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Entries in Off-Broadway (249)

Thursday
Nov142013

James Barbour: The Holiday Concert Interview

It's that time of year when award winning Broadway star and International Recording artist, James Barbour will bring holiday cheer to New York City with his annual Holiday Concert. This year's concert will take place at New York City's theatre hotspot 54 Below (254 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on December 7 at 11pm and December 12 at 7pm.

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

1. Once again, you will be performing your annual holiday concerts, but this year they are at 54 below on December 7 & 12. What made you want to change venues for this year's concerts? I had been an audience member at a friend's concert there and I thought the space was absolutely beautiful. Within short time the team at 54 Below approached me about appearing there and as luck would have it I was in the planning stages for my 2013 Holiday Concerts. The idea of changing venues came simply because I wanted to bring my audiences (more like extended family) to a new venue. I just like to change things up every once in a while.

2. What does 54 Below offer you that another venue does not? I think each venue is unique and 54 Below is not only beautifully designed it has the sense of being in an upscale club somewhere in Europe. I'm excited to perform there.

James Barbour in concert, Photo Credit: Monica Simoes3. What can fans expect from this year's concerts that they might not have seen in previous years? Yeah...my favorite part. New music selections, great guests (as always) maybe an additional instrument or two and I'm trying my hand at the acoustic guitar (no promises) on a song. Plus the venue.

4. One concert staple you keep in each year, which I hope this year will be the same, is having various members of the audience perform with you for "Twelve Days of Christmas." How did you decide you wanted to have this interaction with your audiences this way? What do you enjoy most about this part of your concert? I love this part of the show. I'm a big goof on the inside and although I tend to play these dark brooding roles on Broadway, growing up it was all about making each other laugh and having fun. I wanted to bring that part of my life to the show. Interaction with the audience is vital to me. It's why I do what I do. Without the audiences and fans we would be performing in a vacuum and that would not be fun. So with 12 Days of Christmas we can all join in together and participate in the joys of the season. At this point the Holiday Concert regulars actually put first dibs in for their "day" when they show up to the venue. Literally people grab my arms and say "I want 6 Geese A Laying" or "We are 5 Golden Rings, make sure our table gets 5 Golden Rings" It's a load of fun.

James Barbour in concert, Photo Credit: Monica Simoes5. Going back a little bit, what made you initially want to have an annual holiday concert? What has been the best part about watching it grow into what it has become today? It came out of A Tale Of Two Cities closing on Broadway. I've always been a big Holiday fan. It's my favorite time of the year and I've had this vision to bring back the Bing Crosby specials of old. In fact years ago my old producing partner and I actually pitched a version of the Bing shows and were vey close to getting it produced on network TV.

So when Tale closed it was just before the Holidays so I thought...why not do a Holiday Concert and I was going to present it in an Off-Broadway house and make an actual show of it (something I'm actually in the process of completing now for the future). But that time I had a conversation with my friend Hershey Felder about the idea. Hershey's got the one man show format down and has become incredibly successful in doing so. We chatted about idea and he suggested that I present them in a space where I can be close to the audience rather than removed like I would be in a theatre. I took his advice, spoke to Max Klimivicus at Sardi's and the rest is history. I'm grateful to Max for opening up his doors to me. He's been a great supporter and has become a good friend. I'll be back there with some other events in the near future.

6. What do you love most about spending the holidays in New York City? NYC is THE destination for the holidays. Miracle On 34th Street! Macy's, the Tree at Rock Center, the window dressings, the lights. I once saw about 30 Santa's all piled into one coffee shop near the corner of Broadway and 52nd street. I mean where else can you see that?

7. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Wow...well now that I have two amazing kids my family is reliving those wonderful traditions my wife and I had when we were children. Cookies and milk (almond milk in our house) for Santa and carrots for the reindeer left out on the fireplace hearth. Christmas music (if I had my way it would be 24/7) playing in the house. Decorating the house with lights and such. But perhaps the most important tradition is family. I made a point, no matter where I was in the world to be home for Christmas. I would fly in, train in, drive in just to be home with my mother, father and sister. It's vitally important to me. Now that both my parents are gone and I have my own family, those same values hold true. No matter what religion or what holiday you celebrate (and even if your not religious and don't celebrate an holiday) spending time with family is imperative so that is my favorite holiday tradition...remembering and being with family.

