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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (267)

Saturday
Mar292014

Call Answered: Raul Castillo Interview: HBO's Looking and Jose Rivera's Adoration of the Old Woman

Raul CastilloFrom HBO's Looking, "Call Me Adam" chats with actor and writer Raul Castillo about starring on the hit HBO show as "Richie," working with Jonathan Groff, and his current run in Jose Rivera's Adoration of the Old Woman at INTAR Theatre in New York City. According to press notes, Adoration of the Old Woman tells the story of an ancient woman. A haunted bed. An angry teen. A sexy ghost. Political turmoil. Will Puerto Rico really become the 51st state or will it fight for its freedom? And all the coquis are dying. Adoration of the Old Woman has been extended through April 19! Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? No one thing. There have been so many influential people in my life and experiences I've had coupled with my own innate sense of wonder and curiosity, I think, and a need for artistic expression. Maybe it's being a middle child. Maybe it was my upbringing in the South Texas punk rock scene. Maybe it was John Farr, my high school Drama teacher, a complicated and thrilling teacher. Maybe it was the playwright Tanya Saracho, my teenage girlfriend and now one of my best friends who coincidentally is a staff writer on Looking. Maybe it was Carlito's Way. Maybe it's Tennessee Williams. Maybe it was Miguel Piñero, Anthony Quinn, James Dean, Matt Dillon, John Leguizamo, every rock singer and bass player I imitated in my room in front of my mirror religiously throughout my teenage years, perfecting and crafting performances. I could go on forever.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That list could also go on forever. There are so many filmmakers and theater artists out there doing their thing, whose work I love. I wouldn't know where to start and then I would know how to end.

3. What attracted you to Adoration of the Old Woman? A couple of things. First, it gave me another opportunity to work with Jose Rivera. This is our fourth collaboration. I love his characters and the worlds he concocts, they are always a thrill for any actor to interpret and inhabit. The dialogue the play initiates regarding Puerto Rican statehood and U.S. involvement in the Island and it's affairs, I felt was an important one. And Jose finds a beautiful way to express this very complicated issue, through humor and passion. It's an exciting play to perform. In addition, it is a pleasure to be back at Intar, a company dedicated to producing new Latino voices. I got my start with the company, my first acting job in New York City, back in 2003. I love what Lou Moreno, their Artistic Director, is doing there! He asked me to come in and read for our director Patricia McGregor. "Ismael," my character, seemed like the right fit. He's very different from "Richie," my character on Looking.  But like "Richie," he's a lot of fun to play.

Raul Castillo as "Ismael" in Jose Rivera's "Adoration of the Old Woman," Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg4. What do you identify most with about your character "Ismael"? His love for this old, crazy woman, the character of "Doña Belen," played by the amazing Socorro Santiago. Also, his pride and his sense of loyalty. He feels strongly about his beliefs and backs them up, elegantly and forcefully, when pushed into a corner.

5. What has been the best part about doing a show with INTAR? Getting back on stage. INTAR has great, enthusiastic audiences. Lou has done a great job of fostering a community that's growing all the time. It's a great place to be. There's a lot of young people doing lots of cool stuff there. And it's all very much tied to a past and a legacy of giving voice to important Latino stories. A lot of Latino theater artists have been directly influenced by work that has come out of INTAR, I certainly was. It's great to be back!

6. What excites you about working with this cast? The range of experiences, both work and life, that they all bring. There's a lot of love in the room and everyone's working really hard and dedicated to telling this story. And they're all bringing it to the stage. I learn a lot from them, I feel lucky to go to the theater every night.

Raul Castillo as "Richie" in HBO's "Looking"7. In addition to Adoration of the Old Woman, you just finished the first season of HBO's Looking. What made you want to audition for the role of "Richie" and how did you prepare for the role once you were cast? I worked on the short film Lorimer with Michael Lannan, which he made essentially as a prototype for Looking. He reached out to me through a mutual friend and sent me the script. I read it and thought it was very elegantly written, the characters seemed very real and natural, and so I said "yes" and worked on "Richie" then. I still had to audition for the pilot once HBO picked it up. But I loved the pilot script and once I saw Andrew Haigh's movie Weekend I was even more thrilled. His characters seem to just walk in from the street. I didn't feel like I had to do much to prepare, necessarily. Just stay true to the story and the moment. Figure out "Richie's" life and his history and what I feel motivates him, etc.

