very hard to raise the money needed to support the programs. TADA! is currently looking for additional Board Members who can help.

When I started TADA! in 1984, I didn't think about the future. I was 23 and I just knew that I wanted to create TADA!. I wanted to give kids and teens a theater that was created for them to share their talent, to learn, to help make growing up a little easier, and be a part of a second family. I also wanted to develop new musicals specifically for family audiences and performed by kids and teens 8 - 18. I'm glad TADA! has been able to stick to our mission and programming.

Janine Nina Trevens and TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble2. Going back to the beginning of TADA!, what made you initially want to start a place for professional children's theatre? Did you always have in mind to also have an educational component to TADA!? I majored in psychology and education in college. I knew I wanted to work with kids to help make growing up easier by giving them a place to feel better about who they are. During school I started to work in the theater as a stage manager. I realized that I wanted to direct and create new musicals and that I wanted to do that with kids and teens because they were my passion.

I believe theater is educational - it makes people think, explore new topics and ideas and dreams. TADA!'s in-school programs began right away. At that time we were in one school. Our on-site classes and camps began a few years after that - these are TADA!'s greatest source of earned income and help TADA! meet its yearly budget.

3. How do you generally decide which shows you want to produce at TADA!? I'm lucky at TADA! that we get to produce our musicals more than once since our audience is comprised of families with young children ages 3 - 12. As our audience gets older there are always new kids to come and see our shows.

So, I decide which revivals it's time to do again and then I always like to have at least one world premiere a year. I look at the composition of our Ensemble  - the actors who are part of TADA!'s free year-long theater training and youth development program - and pick musicals that are right for their talents. I also like to do at least one production per season for our older audience members.

4. Since this year is TADA's! 30th Anniversary. What made you want to produce Everything About A Family (almost), The Trials of Alice in Wonderland, and Princess Phooey, which will be playing from July 10-August 1, for this special anniversary season? This season was the first of the two-year 30th Anniversary Celebration of TADA! so I decided, along with Joanna Greer, TADA!'s Associate Artistic Director, to revive three musicals from our repertoire that explore growing up since TADA! is celebrating a big birthday. The first was "Everything About" A Family (almost), which was conceived a number of years ago by members of the Ensemble at that time. TADA! has a series of Everything About musicals and this was one that we hadn't done in a number of years so it was time to do it again. The Trials of Alice in Wonderland also hadn't been produced in 12 years and we had the talent that was right this year to produce that again. Both of those musicals explore the theme of growing up and family which is also true of Princess Phooey, so we decided that would be a great show to round out the season.

Joanna suggested that next year honor me so we're producing two shows that I wrote - Odd Day Rain with Deirdre Broderick and The Little House of Cookies with Joel Gelpe which was our very first show. We are also doing Everything About TADA! (almost) to celebrate 30 years of original work.

5. What are some of your favorite moments from the past 30 years? Getting to know the kids and the families  and watching kids grow up. Working with writers creating new musicals. Writing Odd Day Rain with Deirdre Broderick. Watching a show develop over the course of the run. Seeing a shy kid transform on stage through becoming a character.

Watching families who never would have met get to know each other through TADA! and become close friends.

Cast of "Princess Phooey"6. What have you learned about yourself from running TADA!? I can stick with something for a long time. I truly care about children and want them to be successful and feel good about themselves. I want them to realize that they have a voice and can do things now as kids and not have to wait until they grow up. I have very strong opinions about education and how the current system is not working for our kids - especially those who are creative.

7. 30 years is a long time to keep a theatre going strong. Have you had any struggles over the past 30 years and if so, how did you overcome these struggles? Running a non-profit theater is like riding a roller-coaster - there are a lot of ups and downs - it's harder going up and faster going down but you know there's another hill up ahead. There just isn't an end to the ride. I used to think there was going to be a time when it would all be smooth sailing but that hasn't come yet and I don't think that it will.

Fundraising is a constant struggle. TADA! is looking to expand its Board of Directors which will help with fundraising and networking. The more people who know about TADA! the more people who can help us.

A personal struggle was keeping TADA! going while I was going through chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma which I actually had twice. I remember getting up and staying in my pajamas and calling groups to book them to come see our show.

8. If you could have any child or adult actor/actress come perform at TADA!, who's on your wish list? I always think who I would like to see in the audience or on our Board because I know they love musical theater and/or see how the arts can change kids live. Those people are Whoopi Goldberg, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kelly Ripa, Raven Simone, Rosie Perez, Brooke Shields, then there are the celebrities who have kids that are the right age to be in our audience and who knows maybe one of them would audition to be in the Ensemble: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Michael Strahan, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Christine Taylor and Ben Stiller, Katie Holmes, and Michelle Williams. There are many more and all are welcome - these are just the names that came to mind right now.

