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Entries in Theatre (314)

Tuesday
Feb282017

Call Answered: Conference Call: J. Stephen Brantley and Todd Flaherty: BAREBACK INK

J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Roberto AraujoTodd Flaherty, Photo Credit: Luke FontanaI interviewed J. Stephen Brantley and David Drake in 2014 for their collaboration on J. Stephen's show Fried-Chicken Ciccone. I was so moved by that show that when I heard they were going to work together again, I knew I needed to do a new interview. Then I found out Todd Flaherty was also going to star in this show and I was like, bam, let's talk with everyone!

Bareback Ink, written by Bob Bartlett and directed by Obie Award winner David Drake, tells the story of a beautiful boy who is forcibly tattooed in this erotic new plays at IRT (154 Christopher Street) from March 4-18. Click here for tickets!

For more on J. Stephen be sure to visit http://www.jstephenbrantley.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Todd visit http://www.toddflaherty.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram!

1. This March you are all part of Bob Bartlett's Bareback Ink. J. Stephen and Todd, you are starring in the show and David, you are directing. What made each of you want to be part of this production?

J. Stephen Brantley: I put out a call for plays last year when Hard Sparks was awarded this residency at IRT, asking for a "sinister two-hander." I was hoping for a vehicle for Todd and myself, one that would fit in that raw dark cinder-blocked space. In Bareback Ink, I got it. It haunted me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Todd and I have done…five shows together? - two directed by David Drake - but it seems like we never really have much interaction. In Pirira, we were both onstage the entire show and never spoke a word to one another. This time we do. I’m all over him!

Todd Flaherty: I would follow J. Stephen Brantley to the ends of the earth. As a writer and artist, he is redefining what American Theatre is and can be and I trust his taste in other writers’ work. Coupled with the fact the David Drake was on board to direct…I didn’t even have to read the script before saying yes. It could have been about toilet water and I knew it would be brilliant. Icing on the cake was reading Bob Bartlett’s poetic story. I jumped at the opportunity.

J. Stephen Brantley and Todd Flaherty in "The Jamb", Photo Credit: Hunter Canning2. While based upon the Greek myth The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede, how do you feel this story relates to the times we are living in today?

J. Stephen Brantley: The play wrestles with some uncomfortable stuff. Bob (Bartlett) wrote it in an effort to make sense of the legacy of a story about kidnapping, basically, and a trove of art that celebrates it. This production is unapologetically queer, so we are mainly looking at the ways gay men pursue and eroticize youth. But it’s cross-cultural. Young people are sexualized. They are rewarded for being servile, and punished for taking power and, often, made to feel irrelevant past a certain "sell-by" date. We’re taking a hard look at that, through the lens of myth, but also pushing it aside to find some love underneath. The relationship of the two guys in Bareback Ink may not be quite as it first seems.

Todd Flaherty: Bareback is incredibly nuanced and layered so there’s actually quite a lot to glean from Bob’s story in relation to our modern times. The play’s nature is very homo-erotically charged, so naturally we are connecting the myth to modern intergenerational gay relationships, daddy fantasies and the journey to manhood, particularly for boys who have no father figures due to displacement from the home. Other times in the rehearsal room, we speak in jest about Melania, but there is some real relevance to our story there as well. Surviving an abusive relationship using tools of beauty and youth…and what happens when those tools are no longer available. Another layer entirely focuses on the outcast in society being controlled and manipulated by unseen powers that be, and the daily struggle for freedom in a world where the cards are stacked against you.

Todd Flaherty and J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson3. Bareback Ink is an erotic tale of the struggle between comfortable corruption and the cost of true freedom. This description seems perfect for the post-election climate we live in. How do you feel Trump is using his power under the guise of true freedom, but everyone else views it as corruption?

J. Stephen Brantley: Let me count the ways! Aside from the ban that isn’t a ban? There’s FADA, which hasn’t happened on a Federal level yet, but may still. These "First Amendment Defense" and "religious freedom" laws have nothing to do with liberty, of course, they’re a license to discriminate and the ripple effect of such measures could be catastrophic for LGBT Americans. It’s easy for most people to look the other way, to think that "bathroom bills" have only to do with whether and where trans folks pee – which should be where they want - forgetting that these same laws strip away protections for all sexual minorities. My mother recently wrote her governor voicing her opposition to such a proposed law. It’s not something she’s used to doing, and she was outraged by the condescending, sexist form-letter reply – some bullshit about "protecting her privacy." It pissed me off too, but I was also delighted to have her in the trenches! Even if it’s an uphill battle, it’s infinitely better to be on the side of justice. There’s freedom in the fight. But for anyone joining the fray, you have to know, it’s uncomfortable. All the time.

Todd Flaherty and J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson4. Some tattoos are removable, while others are more permanent. Based upon Trump's first few weeks in office, what decisions do you feel he has made that could be considered a removable tattoo and which ones do you think are a more permanent tattoo?

J. Stephen Brantley: All tattoos are removable, I should know. But it’s an expensive, time-consuming, painful process. I still believe that we will, eventually, create a world in which everyone is treated with human dignity. I have to believe that. But I also think the events of the last several weeks have set us way back, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The President has angered world leaders, alienated our allies, and emboldened terrorists both foreign and domestic. He’s lifted all the wrong restrictions from law enforcement and appointed to top-level posts the very people who would dismantle the agencies they now head. We’re headed for disaster. Truthfully, I don’t really expect to survive this administration. But I am certain the damage that’s about to be done can, and will, be reversed someday. The marks may not be removed entirely, and maybe they shouldn’t be: we have a bad habit of ignoring the uglier parts of our collective history. Bareback Ink is a sort of trial by fire. It’s about discovering that the very thing that’s kept you down is actually your ticket to freedom. I hope that we as a nation learn from this moment, use this opportunity to become better informed, fully engaged, more compassionate people. Maybe next time more than half the population will actually vote.

