I first came to know about Bob Stillman when he starred in Grey Gardens, both on and off-Broadway with two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole. I later got to catch up with Bob when he was starring in the Transport Group's production of Hello Again.
Kacie Sheik came onto my radar when she was starring in Broadway's Hair and I immediately took a liking to her talents. It was a no brainer that I wanted to talk with both these stars about their new show Songbird, which also stars Tony Nominee Kate Baldwin, at 59E59 Theaters in NYC!
Songbird is a show about dreams, ambition, love, and heartbreak as a fading country star coming home to Nashville. After many years away, "Tammy" returns to the Honky Tonk that launched her music career to help the son she abandoned launch his own. But with jealousy and self-destruction (along with copious amounts of whiskey) fueling this homecoming, will "Tammy’s" arrival do more harm than good?
Songbird plays at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street) through the extended date of December 6! Click here for tickets and follow the show at http://www.songbirdoffbroadway.com and on Facebook/Twitter!
For more on Bob be sure to visit http://www.bobstillman.com!
Bob Stillman: It's Chekhov set in Nashville. I mean come on!
Kacie Sheik: I heard some of Lauren's demos and then read Kimmel's script and started to get to know "Missy." It was a no brainer. To work on anything with either Lauren or Kimmel, and then for it to be both of them, on this grounded, beautiful story...it was very exciting from the start.
2. What do you identify most with about your characters?
Bob Stillman: Like "Soren," I've always had a "peacemaker" personality in my family. Also, like him, I've lived long enough to have regrets. And lastly, like him, I know how to wield self-mocking irony.
Kacie Sheik: Man, I love "Missy" so very much. I love how she loves music...but it's a little complicated for her. I just want to give her a big hug.
Bob Stillman: Andy Taylor's hip-bounce, hands down. I can't describe it, and I suspect it will be suppressed long before we open, so you'll just have to take my word on it.
Kacie Sheik: Too many to name. Hilarious folks in our rehearsal room. Let's just say, we laugh A LOT.
4. What have you enjoyed about working with each other so far?
Bob Stillman: I really adore this bunch of people, and I'm pretty sure they'd all say the same thing. An incredibly smart, respectful, collaborative, gifted group of actor/musicians.
Kacie Sheik: Watching everyone work. The talent is breath taking. So unique. So beautiful.
5. In Songbird, the lead character returns to the Honky Tonk that launched her music career. Where did you launch your careers and have you been back to visit that place? If so, what was it like to go back there after all these years?
Kacie Sheik: I definitely need to go back to a few restaurants and bars I sang in growing up in New Jersey. I was in an all girls singing group called "The Sensations...Today's Teens Singing Yesterday's Hits." We sang oldies doo-wop in the summers and had a holiday show in the winter. I sang "White Christmas" in many an establishment up and down the Garden State Parkway. I definitely need to take a nostalgia tour!
6. Dreams, ambition, love, and heartbreak are themes throughout Songbird. What events in your life would you attach these words to?
Bob Stillman: Well, I'm in theater, so right there you've got dreams, ambition and heartbreak covered.
Kacie Sheik: Moving to NYC. Working in NYC. Moving away from NYC. Moving back to NYC.
Bob Stillman: Oh, the whole thing...the tension between the brutally honest storytelling tradition of the best songwriters and the commercial machine of the music industry...the rootedness of the music in the land and the community...that's what jumps out at me.
Kacie Sheik: I adore country. I have certain favorite songs I like to curl up and listen to on repeat. I have been singing Faith Hill at karaoke with my family since I was 14. And, in recent years, country music is a huge inspiration for my own songwriting. The story telling is beautiful and soulful. I love Tay Tay AND Ryan Adams equally. :)
Bob Stillman: Well Dolly, definitely, but I wish you'd included Alison Kraus on that list! With either one I'd just want to sing some high bluegrass harmony.
Kacie Sheik: ALL OF THEM. And ANY song they would have me on!
9. What is your favorite southern comfort food?
Bob Stillman: Grits. I LOVE grits.
Kacie Sheik: Shrimp and grits!
10. Which would you rather be trapped in, Dollywood or Graceland?
Bob Stillman: Ummm....I'll take Graceland.
Kacie Sheik: Dolly :)
Bob Stillman is a two-time Tony Award Nominee whose talents range from acting to composing to singing. Bob's first nomination came for the Broadway show Dirty Blonde where he was nominated for his acting, composing, and onstage piano playing while his second nomination came as one of the songwriters for Broadway's Urban Cowboy. His other Broadway credits include Grey Gardens with two-time Tony Award Winner Christine Ebersole and Kiss of the Spiderwomen starring Vanessa Williams. Off-Broadway, Bob has delighted audiences in The Last Session, Saturn Returns at the Public Theatre, and Hello Again both at Lincoln Center and with The Transport Group. In addition to theater, Bob lit up kids' faces (and their parents') in Nickelodeon's Allegra's Window as "Reed." He also released his debut CD Come Down Angel, which was selected as one of radioio.com Acoustic channel host Zoe Montana's "Essientals." Bob has performed his music at such NYC venues as Joe's Pub, The Cutting Room, Ars Nova, The Zipper Factory, and Elaine's.
Kacie Sheik completed nearly 1,000 performances as "Jeanie" in the Public Theatre's Tony Award winning revival of Hair-The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. She played Central Park, Broadway, The West End, and traveled the U.S. on the National Tour (Helen Hayes nomination -Best Actress). Off-Broadway: February House (Gypsy Rose Lee) – The Public Theater. Las Vegas: Queen's We Will Rock You (Scaramouche) – Original American Company. Cast Albums/Recordings: Hair, February House, Chix6. Film/TV: Blue Bloods, Elementary, Law and Order, Julie and Julia. Kacie grew up in NJ (exit 91), is a Scorpio, and a singer/songwriter.