8. Since starting your holiday concerts, have you adopted any new traditions for the holidays? Well my Holiday Concerts have now become a tradition. I've been asked to perform them all over the world which is a wonderful gift.

9. What are some of your favorite holiday foods? I'm all about deserts but I would have to say my favorite is Apple Pie. 

10. If you could have one Christmas wish come true, what would it be? Both my parents have passed....my wish is that they could have met their grandchildren and that my kids could have met them.

James BarbourMore on James:

James Barbour was nominated for the Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Awards for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of "Sydney Carton" in the Broadway musical version of A Tale of Two Cities, and won the Sarasota Magazine Best Actor Award for the Asolo Rep pre-Broadway production. He has starred on Broadway in such Tony-Award winning shows as Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as "The Beast," Carousel as "Billy Bigelow", Urinetown as "Officer Lockstock" and as "Edward Rochester" in Jane Eyre (Drama League Award nomination). He also appeared in the Broadway production of Cyrano and the national tour of The Secret Garden.

His voice can be heard on the upcoming international recording of A Tale of Two Cities, the PS Classics recording of Assassins, the Sony Classical cast recording of Jane Eyre, The Gift on Geffen Records, the upcoming release of Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula, as well as on the live CD recording of his self-produced stage show Broadway in Concert (for which he won an LA WEEKLY Garland Award).

His television credits range from the pilots of The District, Just Shoot Me, and Flashpoint to appearances on Sex and the City, Ed, That’s Life, Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein (PBS), Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice (CBS), the PBS mini-series American Experience: John & Abigail Adams (playing "Thomas Jefferson") and the upcoming film version of A Tale of Two Cities for public television.

Film credits include Alchemy (Tribeca Film Festival and ABC Family) starring opposite Tom Cavanagh and Sarah Chalke; Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, Waiting for Lefty, The Tell-Tale Heart and Twinkle Toes with Sally Kirkland.

As an author and producer, James is responsible for creating three concert series, James Barbour: The Holiday Concert and Love Songs (both at New York City’s famed Sardi’s Restaurant) and Back From Broadway/Broadway in Concert (the latter in conjunction with Steinway Concert Artist Hershey Felder).

James is considered one of the most sought-after performers on Broadway today. He is on the A-list of actors asked to develop new works for the industry’s leading writers and composers including Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Frank Wildhorn, and Christopher Durang to name a few. He is currently developing a new musical concert called The Romantics.

His voice can be heard on the cast recordings of JANE EYRE, ASSASSINS and A TALE OF TWO CITES as well as his own CD’s BRING ME GIANTS and THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS.

James is also the host of the critically acclaimed international radio show THE STAR POWER HOUR on Empowerment Channel of www.VoiceAmerica.com.

Friday
Nov012013

Adam Dannheisser: The Cottage Interview

Adam DannheisserAdam Dannheisser is the Resident Director of Rock of Ages on Broadway as well as an original and current cast member. He's currently directing Sandy Rustin's (Rated P [For Parenthood]), (mostly) non-violent, romantic comedy, The Cottage presented by The Award-Winning Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) at Good Shepard United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St (@30th Rd), in Astoria, Queens.

The Cottage is a rollicking farce inspired by the works of Noel Coward. Set in the English countryside in 1923, this tale of sex, betrayal and, oh yes, love, unfolds when Sylvia Van Kipness decides to expose her love affair to her husband and her lover's wife. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a director? I have wanted to direct for a long time. I love performing, but feel that I experience a fair amount of tongue biting -- always wishing to have more of a voice in the shaping of things. I was most inspired in grad school (NYU acting program) by innovative and daring directors such as Mark Wing-Davey and Robert Woodruff.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I have so many amazingly talented friends that I have never gotten a chance to work  with. That is why it is a real joy to be directing Kevin Isola in The Cottage. We went through NYU together -- his ethic, aesthetic and comic abilities have always floored me. I haven't gotten to spent this much time with him since 1995 :-)

3. What attracted you to directing The Cottage? The play is really well crafted and realized. I instantly felt connected to it. The style, the comedy, the room for some playful conceptual ideas -- I'm thrilled that Sandy felt like writing a play. :-)

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I want people to laugh, to recognize themselves at times in the play and to think for a bit about the meaning of fate, love, fidelity, and true destiny. But not for too long. I don't want anyone leaving their spouse over it :-) Although that would be kind of cool. Ha?

