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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Tuesday
Sep192017

Call Answered: Kathleen Turner: "Finding My Voice," cabaret debut at PTC, "Serial Mom" & "The Graduate"

Kathleen Turner, Photo Credit: Deborah LopezI feel eternally grateful for being given the opportunity to interview the one and only Kathleen Turner, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner & two-time Tony nominee, about her upcoming cabaret debut, entitled Finding My Voice, at Philadelphia Theatre Company. I grew up watching Kathleen Turner light up the big screen and as an adult, I got to see her on the Broadway stage. Peggy Sue Got MarriedSerial Mom, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Jewel of the Nile, and The Graduate on Broadway are just a few of my favorite Kathleen Turner projects.

Getting to talk with Kathleen about this special project was a true honor! She is so passionate about making her cabaret debut. The road to getting here was an interesting one. I loved hearing how one lunch meeting and a play lead to Kathleen fully embracing her desire to sing and the real reason why she waited so long to do it. It also fascinated me to learn why she is making her cabaret debut at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. But, my favorite part of this interview was learning who she would "Serial Mom" and who she would like to seduce, just like her character "Mrs. Robinson" did in The Graduate on Broadway.

Finding My Voice brings Kathleen's trademark husky voice to the American songbook, performing classic songs, interwoven with personal anecdotes, with her band, led by Mark Janas. Finding My Voice will play on Monday, September 25, for one night only, at Philadelphia Theatre Company at 7pm & 9pm! (480 S. Broad Street, Broad & Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146). Click here for tickets!

1. This September you are making your cabaret debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company with your show Finding My Voice. What made you want to venture into the cabaret world? How long has this been in the works for...from your first thought of, "I want to do a cabaret show" to inception? Molly Smith, who is the artistic director at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, asked me to do Mother Courage and Her Children in 2014, which is a play with songs as opposed to a full fledged musical. The character "Mother Courage" sings five songs, so I thought, I’d like to give it a try. The reason I never sang professionally, prior to Mother Courage, was because when I started in the business 40 years ago, any woman my age was a Soprano, which clearly, was not going to be me. So at the beginning of my career, I told people, "No I don’t sing, I just act" and that became true.

So I worked on my singing to get those songs to a place where I would be confident performing them before I started rehearsals. If you know Mother Courage and Her Children, they called it Lear2 because it’s a huge text, so I felt, if I got the songs out of the way before I get down there, it’d be of good for everyone. The production was thrilling, absolutely amazing. I loved doing it, I loved my singing, so, when I got back to New York, in between jobs, I contacted Andy Gale and Mark Janas, and said, I want to keep working with you guys and just see what I can do. Then I went away to do Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and upon my return, I called Andy & Mark and said I want to get serious about signing, set a real schedule, and see what happens. So all three of us started bringing in songs that we loved or thought would fit my vocal range and we discussed some stories that reflected parts of my life and from there things started to fall into place. Then one of us said, "Let’s make this a cabaret" and I said, "Ok!" So, I sat down and really started to write the body/patter of the night, linked them up to the songs and it turned into Finding My Voice.

Kathleen Turner2. What made you want to make your cabaret debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company? I'm making my debut at PTC because I created the play Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins there. They’ve always been very supportive and good to work with. The new artistic director Paige Price is just terrific. Paige & I were throwing our heads together to find a way to generate more income ourselves because you know whatever budget comes out of Washington, G-d help us, it will cut the arts. So we thought of a template to allow us to have cabaret shows on the theatre’s stage. We are sort of going to close the curtains to the house and put tables on the stage. We have a great designer who is going to hang practical chandeliers to create a ceiling and room atmosphere and we have the best sound guy in the business, Nevin Steinberg, who happens to be married to Paige (thank you very much), to figure out how to work the sound in the cinderblock world.

If we can really make this template work, why wouldn’t it work for other regional houses around the country who have dark nights during the run of a show and like PTC, have a subscription based audience.

3. What excites you most about making your cabaret debut? I’m really very proud of myself because this is something that I created and I’m getting better and better as a singer and I love it!

Some of the show is about my career and the excitement of it and being away and what that costs you and some it is about how your life changes and how you have to adjust to those unexpected moments. It’s kind of like an arc of my life, but with songs that make sense to me about it.

4. What has it been like to prepare for this evening? How is it similar to your preparation of an acting role? As you can imagine after all these years in the business, I have pretty good control of my voice, period. It wasn’t that big of a leap to use it in another way, but it is different. There’s a lot you can do with the rhythm and melody line that creates emotion or thought in cabaret that you don’t have in scripts. It’s almost like floating a boat. I’m not real sure how to describe it. I think it takes me more out of myself.

5. What was the first song you knew, hands down, you just had to sing? I was down in Washington DC doing my usual marching or testifying & Molly Smith asked me if I wanted to have lunch with her. I said, "Yeah, great." As we are driving around in her Volkswagen, and I tell this story in the show, she asks me if I can sing. I said, "Yeah, I can sing." So she asks me to sing something. I said, "What? Now? Right here in the car?" She said, "Why not?" I thought to myself, you know the song I always loved to sing is "Since I Fell For You," and so I sang that and afterwards, Molly says, "You can sing" and that is when she offered me the part in Mother Courage. But I’ll tell you, the song sounds a lot better with a band though [laughs].

