Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


"Call Me Adam" chats with...



Entries in Off-Broadway (354)


Call Redialed: John Epperson: An Evening with Lypsinka's Maid at Feinstein's/54 Below

John EppersonI first spoke with John Epperson, a.k.a. Lypsinka! last summer when he was gearing up to present LYPSINKA! THE BOXED SET, but due to an injury he had to cancel the run of the show. Now, he's all healed up and taking the stage at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) from January 20-23 in a new show An Evening with Lypsinka's Maid!

In this rare cabaret appearance, we get to meet the face and man behind Lypsinka with an evening of light-hearted standards and lesser-known theatre songs. He will tell anecdotes about some of the famous and infamous he's encountered along his show biz journey. Click here for tickets!

For more on John as Lypsinka be sure to follow on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Lypsinka, Caricature by Stefano Imbert1. It's great to catch up with you John! Last time we spoke, you were about to do LYPSINKA! THE BOXED SET, but due to an injury you were not able to do the run of the show. When you injured yourself, were you ever afraid that you might not perform again? I was very afraid at first that I might not be able to play the piano again. What happened was I had the flu that was going around NYC late April/early May, 2015. I was on my way to my doctor for the second time that week! I was walking because his office is only 9 blocks away. I said to myself, "At least you can stand up straight and try to look like you're not sick." So I held my head and chest up, and the next thing I knew I was toppling forward because I had stepped in a sidewalk pothole almost exactly the shape and size of my shoe, and I wasn't looking down. I fell on several parts of my body and had various injuries, including bad swelling of my left hand. I didn't break a bone, I sprained a ligament, which can be worse. It took a long time to heal.

2. Now you are performing a very special show at Feinstein's/54 Below from January 20-23 entitled An Evening With Lypsinka's Maid. What made you want to reveal the man behind the persona for this show? Lypsinka first became successful in the 1980s and ever since then people think I can't do anything else. But I also play the piano and sing. And I can actually talk and tell a story! So I want people to know that I am multi-talented and not a guy who ONLY lip-synchs in a dress! This is also one of the selfish reasons I was recently in ONCE UPON A MATTRESS.

3. What do you think will surprise fans most about this show? The above! And that I am a vulnerable human like everyone.

John Epperson, Photo Credit: Walter McBride4. What is the hardest part about being "Lypsinka's maid"? Keeping track of all the bits and pieces.

5. What is one story you can share with us that won't be in the show? I know a hilarious story about Nancy Reagan, but maybe I shouldn't say it. Maybe it isn't true! But it sure is funny.

6. If Lypsinka were to come to this show, how do you think she would like it? She would like it through a martini haze.

7. You are a classically trained pianist, which you will be playing during this show. What initially made you want to become a pianist? Let's clarify. I won't be playing classical music in this show. My older sisters studied piano and I would watch them and listen to them. One day I just sat down and did it. My mother was impressed and took me to my sisters' formidable teacher. I took to it and blossomed. As I look back, I realize one of the reasons I loved it was, it gave me an identity. It also gave me escape. And later it gave me real adventure and a way to finance my Lypsinka career.

Lypsinka backstage at "Once Upon A Mattress"8. What does playing the piano give you that performing as Lypsinka does not? The Lypsinka lip-synched performances are "cold and artificial" in nature which is part of their appeal. Playing the piano and singing is a "warmer" experience.

9. If you had to do it over again, would you have gone the same route you went? There are some days, some moments, where I think I would not have. But hindsight is 20/20. There are some moments when I regret not having more formal training for musical theatre, which my niece is getting now. On the other hand, by not having formal training, and by not pursuing a traditional career, perhaps I created something unique.

10. 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 always try to be kinder to people, even though I know some people are not always kind to me. NYC is not known for its kindness, but there are pockets of it. (I am not always successful, admittedly.) I also try to be generous as much as I can be. Not always with money, but in other ways. Now, as for my own fitness regime, it's not going to get done while I sit at this computer answering your questions! Thank you!

