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Entries in Off-Broadway (320)

Tuesday
Dec232014

Call Answered: Conference Call with David Loud & Noah Racey: 92Y's Lyrics & Lyricists: A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration

Noah RaceyDavid Loud"Call Me Adam" chats with Artistic Director David Loud and Actor/Choreographer/Director Noah Racey about putting together the opening show of the 45th Season of Lyrics & Lryicists. This year's opener is A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration which will play at the 92nd Street Y from January 10-12 and feature a host of Broadway talent singing selections from the 1970-1981 partnership of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince, taking the audience behind the groundbreaking musicals CompanyFolliesA Little Night MusicPacific OverturesSweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along.

Scheduled to appear are Broadway's Kate Baldwin, Heidi Blickenstaff, Liz Callaway, James Clow, Jason Danieley, and Jeremy Jordan. Click here for tickets!

For more on the 92Y be sure to visit http://www.92y.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. From January 10-12, 2015, you are opening the 45th Season of the 92Y Lyrics and Lyricists series with A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration. How did you two come to work together on this concert event?

David Loud: Noah and I have been friends since Curtains, the Kander & Ebb show that David Hyde Pierce starred in on Broadway. Noah was one of the leads and I was the Conductor, and our dressing rooms were on the same floor. You learn a lot about people when you are constantly encountering them in various stages of undressedness. We had a wonderful two years. Everything about that show was joyful and rewarding, so I try to work with people from that particular experience whenever possible. Noah has a great talent for physicalizing a song, and is just as skilled at working with singers as he is with dancers. He also seems to intuit everything I want to communicate, which saves time!

Noah Racey: I met David Loud working on the show Curtains. I was a part of the earlier work shops and readings and then we took it to Los Angeles for our out of town tryout at the Ahmanson Theatre and then through our year and a half run at the Hirschfeld theatre. He asked me a few years ago to stage a concert he was putting together and we have continued to work together in that capacity ever since.

2. How did you decide to start the 45th season off with this show?

David Loud: My previous shows at Lyrics & Lyricists were focussed on two terrific composers who are not exactly household names: Burton Lane, who had several major Broadway scores but never quite ascended into the Richard Rodgers - Irving Berlin - George Gershwin - Cole Porter pantheon, and Vernon Duke, an amazing and virtually unknown artist who had flop after disappointing flop, despite the fact that each of his scores contains a few remarkable songs. Both projects were the results of many months of research and arranging, and I loved doing them. For this season, Artistic Director Deb Winer asked me if I wanted to do something "a little less off-the-beaten-path," and I came up with the idea of a Stephen Sondheim show that was different from other Sondheim revues I’d seen or worked on: one that dealt specifically with the shows he created with Director/Producer Harold Prince. I do love the fact that for the Lyrics & Lyricists audience, a Stephen Sondheim evening is considered more "mainstream"…

Noah Racey: I think the obvious reason is that in our industry, for Lyrics & Lyricists, you can't find a more prominent, creative force than Stephen Sohdheim. Ever since his work on West Side Story in 1957, where he established himself as a leading voice in the new vanguard of Musical Theatre writers, he has been at the forefront of the art form in terms of musical sophistication and emotional depth in story telling. It makes perfect sense to have an evening that celebrates the work of the two men who brought those stories to life.

3. What excites you about being the premiere show of this special season?

David Loud: Nothing. It means I have less time to prepare and that I’ll spend all of Christmas orchestrating.

Noah Racey: It's exciting to take part in such a well established series. The audiences for Lyrics & Lyricists are extraordinarily knowledgeable about the material, they tend to know the work very intimately, so you feel at every point in rehearsal that they will recognize and appreciate the intricacies and detail you strive for in staging or interpreting the songs.

Jeremy Jordan4. How did you pick the performers for the evening: Kate Baldwin, Heidi Blickenstaff, Liz Callaway, James Clow, Jason Danieley, and Jeremy Jordan? What excites you about working with them?