6. I love the title of your show, Finding My Voice. What do you feel you found with cabaret that you were not finding in acting/directing? There's many ways to use your voice. I don’t think there is only one avenue, one method. But cabaret is a new way to use my voice. At least new to me. One of the things that was most pleasing to me was I had an invited dress about a week ago at Don’t Tell Mama’s in NYC and somebody said to me, "I really liked this. It’s not just like going to a cabaret and hearing somebody sing songs. It’s more like coming to a night of theatre." That was very exciting for me to hear because this is a show I put together.

Kathleen Turner, Photo Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK7. Are there plans already to bring this show to NYC or will you wait until after the show to figure out next steps? I already agreed to book Michael Feinstein’s club in San Francisco, Feinstein's at the Nikko, and at first, I said, "Wait a minute, I haven’t even done this yet," and Michael said, "Well, if you’re doing it, it's going to be great" and I was like "Well, thank you for the vote of confidence." So, yeah, I’m booked there in October and then I’m getting all kinds of calls from different venues around NYC, so I think we’ll be bringing it to the city. I don’t want this to run away with me, but it’s kind of ideal because, now that I know I love doing it, if I do a film or a play, I can book this show around it. It gives me a freedom within a longer-term project which is really kind of cool.

8. I have a new segment to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I like to clear up any misconceptions out there. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourself that you'd like to clear the air about? Oh honey, I’m not going to criticize myself in public. Give me a break! I mean there are plenty of people to find fault with me, let them do it.

Kathleen Turner as "Mrs. Robinson" in "The Graduate" on Broadway9. I also have a section called 1% better, where through my own fitness regime, I try to inspire people to improve their lives by 1% better everyday. What is something in your life you'd like to improve by 1% better everyday? Doing service in the organizations I volunteer for: City Meals, Planned Parenthood, and People for the American Way. I give as much as I can, given the availability of my time. It’s so rewarding & enriches my life. I tell people all the time that you don’t know how much this gives you until you start doing it. I’m always trying to do a little more of that. 

10. Two of my favorite projects of yours are Serial Mom & The Graduate on Broadway. So my two questions are, if you could Serial Mom anybody, who would you run down (my favorite way you offed someone in the movie.)? [Huge Laugh] Oh, well, why not be honest, I usually am, Mike Pence. I don’t worry about Trump as much as I worry about him.

11. In The Graduate on Broadway, you played "Mrs. Robinson," who seduced Jason Biggs' character "Benjamin Braddock," Kathleen Turner interjects, "At age 48 might I add." If you could seduce anyone today, who would you choose? That’s a good one. It’s not my style usually to seduce, but I just met Nathan Fillion, from Castle, in Toronto. He was a sweetheart! I’ll take him.

Kathleen TurnerMore on Kathleen:

American film, television and stage actress, Kathleen Turner is known for her trademark husky voice. She starred on Broadway in High, Indiscretions; The Graduate; and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for which she received Tony nominations for Best Actress. On screen, she garnered critical acclaim for her performances in Body Heat, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe; Romancing The Stone and Prizzi's Honor, each of which earned her a Golden Globe Award; Peggy Sue Got Married, which brought both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations; and War of the Roses, for another Golden Globe nomination.

On television, Kathleen guest starred on the hit NBC sitcom Friends as "Chandler Bing’s" cross dressing father and as a sex crazed owner of a talent agency on Showtime’s Californication. As a voice actress, Kathleen performed the role of "Jessica Rabbit" in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and on the television series The Simpsons and King of the Hill.

Recently, Kathleen has turned her attention to directing with such productions as Would You Still Love Me If… at New World Stages, The Killing of Sister George at Long Wharf Theatre, and Crimes of the Heart at both Roundabout Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival. In addition, Kathleen released her 2008 autobiography Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles, which secured a position on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Wednesday
Sep132017

Call Answered: Allison King: "Midnight Special," "Baby Driver," and "Thank You For Your Service"

Allison King, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson, Hair: Matilde Campos, Makeup: Anton KhachaturianWhen you meet an actress like Allison King who loves dogs, goes hiking, and has worked with some of your favorite actors, there's nothing you can do, but get excited to interview her!

If you look at Allison King's resume, it's like a who's who of Hollywood, of whom she has already worked with: Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Amy Schumer, Kirsten Dunst, & Adam Driver. In this interview, we find out about all the projects she's worked on plus the one trip that changed her life!

Most recently, Allison was seen in Baby Driver, alongside Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey. This October she can be seen with Amy Schumer in Thank You For Your Service, based on the book of the same name, which follows the story of men who have come back after tours in Afghanistan with PTSD. The film concentrates on how the disease can affect the individuals and their families.

For more on Allison check out her IMDB page and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I had wanted to be an actor from a really early age. I wanted to be "Joan Wilder" in Romancing the Stone or "Mikey" in Goonies. When I was a kid though, my parents insisted I have a normal childhood so they quietly discouraged it. It wasn’t until much later, when I saw Bill Irwin do Fool Moon in San Francisco that that desire came back…and it came back strong. Right away I signed up for a part time conservatory at ACT in San Francisco and it started me on this path anew. Since then, I’m constantly inspired by the work of other actors. Frances McDormand and Nicole Kidman are my current obsessions.