John EppersonMore on John:

John Epperson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a long way from the exciting worlds in which LYPSINKA travels: movies (Witch Hunt with Dennis Hopper, Darren Aronofsky’s Black SwanWigstock: The MovieAngels In AmericaKinsey,Another Gay MovieAnother Gay Sequel); television (HBO specials Sandra After Dark with Sandra Bernhard, andDragtime; George Michael’s video Too Funky, PBS’s The United States Of Poetry and special features on the Mommie Dearestand Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? DVDs); fashion (appearing in the Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles shows of haute couture designer Thierry Mugler, modeling for Valentino, Pauline Trigere, Barneys New York, and launching lines of cosmetics for Prescriptives, MAC, and Isabella Rossellini); advertisements (The Gap, LA Eyeworks, Naya Spring Water, Ilford Film); theater, including I Could Go On Lip-Synching!The Fabulous Lypsinka ShowLypsinka! Now It Can Be Lip-SynchedLypsinka! A Day In The Life (New York Theater Workshop, two Drama Desk nominations, including Most Unique Theatrical Experience; revived in 1993 Off-Broadway at The Cherry Lane Theatre), Lypsinka! As I Lay Lip-SynchingLypsinka Must Be Destroyed!Lypsinka IS Harriet Craig!Lypsinka! The Boxed Set (2001 Drama Desk nomination, Washington, D.C. Helen Hayes Award win for Outstanding Non-Resident Production / Outstanding Lead Actor nomination, wins for Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Best Sound Design and L.A. Weekly Theatre Award for Best Solo Performance); and special events (such as Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, on Broadway with Bette Midler, Elaine Stritch and Patti LuPone, and London’s Meltdown Festival curated by Morrissey).

LypsinkaFormerly a rehearsal pianist at American Ballet Theatre, John’s theatrical career was launched in the mid-1980s when he wrote the book, lyrics and music of Ballet of the Dolls and Dial "M" For Model at La Mama ETC. The year 1999 brought Epperson’s dramatic stage debut in Messages for Gary at The New York Fringe Festival. In 2004 John appeared Off-Broadway in The Roaring Girle with The Foundry Theatre. The same year he was the subject of a stage festival at DC’s Studio Theatre, which included his autobiographical piece John Epperson: Show TrashAs I Lay Lip-Synching, and his play, My Deah: Medea for Dummies, the Medea tale set in The New South. Also in 2004 Epperson played "The Stepmother" in the New York City Opera production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater. The play My Deah opened in an Obie Award-winning production Off-Broadway in October 2006 and is now published and licensed by Samuel French. His acclaimed Off-Broadway show The Passion of the Crawford, a fantasia on the personality of Joan Crawford, toured to California, Florida and Washington, D.C.

LypsinkaLypsinka launched the 2007 Spring collection of MAC Cosmetics centered around the Barbie doll. Epperson’s version of James Kirkwood’s infamous play Legends! was produced at Studio Theatre in DC, Summer 2010. In 2014 in New York City, John devoted himself to a unique challenge for a solo performer by performing three of his shows in repertory under the umbrella title LYPSINKA! THE TRILOGY. John and Lypsinka are the subjects of an Emmy-winning television documentary for PBS. He provided the preface for the Rizzoli photo bookPersona, and is the author of a new screenplay Happy Everything. John has also written for The Guardian (U.K.), The New York TimesThe Washington Post and Interview and The Daily Beast.


Call Redialed: Andrew Goffman: The Accidental Pervert

In 2011, Andrew Goffman, Charles Messina, and I sat down for an exciting interview about The Accidental Pervert. Four years later, Andrew and I got hard once again about this hilarious and heartfelt show. The Accidental Pervert tells the story of a boy’s journey into manhood after discovering his dad’s X-rated video tapes hidden in a bedroom closet. The Accidental Pervert is a show about youth, growing up, and becoming mature.

The Accidental Pervert, continues to play at The Thirteenth Street Repertory Company every Friday and Saturday at 7pm (50 West 13th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on The Accidental Pervert be sure to visit and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"1. The Accidental Pervert is now in its 8th year! As the lone performer in the show, how do you keep the show fresh for you after eight years? That’s the beauty of live theater, it's always different. Every new audience is seeing it for the first time, so their energy and enthusiasm makes it fresh for me every night I hit that stage. As a performer, I feed off of that energy. What also keeps it fresh, for both me and the many audiences that see The Accidental Pervert more than once, is that it is interactive. So it's never the same show twice! Plus Charles Messina my director, and I are always adding new elements to the show. We continue to use The Accidental Pervert’s long run as our own comedy laboratory, to experiment with new concepts and ideas. It's still fun for us, and that fun definitely translates to the audience.

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"2. Looking back on eight years of the show, what are some of the crazy things that have happened to you while on stage? Great question, Adam! The Pervert team reminisce about so many funny things all the time. We’re like, "Remember when the bachelorette with the short shorts came up on stage during the show and started dancing." And then one of us chimes in with "Yeah but what about the time the lazy boy chair broke in the middle of the show," or when your high school crush is actually there in the audience yelling out "Andrew, it’s not too late to hook up with me!!!" We’ve experienced nearly everything there is to experience in theater over these past eight years. From people fainting in the aisle, to firemen in full gear, wielding axes, breaking through the theater door mid-show, yelling "Where’s the fire?"