Jonathan Groff ("Patrick") and Raul Castillo ("Richie") in a scene from HBO's "Looking"8. What do you like about working with Jonathan Groff? He's an ideal scene partner. Hard working, true, real, honest and very present. I feel like he's the kind of actor who knows if I've missed a moment but doesn't judge me for it. He always brings his best, makes me want to do the same. I think if you asked any person on our cast or crew, they'd tell you the same. He's a great friend and a guy I care a lot about. It's fantastic bringing this story to life with him. Also, he's very funny and fun to be around. That doesn't hurt.

9. What do you get from your theatrical endeavors that you do not get from your film/television work? Telling a story moment to moment. You can't go back and shoot it again. The was the moment. That's how it will live in the minds of this night's audience. Throwing control out the window and really living and breathing in the moment. It's frightening every time, but I love it.

Raul Castillo and Socorro Santiago in Jose Rivera's "Adoration of the Old Woman", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg10. What's the best advice you've ever received? My dad's always said this Martin Luther King quote. He tells his own version of it, in Spanish. But it stuck with me from when I was a kid. Whatever you do, whether it's mop floors or run a bank, you do the best you can.

11. How do you feel you've grown as a person from being an actor? Hard to say but I'm sure it has exposed me to experiences and culture that have formed a great part of who I am. Hopefully it's made me more empathetic. That's what we strive for, I think, or should be. I hope I continue to grow and get to experience more and more. I love storytelling, it teaches us so much about life.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Invisibility.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Eating healthy, unprocessed and nutricious foods.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

Raul CastilloMore on Raul:

Raul Castillo can currently be seen in the HBO series Looking in the role of "Richie." He is a proud member of LAByrinth Theater Company. Theater credits include Fish Men (Goodman), A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages), Contigo (Signature), and Jose Rivera's School of the Americas (Public Theater/Labyrinth), Flowers (E.S.T.) and Reference's to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot (Abroad).

Born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border and based in New York City, Raul studied theater at Boston University's School for the Arts before making a name for himself on both stage and screen as an actor and writer. He made his feature film debut in Amexicano, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Variety's Ronnie Scheib referred to his performance as "pitch-perfect." Raul followed that up with a string of roles in independent films, including Cold Weather, Don't Let Me Drown, My Best Day, The Girl, and Bless Me, Ultima, in addition to garnering an honorable mention for performance at AFI Fest 2012 for the Student Academy Award-winning short film Narcocorrido. Television credits include Blue Bloods, Law and Order, and Nurse Jackie.

Monday
Mar172014

Call Answered: Ben Moss: Arlington Interview

Ben Moss"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, pianist, and musical director Ben Moss about starring in The Vineyard Theatre's production of Arlington alongside Alexandra Silber, with Book & Lyrcis by Victor Lodato, Music by Polly Pen, and Directed by Carolyn Cantor through March 23. Click here for tickets!

For more on Ben be sure to follow him on Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My love affair with performing began when I was given the LEAD ROLE in the 1st grade play (truly, the stars aligned). I was "Freddy the Frog" in ONCE UPON A LILYPAD and I guess I just really found it exciting. Flash forward: after spending a year on tour with SPRING AWAKENING, I went to college and thought I actually was finished with performing. It took about 1 month for me to realize that I needed to be performing to be happy in my life. That cemented it for me.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That list is WAY too big to even delve into here. Am I allowed to say Meryl Streep? How about Stephen Sondheim? I would love to work with the director John Doyle (SWEENEY TODD with Patti LuPone, COMPANY with Raul Esparza) - as both a musician and an actor, his work is really exciting and presents a great challenge.

3. What attracted you to Arlington? ARLINGTON is a difficult show to imagine reading it on paper, but the depth of the score and the beauty of the words in the libretto really convinced me that this piece was something special and not to be missed. I loved the portrait of this woman and this family that the piece creates, and I think it's incredibly timely.

Alexandra Silber and Ben Moss in "Arlington" at The Vineyard Theatre4. During the show, you are on stage and not on stage at the same time. What is this like for you? Sitting behind a scrim makes it feel like I am in my own little world back there, but I am in plain view for the duration of the piece, so even when everyone is looking at Al, I'm still lurking in the background. It takes a lot of focus to play for an hour but the time really does fly by. Once the train leaves the station you've just got to play until it stops!

5. What is your process like to jump between being the accompanist and having to jump into multiple roles during the show? There's one moment in the show where I come in singing and I always forget that it's going to happen! I do feel as though I'm performing throughout the piece, whether I'm playing or singing as well, so when I need to speak or sing it's really just one more thing my character does at that moment.