Allison King2. As a kid you often put on plays and dance recitals for your parents. Now that you are professionally working, what does the kid in you think about where you are now? I kind of can’t believe it. The road upward in this business gets very daunting. There was a day about eight years ago where I had to release any expectation of success. I had been auditioning pretty regularly and I just could not book a job. I had to say to myself: "Even if I never have any outward success I’ll be happy just doing free theater in my community." And that was the truth. The process and the joy of the work is really the best part. Funny enough, that hasn’t changed since being a kid and putting on silly recitals in my front room.

3. Seeing whom you've starred alongside thus far, is like a who's who of Hollywood, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Amy Schumer, Kirsten Dunst, & Adam Driver, just to name a few. What do you think is one lesson you learned from each of these heavy hitters? Yeah, meeting your idols is always a strange experience. You realize quickly that they’re just another creative artist trying to do their best work, and you hope they’re just another actor. Meaning: We actors have similar ways of working, of taking care of each other during a scene, whether it’s on stage or on set: we show up for each other in a way that is intimate and vulnerable and really magical. I think the thing to learn is they’re doing the same work we’re doing. Yes, they have higher salaries and other fun perks, but ultimately the work is the same. That scene you did in class feels the same as the scene you do on set with Big Name Star. You may get a lot more juice from them, but it’s still the same work. 

Allison King, Photo Credit: Dana Patrick4. What can you tell us about your experience filming the recently released Baby Driver starring Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey? I had been talking to anyone who would listen about Shaun of the Dead for years. So when I got the audition for Baby Driver, I already knew the Edgar Wright canon and just wanted to work with him so badly. Then in the call back he was just about as nice as a sweet peach. Talk about meeting your idols! So yeah, it was really fun! I mean, Edgar is a genius and I knew I was in good hands. Then meeting Bill Pope was like a cherry on top and again, so nice and generous and down to earth. Then the actors. I mean, I almost have nothing to say because it was all like a dream…a beautiful dream that I’m still afraid I’ll wake up from.

5. This October you star along with Amy Schumer, in Thank You For Your Service, a film which follows the story of men who have come back after tours in Afghanistan with PTSD. How did you prepare for your role of "Linda Sanders," an overworked Veterans Affair Counselor? How do you feeling working on film with such a serious subject matter changed you? The movie is based on a book (of the same name) by David Finkel and is a follow up to his other book, The Good Soldiers. So, to prepare I read the books and I spoke to some vets I knew in my own personal life specifically about their experience at the VA and with their own counselors. Jason Hall’s script is so beautiful and stays close to what David Finkel wrote so I felt I had so much source material to get lost in. It was really lovely to have those touchstones. As for how it changed me, it’s hard to say, because I’ve always been concerned about the welfare of our veterans. It’s a shame on our country how we treat our vets. The sheer will and bravery these soldiers have shown deserves a lot more than they get. Especially with this administration and it’s unhinged tweets isolating an entire sector of that group. I mean, it’s a deep shame we all carry. We can pretend it’s not there but we need to face it and do something about it.

Allison King in "Midnight Special"6. In the sci-fi drama Midnight Special, you played "Hannah," a cult survivor who lived each day to the fullest. What I want to know is in this post-election world where it looks like doomsday could be any day, how do you, Allison, live each day to the fullest? Wow good question! I definitely have had to limit my exposure to media since November. I get my news from only a few trusted sources so that I can stay informed and the rest I kind of block out. I also take action when it’s necessary so that I feel a part of this great democracy. Then there are two things that keep me happy. The first is paying attention to my body. I think as a woman we’re taught from an early age to be polite and be nice even in situations where we feel we’re in danger. This creates a disconnect of self to body so we begin to not trust our instincts and ourselves. I believe our body always knows the truth and so I try to stay connected. That means drinking water, exercise and rest. It also means taking time out and re-reading my favorite books, or listening to music that pleases me.

Secondly, I try to cultivate joy. This goes back to the body and listening to what she needs. But it’s also checking my mindset and making sure I don’t focus only on the negative. As someone who’s dealt with depression, this is really important. My mind can get dark and I need to make sure to keep the blinds up and the windows open, you know? I have a quote on my refrigerator that I stole from my friend (fellow actress) Annie Cavalero: "Relax and Breathe: There are too many possible positive outcomes to be a pessimist." I love this and it’s a perfect reminder as I refill my water bottle.

Allison King7. How do you feel studying abroad in Paris shaped you as an actress? What is one thing you miss most about Paris? Paris was actually a huge turning point in my life, not just in acting. It was seismic and profound and hard and lonely and sad and romantic and wonderful. I had been a very young 19 going in and had a profound growing up experience there. I think the biggest lesson I walked away with was how limitless life could be. We grow up in our little kid lives, and our parents are like gods, and you play by the rules and do what you’re told, and we’re completely shaped by our limited experiences.

It was this amazing gift that I gave myself, to jump out of my mold and see what it was to be American, Woman, Student, Nanny from a completely different perspective. My family was just amazed that I had done this thing…I mean I had never even left California! I came home bigger and more fluid and compared to that, things weren’t as scary as they used to be. As for what I miss, I mean, I miss the night walks through the city, I miss the history, the trees in spring, sitting beside the Seine in the summer. And the metro: if only all cities had such an impressive transportation system!

8. Like you, I am a dog lover as well. If you could be any kind of dog, which one would you be? I mean, any dog would do! But I think a mutt. I feel like a mutt most days, the long shot, the scrappy one no one ever expected much of, the one you’re not sure about at first but who wins you over in the long run. That seems about right.

