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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Off-Broadway (336)

Tuesday
May192015

Call Answered: Melba Moore: 54 Below "Forever Moore"

Melba Moore, with earrings courtesy of Oprah, Photo Credit: Willis Roberts"Call Me Adam" chats with Tony Award winner and four-time Grammy nominee Melba Moore about making her 54 Below debut with Forever Moore on May 22 and 23 at 7pm (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue)! In Forever Moore, Melba will be honoring iconic, legendary ladies of song as well as performing her Grammy nominated hits and songs from her Broadway career! Click here for tickets!

For more on Melba be sure to visit http://www.melbamoore.com and follow her on Twitter!

1. On May 22 & 23 at 7pm, you will be making your 54 Below debut with your new show Forever Moore. What made you want to do this show at 54 Below and what excites you about making your 54 Below debut? That was the first available date 54 Below had available and I said, "Let's Go! The sooner we do it the better!" The reason I'm so excited to be part of the 54 Below extravaganza is because they have the best cabaret and theatrical artists in the world performing there. I just went to see my friend Ben Vereen there and it's a beautiful room and the audiences are to die for. I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, I want that!" 

Melba Moore2. What made now the right time to debut Forever Moore? I'm working on my CD of the same name and it's coming at a time when the entertainment industry, the public relations industry, and the marketing industry have changed dramatically and I've had to make several different adjustments. So, I thought to myself, "Well you don't know how these things are going to continue to change, so why don't you just say something as long as they change I will keep adjusting and that maybe "Forever Moore." 

3. In Forever Moore, which as you mentioned, is also the title of your forthcoming album. In the show, you will be honoring iconic, legendary ladies of song as well as performing your Grammy nominated hits and songs from your Broadway career including your Tony Award winning performance in Purlie. How did you decide which iconic ladies you wanted to include? What is it about these women that make them or their music speak to you so strongly? Of course it's both, the music and the artists. I wanted to take legendary ladies of song that not only I loved, but that the audience would love and appreciate and in some cases there has been some kind of personal connection. And I know in cabaret, the audiences want to hear the story behind the music or the artist. They want to hear about you. They want to hear something that they won't read in a review. They want something personal, so I tried to take artists that there was some kind of personal connection for me. For instance, like Ella Fitzgerald. Everyone loves Ella, but I picked her so it would give me an excuse to sing "Airmail Special" (laughs).

Melba Moore4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Forever Moore? I hope they get a real kind of feel and connect with me personally. That doesn't mean I'm going to tell a lot of personal history, but I think as an interpreter of songs, you connect with people on a personal level. The reason I say this is because after a show, people want to hug me. They feel like they know me and like me. I hope they know how much I really love being there and they think I sing great and that they like what I'm doing with my art and my gift.

5. If you had to give people one reason as to why they should come see Forever Moore, what would that reason be? They are going to get a great show! They are going to be entertained! I know I'm going to have a good time, so I hope they do too.

6. You are a four-time Grammy nominee and a Tony Award winner. At the time, what did it mean to you to get these honors and what do they mean to you now? At the time that they happened, especially the Tony Award, which came first, immediately, the day after, my whole life changed. I have a newspaper clipping from one of the press events from the Tony Awards and I'm standing in between, in the middle of, Lauren Bacall on my right side and Helen Hayes on my left. If you don't know you're life has been changed by that, I don't know what it's gonna take (laughs). If that's an example of how dramatic and how incredible and how different your life becomes as a result that award, then it's like you said, that's awesome.

7. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I'm sure it was my mother who was a professional singer. Music was the center piece of our family. My mom and step-father formed an act together and rehearsed in our house, musicians came by our house, and we went to see them perform. My step-father made us take piano lessons, so we can became students of music as children. Getting from a technical side and as the unity of our family, you can't help but fall in love with the magic and charisma that takes over everybody. I think by the time I went to high school, I knew I wanted to be involved in music in some kind of way.

Melba Moore with the students of Jamp', Photo Credit: Ron Richardson8. In addition to being a performer, you have dedicated a large part of your life to helping children, especially those who were abandoned, abused, and born with AIDS and addicted to crack. Out of all the help out there one can give, what made you want to dedicate your time to helping children? What have the children you helped taught you? My earlier life growing up as a child with a single mother who was away and my natural father didn't marry my mother, so I longed for a family. I used to ask for a sister and brother all the time and there was a lot of loneliness and abuse that happened because the family was broken. I always had a sensitivity toward children and their longing for wholeness in the family and their lives and their insecurities. I'm sure it started in my youth. The first opportunity I had was back in the 80s when the crack epidemic started. I saw on the news that the Harlem Hospital was asking people to please come up and just hold the babies because young mothers that had become addicted were just leaving their babies there. As a result of that experience I became involved with Hale House and then I started my own foundation and from there on whenever I could of service to abandoned and abused children, I feel a kinship for it.

