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Entries in New York City (135)

Saturday
May212016

Call Answered: Sven Ratzke "Starman" at Joe's Pub

David Bowie was an icon on so many levels from his music to his impact on society! Everyone has a story as to what David Bowie meant to them. Sven Ratzke, transgressive European Entertainer Extraordinaire, is no exception to people who have been inspired by David Bowie. In fact, Sven is presenting the New York premiere of his internationally acclaimed show Starman at Joe's Pub from May 23-26! Click here for tickets!

Inspired by the iconic musician and songwriter David Bowie, the program combines many of the artist’s famous numbers such as "Space Oddity," "Rebel Rebel," "Heroes," and "Rock and Roll Suicide" with album deep cuts and inspired original songs by Sven and Rachelle Garniez. More than a mere tribute show, Starman is a one-man rock musical with unique characters and bold reinventions of glam rock classics!

For more on Sven be sure to visit http://www.sven-ratzke.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Sven Ratzke as "Starman"1. By the time your new one-man show Starman hits Joe’s Pub, you will have already performed it in 30 cities worldwide. What has it been like to perform this show? How has the show evolved over this tour so far? It's a triumph! It's so great to see that we've found a great balance with this show to make people laugh, cry, dance and just think and listen. The show makes me very happy because it makes other people happy. We've put so much hard work into it and it's payed off. And it’s evolved also. In the beginning, for example, I was wearing a wig because I wanted to transform into this character, but as we went further I became more and more myself in this show. So the wig is gone!

2. What was it about David Bowie and his music that influenced your own style so much? Bowie was always present but I was never a mega fan. I was intrigued and I admired him. But as I did all this research on him I discovered a new Bowie: he's a theatre maker. His whole life is like an opera. He was always in charge. I mean, look at his almost-staged death, the last album and all these clips. It's so amazing that somebody had his total artistic control.

Sven Ratzke3. What excites you about bringing this show to New York? How do you feel New York audiences will react to it over other audiences you’ve played for? The show will be different because in Europe we play in big venues with my own band and there is a light show. Now we have the intimacy of Joe’s Pub. You can only perform on a stage like that when you know your shit, and especially in New York City. You better kill it. But since the first time I was on a stage in New York, the audience gave me so much love and understanding. They just know what I'm talking about and what I'm doing. I have to come to New York at least twice a year to perform because it gives me a lot of inspiration.

4. If you had the chance to perform this show for David Bowie, how do you think he would have liked the show? Which song would you have wanted "Starman" and David Bowie to collaborate on? I think he would have loved the show. He got the CD just a month before he died. But I know a lot of people who knew him and they told me also that he would have loved the show because it's not a tribute show. I’m not just singing his songs, it’s almost a re-invention that utilizes fiction and fantasy. His name is not even mentioned, but his soul is there and his great songwriting is the basis of this show.

I never ever thought an actual collaboration with Bowie. That’s not what this is about for me: this show is meant to bring his music to life. I also think that he would have laughed a lot at our show. Bowie had a great sense of humor and he would have loved all the bizarre and wicked thoughts in this show.

Sven Ratzke5. Which songs do you think he would have wished you put in the show that you did not? Mmmh, I think he just would be happy. Maybe he would have said: "I have a song that I never used, it's in my safe. I'm gonna give it to you." But I'm just dreaming now.

6. How is Starman similar and different from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust? I take you on a trip…a journey where fantasy and my life mingle with the magic of Bowie. The journey is told through his songs from the seventies, from London, NYC and finally Berlin. It's sometimes really funny and sometimes the songs themselves can move you to tears. And we meet characters like Andy Warhol, who is a white rabbit, and Liz Taylor, who's a wax figure of a child star. We start in the stinking streets of London and end up in a drag club in Berlin, so it's quit a fun night. And filled with rock 'n' roll of course.