Allison King and her dog9. When you take your dog for walks on the beach, do you ever just sit and stare out into the ocean? If so, what do you think about when you are looking out over the great body of water? Honestly, I go very literal when I look at the ocean. I imagine all the life down there that you can’t see. I think of the forms of life we haven’t discovered yet. I think of how all those forms of life are interconnected and interdependent. I also like to think that this water may have touched the shores of Japan or China and India and Dubai and France. The water is all connected and it connects us all. I also like to think about how it’s always moving and never at rest. I love being near the water. It is wonderfully uplifting and grounding all at once.

10. I also love how you enjoy hiking with your dog. 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? What a nice question. I think…hmmm…I’d like to think I work on my own self-love every day. I hate that word: self-love, but there is no word for it that I’ve found. It comprises self acceptance, self understanding, self knowledge and self growth. I think when you’re not in the mainstream (ie, white, cis, straight male), there is this voice inside of you that is separate from your Self and you examine your Self from that external vantage and necessarily that Self is found wanting because it isn’t in line with the mainstream. I think recognizing that separation, healing it, and then discovering, without judgment, who you are and what you love is a radical act. I’m really jazzed about the new voices emerging from the "fringes" on shows like Transparent, Insecure, Masters of None. It feels so fresh and exciting and whole and creative. And I want to continue to find that voice in myself: what is the feminine without the whore/mother division. But it’s a constant journey of acceptance and love and striving for growth and then acceptance and love again. Sometimes all I want to do is take over the world and sometimes I want to eat Cheetos and watch Hulu. So there you have it.

Allison King, Photo Credit: Dana PatrickMore on Allison:

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Allison's passion for acting began at the young age of five. A natural performer, she would often put on plays and dance recitals for her mother and father. After noticing her talents, her mother put her into dance classes to further develop her skills. Allison went on to attend San Francisco State University, where she studied International Relations and French, as well as taking her first acting classes. After studying abroad in Paris for a year, Allison landed in New York City where she studied at The Esper Studio. After her stint on the East Coast, Allison returned to Los Angeles where she resides with her husband and their beloved dog Cassius. In her spare time, she loves to go on hikes with Cassius at parks and dog beaches.

Monday
Sep112017

Call Answered: Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood" at The PIT

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonIf you are a parent, particularly a mother or mother-figure, this interview is for you! Life is one big adventure and how we react to it varies from person to person. Motherhood is one journey, and while I don't have personal experience with it, I know a lot of woman who handle it with varying degrees. Some are super excited by it and all that has to go with it. Others can barely keep their head above water. And some glide through it, taking it all in stride. How ever you walk through it, one thing is for sure, you are not alone. And that's what Jamie Aderski has discovered in her show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood, which will be coming back to The PIT this fall.

Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood came about because Jamie had a baby. People ask her "How’s it going?" and she’s tired of saying "Great!" Everyone lied to her about birth and beyond, so here’s the raw truth. After this show, people may now ask "Is she ok?" Whether you have a kid, are thinking about having one, or can’t even keep a plant alive, it’s vital you attend.

Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood will play from September 15-November 10 at The PIT's The Striker Theatre (123 East 24th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Jamie be sure to visit http://jamieaderski.com and follow her on Facebook, TwitterYouTube and Instagram!

Jamie Aderski1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress/comedian? I wanted to be an actress since I was a kid. I loved musicals, that was what I wanted to do; acting, dancing and singing. I knew early on that in order to stand out, you needed to create your own material, so I produced a show in my backyard when I was seven. Nobody showed up. Hoping this show goes better.

I got into comedy because I was tired of trying to fit into a box as an actress. I was always drawn to comedy, but didn't think it could really be a thing for me. I grew up watching SNL, SCTV, The State, Upright Citizens Brigade, Mr. Show, and the women seemed like an afterthought. They didn't get to play the meaty bits like the men did. More often than not they were there for the men to play off of, the "straight (wo)man," mom, wife. Looking back, there are many female comedians to look to as inspiration for a career in comedy, but that's not how it felt at the time. I think the late 90's was a turning point, when I started to see females really kicking ass. I'll never forget when I first saw Waiting For Guffman. I was so in awe. These were real (comedic) characters with depth! And the women! Parker Posey, and of course, the brilliant Catherine O'Hara whom I have always admired. Then, Tina Fey, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, these are the woman that I wanted (and still aspire) to be. They were all funny as hell and fearless. They commanded respect.

Designed by Cayla Merrill2. This fall you are returning to The PIT with your show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood. What made now the right to bring this show back? It gets me out of the house, ha! But also, I miss it. There is an endless cycle of people thinking about having kids, having kids, deciding not to have kids. It's a pretty universal topic. Lately, a lot of people I know are recently married or pregnant couples, which I think fired me up to do this show again because I've been talking about it so much. It's a public service, really.

3. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment. When did you decide to write this show? I really didn't decide to. I actively made the decision that I wasn't going to write anything for a while. I was in such a deep hole after having my son. Two-ish months in, I woke up, not because he was crying, but because the title popped into my head. I grabbed pen and paper (I always keep next to my bed, I find I get my best ideas in the middle of the night) and ended up writing a few pages. I woke up and was like, "Well crap, I have to write this show now." And from there, honestly, it was the easiest thing I've ever written, which made me question if this show was just the incoherent ramblings of a sleep deprived, hormonal, postpartum mom. Happy to say I was pleasantly surprised that people dug it so much.

