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Entries in Will Nunziata (16)

Thursday
May112017

Call Answered: Haley Swindal: "Golden Girl" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Haley Swindal, Photo Credit: Lance RaeI'm so glad Will Nunziata introduced me to Broadway powerhouse Haley Swindal. Her vocals are unreal and I can already tell she's going to blow the roof off of Feinstein's/54 Below when she returns with her new show Golden Girl.

Golden Girl is a brand-new concert event celebrating the music of an era that her heart and soul were born in – The Golden Age. With influences ranging from Rosemary Clooney to Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, Haley puts her own stamp on songs that made these great dames stars. Haley will knock-out-of-the-park standards such as "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Don’t Rain on My Parade," and "Cry Me A River," all with fresh arrangements by musical director to the stars Tedd Firth (Michael Feinstein, Ana Gasteyer, Brian Stokes Mitchell). Conceived and directed by Will Nunziata (concert director for Tony Award winner Lillias White), this is an evening that will have you laughing, crying, and tapping your feet all within a matter of minutes, and a true showbiz event where a brand-new star is born.

Golden Girl plays Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on Tuesday, May 30 at 7pm and Tuesday, June 6 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets! 

For more on Haley be sure to follow her on Twitter!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below be sure to visit http://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Haley Swindal, Photo Credit: Takako Suki Harkness1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer (other than Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, and Barbra Streisand)? Singing was always in me. From the time I could walk, I was singing down the halls and driving my parents crazy. It was never a choice for me - it was in my blood, which is very funny because no one else in my immediate family is in the arts at all! I used to stand at the top of the stairs in our house and pretend to be "Eva Peron." My brother thought I was nuts (he still does). When I was about eight years old, I remember my mom took me to see a production of Hello Dolly with Carol Channing, and I remember thinking, WOW, I want to do that!

2. This May/June you return to Feinstein's/54 Below with your brand-new show Golden Girl, celebrating the music of an era that her heart and soul were born in – The Golden Age. What are you looking forward to about coming back to Feinstein's/54 Below? I always said I only want to come back with these shows when I have something to add, something to share, a story to tell. The two times I have played here have marked major events in my life: my Broadway debut for the first one, and getting married the second one. Those first shows were similar, but were both kind of about where I came from and what its taught me.

This show is something entirely different. First of all, not only have I done a lot more great roles, I have more importantly lived a lot more of life. I am married to an amazing guy, and I'm a stepmom to two awesome teenagers. I also have a new boss, who is eleven months old, my amazing daughter - Lily George Tantleff.

This show is really a concert meets one-woman show. I do everything from singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" as Judy, Liza, Patti, Billie Burke, and Bernadette Peters to stripping down to the bottom of my soul with some amazing torch songs.

I am thrilled to be back because this is a whole new side of me, a whole new journey, and I hope one that might surprise and excite people.

Director Will Nunziata3. Golden Girl is directed by Will Nunziata. Will, primarily known as a singer with his brother Anthony Nunziata, has been making quite a name for himself as a director over the past several years. What was it about Will's style/vision that made you say, "He is whom I want to direct my show."? Will has been on my radar for a very long time. We first met in Michael Feinstein's apartment about four years ago, where Michael had a bunch of young folks over to talk about the future of the Great American Songbook and how the torch would be passed to our generation.

I followed him as he created amazing shows for Cady Huffman, Lillias White, and other incredible divas. It was Will that came up with the vision for this show. His concepts and his ideas are brilliant. The way he is able to bring out things in me and get me to burst out of my comfort zone is unreal. He gravitates I think towards strong women - women who can't really be put in any particular kind of stereotypical, run of the mill box. He takes their strength and what makes them unique and turns it into something brilliant. His concepts, his vision, and his ability to communicate, nurture, and bring out the best in those he directs is incredible. He is and will continue to be one of the greatest directors of our generation.

Haley Swindal4. What is about this time in music that makes your heart a flutter? I often sit around and wonder, what will our generation be listening to when they are eighty? The generation ahead of us has the Beatles, Carole King, Carly Simon. When we were younger, we had Whitney, Celine. But will this generation be turning on Britney Spears? Eminem? Single Ladies? 

What I love about the Great American Songbook is so many songs are literally transcendent of time. How many of us have been madly in love and connected to the lyrics of "Night and Day," "Whether near to me or far, it's no matter darling where you, are I think of you." How many of us have been heartbroken and can relate to Frank Sinatra alone in a bar at 3AM singing "One for My Baby," "It's quarter to three, There's no one in the place 'cept you and me, So set 'em' up Joe."

