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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Sunday
Aug092009

Orfeh

Orfeh, a Tony Award nominee, is a voice to be heard. She started her career in the 1990s as the lead singer of the dance group "Or-N-More". The group's self-titled album went gold and their single "Everyotherday" climbed to #1 on the club music charts. Orfeh made her Broadway debut in 1998 in "Footloose" as the understudy to every female role in the show. She then went on to star in the ten-member company of "The Gershwins' FascinatingRhythm" in which Orfeh belted out modern interpretations of Gershwin classics, alongside Adriane Lenox, Sara Ramirez, & Patrick Wilson. Even though it closed after 17 performances, Orfeh's next shining moment was just around the corner in Broadway's "Saturday Night Fever", not only did she receive rave reviews from critics, she also won the rave review her co-star and now husband, Andy Karl. After "Saturday Night Fever", Orfeh and Andy both starred in quite a few of shows together: "Me & Mrs. Jones", "Bright Lights, Big City" (both at the Prince Theater in PA), and "Legally Blonde" which garnered Orfeh a Tony Award nomination for Beast Featured Actress. Off-Broadway, she has starred in "Janis Joplin in Love" & "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" as well as the Actor's Fund of America benefit concerts of "Dreamgirls" & "Hair". In addition to theatre, Orfeh has found time to guest star on such TV shows as "Sex and the City", "Chappelle's Show", & "Law & Order: Criminal Intent". Her latest project is the release of her solo debut album "What Do You Want From Me" which can be found online and in record stores around the country. Be sure to catch Orfeh this Wednesday, August 12 in New York City at 8pm, at Ars Nova in in "Remember The Time: The Music of Michael Jackson". For tickets visit: https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/7404395 and for all the latest and greatest on Orfeh, check out www.orfeh.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I don't know if it was a specific performer that inspired me, there were many in all genres. Going to the movies, or listening to the radio, that inspired me and I knew that whatever it was that those people were doing (making movies, making records), that's what I wanted to do. I have had a life long devotion to Prince, if I had to mention someone by name specifically.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I think I was about 6 years old and started to sing every song I heard anywhere. Taking a road trip with me was always an interesting experience for my family because there was the car radio and then there was ME :)

3. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I'm not sure what the lowest note is but I have been told by Seth Rudetsky that I have belted an F# 2ce over middle C.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I am apparently a good make-up artist. In addition to having done my own, at times rather garish "beat" for all the Broadway and off Broadway shows I've been in, I've done much subtler and more appropriate make-up for a bunch of my friends on several important occasions. I learned the skill from some excellent make-up artists throughout the years and my friend and make-up artist Isabel. If all else fails...

5. What defines good theatre? That's a more involved answer than a sentence or two can give it justice but to put it simply, I think if you leave the theatre feeling better/moved/different in any way than when you came in, you've had a good theatrical experience. Especially with regards to musical theatre.

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My dreams are really lucid and complicated as they are so I don't even want to guess.

7. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? I don't drink coffee, never have but I love, love Dunkin' donuts toasted coconut donuts.

8. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman, of course!

9. What skin care products do you use? Foaming cleanser, astringent, eye cream and a really great face cream with SPF.

10. Describe your worst shopping experience? I don't think you can have a bad shopping experience, at least I haven't.

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Wednesday
Aug052009

Jay Brannan

Independent singer/songwriter, Jay Brannan is on the rise. He has self-published his own music, starred in John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus" (plus he contributed a song to the film's soundtrack), and extensively toured the US & abroad singing his heart out and connecting with fans. Jay's first music release was the 4-song EP "Unmastered", which debuted at #2 on iTunes Folk Albums Chart. His second release was the full length album "GODDAMNED", which debuted at #25 on the overall iTunes album charts & featured as one of iTunes "Best New Artists of 2008". His latest release is an album of covers + two orginal songs called "IN LIVING COVER".  It takes a truly talented artist to take someone else's song and make it their own while keeping true to the original, but Jay Brannan has that talent which he clearly demonstrates on "IN LIVING COVER". With an allegence of fans, Jay knows how to captivate and connect with his audience, not only with his voice, but with his stage presence. He just finished the US leg of his "I Suck At Life" tour with the European leg kicking off in September. Be sure to catch him! For more on Jay and his music visit: http://www.jaybrannan.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? i really dont know, but if i ever find out who is responsible for me pursuing a career in entertainment, i'm going to kill them.

2. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? hell yeah, i think about it everyday!  i've been really lucky to get to do some incredible stuff, and i'm so grateful, but it is more work and more terrifying and more difficult (and more expensive!) than people can imagine.  i actually have "quit" before, but somehow i ended up back in it, so...i guess i'll keep going til i decide to stop :)

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? i can eat 400 times my body weight in ramen noodles.

4. What's the weirdest thing you've read about yourself and where did you read it? i've actually read a lot of crazy shit about myself, but i attached a quote from a UK magazine that's rather amazing (read the part in black).

"If your'e going to have sex on film you want to look your best, right? That added pressure on trying to keep it up, you can't fake that. And we're under these bright lights and there's people watching and it was start and stop for six hours." -Straight boy Jay Brannan on his first gay threesome.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? buffy the vampire slayer.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? swimming.

7. Boxers or Briefs? briefs.

8. Favorite hobby? is having sex a hobby?

9. Favorite website? www.continental.com.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What's your most embarrassing on-stage moment? i played a song at the Shortbus premiere afterparty, and i followed this performance artist who was naked and squeezing red syrup all over herself from a foam heart (as if it were blood).  the syrup "blood" was all over the floor and when i sat down on a chair with my guitar to play, the chair slipped in the syrup and i fell on my ass and my jeans got all stained red.

12. What was your first face to face encounter like? yikes this i actually don't remember! i do remember my first "fanmail" ever though :)  back when people had friendster!!  i saved a copy :)


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Sunday
Aug022009

Jared Gertner

From starring as "Seymour" in Paper Mill Playhouse's production of "Little Shop of Horrors" to "William Barfee" in Broadway's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", Jared Gertner is the guy for your production! He's one of the "Core Cast Improviser's" in the Off-Broadway hit "Don't Quit Your Night Job" and he just finished up a run of "Forever Plaid" at The Cape Playhouse in Massachusetts. Jared has also been the feature films "Between Love & Goodbye" & "The Suicide Auditions". Next up Jared will be one of the many talented performers participating in the "Reach The Sky" concert on Monday, August 3 at 7pm & 9:30pm at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City celebrating the songs of Bobby Cronin. For more on Jared, visit http://www.jaredgertner.com!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I would have to say I was inspired by my parents.  They were not performers themselves, but they love theatre and they started taking me to Broadway shows when I was 3 (Cats was the first one....forgive me, but I loved it). I also have a cousin who was a dancer on Broadway in the 80's and an Aunt who ran a community theatre in NJ where I got my start. So they helped too.

2. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I don't think I have any really strange talents. I can do a pretty good elephant impression that my 2 year old nephew likes a lot, and I can burp on cue. But I'm really public about those talents.

3. What was your most embarrassing audition? When I was just out of college, I auditioned for a production of Forever Plaid at some small theatre. I went to the store to buy a song from that show and I got the "selections" book. I didn't realize at my young age, that those books are often in the wrong key and have totally different arrangements from the actual score. I went in with the song all prepared and the guy at the piano said...."oh, I have the score here. I'll just play from my music." So I started singing and realized that I had no idea how the song actually went. I was truly awful in that room. I sounded like I'd never sang a song before. When I was done, they just said thanks and dismissed me. The happy ending here....is that I am doing Forever Plaid right now at The Cape Playhouse.   Years have gone by and I'm doing the show in a much better theatre. So, it all worked out.

4. If you couldn't be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I would probably be a teacher. I teach theatre for a bunch of different companies and I love it. If I wasn't an actor full time, I'd probably pursue that. Theatre actor and teacher.....clearly I am just after the money with those two high paying professions.

5. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs. Its the only way to go.

6. Favorite Drink? Alcoholic or non-alcoholic? I'll give you both. I drink water more than anything else. I'm obsessed with it. But, every once and a while I crave a Doctor Pepper. As for REAL drinks....I'm usually a beer drinker....Yuengling is my favorite. But, if I'm feeling crazy....its a dirty Bombay Sapphire Martini straight up.

7. "Gobots" or "Transformers"? To be honest, I wasn't really into either.  I was a He-Man and Thundercats kind of guy. But if I have to choose, I'd say Gobots.  I say that because with the Transformer movies  and everything, Gobots seem like the underdogs now. I always root for the underdog.

8. Favorite Musical/Play? Hmm. I have two favorite musicals....Chorus Line and Guys and Dolls. Favorite play would probably be Hamlet or August:Osage County.