David Loud: I’ve worked with all of them before, and they are each truly extraordinary. Great voices, of course, and heavenly to work with, but they also have that essential ability to interpret a lyric in a way that’s fresh and clear. Sondheim songs often require the performer to feel contradictory emotions simultaneously, or to exist in an undecided state, or to change one’s mind in the middle of a thought. They’re complicated and particular and demanding, and I needed singing actors who could do that. How lucky am I to have assembled this astonishingly talented group of artists, each of whom said "yes" within minutes of being asked?!

Noah Racey: The beauty of working with David Loud is that the best of the best say YES! when he asks them to join us. And the man knows EVERYBODY! I have had the honor of staging quite a few concerts with him, and through that work I have learned to trust him completely when it comes to choosing which voices he wants to sing each of the pieces. So, to answer the first question, I did very little!

What excites me about working with these people? EVERYTHING. These 6 performers are supremely gifted, to pick one of their characteristics to praise is to overlook their most valuable asset...versatility. One of the wonderful things about this kind of concert is that it is an opportunity for the performers to do such a wide variety of work, in many instances much more than would be asked for in a typical show. And that is why having these particular actors is such joy. They all bring an astounding array of colors and energies to the table for us to pick from and to round it all out, their vocal chops truly can't be beat. Versatility is the definitely the ingredient that excites me most.

David Loud5. How did you decide which songs you were going to feature in the concert?

David Loud: Well first I wrote down all my favorite songs from the six shows they did together, but the 92nd St. Y, apparently, is not interested in producing a five-hour concert, so I had to cut a few. I wanted to pick songs that illuminated the essence of each of the extraordinary pieces that they collaborated on, and, of course, once the cast was set, I wanted to tailor it to them, as well. And I try to find an emotional arc for the whole evening…it becomes quite a jigsaw puzzle.

Noah Racey: Two parts popular demand, two parts personal affection. And then a healthy dose of what does Mr. Loud want to play with?

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this evening?

David Loud: A deep appreciation of the six wildly different shows that comprise the Stephen Sondheim/Harold Prince collaboration. As the Artistic Director of this evening, my goal is to make you hear songs that you may think you know as if you were hearing them for the first time, and to try to explain why I think they’re so extraordinary.

Noah Racey: An appreciation not only for the talent and craft of Steven Sondheim, but for the extraordinary collaboration of these two men, because above all, Musical Theatre is a collaborative art form, it is at it's best when it is the melding of ideas between artists.

Bernadette Peters, David Loud, Parker Ease, Stephen Sondheim, and John Doyle at the closing night party of "A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair", Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter Keddy7. How have Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince influenced each of you? 

David Loud: When I was 18, I was cast in the original Broadway production of Merrily We Roll Along. I was already a huge fan of Sondheim’s work, and the opportunity to be a part of a new show that he was creating with Harold Prince was, well, many things: thrilling, intimidating, challenging, heart-breaking…to watch these great craftsmen working on the show — writing, re-writing, editing, re-staging — for five weeks of previews was the greatest crash-course in Musical Theatre ever offered.

Noah Racey: Their work sets the bar for me in terms of emotional depth in lyric, Musical sophistication, and theatrical storytelling/conflict construction. Musical Theatre as an art form has been undergoing a steady transformation from simple music hall sketches and Vaudeville fun to elaborate, thought provoking, daring, exciting and substantial theatre; and it has been ushered forward through these changes and transformations by artists who asked more of it. Steven Sondheim and Harold Prince did just that, they asked more of the people who gathered together to share stories, they asked more of the music and the ears that would hear it; more of the subject matter and the minds that would digest it, more of everyone involved. We should aspire to do the same, ask more of each other.

Noah Racey performing8. If you had to pick your favorite song and show that they produced together, which ones would you choose?

David Loud: Impossible, of course, to choose an absolute favorite, but the duet at the end of the first act of Sweeney Todd, "A Little Priest" has always been on my list of major miracles. Funny, macabre, a beer hall waltz with impossibly clever lyrics that illuminates the entire British class system while playing rhyming games and furthering the story. It doesn’t really get any better than that.

Noah Racey: For over all score I have a huge affinity for Follies. I played "Buddy" in college (complete with bald-pate) and the first revival at the Belasco was my Broadway debut. I love the romance, the sense of nostalgia and desperate yearning to reclaim, the love letter to performers, all of it, it's my personal favorite of his scores. For a single song I would have to say "Weekend In The Country." The entire sequence is just breathtaking.