I fell in love with my husband when he sang, "I only have eyes for you" badly (but endearingly) in my ear. These songs are masterpieces that capture the complexity of love and what it is to be human. As I grow older, I connect with them even more.

5. According to press notes, Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, and Barbra Streisand were some of your influences. What was it about these entertainers that made you go, "Yes! I want to be like them."? Judy Garland always said "Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else." What I think I loved - and continue to love - about these women besides their other-wordly vocals is that they were/are originals. They were unabashedly and unapologetically themselves. Their sound was distinctive, the way they approached their art was distinctive, and what they have given us is something no one else can ever come to close to because it is so uniquely them.

Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole, Cady Huffman, and Bernadette Peters are some of these women on the Broadway stage. 

The women I admire can transform themselves into incredible roles onstage, but, as human beings, they are unapologetically strong, which isn't always easy as a woman in this business. Onstage, they can be heartbreakingly vulnerable. It's an amazing duality, to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, and one that I admire. I think, so much of this business is how we fit. Fit someone else's vision, fit someone else's vocal styles, even fit someone else's costume. These women somehow transcend that. As for me, I guess I've just grown tired of trying to fit into a box. I'm a brassy blonde broad who has packed a lot of life into my first thirty years. That's my truth.

Haley Swindal, Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff6. What songs that you are performing do you think will surprise people to hear from you? There's one where I'm lying on a piano....

7. A few songs you will be performing are "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Don’t Rain on My Parade," and "Cry Me A River." Let's play with these song titles. When have you said to yourself, "Come Rain or Come Shine," I'm going to do this? HA! For better or for worse, all the time! "Come Rain or Come Shine," I guess probably in my love life in the past. Wanting so desperately to be loved, perhaps by someone incapable of loving...but trying to convince them.

"Cry Me a River" is realizing I'm going to be okay whether or not this person loves me. That the only person I need to live and be fulfilled is me.

"Don't Rain On My Parade" is a celebration of what it means to spill out everything you have, no matter what the cost might be, because you don't want to spend the rest of your life wondering "what if?" To me, this applies to choosing to creae solo shows, and challenging myself, and also following my heart in other ways.

8. When did you think, oh please, "Don't Rain on My Parade"? HA that was Will. I was thrilled. At first, I thought, really? But, then I realized why not, it's my truth? It's part of a medley, which I think has a really neat arc.

Haley Swindal, Photo Credit: The New York Times9. What event has caused you to cry like a river? I think the sadness of that song is realizing that sometimes love is not enough. The tragedy of still being madly in love with someone but the strength to put your well-being first and not allow that person to destroy you. I was there once. It took a long while, but I figured it out, and my life is richer for it. And I can sing one hell of a torch song!

10. Since this show is celebrating The Golden Age, what, age or age bracket has been your "Golden Age" so far? Why has it been so rich? Oh my goodness, NOW! I am just entering my thirties, young enough to still know what's fun, and old enough to know better. Just kidding! Undoubtedly though, meeting and marrying my husband and becoming a mother changed everything for me. I remember leaving my first Broadway performance and crying when I got home because I had been so tunnel-visioned that I had no one to share it with. Any part of my life other than work was completely absent. That changed. My daughter is the most amazing thing that ever happened to me and has put everything else in perspective. If I don't get anything else right in this life, I somehow built a perfect little human, and, to me, that alone is enough! 

11. I know the show's title, "Golden Girl," is for the Golden Age of music, but we are going to take this to the Golden Girls themselves. If you had to describe yourself as one of the Golden Girls who would you be? I'm still obsessed with that show! My best friend and I used to spend all weekend watching Golden Girls marathons (she's "Sophia" re-incarnated!) As for me, I look at the world through "Rose"-colored glasses for sure, but I definitely am flirty and fun like "Blanche."

Haley Swindal, Photo Credit: Takako Suki HarknessMore on Haley:

Haley has appeared on Broadway and on tour with Jekyll and HydeWhite ChristmasJesus Christ Superstar opposite Ted Neeley, and at Lincoln Center in The Secret Garden. She has performed in concert at Carnegie Hall alongside the great standards vocalist Steve Tyrell, acclaimed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, and under the baton of Steven Reineke with the New York Pops. She won a New York Emmy for her appearance on Kids on Deck and recently appeared in the film Walt Before Mickey.

Thursday
Nov032016

Call Redialed: Will & Anthony Nunziata: The Gift Is You

It's always great catching up with entertainers/recording artists Will & Anthony Nunziata, not only because they are so talented, but because they are my friends and I love seeing my friends climb the ladder of success! On November 16, they are releasing their holiday EP The Gift Is You and on December 16 & 17 they will be making their Carnegie Hall debut alongside The New York Pops + Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway!