9. Favorite website? www.jaredgertner.com.  No, just kidding. Right now, it's Facebook.com. I am obsessed with it. My love will probably fizzle out at some point, but for now....I am on there all the time.

10. Books or Magazines? Do I really have to choose. For subway reading, I prefer magazines. But, overall....books.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite Actor? Wow. Bonus questions. Do I get extra points or something. My favorite actor?  I have a lot. On film....Robert Downey Jr, Paul Giamatti, and Sean Penn pop up right away.  On television....I think Michael Emerson from LOST is ridiculously amazing, and I think Jim Parsons is doing the best comedic work out there on Big Bang Theory. My theatre idol is Boyd Gaines. I love the way he goes back and forth between musicals and plays and is equally brilliant in everything he does.

12. What do you love and what stresses you most about your job? I love the rehearsal process. I love being in a room and creating something with other people who inspire me. I also love that I get a bunch of free shoes when shows end. The stressful part is what you'd imagine.....waiting to hear about a job, handling the business stuff. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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Wednesday
Jul222009

Mark Philip Compton

Award Winning actor Mark Philip Compton has been acting for over 15 years.  He won the 2002 Best Actor & 2004 Best Supporting Actor Award at the Working Drama Festival for his roles of  "Arnold" in "Torch Song Trilogy" &  "Tom/Phyllis" in A.R. Gurney's "Sylvia", respectively.  To rave reviews, Mark recently finished playing "Carlos" in  "The Woodsman" at London's Old Red Lion Theatre.  Starting August 7, catch Mark at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival starring in a new play "Hayton on Homicide", but first catch the previews in London July 21, & 22 at the Tristan Bates Theatre and July 23 & 24 at ADC Cambridge.  For tickets and showtimes visit: http://www.haytononhomicide.co.uk/tickets.html

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I realized I wanted to be a performer at a very early age 3 or 4 - I remember being at my grandmother's house and getting her to sit and watch while I would pretend to be the circus ringmaster with the various clowns, acrobats, lion tamers etc and introduce and then be the act as well.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Who inspired me is difficult - partly the reason I have answered question 2 first is because the when is easier. I am not sure any one person inspired me when I was so young - certainly being taken to see a circus was an influence. However as I have got older I find I am influenced every time I go to the theatre - watching Kenneth Branagh recently in 'Ivanov' in London was mesmerising; seeing Nathan Lane in 'The Producers' and watching him play an audience and know how to win them over; Ian McKellen playing Widow Twankey (a pantomime dame) in 'Aladdin' and seeing an actor just have enormous fun and bringing great joy to an audience; Dame Judi Dench in anything she does; Glenn Close in 'Sunset Boulevard' and more recently in 'Damages'; Kevin Spacey in 'The Usual Suspects' - these are all among the many people I watch who influence me to be the best I can be as an actor - however this is just a small part of a very long list of great performances I have seen which influence me. I find watching actors tackle role - especially on stage - that are a challenge to them and also challenge an audiences perception of them as actors a great influence - I know it is one of the reason I became an actor to push those personal boundaries and those of the people who watch me.

3. What advice would you give yourself at age 16? My advice to myself at 16 would have been do not let anyone tell you that you cannot follow your dreams - a number of family, friends and teachers all said I should not go to drama school, become an actor because it is a precarious life. Maybe they were right and I was not mentally and emotionally ready to pursue this career at 16 which is why I did not complete my post grad until I was 30. But I would still tell myself to follow your heart and your dreams and if it does not work at least you gave it a go. You do not want to get to old age having not followed a dream and regretted it - always take the chances and opportunities and never regret anything.

4. What has been your best and worst experience in a show? The worst experience on a show is having another cast member tell me I am incompetent and that I am a disgrace to acting - that is hard. Going through that kind of reaction from a fellow actor especially at the end of what I considered a successful first run and then having to transfer the play with the same company is hard. However looking back I think that there was a fear in the other actor and a lack of trust in their own ability and strength as well as a lack of trust in the other members of the company whereas I wrongly or rightly will trust the people around me in a production to support me and get me out of a problem on stage in the same way that I would if they were in trouble. As they say what does not defeat us makes us stronger.