Todd Flaherty: The most permanent tattoo being inked into the fabric of our nation is actually a very beautiful one…however painful the process of receiving it. I did not vote for Trump, but I think he is the president America deserves at this tipping point in our history. As a millennial having grown up with a father in politics and an activist mother, I know all too well just how fragile our democracy is and always has been. But (not unlike our character "Artist") I know many people who have lived comfortably enough, wanting more but never asking for it, for fear of loosing what they already have and ignorant to the plight of those who have even less. Trumps agenda is ruthless and those with half a brain are finally being called to action. The permanent tattoo I’m speaking of is intersectionality. No longer are we dealing with women’s rights, black rights, queer rights, gender rights, etc…we’re dealing with human rights.

J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson5. Bareback Ink tells the story of a beautiful young man who enters a purgatory-like tattoo shop where an isolated and withdrawn artist forcibly inks the boy’s back over the course of several months. Has there been a time in your life when you were forced to do something you didn't want to? If so, when/what was it?

J. Stephen Brantley: Not really. I’ve chosen to do a lot of things I didn’t really want to. Everyone does. But I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I’ve never endured the kind of brutality and coercion that so many queer people do.

6. Bob Bartlett has taken The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede and brought it into a modern-day world, touching on the subjects of one being rejected by family, community, and culture. Have you ever been rejected by your family, community, and/or culture? If so, how did you initially react to the rejection, but ultimately find your own family, community, and/or culture?

J. Stephen Brantley: Again, I didn’t have it too bad. But growing up in Texas during the '80s I was surrounded by the message that gay was definitely not okay. A lot of kids don’t survive that. A lot. Those who do, we develop a thick skin and a quick mind, and we use what we’ve got. Todd’s character in Bareback uses his beauty like so many boys do – being objectified is better than rejection, and there is power in sex. If we’re lucky, we have a mentor, a teacher, who doesn’t take advantage. And perhaps we become that person for someone else someday. In that, Bareback Ink is really about family, about finding home.

Todd Flaherty: Luckily I have been blessed to be born into one of the most loving families ever. As an artist, however, I face rejection everyday. Every. Fucking. Day. Sometimes multiple times a day. That rejection used to leave me completely incapacitated. Not because of some idea that the work I was creating was bad, per se, but because the work I was creating was irrelevant. I was irrelevant. My presence wasn’t necessary to the growth of our community. That’s a tough pill to swallow for anyone. A few years ago, I changed my outlook on rejection and started thinking of it as an opportunity. You can’t grow if you're not making mistakes and if you’re not growing, you’re not living. I began to act more fearlessly and I found new friends and communities who felt/worked the same way. That’s how I began working with J. Stephen and David.

Todd Flaherty and J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson7. The show is also described as being about desire, possession, and the perversion of power. What is something you desire? What is one of your most cherished possessions? When have you altered/distorted your own power over someone?

J. Stephen Brantley: I did some escorting for a while. This is no secret, I talked about it in Chicken-Fried Ciccone. There was actually very little sex involved, it was mostly Dom-sub role play. It’s a weird dynamic, being paid an hourly wage to humiliate the very person who’s hired you. In the back of your mind, you know you’re not in charge. At the same time, you do wield power or at least it feels like you do and it feels good. That’s why I always said it was essentially site-specific theatre, "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances." But like any acting gig, it can turn into a mind-fuck real quick. If sense-of-self can be possessed, I cherish that. And freedom. At one time in my life I almost lost it. My character in Bareback has given up on ever having it, until this boy comes into his cell. More than anything I fear a loss of control over my own well-being.

Todd Flaherty: I desire water-front property, be it a lake, river, or ocean. I cherish none of my possessions because I can’t take anything with me when I leave this earth. All relationships are a delicate balance of power…I can’t recall any instance where I have unfairly asserted mine, but maybe that’s something I should delve into in therapy.

Todd Flaherty and J. Stephen Brantley, , Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson8. Bareback Ink casts a raw, voyeuristic gaze at the intergenerational homoerotics of Greek myth through a decidedly contemporary and surprisingly sociopolitical lens. Between all of the shows you have either starred in or directed, which one do you feel cast you at your rawest and most vulnerable?

J. Stephen Brantley: Well, I’m was completely naked onstage six nights in Mope at EST, so that’s raw and vulnerable. But actually, once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal. The last show I did with David and Todd, my play The Jamb, was scarier. I was close to that character. And there have been others where I appeared to be transformed – "Doc" in The Night Alive, or "Saul" in Church Of Why Not – but I felt completely laid bare.

Todd Flaherty: I recently wrote and acted in a web series called Undetectable (www.undetectabletheseries.com). The story follows a young gay man navigating personal and romantic relationships with the stigma of being HIV positive. It was one of the most horrifying and rewarding experiences I have ever had, showing up to set every day, saying words I wrote, constantly questioning whether or not they were good enough, and trusting that my need to tell the story was greater than any one person’s reaction to it…good, bad or otherwise.

9. Bareback Ink is an erotic play, but with an underlying horror. What has been your most pleasurable erotic encounter? What has been an erotic encounter you wish to forget?

J. Stephen Brantley: I have never had an erotic encounter that was as pleasurable as what I’m imagining right now. And there are none I wish to forget. Actually, I wish I could remember more.

Todd Flaherty: Adam, they’re all so pleasurable…I couldn’t possible pick just one. One that I wish to forget involves a barely 17-year-old me, two high school girlfriends, the back seat of my car, a mall parking lot, and a security guard nearly calling the cops on us for public lewdness and indecent exposure.

10. Since the show is called Bareback Ink, if you could tattoo your back, what would you get drawn on it? 

J. Stephen Brantley: I’ve long wanted a big bird of prey on my back. I have songbirds on my forearms, and I love them, but I’m feeling more falcon than sparrow these days. Of course, for the price of such a piece one could produce Bareback Ink so, for now anyway, I’m going with that.

Todd Flaherty: A watercolor-like scene of the dunes leading to the secret beach in Provincetown.