Sven Ratzke7. You are internationally recognized for starring in the first-ever Berlin production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. What was it like to premiere this show in Berlin? How did you make the role your own, after so many other actors have performed that role in other productions around the world? First off all, to get the blessing of the creator John Cameron Mitchell helped a lot. But I'm also a bit torn like "Hedwig" because I'm am both an entertainer and half from Berlin. It's the strangest and hardest show I’ve ever done. People are so in love with it. But it's also hard to explain what the show is to people that never heard of Hedwig. As "Hedwig" you have to win them over, you have to be authentic - you have to BE "Hedwig!" We are bringing the show back to Berlin this fall, but also to Hamburg for the first time. That's really exciting.

8. What was it like when John Cameron Mitchell declared you were the best "Hedwig" he had ever seen? How does something like that influence future performances? Oh it made me so happy because I know it's John’s baby. And he was so amazing. You can't top that. It's makes me so incredibly proud that he's so fond of it.

9. Besides David Bowie, who were some of your other influences that made you want to be a performer? Well I've already worked with some amazing people and it's always; just watch and learn like Nina Hagen. She's crazy, but she's amazing. I work with so many different people like classical and jazz musicians. With New York City legends Joey Arias and Justin Vivian Bond. They are such beauties! And The Tiger Lillies – they’re so great! I really love my job and I am looking forward to meeting more people. I hope I get to meet Liza soon.

Sven RatzkeMore on Sven:

Sven Ratzke crosses musical genres and traverses decades with panache and a unique style that blends high culture with elements of glam rock, classic Weimar cabaret with vaudeville. The Netherlands-based entertainer tours the world’s biggest theaters, festivals and nightclubs from sold-out shows at Lincoln Center in New York and the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam to the famous Berliner Ensemble in Berlin. He has released five albums and has worked with legends of the European arts world such as Nina Hagen, Hanna Schygulla, and The Tiger Lilies. Sven is internationally-recognized for the title role in the first-ever Berlin production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. John Cameron Mitchell, the musical’s creator and the original star, declared "Sven is the best "Hedwig" I’ve ever seen." After its smash run in Berlin at the Admiralspalast, Sven brought the show to Utrecht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Basel and Vienna. Ratzke’s Hedwig returns to Berlin in October and travels to Hamburg in November.

Saturday
Feb202016

Call Answered: Erica Watson: Fat Bitch! at The Laurie Beechman Theatre NYC and Franky Bradley Philadelphia

Erica WatsonI'm so excited to have the chance to interview actress and comedian Erica Watson. We tried to do an interview a few years ago, but our schedules didn't line up, so it's great that she's coming back to New York City and the stars aligned for us to speak about her one-woman show Fat Bitch!, a funny, provocative glimpse at the American "fat and sassy" black woman stereotype. 

In Fat Bitch!, Erica explores society’s obsession with weight, race and class and how black women’s bodies have always been subjected to both admiration and ridicule. Drawing upon iconic images including "Mammy" and "Hottentot Venus," Erica illustrates how media images have impacted her self-esteem as she touches on PETA’s "Save the Whales" campaign aimed at overweight women, the "war on obesity," and the controversy surrounding President Obama’s nomination of a plus-sized black woman for Surgeon General.

Fat Bitch! will play Franky Bradley's on Friday, February 26 at 8pm (1320 Chancellor Street at South Juniper in Philadelphia) Click here for tickets! 

Fat Bitch! will play The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City on Saturday, February 27 at 7pm (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue inside the West Bank Cafe) Click here for tickets!

For more on Erica be sure to visit http://ericafayewatson.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

Erica Watson1. This February, you are returning to the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC with your one-woman show Fat Bitch! about life as a plus size. What excites you about doing this show again? I love performing at The Laurie Beechman because the audience is so diverse, and they come prepared to have a good time. The energy in the room is amazing and it creates a space that allows me to have a great show. I'm excited about having a great time with the audience.

2. You are also making your Philadelphia debut this February with Fat Bitch! What made you want to bring the show to Philly? Every time I would perform on the East Coast, people would always ask "What about Philly?" So I decided it was finally time to perform in the city of brotherly love...and I hope they love me too!

3. What initially made you want to write Fat Bitch!? and what was it like emotionally to go through all the issues you wanted to talk about in this show? Have you found peace with these issues since performing the show? In some ways the show wrote itself. My weight has affected so many aspects of my life that it felt natural to bring these stories to the stage. I have found peace, but the show is always evolving because new things happen that I have to explore on stage.