Ben Moss and Alexandra Silber, Photo Credit: Alexandra Silber6. What is the best part about getting to work with the amazingly talented and delightful Alexandra Silber? Learning something new from her every day. Getting to see how an incredible actress refines her performance night to night. Remaining amazed that she can actually pull off what she does SEVEN times a week and sometimes TWICE in one day. Mostly, though, I love that I've made a talented and supportive new friend. She is quite truly one of the best.

7. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Vineyard Theatre? The people who work there are incredible! Not only did we have a great team working on ARLINGTON directly, but the whole in-house crew is so supportive and friendly. They're always looking out for us, coming around to chat, just being generally awesome. There is a really special vibe down there and I simply adore it.

Alexandra Silber and Ben Moss in "Arlington" at The Vineyard Theatre8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Woof. I have received so much great advice in my life that this is really hard to choose, but one piece of advice I got when I was auditioning for ARLINGTON was to not to let your own conceptions of yourself stop you from putting yourself out there. I was pretty certain I was wrong for this role, but a fellow actor encouraged me to go in anyways, saying that it wasn't my job to decide that - it was my job to go in there and be so good that they would have no choice but to cast me, even if I wasn't what they'd imagined. Guess it paid off!

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Being a performer is all about learning new things all the time (new songs, new lines, new dance moves). It's only in this way of constantly learning and challenging yourself that you grow.

Alexandra Silber and Ben Moss in "Arlington" at The Vineyard Theatre10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? There's a great "This American Life" segment about this question that I highly recommend. Me, personally...I would probably choose the power of teleportation (NOT the power of flight - flying is very flashy). I hate flying. I'd rather just think of being in Bermuda and then open my eyes and be there.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? I've been using this machine called the "Total Body Crossramp" at the gym, whatever that means. I like it. When it's nice out I like running outside, especially along the water!

12. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs. I'm an underwear bipartisan.

Ben Moss in his dressing room at The Vineyard Theatre for "Arlington," Photo Credit: Alexandra SilberMore on Ben:

Ben Moss is thrilled to be making his off-Broadway debut in ARLINGTON. Previous credits include SPRING AWAKENING (1st National Tour), BUNKED! (NY International Fringe Festival, 2010), and various commercials and films. Ben graduated from Harvard University in 2013 with a degree in English, and was the recipient of the Radcliffe Doris Cohen Levi Prize for Musical Theater. As an undergraduate, Ben was a cast member and composer of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and a member of The Signet Society. Ben has worked with composers and directors at the American Repertory Theater, The Public Theater, Prospect Theater Company, Lincoln Center Theater, and New York Stage and Film. He is represented by CESD and is a proud member of Actors' Equity. Unending gratitude to Kimberly Grigsby and Michael Friedman, and love to Mom, Dad, Caroline and Lucy.

Sunday
Mar162014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview at The Metropolitan Room with Sarah Rebell and Samantha Massell

"Call Me Adam" sat down with lyricist Sarah Rebell and actress/singer Samantha Massell at The Metropolian Room in New York City to talk about Sarah's show Past Is Present: The Lyrics of Sarah Rebell which takes place on March 24 at 9:30pm at The Metropolitan Room! Click here for tickets!

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

For more on Samantha Massell be sure to visit http://samanthamassell.com and follow her on Twitter!

Interview with Sarah Rebell and Samantha Massell:

Sarah RebellMore on Sarah:

Sarah Rebell recieved her MFA in musical theater writing (book/lyrics) from NYU Tisch. Her work has been performed in cabarets at 54 Below, the Berkshire Musical Theater Writers Lab, the Duplex, the Laurie Beechman Theater, NYU and the Sharon Playhouse. Her songs have been recorded by Broadway stars Melissa Errico, Alexander Gemignani, Rebecca Luker and Laura Osnes, among others. Her musical ROSE PETALS (written with Elizabeth Hagstedt) was an official selection of NYMF 2013’s developmental reading series.

In April 2013, OFF THE WALL, an original musical with book & lyrics by Sarah Rebell and music by Danny Abosch, was presented at NYU. The cast featured Alexander Gemignani, Jaclyn Huberman, Craig Laurie, Patricia Noonan and Jason "SweetTooth" Williams. Other NYU musicals include TYRANNY’S BED, a one-act chamber musical written with John Grimmett, which was presented in May 2012, also starring Alexander Gemignani.

She has been a publicity consultant for cabarets featuring Emily Bergl, Anastasia Barzee and Katie Thompson and has produced master classes with Kait Kerrigan, Georgia Stitt, Pasek & Paul and Susan Blackwell.

