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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Tuesday
Jan162018

Call Answered: Conference Call: Brad Loekle & Julie Goldman: "Gay Bash!" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Brad Loekle, Photo Credit: Ana OchoaphotoJulie Goldman, Photo Credit: Connie KurtewFrom one former comedian to two current comedians, this was one funny interview with out gay comics Brad Loekle (NBC's Last Comic Standing) & Julie Goldman (Bravo's The People's Couch) who are coming to The Laurie Beechman Theatre in February with the double-bill show Gay Bash!.

Brad & Julie bring their unique comedy stylings to NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe) for an evening of laughter! Gay Bash! will be performed for one-night-only on Friday, February 2 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Brad visit https://www.bradloekle.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Julie follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become comedians?

Brad Loekle: I started doing Comedy to shut up all the people in my life that said, “you should be a comedian!”. To no one’s surprise, but my own, people were right! I fell in love with it immediately and threw myself head first into the abandoned swimming pool of Comedy!

Julie Goldman: I was definitely inspired as a kid by Mel Brooks HUGELY and then there was Joan Rivers of course, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman…Mel Brooks was probably the biggest though. I was OBSESSED with his movies. Particularly History of The World Part 1 and I would re-enact my favorite scenes for my family and I'm sure they wanted to throw me in the river...

Brad Loekle2. This February you are both headlining Gay Bash at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What are you looking forward to about this evening of comedy?

Brad Loekle: The chicken Caesar salad I’ll have right before I go on as the obligatory complimentary entree you get when you headline anywhere. Wait, do they have a chicken ceasar salad, if not Julie’s doing a solo hour and I’m going to Olive Garden.

Julie Goldman: I'm looking forward to sharing the theater with Brad. There are few comedians I enjoy watching and who really make me laugh anymore and this gentle gay sir is one of them. It's going to be a fun night for sure. I've also never performed at The Laurie Beechman and I'm really excited as I've heard such great things about the space.

3. Since you are performing on the same show, how do you feel your comedy styles are similar to be double billed?

Brad Loekle: From the first time I met Julie I felt like we were angry, sexually inappropriate twins separated at birth. She actually said to me, on our first road gig together, "I hate all new people I meet but I’m almost scared of how much I like you." This is, in my experience, the closest a Jewish lesbian can come to affection and it chokes me up just thinking about it.

Julie Goldman: I think our styles really compliment each other. WE certainly have a similar POV on the world but I think we have different enough styles that it's really fun and different for the audience.

Brad LoekleJulie Goldman4. What makes your comedy unique?

Brad Loekle: Most of my material is very autobiographical. I’m not talking about food shopping or airplane food. It’s just not my thing. And I think when it’s all stuff from your life, it’s hard for other people to steal it and it makes it easier to stand out. I don’t know anyone else who has a joke about their dad asking them to blow a cop to get out of a ticket. Except, maybe Seinfeld.

Julie Goldman: I do it all in German. I think this is hard question to answer. I can say my comedy is specific to me and is very personal, so in that regard I guess thats what makes it unique.

5. Since the show is called Gay Bash, what is your favorite way to party?

Brad Loekle: Call me a traditionalist but I’m always a fan of hookers and blow! Kidding...ish. Honestly, a great night out is sitting in the corner of a bar with Julie figuring out world peace and trying to guess what various celebrities sexual kinks are. I’m convinced Helen Mirren is into choke sex.

Julie Goldman: Drugs.

Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard, Writing Partner/Bravo Co-Star, on “The Poeple’s Couch”, Photo Credit: BravoBrad Loekle's "Electroshock Therapy"6. How do you feel the world of comedy has changed for out comics over the past eight or so years?

Brad Loekle: Well, though there still aren’t many of us (gay comics), there were a hell of a lot less of us a decade ago. I think it’s A LOT easier for out comics in the actual comedy club scene than it used to be. When I started it was mostly alt rooms where out comics were given chances and able to build an act.

Julie Goldman: I think it’s so different. I think the landscape for women comedians and LGBT comedians has changed. I think it's more open in some ways as far as the audiences are concerned. Hearing someone gay at this point is old news. Boring. Average. You better identify as a Trans Shark gender queer non binary  asexual Sponge if you wanna get a rise out of anyone now.

