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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (285)

Tuesday
Sep022014

Call Unmasked: Cooper Grodin: Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary National Tour

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth Kirkpatrick

While Norm Lewis stars as "The Phantom" on Broadway, "Call Me Adam" decided to take a road trip to chat with Cooper Grodin, who is playing "The Phantom" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. We unmasked Cooper to discuss what it is like to play this iconic role around the country.

Click here to see Cooper on tour in The Phantom of the Opera and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

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

1. You are currently starring as "The Phantom" on the 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. This iconic role has been played by numerous actors. How are you putting your own spin on this classic role? I suppose I don't think I'm putting a spin on it. I have a script, a director and my instincts. We try to tell an honest story with distinctly strong choices.

2. What do you identify most with, about "The Phantom"? That he is a composer and that he is passionate about music.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy3. This 25th Anniversary National Tour has new scenic design, new choreography, new staging, but still boasting the original costume design. How do you feel these additions breathe a new life into this classic show? Because they are, in fact, all new, it's a chance to revisit legendary material with new eyes and technology of today. The chandelier, fire and automations are all very current.

4. What excites you most about being on this special 25th Anniversary National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera? Getting to embody this iconic role.  I would like to come back to it over and over again as I grow as an artist.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this new National Tour? I hope they are entertained, moved and leave with questions about relationships and the choices we make in life.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy6. What is the best part about performing with your talented cast mates? We have the whole spectrum, from new comers to Tony nominated veterans and that is indescribable. We all work as one.

7. What is your favorite part of the show to perform (if you can even choose one)? The final lair scene. There is an immense amount of energy flying around the three of us. The action is always spontaneous and honest.

8. If you saw Phantom of the Opera growing up, what is it like to now be on the flip side and performing in the show? Is it as magical as you remember or even more so because now you are more part of the magic? When I saw the show I knew the role would someday be a great one for me to play, that I am actually doing it – that’s a dream.

Cooper Grodin as "The Phantom" and Julia Udine as "Christine Daaé" in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera", Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy9. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? I suppose I'm still, and always will be working towards becoming the best actor I can be. I don’t know that any one thing inspired me, it seems to have just evolved out of my musicianship but I must admit, when I saw Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire, I thought, now that's something.

10. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Michael Fassbender, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, too many to list all.

11. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor? As I delve further into the craft of acting I find that the rules of great acting, which are to say, behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances, are the same rules that you apply to living a great existence. To simply respond, to get out of your head by getting the attention on the other person.

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth Kirkpatrick12. What's the best advice you've ever received? If you think you'll succeed or fail, your right. No one can make you feel anything. Who ever is in front of you is your teacher. "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Basketball, swimming, weights. But I'm always looking for fun new ways to do fitness. My cast mates are currently getting me into racquetball.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying.

16. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Red or Cherry.

17. How do you want to be remembered? When they think of me, let them smile.

Cooper Grodin, Photo Credit: Beth KirkpatrickMore on Cooper: 

Cooper was born and raised on the isle of Manhattan where he attended LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts. Cooper earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and received his Masters in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He is an avid singer of all genres and an accomplished pianist and composer. He has performed in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of Les Misérables (Combeferre), Into the Woods (Rapunzel’s Prince) at NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park, Grease (Danny), Les Misérables (Javert), A Little Night Music (The Count), Joseph… (Pharoah), Carousel (Billy) at Chicago’s Light Opera Works, Parade (Governor Slaton), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik) and The Fantasticks (El Gallo). Cooper has sung numerous concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic and The American Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in the New York premiere of Grendel at City Opera directed by Julie Taymor, and Zaide as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival directed by Peter Sellars. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Paul McCartney’s Ecce Cor Meum. He can been seen in such films as Music and Lyrics and Salt. He was awarded a Lys Syonette Award for "Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number" in the Lotte Lenya/Kurt Weill competition. His new original album It’s The Little Things is now available on iTunes. Cooper would like to honor all the wonderful people in his life by dedicating his performances to them, especially his beautiful parents, Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, and Laurence O'Connor his teachers, coaches, and About Artists Agency for their belief in him and their continued love and support.

Tuesday
Sep022014

Call Answered Again: Zachary Infante: Pyre Cantata

Zachary Infante"Call Me Adam" reconnects with actor Zachary Infante. This time around we talk about him starring in and co-producing in Trevor Bachman's Pyre Cantata which will play HERE Arts Center (145 6th Avenue) from September 4-7Click here for tickets!

A mythic, soulful, vocally pyrotechnic adaptation of Antigone, this electric new musical follows four young siblings as they try to fix the broken city of Thebes. The music, a soulful fusion of R&B, gospel, and musical theatre exquisitely sews together quick humor with alarming tragedy. Appealing to lovers of Greek drama and good music alike, Pyre Cantata is a fiery new twist on a centuries-old myth.