Sarah graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a BA in Drama & Victorian Studies. While at Vassar, she wrote the book & lyrics to ROSE PETALS, an original Victorian musical, as her senior thesis. Sarah currently works in the marketing department at SpotCo, one of Broadway’s premier advertising agencies. 

Samantha MassellMore on Samantha:

Samantha Massell is an actress, singer, dancer, and writer based in New York City who has appeared on Broadway, in films, and in a variety of commercials. A native New Yorker who had a childhood obsession with the Annie movie, Samantha was eight years old when she asked her mother for an agent. It was pretty much all over from there. Samantha is a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Michigan, where she double majored in Musical Theatre and English.

Monday
Mar032014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with the cast of Andy Halliday's Nothing But Trash

"Call Me Adam" went behind the scenes into the rehearsal room to chat with the cast of Andy Halliday's new comedy Nothing But Trash, directed by G.R. Johnson, which will play at Theater for the New City from March 6-23. Click here for tickets! 

For more on Nothing But Trash be sure to visit: http://nothingbuttrashnyc.wix.com/nothing-but-trash and follow them on Facebook!

 

 

Interview with the cast of Andy Hallliday's Nothing But Trash:

Andy HallidayMore on Andy: 

Andy Halliday is an actor, writer and director, who was most recently seen Off-Broadway in the 2011 production of Devil Boys From BeyondNothing But Trash marks the third time he has performed in his own work, having previously performed double duty with Sex Slaves of the Lost Kingdom and I Can’t Stop Screaming. He got his start in 1983 performing in Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. From 1987 to 1991, the Theatre-In-Limbo company went on to perform three more of Busch’s plays: Psycho Beach PartyRed Scare On Sunset and The Lady In Question, the latter earning Halliday the Scene Stealer of the Month Award from Playbill.

G.R. JohnsonMore on G.R. Johnson:

Has directed Ty Adam’s Bounce and Thunder for the Circle East Theater Company, Seven11.2005 for Desipina Theatre Company and was the Associate Director, as well as Fight Choreographer and Dialect Coach, for a production of Peter Pan in Honolulu. As an actor, he has worked at the Huntington Theater (winner of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award), The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and many others. In New York City, he has performed at NY Classical Theatre, Mint Theater Company, La MaMa E.T.C., NY International Fringe Festival, and in the New York premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink.

Friday
Feb282014

Call Answered: Anne Bobby 54 Below Interview

Anne BobbyFrom NBC's Mad About You, "Call Me Adam" chats with Broadway and Television actress and writer Anne Bobby about her upcoming 54 Below show, entitled The Songs That Came In From The Cold, on Tuesday, March 4 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

Gathering discarded gems from thirty years of workshops, out-of-town tryouts and black-boxes, plus a few new favorites, Anne will sing songs from Alan Menken to Randy Newman, Marc Blitzstein to Bruce Springsteen, as well as should-have-been-hits from Steven Lutvak, David Spencer, Jimmy Roberts, Keith Herrmann, Daniel Maté and more. She'll be joined by special guests Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), Evan Pappas (My Favorite Year), Laura Dean (Chicago), Frank Vlastnik (The Sweet Smell of Success) and Shannon Ford (Chaplin). 

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Mostly, it was the only place I wasn't picked on. I was pretty much a loner as a kid - I had four real friends growing up, with two of them being my siblings and another being a cat I fed. This isn't a pity party sort of thing - I was a nerdy kid who found her interior life a hell of a lot more interesting that what was going on around me. Other kids caught on to that pretty quick, and I got teased for it, but performing was my refuge. I think it was the one place where my interior world met with the outside. Thank God I had parents who not only nurtured that part of me, but also knew not to stop me when I had the opportunities to perform, though it must have been stressful as hell for them. I don't know how they did it - I think it's one of the reasons I've never wanted children; I don't think I could survive raising a kid like the one I was. My heart's not strong enough.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Anyone who is still learning, who is still growing as a person. Honestly - I could rattle off a wish list, but the people I admire, who I most want to work with, are people who love what they do and love how it informs their life. I'm spoiled in that I've worked with so many great people who lived - continue to live - with that mindset.

If I was really pressed for a short list? Oy - I'd say Michael Mann, David Eagleman, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Rylance, Naseeruddin Shah, Tim Minchin, Elizabeth Warren, Banksy. They're not as disparate as they sound - they're all so passionate about their work, such inspirations in their chosen fields. They're certainly already a huge part of my life - I'd love to find a way to collaborate with them.