I look forward to doing something with our Alum both the famous actors and those working actors and musicians and dancers that aren't household names -  Kerry Washington, Josh Peck, Jordan Peele, Ricki Lake, Azealia Banks, Sasha Allen, Mizuo Peck, Amar Ramasar, Adam and Ryan Metzger of AJR, Aurora Nonas-Barnes, Sean Nelson, Laurence Mason, Kyra and Tori Green, and Victoria Platt Tilford are just some of our talented working Alum.

There are also composers that I would love to have write for TADA! - both Jason Robert Brown and Jeanine Tesori are past TADA! Musical Directors. They are both so busy and sooooo talented and I hope someday will write a show for us. Also, Stephen Schwartz who is a member of TADA!'s Artistic Advisory Board as is lyricist Sheldon Harnick. I would be honored if any of these talented people would write a show for TADA!.

9. What do you see for TADA! in the next 30 years? I see TADA! doing five productions a year so that we could have shows for specific age audience members. I also want to do inter-generational productions meaning that the actors are of all different ages - kids through adults. These would be musicals and plays as well as dance productions. I see TADA! to have it's own building where the classes, camps and performances take place, a second stage to do readings and workshops of new works, house the offices, have a set and costume shop so kids interested in work off the stage could be involved and learn. I'd also love to have a cafe on site so families would come to eat and then take class or watch a show. I also see TADA! having an endowment and a cash-reserve so that finding money or loans would not have to take up so much time and allow staff to think big picture and creatively more often. I also see the musicals that we have created being produced at other theaters, camps and schools across the country and internationally. I would love to do more co-productions with other youth theaters and to take the Ensemble Members to visit and work at other youth theaters both nationally and internationally. I could go on and on with this answer.

10. If you had to give someone one reason as to why they should come to a show at TADA! what would that reason be? It's fun and it's really good. It's an hour of great original musical theater written by talented playwrights, composers and lyricists and performed by extraordinary kids and teens that the whole family can enjoy for less than the price of one ticket to a Broadway show.


11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Hard question. If you loan someone money think of it as a gift and be happy if and when it comes back to you because friendship is more important than money.

Did you want advice about work or theater?  If you can, do work that you love. Realize that there are parts of every job that you won't like, but if you love why you're doing it, then it is easier to get up and go to work everyday.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Sometimes, I think I'm already pretty good at being invisible - I'm actually trying to be better at being seen and heard. I always wanted to be Bewitched, but I don't think she had super powers, she had witch powers. Teleportation would be great - I hate spending time getting to places. I just want to be at my next location doing what I need to do there.

Janine Nina TrevensMore on Janine Nina Trevens:

Co-founded TADA! in 1984 with Linda Reiff. She has served as the Artistic Director for all of the works produced by TADA!, many of which she commissioned specifically for the company. For TADA!, she has written Heroes, The Little House of Cookies, Sweet Sixteen as well as Odd Day Rain and The Perfect Monster with composer/Lyricist Deirdre Broderick and The History Mystery. She directs many of TADA!’s musicals, numerous staged readings and Ensemble appearances at various locations and events in and around NYC. Nina was selected as one of 10 Parenting Leaders by Parenting Magazine, and she was one of only five women nationally to receive Family Circle’s First Annual Halo Award for women who make a difference. She has served on funding panels for NYSCA, DCA, ART/NY and TCG and is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. 


Caroline Selia

"One Hot Kitchen" Cast, Photo Credit: KadeemaBK PhotographyPhoto Credit: Artina AbrahamCaroline Selia is a rising singer and actress who is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduated with Honors from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University and completed her Masters of Music degree at the University of Tennessee where she was a member of the Knoxville Opera Studio Apprenticeship Program. She was recently the leading lady in two new electronica opera pieces: "Wednesday Before Last, "written by Kristin Hevner, Daniel Wyatt, and Royce Vavreck and "XOXMas: An Electronica Opera" by Kirsitn Hevner, Daniel Wyatt, and David Caudle, which was part of the Musaic Concert Series she also produces.

Caroline recently recorded the original musical "Show People" by James Rubio & David Caudle based off the Actor's Equity and she was seen last summer belting it out at the charity benefit concert "Singin' in the Shower" with American Idol finalist and B'way veteran Diana DeGarmo for Broadway at Birdland Jazz Club in NYC. She has also filmed several television spots including a memorable role as a singing neighbor in the series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" as well as filming a guest spot on a E! Entertainment Pilot "PR Girls" as a rock n' roll singer.