Kick off the holiday season with Will & Anthony at Barnes & Noble (86th Street & Lexington Ave) on November 16 at 7pm for their EP release celebration with a performance and signing! Click here to order The Gift Is You!

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://willandanthony.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. You are about to release first holiday EP, The Gift Is You, featuring three original songs and two classic holiday tunes. What made this holiday season the right time to put out your first holiday EP?

Anthony: I love Christmas! The thought of writing original Holiday music and record these songs during the sweltering summer months felt like the perfect time. My hope is the original songs capture the universal sentiments of love and family tradition.

Will: The holiday season has always been about spending time with family for me - immediate family and family of friends. That sentiment combined with our Carnegie Hall debut coming up in December made this the perfect time to release the EP.

Will and Anthony Nunziata2. With the thousands of holiday albums out there, why should someone buy your holiday EP, The Gift Is You over, say, Mariah Carey's?

Anthony: There are three original songs I co-wrote on that I'm really proud of and I think they offer a fresh look at what the season is all about. My hope is that the new songs become a new addition to your Holiday playlist.

Will: Our EP has an intimate sound and familial feel and hope that people will enjoy listening to the songs to get into the Holiday spirit!

3. This is also the debut of your songwriting skills. What was that process like for you? What do you like about songwriting? What are some of its challenges?

Will: The process was fantastic and thrilling. I had a blast collaborating with Anthony and composer Jeff Franzel on creating the melody and lyrics for a song that is deeply personal for me, for us, and, hopefully, for everyone else in some way.​

Anthony: Songwriting is soul-writing. Writing "The Gift Is You" with Jeff Franzel and brother Will was an emotional and gratifying experience, as the song was specifically written with my mother in mind. The idea of someone being a "gift" to you is a sentiment that I hope rings true in a universal way for listeners. I co-wrote "Mama's Little Angels" with Maria Christensen, and the song was inspired by my mother who every Christmas Eve, puts atop the fireplace mantle the family angel collection that has been passed down from generations past. Maria famously wrote "Waiting for Tonight" which was covered by Jennifer Lopez, and her songwriting style is free-flowing and so organic. I've learned from Maria to "just go for it" and not second guess your instincts. We wrote this song in her New York City apartment with Maria at guitar, and that's how the song was born. The third song I co-wrote was "Love Is What We Celebrate" with Jeff and Maria. It was a few days after the shooting at the Orlando nightclub and we all were thinking that "Love" is the real meaning of the Holidays. When we were writing this song, we actually wrote two songs, that then morphed into one. You never know what's going to happen when it comes to creating something -- you just have to go for it and trust your instincts.

4. You are celebrating The Gift Is You with an in-store performance & signing at Barnes & Noble on November 16. Barnes & Noble is also where you launched your debut CD a few years ago. What do you like about launching your CDs at Barnes & Noble?

Will: There's an old-school feeling in doing a Barnes & Noble Event - to be able to sing a few tunes, then sign and sell CDs, and greet friends, family, and fans is really fantastic. 

5. Since you are brothers and this EP is all about the holidays, what is your favorite part about performing together and how does performing during the holiday season take on new meaning for you as opposed to other times of the year?

Will: The holidays are a time to celebrate life and loved ones​...

Anthony: I'm excited that we both will be​ able to celebrate both of these sentiments ​for audiences with our upcoming concerts this Holiday season.

Anthony & Will Nunziata, Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff6. One classic song you sing on The Gift Is You is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." What do you both love most about the holiday season in NYC?

Will: I love the tradition. NYC has so many amazing "Holiday hotspots" that have been around for generations that I love to go to - the Radio City Rockettes, a Broadway show, ice skating at Rockefeller Center and Central Park - the list goes on and on!

7. Another classic Christmas song you sing is "O Holy Night." What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions you like holding onto from your childhood?

Anthony: Putting up the family Christmas tree and Christmas ornaments with the entire family on Thanksgiving-Eve is a tradition that I love. Mom and Dad reminisce about early Christmas's with the family. This time of year reminds me how lucky I am to have such a loving and close knit family.

8. One of the original songs you wrote is "Mama's Little Angels." Who are some of "Mama's Little Angels" watching over you? Of your family members that have passed, what do you miss the most about them during this time of year?

Anthony: All of my grandparents are my "angels" that watch over me and I feel them with me and their love and words of support and encouragement are driving forces.

9. The next original song you wrote for this album, is the title song, "The Gift Is You." Some of the lyrics you sing are "Even in the darkness, your voice, shines through." What has been your darkest Christmas and through that darkness, whose voice shined through to get you back into the light?