Jamie Aderski in "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood", Photo Credit: No Future Photography4. How did writing/performing this show help you reconcile your feelings of frustration with what others told you or didn't tell you about motherhood? It was/is cathartic. I think that's why I love to perform it so much. I have a real goal and a message I want to get across, well, several. It's an active, living, breathing show. The things I talk about are graphic, raw, and (what I thought was) my experience alone. I didn't expect that so many people would be able to relate to it. Parents and non-parents have thanked me after the show for being so honest. I'm a pretty private person, but it's worth the risk of being so vulnerable if I can put on a show that is healing for me, and empowers other people. (And also if I can make people laugh at this crazy shit. Then it's worth it).

5. Since the show is called Cry Baby, what is one thing you just cried like a baby over about birth or motherhood? My body being destroyed from pushing a human out of it. It was a shock. I read every book, every blog, but nothing was thorough enough, specific enough. I felt like I would never heal. Everything hurt, everything was was bleeding, everything was out of order. And I thought I would pee my pants forever. But it gets better.

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal Pearson6. I feel the description of your show is like that episode of Sex and The City where "Berger" tells "Miranda," "He's just not that into you" and she has that revelation of truth and then in turn tries to impart that knowledge on others. What one piece of advice you learned from birth or motherhood that you must let people know before they themselves experience it? That you can't really prepare for it. That it's okay to be depressed after what is "supposed" to be the most incredible experience of your life. It doesn't mean you love your child less than someone who isn't. Let go of expectations.

You can't prepare for how you will feel physically or mentally after birth (or in life, like, ever, right?) And ask for help. I don't like to ask for help, I never have, but now, I am humbled. I need to sometimes. Look for the helpers, like "Mister Rogers" said, they are there. Don't be too proud to stand by the subway stairs with your stroller and make eye contact until someone offers to help. I make a point to pay it forward, so that I don't feel bad about needing help from a stranger. Now I look for people who need help, and it feels good. I never saw them before.

7. What has been the worst part of motherhood? What has been the best part? The worst part is having to give up time for yourself. I can't just grab a drink with a friend or wander around Union Square or take a nap. It sounds selfish, but I'm selfish. Aren't we all? Shouldn't we be? The best part is that it's not just you anymore. There is someone more important, and that's oddly freeing. I've realized how most of the shit I worried about doesn't matter. And I'll nap when I'm dead. So there's that to look forward to.

Jamie Aderksi and family, Photo Credit: Jamie Grill photography8. What has been some of your favorite audience reactions to this show? A 20-something said to me: "I thought it was just gonna be about having a baby (eye roll). But it wasn't! I loved it!" - my favorite quote.

A woman who recently had a baby thanked me with tears in her eyes. She felt like she was alone. It's 2017 and the mental health and well-being of new moms is a taboo subject? All the more reason I want to do this show to normalize it and create awareness. Also to make people laugh. I said that already, right?

9. Has your mom seen this show? If so, what did she think of it? She did! She thought it was "so relatable" because she "went through all those things, too!" Naturally, I was pissed, and of course, I asked why she didn't warn me. Her answer: "It (having a baby) is so difficult, but if I told you, I wouldn't have a grandchild." Clearly my Mom is part of the problem, oy!

10. If you could do it all again with the knowledge you gained, would you still become a mother? A thousand times, yes. (But I would go easier on myself).

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonMore on Jamie:

Jamie is an actress, comedian, and writer, originally from South Jersey. She studied at The Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and Annoyance Theatre (NYC). She is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio conservatory program for acting (NYC), and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in psychology from Fordham University. Jamie has been featured in sketches for Comedy Central, UCB Digital, Elite Daily, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has appeared in several national commercials, and in print ads with babies and stuff. Inspired by real things and imaginary things in her head, Jamie is the writer and performer of character pieces. Also, her solo show, I Just Disappear, was showcased in the 2016 Boston Comedy Arts Festival and her newest one-woman show, Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood was a part of the 2016 SOLOCOM Festival in NYC. The comedic sitcom pilot she wrote, The F-Factor, most recently won 4th place in FilmMakers.com's TV script writing competition. She performs in repertory at The Peoples Improv Theater (where she also teaches improv,) Wednesdays at 8pm on the Mainstage with improv house team, "Desperado."

Friday
Sep082017

Call Answered: Lisa Loeb: "Lullaby Girl", "Stay", & Broadway dreams

Lisa Loeb"So, I, turned the radio on and I turned the radio up" and 23 years later, I'm still listening to Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb. "Truthfully" it was a dream come true to interview Lisa about her upcoming family album Lullaby Girl. I have always found Lisa's songs and lyrics to be inquisitive, sophisticated, and right on the money when I needed a song to get me through the rough times, but also to celebrate the good times!

Lullaby Girl, out October 6, is a new Amazon Original family music album available for streaming exclusively through Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music, as well as for digital download or physical purchase through Amazon Music. Lullaby Girl offers fresh and dreamy arrangements of 13 classic songs from a variety of genres with a world-class quartet led by keyboardist Larry Goldings. Originally planned as a traditional lullaby record for children, Loeb and her collaborators found a uniquely different path during the recording process and realized this would be an album for kids and adults alike.