9. What has been the best part about working together? What have you learned from each other?

David Loud: Noah and I seem to have identical taste, which is hard to find in a collaborator. And he often will come up with an off-the-wall staging idea that would never have occurred to me — one that fulfills the song theatrically in a way that a more pedestrian choice would never have achieved.

Noah Racey: Finding people to work with where you can actually watch yourself growing is one of the most exciting aspects of working in theatre. So much of what we do is a question of taste, and you only discover that taste through an attention to detail. When you find people to collaborate with that mirror or compliment your sense of taste...well, that's everything to me. And then there's the fact that everybody is in love with him! David is one of those examples of the best of the best not bringing any kind of unnecessary "starch" or defensiveness to the creative table, his work speaks for it's self. It's no wonder he and John Kander get along so beautifully. For all the refining and searching we did in constructing Curtains it all felt like taking deep, relaxing breaths.

In working with David, I have learned so much about the art form of Musical Theatre. How inseparable all of it is; the staging, the lighting, the intro, the lyric, the melody, the tempo, the interpretation of all of it, it all must work in tandem. And for all of the pearls of wisdom he has given me (and there have been many), when someone as established and accomplished as David defers to your direction and takes constructive criticism from you, you are given the invaluable gift of learning to trust yourself.

Noah Racey tap dancing10. What's the best advice you've ever received?

David Loud: Do what you love. And if your gut tells you something, follow it.

Noah Racey: Do your homework.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

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

David Loud: Time travel. Is that a super power? I want to go back to the thirties and see a Gershwin show on Broadway!

Noah Racey: The dancer in me insists that it be the ability to fly.

12. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be?

David Loud: Pep-O-Mint.

Noah Racey: Probably raspberry.

13. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea.

David Loud: How lucky I am that my friends are my collaborators and my inspiration.

Noah Racey: It's about rhythm and timing, and letting go into the mystery.

14. How do you want to be remembered?

David Loud: As a good musician.

Noah Racey: Fondly.

David LoudMore on David:

David Loud has frequently collaborated with Stephen Sondheim. Among his many credits, Loud was the onstage pianist of the original Broadway production of Merrily We Roll Along, music director of Broadway’s Sondheim on Sondheim, and music director of A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, a collaboration between Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis and starring Bernadette Peters at the New York City Center in 2013. For the 2011/12 Broadway season, David was both musical supervisor of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and conductor of the incidental music for Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Among his other Broadway credits, he was music director of the original productions of Ragtime, A Class Act, Steel Pier and The Look of Love, and the revivals of She Loves Me, Company, The Boys from Syracuse and Sweeney Todd. This past November David was music supervisor for the world premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Little Dancer, directed by Susan Stroman, at the Kennedy Center. He also has the distinction of simultaneously serving as a cast and artistic staff member of two Broadway shows: Terrence McNally’s Master Class, in which he played "Manny" and was musical supervisor; and Kander & Ebb’s Curtains, in which he played "Sasha" and was music director.

Noah RaceyMore on Noah:

Noah Racey, a performer, director, choreographer and educator, made his Broadway debut in the 2001 revival of Follies, and has since appeared in Thoroughly Modern Millie (for which he was also associate choreographer for Rob Ashford’s Tony Award-winning choreography), Never Gonna Dance and Curtains. Noah’s directing and choreographic work has been seen regularly in the Town Hall’s Broadway by the Year series, and for its 2007 summer Broadway Festival production of All Singin’! All Dancin’! He recently starred in Holiday Inn at the Goodspeed Opera House. Noah is founder and artistic director of the internationally acclaimed New York Song & Dance Company.

Tuesday
Dec232014

Call Answered: Conference Call with Joey Arias and Sherry Vine: Christmas with the Crawfords

Sherry VineJoey Arias"Call Me Adam" chats with Joey Arias and Sherry Vine about starring in Christmas with the Crawfords at the Abrons Arts Center in NYC (466 Grand Street) through December 27! Click here for tickets!

For more on Christmas with the Crawfords be sure to visit http://www.christmaswiththecrawfords.com!