For more on Zachary be sure to visit http://zacharyinfante.wix.com/zacharyinfante and follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. From September 4-7, you are co-producing and starring in Pyre Cantata, a new musical retelling of Antigone. What made you want this project to be your first venture at producing? Why did you want to star in it as well? Watching Trevor Bachman’s work grow over the last five years has been an enriching experience for the soul. I feel that producing his work is the right step forward at this point. Being able to play and develop Pyre Cantata with Trevor keeps my eyes open to the reality of these characters.

2. How do you balance both producing and acting? Do the lines ever get blurred? Thankfully our director, Chris Bowser, has been a great hand in this balance. After one of our production meetings I left my script in the rehearsal studio. He reminded me that he’s happy to have me on the team and wants my passion for the production to stay as strong as my love for the story. That was a real game changer and has kept my eyes on the ball.

Zachary Infante and Travis Kent in Trevor Bachman's "Pyre Cantata"3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Pyre Cantata? Throughout the the life of this piece, it's music and lyrics have managed to reverberate beyond the theater. An audience will undoubtedly find the controversy in Pyre Cantata to be relevant in our world today, and I hope it will stir a dialogue about war and corruption.

4. What do you identify most with about the story and your character "Eteocles"? This guy is driven by his faith. "Eteocles" puts so much trust in the people he loves and I believe that to be true of my relationships with friends and family.

5. What has been the best part about working with this cast and creative team so far? I’ve loved coming into the rehearsal room and being able to greet other young professionals working toward a common goal. I see the passion in everyone’s eyes during our runs and how easily we’re able to pour love on each other in and outside of rehearsal.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

6. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Crema de Piragua. It’s been my favorite flavored ice since childhood and I’d love that taste to last after the summer.

7. How do you want to be remembered? I’d love for my children’s children to remember me as an honest and romantic old man who was generous and faithful.

Zachary InfanteMore on Zachary: 

Born at Mount Saini Hospital in Spanish Harlem, Zach's Dominican and Puerto Rican roots run deep. Though a native New Yorker, his family made a move to the suburbs of New Jersey where he spent most of his childhood. The theater community in Roselle Park shaped Zach into the young professional he is today, and fostered his passion for the arts at a young age. After years of performing in his living room and with local theater companies he began working professionally scoring roles in commericals and on television, and so the legend beings.

Tony Award winning director Julie Taymor and Zachary InfanteAt the age of ten Zach landed a role in Paramount Picture's School of Rock starring Jack Black, Joan Cusak, and Miranda Cosgrove. Fueled and desiring more he pursued a BFA in Drama at New York University. While studying at NYU he was in his first musical theater production at The Paper Mill Playhouse. It didn't take this sprite to realize that the stage is where he would be able to hone his craft.

Following the completion of his training at the Collaborative Arts Project (CAP21) and the Experimental Theatre Wing (ETW) Zach began working on the classics with Tony Award winning director Julie Taymor (The Lion King, Across the Universe) in the inagural production of Brooklyn's newest premier company Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA). The fall 2013 production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream led him over to Hartford Stage where he worked with Matthew Lopez on his most recent development of Somewhere a play with music by Bill Sherman (In the Heights) starring Tony Award Winner Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line, In the Heights).

Zachary Infante in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"The classics seem to be where the stars have pulled him as he'll be returning to TFANA in the fall for Sir Michael Boyd's production of Tamburlaine in a major production of the rarely produced play by Christopher Marlowe. Through the inbetweens Zach has been working with Tony Award nominated director Michael Greif (Rent, Next To Normal, If/Then), and as a reoccuring character, Senate page "Tomas A.L Quiroz," on the Amazon Prime original series Alpha House starring John Goodman and Mark Consuelos.

Zach has also been developing several new works with composers Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Trevor Bachman, and Bobby Cronin. Most recently has been given the opportunity to host the national singing competition Can U Sing with judges Erin Christine (American Idol), Kristen Huffman (Company), and Greg Nobile, (Tony Award winning producer of A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder).

Monday
Sep012014

Call Answered: Kiah Victoria: Pyre Cantata, The Lion King, and Music

Kiah VictoriaMaking her Broadway debut at 10 years old as "Young Nala" in Disney's The Lion King, "Call Me Adam" chats with actress and singer Kiah Victoria about starring in Trevor Bachman's Pyre Cantata which will play HERE Arts Center (145 6th Avenue) from September 4-7Click here for tickets!

A mythic, soulful, vocally pyrotechnic adaptation of Antigone, this electric new musical follows four young siblings as they try to fix the broken city of Thebes. The music, a soulful fusion of R&B, gospel, and musical theatre exquisitely sews together quick humor with alarming tragedy. Appealing to lovers of Greek drama and good music alike, Pyre Cantata is a fiery new twist on a centuries-old myth.

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

1. From September 4-7, you will be starring in Pyre Cantata. What made you want to audition for this show? This music is killer and the cast is not only full of incredible artists but also my dearest friends. It’s a win across the board.

2. What do you identify most with about the story and your character "Speaker"? The "Speaker" posses a feminine power that I admire and in may ways aspire to. In a male dominated world she’s still running shit. She knows the secrets of the city and uses that knowledge and wisdom to protect her family. 