7. What would advice would you give to an aspiring gay comic?

Brad Loekle: It wouldn’t be different that the advice I’d give a straight comic, really. I’d tell them that if they would be suicidally miserable if they did anything other than Comedy, then go spend about 3-5 years doing every shitty little show and open mic you can get on to see if you’re any good. It takes about that long to see if the person really has sustainable talent AND if they are built to handle all the that job is offstage, as well. But if you can be happy living any other life...go be happy. Comedy is for people who read the story of Sisyphus and thought, "that’s the life for me! Where do I sign up?!"

Julie Goldman: GO to medical School.

Brad LoekleMore on Brad:

Brad Loekle was a semi-finalist in season 9 of NBC's Last Comic Standing. But TV audiences may also recognize Brad from the past 7 years on TruTV’s hit original series, World’s Dumbest. Brad's snarky wit was also put to good use as a writer for comedy icon Joan River's on E!'s Fashion Police. In 2016, he was one of the stars of Logo TV's Bianca's Comedy Cabaret a comedy special hosted by Drag Race winner, Bianca Del Rio. Brad has also made appearances on an assortment of shows on E!, VH1, MTV, Logo and many more! Radio listeners will recognize Brad’s voice as a longtime guest co-host on SiriusXM's Morning Jolt w/ Larry Flick or his regular appearances on The Frank DeCaro Show. Aside from touring the country regularly, he also produced one of the longest running weekly comedy shows in NYC The Electroshock Comedy Hour at Therapy Lounge ran for 8 years and was featured in The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, Next, HX and many others. Now an LA transplant, Brad performs and produces shows regularly in LA, San Diego & San Francisco. He also currently performs regularly with Atlantis Events & RSVP Vacations. Since 2010, Brad has travelled to more than 30 countries while entertaining tens of thousands of Atlantis & RSVP guests alongside such notable artists as: Patti Lupone, Sutton Foster, Vanessa Williams, Kathy Griffin, Lea DeLaria, Leslie Jordan and many more.

Julie GoldmanMore on Julie:

Julie Goldman is currently a series regular on Bravo's hit series The People's Couch. She was the star of LOGO's Big Gay Sketch Show, and is a former comedy writer on E!'s Fashion Police. She is the  winner of the NewNowNext Brink of Fame Comic Award, and the MAC Award for Best Headlining Comedian in NYC. Julie has been garnering massive attention around the country headlining stand up in clubs, colleges and headlining and working beside Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, and Jeff Garlin. She has performed at Montreal's prestigious Just for Laughs comedy festival, on Broadway in Laughing Liberally, and emceeing Puppetry of the Penis. She is a favorite on Olivia cruises and 'R Family Vacations and has appeared doing stand up on Logo, and Comedy Central. You may have also caught her performing a duet with Jane Lynch on VH-1’s Do Something Awards, on Bones, or on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Friday
Jan122018

Call Answered: Conference Call: Jesse Luttrell & Fred Barton: "Jesse Luttrell Showstopper" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Jesse Luttrell, Photo Credit: Christopher BoudewynsFred Barton, Photo Credit: Rick StockwellI have been Facebook friends with Jesse Luttrell for several years now and he's always been on my radar as someone I have wanted to interview. I have heard many of Fred's great arrangements attending a New York Pops' concert. The fact that I now get to interview them together is icing on a very delicious cake!

Jesse & Fred are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with Jesse Luttrell: SHOWSTOPPER, an unforgettable solo homage to the golden age of American entertainment, unleashing Jesse's shattering voice and theatrical, post-modern vaudevillian style with an evening of treasured swing, big band, and show songs. Jesse Luttrell offers an exciting departure from the traditional evening of standards. SHOWSTOPPER is a high-energy show that includes stellar custom orchestrations by acclaimed New York Pops orchestrator Fred Barton.

Jesse Luttrell: SHOWSTOPPER will play Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on Friday, January 19 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jesse visit http://jesseluttrell.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Fred visit http://fredbarton.com and follow him on Twitter!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit https://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, & Instagram!

1. On January 19 you are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with your show Jesse Luttrell: Showstopper. What excites you about this show? 

Jesse Luttrell: I've been doing SHOWSTOPPER for about three years now all over the country and I'm always excited to return to New York and 54 Below where it all began. The audiences in New York are almost always the polar opposite of what you get out of town..and they've known me here for over a decade from my humble beginnings schlepping drinks in the piano bar - so they definitely keep me on my toes!