Caroline is also involved with various charity programs throughout New York City and has appeared on television as a part of the 'Wednesday's Child Adoption Program' as both singer and teacher to six year old Eligahes which helps recruit adoptive families who can provide permanent and loving homes for New York City foster children. Among the other charities close to Ms. Selia is the suicide prevention program To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), for which she holds annual concerts in dedication to her dear friend Melissa Frederick.

Her favorite opera roles to date include, "Susannah" in "Susannah," "Roselinda" in "Die Fledermaus," and "Liu" in "Turandot." Favorite musical theatre productions credits include "Irene" in "Crazy For You," "Liat" in "South Pacific," "Dana" in "Smile," and "Mary" in "Do Black Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" 

Caroline Selia in "One Hot Kitchen," Photo Credit: KadeemaBK PhotographyCurrently, Caroline can be seen in Metropolis Opera Project's production of Kristin Hevner-Wyatt, Daniel Wyatt, and David Caudle's (fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant) new electronica opera "One Hot Kitchen" along with fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Paris Carney at Medicine Show Theatre in NYC (549 West 52nd Street) from December 1-4 and 8-11. According to press notes, "'One Hot Kitchen' serves up a five-course feast in a Hell's Kitchen walk-up. For starters, a couple fresh from the Midwest, followed by two gay men suddenly free to make it legal, mismatched roommates, a booty call gone bizarrely awry, and a tragic hypochondriac. Some are more seasoned than others, but all are trying desperately to connect." Click here for tickets!

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

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Its funny because I always loved putting on shows in backyard in Pittsburgh, PA and singing along to that "Bodyguard" Soundtrack, but I think it was the first musical I ever saw which was "Peter Pan" at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera with Cathy Rigby, no less, that really did it for me! I saw her up on that stage flying and I knew that it was just something so magical that I had to be a part of it!

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Even though we both went to Carnegie Mellon University at the same time, Sara Jean Ford Gehling and I were never onstage together, just class! In fact -- I'd love to sing with both her and her husband Drew!

3. What attracted you to "One Hot Kitchen" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? "One Hot Kitchen" is a story about human relationships and how we all are connected every day whether or not we realize it. It's also funny how the story takes place in an apartment building and what your neighbors are REALLY up to behind those closed doors -- something most New Yorkers don't even think twice about today. I really think that Norm Johnson, our director, had a great time with having the cast explore those relationships and with the beautiful set by Adrianna Desier Durant, and production by Zachary James of Metropolis Opera Projects, I think people are going to be blown away by the simplest of actions in the scenes that will be magnified by the music & words. I want the audience to walk away saying...I've never seen anything like that and when is the next production?!

4. What do you identify most with about your character in "One Hot Kitchen"? Well my character, Jane, is quite the lady! She takes charge and owns her sensuality which I love and can definitely relate to in a very positive way. It's also fun getting to romp around stage playing a mistress and indulge in that sinful way that you can only do on stage and not feel guilty about later.

5. This is your second time working with David Caudle. What is it about him and his work that you like so much? First off, David and I actually share the same birthday, December 12th -- and we found that out the first time we ever met so I think it was always destined for us to just "get" each other. He writes the lines I wish I could say when I'm living my everyday life! I also had the great pleasure of recording some songs for his other musical with composer James Rubio, "Show People", this past summer- so there is something to this thing we have together! His words sometimes just take my breath away and are so powerful that even in the other scenes of "One Hot Kitchen" I'm still so moved after seeing them multiple times.

6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I love having room to play with a scene, especially during dress rehearsals, when the music and text are second nature. Its also a great feeling  when you're comfortable enough with your scene partner you can do that -- which fortunately with my current co-star Michael Deleget I definitely am!! We have some very intimate, sexy moments that keep changing which makes every performance exciting for both of us & the audience. I adore rehearsing at Shetler Studios -- it's so convenient and the staff & managers are very understanding of performers needs.

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I can do and learn anything in just a few hours notice -- and not be scared of it! I'm definitely much tougher and more patient than I ever give myself credit for in everyday life and with living in NYC that's super important. And most importantly I can make up words to any song and make them sound sexy!