Yet every time, no matter what crazy thing is experienced, I always make it part of the show. This is the very thing that prompted Charles and I to start working on a book about this whole crazy Pervert journey. In the book, we tell it all.

All the behind the scenes stuff, and the zaniness of live theater, from oddball technical problems, to leaking ceilings over head while I’m performing, to drunken audience members who've had to be escorted out during the show, BY ME no less. Just like it should be. We once had a show where the entire audience, didn't speak English! I guess they were there to watch me twerk or something. I hear twerking is a universal gesture, kinda like waving hello to someone.

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"3. What has been some of the funniest audience interactions you've had during these eight years? My all time favorite audience interaction was this: One night a woman in the audience was reacting, out loud, to every other line coming out of my mouth. She was making these loud, shocked sounds and saying stuff like, "Oh," "Oh my," "Oh my Gosh." Like she was watching a movie in her living room or something. Commenting on every little thing like no one else was in the audience but her. Then when the show was over, she came up to me, and said, "I’m going to Israel next week, I will pray for you at the Wailing Wall." I just smiled and thanked her. Hey after all, a blessing is a blessing. And I probably need all of them I can get. It’s comforting to know that somewhere out there there is a woman wailing away for me.

4. How have you grown in this role over the past eight years? I'm much more comfortable now than eight years ago. When I started The Accidental Pervert, I was attached to the script, getting to know the lines, making sure I don’t miss a beat. At first, I wasn’t fully comfortable venturing away from the actual lines. But now, that’s what I do best. That’s what makes the show so special for both our audiences and me. My ability to interact with the audience, change up moment to moment, and improv - that all has become such an instrumental part of the play. Eight years ago I couldn’t imagine doing the show with it, now I can’t imagine doing the show without it!

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"5. The Accidental Pervert is directed by Charles Messina. Has he checked in over the past eight years and if so, have you made adjustments to the show? What is it like to make changes after the show has been up and running? Charles has been at every show! Yes, every single show. The man has no weekends. He’s the best director a guy can ask for. We are fully committed to making The Accidental Pervert the best it can be. It's a one man show, but really it's a two man show. Crew members and staff have come and gone, but Charles and I have been there from day one, and continue to be. We never take anything for granted. We meet and share notes and are constantly thinking of ways to make it funnier, tighter, better. That process still continues, even eight years later.

6. The Accidental Pervert tells the uproarious and yet poignant story of a boy’s journey into manhood after discovering his dad’s X-rated video tapes hidden in a bedroom closet. For other men who have had a similar experience, what do they tell you after the show? They tell me this is as much their story as it is mine. That means a lot to me. They relate to it. And that’s because the theme is universal. Not just for men, but women have told me the same thing. One woman even told me about her first masturbatory experience in which she was intimate with a towel. Then she proceeded to show me how she did it. The Accidental Pervert brings the sexes together, in more ways than one. If you’re human, you can relate.  I’m saying stuff that other people have gone through, but don’t talk about. That’s why so many people enjoy the show. It’s cathartic, relatable, and universal.

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"7. If this story took place today, what magazines and porn stars would be featured in the show? It probably wouldn’t be magazines, it would be websites. The Internet has changed the game and has made porn much more accessible to the masses than it was when I was growing up. We've actually had a few porn stars come to see the show. They shall remain nameless, (in order to save their reputation). I actually don't know a lot of the more modern porn stars, so I'm not sure who would be in a current version of this story. I do know this though - there would not be any VHS tapes in the show - I can tell you that!

8. For someone who hasn't seen this show, why should they come see The Accidental Pervert? They should come see The Accidental Pervert because it’s real, it’s relatable and most importantly, it’s funny. People from all countries, continents, races, genders, and sexuality enjoy The Pervert. Beyond being entertaining, it also is a coming of age story about growing up, sexual discovery, relationships and maturity. We've all been there, so we are all in this together.

Andrew Goffman and Whoopi Goldberg9. If you were to leave The Accidental Pervert, what celebrity or celebrities would you cast as your replacement? Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Kevin James, Jim Carrey, Kevin Hart, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Adam Sandler, Louise CK, Chris Rock, Daniel Tosh, Bill Burr, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Zach Galifianakis, or maybe even as a stretch, Amy Schumer! They would be perfect perverts! Lovable, yet they have that edge.