J. Stephen Brantley, Photo Credit: Roberto AraujoMore on J. Stephen Brantley:

Off-Broadway: Mope (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Murder In The First (The Directors Co. at 59E59), and Theatre 167’s Pirira (West End Theater). Regional: The Night Alive (Guild Hall), Of Mice And Men (Bay Street), Slap & Tickle (Provincetown Theater), and Romeo And Juliet with its zombie sequel R & J & Z at Stonington Opera House. J. Brantley has also worked with Big Dance, Blessed Unrest, CapsLock, and Jewish Plays Project, and at venues including Queens Theatre, LaMaMa, Metropolitan Playhouse, The New Ohio, and P.S.122. J. Brantley is an eight-time New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee, and winner of the Micheál MacLiammóir Award for Best Actor at the 2013 Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Hard Sparks and a member of the Indie Theatre Hall Of Fame.

Todd Flaherty, Photo Credit: Luke FontanaMore on Todd:

Off-Broadway: Pirira (NYIT Nom) also by J.Stephen Brantley, Fresh Kills (59E59). Other New York credits include: Sleep No More (Punchdrunk/ Emursive), Dead Letter Office, I Like To Be Here (Theater167), We Are Nebenienander (American Laboratory) and Hard Sparks’ The Jamb. Regional: Slap & Tickle, also directed by David Drake. Film/New Media: Pretty Girls, The Fuzz, Tracy&Cal. Todd wrote, produced, co-directed and appears in Undetectable, recently nominated for seven Indie Series Awards.

Saturday
Feb252017

Call Answered: Tulis McCall: Are You Serious? A Woman of a Certain Age Inquiries at Cornelia Street Cafe

Tulis McCall, Photo Credit: Flash RosenbergI first met Tulis McCall when we both joined a theatre blogger group. I knew Tulis loved theatre and reviewed shows and that's all I knew. Fast forward to 2017 when I'm asked to come see a one-woman show called Are You Serious? A Woman of a Certain Age Inquiries. Then I'm told that one-woman show is by Tulis McCall and I go, I love Tulis, sign me up!

One Sunday afternoon, I attended Tulis' show and I was blown away by it. Are You Serious? is a show everyone can relate to because we are all aging. There was not one part of Tulis' show that I didn't identify with. Tulis is engaging, enthusiastic, and knows how to draw an audience in. She brought up several poignant points about living, mortality, fear, goals, and accepting yourself for who you are. This truly is one show you don't want to miss.

Are You Serious? A Woman of a Certain Age Inquiries plays every Sunday at 3pm at the Cornelia Street Cafe, being extended through March 26! Click here for tickets!

For more on Tulis and Are You Serious? be sure to visit http://areyouserious.nyc and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Cornelia Street Cafe visit http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Oh good grief - It was always something that was comfortable and easy for me. I liked being on a stage and telling a story. Even in grammar school. To deliver a story and watch it land is a bit of magic, and to be on the initiating side is very powerful. You have to calculate and execute at the same time, and eventually you have to let go of the steering wheel for it to all work.

2. Your show, Are You Serious? is currently enjoying an extended run at Cornelia Street Café, after winning the 2015 United Solo Award for "Best Stand-Up" along with rave reviews. What made you want to create this show? I suppose it harkens back to "write what you know." I have become a "Woman of a Certain Age" and was surprised to have arrived at this juncture. When I looked around I saw not only no one talking about it unless it's as a clinical study - I saw no one who represented me. Not in the movies, onstage, nowhere. We are all over the streets here in Manhattan, but we are not represented in any artistic venue - unless of course you are an icon like the various Dames who keep working or the occassional appearance of a star like Glenn Close. But these are few and far between. I decided to write about how I was feeling, what I was thinking and observing, and see if anyone responded. They have.

Tulis McCall in "Are You Serious?", Photo Credit: Terri Mintz3. Are You Serious? is your story about becoming a WCA (Woman of a Certain Age). What is it like to talk to the audience after the show? What do they relate to most? What has someone told you that made you change something in the show? What I have heard mostly is people, women AND men, say "I am a WCA too. I relate to everything you are saying." The other conversations are with people whose opinion I seek out and we have a conversation around where they were engaged and where they were disconnected from the piece. These are great conversations because as a performer you don't "see" what the audience sees. Just as they don't see from your vantage point.

4. In the show, you say how as a child, you would say, I'm 3, I'm 4, I'm 5, etc, but then you start to hit milestones. I hit 30, I hit 40, I hit 50. Then it becomes I reached 60, I reached 70, etc. At what age did say to yourself, I'm a WCA? After you admitted that to yourself, what was your next thought?  Well, getting my Medicare Card was an eye-opener. I remember showing it to people, and my peers or those older than I responded with, "Congratulations." And people younger than I, and often by not that much, said, "What's that?" As to the "next thought" - there wasn't one. Just carry on. Those next thoughts occur gradually. Reflection. Goal setting. Reality checks. Dismissing of the naysayers in your head and externally. All sorts.

Tulis McCall in "Are You Serious?", Photo Credit: Terri Mintz5. You also talk about how men are considered to always be in their prime, but women of a certain age are considered past their prime. You could run circles around most men with all you have going on. How do you keep your youthful outlook about yourself? I have a very low threshold for boredom. That's why I live in NYC. I remember back in the day Johnny Carson complimented Jane Fonda for how she looked - she was 50 and back then that was old. Her response was, "This is how 50 should look." So I don't think of it as a "youthful outlook" because that belies my age - which is at the center of this whole conversation. The idea of old is slow, withdrawn, frail. In other words, feeble. Time to jettison that and let us all wear our age like a many colored cloak and see what hapens.

6. I love how you talk about the way your bullshit meter changes as you get older. When did you say to yourself, I'm old enough not to have to tolerate anyone's bullshit anymore? What was the most recent bullshit you didn't put up with? If I am in a group of people and someone refers to us as guys, including people IN the group, I correct them. To refer to women as GUYS makes us invisible. People say, "Oh it is just a saying. It doesn't mean anything." And I say if it doesn't mean anything why are you wasting your breath saying it? Call us folks or people or come up with something else. I will also lean into a conversation to tell someone how many times they just used the word "like." It makes them sound so stupid, the way that smoking cigarettes makes people look stupid.