Lullaby Girl features such familiar songs as "Be My Baby" (The Ronettes), "All the Pretty Little Horses," "Dream a Little Dream," "What the World Needs Now Is Love," "O-o-h Child," "In My Room" (Brian Wilson), and "Tomorrow" from Broadway's Annie as well as Lisa’s original songs, "Close Your Eyes" and "Lullaby Girl." 

Lullaby Girl will be available October 6 and can be pre-ordered here!

For more on Lisa be sure to visit https://www.lisaloeb.com and follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!

Lisa Loeb1. Who or what inspired you to be a singer/songwriter? No one really inspired me. I always had music around me. I also had access to choosing my own music, whether it was picking out a record I wanted to hear or radio station I wanted to listen to, so there was a lot of involvement in music. I also enjoyed doing musical theatre as a kid and learning the popular songs of the time. Like a lot of my constituents, I took piano lessons when I was six or seven years old and started writing music back then. So, music has always been a part of me.

Me: Since you mentioned musical theatre, I hope one day on your plan is to come to Broadway and do a show.

Lisa Loeb: I would love it. We are always talking about it and figuring out if there’s an opportunity there and trying to make it happen because that would be very exciting. It would be like a dream come true. On my newest record, Lullaby Girl, coming out October 6, I recorded "Tomorrow" from Annie. It was so much fun to record. I just love to sing and dance. It'd be great to be in a musical.

2. This October you are releasing your new family album Lullaby Girl, a collection of classic songs from a variety of genres. What do you like about recording children's music or making music that can be shared by children & adults alike? It’s funny, this record is the least kind of kid's record we made. In fact, somebody was asking us, when we were figuring out how to promote the record, what were the focus tracks for kids? That is almost impossible to figure out because there was really no kids and grown-ups in it. It was just songs I loved growing up and a few originals too. I think traditionally for my kids records we write or choose songs that have a different element about them than my grown-up songs. For children, they are not always about relationships, in that traditional romantic relationship way, they are more about experiences. There’s a more colorful vivid element to the lyrics and I think I tend to do a little more experimenting with music styles. With this newest record, we were working with standards and I think when I was a kid, kids were just expected to live in the grown-up world, not in a bad way, but just there was a little bit more sophistication, humor and silliness, but not in a kid-centered way, the music still appealed to kids and I think that’s what I continue to try to do and feel that is what’s happening with my music.

3. Before we get to this new album, let's go back to 2003 when you released your first children's album. At that time, what made you want to move into children's music? I think it was inspired by my love for kid’s things. I’m really sentimental. While I listened to a lot of adult music like The Mamas and the Papas, Led Zeplin, classical music, and musical theatre, there were a handful of children’s records that really spoke to me like Marlo Thomas' Free To Be You and Me and Carole Kings' Really Rosie.

Making children's music was more about capturing my childhood and sharing that than performing for kids. I think grown-ups who have a connection to their own childhood might connect to it better. That music is timeless. After I made Catch The Moon, my first kid’s record, I moved into doing an album of summer camp songs, but it again it was more about me sharing my experience and reminiscing.

Lisa Loeb4. I am loving your renditions of "Be My Baby" and "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" on Lullaby Girl. What was the biggest challenge in stripping down these songs from their original version and turning them into more acoustic/lullaby songs? Well, it was less about stripping down and more about reinterpreting these songs. We were specifically trying to do a lullaby record so we had to find tones in the instruments that set the mood for the different phases of sleep. With the songs that were most familiar like Fleetwood Mac’s "Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," we really had to do something different to give that rhythmic feel. We wanted versions that were interesting. Each song was interpreted in a different way, but tried to be true to the original arrangement of the song. Other songs we tried to interpret directly because we felt that represented the song best, like "Dream A Little Dream." As we looked at the big picture of all the different songs we were doing, we were trying to approach them at different angles so the audience can go to different places, but still be in that world of lullaby.

5. Your original songs "Lullaby Girl" & "Close Your Eyes" are terrific. They fit so well in this album. Did you write them first and then centered the other songs & sound around them or was it the other way around? We wrote "Close Your Eyes" while were in the middle of choosing songs for the record. We weren’t sure how many covers & how many original songs were going to be there, so we started choosing the songs and what they might sound like and then in the middle of that process, my collaborates, Larry, Rich, & I wrote "Close Your Eyes." We did want something that would fit instrumentally with the group of musicians we knew would be playing with us. Then we were about to write another song, but I remembered writing some other lullabies, so I looked back in my catalog and saw I had a couple of songs and I found "Lullaby Girl," which is a little more modern than some of the other songs on the record, but I feel like with the placement after "All The Pretty Little Horses," it picks up on that singer-songwriter feel.

"Lullaby Girl" was a song I wrote with my friend Cliff. We were visiting Nashville and it was my first day there and it was very late at night, so I called to wish my daughter "Good Night" and after I hung up the phone, Cliff & I were like, "Well, we’re in Nashville, so we should write a song." So we decided to write a song inspired by that moment of me calling my daughter, which became "Lullaby Girl."