Melba Moore9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? One of the things I've learned is whoever that lady is on the stage, I don't know who she is, because she's somebody else. Now that I've been doing it for so long, I'm very aware of myself from becoming that other person or persons, I don't know, there maybe several persons inside there.

Now I'm not really frightened of being on stage, so my natural humor and my natural joy starts comes out. I say to myself, "Oh, that's who you are." I see that the connection I have with the audience has a very strong effect on me. They help bring out other parts of myself that I didn't know was there.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never give up.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd never get fat (laughs). I would wipe out all anger and violence in the world.

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I've had a few because as a singer you create your own little remedies. I can tell you one that everybody can make for themselves, but you have to figure out the portions of the ingredients for yourself. The ingredients would be apple juice, honey, and just a pinch of instant coffee. I would it call "The Melba Moore Atom Bomb" or "Rocket Fuel," because it gives you quick energy and it's not going to do you any harm, unless you put too much coffee in it because you can never have too much honey or apple juice. 

13. Favorite skin care product? These days it's anti-wrinkle cream, but I always use moisturizer.

Melba Moore 1977More on Melba:

Hailing from a musical family, Ms. Moore graduated from the famed Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey. At the encouragement of her parents, she went on to pursue music education at Montclair State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education Degree. However, her inner voice told her to see if she could make it as a performer. After listening to that inner voice, she landed roles in classic shows such as HairLes Misérables, and Purlie, for which she earned her Tony Award. Although Ms. Moore enjoyed working on Broadway, she never forgot her first love of music. She has recorded several albums and has enjoyed great success musically with such chart topping songs as "Love’s Comin’ At Ya," "Living For Your Love," and "Read My Lips," for which she received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal.

Monday
May182015

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with singer/actress Maxine Linehan

"Call Me Adam" sat down with singer/actress Maxine Linehan to talk about her newest album Beautiful Songs, an album of love songs that blend the musical genres of Pop, Theatre, American Songbook, and World Music. We also discussed motherhood, acting, and so much more!

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

"Call Me Adam's" interview with Maxine Linehan:

Want to see Maxine live? Catch her at one of her many upcoming appearances:

May 19 - 7pm: The Amazing Library Variety Show, presented by The Irish American Writers & Artists Association at the Cell Theatre to benefit Urban Libraries Unite. For reservations call 917-957-3077 or e-mail mwbutler17@gmail.com

June 13 - 9:30pm: Edith Piaf All-Star Celebration at 54 Below: Click here for tickets!

July 8 - 7pm: 54 Sings Irving Berlin at 54 Below: Click here for tickets!

July 9 - 7pm: What Would Petula Do? Wayne YMCA Concert Series in Wayne, NJ: Click here for tickets! (on sale June 1)

October 17 - 9:30pm: Maxine's 54 Below SOLO DEBUT with Beautiful Songs: Music for the Soul and the Senses: Click here for tickets!

Maxine LinehanMore on Maxine:

Maxine Linehan has performed at venues as diverse as Ars Nova, Birdland, and The Town Hall. She was acclaimed in her one woman drama, Bronte, starred in the National Tour of the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific, directed by Bartlett Sherr, and has recorded three CDs, including the brilliantly reviewed CD Beautiful Songs.

Beautiful Songs is created and directed for Maxine Linehan by Scott Siegel, the creater/writer/director/host of Broadway by the Year at The Town Hall, who has written, directed and produced for Michael Feinstein, and created shows for Carole J. Bufford.

Sunday
May102015

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with Kevin Zak and John Treacy Egan: Clinton The Musical

John Treacy Egan as "Newt Gingrich" and Kevin Zak as "Kenneth Starr" in "Clinton The Musical"From the oval office, "Call Me Adam" went to the set of Clinton The Musical at New World Stages in NYC to chat with Kevin Zak ("Kenneth Starr") and John Treacy Egan ("Newt Gingrich") about starring in this sensational and satirical Off-Broadway musical about Bill Clinton's presidency in the White House! Click here for tickets! 