1. This December you will be performing in Christmas with the Crawfords, a holiday show based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast of the Crawford family from their Brentwood mansion in the late 1940s. What excites you about starring in this show?

Joey Arias: I love the idea of a crazy Christmas gathering...Its an alternative to all the other shows. And it brings back the old days of Hollywood...that the new generation are forgetting about…its almost like a history class in movies and a time when the world was at war….And in this case the war begins at home...When Joan starts to slip when every thing starts to go wrong.

Sherry Vine: What excites me most is being onstage in a big theatre again! I love acting and playing with all these talented fools is pure joy!

2. Joey, it's been 12 years since Christmas with the Crawfords has played NYC. What are you looking forward to most about coming back to NYC with this show?

Joey Arias: I was thrilled to do this role again after 12 years. I was excited to work with Richard Winchester [producer] & Donna Drake [director]. And to see and work with Chris March and hopefully other members of the Original cast…unfortunately...Most could not come from San Francisco. Only Connie Champagne who plays "Judy Garland" did…Its all so exciting!

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show?

Joey Arias: I hope most people walk out with a SMILE on there face. That the day they had was finished and they were transported into a world that we never knew…HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY!!

Sherry Vine: A pain in their gut from laughing so hard.

Sherry Vine and Joey Arias in "Christmas with the Crawfords", Photo Credit: Jim Moore4. Joey, you are playing "Joan Crawford" and Sherry, you are playing "Baby Jane Hudson" & "Hedda Hopper." What do you each of you identify most with about your characters?

Joey Arias: I feel like Joan Crawford because I actually walk around making sure everything is in order and perfect!!! I think of myself as perfection at certain times…when I'm getting ready to make an ENTRANCE or on STAGE!!!

Sherry Vine: Well, playing someone soooo much older than me is the greatest challenge. And of course not being pretty - the non-glam, old age make up takes hours!!

Cast of "Christmas with the Crawfords", Photo Credit: Jim Moore5. What's it like to play such icons? How do you feel you bring your own flair to your portrayals of them?

Joey Arias: HAD TO STUDY Joan Crawford to watch her facial expressions and the way she found the light…It's pretty tuff actually…because I want to bring her to life!! Not a cartoon..but you do have to go over the top because of the nature of this play….I'm exhausted after the show…It's scary when you realize that you've become this person…I look in the mirror and start to trip out…LOL. I'm looking at Joan...The movie Star!!!

Sherry Vine: Well for "Baby Jane" I felt a need to go method as that character is so iconic. I have to nail it and then of course heighten it a bit but I watched the movie over and over. "Hedda" was a bit easier as she's not so recognizable. I did watch and listen to her but tried to make that more my own.

Joey Arias and Sherry Vine in "Christmas with the Crawfords", Photo Credit: Earl Dax6. Since this show takes place during Christmas, what is your favorite part about celebrating the holidays in NYC?

Joey Arias: I LOVE CHRISTMAS in NYC…going to parties, getting all dolled up and meetings friends over a buffet & cocktails and having a laugh. The weather and fireplace and exchanging stories of the year gone by.

Sherry Vine: I love when all the cheesy over the top decor goes up. Of course the gorgeous windows at Barney's and all the stores over there. I also love the smell of burning wood, not Joey's teeth, but firewood and Christmas trees on the street.

7. What's the best advice you've ever received?

Joey Arias: The best advice I ever got was from PAUL MOONEY [comedian/writer/activist] was to "keep it real!!!"

Sherry Vine: Get the money first!

Sherry Vine as "Baby Jane" and Joey Arias as "Joan Crawford," promoting "Christmas with the Crawfords" at NYC's MAC store8. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

Joey Arias: My super power would be mind manipulation.

Sherry Vine: Would want to be mystique.

9. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be?

Joey Arias: It would be called BOYSENBERRY…The flavor of 2 seeds made into one!!! The taste is unbelievable!!! I could only get this at DU`PARS at the Farmers Market in Hollywood.

Sherry Vine: Cherry!!

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would you put in it?