Erica Watson4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Fat Bitch!? For those who have seen your show, what is the most meaningful feedback you've received? I want people to understand that you should not judge a book by it's cover. There is always more than meets the eyes. I hope after seeing my show people will start thinking differently about women's bodies. I also hope size discrimination stops once and for all.

5. As a plus-size performer, what challenges do you feel you have faced that you may not have were you not plus-size? What's the meanest criticism you had told to you or read about yourself? How did you react to it? I know that some people are just not ready to see a woman like me in certain roles. There are times when I know that I am perfect for an opportunity, but I don't get hired because of my weight. But no matter what, I have to keep pushing towards my goals. I've been told that I was too fat and ugly to be on TV. People will always be negative but I've decided to be my own definition of beauty.

Erica Watson6. What do you feel is your biggest success so far? Working with major film directors like Spike Lee, Steven Soderberg, Lee Daniels and Chris Rock has been so rewarding. Ultimately starring in Spike Lee's Chiraq has been a dream come true. I went to film school to be a director so I could be like Spike Lee and to now have an acting role in his movie is amazing!

7. On "Call Me Adam," I have a section called "One Percent Better" where through my own fitness regime, I am inspiring people to improve their life by One Percent everyday. If you could improve your life by One Percent Everyday, what would you improve? I would improve my spirituality and being centered and grounded. I want to be better with acknowledging God and all that he has done in every aspect of my life. Being happy and showing gratitude will open the door to more opportunities, and would improve my life by One Thousand percent everyday!!

Erica WatsonMore on Erica:

Born and raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, with a BA and MA from Columbia College Chicago, Erica Watson is an actor, stand-up comedian at clubs around the country, and film/television director. She appeared in the Oscar nominated film Precious; the feature films Dirty Laundry, Top Five directed by Chris Rock, and Chiraq directed by Spike Lee; and Empire, the FOX drama directed by Lee Daniels. She has also been featured on TLC’s Big Sexy, The Dr. Phil Show, The Oxygen Network, The WE Channel, Black Entertainment (BET), MSG-TV, You & Me This Morning, The TV Guide Network and is a recurring correspondent for Windy City Live. Erica is also a blogger for the Huffington Post. Erica was featured in two Gracie Award-winning commercials that she wrote for the Oxygen Network called Tresstify and Kiss & Tell; as well as a guest star on TV One’s sitcom Love That Girl (September 2014). She has also been featured on NBC's Last Comic Standing, and was the director for the reality competition show My Model Looks Better Than Your Model for BETJ. Erica starred in the Broadway in Chicago production of Love, Loss and What I Wore (2012) and went on to star in the final cast in New York Off-Broadway under the guidance of Nora & Delia Ephron as well as with The Delaware Theater Company (2013).

Monday
Jan252016

Call Redialed: Kyle Dean Massey: Feinstein's/54 Below debut

Kyle Dean Massey, Photo Credit: Cameron BertronIt's been four years since I first spoke with Kyle Dean Massey! So much has happened for him that it's great to catch up with him and discuss his upcoming Feinstein's/54 Below debut! Kyle Dean will be performing at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on January 30 and February 10 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

In this concert, Kyle Dean looks back, not at the things that were, but at the things that weren’t. Come listen to Kyle Dean share songs he heard nightly but never sang himself, the ones he played on guitar or belted in the shower, the ones that made him dance or mended his broken heart…all songs he was not able to share the way he wanted until now.

For more on Kyle Dean be sure to visit http://www.kyledeanmassey.com and follow him on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit http://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Kyle Dean Massey on ABC's "Nashville"1. It's great to catch up with you Kyle Dean. Last time we spoke, you were filming an episode of Wade Dooley's Pzazz 101. Since then, you went back in to Wicked for a bit, starred in Broadway's Pippin, and been seen on TV Nashville, The Good Wife, and Inside Amy Schumer. As a boy from Arkansas, what goes through your head when you look at all you've done? I can honestly say that I don’t think about it much! In this business you’re always just trying to do better and more varied work. So I think my eye is more trained on what’s ahead than what I’ve done. With that being said, I know how fortunate I’ve been in this career and only hope that I can continue to do exciting work.