For more on Clinton The Musical visit http://clintonthemusical.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

"Call Me Adam's" interview with Kevin Zak and John Treacy Egan about Clinton The Musical:

 

John Treacy EganMore on John:

Broadway: Casa Valentina, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The ProducersSister Act, The Little Mermaid, Jekyll & Hyde, Bye Bye Birdie. Off-Broadway: Disaster, When Pigs Fly!, and Batboy. TV/film: The Knick, Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, Law & Order, Last Night, and The Producers.  CDs: Count the Stars and On Christmas Morning.

Kevin ZakMore on Kevin: 

Kevin hails from Buffalo, NY, and is happy to return to his third Clinton The Musical incarnation. Kevin was last seen being villainous Off-Broadway as "Buffalo Bill" in Silence! The Musical. Recent credits: Clinton (NYMF), My Life is a Musical, The Disney FantasyCats.

Thursday
Apr232015

Call Redialed: Jay William Thomas: Easy Laughter

Jay William Thomas"Call Me Adam" catches up with actor Jay William Thomas. This time around we talk about Robert Shearman's Easy Laughter which is presented by Dirt [contained] Theatre Company from April 30-May 10 at The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory in NYC (104 West 14th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Jay be sure to visit http://www.jwilliamthomas.com and follow him on Facebook!

1. What made you want to be part of Easy Laughter? I was drawn to the dark humor and subtle absurdity of what was written on the page. As we have fleshed out these characters in rehearsal the humor shines through with a bitter knife ready on the other side to cut that laughter short.

2. What do you identify most with about your character? My character is very intellectual and calculated. I identify with his measured approach to all situations.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Easy Laughter? I hope audiences come out of the play with questions about the world they just witnessed. The extremes of this play are extreme, but everything is rooted in the real fear of the State. It makes for interesting conversation.

4. What has been the best part about rehearsing and getting ready for the run of this play? Everyone in the cast is hilarious. They bring such incredible energy and subtlety to their characters. It’s a pleasure to listen and laugh at every rehearsal.

5. What do you like about working with Dirt [contained] Theatre Company? Dirt [contained] has found a way to bridge the gap between the artistic and business models that every company strives for. They are smart and they are passionate. They don’t settle and they have awesome taste.

Cast of "Easy Laughter", Michael Broadhurst, Nick DeMatteo, Jay William Thomas, Tana Sirois, and Maria Swisher6. Easy Laughter is a dark and twisted comedy that explores an alternate reality full of not-so-natural selection, xenophobia, fundamentalism, extreme gender roles and censorship, while expertly revealing a subtler horror story surrounding the lies that families tell each other and the lengths they will go to protect themselves through laughter. Was there ever time in your life when you told a lie to protect the ones you love? Yes. I think we all want to protect our loved ones. This play really asks if we do things for love or for duty, the duty determined by the world we live in...in that world are we allowed to question our actions when those actions don’t agree with us?

7. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Why you of course, Adam, ha ha…or perhaps about the time my grandfather took me hiking in the Appalachian mountains.

8. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? It would be called "BubbleGuts" and would be a cross between Pepto-Bismol and pop rocks for your stomach.

9. Favorite way to spend your day off? Laying in bed with someone you love.

10. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

Jay William ThomasMore on Jay:

A Map To Somewhere Else, DeathBed Ripple Effect Artist Directed By Brent Buell; EinsteinVariations Theatre Group Directed by Randolph Curtis Rand - Off-Off Broadway: Something Wicked Everyday Inferno Theatre; Zombie Frat House Bash EndTimes Productions; I Do Wonder Synapse Theatre Ensemble; Leaving Normal Avalon Studios. Jay is a company member of Ripple Effects Artists and holds a BFA from Western Kentucky University.

Tuesday
Apr212015

Call Answered: Pearce Bunting: Theatre Exile's: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Plays & Players Theater in Philadelphia PA

"Call Me Adam" chats with Boardwalk Empire's Pearce Bunting about starring in Theatre Exile's production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf through May 17 at Plays and Players Theater in Philadelphia, PA (1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA 19147). Click here for tickets!

1. From April 16-May 17, you will be starring in Theatre Exile's production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. What made you want be part of this production? It all makes total sense to me. Besides being one of the greatest American plays ever written, the role of "George" is one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever read. I say "read" because I’ve never seen a production on stage. I’ve seen the movie, which is brilliant, but the play is a much, much bigger. Joe Canuso, our director, started talking about it a few years ago and I sensed it was coming - an inevitability as "George" would say - and I don’t think I was ready for it until now. Needless to say, Joe and I have been working on passion projects for years together, and this one is the mother lode of all passion projects. Virginia Woolf is taking all of us into areas of character and thought that none of us have explored before - at times it seemed impossible to me - and that’s exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.

Pearce Bunting as "George" and Catharine Slusar as "Martha" in Theatre Exile's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", Photo Credit: Robert Hakalski2. What do you identify most with about "George" and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Among other things, the regret of not following some of my dreams all the way through; of getting stuck and making excuses and trying to bury the self-loathing of it under layers of craftiness and boozed up, drugged up, justification. Then looking back, resigned and defeated, at these things that I still carry with me. I’ve been sober for 23 years but I still regret some things.

Also, the very thin line between reality and illusion. The games we play with ourselves and our partners; distracting entertainments that slowly, over time, build walls around us. And wondering if there’s a way to blow the whole thing to bits and start again.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this production? I hope they feel as if they’re really going through this night with "George" and "Martha" and "Nick" and "Honey" - that they’re there in the living room with us…and then, looking back, after they’ve been through a few months of therapy, that they find there is hope at the end of the play.

Cast of Theater Exile's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf": Back Row: Pearce Bunting, Catharine Slusar, Front Row: Jake Blouch and Emilie Krause, Photo Credit: Robert Hakalski4. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is one of the most well-known plays of all time. What will you be bringing to this production that hasn't been brought before? Having not seen it performed before, I hope we bring fearlessness.

5. You are playing, "George," opposite Catharine Slusar's "Martha." You both have previously starred in Theatre Exile's Barrymore Nominated production of Annapurna. What excites you about reuniting with Catharine? What do you like best about working with her? Catharine and I have very different ways of working. I tend to pull out all my bombs from the very beginning and destroy everything in sight, whereas she slowly inhabits a role, little by little. We do meet in the middle eventually. We have. We get to the point where we start to explore inner space together. What I love most about her is her truth, her stubbornness, her fear and her overcoming of her fear, and in this process, her belching.

Pearce Bunting as "George" and Catharine Slusar as "Martha" in Theatre Exile's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", Photo Credit: Robert Hakalski6. What made you want come back to star in another production at Theatre Exile? What do you enjoy most about working with this theatre company? We have an agreement - Theatre Exile keeps asking me and I’ll keep coming back. It’s as simple as that. They don’t do easy plays. They’re not afraid. And everyone who works there has a huge heart and a wicked sense of humor. We do it for the profound joy of it - I mean, nobody’s getting rich at Theatre Exile.

7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? In the beginning, I just wanted attention. Then I did it because it felt like where I belonged. Then I seriously started to do it because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Then I saw Angela Lansbury and George Hearn do Sweeney Todd and I knew that I HAD to do it. At last my arm was complete!

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? The threat of an explosion is more interesting than the explosion. (I’m still working on that one)

Pearce Bunting9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I’m capable of great things if I can get out of my own way. That I’m smarter than I think I am. That I’m dumber than I think I am. That I have a lot left to learn.

10. You had a recurring role on HBO's Boardwalk Empire as "Bill McCoy." What was the best part about being part of this hit show? The lunch menu - are you kidding me?

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to see myself the way people who love me see me.

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? "Monkey Nipples" - scotch, bitters, a small lemon rind and a drop of honey.

13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Giulietta Masina, teaching me Italian, making me dinner, flirting with me.

Pearce BuntingMore on Pearce:

From television to film to theatre, Pearce Bunting has acted in every medium. His television credits include recurring roles on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, CBS' As The World Turns with guest starring roles on Law & Order: SVU, Homicide: Life on the Streets, and Young Americans. Pearce has lit up the big screen in The Descendent, Something's Happening to Robin Stark, and Smoke and Mirrors.

On Broadway graced the Great White Way in Mamma Mia as "Bill Austin." He also played this role on the National Tour. His regional credits include A Behanding in SPokane, As You Like It, Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Grapes of Wrath, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest. Pearce has performed in The International Theatre Festival at San Antonio and Plzen, Czech Republic as well as Vienna's English Theatre, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He's a graduate of Yale School of Drama and the recipient of The Oliver B. Thorndike Award in Acting.