Will: The darkest Christmas' has been the ones without grandparents who had recently passed. Celebrating the memory of them was and still remains what gets me through the times of missing them greatly.​

Anthony: I pray for people who may not have a home or family to go to during the Holidays and that during this time of year we all find ways to bring light to people who need it most.

10. Another original song you wrote was "Love Is What We Celebrate." What are you celebrating this holiday season? What are you most grateful for this year?

Will: I am celebrating my health, my happiness, my friends, my family, and my great fortune to get to do what I love to do most - to try and entertain and inspire as many people as possible through the power of music and art.​

Anthony: I'm celebrating the recent marriage of my sister and her husband, the good health of my parents and family, and I am grateful for doing exactly what I love to do.

Anthony & Will Nunziata, Photo Credit: Stephen SorokoffMore on Will & Anthony:

Entertainers, recording artists, funny-men and advocates of arts in education, Will & Anthony Nunziata are the Brooklyn-born, classically trained singing and comedy brother duo hailed by The Huffington Post as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma."

Will & Anthony will be headlining Carnegie Hall on December 16 & 17, 2016 with the New York Pops and Broadway stars Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway.

The brothers have brought their distinct take on classic and contemporary songs to performing arts centers and theaters, as well as symphony concerts with orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.

Featured on Good Morning America and The Rachael Ray Show, Will & Anthony are extremely proud to have created their Arts in Education Outreach Program "Arts Matter!" in which they visit schools and conduct master classes with students, providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples’ lives.

Separately, Will is an acclaimed stage director and is the concert director for many of Broadway’s Leading Ladies, including Tony Award Winner Lillias White. Anthony is an emerging songwriter whose songs are featured on the brothers’ Christmas EP - The Gift Is You – which is available on their website.

Get social with Will & Anthony on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @willandanthony.

Thursday
Mar242016

Call Redialed: Will and Anthony Nunziata: Showstoppers at John W. Engeman Theater

It was just a few months ago that Will and Anthony Nunziata and I sat down to talk about their new Showstoppers concert. This show is so big, so fun, and so entertaining, that one interview just wasn't enough! So, here we are looking back and ahead at this new, exciting show called Showstoppers which will be coming to the John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main Street, Northport, NY) on Monday, April 11 at 8pm! 

Will and Anthony's Showstoppers concert includes exciting takes on some of the greatest songs ever written, from Pop Music, 60’s Hits and the American Songbook to Motown, Italy and Broadway. A 90-minute tour-de-force concert that transcends generations. It’s sexy, heart-warming, funny and entertaining. With their soaring tenor voices and acting & improv comedy chops, Will & Anthony sing fresh arrangements of classic and contemporary songs including "You’re All I Need to Get By," "Feeling Good," "O Sole Mio," "The Impossible Dream," "Unchained Melody," "Someone Like You," "God Only Knows," "What Kind of Fool Am I," "The Prayer…" songs from The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Broadway, Motown, Sammy Davis Jr., Adele, Rascal Flatts and more. Click here for tickets!

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://willandanthony.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! 

Will and Anthony Nunziata, Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff1. On the heels of Showstoppers NYC debut at The Highline Ballroom this past January, you are now taking this fun & entertaining show to the John W. Engeman Theater on Long Island. What did you learn from Showstoppers premiere that you will bring with you to this show?

Will: The concert in January consisted mainly of new arrangements, so putting it on its feet in front of a live audience was a lot of fun and very telling of what works and what needs some tweaking. Happy to report 90% worked! The other 10% was Anthony!

Anthony: Thank you, brother!

Will: You’re welcome! Our concert at The Engeman is a two-act concert so we will be adding even more new material…

Anthony: … and we now have an even better idea how to shape the evening to be the best piece of theater it can be.

Will and Anthony Nunziata2. What are you looking forward to most about performing at the John W. Engeman Theater?

Anthony: The Engeman Theater is a beautiful, intimate proscenium theatre which allows us to really connect with the audience. The sound and lighting are first-rate.

Will: We performed our concert here last year and had a blast. It was a sold-out house, the audience was very receptive and a lot of fun. Looking forward to bringing a three-piece band to the venue, it’s going to be a great night of music and fun.

3. In Showstoppers, you also do an Adele cover. If you could photograph someone in this light in case this was the last time you saw them, who would you take a picture of?

Anthony: Yes, I do a cover of "Someone Like You". And I like this question because I love the song you are referring to. Well, I would take a picture of my family. They are my rock and inspiration in all I do.