10. The Accidental Pervert has also had productions open internationally. What was the moment like when you first got approached for an international production? Now what is it like to see these productions? Do they translate as well overseas as it does here? The first licensing deal came as a total surprise because it wasn't something we had ever considered. Now, fast forward many years, we currently have the show playing in 10 different countries and counting! Who would’ve thought that eight years ago! The international tours and runs with international celebrities playing the role of The Pervert have been very successful and the show translates extremely well into other languages. We’ve had a Swedish Pervert, an Argentinian Pervert, an Irish Pervert, a Dutch Pervert, a Panamanian Pervert. The list goes on. It’s so cool! I always find it fascinating to see how similar all the productions have been, with basically the same look and feel. Each country stays very true to the script and the set design that we use in New York City for the last eight years. I think it’s safe to say that this New York Pervert is honored and very thankful.

Andrew Goffman in "The Accidental Pervert"More on Andrew:

Andrew Goffman began his career as a stand up comedian, playing New York City clubs including Carolines, Catch A Rising Star, The Comic Strip, Stand Up New York, Boston Comedy Club, The Comedy Cellar, Rascals and later headlining internationally including Canada’s renown chain of comedy clubs, Yuk Yuks. His intense theatrical training started with mentor JoAnna Beckson, known for her specialty in teaching comedians the art of acting, as he studied with his fellow class mates Kevin James, Rock Rubin, Dave Attell and Ray Romano. Andrew made his Off-Broadway debut in the hit comedy Grandma Sylvia's Funeral, where he played in a lead role for more than a year. On the big screen, Goffman has appeared in such films as The First Wives Club with Beth Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn, iMurders with William Forsythe, and The Stand-In with Kelly Ripa.


Call Redialed: Jeremy Kushnier: Shear Madness

Jeremy KushnierI first met Jeremy Kushnier a few years ago when I got to interview the cast of Bucks County's production of Rocky Horror. Prior to Rocky Horror, I saw Jeremy go on in the most recent Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was then that I was like, wow what a voice!

I'm so excited to catch up with Jeremy as he is keeping audiences guessing as to whodunit in America's longest running comedy, Shear Madness, which has descended on New York City, playing at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at!

For more on Jeremy be sure to visit and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Last time we spoke you were starring in Bucks County's production of Rocky Horror. Now you are starring in, Shear Madness, America's longest running comedy. What is the most exciting part about being in a whodunit show? I love the idea that you really have to be present at every moment because you never know what is going to happen. Also the challenge of convincing an audience that it wasn’t you is a lot of fun!

2. What do you relate to most about your character "Eddie Lawrence"? I think the poor guy is very misunderstood. It's a challenge in daily life to change peoples perception of you and that's something I think "Eddie" is doing through this play. It's definitely something I try to do in life.

From left to right: Jordan Ahnquist, Lynne Wintersteller, Jeremy Kushnier, and Kate Middleton in "Shear Madness", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg3. Shear Madness is a very audience interactive show, where the audience helps figure out who the killer is. What challenges do you face as an actor with this nightly change in the script? What do you enjoy most about this kind of audience interaction? I think the idea of keeping the show fresh and staying on top of how you interact with the audience while still making it seem of the cuff. There's a fine line of looking like you know too well what you’re doing and it looking completely improvised that we try to tread. It's all a challenge. We like to say that the audience is our 7th company member and they just happen to have no idea their lines or the play in general, and that makes it a bit of a challenge as well.

4. Since Shear Madness is heavily based upon audience participation, what has been the craziest thing to happen so far? We never say audience participation we say audience interaction because truly you can be as involved or uninvolved as you like. Audience participation makes a lot of people run for the hills, me included. The craziest thing for me is how much that New York audiences want to be involved. Our audiences have been on it and super excited to be a part.

Kate Middleton and Jeremy Kushnier in "Shear Madness", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg5. One of my favorite games growing up was "Clue." I loved figuring out who killed who, in what room, and with what weapon. Shear Madness is very similar. If you were to be the star of "Clue," who would you kill, with what weapon, and in what room? Probably Mr Green (cause I love Michael McKean) in the Library with the revolver.

6. If Shear Madness were to merge with Rocky Horror, who and how would "Riff Raff," who you played, commit murder? He would definitely convince "Magenta" to do it for him or just sing really high and loud till they took their own lives.

7. Since Shear Madness is a whodunit, what mystery in your life are you still trying to solve? How to make the perfect martini.

8. In addition to theatre, you also have released two solo albums. What do you get from making music that you don't get from your theatrical ventures? I like the idea of having total control over the end product. It's very cathartic for me to write my own music. You know we don’t always get to be as artistically involved as we'd like to be in our own lives. So writing music gives me that outlet.