Tulis McCall in "Are You Serious?"7. You also mention how as you age, you do things you may never have done before. What are some things you've done at this stage of your life, you never thought you would be doing? I never planned for the future, really. So whatever it is I am doing is usually a surprise tome. I follow my nose from one path to the next. I never thought I would be reviewing for the theatre (www.thefrontrowcenter.com). I never imagined I would produce a monologue evening once a month at the Cornelia Street Cafe (www.monologuesandmadness.com). I never thought I would be an award winning performer at United Solo Festival (2015 Best story telling script and 2016 Best Stand-Up Comedy). In 2001 I was living out in L.A. and after 9/11 I knew I had to move back. No one thought I could pull it off, move back, find a job and an apartment. Luckily I never asked anyone what they thought about it and only discovered their opinion after the fact.

8. There is a great scene where you talk about regret and the doubts that fill your head. We all have those voices. How do you keep those voices at bay instead of allowing them to flood your mind? Like I say in the show you have to get a little crazy - well craziER than the negative voices. And this is something you learn over time because eventually, if you are honest, you get bored with whining about all the bad shit that is affecting your First World Life. I am in no way Pollyanna and perky people, frankly, give me a PIA. Instead I have figured out a way to grab these voices and shake them till they are silly. You do have to give them some attention because they, like our president, are narcicistic and need attention. If you just ignore them they fester. There is a fine line between acknowledging them and giving them power - you have to strategize, get out ahead of them, just like Congress has to do as soon as it pulls it's collective head out of its own butt. The way that people are coming together to demand town hall meetings - that is what we have to do within us.

Tulis McCall9. When you become a woman of a certain age, you get to see all the gifts you've given yourself. What are the top five gifts you've given yourself? Appreciation for my fantastic sense of humor and my point of view. Quiet time and Meditation experiments. Two women's groups with whom I meet regularly. Hope. Writing.

10. What do you think is next for Tulis McCall? I am already thinking about the next incarnation for this show. It will be called All The Queen's Horses.

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Oh yeah - my fitness. I have been carrying extra weight around for awhile and I KNOW it is a protective coating. So I am using one of my women's groups to be accountable using Weight Watchers which works for me because it is all about numbers. I was always terrific in math.

THANK YOU ADAM FOR THESE GREAT QUESTIONS.

Tulis McCall, Photo Credit: Flash RosenbergMore on Tulis:

Tulis McCall is an actor, writer, producer and performer. Her first one woman show, What Everywoman Knows, was produced at the Public Theater by Michael Moriarty and the Potters Field Theatre Company, in Los Angeles by Dan Lauria, and toured nationally. Running With Scissors, directed by Philip Proctor of The Firesign Theatre, was produced in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the 2016 Best Standup Award from UNITED SOLO™ for Are You Serious? and the 2015 Best Storytelling Script Award from UNITED SOLO™ for her show All Aboard! Since 2007, she has hosted Monologues and Madness, an evening of original work read by 12-15 actors, each month at the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village. Tulis is the creator and editor of the theatre review site www.thefrontrowcenter.com that features 20 writers and covers over 500 shows per year.

Sunday
Jan152017

Call Redialed: Martha Wash: It's Raining Men, RuPaul, + Fresh Grind Festival

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Sean BlackI have been a fan of Martha Wash for a long, long time. From "It's Raining Men" to "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" to "Strike It Up" and my all time favorite "God Bless The Road." I was fortunate enough to interview Martha in 2010 at the "QSAC Got Talent" benefit gala (a non-profit organization providing comprehensive services to individuals with Autism and their families).

It's a real honor to have the opportunity to catch up with her now as she gets ready to show us her acting chops in the 10-minute staged reading of I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends), as part of the Fresh Grind Festival, a festival of public staged readings at Theaterlab.

I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed My Friends) is a musical parody about a zombie apocalypse and will play at Theaterlab (357 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Ave) on Friday, January 20 at 8pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Martha be sure to visit http://www.marthawash.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. This January you are starring in a 10-minute staged musical reading of I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends) as part of the Fresh Grind Festival. After all these years of being a singer, what made you want to turn to acting at this stage of your career? I’ve always been open to other avenues in this business. I’ve done theatre before, back in 2003 I did a production called Love On Layaway. I have auditioned for many Broadway shows over the years. I just completed a movie called Wholly Broken. It’s a faith-based movie musical that can be turned into a TV series.

2. What do you get from acting that you don't get from singing? More of a challenge for myself rather than anyone or anything else.

3. What made you want to be part of this particular musical? My manager James Washington sent it to me and I read the script and thought it was funny and said yes.

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Gor Megaera4. I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends) is a musical parody about a zombie apocalypse. What is the best part about living in a zombie world? Well as long as there are humans still alive, you have food!

5. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one aspect of your character that you say to yourself, "Girl, you keep that part of you to yourself, I'm glad I don't possess that trait."? Well the only trait is that she’s sultry, so I can play that! Lol. Her lover loves her so much (although he just shot her in the head) she’s able to turn him into a zombie.

6. Since the show is called I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends), I have to ask, have you ever eaten brains? If so, what did it taste like? And has there ever been a day where you thought, what would I do if all my friends were killed and I was alone? No, I’ve never eaten brains. I haven’t thought about losing all my friends, but if I did, I would be very sad because I’d think of our pasts. Life and time goes on and I would hope to make some new ones.

7. Now we have to switch gears and talk about your music. You have been singing in the music industry for over 40 years and it has changed a lot. What has been the hardest thing to adapt to? What do you feel is better now than when you first started out? I won’t say hardest but social media is the biggest thing. The internet. You can hear music anywhere and anytime now. The best thing is you can listen to so many more artists that you would never hear on mainstream radio.

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Gor Megaera8. You are well known for so many songs such as "It's Raining Men," "Everybody Dance Now," "Strike It Up," and dozens more!