Fred Barton: Jesse always injects new material into his SHOWSTOPPER show, and I can’t wait to unleash the new stuff – and I can’t wait for my 8-piece Broadway Band to sink their teeth into the new charts I’m whipping up. And of course we’ve got the best of Jesse's "hits," and they’re always a blast to perform.

2. Since this is our first interview together, let's go back to the beginning for a minute. How did you two come to meet?

Jesse Luttrell: I was in a musky basement bar full of drunks singing SWANEE at the top of my lungs and Fred had wandered in that night to see an old friend after making a final pilgrimage to a bar down the street that was closing. Our tastes aligned completely so we started talking about working together - which eventually meant cutting an album and then putting together my solo act several years later.

Fred Barton: My show tune piano bar days were back in the late 1990s. After that, the piano bar world collapsed into mainly rock-pop sing-along stuff. But one night, I heard that Rose’s Turn was closing – the former legendary Duplex, where international superstars such as Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, and Fred Barton got their start. So I fatefully went down there to pay my last respects. I happened into Marie’s Crisis next door, where I hadn’t been in years, and shortly before 4AM, I happened to see this kid singing a big solo with the most incredible voice I’d heard in years, and with that old-time showbiz THING you just don’t see much anymore. I felt like James Mason in A Star Is Born, standing in the back of a crappy club watching Esther Blodgett toss off a little tune called "The Man That Got Away" as if it were nuthin’. Fred, meet Jesse, Jesse, meet Fred. WHOA. I’m glad I went downtown that night.

Jesse Luttrell, Photo Credit: Kevin Yatarola3. What has made you want to continue to work together?

Jessee Luttrell: There are few arrangers/orchestrators around who understand my needs as a performer.  It helps that Fred and I are cut from the same showbiz cloth, but he also approaches every arrangement from the point of view of an actor. It won't come as a surprise to most when I say I'm a large personality with a big voice - and Fred is able to not only match that in his arrangements, but also he gives me the confidence I need to pull back when I need to.

Fred Barton: We’ve got an exact set of sensibilities, philosophies, and musical tastes in common. This kind of magic collaboration has happened to me maybe three times in my forty years in the biz (I started at 18! I’m still under 60!) – in fact, I even wrote a musical called The Two Svengalis which describes exactly what happens when two people not only complement each other, but bring better than the best out in each other. You can’t bottle, sell, or steal that. In Jesse, I found a partner in crime, a "consort battleship," as Shaw wrote in Pygmalion, who would, could, and will go the distance, not shy away from the possibilities and the challenges of wrestling with one’s own potential and talent. Jesse has one thing that many super-talented people could always use more of – intelligence. He’s the smartest artist I’ve ever worked with, and the street-smarts he’s applied to his performances and his career has made all the difference, for him and for me.

4. What is the most challenging part of your collaboration?

Jesse Luttrell: Having to schlep all the way from Brooklyn to the UWS for our rehearsals. Everything else is buttah.

Fred Barton: It’s all too easy to rest on the laurels, fall into comfort zones and patterns. Every single show, Jesse extends the boundaries and we put ourselves to a higher test. Every arrangement I write HAS to be better than any I’ve done before – I’m compulsive. It can be nerve-wracking, but otherwise, you’re a one-trick pony and people have memorized you before you even open your mouth or given the downbeat. A known quantity, or "brand," to use that dreadful word, can lead to predictability and a typical career, and neither is what Jesse and I have in mind.

Fred Barton with Steven Reineke & The New York Pops5. Now, let's get back to this show. Press notes state that SHOWSTOPPER is "an exciting departure from from the traditional evening of standards." What is the exciting departure you talk about?

Jesse Luttrell: I think when people hear that I sing "standards" they automatically have a picture in their head that I'm going to come out in a conservative suit and curate a polite evening of cabaret, which seems to have become the "industry standard" (whatever that means). I think of myself as more of an entertainer than a docent of the "Great American Songbook." Let's do some terrific songs, get the audience on their feet, and blow the roof off the joint while we're at it. Why not?