Joey Arias: My cocktail would be called Z CHROMOZOME….a bit of Vodka…a drop of Champagne…and ABSENT…!!! It would make you Dream!!!

Sherry Vine: I'd call it the VERY SHERRY! Silver pedron tequila with club soda and 5 limes!

Joey Arias, Photo Credit: Steven MenendezMore on Joey:

A fixture of New York City's vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon. In 2012 he appeared in a headlining solo concert at Central Park Summer Stage and played the Southbank Centre in London as part of the Antony Hagerty-curated Meltodwn Festival. Then in October Z Chromosome, a short film starring Arias and directed by Manfred (Thierry) Mugler opened the 18th Annual Festival Chéries-Chéris in Paris. A regular headliner at Joe’s Pub, Arias consistently sells out his performances there to critical acclaim.

Joey originated the role of "Emcee" in Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity for 6 years in Las Vegas (which he co-wrote 3 songs) then returned to New York as the star and co-creator of Arias With A Twist with master puppeteer Basil Twist. The show was a critical and commercial hit and extended repeatedly for a total of 8 months at HERE Arts Center. The show toured to Los Angeles, Washington DC and Paris. The Arias With A Twist docu-fantasy premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and had it's US premiere at the 2011 TriBeca Film Festival.

In 2010 Joey returned to New York City with his first full-length concerts in over a decade. Joey Arias in Concert - featuring new jazz luminary Ben Allison and a band comprised of some of NYC's best musicians - played to sold-out houses for two weeks at Abrons Arts Center. A scaled down version of the show opened the Spiegeltent at Bard SummerScape in 2011. Joey has performed worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London and on a transatlantic world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada and England. On film, he has appeared in Mondo New York, Big Top Pee Wee, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Wigstock - The Movie, Flawless and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Television credits include the infamous Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi, Ann Magnuson's Vandemonium (Cinemax), Elvira's MTV Halloween Special, HBO's Dragtime, HBO's Real Sex and Gayer Than Gay on VH1, along with numerous appearances on a wide variety of talk shows and programs. Additionally, Joey has produced several of his own recordings including Arias on Holiday, Strange Fruit, Jazzo Lozo, God Shave the Queen and live recordings of StarLust in BerlinArias with a Twist and Bar D'o in New York. A member of the original Groundlings, the LA-based improv comedy troupe, Joey trained where Larraine Newman, Paul Rubens, Phil Hartman and hundreds learned their craft before breaking out to international acclaim. For more on Joey be sure to follow him on Twitter!

Sherry VineMore on Sherry:

Sherry Vine (Keith Levy) was accidentally abandoned by her family when she was 4 years old. But, fortunately, she was found and adopted by a very nice Amish family and raised outside of fashionable Harrisburg, PA. At 16, discovering she was actually Jewish, she ran away to Las Vegas to become a "showgirl" and the rest is herstory. Having established herself as one of NYC's downtown darlings, Sherry also tours the world with her all live singing, comedy shows; performing regularly in Montreal, Berlin, Helsinki, Estonia and Sydney to name a few. Miss Vine is a founding member and co-Artistic Director (with Joshua Rosenzweig and Erik Jackson) of Theatre Couture, and has starred in all of their productions including; the smash sold out hit Carrie, Doll, the Off Broadway hit Tell-Tale, Charlie, Kitty Killer, The Final Feast of Lucrezia Borgia, e.s.p. and The Bad Weed ‘73. Sherry can be seen in numerous films; Welcome To NY, Wigstock, The Raspberry Reich, Stonewall, Charlie, Scream Teen Scream, and Francesca Page. Miss Vine got to strut her stuff on Project Runway and has become an international YouTube sensation with her hysterical video parodies that have been viewed over 10,000,000 times! Most recently, Sherry has been starring in and writing a variety show called She's Living For This on Here TV. Season Two is currently airing. Her new state-of-the-art website contains all of her videos, songs, blog, pictures, merchandise and a full schedule of appearances. For more on Sherry be sure to vist www.SherryVine.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Wednesday
Dec172014

Call Redialed: Scott Alan: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 54 Below Debut Concert 

Scott Alan"Call Me Adam" catches up with songwriter Scott Alan to talk about his new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 and his upcoming 54 Below debut concert on January 19, 2015 at 7pm, which celebrates the release of Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1!

Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 features Samantha Barks, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, Liz Callaway, Kerry Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Eden Espinosa, Marcus Paul James and Willemijn Verkaik, and new tracks by Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Cynthia Erivo, RJ Helton, Christina Marie, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett and Natalie Weiss.

Scheduled to appear at Scott's 54 Below concert include 2014 Tony Award Winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), Tony Nominee’s Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) as well as Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), David Burtka (upcoming’s It Shoulda Been You), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Natalie Weiss (Wicked), Katie Thompson (Giant), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Kinky Boots), Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town). More performers to be announced. Click here for tickets!

For more on Scott be sure to visit http://scottalan.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

Designed by Robbie Rozelle1. You have just released your new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 which features, well, some of your biggest hits from your previous five albums, plus a few new recordings and re-workings of other hits. What made now the right time to release a Greatest Hits album as opposed to recording a new album? To make a new album would cost too much money and putting out a Greatest Hits album allowed me the opportunity to revisit my older catalogue of music and reconstruct it enough to give these songs a new feel. In addition, since so many of my past albums are out of print, it only made sense to place the greatest hits on one album instead of spending the money to duplicate all or most of my previous albums. Everything comes down to money, which isn’t to say this album didn’t cost money, it actually cost more to make then my debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake.

2. What does it mean to you to have enough material to be able to create a Greatest Hits album? It means I’m getting really old. I’m now in that stage of my life where graduates tell me they discovered my music when they were in Junior High School. Old. Old. Old.

Scott Alan3. How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this first collection of Greatest Hits and how did you decide which songs you wanted to re-work/change from their original recording? We did a poll on my website and about 90% of the songs were picked from that poll. As for the re-worked songs, it was important to have updates on many of the songs to make this album special and unique and not the normal "greatest hits" collection of songs that fans already own.

4. Some of the artists featured on your Greatest Hits were not the original artists you initially had record the song. Why did you choose to change some of the artists for this release? It started with the song "Anything Worth Holding on To." It’s a very personal song but it never caught on when released on my third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, even though it was beautifully sung by the iconic voice of Crystal Monee Hall. Then when I did my IndigO2 concert at the O2 and it was performed by the extraordinarily gifted talents of Cynthia Erivo, it gained a new life and a new following. I knew I wanted to try and recreate that and so having Cytnhia record the song was not even a question. Nothing will ever match the magic of the live performance but it’s so incredible to have it recorded for this album. And, to have Stuart Matthew Price re-create his performance of "Over the Mountains" was a no brainer. He was my original idea for the recording but I had already offered it to Bobby Steggert. Then we tried to have him in for the LIVE album but he was busy with Shrek. So, we finally had the timing right. Thankfully. And, "In This Moment" recorded in the studio was a no-brainer. Marc Broussard. Hello. This new version of "Kiss the Air" was featured on the special edition of LIVE, so we changed the arrangement a bit. Oliver Tompsett’s voice is timeless. And Natalie Weiss' new version of "The Distance You Have Come" was our way of going back to the original demo of what the song represented. Simplistic and organic.

Scott Alan and Taylor Dayne5. One artist who is new to this recording is the one and only Taylor Dayne who sings "I'm Coming Home To You." I have loved Taylor Dayne since she burst onto the music scene in the 80s. How did you come to work with this Grammy-nominated artist? I’m annoying and overly eager. Taylor can tell the story better but truthfully I just kept tweeting her and emailing her assistant until she said yes. I wouldn’t give up and kept on pushing and thankfully our schedules linked up and I had the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols. I grew up the biggest Taylor Dayne voice and that voice hasn’t changed one bit. It’s still crazy to look in my phone and know I can call her, and I do. She’s so down to earth and awesome. The studio session was a blast. Just two Long Island kids. We have the same lingo and she is brilliant in knowing what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s got a brilliant mind. It was an honor.