  •  If the world could be "Raining Men," who would you want to be pouring down all around you? Idris Elba.
  • When you want to "Strike It Up," how does Martha Wash accomplish that? A club.
  • One of your more recent songs is "Something Good." What is something good that has happened to you in the past year or two? Expanding my record label "Purple Rose Records" to include Heritage Artists. "First Ladies of Disco" which include myself, Evelyn Champagne King & Linda Clifford. We recorded a single ("Show Some Love") which reach the Top 10 on the Billboard Dance Club Charts. Our follow up success was with "The Ritchie Family," who happen to be THE first girl disco group to chart on Billboard Dance Charts 40 years ago, making them literally the First Ladies Of Disco. Their new single "ICE" hit the top 40, and both songs can be found on ITunes and CDBaby.
  • On that same album you recorded a song called "Dream On." What are you dreaming of still doing that you haven't done yet? I’d still like to do a Gospel and a Christmas CD

9. One of my favorite songs of yours is "God Bless The Road." There was a time I made a survival mix, it was a mix of songs that helped me through rough times and "God Bless The Road" was at the top of that mix. The song is all about believing in yourself. This is a three part question.

  • What do you ask God to Bless the Road you are walking with these days? For strength to continue to walk in His light. To still love one another. Sometimes that is easier said than done.
  • What did you used to want him to bless you with? I would probably say material things. Now I can say, "Don’t have to have it."
  • What was going on in your life during the time you recorded that song that made you go, I need to record this song? Not a thing. I just believed that everyone could relate to this song if they really thought about it.

10. One of your biggest hits was "It's Raining Men," which we briefly talked about in question 7. In 1997, you re-recorded this song with RuPaul, which I love! What made you want to re-record this song with him? The head of the label suggested it would be a good idea. I thought yeah. Everyone knew who RuPaul was and the thought of us doing it together would be big fun, you know putting his spin on it!

11. What's next for Martha Wash? I’m still working on the new album. It will be out this year. Continue to build the record label and reintroduce artists that you haven’t heard from in awhile. Work on more acting. We are in pre-production for my new Youtube show called 10 Minutes with Martha Wash, which I am very excited about, and will debut this summer.

12. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Getting a better hold of my time and things that I need to do.

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Sean BlackMore on Martha:

THERE IS ONLY ONE MARTHA WASH. Martha Wash’s unmistakable voice has been capturing the hearts of millions of people around the world for decades. The two-time Grammy nominee is responsible for some of the biggest-selling, most beloved pop and dance hits in music history, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the irresistible charm of her astonishing répertoire. Think of her legendary backup work as part of Two Tons Of Fun for Sylvester’s disco classics, such as "(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real." Remember how you celebrated the unrestrained joy of "It’s Raining Men," where she performed as one half of the Weather Girls. Recall the sizzling heat of her powerhouse rendition of "Gonna Make Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," the highlight of C+C Music Factory’s career and a number one pop smash. Re-live that feeling of rapture you felt from her performance on the Dreamland album by Black Box, which featured three Top 40 Billboard hits, including "Everybody, Everybody." Is it any wonder today that Martha is considered the very heart and soul of dance music?

But make no mistake—Ms. Wash’s reputation isn’t just built upon the past. She has remained one of the world’s most in-demand vocalists and continues to command the attention of millions of fans, far beyond the confines of vintage dance music. After establishing herself as a celebrated solo artist with the release of "Carry On," another number one Billboard dance hit in the early ’90s, Martha released a string of hits that made her one of club land’s most enduring and prolific vocalists. The award-winning duet with Jocelyn Brown, "Keep On Jumpin’," and the glorious anthem "Catch The Light," paved the way for Martha to ignite the dance floors of a new generation.

Some of Ms. Wash’s most creative efforts have come to light in recent years. In 2012, she released her stunning and critically acclaimed LP, Something Good. This collection adventurously expanded the artist’s musical boundaries with unexpected journeys into pop and rock, such as her stellar rendition of Aerosmith’s 1973 gem "Dream On." Soon after she reached number two on the Billboard dance chart in a special remix of "I’m Not Coming Down" that set floors on fire. In 2015, she was back at the number one spot on the survey with "Free People," a riveting collaboration with famed DJ Tony Moran, bringing her Billboard number one count to a staggering 14.

Also in 2015, Martha teamed with dance icons Evelyn "Champagne" King and Linda Clifford under the moniker First Ladies of Disco (inspired by the book of the same name by James Arena). Their anthemic song of unity—the Top 10 Billboard dance hit "Show Some Love"—was a victory for heritage artists everywhere, thanks to the visionary efforts of Ms. Wash and James Washington, business manager and A&R executive of her independent recording label, Purple Rose Records, which released the project. The group First Ladies of Disco has been touring and selling out shows across the country ever since.

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Sean BlackDue to this recent success Purple Rose records has started a Heritage Department and recently released its next project with the legendary group The Ritchie Family (Best Disco in Town and Brazil) and their new pop/dance single "ICE," www.theritchiefamily.band. As the owner of Purple Rose, Martha is actively promoting both her own excitingly progressive projects and the talents of vocalists who have shared her incredible journey over the years. She’s also launched a new show called Hot ’n Retro, in which she serves as a unifying focal point that melds the soundtrack of her astonishing history in dance music with those of her special guests—some of the greatest artists of the genre from decades’ past.

Martha Wash has a level of experience in the music business that few artists can claim. She knows a thing or two about the struggles performers endure. Ms. Wash has encountered more than any vocalist’s fair share of adversity, and is widely lauded as a model of perseverance.

Martha famously filed suit against Black Box and C+C Music Factory for failing to give her due credit for her lead vocals on their albums. This lawsuit ran in tandem with another case, which centered on the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal of 1990. As a result of the lawsuits, record labels were forced to assign proper vocal credit for all albums and music videos. Wash had become an unwitting industry pioneer. Martha is an accomplished speaker about this and other aspects of her life and career, having lectured to audiences at a wide range of organizations and public events (including NYU Clive Davis School of Music, Billboard Music Conference and SAGE Center Harlem).

Martha Wash, Photo Credit: Mike RuizMartha also stays busy with her charity work as a spokesperson for QSAC, Inc., a non-profit organization providing comprehensive services to individuals with autism and their families. The You Can Play Project, a not-for-profit dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.