Fred Barton: Much as I love what’s now known as "The Great American Songbook," it has taken on connotations of reeling off stuff from the Golden Era, not always with a point of view. Frequently that means it’s either what I call Attack Of The Graverobbers, i.e. Gladys Bubkes Performs An Evening Of Sarah Vaughan or whomever (as if Sarah wrote the songs) – hiding one’s abilities (and limitations) inside the work of a bigger name than anyone could hope to be oneself – or performing the most pretzel-ized, twisted, new-fangled arrangements to try and freshen it up – to which I say, write your own song and leave Gershwin be. In Jesse’s show, as in my symphonic Pops work, I make it my mission to completely inhabit these songs, whether familiar or un-, with our own sensibility, but as if the songwriters are sitting at the piano with me. It’s much harder to honor the original creators of the songs, reflect expertise with their original contexts and values, yet infuse the work with your own sensibility and point of view, than it is to just riff, or copycat.

6. What is the biggest departure you took from your career path because you wanted to try something else?

Jesse Luttrell: I started professionally in musicals when I was 16 but as I saw the landscape of Broadway changing my interests shifted intensely to solo/concert performance. I wanted to do my own shows and make my own choices. I remember I had a really great year once playing all my dream roles back to back, but had a huge emotional crash after the last role. I didn't want to go back to chorus work and I didn't know what I wanted to do next so I started going to the piano bars to forget about things for awhile. It took getting a little lost to find out what I really wanted to do.

Fred Barton: All I ever wanted to do was musical theatre on Broadway, but I peaked too soon, accomplishing that in my mid-20s, before that was common. I jumped from a bunch of Broadway to composing a bunch of TV music in my 30s, which was a wild leap in creative energy. Then, after returning to my cabaret and piano bar roots, fate decreed that I should spend the next 14 years writing huge symphonic arrangements for the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and around the country – and now show-making with a one-of-a-kind talent in Jesse Luttrell. I just keep answering the phone and doing what it tells me.

Jesse Luttrell performing at Feinstein's/54 Below7. If you had to describe each other with one song being featured in the show, what song would each of you use to describe the other?

Jesse Luttrell: HAH! Penniless Bums! from the Jule Styne musical SUGAR: "see how two melody masters suffer a string of disasters just to become two penniless bums..."

Fred Barton: "Live Till I Die." Now don’t get me wrong – neither of us has a death wish, or any expectation of rolling over with our legs in the air anytime soon (at least dead.) But that song is the kingmaker of Jesse’s first set, and it captures how we feel about performing: no half-way, no sorta, no kinda, no crushingly restrained holding back in search of suffocating chimerical faux-sophistication (only a faux-sophisticate like me could use the phrase "suffocating chimerical faux-sophistication"). Judy Garland used to say, "I’m going to go out there and give ‘em Two Hours Of POW." We like POW. "Before your number’s up, fill your cup, live till you die." Jesse conveys that song’s message big-time.

8. With the concert being called SHOWSTOPPER what do you feel is the biggest "showstopper" of your own career thus far?

Jesse Luttrell: The biggest "Showstopper" of my career so far has been taking the leap by quitting my job and pouring all my money and effort into developing my solo act. I've always had the best results by painting myself into a corner -  it's really the only way to make things happen in showbusiness.

Fred Barton: Having the New York Pops at Carnegie play a huge arrangement I created, and playing the piano for it center stage. The place absolutely came apart, and conductor Steven Reineke called me out to stand center stage for many bows. I thought, "Wow, Judy Garland stands center stage at Carnegie. Me? Who am I, anyway, am I my resumé?" (Answer: YES!) And the other was my one-man show Miss Gulch Returns, which started as my personal club act in 1983, and is still selling CDs and being produced in theatres around the country these 35 years later.

Fred Barton, Photo Credit: Kevin Yatarola9. After the show is over, what is the first thought that goes through your head?

Jesse Luttrell: I know this is weird, and maybe a little too meta, but I'm totally deaf to applause...Like- I hear it but I can never tell if it was a golf clap or if they really liked it - so after the show my first thought is "did they clap" and my friends are always like "shut up, you're stupid.." Then we run to the bar.

Fred Barton: "Do I need a coat to go smoke?"

10. I have a new segment to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions about people. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourselves that you just want clear up? 

Jesse Luttrell: Hopefully this isn't too petty....but....I'm compared a lot to Judy and Liza, I think because I have a hearty spin in my voice - but I don't do it to try to sound like anyone - it's my natural voice. There are videos of me as a little kid singing at the top of my lungs with almost the same voice I have now (except in a different octave of course lol). Judy always said "be the first rate version of yourself not the second rate version of someone else." I like me..imma do me. Anyone who says I do otherwise doesn't know me or my work and should stay home and download my album from itunes or my website www.JesseNY.com  (end of shameless plug).