2. Now you are making your Feinstein's/54 Below debut. Why is now the right time to make your debut there? I’ve been doing more and more concert work the last several years and it just seemed like a logical thing to do since I have never done a solo show in the city before. It’s so hard to do these kinds of shows on top of a grueling eight show a week schedule. And since I’ve been working mainly on television for the past year it’s given me the opportunity to be able to put this show together.

Kyle Dean Massey performing at Feinstein's/54 Below3. In this show, you are performing songs that you yourself never got to perform, you just heard them nightly during the show you were in. What made you want to construct a show of things that weren't instead of were? The beautiful thing about doing your own show is that you get to sing whatever the hell you want! And so my set is made up of several songs I’ve always wanted to sing or songs that symbolized rejection or songs that different characters from my shows performed. So it’s really a grab bag of different "were-nots."

4. What do you still hope to accomplish that you haven’t? I’d love to become a parent someday!

Kyle Dean Massey at Dolly Parton's sound check on "The Today Show"5. In our last interview, you mentioned that if you could dream about anyone while you sleep, it would be Dolly Parton. So, my follow-up question is a three parter. If you could record any Dolly Parton song which one would you record? What Dolly song would you want to do a duet with her on? What Dolly song would you want to make a music video to? I would definitely record "The Grass is Blue." I would obviously duet on "Islands in the Stream." And I would make a music video of "Two Doors Down."

6. A song that you have performed on Broadway that I love is "I'm Alive" from Next To Normal. When are you most alive? It feels cheesy to say, but I definitely feel alive onstage when I’m performing. I feel like I have a special kind of focus that I don’t normally have during normal life. I feel like everything works just a little bit better.

7. 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 everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent everyday? Well I’ve been trying to say "fuck" a lot less. It’s going marginally well.

Kyle Dean Massey, Photo Credit: Nathan Johnson NYMore on Kyle:

Kyle Dean Massey is an American actor best know for his work on Broadway in PippinNext to NormalWicked & Xanadu and to television audiences as "Kevin Bicks" from ABC's Nashville.

Kyle Dean was raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a town 60 miles northwest of Memphis, TN. He started taking dance classes at age six and spent his adolescence singing in school choirs and studying the piano. After discovering musical theatre in high school he went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University.

Kyle Dean Massey backstage at Broadway's "Pippin"In addition to his stage work, Kyle Dean has been seen on the screen in The Good Wife (CBS), Inside Amy Schumer (CC), High MaintenanceUp All Night (NBC), Hart of Dixie (CW), Cupid (ABC), Sex And the City 2 (HBO Films) & Contest. He has also performed on Good Morning AmericaThe CBS Early ShowRegis & Kelly, The 62nd Annual Tony Awards and lends his voice as a voice-over artist for many popular cartoon shows. While starring in Next to Normal, Kyle Dean was the star of his own popular web-blog series, Normal Life, on Broadway.com. Five years later he hosted another series, Fresh Prince, while starring in the title role of Pippin.

As a vocalist Kyle Dean has performed across the country in pops concerts with symphony orchestras and in more intimate cabaret settings with his one man show. He also tours with his concert group The Broadway Tenors.

Kyle Dean Massey speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Nashville, Photo Credit: Sundel PerryKyle Dean serves as a masterclass instructor and panel contributor for several different teaching organizations including Camp Broadway, Broadway Artists Alliance, Broadway Connection, VIP Tours of New York, the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, Stagelighter & Broadway Triple Threat. He also serves as a private acting and voice coach to students all over the country.

Kyle Dean is a passionate supporter of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Trevor Project and various human rights groups. He frequently performs in charity concerts at various venues across New York City including Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and Feinstein's/54 Below.

Friday
Jan082016

Call Redialed: Will and Anthony Nunziata: Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom

It's been almost two years since "Call Me Adam" chatted with recording artists' Will and Anthony Nunziata. As they prepare to debut their new concert Showstoppers! at the Highline Ballroom on Monday, January 18 at 8pm, now seemed like the perfect time to catch up with these talented guys! 