Martha Wash is a star. But she’s not about to trip on it. "You have to pay so much to be a 'star,' I don’t take the hype seriously." Unquestionably, hype can be a flash in the pan—Martha Wash is anything but. Her voice is one of the very few in contemporary music that has been taken seriously, endured and grown ever more rich in beautiful and unexpected ways, earning the respect and admiration of fans and peers worldwide. Hers is a voice that has been honed to perfection with songs that lift the spirit and inspire the soul.

And for Martha Wash, the best is yet to come.

Thursday
Jan052017

Call Answered: David Carl: David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet

David Carl as "Gary Busey" in "David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet", Photo Credit: Jeanette SearsI have had David Carl's one-man show David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet (formally titled Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as Performed by David Carl) on my radar for quite some time. The fact that David performs Shakespeare's Hamlet as Gary Busey peaked my interest, but since interviewing Gary himself this past November, I have an even greater curiosity about this show.

Following this summer’s critically acclaimed run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and in the footsteps of Gary Busey’s recent Off-Broadway Perfect Crime debut, David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet will be returning to The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) for two performances only on January 9 & 10. Click here for tickets: January 9 & January 10

For more on David be sure to visit http://davidcarlonline.com and follow the show at http://www.buseyhamlet.com!

1. This January you are returning to the New York Stage with your one-man show David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet (formally titled Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as Performed by David Carl). What prompted the title change? How do you feel this new title better reflects the show? We've done the show now in Chicago and Birmingham, AL with the new title and it works very well. While I love that old title Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as Performed by David Carl, it definitely hits you right off the gate with "Gary Busey." And while it's true that I play Gary Busey doing Hamlet by himself, it's not really about Gary exclusively.

He's the vehicle for a parody of Hamlet, Shakespeare, theatre itself, certain aspects of theatre scholarship, solo shows, and definitely this idea of celebrity. One question the show asks is "Why do we need celebrities to tell our best stories?" Perhaps the answer is as simple as "butts in seats." The next question is then "Why do celebrities put 'butts in seats?' What makes us want to see them do things?" Another is "Where does the celebrity end, and their character or even the story begin?" Lately it seems like it's always Pacino's Merchant or Langella's Lear. And perhaps it's always been that way to an extent. Certainly Booth and Burbage were just as famous as Bruce Willis and P Diddy, but did people go to see Burbage do Hamlet in the same way people went to see P Diddy do A Raisin in the Sun? Maybe they did.

So in a way the new title represents some of the essential questions of the play a little better.

David Carl as "Gary Busey" in "David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet", Photo Credit: Jeanette Sears2. Why are you looking forward to bringing this show back? While I love traveling with the show, I also love doing the show in New York, at the PIT, where it was born. It's priceless to have an artistic home and the PIT is mine, so doing the show at home always feels relaxed and fun.

I also just really love doing this show. Playing Gary Busey is extremely fun on its own, so when you add Hamlet into the mix it's more than I can handle. To me playing Gary Busey is about being present, positive, and impulsive to a very extreme level that reminds me of what it felt like to be a child at play. I find a certain freedom when I become Busey that I haven't found in other characters, so it's a well from which I always enjoy a drink.

And it's been a dream since I was 15 to play "Hamlet." I never imagined that I would do it as Gary Busey in Comedy Clubs AND Shakespeare Theaters. This show basically represents everything I've always wanted to do as a performer.

3. How did you initially decide you wanted to create a show impersonating Gary Busey? When did you first come to be fascinated with Gary Busey? What is it about him that made you go, "I want to create a show impersonating him?" I first got hooked by Gary Busey in Under Siege which is the first Rated R movie I saw in the theater with my dad (he covered my eyes for the cake scene). I always felt like he stole the scene in whatever he did and had a knack for making B movies worth watching. I was much older when I saw him in really great films like Buddy Holly Story, Straight Time, or Big Wednesday

Three and a half years ago I was cast in Jaime Keeling's Point Break LIVE! in NYC as the Gary Busey role.  Rehearsals were a blast and I started thinking it would be fun to create my own solo show as Gary Busey. I was riding the subway to rehearsal when I saw that poster for Alan Cumming's solo Macbeth, and it hit me like a ton of bricks (I grew up on Warner Bros and Roger Rabbit). I love Alan Cumming and I love Macbeth and I heard that show was amazing, but for some reason the idea of Gary Busey doing Hamlet by himself made me laugh uncontrollably on the subway. I couldn't stop laughing. Any time I thought about the poster or moments from the show I would just start laughing.

Cut to opening night of Point Break LIVE! and the house is packed with insane and wonderful fans of the film Point Break. Ten seconds before my entrance the crowd starts chanting "Busey, Busey, Busey!!!" and the rest of the show I was held up by 320 people who loved Gary Busey. I had always loved his work, but had no idea what a room full of Busey fans would be like. As I lay there on the floor in my own stage blood listening to the end of the show, I decided I would be a fool not to follow through on my idea.

At the next Point Break LIVE! show my old friend and collaborator Michole Biancosino came for her anniversary, and after the show at a bar near Webster Hall I pitched the idea and she said yes to direct and co-create. We spent the next two months creating the show to debut at the first Solocom at the PIT curated by Toby Knops and Peter Michael Marino. Peter is now a co-producer who has played and now plays an enormous part in our weird little family.

David Carl and Gary Busey4. Have you met Gary before and has Gary come see this show? If so, what was meeting him like/his take on the show? I actually got to meet Gary Busey in the lobby after I saw him do Perfect Crime, and it was one of the trippiest experiences of my life. I know you got to meet him as well when you interviewed him for the show, so I'd love to pick your brain as well!

Seeing him in the show was it's own amazing experience. In our Hamlet the conceit is that he has not done a play since college, and that was case for Perfect Crime. He was just as playful and spontaneous as I imagined if not more, and there is something about his presence that is childlike and terrifying all at the same time. When he wields a very realistic prop gun around a small black box theater you feel a very specific chill go down your spine.

Meeting him after the show was it's own mind-melt. I exited the theater quickly and Gary was already sitting on a bench in the lobby holding court with the audience. He really seemed to love connecting with people and making them laugh. I asked him for an autograph and sat next to him while he worked the crowd for a bit. He's as tall as I imagined and definitely more energetic. At 72 his level of energy really is amazing. I didn't mention the show because I didn't want to interrupt him. He was definitely leading all the conversations, and I didn't want to break his flow. He hasn't seen the show, but I would love to meet him properly and for him to see the show.