Jeremy Kushnier as "Eddie" in "Shear Madness"9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Shut up and do your job." Honestly. I was in rehearsals for Footloose and I called a good friend and mentor because I was very scared that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I was feeling nervous. I had never been the lead of a big show like this let alone on Broadway and I started to doubt myself. He just reminded me that I had been acting for over a decade at that point and I knew what I was doing. And that nothing about where I was or what I was doing was any different than what I had done before. And to shut up and do my job.

10. What theatre stars inspire you today? I think anyone who does this as a career is inspiring to me. There are so many people in the theater that are a complete wonder to me every day. But the people that inspire me the most are the ones that love the theater so much that they glow even when they speak of it. My girlfriend Robin Abramson is one of those people. She is an amazing actress and has inspired me to love the theater again. She receives such a genuine joy from theater that it is contagious to be around her. One of my favorite things to do on the planet now is to go and sit in a theater with her and enjoy the fact that we live in the center of the universe when it comes to theater.

Jeremy KushnierMore on Jeremy:

Jeremy Kushnier most recently portrayed "Iago" to critical acclaim in Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of Othello. He was nominated for a 2015 Drama Desk Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of "Leo Szillard" in the musical Atomic. On Broadway he covered "Jesus," "Judas" and "Pilate" in the most recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, played "Tommy Devito" in Jersey Boys, "Ren" in Footloose and "Roger" in Rent. National tours include "Radames" in Aida and "The Doctors" in Next to Normal, "Tommy Devito" in the Chicago, Las Vegas, and Toronto companies of Jersey Boys. His most recent TV credits include Person of Interest, The Good Wife and the series finale of Nurse Jackie. Jeremy has released two independent albums of all original music.


Call Answered: Conference Call with Villain: DeBlanks creator Billy Mitchell and Tony nominee Brenda Braxton

Billy MitchellBrenda BraxtonI have seen Billy Mitchell's Villain: DeBlanks at least half a dozen times over this past year. This hilarious show is part Madlibs, part whodunit, but always resulting in an evening of laughter and fun! With a rotating cast, the audience helps figure out who killed "Phillip DeBlanks," making EVERY show different from the one before!

Now "Call Me Adam" gets inside the head of Billy Mitchell to learn how he created this thrilling show as well as the show's producer, Tony Nominee Brenda Braxton. Villain: DeBlanks plays the first Sunday of every month at The Triad in New York City, the next installment being Sunday, December 6 at 7:30pm (158 West 72nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenue). Click here for tickets!

As of press time, the cast for December 6 includes Geneva Carr, Bobby Cronin, Daisy Eagan, Lauren Elder, Peter Filichia, and Hunter Ryan-Herdlicka.

For more on Villain: DeBlanks be sure to visit and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Let's start at the beginning. Villain: DeBlanks is a murder mystery story combined with a mad-libs style format where the audience is asked to provide some of the missing links to the script and then after the show is performed, the audience chooses whom they think killed "Phillip DeBlanks." Billy, how did you come to write Villain: DeBlanks with the format of it being an interactive show where the audience helps "finish" the script each show? Villain: DeBlanks actually began as part of a children's series I wrote & directed for The Attic Ensemble in Jersey City. I've always been a word nerd, and a lifelong advocate for literacy and creative writing, and this was a really fun way to endorse the value of language skills to diverse audiences of children and their parents, many of whom were learning English as a second language. During rehearsal one afternoon the adult actors and I decided to just make it more entertaining for ourselves by filling in the blanks with rude, naughty, "adult" words, and I thought: "Holy (EXPLETIVE)_____, this is a late night show!"

Brenda Braxton in "Villain DeBlanks"2. What has it been like to grow this show from an every few months, one-night only show, to a monthly series? 

Billy: It's funny, because I have pretty much averaged one show each month for the past year -- they've just been all over the place (54 Below, Buck County Playhouse, The Rockwell in LA, etc.). To have a monthly performance at a regular time in a consistent venue is definitely a treat -- first Sunday of each month at The Triad NYC! -- and this venue is a great fit for the show. Also, to call the run "Brenda Braxton presents Villain DeBlanks" is incredibly flattering. Brenda did the show twice, then insisted on doing it a third time before she went out to sea to perform After Midnight for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Then, while rehearsing that show in Florida, she coordinated booking the Triad and securing the room for us. It's perfect, too, because we are currently booked through April, and that will be her return to DeBlanks!

Brenda Braxton: As performers we are sometimes looking for that next thing that might make us as happy performing. My Tony nomination for Smokey Joe's Cafe was truly one of the highlights of my career but I must say being able to produce Villain: DeBlanks has been a wonderful "Act 2"!! I want to continue producing this show as long as Billy will let me!! Not to mention being one of the six performers. I'm looking forward to returning to Villain: DeBlanks in April!!