4. One of your staple songs, in almost every concert you perform, is "The Prayer." During these difficult times we live in, what do each of you pray for?

Will: I pray for peace, happiness, and love.

Anthony: Love. Love is the answer.

Will, Joan Rivers, and Anthony Nunziata5. What characteristics do you feel makes somebody a Showstopper performer?

Will: Someone who is unapologetic, fearless, and authentic.

Anthony: Fearless, uniquely talented, owning everything they sing.

6. If you could perform a duet or trio with any Showstopper, who would you want to share the stage with?

Will: Sammy Davis, Jr and Frank Sinatra! I always wanted to be in the Rat Pack!

Anthony: But we’re in the Twin Pack. (pause) I’d love to share the stage with Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand. These are such great singing-actors.

7. Your parents are quite supportive of your career. When did they realize, their boys, were showstopping singers?

Will: Our Mom says since we were in the womb.

Anthony: That’s an interesting answer. I’m going to pivot from the womb to say that I think they knew we had some inkling of singing when we would hum and mumble-sing while we were in our shared crib. Our Dad would sing to us all the time and apparently we "sang" back to him before we learned to speak our first words.

The Nunziata Family8. One artist I consider to be a Showstopper is Tina Turner. The theme song to What's Love Got To Do With It, the film based upon her autobiography is "I Don't Wanna Fight." As siblings, what is something you don't wanna fight about anymore that you've carried with you from childhood?

Will: We don't fight, I don't know what you are talking about Adam, Anthony, did you tell Adam we fight?! :)

Anthony: Will, it’s OK. Take a deep breath.

Will: I am breathing. I think I’m breathing.

Anthony: That’s a good start, Will. That’s a good start. (laughs) We’re both very passionate about everything we do and we’ve learned that it’s not about being "right." We respect each other’s thoughts and feelings, so in all we do, we figure out what is going to be the "best" thing to do to accomplish the task at hand.

Will: Playing tennis against one another let’s out a lot of tension.

Anthony: Yes, we love playing tennis. Will has yet to win a set against me this year so, yes, Will, I understand that must be a lot of tension for you.

Will and Anthony Nunziata9. One of my favorite showstopping performances was Sutton Foster singing "Gimmie Gimmie" in Thoroughly Modern Millie. What do you boys still hope to achieve that you haven't done yet?

Will: Well, my #1 bucket list dream is going to be coming true later this year when we make our Carnegie Hall debut as the guest artists with the New York Pops.

Anthony: Yes, making our debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops under the baton of our friend Steven Reineke, that is going to be a blast! Developing a television show to reach an even a greater audience, looking forward to working on this as well.

10. 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 everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent everyday?

Will: Continue to be kind to others and kind to myself.

Anthony: Patience.

Will and Anthony NunziataMore on Will and Anthony:

Singers, actors, funny-men and advocates of arts in education - Will & Anthony sing fresh takes on timeless songs from pop standards, Broadway, and Italian music to Billy Joel, Motown, and beyond. Hailed as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma," Will & Anthony continue to win critical and popular acclaim for their concert performances throughout the United States and around the world.

The brothers have brought their distinct take on classic songs from performing arts centers, theaters and symphony concert halls, including The Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall in West Palm Beach, FL, to headlining their symphony concerts with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with New York Pops musical director and conductor Steven Reineke. From Singapore to San Francisco, Will & Anthony have created and performed tailored private concerts for countless corporate, private and Gala events all around the world. They have been featured recently on NPR, The Entertainment Weekly Sirius Radio show, The Rachael Ray Show, NBC’s The Columbus Day Parade and on ABC’s Good Morning America. In the fashion world, the brothers have modeled and been styled by Carmen Marc Valvo, Hermes U.S. and Hermes Toronto, Elie Tahari, b Michael America, and Nick Graham. Will & Anthony trained in improv comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

Their proudest accomplishment is the creation of their Arts in Education Outreach Initiative and Master Class Workshops where they visit schools and students providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples’ lives. Through their workshops, Will & Anthony provide acting and vocal technique, life lessons of building a strong work ethic and personal brand, and the confidence to never give up on your passions.

Born in Brooklyn, the brothers, along with their younger sister Annie, were raised just north of New York City in Pelham Manor, NY. Music continues to constantly play in the home of their parents, Fran & Joe. Sinatra, Ella, Sammy Davis, Jr., Streisand, Dean Martin, Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Gospel - this was the soundtrack of Will & Anthony’s childhood. Today, their musical mission is to keep "America’s classical music" feeling fresh and new.