6. On January 19, you will be making your 54 Below debut to celebrate the release of your Greatest Hits. What excites you about making your 54 Below debut? Why was now the best time to make your 54 Below debut? You know, I feel like I’m having an affair on Birdland because I've been performing there for years but when Jennifer Tepper asked me if I would be interested in doing a concert at 54 Below I couldn’t help but say yes. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids doing it? Sometimes new scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

Scott Alan7. In addition to this concert being your 54 Below debut, your first concert in a year and a half, why should fans get excited for this concert? and What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I have always feared performing in New York because I feel like I can’t just sit back and relax and be myself. Over the years, performing in London and Australia and Holland and Germany and just having the opportunity to sit back and tell my story - I’m excited to do that now, in my city. It’s gonna be a very different vibe and I’m really excited to share that with this audience.

8. Why did you wait a year and a half to return to the New York concert stage? I always think nobody will show up and so I think it’s always smart to take breaks so that the audience awaits your next visit and I don’t overdose on xanax.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? From Frank Wildhorn. He said "The day you stop thinking you’re a new voice and think you’ve learned everything there is to be learned, leave the industry." Smart advice. Thankfully, I keep learning. And advice I always tell the young one’s which is to "Always remain a fan" and I do. I continue to work with my childhood hero’s because I am still that 12 year old kid in his bedroom waiting for life to begin.

Scott Alan10. What have you learned about yourself from being a composer/lyricist? How truly therapeutic music can be if you let it.

11. How do you want to be remembered? As a father and a husband. I just need a husband and kids to father. But that is what I want my legacy to be. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I seem to dream about flying a lot. I don’t know why. I have dreams often that I can fly. So, I guess that one?

13. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Oh, hmmmm. Is cool mint an option?

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Dreamer. Part Malibu Rum, Part Pineapple Juice, Part Citrus Absolute Vodka, part Midori Melon and topped off with a cherry. And yes. I was a bartender and that actually was my signature drink back in the day at Stonewall Inn, located in the W. Village. So I’m sorta cheating.

Scott AlanMore on Scott:

Since returning to New York City in 2003 many of Broadway's elite have sung Scott Alan's songs, including Liz Callaway, Jonathan Groff, Shoshana Bean, Adriane Lenox, Stephanie J. Block, Cheyenne Jackson, Eden Espinosa and more, all of which can be found featured on his debut CD Dreaming Wide Awake. Scott then released the follow up CD, Keys, in 2008 which features more of Broadway and West End elite singing his work, including Sutton Foster, Norm Lewis, Kerry Ellis, Randy Graff, Megan Hilty, Hadley Fraser, Julia Murney and many more.

In the fall of 2010, Scott Alan released his third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, featuring Christiane Noll, Darius de Haas, Christopher Sieber, Willemijn Verkaik, Patina Miller and more.

Scott Alan released his fourth album, LIVE, in 2012 which was recorded at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This recording featured Samantha Barks, Lea Salonga, Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Ramin Karimloo, Pentatonix and many of today's brightest Broadway and West End stars. On May 24th, 2012 Scott's composition, "It's Good to See You Again" was featured on the premiere episode of the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. His work has also been heard in the documentary The Standbys and on VH1's reality show Off-Pitch.

In 2014 Scott released his fifth album, a seven song collection sung by the composer called Anything Worth Holding on To.

Scott Alan has sold out concerts of his music in New York City, London, Holland, Germany, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Australia.

Thursday
Nov202014

Call Answered: Behind-The-Scenes Rehearsal Facetime Interview with Anthony Nunziata for 54 Below solo debut

"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes with recording artist Anthony Nunziata as he prepares for his debut solo concert at 54 Below in NYC. Anthony let us into his rehearsal studio, where he and musical director Tedd Firth, were busy at work preparing for this big night.

Anthony will be making his solo concert debut at 54 Below on Friday, November 28 at 9:30pm with Tedd Firth - Piano/Musical Director/Arranger, Tom Hubbard - Bass, and Sherrie Maricle - Drums. Click here for tickets!