3. Not only has Villain: DeBlanks become a monthly series, it has also been presented at Bucks County Playhouse, Rockwell LA, and Maine. What are some of your future plans for Villain: DeBlanks? Oh, the future! Well, we're at The Triad NYC through April. I am writing a new version of the script - set in space - that I hope to premiere in February at The Triad and then in late February at The Rockwell in LA. There are plans to bring DeBlanks to the Poconos over the winter, and possibly London within the year. I am pretty sure we'll do another St. Jude benefit performance at Joe's Pub, and I am working with friends to pitch a 30-minute version of the show to the IFC channel.

AnnaLeigh Ashford in "Villain DeBlanks"4. What makes this show so great, from an audience perspective, is that EVERY performance is different because the cast is constantly rotating, the audiences choose different words to fill in, people vote differently each show as to whom committed the murder. What challenges does this kind of rotation present for you and how does this rotation make you thrive? The biggest challenge, so far, is getting an audience! The evening is such a wild ride, and so much fun for every person in the room, but people still aren't sure what it is, so it's a lot of work to encourage them to give us a try. The second biggest challenge is casting. For each cast of 6, I invite between 80 and 100 performers, and -- while the majority of people are enthusiastically willing to do the show sometimes -- the schedules can be a giant hurdle. I often announce casts with a "subject to availability" note, in case performed run into conflicts or end up booking a paying gig out of town. The performances are all partial or total benefits, so everyone involved is either volunteering or being given an incredibly small stipend to cover their cab fare.

5. What do you enjoy about the audience interactive component of the show? The interactivity is the BEST! The cast doesn't know what to expect, the audience doesn't know what to expect, even I don't know what to expect -- and then we're all taking the ride together. The audience get to meet some fantastic performers: Tony, Oliver & Emmy winners, pop culture & entertainment industry personalities, etc, and the casts get to circulate among the audience, so everyone meets everyone and together they create the show.

From left to right: Kinsley Leggs, La Chanze, Brenda Braxton, and Bernard Dotson6. In the show, "Phillip DeBlanks" is killed by having 250lbs of something dropped on him. That something is different each show depending on what the audience selects. If you were in the audience, how would you choose to kill "Phillip DeBlanks"? The more unusual, clever, or filthy the words, the more fun we all have, so I would say some thing elaborate like Mississippi Mud Pie, or Spotted Dick, or maybe Baumkuchen.

7. Since this show has so many spontaneous components to it, what has been the craziest thing to happen so far? There's no way I can name the craziest. But I can say there are 3 things that happen at every show, to some degree, and never fail to be memorable. 1) Accents! Brenda Braxton, Hunter Foster, and Cady Huffman have all pulled out accents that have not only brought tears of laughter form the audience, but they have destroyed the composure of their co-stars. 2) Nouns! Audiences have given nouns from "dental dam" and "vaginal mesh" to "hamsters" and "monkeys" to, possibly my favorite noun so far: "a morning talk show host like Kathie Lee." 3) Crack ups! At some point during each show -- usually due to a ridiculous accent delivering an outrageous noun, or an actor having to say a word they can't quite pronounce -- the entire cast will inevitably stop the show with laughs and asides.

Billy Mitchell and the L.A. Rockwell cast including Bruce Vilanch, Barret Foa, Lori Alan, AnnaLeigh Ashford, Robin Atkin Downes and Daisy Egan8. Villain: DeBlanks has had quite a roster of performers so far including Bruce Vilanch, Barrett Foa, Laura Bell Bundy, Annaleigh Ashford. How do you decide who you want to cast in each show? Are there certain qualities you look for when casting? Well, as I mentioned in my answer above, casting is almost a full time job. I throw a wide net, usually beginning with performers who are my Facebook friends, and more than 60 DeBlanks' veterans, to see who might be available for a given date. I also have great luck with recommendations from people who want to do the show but can't do the date requested -- they will suggest some fun alternates for me to reach out to. Once I get a sense of who I'll have (3 women & 3 men each time), I assign roles based on various things, but mostly instinct. All of the parts are fun, and fundamentally it's an ensemble experience, so they are all stars.

9. If Ellen DeGeneres were to promote Villain: DeBlanks, what would be her tagline be? I'd offer her our current tagline: "You'll laugh your (BODY PART)_____ off!" But Ellen is brilliant and would probably say something perfect that I'd never think of.