5. What are you looking forward to about working with this cast? They were all my first choice for their respective roles. They are hilarious and honest actors. Brave and curious. And awfully nice people to boot.

Playwright Sandy Rustin6. What has your favorite part of the creative process to bring Sandy Rustin's script to life? Sandy and I have a wonderfully collaborative relationship. Maybe it's because our kids play baseball together in the suburbs of New Jersey. But it has been a real joy shaping this with her. We both love funny, and know that it must be steeped in truth. It's not enough to lay on top of the covers of this play-- you've got to get under the sheets. Basically, Sandy and I are metaphorically sleeping together.

7. What do you get from being a director that you don't get from being a performer? A fuller voice. A chance to work with this creative and committed design team. And I don't get into trouble for being late to rehearsal.

Adam Dannheisser in Broadway's "Rock of Ages"8. What have you enjoyed most about being the resident director and a performer at Broadway's Rock of Ages? I love the challenge of maintaining the tautness of comic storytelling -- both as director and performer. It is one thing to make people laugh, but a far greater challenge to make people laugh at the same moment 1500 times. It's a real exploration in comic detail and freshness.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Marry Jen West.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Gotta go with Spinjitzu. My sons would never forgive me. Google it.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? Wait, who said I was in shape? Just kidding. Triathlons.

12. Boxers or Briefs? Neither. Wink.

Adam DannheisserMore on Adam:

Broadway: CymbelineThe Coast of Utopia, Proof, Twelfth Night, The Tempest. National Tour of Contact (Ovation Award Nomination). Off-Broadway: Henry V, Henry VIII, The Tempest, Macbeth (All with NYSF, Public Theater); The Arabian Nights (BAM), The Blues Are Running (MTC). Regional: Awake and Sing! (Arena Stage), Safe In Hell (Yale Rep.), The Provok’d Wife (ART), Beast On The Moon (Portland Stage). Film: Down to Earth, A Price Above Rubies. TV: Damages, Law And Order, Brotherhood, Third Watch, Law And Order: CI, Sex and the City, Mad About You. MFA: NYU.

Tuesday
Oct292013

Montego Glover: New York Pops Interview

Tony Award nominated actress Montego Glover and clarinet player Dave Bennet team-up with the world-renowned New York Pops, under the direction of conductor/musical director Steven Reineke for an evening of big band/swing music featuring a tribute to the 75th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s legendary live recording at Carnegie Hall with some very special surprises on Friday, November 1 at 8pm at Carnegie Hall (881 7th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Montego be sure to visit http://www.MontegoGlover.com!

1. On November 1, you will be performing with The New York Pops as part of their concert "Sing Sing Swing." What excites you about this upcoming evening? The music, the dancing (we'll have a couple dancing to a few of the tunes), and working with Steven Reineke, Dave Bennett, and the Pops for the evening.

New York Pops conductor/musical director Steven Reineke, Photo Credit: Richard Termine2. What does it mean to you to get to perform at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops? The New York Pops is a tremendous orchestra, one of the best in the world. It is truly my honor to collaborate with them for the evening. And Carnegie Hall is a beautiful, iconic venue that no artist can really resist. I always say there's something intoxicating about the view from that stage and the energy there.

3. What are you looking forward to most about working with New York Pops conductor Steven Reineke? I adore Steven. He is a gifted musician, a very generous artist and dedicated to honoring the music. Every time I work with him I learn so much and I have a great time doing it.

4. What do you enjoy most about Big Band/Swing music? How did this style of music influence you? I love the motion and emotion of Big Band music. It makes people move and stirs an emotional response. It's music you can really feel on all levels. I remember my grandparents playing this music when I was small. It was my first introduction to it and I can certainly say helped shape my idea of the roots of music.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I hope audiences will have fun, learn a few interesting facts about swing/big band music, and come back again and again to hear the New York Pops.

Montego Glover6. One component to this evening's show of "Sing Sing Swing," is that one lucky couple will be appear on stage with the orchestra. You were one of the judges of this contest. What did you enjoy about being a judge and searching out this talent? Swing music makes people move and the best thing about being a judge for this competition was watching so many couples move with joy and abandon to the music. Really, really fun.

7. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was 12 years old. I was taking an amazing acting class and the other students and I had put on a school production. As we took our bows at the end of the performance I remember standing in a line, holding my cast mates hands, listening to the applause, having loved every minute of the process of putting up the play and I thought "I'm so happy. This is what I wanna do". And so it began.

8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That's a broad question. At the moment I'd say Cherry Jones and Phylicia Rashad, Mark Rylance. This list gets longer every day!

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I'm far more resilient than I thought I could ever be. I'm a hard worker.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Tell the truth. Keep your word. Mind your money. Stock your mind and body with good and nutritious food.

Montego Glover in "Memphis" on Broadway, Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich11. You received a Tony nomination for playing "Felicia Farrell" in Broadway's "Memphis." Looking back, what did you enjoy most about this time in your career and what did it mean to you to be nominated? I enjoyed creating and ultimately performing the role on Broadway the most. Being nominated meant being favorably recognized by a community that I hold so dear for one of the most important works in my career. A blessing and a privilege.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The power to put litter bugs away forever!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to spend your day off? Quiet, quiet, quiet. And time alone.

14. Favorite way to stay in shape? Kettlebell, kickboxing, and yoga.

15. Favorite skin care product? Johnson's baby wash. I've used it for years as a face wash. Why wouldn't you treat your skin like a baby's?

Montego GloverMore on Montego:

Award-winning actress Montego Glover last starred on Broadway as "Felicia Farrell" in the Broadway hit musical, Memphis (Tony Award, Best Musical 2010), for which she received a Tony Award Nomination for Lead Actress in a Musical as well as a Drama League Nomination. She won both the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award for her performance. Montego made her Broadway debut in the roles of "Celie" and "Nettie" in The Color Purple.

Clarinetist Dave Bennett, Photo Credit: Kevin WinshipMore on Dave Bennett:

Michigan clarinetist Dave Bennett has performed in over thirty-five US States and Canada and has appeared with thirty orchestras with his Tribute to Benny Goodman combo. Called "the closest ever" to Benny Goodman’s sound and style, Dave was featured on two NPR network radio programs with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Jazz at Riverwalk. In April 2008 he made his European debut at The Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland. www.davebennett.com

Steven Reineke, New York Pops Conductor/Musical Director, Photo Credit: Michael TammaroMore on The New York Pops and Steven Reineke:

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. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. 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. Pops Education allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.

Steven Reineke is the Music Director and Conductor 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 and the composer of symphonic and wind ensemble compositions, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide.

Saturday
Oct262013

Video Interview with the cast of Bucks County Playhouse's Rocky Horror

In my newest video interview, "Call Me Adam" went inside the rehearsal studio, in New York City, with the cast of Bucks County Playhouse's production of Rocky Horror. Joining me was Broadway's Nick Adams, Kevin Cahoon, Nick Cearley, Jen Cody, and Jeremy Kushiner. Rocky Horror plays through November 2 only! Click here for tickets! 

Bucks County Playhouse is located at 70 South Main Street in New Hope, PA.

For more on Bucks County Playhouse be sure to visit http://www.bcptheater.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Part 1 with Bucks County Playhouse's cast of Rocky Horror:

(from left to right) Nick Adams, Jen Cody, Jeremy Kushiner, Nick Cearley, and Kevin Cahoon

Part 2 with Bucks County Playhouse's cast of Rocky Horror

(from left to right) Nick Adams, Jen Cody, Jeremy Kushiner, Nick Cearley, and Kevin Cahoon

Thursday
Oct242013

Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon: The Vaudevillans Interview

Jinkx MonsoonJerick HofferJinkx Monsoon is the alter ego of Jerick Hoffer who was the winner on Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race on LOGO. He's continuing his New York debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC in The Vaudevillians, a musical comedy co-starring composer and musician Major Scales featuring such hit songs as "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "Drop It Like It's Hot." The Vaudevillans plays through November 11. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jerick/Jinkx be sure to visit http://www.jinkxmonsoon.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Jinkx Monsoon, Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon Photography1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Simply put, the movie Death Becomes Her. At a young age I saw that movie and said, "I want to do that when I'm grown up!" I didn't know what 'that' meant for me at that time, but now-a-days I just refer to it as the moment I realized I wanted to be Meryl Streep.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Bette Midler, Sarah Silverman, Bernadette Peters, Maria Bamford and...hell, let's say Daniel Radcliffe.