Friday
Jan082016

Call Redialed: Will and Anthony Nunziata: Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom

It's been almost two years since "Call Me Adam" chatted with recording artists' Will and Anthony Nunziata. As they prepare to debut their new concert Showstoppers! at the Highline Ballroom on Monday, January 18 at 8pm, now seemed like the perfect time to catch up with these talented guys! 

Will & Anthony’s Showstoppers! concert delivers an innovative take on the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. A 90-minute tour-de-force concert that transcends generations. With their soaring tenor voices and acting & improv comedy chops, Will & Anthony sing fresh arrangements of classic and contemporary songs including "You’re All I Need to Get By," "Feeling Good," "O Sole Mio," "The Impossible Dream," "Unchained Melody," "Someone Like You," "God Only Knows," "What Kind of Fool Am I," and "The Prayer." The Highline Ballroom is located at 431 West 16th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenue) Click here for tickets!

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://willandanthony.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! 

Anthony and Will Nunziata1. On January 18, you are debuting your new concert Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom. In this show, you are performing some of the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. What made now the right time to premiere this show?

Will: W​e are always striving to give our audiences the best.​ For the past year we've been developing brand new arrangements with our musical director and arranger Tedd Firth. In our concert Showstoppers!, he'll be leading a 7-piece band in the 400-seat Highline Ballroom. New arrangements of songs from Billy Joel to The Bee Gees to Motown...

Anthony: ...to the Beach Boys to Adele and of course Broadway and Classic Standards. This will be the show the country will see in all our upcoming performing arts center and symphony pops orchestra concerts​.

2. Why did you choose The Highline Ballroom to debut this show?

Anthony: When we tour the country we are primarily performing in concert halls. So we thought why not bring ​a​ "larger feel" to NYC and after ​​looking at the Highline Ballroom, we knew we found a special place....we're setting up the room so it feels like a Vegas showroom....

Will: Yes! And after​ speaking with the wonderful team there,​ and consulting with our lighting and sound designer Matt Berman, we thought this would be the perfect venue for what we want our audiences to experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata3. Of the songs you are performing, how have the artists influenced your own singing style?

Will: I think the array of songs in this show represent a lot of the songs I grew up listening to. Because they run the gamut in terms of musical sensibilities, I think audiences will enjoy the plethora of stylings in the concert.

Anthony: I try not to be too influenced with how artists sing a song in as much as I focus on the lyrics and how I connect with them. That allows me to find my own truth within these songs which in turn allows me to sing the songs, live in the songs and present my unique spin.​

4. Since this show is entitled Showstoppers!, what makes you guys a "Showstopper" that people should come see?

Will: Being truthful with everything we do. From living and "being" while singing our songs to our crowd work in between songs...

Anthony: Our goal is to make people feel, make them laugh, feel inspired in some way...and enjoy this shared experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke5. What have been some of your favorite "Showstopping" numbers either on Broadway or from a concert you've attended?

Anthony: Recently, it's Cynthia Erivo singing "I'm Here" in The Color Purple on Broadway. Cynthia is giving one of the most heartfelt and authentic performances I've ever seen on any stage. As for specific concert performers...since I was a kid I've been transfixed on performers who are actors first...Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Better Midler, Barbra Streisand...I've studied how they bring their truth to the table, and construct moving and entertaining live "experiences​."

Will: There aren't any particular numbers that come to mind, but anytime a performer is willing to sing with 100% unapologetic, raw emotion and have the ability to show the audiences their "scars" and be as vulnerable as possible - that's a "Showstopper" to me.​

6. If you could sing any "Showstopper" from a Broadway show, what song would you each like to perform?

Will: "Being Aliv​e." It's a true three-act-play of a song​.​ It's a brilliantly constructed song, both lyrically and melodically, and it scares me - which is ​probably why I like it so much.

Anthony: "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Tedd Firth has arranged a haunting/hopeful version of this song that makes me explore the depths of ​Sondheim's brilliant lyrics and Bernstein's gorgeous music. Premiering a new version of this song on the 18th of January.

Will and Anthony Nunziata7. One of the songs you are performing in this concert is "Unchained Melody." What is something in your life that you have unchained in this new year?

Will: Fear. 

Anthony: No regrets.

8. You are also performing "What Kind of Fool Am I." What's the most foolish thing you've done?

Anthony: Last week, after seeing a show, I forgot to stop by Schmackary's for a cookie. How foolish of me.

Will: You'll have to ask my therapist.​

9. In your concerts, you often play off of each other when it comes to your patter. What is the craziest unrehearsed thing that has happened to you?