10. Finish this sentence. I_____Villain: DeBlanks. I adore Villain: DeBlanks.

Billy MitchellMore on Billy:

Billy Mitchell’s favorite thing is making people (VERB)_____ until their (BODY PART)_____ hurts, and his fill-in-the-blanks comedy Villain: DeBlanks has been a fun project so far. Seen in venues around NYC, Los Angeles and regionally, DeBlanks has not only been a great opportunity to to pay-it-forward — the shows are always benefits — but each cast is a new gang of 6 hooligans and so far about 70 amazing people have brought their time and talent to the shenanigans. (, A member of the Dramatists Guild, Billy is the author of several plays (his script, Blood & Oil, is currently represented by the Freedman Agency), and is hoping to work on a musical project or two in the coming months. Originally from Maine, he has theatre degrees from UMaine and NYU, and is an award-winning writer/director, and occasionally the host at events where the first choice was likely unavailable. Not enough?

Brenda BraxtonMore on Brenda:

Brenda Braxton starred as Velma Kelly opposite Usher in Broadway’s hit musical Chicago. Prior to that, she was featured on Broadway in the musical revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe, that earned her a 1995 Tony Award nomination, the NAACP Theater Award, the city of Chicago’s Jefferson Award and a Grammy Award for Best Cast Album. Other Broadway credits include Jelly’s Last Jam, Cats, Legs Diamond and the original production of Dreamgirls. She received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Living the Dream" Award given by New York Gov. George Pataki and the Josephine Baker Award from the National Council of Negro Women for her work as founder of Leading Ladies Just for Teens, seminars geared to empowering teenage girls.


Call Answered: Carol Linnea Johnson: Three Day Hangover: Tartuffe!

Carol Linnea JohnsonI first met Carol Linnea Johnson when I saw The Full Monty on Broadway in 2001. After six wonderful viewings, I followed Carol to her next gig in Broadway's Mamma Mia! With her powerful vocals, Carol brought down the house as "Donna." Carol then left Broadway for Vegas' Mamma Mia! and we lost touch. With the invention of Facebook, we got back in touch, and now it's great to have the chance to really sit down with Carol and catch up! 

Carol is starring in Three Day Hangover's re-imaged version of Moliere's Tartuffe! In this production, this play is set against a political backdrop which makes it outrageous, up-to-the-minute contemporary and hilarious. The colorful characters and over-the-top rhetoric in the current national political spotlight have added fuel to Three Day Hangover's fire. As always, they've incorporated drinking game shenanigans, which fit perfectly into the dysfunctional family dynamic at the center of the story. Moliere's searing comedy of hypocrites and heathens have been re-imaged for our modern age and nothing brings out the best kind of worst in people like a U.S. Senate race. Coming at you from the left and the right, this fast-paced, dysfunctional family farce will be anything but politically correct as we roast and toast American politics as unusual. Tartfuffe plays at McAlpin Hall at West Park Church in NYC (86th Street & Amsterdam) through November 21! Show time is 8pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Carol be sure to follow her on Twitter!

For more on Three Day Hangover visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Carol Linnea Johnson and Sean Tarrant in Three Day Hangover's "Tartuffe!", Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey1. You are currently starring in Three Day Hangover's re-imagining of Moliere’s Tartuffe! What made you want to be in one of their productions? I have been a HUGE fan of this company since I saw their first production, The Hamlet Project. They take classical plays that we have all seen 100 times and rediscover them in hilarious and very meaningful ways. I thought, "This is what it must have felt like to be one of Shakespeare's groundlings!" Three Day Hangover are geniuses at elevating the material by trusting the audience and giving them ownership of the show. Plus, I enjoy what adult beverages do to a group of consenting adult theatre goers. It feels good to be a little bit bad!

Cast of Three Day Hangover's 'Tartuffe!", Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey2. This production of Tartuffe is being set against a political backdrop. How do you think Moliere would react to this re-imagining? I think he would LOVE IT!!! Tartuffe was banned when it was first written because it called out the religious and political hypocrites of it's time. Jake Brandman, our amazing playwright, and Beth Gardiner, our genius director, took that to heart and have made this as politically charged as a FUN evening of theatre will allow. There is an excellent balance of "I can't believe they just said that" and "I wish I could say that out loud without getting fired, unfriended, and/or broken up with."

3. What do you identify with most about this re-imagining story? I love plays about people who's passion makes them go to the extreme. There is a lot of joy in being completely myopic! In my day to day life, I actively try to be a good listener, respect where people are coming from, and try to be a good role model for my daughter. As "Olga," I don't have to worry about any of that! It is extremely cathartic. It's like being in your own personal episode of Arrested Development!