8. What do you like about electronica opera as opposed to traditional opera? How does electronica opera fit your voice and style of performing better? Electronica Opera is such an interesting and very freeing way to express yourself as an actor and singer. You can do things like riff on your vocal life and mess with the rhythm that you definitely can NOT do in traditional opera. It doesn't hurt to have these amazing melodies to sing that were hand crafted for me by the composer, Kristin Hevner Wyatt. She knows me so well personally and professionally that I feel like a rock star every time I sing her music! The coolest thing is that she does this for every member of the cast because she wants her singers to be their best. It's also funny that through electronica opera I have been contracted to do much more musical theatre and am loving every minute of my sassy belting!

9. What is the best advice you've ever received? The best advice has always been from my parents Marie & Jay Selia, who have always been so super supportive of me, which is spend your life loving what you do and being with who you love because it's the only way to be truly happy in this lifetime.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My very good friend Melissa Frederick, who passed away a few years ago, comes up in my dreams sometimes and I love it! It's like dreaming about a great episode of "Sex and the City" because we always have such fun girl times over a martini.


11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? I call days off - "diva days" and occasionally I partake in them which includes sleeping in late and watching the last hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford & Hoda Kotb with a strong cup of coffee. Usually afterwards if the weather is nice out I love running in Fort Tryon Park which is right next door to me up in Washington Heights. And I love taking tap classes with Ray Hesselink -- great way to stay in shape!

12. Favorite skin care product? I will swear on any stack of holy books -- Shiseido White Lucent Brightening under Eye Cream is a miracle worker!

13. Favorite website? lately because that's where we are hosting our fundraising for "One Hot Kitchen" -- but beyond that I am a total Facebook junkie. How else are you gonna see that cute dog picture from your friend in Holland?!

14. Superman or Wonder Woman? Well clearly I AM Wonder I just need to find my Super Man! Note that I did not say Super Boy.


Carolee Carmello Saving Aimee Interview

I first interviewed two-time Tony Award Nominee, Carolee Carmello in 2009 when she was starring on Broadway in the mega-hit musical "Mamma Mia." Since that time, Carolee left "Mamma Mia" to originate the role of "Alice Bienke" in the Broadway show "The Addams Family" for which she received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination as well as her third Drama Desk Award Nomination. Now, Carolee is reprising the role of "Aimee Semple McPherson" in Kathie Lee Gifford's musical "Saving Aimee," which Carolee first originated in 2007 in the world premiere of "Saving Aimee" at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. (I had the privilege of seeing Carolee in the 2007 version. Her performance was spectacular as she embodied "Aimee" and belted her way through the score written by Kathie Lee, David  Friedman, and David Pomeranz).

 "Saving Aimee" tells the true-life story of "Aimee Semple McPherson," the first media superstar evangelist...before Bakker, before Swaggart, and before Robertson who's fall from grace is coupled with scandalous love affairs and a tabloid-frenzied trial. "Saving Aimee" plays at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA from September 30-October 29 (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101). Click here for tickets!

1. What attracted you to "Saving Aimee" and what keeps you want to participate in these developmental runs? I didn't know anything about Aimee Semple McPherson before I started work on this show, but everything I've learned since has been fascinating. She offers everything you could want as an actress....she was passionate, smart, charismatic, sexy, and addicted to drugs!

2. How did you and Kathie Lee first come to work together? What have you learned from working with her? I first heard about the project when I was doing "Urinetown" and one of my cast-mates was doing a reading of the show. He was describing the story to me one night backstage, and I said, "I need to play that part." Kathie Lee and I spoke on the phone shortly after that and I proposed turning the role (which was then played by 2 actresses) into a one-woman part.

I've learned so much from Kathie Lee. She is incredibly tenacious and energetic and hard-working. And she is so completely committed to this piece.

3. How do you think "Aimee's" story relates to today's times and what do you hope audiences will come away learning from seeing you in the show? I think this story is incredibly timely. It deals with the way someone can be seduced by fame. She was as famous in her day as Madonna or Oprah is today. And she was a master at using the media to her advantage.

I'm not sure people will learn anything from me, but I think the piece will definitely peak their curiosity about Aimee and her life.

4. What is your favorite part of originating a role in a show and what do you like best about taking over a role? Well, when you originate a role you have so much more freedom (of course, that can be scary!) and much more exposure, too.

Replacing in a role is tricky because you are squeezing into someone else's shoes, but it's also easier in a way, because that person has already worked out the kinks.

5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? My favorite part of the rehearsal period is when it's over. I need the audience.

6. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? I learn a lot of music while I'm driving in my car. Other drivers who look in, probably think I'm insane.

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? What has kept you grounded in an industry that has lead others down a darker path? I've learned that I like variety in my work. I like comedy, then drama; stage, then TV; employment, then unemployment!