6. This past May, "Stay" celebrated its 23rd anniversary! Looking back over your career and life these past 23 years, and since "Stay" was on the Reality Bites soundtrack, when was there a time, you said to yourself, "Reality Bites!, like it just really stinks"? I definitely think there are challenges in the direction the music industry is going for musicians. For listeners it’s awesome, we can get any song we want, anytime, with all these different apps we have. I mean, my mom used to have to drive me to some weird part of town to find albums and songs, and now we just push a button. For musicians it's tough because a lot of income goes away. It’s not what we expected. When you’ve been doing this for a long time, you think you’ll get royalties, but when listeners can get everything for free, the checks aren’t coming in. It makes it hard to do the job if it’s not paying for itself. I think most industries are taking a hit that way, you know budgets are down all over the place. The most stressful part is when you love what you are doing and you know there is an audience out there, but you still have to think about how is this a business and the way in which it works. I think any artists or entrepreneur will always need to be concerned with the business side of things, but I just feel the break point has changed especially since it’s such a do-it-yourself kind of world. I’ve always been hands-on and love connecting with fans, but the balance has shifted a lot. We need a little bit more time to create our art and less time to create social network strategies.

7. In your song, "The Way It Really Is," you sing "Maybe what if it could be the way I wish it really was. Maybe I don't want to see it the way it really is." What is something that you did you want to see "The Way It Really Is"? I think it’s mostly relationship situations. I’ve been in relationships where I ignore the immediate signs of what is not working. It’s said that when you break up with somebody, the reason you break up is the reason you knew in the beginning it wasn’t going to work out. It’s ignoring those blatant signs and then you look back and go, "Ugh, I knew that was the reason it wasn't going to work."

8. If you could invite 4 people to have "Cake & Pie" with, you would you invite and what kind of "Cake & Pie" would you have? That’s such a hard question. I’m never good at narrowing down people. Elton John would be really fun. Patton Oswalt the comedian would be great too. If it were non-famous people, I would choose my husband and my three best friends. I would serve yellow cake with a light coating of chocolate frosting and sprinkles as well as cherry pie from Earth Café.

9. This next question is in sort of in line with the work you do for Muddy Puddle Project, which reminds kids and adults to always try to enjoy life, take small moments and not put them off until later. If this was your last day on earth, what would you want to do that you haven't done yet? I wouldn’t say I haven’t done this, but I would love to go the Caribbean and put my feet in the gorgeously warm turquoise water and that beautiful white sand.

10. I have a new segment to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I like to clear up any misconceptions out there. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourself? People think I’m kind of quiet and timid. I think that comes from the fact I’m a small person and was so emotional in my video for "Stay." But, I’m not. I’m an outspoken business person who’s not so quiet.

11. I also have a section on my website called "One Percent Better" where, through my own fitness commitment, I try to inspire people to improve their lives by one percent better everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by 1% better everyday? That’s cool. Sleeping. It’s always on my mind and I do think to make it better everyday. I’d like to sleep more and sleep better.

12. What is a quirk about yourself that your friends make fun of you for? When I was kid I used to get made fun of for my love of David Bowie. I would always get so excited about his music and anytime I would tell my friends “Guys, you have to listen to this song by David Bowie, it’s called "The Bewlay Brothers" or other tracks from the Hunky Dory record, they’d always make fun of me for it.

Lisa Loeb, Photo Credit: Juan PatinoMore on Lisa:

Grammy nominated Lisa Loeb is a singer-songwriter, producer, touring artist, author and philanthropist who started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song "Stay (I Missed You)" from the film Reality Bites. A trailblazing independent artist, Lisa was the first pop musician to have a Number 1 single while not signed to a recording contract. She followed that remarkable feat with the hit singles "Do You Sleep," "I Do," and "Let's Forget about It" and the albums Cake and Pie and No Fairy Tale, among others.

Lisa continues to craft irresistible pop songs for the 21st century, while designing Lisa Loeb Eyewear, writing children's books, and supporting non-profit causes. The Los Angeles based mother of two is well-known to parents and kids for her albums Catch the Moon (with Elizabeth Mitchell) and Amazon Music exclusives, Nursery Rhyme Parade! and Feel What U Feel (featuring Craig Robinson and Ed Helms). She has also published two picture book-CDs for Sterling Children’s Books: Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ and Shakin' and Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing Along.

In addition to these family albums, Lisa's Camp Lisa raises funds for The Camp Lisa Foundation to allow kids, who wouldn't normally have the opportunity, to go to summer camp, and in 2015, the American Camp Association, New England named Lisa Loeb as their Camp Champions Honoree.

Lisa's recent film and television appearances include Netflix’s Sandy Wexler, TV Land’s Teachers, Amazon’s Creative Galaxy, @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, Last week Tonight with John OliverAbout a Boy, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Lisa is currently touring around the United States and Canada, releasing new styles of her signature eyewear through Lisa Loeb Eyewear, and will soon be releasing music videos to coincide with her Amazon Music family record, Feel What U Feel.

Thursday
Sep072017

Call Answered: Aliyah Moulden: "The Voice" & Netflix's "Anastasia: Once Upon A Time"

Aliyah Moulden, Photo Credit: Anthony TopmanWhen you hear someone like Aliyah Moulden sing, you are immediately entranced! Watching her on Season 12 of The Voice was a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat moment. But how exciting to see her make it into the final Top 3, becoming the youngest contestant ever to secure a spot in the Top 3!