3. On Tuesday, March 4 at 7pm, you will be making your solo cabaret debut at 54 Below. What excites you about this upcoming concert? Spending time with songs that have become like friends to me, playing them with people I love so much, sharing them with a community that's been my family since I was thirteen...what's NOT to be excited about?

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing you at 54 Below? A lot of the songs in my show go back twenty, twenty-five years. They come from shows that very few people got to see - a few of them never had public performances at all! It would be amazing if spotlighting these songs for a night leads to renewed interest in the people who created them.

5. Why is 54 Below the perfect venue for your show? The short answer is the brussels sprouts, but the longer answer is that - I don't know...maybe it's that I was such a nerd as a kid, maybe it's that I've always been challenged and grateful for my close friends, but I seek out friends and family wherever and whenever I can. 54 Below is a place where I find I'm most comfortable, surrounded by people who love what I love...And I'm not just talking about exploring musical theatre, or cabaret - I'm talking about exploring OURSELVES, through song, and exploring how the music in our lives shapes us. Helps us grow. Makes us better people.

To say nothing of the fact that Jennifer Tepper sets the standard for Musical Theater nerds everywhere, and has provided a home for all of us to not just enjoy each other, but to be challenged by each other. If you think of Broadway as a university, 54 Below is a collaborative sort of Independent Study, where the Grad students get to hone their craft and challenge each other.

And the brussels sprouts really are amazingly good.

Anne Bobby Singing6. Your show is titled The Songs That Came In From The Cold. How did you come up with the concept and title for the show? I knew I wanted to do the show when we were past the worst of winter. Given the winter we've been having, I probably should have scheduled this for Memorial Day Weekend, but who knew that back in November?

I also thought about the songs I always said I would do if I had an opportunity like this - I've got a lot of years of workshops and gigs and auditions under my belt, and in those years I've collected some songs that never saw the light of day. Songs that have been lost, or forgotten, from shows that never quite got as far as I would have hoped for them. And I started to think of those songs as just sort of hibernating, waiting to come out of their deep freeze and into the light I've always held them in.

Some of these are songs that are kind of hiding in plain sight, too. There's a great song I'm singing that I've been doing at auditions for years, and it never ceases to amaze me that people are forever asking me who wrote it - because it's actually off what is considered by most people one of the best albums ever made. It's just a song people...sort of miss, I guess. It happened just the other day, actually - someone asked me why _________ never recorded it, and I was like, "Um. He did." (I won't tell you what the song is, it's a surprise - a good one!)

7. You made your Broadway debut at 16 years old. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about this time? What went through your head on opening night? I always knew to never not be aware that I was living an absolutely magical life. I'm so glad I had that foresight, because my memories of that time are vivid, actually, indescribably so. It's hard to talk about a whirlwind in a sentence; it kind of has to be felt that way.

There were scary moments, hysterically funny moments, painful moments. And always, always the precision of doing the show, saying the lines, hitting the marks, hearing the laughter. And then getting on the bus back to Jersey. In New York. On Broadway. In 1984. I've actually started writing a Young Adult book series about it. The first book's nearly done; soon as I finish the script I'm working on now, I'll get back to it.

Anne Bobby with "Lola"8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? In a lot of ways - most ways, actually - I'm still that nerdy kid with the interior world. Performing has continued to be a welcome outlet, but over the years it's been informed by all the other ways I've found to thrive - my books, my plays, my animals, my friends...my life.

I've always said that there's a sort of theorem to acting, and performing in general. Actors recreate life; the more you live, the more experiences you have at your disposal to recreate, the better your chances of being a great actor.

Every part of my life informs my performing. Every part of performing informs my life. It took a long time for me to catch up with myself, but I'm glad I finally did!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never use soap on your face; makeup comes off with hot water and moisturizer. And there's no such thing as not enough money for a good book.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? What a great question! Growing up, I used to wish for the power to instantly know the answer to any question I had. Over time I learned how the acquiring of knowledge is just as satisfying as the obtaining answers - kind of how I feel about rehearsal, by the way; I could rehearse forever, I swear. Now...? I'd say what I would wish for was the ability to take away shame; too much suffering in the world comes as a result of it.

Anne BobbyMore on Anne:

Anne Bobby made her Broadway debut at 16 and a year later starred in Marvin Hamlisch’s cult classic, Smile. She is known for roles on TV's Mad About You, Cop Rock, Law & Order, and As The World Turns as well as such films as Happiness, Born on the Fourth of July, and Nightbreed.