I think my family keeps me grounded. Nothing makes you behave more than being responsible for children.

8. What has been your proudest moment so far? In the past couple of years, I have been very flattered by honors at both my college and my high school. There's something really gratifying about feeling successful in your hometown.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? When I first moved to New York, someone told me to audition for everything that I could. It really proved helpful, not only because I got better at auditioning (which is the strangest/hardest part of this business), but because there are many times when a casting person or director will see you at one audition and bring you in for something else all together. It's advice that I've passed on to other actors. Don't decide you're not going to get the job before you go in for it. You may get something even better.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Right now, I would like to dream about Aimee Semple McPherson....I could use all the help I can get with this show!


11. Favorite way to stay in shape? I've been doing a lot of running lately. I find it really helps my endurance on stage. I decided to try a half-marathon this year. (I was pretty proud that I got through those 13 plus miles.) Next year, my goal is a full marathon. We'll see if I can do it. Something tells me that 26 is more than twice as hard as 13!

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love spending time with my kids....preferably doing something physical and getting some fresh air....then a great meal (which I don't have to cook or clean up!) and, if I'm really fantasizing, a full 8 hours of sleep!

13. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? "Rhoda," for sure!  I love a good head scarf!

For a sampling of the talent that is Carolee Carmello, check out this video of her and the cast of "Saving Aimee" singing "For Such A Time As This!"


Lee Lessack: Chanteur

I first interviewed Lee Lessack, Mac and Bistro Award Winner and founder of LML Music, in 2010 as he was departing on his European tour of "Chanteur: an homage to the Great French Songbook with an American Perspective." After the success of his tour and a year later, Lee decided to take his love of the French Songbook one step further and release a whole album. So, on August 9, Lee's new album "Chanteur" was released to the world! I had the honor of interviewing Lee again to discuss his new album, having his own record label which houses such Broadway favorites as Stephen Schwartz, Lea Salonga, Jim Caruso, Leslie Uggams, Lucie Arnaz, Susan Egan, David Burnham, and Kathie Lee Gifford, as well as other everyday details of his life and career!

Be sure to keep up with Lee at, on Facebook, and on Twitter (@LMLMusic)!

1. What made you decide to start LML Music and what do you like best about having your own label? I honestly started LML Music because I needed a label for my debut recording back in 1995 (I'm aging myself). I love being able to provide a home for independent artists.

2. What have you learned about the music business from having your own record label? To not quit your day job. LOL! The music business is changing so rapidly it's often hard to keep up. I'm very grateful to have a fabulous distributor, The Allegro Corporation, and they have guided me and LML for the past 10 years.

3. If you could sign anyone to your label, who would it be? How do you decide which artists to sign? From an artistic standpoint, I'd love to sign k.d. lang because her voice just makes me melt. From a business standpoint how about Susan Boyle a couple of years ago? Artists generally seek me out and if it feels right and I think we can move some product then we proceed.

4. How did you come up with the title and concept for your new album "Chanteur"? My dear friend and colleague, Brian Lane Green, actually came up with the concept and wrote and directed a concert for me which then became the basis for the new album. I had mentioned to Brian that I felt I was ready to create a new concert and since Brian and I have shared the stage with "3 Men and a Baby…Grand!" for many years, he knows where I live vocally and as an actor and he thought of this idea and I loved everything about it.

5. Why did you want to focus on the Great French Songbook? What do you love about that music so much? Well as I said above, the concept was brought to me, and I loved the idea. Most French songwriters were poets and so I find that each song has the depth of a one act play. The material is so rich and haunting.

6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? The most joyous element for me, is that I am able to touch the audience's heart and take them on a journey with me. Perhaps for the time that we are together, they forget what may be troubling them and perhaps find a moment of healing.

7. What advice do you give to the artists you sign? Don't skimp on the marketing and promotion of your recording. It's all too common to leave that element out of your budget and it's really the most important. You may have a wonderful album, but if nobody knows about it then how do we sell CDs?

8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? Recording the vocals is always magical for me. Capturing that moment in time. The first time my engineer sends me the rough mix of a song is always very exciting.

9. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I have a beautiful office in our home that my partner designed for me. I love to close all the doors and dim the lights and rehearse.

10. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? So not fair!!! I never thought I'd have to choose and since you didn't give me the option of Phyllis I'm gonna have to go with Mary :)


11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Well my husband of course…but if he wasn't available perhaps it would be Ryan Kwanten.

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? That's easy! An early morning hike with my 2 gorgeous pups. Brunch and a movie.