Will & Anthony’s Showstoppers! concert delivers an innovative take on the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. A 90-minute tour-de-force concert that transcends generations. With their soaring tenor voices and acting & improv comedy chops, Will & Anthony sing fresh arrangements of classic and contemporary songs including "You’re All I Need to Get By," "Feeling Good," "O Sole Mio," "The Impossible Dream," "Unchained Melody," "Someone Like You," "God Only Knows," "What Kind of Fool Am I," and "The Prayer." The Highline Ballroom is located at 431 West 16th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenue) Click here for tickets!

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://willandanthony.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! 

Anthony and Will Nunziata1. On January 18, you are debuting your new concert Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom. In this show, you are performing some of the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. What made now the right time to premiere this show?

Will: W​e are always striving to give our audiences the best.​ For the past year we've been developing brand new arrangements with our musical director and arranger Tedd Firth. In our concert Showstoppers!, he'll be leading a 7-piece band in the 400-seat Highline Ballroom. New arrangements of songs from Billy Joel to The Bee Gees to Motown...

Anthony: ...to the Beach Boys to Adele and of course Broadway and Classic Standards. This will be the show the country will see in all our upcoming performing arts center and symphony pops orchestra concerts​.

2. Why did you choose The Highline Ballroom to debut this show?

Anthony: When we tour the country we are primarily performing in concert halls. So we thought why not bring ​a​ "larger feel" to NYC and after ​​looking at the Highline Ballroom, we knew we found a special place....we're setting up the room so it feels like a Vegas showroom....

Will: Yes! And after​ speaking with the wonderful team there,​ and consulting with our lighting and sound designer Matt Berman, we thought this would be the perfect venue for what we want our audiences to experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata3. Of the songs you are performing, how have the artists influenced your own singing style?

Will: I think the array of songs in this show represent a lot of the songs I grew up listening to. Because they run the gamut in terms of musical sensibilities, I think audiences will enjoy the plethora of stylings in the concert.

Anthony: I try not to be too influenced with how artists sing a song in as much as I focus on the lyrics and how I connect with them. That allows me to find my own truth within these songs which in turn allows me to sing the songs, live in the songs and present my unique spin.​

4. Since this show is entitled Showstoppers!, what makes you guys a "Showstopper" that people should come see?

Will: Being truthful with everything we do. From living and "being" while singing our songs to our crowd work in between songs...

Anthony: Our goal is to make people feel, make them laugh, feel inspired in some way...and enjoy this shared experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke5. What have been some of your favorite "Showstopping" numbers either on Broadway or from a concert you've attended?

Anthony: Recently, it's Cynthia Erivo singing "I'm Here" in The Color Purple on Broadway. Cynthia is giving one of the most heartfelt and authentic performances I've ever seen on any stage. As for specific concert performers...since I was a kid I've been transfixed on performers who are actors first...Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Better Midler, Barbra Streisand...I've studied how they bring their truth to the table, and construct moving and entertaining live "experiences​."

Will: There aren't any particular numbers that come to mind, but anytime a performer is willing to sing with 100% unapologetic, raw emotion and have the ability to show the audiences their "scars" and be as vulnerable as possible - that's a "Showstopper" to me.​

6. If you could sing any "Showstopper" from a Broadway show, what song would you each like to perform?

Will: "Being Aliv​e." It's a true three-act-play of a song​.​ It's a brilliantly constructed song, both lyrically and melodically, and it scares me - which is ​probably why I like it so much.

Anthony: "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Tedd Firth has arranged a haunting/hopeful version of this song that makes me explore the depths of ​Sondheim's brilliant lyrics and Bernstein's gorgeous music. Premiering a new version of this song on the 18th of January.

Will and Anthony Nunziata7. One of the songs you are performing in this concert is "Unchained Melody." What is something in your life that you have unchained in this new year?

Will: Fear. 

Anthony: No regrets.

8. You are also performing "What Kind of Fool Am I." What's the most foolish thing you've done?

Anthony: Last week, after seeing a show, I forgot to stop by Schmackary's for a cookie. How foolish of me.

Will: You'll have to ask my therapist.​

9. In your concerts, you often play off of each other when it comes to your patter. What is the craziest unrehearsed thing that has happened to you?