Kiah Victoria rehearsing "Pyre Cantata"3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope audiences leave the room feeling a sense of triumph. Whether it’s from the incredible music, or the plight of "Ismene," I hope people feel that amidst darkness there is a spark of light. This story is as much about dysfunction as it is about pure potential.

4. What is the best part about being in the early stages of show's creation? It’s such a RIDE. I was in the first reading of Pyre about 4 years ago, so to hear the development since that time is pretty remarkable. The best part is witnessing all of Trevor’s work and growth being manifested into this production. And as a cast we’re making new discoveries that are further building upon his genius.

Cast of "Pyre Cantata"5. At age 10, you made your Broadway debut as "Young Nala" in The Lion King. What was it like to make your Broadway debut at such a young age? Was it everything you dreamed it would be? The Lion King was kind of magical. It was one of those experiences that completely clarified for me that the stage is where I belong. The music, costumes, lights, dancers, singers and the beautiful New Amsterdam became my home. My dad also made his Broadway debut in The Lion King playing drums in the orchestra! We were the first ever daddy-daughter team. That was such a surreal, proud moment to see him up in the balcony holding it down, while I was riding around on an ostrich with "Simba." AH!

Cover design by Rog Walker6. Since then, you also started writing your own music, releasing 2 EPs and some singles as well as perform around the world in concert. What do you get from working on your own music and performing concerts that you do not get from being on stage? I feel a deeper sense of ownership when I’m writing music. It’s much more of a challenge for me than being on stage. But ultimately each piece of my artistic creation and development makes me feel alive. I wouldn’t trade one for another.

7. What is the best part about meeting your fans around the world? Well, this question makes me feel rather fancy. I feel love from all angles when I come into contact with people who appreciate my artistry and what I create. That enthusiasm is so special.

8. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I always felt a deep, inexplicable desire to perform. I’m not sure if I had a say in the matter. It feels like that desire always was and will be forever.

Kiah Victoria singing9. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Oh man, so many people! Nabil (Video Director), Miguel (Artist), and 40 (Producer) come to mind.

10. What's the best advice you've received so far? "Treat everyday as a rededication to your craft." – Martin Scorsese (NYU ‘14 Tisch Commencement)

11. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Hmmm, probably that I have more strength than I realize.

12. Having success at such a young age, how have you been able to stay grounded? I’m a person. I think if I remember that, I’ll be good. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flight.

14. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Raspberry. For sure.

15. How do you want to be remembered? As a giver of joy and ferocity.

More on Kiah:

BLENDING INTIMATE VOCAL PERFORMANCE WITH THE OBSCURE SYNTHETIC TEXTURES OF TRIP-HOP PRODUCER TOLU, 21-YEAR-OLD KIAH VICTORIA EMERGES FROM THE GREAT CITY OF NEW YORK.

THE MTV COLLEGE WOODIE NOMINEE HAS TAKEN HER TRAVELS AROUND THE GLOBE, LIVING IN BOTH GERMANY AND KENYA FOR A SHORT TIME BEFORE RETURNING TO HER RIGHTFUL SPOTLIGHT IN MANHATTAN.

KIAH HAS GARNERED THE ATTENTION OF NYC’S BROADWAY STAGES, NBC’S THE VOICE, AND THE CLIVE DAVIS INSTITUTE OF RECORDED MUSIC. SHE HAS STUDIED ABROAD IN BERLIN, EXPLORING THE DIVERSELY RICH MUSIC CULTURE OF THE HISTORICAL CITY WHILE CONTINUOUSLY COLLABORATING WITH HER PRODUCER TOLU, AND INTRODUCING HER DISTINCT SOUND TO THE EUROPEAN CITY-CENTER.

Sunday
Aug312014

Call Answered: Full Facetime Interview with Ben Rimalower and Aaron Mark: Bad with Money

"Call Me Adam" reconnects with actor and playwright Ben Rimalower and director Aaron Mark to discuss their new show Bad with Money playing at The Duplex in NYC (61 Christopher Street at 7th Avenue) from September 4-November 6, every Thursday at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

Bad with Money chronicles Ben's struggle with his finances. 

For more on Bad with Money visit http://www.badwithmoney.net and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

Bad with Money Interview with Ben Rimalower and Aaron Mark:

Sunday
Aug242014

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW INTERVIEW: Facetime with Ben Rimalower and Aaron Mark: Bad with Money at The Duplex

"Call Me Adam" gives an exclusive preview interview as he reconnects with Ben and Aaron! 

After an extended sold-out run at the Duplex in NYC and around the world with Patti Issues, actor and playwright Ben Rimalower is back at The Duplex in NYC (61 Christopher Street at 7th Avenue) with an all new one-man show called Bad with Money, directed by Aaron Mark, chronicling Ben's struggle with his finances. Click here for tickets! 

For more on Bad with Money be sure to visit http://www.badwithmoney.net and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter! 

PREVIEW INTERVIEW with Ben Rimalower and Director Aaron Mark: