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Entries in Off-Broadway (332)


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?


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.


Call Answered: Oscar Speace: Janka Interview

"Call Me Adam" chats with playwright Oscar Speace about his new play Janka, based upon a 60-page handwritten letter his mother wrote about the fate of her family in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Janka plays at the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) in New York City through May 2. Click here for tickets!

1. Your new play Janka, is based on a 60-page handwritten letter by your mother, regarding the fate of her family in Nazi concentration camps. What made you want to take this letter and turn it into a play? What made now the right time to present Janka? Since I can remember I've always had an interest in history and especially my mother's Holocaust story. She rarely talked about it and when I told her I wanted to know what happened (I was in high school) she said she wrote a book once and no one was interested in her story. She told me the book was lost. I was crestfallen. She wrote a book and it was lost. After she died I wrote an outline for a screenplay that would be based on historical research blended with the few tidbits from the few "stories" Janka had talked about. It wasn't very much. I sent the outline to Aunt Betty (Janka's sister). Later we spoke on the phone and she told me she had my mother's book. She would send it to me. I immediately realized that this was the book she had told me about when I was in high school. I would finally know my mother's story. When it arrived I immediately discovered it was written in Hungarian, I would have to find a translator. This I did and spent the next nine months of Saturday morning sitting with the translator and helping her by typing into a laptop as she did the translation. It was very emotional for both of us. We quickly realized that this was a well thought out, beautifully written account of what happened to her family in the last year of the war. It was a sixty page letter written to Uncle Morris Festinger who lived in Cleveland, Ohio. He had immigrated during World War I in 1915.

This is the 70th anniversary of Janka's liberation from the slave labor camp (a subcamp of Dachau)...We have been touring JANKA since 2002. We have done over 105 performances, all as a staged reading. It seemed like the next step to bring it to New York and to do a full-blown production. A "World Premiere."

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond Reilly2. Growing up, you never knew of your mother's time spent in Nazi concentration camps until you found this 60-page letter after your mom's death. With finding this letter after your mom's death, what went through your mind when you found this letter, especially knowing you would not have the chance to ask her any questions? We knew that Mom was a Holocaust survivor, but like many survivors, she rarely spoke of it...and when she did it was very perfunctory. "I was in Auschwitz. I lost 63 members of my family. I was a slave laborer in Germany. They tied Gizi to a tree." Nothing was connected or explained. It wasn't very coherent. Hard to understand.

Finding the letter was a miracle. The process of translating it another miracle. Opening the envelope, pulling out the writing book, opening it and then discovering it's written in Hungarian, I couldn't understand a word until it's translated. I smack myself in the forehead. Of course it's written in Hungarian - her native tongue. Through a writing mentor, Academy Award winning screenwriter Pamela Wallace, I met with her neighbor Nora Szabo DeWitt, who was born in Hungary. We met on Saturdays, many Saturdays in 1998. In my mind, I wondered if this letter would tell the story of what happened. Simply, would it be good source material? Reading the first sentence, "Dear Uncle Morris, Our happiness was boundless, since our liberation, this is our first happy moment. After all, we are not so orphaned in this world; we also have somebody to whom we belong." I knew immediately this evocative material would enable me to tell her story.

Nora and I cried for an hour...when I came home for lunch and shared this with my wife Janice, who is playing the role at the June Havoc Theatre, another hour of crying continued.

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond Reilly3. What emotional challenges did you face and what did you find most interesting to write about during the writing of Janka? It's hard to discuss the creative process. The letter begins by discussing the political atmosphere in Transylvania starting in 1940. I decided not to start here but to start with the German SS marching into Sighet and moving the Jews into the ghetto.

Also, when Janice first met Janka before we were married, they had breakfast together in her home in Moorestown, NJ. I slept late that morning and missed what they talked about. I rarely sleep late and Janice rarely gets up early but this particular morning the opposite happened and Janice found herself face to face with Janka, who would become her mother-in-law. Janka spoke more about the Holocaust to Janice than she had ever spoken to my brother and me. I missed this. She opened up to a complete stranger. It dawned on me that the play could turn on the idea that it's easier to tell your story to a complete stranger than it is to your own flesh and blood.

In the play Janka asks the audience for advice. "Maybe you can help. I will tell you the story. And after you hear it you tell me if I should tell him. Do we have a deal? It's a deal!" This brings the audience right into the story.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Janka? A better understanding of what happened in the Holocaust. What happened to the Jews of Transylvania and Sighet. We've had a number of survivors and children of survivors thank us for telling Janka's story. It has helped them speak about their experiences to their children and grandchildren.

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond Reilly5. What made you want Roust Theatre Company to produce Janka? There's a connection. Tracy Hostmyer, Janice and I are graduates from Fresno State. Our professor and mentor Jeanette Bryon taught in London when Tracy lived in London. We followed Tracy's career...and helped her by sending money so she could pursue her acting career. Tracy came to see the play very early on in 2002 in Los Angeles. It's come a long way since then. When she started Roust we contributed at the beginning.

Last summer we put a committee together to bring JANKA to New York. The Janka Project is also a nonprofit under the auspices of the Fresno Arts Council. Tracy called to tell us she would be in Fresno visiting her parents. We invited her to a meeting and after listening to the committee and explaining how Roust could produce the play, if her partner Director James Phillip Gates agreed, we proceeded to raise the money to bring JANKA to New York.

6. Janka is being directed by James Philip Gates and starring Janice Noga. Why did you choose James to direct this piece? What was it about Janice that made you go, she's going to play my mom? James is Tracy's partner. Can I say it was a package deal? We had a number of bi-coastal telephone calls with James. He's charming. We liked his ideas. He wanted me to get the directing credit. I told him I'm the're the director. You'll be doing the work, you should get the credit. He agreed to direct. We heard he was thorough and tough, but also kind and compassionate. We both felt we would have a good experience with JANKA in New York.

Janice flew to New York in January and February to rehearse with James for five days each visit. Janice came two weeks before we opened last night to rehearse. It's a difficult play with a demanding director and limited time. We all have day jobs and the budget is small. But it's all come together beautifully.

7. What do you think your mom would think of you turning this part of her life into a play? She would definitely be proud of us and our accomplishment. I think she would be a little embarrassed because of the attention but deep inside she would be smiling.

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond Reilly8. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I wrote a couple of children's plays that were performed in schools in Central California. It was fun and enjoyable but not real serious work.

After the letter was translated I wrote a documentary script and planned to do a documentary. We raised money and shot a demo on film. Tracy played Janka in this short film while Janice did the voice work. Raising money was very difficult. It was suggested that I write a one woman play based on the letter. It was a natural for her to do it since she knew Janka. It never occurred to me that my wife would be playing my mother. Now it sounds very Shakespearean. At first, it was Janice playing a role in this play...We started in Savannah, Georgia at Atlantic Armstrong University. We've done 105 performances around the world including Sighet, Romania, Janka's hometown. It also enabled us to raise money for what now has become the Janka Project. We operate as a non-profit under the auspices of the Fresno Arts Council.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? It takes a lot of discipline and it's very difficult when you have a fulltime job. During all this time...I am a producer/director at ValleyPBS, a promotion director at ABC30 for five years, and a real estate videographer for five years...Time management is an understatement!

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Keep your head down, swing smooth and release the club...Wait a minute, that's golf...Three things that everybody should follow.

1) Have a good attitude

2) Show up on time

3) Some talent helps


11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Push a button and there'd be world peace!

Oscar SpeaceMore on Oscar:

Playwright Oscar Speace has produced a wide range of TV and radio programming for PBS and ABC-TV, having earned two Emmy certificates for his work at ABC30 in California's Central Valley. He earned an Emmy nomination for CONQUEST OF MY BROTHER about U.S. broken treaties with Native American Indians. His documentary JANKA: ONE MINUTE OF PERFECT HAPPINESS won a Telly Award. As well, he wrote and produced THE MAKING OF THE PARSLEY GARDEN on ABC-TV.


Call Answered: "Underland" Facetime Interview with "Orange is the New Black's" Annie Golden

Annie Golden"Call Me Adam" went to the set of the new Off-Broadway play Underland at 59E59 Theaters to chat with Orange is the New Black's Annie Golden about starring in this new Australian play by Alexandra Collier and directed by Mia Rovegno. Underland plays at 59E59 Theaters Theater B (59th East 59th Street, between Park Avenue and Madison) through April 25! Click here for tickets!

Underland is a new Australian play that cracks open the desert to reveal mythic beasts, Chekhovian love triangles and big sky blues, while giving the finger to everything you thought you know about "Down Under" from Fosters' commercials.

For more on Annie follow her on Facebook!

Part 1: Annie Golden talks Underland with "Call Me Adam":

Part 2: "Call Me Adam" talks with Annie Golden about Orange is the New Black, Super Powers, and Being Remembered:

Annie GoldenMore on Annie:

Annie considers herself the illegitimate child of the legitimate theatre, having been discovered on the Bowery fronting a rock band and cast by Milos Forman as "Jeannie" in Hair, the 1978 film. Some Broadway credits include: XanaduThe Full MontyAh! Wilderness. Also was Sondheim’s original "Squeaky Fromme" in Assassins (Playwrights Horizons). Numerous Film/TV credits in Netflix's Orange is the New Black.


Call Answered: 54 Below Interview: Seth Sikes Is Still Singing Judy Garland

"Call Me Adam" chats with singer and director Seth Sikes about his upcoming 54 Below concert Seth Sikes Is Still Singing Judy Garland on April 16 at 7pm. After two sold-out shows, Seth returns to 54 Below for a third concert celebrating the most beloved songs of Judy Garland, some of them in her key! Click here for tickets!

For more on Seth, follow him on Twitter!

1. You are returning to 54 Below on Thursday, April 16 with your show Seth Sikes Is Still Singing Judy Garland. What are you looking forward to most about your return to 54 Below? Singing several new, fantastic songs with a seven-piece band, some of which are rarely performed. I mean, who gets to sing the best songs in the world with a seven-piece band?

Seth Sikes performing at 54 Below2. What do you like best about performing at 54 Below? It's such a chic room. Patti LuPone has most of the other 7:00 slots the week of my show. Just a few months ago, Lorna Luft (Judy's daughter) sang there. The company makes me feel fancy. Also when I'm standing on stage singing "The Man That Got Away" like Judy does in the night club in A STAR IS BORN, I feel a little bit of cosmic magic.

3. This concert was conceived by you and Tony-Award winning lyricist Lisa Lambert with music direction by Gary Adler and orchestrations by Matt Aument. The evening is directed by Eric Gilliland. How did you come to work with everyone? They're all drinking buddies, song-addicts, and Judy fans, so a lot of the ideas came out of singing together at piano bars and parties. I like to throw piano parties and force everyone to sing. They're all great talents, so I've been in good hands.

Seth Sikes 54 Below4. As the title of the show states, you will once again, be performing an evening of Judy Garland songs. With her vast catalog of music, how did you decide what which songs you wanted to perform? Judy sang pretty much every standard at some point. I wish I could "Sing them all, and stay all night!" In the end, I chose the songs that tug at my heartstrings, songs that I associate with various love affairs and heartbreaks, and of course songs that best show off my voice.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Seth Sikes Is Still Singing Judy Garland? I hope some people who have never heard these songs before will leave interested in this great, old material. And I hope everyone leaves thinking of Judy, because the more we remember someone, the more they're still with us, somehow.

Seth Sikes6. As a young child growing up in Paris, Texas, when did you discover Judy Garland? What was it about her that captivated you so much? My aunt had an old VHS tape of SUMMER STOCK. I watched it several times a week and became obsessed with Judy. As a boy I used to dance around singing "Get Happy" which probably embarrassed my dad, who's a baseball coach. 

I'd never heard anything like her voice before; I still haven't. And I can't get over it. It's this unexplainably overwhelming emotional reaction that comes over me when she sings. I learned later that a vast amount of other people share this same feeling, but no one has satisfactorily explained to me what it is exactly. When she opens her mouth she also opens a vein.

7. In addition to being a singer, you are also known for your directing work. What do you get from singing that you do not get from directing? You get the spotlight with one and not with the other.