For more on Anthony be sure to visit http://www.anthonynunziata.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Behind-The-Scenes Facetime video interview with Anthony Nunziata and Tedd Firth:

Monday
Nov102014

Call Redialed: Steven Reineke: New York Pops: By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit: Michael Tammaro"Call Me Adam" once again chats with The New York Pops' Musical Director Steven Reineke. This time around we discuss the second concert of their 32nd Season, By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra, which will take place on Friday, November 14 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall in NYC (57th Street and 7th Avenue). By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra will feature popular symphonic pieces by European masters; selections from great American composers such as Copland, Gershwin, Bernstein with Essential Voices USA; and the New York premiere of "Festival Te Deum" written by The New York Pops very own Steven Reineke. Click here for tickets!

For more on The New York Pops be sure to visit http://www.newyorkpops.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna Webber1. On Friday, November 14, The New York Pops continues their 32nd Season with By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra. What do you like most about doing these special request concerts? I love that we've begun a tradition of featuring the orchestra and its wonderful musicians each season. We collaborate throughout the year with so many incredible guests artists and soloists but at the heart of it all, it's the orchestra that makes each concert so special with their amazing musicianship and versatility. 

Doing a program like this really allows the orchestra to shine. The repertoire I've chosen is very demanding, giving us a chance to push ourselves and challenge the orchestra to reach even greater heights artistically.

2. During this show, you will perform your composition "Festival Te Deum," which will be making its New York debut. What excites you most about premiering this song during By Special Request? What, if anything, makes you nervous about having an audience hear one of your compositions for the first time? I'm very excited to conduct this piece in New York for the first time. I don't often program a lot of my own music here but I thought this was a great opportunity to show our audience another side of me. I'm not sure many of them realize that I'm also a composer. It's always a little scary to perform your own music for an audience because it's very personal. I just take a deep breath and hope that it connects with the listener and has an impact on them.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops Gala, Photo Credit: Richard Termine3. How did you decide which songs you were going to perform for this concert? The second half of the program is dedicated to iconic New York composers - Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin. It all started when I realized the date of the performance, November 14th, fell on Aaron Copland's birthday. He would've been 114 years old this year. That's when I decided to feature his music and pair it with Bernstein and Gershwin. The first half of the concert features some great music from the European symphonic repertoire.

4. Since the evening is called By Special Request, what is the one special request you get asked the most in regards to The New York Pops? Patrons and fans are constantly giving me their ideas and opinions regarding what they would like to see and hear. I really like that and take it all to heart. Honestly though, the number one thing I've heard from patrons over the years is that they sometimes just want to hear the orchestra featured without guest artists.  I think this is a huge compliment to the musicians of The New York Pops. That's why I decided to create a concert each year called By Special Request: An Evening With the Orchestra.

5. If you could request anything of the New York Pops' audience, what would you ask them? Please tell all of their friends to buy subscription packages or single tickets to our concerts! Also, feel free to use social media to spread the word about this great orchestra. If you enjoyed a concert, then tweet about us or post on Facebook. We want everyone to know how special our concerts are and to continue to sell out our performances.

Steven Reineke conducting, Photo Credit: Richard Termine6. Once again, you are teaming up Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA for this evening's concert. How did you first come to work with them and what makes you want to continue to team up with them for your concerts? Judith Clurman and the chorus were recommended to me the first season I was with the orchestra. We brought them in for a concert and I was blown away by their sound and professionalism. Judith is an extraordinary conductor and prepares the chorus beautifully. We know each other so well at this point that she knows exactly what I'll like or not.

7. What makes this By Special Request concert different from previous ones? For these concerts, it seems as though I've alternated programming film music one year and classical repertoire the next. This year we are back to classical pieces. I'm excited that this one also includes music from opera, ballet, and theater.

8. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Pineapple. It's the most interesting of the five original flavors.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna Webber9. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea. That I was born to be an entertainer and that I think love is the most powerful force in the universe.

10. How do you want to be remembered? Um, I sure hope that I'm not going anywhere very soon!!! I would like to be remembered as a kind, thoughtful, and generous person that gave everything to my work and lived life to the fullest. Hopefully, I also touched some people through music along the way.

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit; Michael TammaroMore on Steven:

Steven Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke's work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband Eric Gabbard.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Richard TermineMore on The New York Pops:

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Led by Music Director Steven Reineke, the orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops was founded by Skitch Henderson in 1983 with a mission to create greater public awareness and appreciation of America’s rich musical heritage. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.