Fred Barton: I don’t flatter myself that anyone gives me enough thought to have misconceptions, but since my earliest years, I know I can strike people as elite and condescending. It’s actually self-imposed perfectionism, and I know it’s not always fun to be around, but it’s no fun for me either – but if you’re not going to be as close to perfect and brilliant and fabulous as anyone could possibly be in this life, and communicate and inspire insights to and within people to the best of yours or anyone else’s abilities, what are you doing on the stage?

Jesse Luttrell, Photo Credit: Christopher BoudewynsMore on Jesse:

Jesse Luttrell has quickly become one of the most in-demand young concert artists in New York and around the country. He starred in the critically acclaimed musical revue BAWDY, which ran in New York City for an unprecedented 6 years. Jesse regularly headlines with award-winning Broadway stars in "American Showstoppers," the acclaimed concert series at New York’s Schimmel Center and on tour. His critically acclaimed debut album is featured on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, and is being streamed daily to countless fans around the world. Before pursuing a solo career, Jesse began as a ballet dancer and trained on full scholarship with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and The Rock School/Pennsylvania Ballet. He then made the switch to musical theatre, and toured the country starring in a variety of roles including the "Pharaoh" in Joseph And The Technicolor Dream Coat, the "Emcee" in Cabaret, "Frank-n-Furter" in The Rocky Horror Show, and multiple roles in Cats, Peter Pan, 42nd Street, Meet Me in St Louis, Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, West Side Story, Evita, and Carousel.

Fred Barton, Photo Credit: Rick StockwellMore on Fred:

Fred Barton just completed a 563-performance run as pianist, musical director, arranger, and actor in the hit off-Broadway show Spamilton, also music-supervising the recent Chicago and Los Angeles productions. His orchestrations are played regularly by the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and major symphonies around the country. On Broadway and national tour, Fred conducted Anthony Quinn in Zorba, Hal Prince’s production of Cabaret, Cy Coleman’s City of Angels and Robert Goulet in Camelot. Fred debuted as the original arranger/pianist for Forbidden Broadway, and created the book, music and lyrics for his 1983 one-man show Miss Gulch Returns! (Back Stage Bistro Award), still produced by theaters nationwide. TV credits (composer and/or arranger): HBO’s Cathouse: The Musical, Olivia, Wonder Pets!, Eureeka’s Castle, and The Magic School Bus (Emmy Award.) Fred has produced and arranged numerous CDs, including Jesse Luttrell’s debut album. The "American Showstoppers" concert series with the Fred Barton Orchestra, top Broadway performers, and the best Golden Age Broadway songs, just completed its fifth year.

Thursday
Jan112018

Call Answered: Facetime Interview: Nikki M. James & Amy Wolk: "I Only Have Lies For You" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Amy Wolk, Call Me Adam, Nikki M. James at The Algonquin HotelLive from the Helen Hayes Boardroom at The Algonquin Hotel in NYC, I decipher the lies from the truth with Tony Award winner Nikki M. James & two-time Mac Award winner Amy Wolk as we discuss their new live game show I Only Have Lies For You, which will return to the Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street) on Sunday, January 21 at 9:30pm!

Scheduled to appear on January 21 are Helene York (American Psycho, Bullets Over Broadway), Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea), Alyse Alan Louis (Amelie), Pearl Sun (If/Then), Eric William Morris (Be More Chill, Mamma Mia), and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Freaky Friday).

In I Only Have Lies For You Broadway panelists are pitted against each other in a lying contest. Two teams of three will go head-to-head telling stories, some of which may not be true---it is up to the other team to guess, Truth or Lie. Click here for tickets!

Additional dates for I Only Have Lies For You are March 18, April 22, May 20, & June 18 all at 9:30pm.

For more on I Only Have Lies For You visit: https://www.facebook.com/IOnlyHaveLiesForYou

For more on Nikki M. James follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Amy Wolk visit http://amywolk.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Call Me Adam's interview with Nikki M. James & Amy Wolk:

Enclosure

Monday
Jan082018

Call Answered: Graham J at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Graham JI am so excited to get to interview international singer, Graham J, who will be making his US debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre this January! Graham J is fast gaining an international reputation as one of the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. Acclaimed for his highly emotional interpretations, outstanding and unique vocals, and his eclectic mix of repertoire, his music is being played on stations throughout the UK, USA and Canada.