Many impressionists have said that it can be weird or bad to meet people who they play and I think I understand why. I'm glad that I met him and would actually love to met him again.

David Carl as "Gary Busey" in "David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet", Photo Credit: Jeanette Sears5. As you were creating the show, did you have any reservations about impersonating someone so famous? Were you nervous about being compared to him? I've never been nervous about being compared to Gary Busey, partly because I do over 100 impressions so I never feel like I'm stuck with just one character or personality. There is such a long history of impressionists playing famous people that I felt pretty comfortable doing this show. It's actually exciting to do an impression for longer than the usual 5-10 minutes maximum that you might see at most comedy clubs. I felt like I stumbled onto something that I hadn't seen happen much, and that still gets me very excited.

6. Out of all of Shakespeare's shows, why did you choose Hamlet? Hamlet seemed like the first and most obvious choice for Gary. Gary is "impulsive" and "Hamlet" is "indecisive." Gary is an action star and "Hamlet" is contemplative. Hamlet/Shakespeare is VERY British and Gary is VERY American. It just felt like the perfect set of opposites, and the most well-know play with the most well-known quotes.

So of course I continued to brainstorm other Shakespeare plays. I got as far out as Winter's Tale (for the bear) before Michole pulled me back in and said Hamlet. It's gotta be Hamlet. And she was right.

David Carl as "Gary Busey" in "David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet", Photo Credit: Jeanette Sears7. This show has received rave reviews. You won the Outstanding Solo Performance Award at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2014 and received 5-star reviews at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe + this summer you had a critically acclaimed run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As the creator of the show, what's it like to get so much attention? Well it definitely feels very good to get positive reviews and to be recognized for your work in any way. Having performed for audiences of three people many times, it feels really nice to watch the seats start to fill as positive reviews come in. As much as I enjoy playing for smaller houses and doing my best to make that show feel special, comedy is usually easier with a fuller house. So the day I start complaining about attention will be a strange one.

I love doing the show, so it makes me very happy that audiences of all stripes seem to love it too. At our last show in Alabama recently we had a 10 year old and a 93 year old. We had people who hate Shakespeare and people who love Shakespeare, and we had people who love Busey and some who never heard of him. They all seemed to have a nice time. As long as people keep wanting to see it, I'll keep doing it.

8. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I loved Danny Kaye as a child. It always felt like he was doing a little more than you needed him to at any moment. I've always been attracted to performers like that since then: Mark Rylance, Chris Farley, Steven Wright, Merly Streep, John Turturro...performers who go above and beyond.

I remember seeing A Scarlet Letter at Lake Highlands High School and thinking how good these teenagers were at parts that were much older than they were. I was in an acting class with Nancy Poynter and she would also say that "Actors have to be very smart and very professional. It's a very serious profession, and it's a lot of hard work." I got the bug watching that show and never really looked back.

David Carl as "Gary Busey" in "David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet", Photo Credit: Jeanette Sears9. What have you learned about yourself from performing? I have learned that life is infinitely more interesting and healthy when I am being as present as I can be. Being open and present and honest is fundamental to live performance, and about four years ago it finally clicked that it would be smart to fully embrace these ideas in my life. As a result the past four years have felt more full than the previous 32 by far.  When I am closed off in my life, pain sticks around too long and happiness is muted.  When I am open pain can happen fully and move through faster, and happiness is as happy as it can be.

10. If you were to interview Gary Busey himself, what is one question you would be dying to ask him? I would love for him to talk about this life growing up in Texas and Oklahoma and his years as a young actor and musician prior to The Buddy Holly Story. There are a lot of gaps there in his various interviews and I'm very curious about this period of time.

David CarlMore on David:

David Carl is an actor, comedian, and impressionist working in New York City. David was born in Richmond, VA and raised in Dallas, TX, where he first learned about two of his idols: William Shakespeare and Gary Busey.

David Carl is currently playing Gary Busey in two separate productions, Point Break LIVE! (touring throughout the United States) and David Carl's Celebrity One-Man Hamlet (formally titled Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet As Performed by David Carl). This show, co-created with director, Michole Biancosino, was the breakout hit of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, receiving an extended run at Baruch Performing Arts Center and an award for "Overall Excellence in Solo Performance." Since then Michole, David, and co-producers Peter Michael Marino and Richard Jordan have taken the show to Edinburgh Fringe, Colorado, Alabama, and Florida.

You may have seen him in the long-running NYC hit, Awesome 80s Prom, on the soaps in Guiding Light and All My Children, in plays with Project Y and Slant Theatre, or heard his voice on the radio, TV or the internet. He has recorded dozens of voice-overs from depressed refrigerators to talking Chicken McNuggets. David likes to play music, do impressions and play characters in his stand-up, and has performed them in almost every basement in the five boroughs where people pay for drinks. He even has a show called 100 Impressions in 30 Minutes with David Carl. In 2009 he won a contest at Stand-Up NY called "Music is a Joke" as his alter-ego Frank Pfefferkorn.

David regularly does sketch comedy and character pieces at the People’s Improv Theater in NYC with the improv teams "Skycopter" and "Cannonball." Last year he wrote and performed a run of David and Katie Get Remarried with Katie Hartman at the PIT. He has performed his original comedy characters and impressions at Upright Citizens Brigade, Caroline’s, The PIT, The Stand, The Delancey, and Union Hall.

David has a BFA from the University of Evansville in Performance and a MFA in Acting from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts.  He has completed training at UCB, the Magnet and The PIT. 

Thursday
Dec152016

Call Answered: "Street Children" Conference Call with Eve Lindley and Johnny Sibilly

Eve LindleyJohnny SibillyI hit the streets with actress Eve Lindley & actor (as well as my Facebook friend) Johnny Sibilly to talk about Street Children, a new play set in NYC in the late 80’s, explores the repression, romantic idealism, and high cost of living experienced by the transgender and queer community of the lower Hudson piers.