4. I love that Three Day Hangover shows have an audience participation component to them. What challenges does this kind interaction make for you as an actor? How does this element add to your performance? When you are in rehearsal, there is no way to truly prepare for the missing character in the play - the audience. Our brilliant director, Beth Gardiner, built in just the right balance of the actual play and audience playtime. She also warned us that it was going to be an "eye opening" transition from rehearsal room to performance space but that our goal was always to welcome the audience into the experience. We as a company work together to keep it joyful so that the people who are interested in physically participating feel safe and the people who participate by listening and staying seated are supported too. The audience feels safe and doesn't have to worry that there will be some kind of sneak attack. As a company, we quickly realized that the audience was a HUGE source of inspiration and now we look forward to the unique personality of each night's group. It makes the experience really alive and we all LOVE IT!! It is going to be hard to rebuild that fourth wall...

Carol Linnea Johnson and Tom Schwans in Three Day Hangover's "Tartuffe!", Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey5. What has been the craziest thing to happen so far during the run of Tartuffe? An audience member literally slapped "Tartuffe" (Tom Schwans) on the bum last week. I am not going lie, Tom was kind of asking for it!

6. Since this version of Tartuffe is set to a political back-drop, if you were running for president, what are some things in this country you would like to see improved? Easy. MORE ARTS FUNDING!!!!!

7. On that same front, a lot of past secrets of candidates come to the forefront during their campaigning. If you had a campaign going right now, what past secrets do you think would be revealed about you? Ummm, I had a lot of fun in my 20's and 30's. A LOT OF FUN. Thank GOD there was no Facebook in the late 90's/ early 2000's....That said, I REGRET NOTHING!

Carol Linnea Johnson in "Mamma Mia!"8. We came to know each when you were in The Full Monty and then I saw you in Mamma Mia! You left NYC to go to Las Vegas to be in Mamma Mia! What was it like to leave the bright lights of Broadway for the neon lights of Vegas? When did you decide to come back home to NYC? What has your return home been like? I loved my time in Vegas! The Mandalay Bay had an incredible theatre and the people who were in that company were some of the most talented and kind people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Vegas is a VIP town and Mamma Mia! was really popular so we got to do all sorts of amazing Vegas-y things. The best part was the fact that my husband, Don Burroughs, and I got to do the show together. It was a really great time for our whole family. We all love that dessert sky and dry heat! After Mamma Mia! closed in 2009 my husband, daughter, and I stayed for a year and a half. I was singing with a gypsy jazz band called "Hot Club of Las Vegas" and it was a beautiful time. Ultimately, my husband and I were flying back to NYC every other month to audition for things so it made sense to move back. Also, I really wanted our daughter to grow up with the culture and diversity of NYC. Since we've been back we have worked really hard to find the balance between work and family. I find that I am drawn to projects with a shorter time frame so I can be home more.

Carol Linnea Johnson in Three Day Hangover's "Tartuffe!"9. As someone who’s starred in The Full Monty, the final song in the show is called "Let It Go," (and no this has nothing do with the Disney version), what is something you want to "Let Go" of? Ooooh, Adam! This is getting REAL! I think every day I have to remind myself that it is ok that I have pulled back from this business that I love so much to be more present as a parent. I feel like a traitor saying this because I know so many amazing parents who are balancing Broadway and family and it sounds like I am saying they are mutually exclusive! I am not. For now, slowing my pace allows me to take care of all the people I love in a more meaningful way. I get scared all the time that I will never work again and then something like Tartuffe comes along and I think, HALLELUJAH!!!! It is possible to have it all even if it is just for 6 weeks!

10. Another song in The Full Monty, was It’s A Woman's World. If you had to create a world of all women, who would you want to have live there with you (celebrity or not)? Right now I couldn't choose only women because then it would mean excluding the amazing men in my cast! I am so in love with this group of performers that I am already grieving not seeing them everyday and we still have a week left of performances! Once in a great while, the stars align and you get to make art with great artists. I think the love fest that the cast and creative team is experiencing comes through in the show. You can feel the love, "Simba." You can feel it tonight.

Carol Linnea JohnsonMore on Carol:

Carol Linnea Johnson lives a double life as an actor and high powered volunteer at her daughter's school- both are equally glamorous. She has appeared on Broadway as "Donna" in Mamma Mia! (a role she also played on the Las Vegas Strip) as well as "Pam" in The Full Monty. In NYC she has worked at Lincoln Center, with Three Day Hangover, Prospect Theatre and Titan Theatre Company's and further afield at the Alley Theatre, Globe Theatre, Barrington Stage, and Utah Shakespeare Festival to name a few. On-screen credits include Break Up At A Wedding (Before The Door Pictures), Law & Order, All My Children, and The Jerry Lewis Telethon. Recordings include Hot Club of Las Vegas featuring Carol Linnea Johnson. Carol is proud member of Actor's Equity Association.