Anthony: Will forgot his lyrics to the song "Everybody Says Don't", when he did I told the audience an impromptu story of Will being born with an umbilical chord around his neck and how the effects are clearly still with us today. We started the song again, he forgot the lyrics again, we started it again, he got the lyrics correct, and at the end of the applause I turned to Will and said something like, "We were all rooting for you there, brother. And we are all proud of you for getting through the entire song. Eventually. (beat) It's my solo time now and there's an oxygen tank backstage. (beat) Thank you."

Will: What Anthony just said.

10. You always speak of the importance of family. If you had a family of your own, what is one family tradition you would make sure you kept?

Will: To remind one another as often as possible that we are always there for one another, no matter what.

Anthony: For everyone to speak of something or someone they are grateful for today, and to speak of one thing they are most looking forward to the next day.​ I try my best to live in a constant state of peace and gratitude and to actively express that gratitude to those around me.

Will and Anthony NunziataMore on Will and Anthony:

Singers, actors, funny-men and advocates of arts in education - Will & Anthony sing fresh takes on timeless songs from pop standards, Broadway, and Italian music to Billy Joel, Motown, and beyond. Hailed as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma," Will & Anthony continue to win critical and popular acclaim for their concert performances throughout the United States and around the world.

The brothers have brought their distinct take on classic songs from performing arts centers, theaters and symphony concert halls, including The Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall in West Palm Beach, FL, to headlining their symphony concerts with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with New York Pops musical director and conductor Steven Reineke. From Singapore to San Francisco, Will & Anthony have created and performed tailored private concerts for countless corporate, private and Gala events all around the world. They have been featured recently on NPR, The Entertainment Weekly Sirius Radio show, The Rachael Ray Show, NBC’s The Columbus Day Parade and on ABC’s Good Morning America. In the fashion world, the brothers have modeled and been styled by Carmen Marc Valvo, Hermes U.S. and Hermes Toronto, Elie Tahari, b Michael America, and Nick Graham. Will & Anthony trained in improv comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

Their proudest accomplishment is the creation of their Arts in Education Outreach Initiative and Master Class Workshops where they visit schools and students providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples’ lives. Through their workshops, Will & Anthony provide acting and vocal technique, life lessons of building a strong work ethic and personal brand, and the confidence to never give up on your passions.

Born in Brooklyn, the brothers, along with their younger sister Annie, were raised just north of New York City in Pelham Manor, NY. Music continues to constantly play in the home of their parents, Fran & Joe. Sinatra, Ella, Sammy Davis, Jr., Streisand, Dean Martin, Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Gospel - this was the soundtrack of Will & Anthony’s childhood. Today, their musical mission is to keep "America’s classical music" feeling fresh and new.

Tuesday
Dec082015

Call Answered: Nate Foster: This Live Show with Nate Foster at The PIT

Nate FosterI love improv. I love comedy. I love talk shows. I love sketch comedy. When I was introduced to This Live Show with Nate Foster, combining the best from late night talk shows with the joy of a tight, high-energy sketch show, I knew I had to find out more! This Live Show with Nate Foster, created by Tamsi New and Jay Malsky, has a host, co-host, audience participation, topical humor, character sketches and absurdist comedy. It truly is a mash-up of Jimmy Fallon and SNL.

This Live Show with Nate Foster plays every month at The PIT's PIT Loft in NYC (154 West 29th Street). The next installment is on Friday, December 18 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Nate be sure to visit http://nate-foster.com and follow him at The PIT, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Nate Foster at Gotham Comedy Club1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was always a big fan of Robin Williams when I was growing up. I remember buying his comedy album, and listening to it at night in my room. I don't know if that is what inspired me, per se, but he was definitely an influence. I knew I wanted to perform when I was in middle school. I would go to the play readings for whatever plays the theatre program was going to do that season and would read the characters in these wacky voices, like imitating characters from the Simpsons for some reason. But I never actually did any of the plays. Then in high school I started acting, and I pretty much knew.

2. After touring with Hampstead Stage Company, you came back to New York and began studying at The PIT. Out of all the improv places in NYC, why did you choose to study at The PIT? I really didn't know much about the improv scene in NYC. My girlfriend had started taking classes there. She's also an actress, and so, I don't know. It wasn't exactly an informed decision. I just ended up getting lucky and making a sort of arbitrary choice that paid off for me.