What a joy to talk with this rising star! From getting the inside scoop about her time on The Voice to working with Blake Shelton to landing a leading role in Netflix's upcoming film Anastasia: Once Upon Time, Aliyah and I discuss it all!

For more on Aliyah be sure to visit https://www.aliyahmoulden.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and IMDB!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? When I was five years old I watched Rhianna performing on MTV. I thought to myself, "I want to do that." Rhianna totally became my ideal artist.

Aliyah Moulden, Photo Credit: NBC/Universal2. You just completed a run on NBC's The Voice, being the YOUNGEST contestant ever to secure a spot in the Top 3. What was that experience like for you? What was the best part about being on the show and what was the most challenging part? I did become the YOUNGEST contestant to ever secure a spot in the Top 3. The best part was performing on The Voice stage. It was an awesome experience. The most challenging part of the show was preparing a performance in such a short period of time. I wanted to do my best every time, and it was so very stressful.

3. What was it like having Blake Shelton as your coach? What is one piece of advice he gave you that you took with you? Blake Shelton was the most amazing coach to me. He helped me as much as he could. He was very caring towards me. He was like a father role model to me. He advised me to be aware of the audience, and to perform songs that were appealing to them.

Blake Shelton and Aliyah Moulden performing on "The Voice", Photo Credit: NBC/Universal4. At just 15 years old, you have gotten lots of attention from your time on The Voice. How do you handle this change? I am 15 years old. I never imagined that I would get that far in the show. I thank all the people who supported me during my time on The Voice. I hope that the attention from The Voice puts me on the path for me to getting closer to my dream of becoming an artist.

5. You just recorded your first EP, which features the song, "We Own The World." If you could own the world, what would you do with it? I would love to contribute to make this a better world. I hope that in the future I am able to help children in poverty and to work on getting rid of cancer.

Aliyah Moulden, Photo Credit: Aliyah Moulden6. In addition to music, you are also concentrating on your acting roles. What do you get from acting that you don't get from singing? I love acting. It provides me with the opportunity to get into the people’s homes, and to share precious moments.

7. One exciting role you just booked is on Netflix's Anastasia: Once Upon a Time where you play an ’80s pop star, who encounters the young "Anastasia"(played by Emily Carey), when "Anastasia" emerges through the time portal. What made you want to be part of this film? What do you identify most with your character? What is one characteristic of your character you are glad you don't possess yourself? I wanted to be a part of this film to have the opportunity to work with such talented and promiment actors, writers, and music producers. I identify most with the character as she is a pop singer. I love to sing myself. The only thing characteristic that I am glad I don’t posess is that I do love my present time. The ‘80s is a wonderful time, but this to me is the best time.

8. In addition to starring in this family comedy, you will write and perform several original songs for the film. How did you get to score such a high honor to not only star in the show but to get to write & perform several songs? I can only thank the producers of the movie for such high honor. I am so thankful to the producers Armando Gutierrez, Eli Lipnik, Peter Lees,  Bret Jone, and Blake Harris, for taking the time and writting a part just for me. I am grateful for them to think so highly of me. I am so happy that they believe in me to write, and perfom several songs in the film.

Aliyah Moulden, Photo Credit: NBC/Universal9. From all this success you are having, what is something you feel you've learned about yourself throughout this process? What is something about yourself you are worried about losing? I am thankful for the success I am having. I have learned that I have to work really hard and to stay focused to achieve my goals. I am worried about loosing some part of my private life.

10. I have a new part to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now." We all know the internet can write things about us that sometimes aren't true. So, what is something you want to clear the air about yourself that you feel is getting out there about you that is simply not true? I would like to clear up about myself that I do not have a boyfriend at this time.

11. I also have a section on my website called "One Percent Better" where through my own fitness regime, I encourage people to improve their life by one percent better everyday. What is something about yourself that you want to improve by 1% better everyday? I would like to work out more, & back to my fitness regiment to improve my life.

Aliyah Moulden, Photo Credit: NBC/UniversalMore on Aliyah:

Aliyah Moulden is a super-vocalist powerhouse and triple threat performer, who leaves audiences spellbound just at the age of 15. Savvy musicians compare this young artist to legends such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Adele. Aliyah just completed a stint as a contestant on The Voice 2017, achieving the top 3 status on one of the top rated music shows on NBC. During her time on the show, she worked with the award winning artist and country singer, Blake Shelton, as her personal coach. She credits Blake for giving her an incredible advantage as a performer. Other career highlights include opening for Beyoncé protégés Chole X Hale, preforming at BET Experience LA Live in 2016, opened for the cast of Disney’s Channel’s Shake It Up, after party opener for platinum singer Jesse McCarney, did a National summer tour with Michael Deleasa, with continuous collaborations with Alessia Cara, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Zedd, Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and much more. She is proud of the completion of her first EP which features the song "We Own the World" written by Multi-Platinum producer Drew Lane (Hannah Montana and High School Musical). She was also a part of the National Official Stand Up Tour 2015, conducted by Peggy Lafrate Senior Director of Sales at Teen Life and President at Strega Entertainment Group. Ms. Lafrate was previously Radio Disney’s Northeastern regional manager. As an ambassador for the tour, Aliyah recorded the theme song for the Tour with American Idol Finalists Robbie Rosenlive, in collaboration with up and coming band The House on Cliff, and other artists. In the acting world, she just booked a lead role in Netflix original film Anastasia: Once Upon A Time.