As for the best experiences - there are so many - the first play I did at school playing Jack in 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and having so much fun that I wanted to go and repeat the performance with the rest of the cast straight away. Playing Arnold in 'Torch Song Trilogy' a play which was very close to me because I was not out at the time and there was a sense that I was bearing my soul and pouring my heart out on stage especially during the final part of the play knowing my mother was in the audience and the conversation I was having on stage was the one I wanted to be able to have with her. Then winning a best actor award for the role just made it even better. Taking a show abroad for the first time to Toronto in 2008 and playing to audiences who have no idea who you are because you are still early in your career and getting great reactions. Having an opportunity as an actor to explore and challenge people - currently appearing in 'The Woodsman' by Steven Fechter (April 2009) and spending hours talking to people about the themes of the play even though they are very dark and it is very much a taboo subject. These are just some of the best experiences.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I don't believe I have any strange or unusual talents hidden away. I am reasonably fearless as a performer and have done to myself just about anything a director has asked - gained weight, lost weight, grown and cut hair, performed naked etc - but I don't think I have any unusual talent - however I am still waiting to see - so who knows...

6. Books or Magazines? Books - no question about this at all. Growing up we did not have a TV at home (my parents did not get one until I was about 23 and had left university and was living abroad) so as a child the house was filled with books and my flat still is. I read avidly and will always have a book with me. I read anything that seems to interest me from historical to action, fantasy to biography and everything in between - I can spend hours in a bookshop and will willing accept any recommendations for something to read from anyone who wants to suggest.

7. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & toppings)? I am not a huge fan of sundae's - I had a dairy allergy being lactose intolerant as a child so these were always banned - however am partial to a good sorbet - lemon, mango or fruits of the forest my favorite.

8. Animal Crackers or Oreos? Again do not really have a sweet tooth and we historically have had neither Animal Crackers or Oreos in the UK although Oreos are now available to buy. So just from experience if I had to choose one it would be Oreos.

9. Superman or Wonder Woman? I have to say Superman - never got into Wonder Woman as a child and then we have had Bryan Singer's movie which has bought Superman back to the forefront of peoples consciousness. I think for me it was the ability to fly - something I would want to do if I had a superpower - the ability to fly wherever I wanted - WOW!

10. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers for me - not that I have anything against briefs but I just prefer the look and cut of boxers - specifically hipster style boxers (and also hipster speedo's as well).

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Sunday
Jul192009

Jason Dottley

Photo Credit: Rosemary AlexanderHe can make you want to dance or he can touch your heart, either way, Jason Dottley grabs your attention. From theatre to television to dance clubs around the country, Jason is everywhere. In 2003, he made his professional stage debut in a production of Terrance McNally's "Lisbon Traviata" at the Actor's Lab in Hollywood, CA. Jason then went to produce revivals of Del Shores' "Southern Baptist Sissies", "Sordid Lives", and Del's most critically acclaimed play "The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife" throughout the US. He starred in the smash hit TV show "Sordid Lives: The Series" on LOGO (now airing oversees in Israel, Germany, Austria, France, & Sweden). Currently, Jason is producing the movie adaption Del Shores' GLADD Award Winning show "Southern Baptist Sissies" (which is scheduled to begin filming in 2010) and touring the country debuting his hit dance single "Hit Play (Take Me Away)" and producing Del Shores' one-man show "Del Shores The Storyteller", which he'll be guest starring at tonight 7/19 in Austin, TX at Oil Can Harry's. For tickets & showtime, and everything Jason visit: http://www.jasondottley.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer/singer? Madonna, 100%. I'm even considering adopting a baby from Malawi, that's how dedicated I am. Lady Gaga has had an impact too!

2. When did you realize you wanted to be a performer/singer? I used to be a magician. Yes, it's true. I even had two doves that I could make disappear. It's been in my blood my whole life. I'm a ham.

3. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Madonna.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I'm incredible at giving head. But a few people are aware of it :)

5. What has been your best and worst experience in a show? Worst experience was in Mobile because I performed to a wall of discontent lesbians. My best so far has been in DC because the club was great, the crowd was great and I had four hot deliciously chocolate dancers who were incredible!

6. Describe your worst shopping experience? In Vegas at 19, I bought a stripper with my best friend. I asked for a white guy with a swimmer's build. The company sent a hispanic guy who was built like a orange peddler. I sent him back. Strippers are expensive, you should get what you pay for.

7. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & toppings)? Caramel and fudge, nuts, NO WHIPPED CREAM.

8. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? Regular coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts is disgusting. Bring on the Krispy Kreme or the Shipley's.

9. Favorite website? www.madonnnalicious.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? She-ra

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