Anthony: Will forgot his lyrics to the song "Everybody Says Don't", when he did I told the audience an impromptu story of Will being born with an umbilical chord around his neck and how the effects are clearly still with us today. We started the song again, he forgot the lyrics again, we started it again, he got the lyrics correct, and at the end of the applause I turned to Will and said something like, "We were all rooting for you there, brother. And we are all proud of you for getting through the entire song. Eventually. (beat) It's my solo time now and there's an oxygen tank backstage. (beat) Thank you."

Will: What Anthony just said.

10. You always speak of the importance of family. If you had a family of your own, what is one family tradition you would make sure you kept?

Will: To remind one another as often as possible that we are always there for one another, no matter what.

Anthony: For everyone to speak of something or someone they are grateful for today, and to speak of one thing they are most looking forward to the next day.​ I try my best to live in a constant state of peace and gratitude and to actively express that gratitude to those around me.

Will and Anthony NunziataMore on Will and Anthony:

Singers, actors, funny-men and advocates of arts in education - Will & Anthony sing fresh takes on timeless songs from pop standards, Broadway, and Italian music to Billy Joel, Motown, and beyond. Hailed as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma," Will & Anthony continue to win critical and popular acclaim for their concert performances throughout the United States and around the world.

The brothers have brought their distinct take on classic songs from performing arts centers, theaters and symphony concert halls, including The Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall in West Palm Beach, FL, to headlining their symphony concerts with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with New York Pops musical director and conductor Steven Reineke. From Singapore to San Francisco, Will & Anthony have created and performed tailored private concerts for countless corporate, private and Gala events all around the world. They have been featured recently on NPR, The Entertainment Weekly Sirius Radio show, The Rachael Ray Show, NBC’s The Columbus Day Parade and on ABC’s Good Morning America. In the fashion world, the brothers have modeled and been styled by Carmen Marc Valvo, Hermes U.S. and Hermes Toronto, Elie Tahari, b Michael America, and Nick Graham. Will & Anthony trained in improv comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

Their proudest accomplishment is the creation of their Arts in Education Outreach Initiative and Master Class Workshops where they visit schools and students providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples’ lives. Through their workshops, Will & Anthony provide acting and vocal technique, life lessons of building a strong work ethic and personal brand, and the confidence to never give up on your passions.

Born in Brooklyn, the brothers, along with their younger sister Annie, were raised just north of New York City in Pelham Manor, NY. Music continues to constantly play in the home of their parents, Fran & Joe. Sinatra, Ella, Sammy Davis, Jr., Streisand, Dean Martin, Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Gospel - this was the soundtrack of Will & Anthony’s childhood. Today, their musical mission is to keep "America’s classical music" feeling fresh and new.

Thursday
May142015

Call Answered: 54 Below Conference call with Tony Award winner Randy Graff and Director Will Nunziata: Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman 

"Call Me Adam" chats with Tony Award winner Randy Graff and Director Will Nunziata about 54 Below's Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman, which will be presented May 15, 16, and 20 at 7pm! The evening will also star Tony Award winners Lillias White and Cady Huffman and will feature fresh solo, duet, and trio arrangements of some of Cy’s most beloved songs will include selections from his pop standards canon and film scores, as well as his musicals Wildcat, Little Me, Sweet Charity, Seesaw, I Love My Wife, On the Twentieth Century, Barnum, City of Angels, The Will Rogers Follies, and The Life. Click here for tickets!

For more on 54 Below be sure to visit http://54below.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This May you are all starring in Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman at 54 Below, which was conceived and directed by Will Nunziata. Will, what made you want to create an evening of Cy Coleman? Randy, what made you all want to be part of this concert?

Will Nunziata: When I was asked to put together a concert event celebrating the songs of Cy Coleman, I  looked back on my past year and the directing projects I took on, and three women immediately came to mind - Tony Winners Lillias White, Randy Graff, and Cady Huffman. These women are not only immense talents, consummate singing-actresses, and friends - they also happen to have had the opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Cy as he built three roles on Broadway for them.

Randy Graff: CY, LILLIAS, CADY and WILL!

Lillias White at 54 Below2. You have all previously performed at 54 Below. What are you looking forward to most about returning to 54 Below?

Will Nunziata: The space is a theatre space. That's how I treat it. The set, the lights, the sound, the room have all been created and are run by Tony Award winning Theatre talents, and I feel so lucky that I've had many opportunities to create events in this very special place.

Randy Graff: I like the beauty and intimacy and history of that room. And I love the wait staff. They are a group of cheerleaders for every performer.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this concert?