3. How did you come up with your alter ego, Jinkx Monsoon? She's a mix of...well, Better Midler, Sarah Silverman, Bernadette Peters, Maria Bamford, Ha ha, and of course some Lucille Ball, Madeline Kahn, Carol Burnett and then (not JUST cuz she's my namesake) Jennifer Saunders as "Edina Monsoon."

The Vaudevillans at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City4. You are about to make a grand return to The Laurie Beechman Theatre as The Vaudevillians. How did you initially come to create this duo? What is like after all these years to be performing your hit songs again? How did it feel to discover these other artists perform them during your absence? For the Vaudevillians, their whole life is to be on stage, so now-a-days when the outcry for Vaudeville has been deafened by movies and stereos, it's nice to find any theater that will take them in. As for all their songs being stolen...that's kinda bittersweet. On one hand, of course they're upset to find all their music has been ripped off...But it's nice to know that it had such an impact that it has stood the test of time. But like I said, any chance to get on stage in front of a live audience once more? We'll take it!

Joan Rivers and Jinkx Monsoon at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City5. What excites you about returning to perform at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? The staff at the Laurie Beechman get our show....They get  theater. They are as in on the joke as anyone else. This is proved by their expert understanding of not just the ins and outs of our show, but what I've seen at every show I've been to there. The entire staff, from concierge to waiter to house manager to busboy....EVERYONE is there to make sure that you get the most out of your evening, and that you leave the show with a positive, theater-going experience. It's rare to find that these days. But it exists! It's alive and well at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.

6. What does this venue offer that another one might not? Intimacy, with just enough theatrical sensibility to make it "an evening of live entertainment" rather than just "dinner and a show." If that makes any sense. Ha ha.

7. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing The Vaudevillians? A new found respect for "the classics"...Meaning, these are songs we all know and love, but presented in a traditional sense. I think the best way of summing up our show is by stating, over the last century, so much has changed, and yet so little.

Jinkx Monsoon, RuPaul, and Major Scales8. You were on Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. What went through your head when you found out you were going to be part of this show? What was the best part of being on RuPaul's DragRace and what did you learn from Ru himself? When I heard I was going to be on RPDR5, I remember thinking "this can't possibly be true. I wished, hoped, and dreamed about this....and now it's reality?!? No F*cking way!!!!" And I still, to this day, still kinda feel that way. But what I learned from Ru is, you can't just sit and want it to happen. You gotta fight, finesse and WERK your way into your destiny. But once you get there, be proud of what special things you have to offer. Ru taught me, that no matter who you are, if you do it to 100% of your ability, you can do anything!

9. In addition to The Vaudevillians, you have also appeared in several theatrical stage shows, out of drag as Jerick Hoffer, in Seattle including Spring Awakening, Rent, and the upcoming Hedwig and The Angry Inch. What do you get from theatrical work that you do not get from your singing career? Well, I LOVE singing. But my favorite way to do that is in front of a live audience. You get something in front a live audience that you get no where else. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true. If you truly wanna hone your skills, no matter what they may be, do it in front of a live audience. The laughter, the response, the kinetic energy in the room...that doesn't lie. You can't delude yourself in front of a live crowd. Simply put: "you either got it, or you ain't." - "Mama Rose," Gypsy.

Jinkx Monsoon, Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon Photography.10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Take NOTHING too seriously.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? No matter what critiques or criticisms you face; it's about the WORK, not YOU.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Shapeshifting, like "Mystique" in X-Men. Drag would be ten times easier and I could spend that three hours doing productive things. Ha ha ha.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? Portion control and walking any/everywhere you can.

14. As Jinkx, favorite skin care product? Dr. Jen's King of Cool, after shave gel, available from Atomic Cosmetics.

15. As Jerick, boxers or briefs? Briefs. I like to be all in one place.

Jinkx Monsoon, More on Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon:

Jerick graduated with a degree in theatrical performance from Cornish College in Seattle. With ten years experience on stage, Jerick is a seasoned Portland-born entertainer who has captured the attention of his native northwest region. As early as 2006, Jerick appeared as the lead dancer in the world's largest drag queen chorus line, which made the Guinness Book of World Records. By 2012, he had advanced to roles in Seattle theaters, playing "Moritz" in Spring Awakening (produced by Balagan Theatre) and "Angel" in Rent (produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre). Earlier this year, Jerick played "Hedwig" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (produced by Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group).