Of his NYC debut, Graham says while his music has universal appeal, it is written from the point of view of his life as a gay bear. He considers himself to be a torch singer. Graham J will present his one-night-only US debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre on January 26 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Graham be sure to visit http://www.grahamj.eu and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? This probably sounds a bit strange but my family tells me I was singing before I could talk. My parents say that I’d run up and down my cot all night singing. Much to their annoyance. When I got older I just new I wanted to sing. I liked that when I sang people paid attention to me. I suppose you can call it middle child syndrome. I was always fascinated by big personalities on screen and stage. Instinctively drawn to the theatricality and glamour of singers like Shirley Bassey, Liza Minelli, Sinatra and Tony Bennett. The same can be said of the great classical singers such as Callas, Sutherland and Pavarotti. I was spellbound by the way they’d tell a story and hold an audience in the palm of their hand. I always knew that this was what I wanted to do.

2. This January you are making your USA cabaret debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What made now the right time to do this? Hubris? Stupidity? I’m only joking. It’s long been a dream of mine to perform on Broadway. When David Goodman from Bear World Media approached me with the idea of showcasing my music in the USA I jumped at the chance. He’s been an incredible champion of mine over the last year and a half. I felt that if he was willing to put his neck on the line for me I’d be foolish to say no. I’ve been having moderate success in Europe for the last few years. The BBC has been very good to me. I’ve been conducting a network tour for the last year. It’s now time to test myself in a bigger arena. The sophisticated NYC audience has long been both the cradle and graveyard for many artists. To paraphrase RuPaul they value "Charisma, Uniqueness and Talent." My music is quite unique as it blends various elements jazz, classical and pop. I’m also a big hairy white guy with a genre(ly) confused Diva trapped inside. It’s time to test my metal.

Graham J3. What are you most excited & nervous about with this premiere? I’m most excited about sharing my original music with a new audience. I’m also most nervous about this. My songs cover a wide variety of topics. They can be about love, war and everything in between. It’s always a terrifying thing for an artist to reveal their inner life. We want to be loved and respected but that also comes with the fear of rejection and criticism.

4. Since this is your first time performing in the US, what should people know about you before coming to see this show? My shows are an eclectic mix of repertoire. They incorporate my own original songs with a mix of standards, showtunes and reimagined pop songs. There’s always a slant or an unexpected twist. You never know what you’ll get. I also try to add humour to my show. You’ll laugh and cry and hopefully come away a lot happier. My voice is also a quite wide-ranging alto which allows me to play with lots of vocal colours and effects.

5. While your music is universal, you have said it is written from the viewpoint of being a gay bear. What is one song that you wrote that surprised you people related to? That’s a tough one. I’d say it’s a toss between "Love Lies Bleeding At My Feet" and "Always By Your Side." I wrote "Love Lies" in about twenty minutes. I was reading a lot of distressing headlines in the news and the song came to me. The morning it aired on radio in Ireland I received a beautiful e-mail from a Catholic Priest. He told me that he was really moved by the message of the song which is that we all have to love one another and put aside our differences. "Always" is a fragment from a musical I’ve started to write. It’s about Robbie Ross’s infatuation and unrequited love of Oscar Wilde. A lot of people both gay and straight, male and female have approached me about it. I suppose we all hanker after the one that never was.

6. Your debut album is called Wild Is. Playing with the title, what is the wildest thing you've done both on stage & in your life thus far that made you go, "Whoa, that was crazy!"? Where to start? Is this a family friendly article? Lol! I suppose one of the maddest things I’ve ever done on stage belongs to my past as a classical singer. I used to sing as a guest soloist with the Belfast Bach Cantata Consort. My host/ the organiser held a very boozy lunch before we went on. She had us drinking gin and wine from very, very early. Let’s just say that I was very chilled by the time the performance came. I’ve listened to the recording, it was some of my best singing so it can’t have been that bad for me lol. In my personal life as an exercise in confidence building I took part in an erotic photoshoot. I was in various states of dress and undress throughout. The result of which has actually crossed over into my musical life. For the craic I recorded a dance version of Shirley Bassey’s "Never,Never,Never." If you search for it, you’ll see me sitting on a chair pretending to smoke a cigar while wearing a bowler hat and a leather chest harness. It’s very Liza.