Seth Sikes singing at 54 Below8. Besides Judy Garland, who or what inspired you to become a performer/director? I'm almost embarrassed to say that Liza was also a big inspiration. She represented New York—and show business—and so it was with her in mind that I moved to the city. Sondheim's musicals also changed my life. I guess my idols are almost cliché, but there's a reason why they're cliché: they're geniuses.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Steve Sondheim told me that, in lieu of school, the best way to learn about the theater was to get in the rehearsal room with the best people in the business.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/director? Performing again (after having not been on stage for more than ten years) I have realized that I am just as neurotic and competitive as every other stereotypical crazy singer, at whom I used to roll my eyes. It's terrifying to imagine that you might open your mouth on stage and nothing, or something horrible, will come out. It can make one crazy.


11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Who could ever stop wishing they could fly?

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? It's a twist on a SideCar called a TrolleyCar.  It has tequila in it, a ZING to it, and makes you get happy. One must drink it wearing periwinkle gloves, like Judy's in "The Trolley Song."

Seth SikesMore on Seth:

Seth Sikes's directing credits include BUNKED! (Outstanding Musical at the New York Fringe Festival) and The 7th Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant. He was the Assistant Director of The Nance (Broadway), Tribes (Off-Broadway), Pageant (Off-Broadway), and Sondheim: The Birthday Concert (at Lincoln Center). As a performer he appeared in Fame on 42nd Street (Off-Broadway).


Call Redialed: Eddie Capuano in My Big Gay Italian Funeral

"Call Me Adam" catches up with actor Eddie Capuano as we talk about his guest starring return to the hit Off-Broadway show My Big Gay Italian Funeral, written by Anthony Wilkinson, playing at St. Lukes Theatre in NYC (308 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Eddie will be My Big Gay Italian Funeral's guest star on Sunday, April 19 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Eddie follow him on Twitter!

1. On April 19, you are making your return engagement to My Big Gay Italian Funeral as their special guest star! What initially made you want to guest star in this show and what excites you about your return? The show has been running for two years and my friend Hugh Hysell was in it, so when the opportunity came up, I jumped on it. The show is hilarious and I want to try and do it better than the first time. 

Eddie Capuano with Hugh Hysell2. What went through your head when My Big Gay Italian Funeral asked you back? I was honored. I added a little Naked Eddie sass at the end and Anthony liked it. I'd like to hope that helped in getting me asked back.

3. What is it like to be the guest star and perform with a cast that has already bonded together? It's awkward at first like any new situation. But the cast was all very helpful and gave me support the whole way. Even though it's not a huge part, it's nerve wracking not having a lot of rehearsal, but this cast had my back.

Eddie Capuano in "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"4. As a Gay-Italian, what do you identify most with about the show? Absofuckinglutey everything. From the drama to the comedy. The superstitions. Anthony's writing is so funny because to some degree I've witnessed these characters in real life. I think everyone has no matter Gay, str8, Italian or German. That's why audiences love it. It's universal.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Thinking the show was even better than they hoped.

6. If you were you having your own "Big Gay Italian Funeral," what celebrities would you want to attend? Madonna, Gaga, Lily Tomlin and Stephen King DUH.

Eddie Capuano in "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"7. What's the best advice you've ever received? Do what you love and you'll figure out how to make a living.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? There is always room for improvement.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you chose? To breath life to the dead. I'd like my dad, uncle, and dog back. But not like in a creepy Pet Sematary way. But like in the same way they were before they were sick and passed away.

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? The Naked Eddie. Bathtub Gin, two olives and a sliced cucumber with a dash of Franks Red Hot sauce because I put that shit on everything.

Eddie Capuano, Photo Credit: Richard GasparroMore on Eddie:

Just recently joined AEA. He has been nominated for two NJ Perry Awards. Previous Favorite Roles: "Manny" in Incongruence, "Bill" in Lobby Hero, "Dale" in The Temperamentals, "Lil Charles" in August Osage County, "Rocky" in Rocky Horror, "Toddy" in Take Me Out, "Michal" in Pillowman, "Darius" in Jeffrey, and "Millet" in Fuddy Meers.