3. Now you are the host of the monthly series This Live Show with Nate Foster, created by you, Jay Malsky, and Tamsi New, which combines the best from late night talk shows with the joy of a tight, high-energy sketch show. How did you decide to come up with this format for your series? Well the three of us had all performed in a faux SNL show at the PIT--a class that was offered that let's writing students experience what a week at SNL would be like. I did the weekend update segment. During the process we all lamented that there wasn't anything really like this out there. Tamsi and Jay then went off and crafted the show, and came to me and asked me to host it. But it was really their brainchild. The idea was that, sure we could do a mock SNL, but incorporating elements of late-night television makes it a lot more interactive for the audience I think.

4. If you could choose 3 dream guests to have on This Live Show, who would you choose? So we don't actually have guests on the show...yet. That's something we discussed earlier in the process, but for right now it's really just the writers, performers, me, and our house band Rebecca Vigil and the Vigilante. I think it'd be great to have someone come and sit down for an interview, play some silly game, and get a chance to perform in sketches with the cast.

5. From your "Meet The Creators" video, it looks like the three of you have a lot of fun together. What pranks have you played on each other during the show or in creating each show? Haha. Sometimes it is so hectic during the process that we barely see each other, believe it or not! They're working with the actors on sketches, I'm working with the writers and then we come together toward the end. I think if I pulled some sort of prank on one of them, I may get killed.

6. What is the craziest thing to happen so far during this show? Well we've only had three so far, so nothing too far off the walls has happened in terms of sets falling over or anything. I always feel like I'm forced to eat things in the show. In October I was force-fed pumpkin puree, and this past month I had to eat a bunch of jellied cranberry sauce. But most of the craziness comes from the audience bits, because we usually have contestants from the audience come up and play a little game, and their responses can be unpredictable.

The Writer's Room of "This Live Show with Nate Foster"7. What challenges do you face with so much audience interaction? What pleasure do you get from interacting with the audience? I love incorporating the audience. I think the show is more of an experience than a typical show where you sit and watch a bunch of people perform a bunch of sketches. We use them. We ask them to interact. Rebecca, the band leader, does an improvised musical number in the middle of the show where she pretty much exclusively plays off the audience. They love it. Sure you run the risk of losing a little control over the tightness of the show, but I think what you gain from it is so much better. The audience is part of the show.

8. As a boy from Westbrook, ME, how does the reality of living out your dream in NYC compare to what you thought it would be like? If you could do it all over again, would you? Well, it's expensive. I could've stayed in Maine and bought a house. And who knew Maine was that beautiful?! But I feel like I need to be where everything is happening. I love it here. Anytime I leave the city, I eventually feel like I need to get back here. There's so much culture, and there's so much life.

9. I've heard you've been living in purgatory between performing and serving desserts. It's such a hard place to be. Have you ever thought of just giving up and going straight to hell? How do you keep yourself going so you end up in heaven? Haha, sure I've thought, hey what would happen if I go get a "real" job and wouldn't have to worry about security or instability. But I know I would be unhappy and regret it later on. I'm doing what I love. Sure, I'd like to do what I love and get paid a lot more for it, but I've still got a pretty good life compared to three quarters of the planet, so I feel lucky.

10. With the holiday season upon us, what's your favorite way to spend the holidays in NYC? Leave NYC. No, it's nice here, but there are so many places you have to avoid during the holidays, it's just nice to get away while the rest of the world comes to visit.

Nate FosterMore on Nate:

An actor, improvisor, and stand-up comedian, Nate was born in Westbrook, ME during a heat wave, resulting in an enlarged cranium and the ability to sprint like a Kenyan. Not long after his birth, he completed his BFA in Performing Arts at Adelphi University in NY. He then toured with Hampstead Stage Company, performing at schools across the Atlantic US, before returning to New York to try his hand at waiting tables. It was here that he began studying Improv at the PIT. It is in this awkward purgatory--torn between his love of taking dessert orders and his need to perform--that we currently find him.