7. Your music has been described as having a sense of mourning, loss and ultimately resolution. What do you mourn today? What has been your greatest loss? What is one of your resolutions for this New Year? I don’t think I’m any longer in a state of mourning as such. Obviously, we always reflect on the past and the what ifs and the what could and should have been. At present I’m the most positive and happy I’ve been in a long time. I’m living and singing my truth. My greatest loss was that of my partner Declan. He lost his battle with depression a few years ago. His death shook me to my core and made me look at my life. It made me finally decide to be true to myself. I decided to leave classical singing and move into Jazz and Cabaret. I decided all I wanted was to sing and to be happy. I’m an entertainer at heart and I want to make people forget their troubles for an hour or two. As for my resolutions, this year I’ve decided to teach myself the guitar. Heaven help the neighbours. They’ve already put up with hours of singing and piano.

8. Let's have some fun with two song titles off your debut album Wild Is. First, "Life on Mars." What is your vision of what "Life on Mars" is like? It’s very theatrical, dramatic and gets very high. Very Vaudevillian. I was inspired to tackle it after seeing Jessica Lange perform it in American Horror Story Freak Show. I was sitting up in bed the night it aired and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

9. Another song on your album is "Into My Arms." If you could have anything come into your arms right now, what would hope it would be? I’m going to be a bit cheeky with this. If I could have anything I wanted I suppose it would have to be a multimillion dollar record deal. I’m technically an "indie" artist. I wear a lot of sequins, they cost a fortune!

10. Let's end this interview on looking towards the future. I read that you will be working on some new music to be released this year. What can you tell us about this new work? I’ve been very fortunate. The BBC asked me to record a song for a new documentary about how Irish music and musicians have influenced life in Liverpool. There’s an amazing cast of other performers including Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and Chris Hawkins. I’ve also busy writing a lot of new material. I’ve written a new love song called Déjà Vu. I’m very lucky to have a close group of very good friends. Two of them came over to a show I was doing in London. Afterwards we were drinking cocktails in a private members club in Soho. I was watching how they unconsciously checked in on each other. By the time I’d flown home to Dublin I’d written the song. It’s receiving its premiere at my show in the Laurie Beechman. There are also plenty of other new songs dealing with all sorts of topics. You’ll just have to come and listen.

Graham JMore on Graham J:

Graham J. is fast gaining an international reputation as one of the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. Acclaimed for his highly emotional interpretations, outstanding and unique vocals and his eclectic mix of repertoire. His music is being played on stations throughout the UK, USA and Canada. Graham's first album Wild Is received much acclaim with four and five star reviews from magazines such as Maverick Magazine and Blues Matters.

On his debut album Wild Is...Graham explores elements of jazz, blues, classical and alternative contemporary. The avant-garde, almost vaudevillian, presentation underlies themes of evolution and transformation which define the work. The strictures of Graham's extensive operatic career as a rarely found tenore contraltino, though strongly acknowledged, are overthrown by his love of a broader breadth of influences including Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey and Karen Carpenter. A sense of mourning, loss and ultimately resolution permeate Graham's choice of repertoire echoing the work of truly indefinable characters like Rufus Wainright, Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork.

Graham was approached by BBC 6 Music and BBC Merseyside to record his own version of Ian Prowse’s "Does This Train Stop on Merseyside." This recording will feature as part of a new documentary about how Irish Artists have influenced musical life in Liverpool. Graham J’s performance will be featured alongside contributions from major musical artists including Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and Miles Hunt.

2018 will bring exciting new material to be released.

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Saturday
Jan062018

Call Answered: Facetime interview with the cast of "Afterglow": Brandon Haagenson, Patrick Reilly, Joe Chisholm

Call Me Adam & the cast of "Afterglow" (from left to right: Brandon Haagenson, Patrick Reilly, Joe Chisholm)To combat this frigid cold NYC weather, come watch my hot & steamy interview with the cast of the hit Off-Broadway show Afterglow, currently playing at The Loft at The Davenport Theatre (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue).

Afterglow is a raw, one-act play exploring the emotional, intellectual, & physical connections between three men & the broader implications within their relationships.

"Josh" and "Alex," a married couple in an open relationship, invite "Darius" to share their bed one night. When a new intimate connection begins to form, all three men must come to terms with their individual definitions of love, loyalty, and trust as futures are questioned, relationships are shaken, and commitments are challenged. Click here for tickets!

For more on Afterglow be sure to visit http://afterglowtheplay.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Call Me Adam's hot & steamy interview with the cast of the hit Off-Broadway show Afterglow

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