Will Nunziata: I hope audiences come away realizing the immense talent that was Cy Coleman. He could not be pegged into one category. He moved effortlessly from the pop world, to the jazz world, to the musical theatre world. I am thrilled with the arrangements created by a team of arrangers, including the show's fantastic musical director Eugene Gwozdz. To have Cy's talent brought to life in a fresh way by three women who love him and three women he loved is going to be a very special moment for music & theatre lovers alike. I also want audiences to feel like they've seen "a happening." You have the music of Cy Coleman, these three amazing talents, a killer swinging 4 piece band (Eugene Gwozdz - musical director & piano, Jeremy Yaddaw - drums, Adam Neely - bass, Chris Reza - reeds). Also, the three ladies will be dressed in custom-fitted Carmen Marc Valvo dresses that I was able to collaborate with him and his associate, Matt Carmouche, on.

Randy Graff: I hope they come away with a love and appreciation for Cy's music and versatility, and have a little understanding of Cy himself through our personal stories. Mostly, I just want everyone to have a great time!

Randy Graff at 54 Below4. What has Cy Coleman and his music meant to all of you? What do you each identify most with about his music?

Will Nunziata: His music was part of the soundtrack of my childhood. While my friends were listening to Madonna and New Kids on the Block, I was listening to the Great American Songbook and classic Broadway songs - many of which were his songs and shows. "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Witchcraft," the soundtracks of "Sweet Charity," "On the Twentieth Century," "Barnum," "City of Angels," "The Life," "The Will Rogers Follies," "Seesaw," etc. The list goes on and on! The fact that this was a Renaissance man who was unapologetically cool, hip, and ahead of his time is something to be admired, and these three ladies singing fresh arrangements of solos, duets, and trios of his music are really going to blow people away. Each song in this theatrical concert is its own entity and 3-act play. These ladies know how to "dig" into material and my job is to simply make sure they shine.

Randy Graff: The first Cy Coleman musical I ever saw was SEESAW. It was a seminal moment for me, because it was the first time I could even picture myself on a Broadway stage. I love where Cy's music sits in a woman's voice. It's in the chest..old school...none of this screaming and high belting till the dogs come home. He taught me how to sing "You Can Aways Count On Me.'' I still sing his phrasing. Old school, Sinatra, Capitol Records time...that lives in me and Cy was the one to bring it out. Cy is such a great singer himself and coooooool!

5. If you had to give people one reason to attend Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman at 54 Below, what would that reason be?

Will Nunziata: Once-in-a-lifetime-event. I put hyphens to make it one word!

Randy Graff: Great music sung by three very different divas you've all seen on Broadway, up close and personal, backed by a slammin' band!

Cady Huffman performing at 54 Below6. One of my favorite Cy Coleman songs is "The Best Is Yet To Come," which you will be performing during this concert. With your best asset, what do you hope your best is yet to come will be?

Will Nunziata: That the Arts remain alive and fresh and that kids' enthusiasm for the Arts is never stifled. The proudest thing I do with my brother, Anthony, besides singing around the country with him, was the formation of "The Will & Anthony Arts in Education Initiative." To travel around the country and giving master classes and talks and affirming music & theatre students' love of the arts and reminding them that their ideas, hopes, and dreams are valid is extremely important to me.

Randy Graff: As I turn 60! That is a great question....I'm not sure and I love the mystery of that.

Will Nunziata Directing7. Will is a visionary director with every concert he directs. He really caters to the performers strengths. Randy, what do you all love about working with Will? Will, what do you love about working with these talented Tony Award winning women?

Will Nunziata: These ladies are the best in the business. They are professional, respectful, hard working, collaborative, and kind. They each bring their own set of specific skills and talents to the table. Each of them as individuals are fireworks. Together, they are bigger and brighter than any Macy's 4th of July Spectacular I could ever imagine.

Randy Graff: I love Will! His passion and excitement about the work and his kindness towards the people he works with. His collaborative spirit and his ability to zero in on each performer's needs, and his overall respect for the process. He gets the big picture, and how to get there in a joyful and patient way. And the man is prepared!!

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

Will Nunziata: The ability to bring this show to Carnegie Hall and to symphony halls around the country. I see it living in that world. And these ladies and Cy's music belong on stages of that magnitude.

Randy Graff: Flying would be handy and fun.

Randy Graff, Cady Huffman, Lillias White9. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it?

Will Nunziata: Ask me after the run of the show!

Randy Graff: I actually had a signature drink back in the Les Miz days for a press event. Since I have a sweet tooth, it was called THE RANDY CANDY. Peach schnapps (the ladies would have some after the barricade scene the last show of the week) and triple sec and maybe orange juice or gin...hahaha....I can't remember but it was SWEET!