Street Children follows the intertwining journeys of three young characters who are reeling in the aftermath of their beloved street mother’s cruel murder. Ultimately, they must choose between the thrills and camaraderie of life as they know it, and the safety and stability of a quieter existence—albeit one potentially defined by isolation and ostracism. Street Children plays at The New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets) through 12/17! Click here for tickets!

1. This December you are starring in Street Children at The New Ohio Theatre. What made you want to be part of this show?

Eve Lindley: I have worked with Jenna Worsham twice in the past, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I was so excited to get to collaborate with her again and make her vision a reality.

Johnny Sibilly:  I remember my acting coach Brad Calcaterra texting me about the project and referring me to casting. As soon as I got the sides for the audition I was on board. The language and the storytelling of the LGBT community got me and always gets me excited, representation and visibility is so important. So many times auditioning can be so transactional and monotonous, but this story excited me from the first time I read it. It's such an important one that I jumped at any chance to be a part of it. Jenna Worsham & Pia Scala-Zankel were also incredibly generous from the first moment I auditioned for them. It's been my favorite audition to date.

Eve Lindley, JP Moraga, and Victor Almanzar in "Street Children", Photo Credit: Ted Alcorn.jpg2. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic you are glad you don't have?

Eve Lindley: It's funny, I really hated "Jamie" at first. I found her a bit boring and totally unrelatable. I didn't know how I was going to play a character I didn't particularly like. Through the rehearsal process, which at times was trying on all of us, I really got to live with her and I learned about her intricacies and eventually found a version of her that made sense to me. Now, realizing how much like her I am, I couldn't be happier to portray this complex and interesting woman.

Johnny Sibilly: I find "Julio" as well as the Chorus as someone just trying to survive. Although I'm nowhere near the level of danger and disenfranchisement as him, I still see that there is a dreamer in there. Which I guess for me is more of a character choice than an obvious characteristic. One characteristic I'm glad I don't have is "Julio's" attraction to danger that he seems so comfortable in.

Cast of "Street Children", Photo Credit: Ted Alcorn3. Street Children explores the repression, romantic idealism, and high cost of living experienced by the transgender and queer community of the lower Hudson piers. What is something you have repressed? How are you a romantic? What has been the highest cost of living you've paid for so far in your life?

Eve Lindley: I've always been a bit of a romantic deep down. I think lately, that's the part of me that I've been repressing. New York City will do that to you. This play really got me back in touch with the idea of hope. These characters are so full of hope. It's a very human feeling. Longing for that beauty that you can almost touch but have no idea how to possess. Beauty is everywhere, but so is sadness and regret and pain. And each time we feel pain, we are reminded of our capacity to feel love. I think that that is the ultimate price we pay for living.

Johnny Sibilly: In the past I have repressed the ownership of things that are usually considered feminine. Like sensitivity, heart, and even movement. I'm a proud hopeful romantic. I grew up watching movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman and the movies where love prevails over everything. I am romantic in the sense that I think the idea of love itself is intoxicating and altogether exciting. I'm a romantic comedy kinda dude. I think the highest cost of living for me personally is pursuing a career that is truly a rollercoaster ride. The lows can be low and the highs can be so high. It's always important to remind myself though that this was always the dream, what I'm doing, and what I'm talking about with you was always the dream. So I could say it's been at a cost but I think had I not pursued it, the cost of my ultimate joy would've been much greater.

Johnny Sibilly4. How do you feel this show's message is even more poignant in the aftermath of this election?

Johnny Sibilly: In acting there's an exercise called raise the stakes where you and your fellow actor keep one-upping the other to raise the stakes of the scene. I believe Donald Trump being elected as our commander in chief has raised the stakes of this storytelling to a new level. It's even more important now to tell the community these stories of suffering and honesty to truly show what happens when our group of people is oppressed. It's important to see where we've been to know where it is that we don't want to end up. Also many people still suffer from the same plights as "Jaime," "Terrance," & "Angela," so telling this story at a time where it feels as though we're regressing is incredibly important for those people in particular. We want to honor them and make people understand that they're here, they're beautiful and they're deserving.

5. When has there been a time in your life when you've chosen safety/stability over thrills? And then when have you chosen thrills over safety/stability?

Eve Lindley: Haha. I think I am constantly going back and forth on that. One day I'm all about stability, the next day I'm a strong independent woman who don't need nobody. Truthfully, I'm wired to be a woman who runs towards risk. That's kinda what this business is all about, isn't it?

Johnny Sibilly6. What is the most isolating time you've had in your life? When you look back on that time now, what do you wish you knew that you didn't know then?

Johnny Sibilly: I think growing up was pretty isolating because I didn't understand myself and what it is that I wanted. I was always looking to be identified by others. It's a pretty isolating feeling to not feel in control of your identity. I wish I knew back then that you're the only person that can define your life for you. It's yours.

7. With the show entitled, Street Children, have you ever had to live on the streets? If so, how did you survive it? If you haven't yourself, did you ever know anyone who did?

Eve Lindley: I've never been properly homeless, but I am a bit of a gypsy. I've couch surfed my way through the Burroughs. I'm constantly moving. I like to be on the go. I call it "fashionably homeless." I may not know where I'll end up next month, but I know I'll have a roof over my head. I don't know too many people who don't have that sense of security. If I do, I don't know that I know them.

Eve Lindley as "Jamie" in "Street Children", Photo Credit: Ted Alcorn8. Since this show takes place in the 80s, what was your favorite 80s TV show, movie, band or singer, and Broadway show?

Eve Lindley: Hmmmmm. I'm a '93 baby, but Heathers is one of my top 20 favorite films.

Johnny Sibilly: The Golden Girls of course! Whitney Houston was everything for me growing up and in the show her music plays a part so I was very happy about that. Favorite 80's Broadway shows would have to be Dreamgirls for the spectacle and Sunday in The Park with George for its brilliance. Stephen Sondheim is EVERYTHING after all.

9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day?

Johnny Sibilly: During & after this election I found how important empathy is. Everyone is going through something daily, and for my part I’d like to just be a little more empathetic every day to other people's lived experiences.