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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Wednesday
Dec202017

Call Redialed: Jennifer Bassey: "All My Children", "General Hospital", "Anacostia", Cabaret

Jennifer BasseyIt's so great to catch up with All My Children's Jennifer Bassey, whom I first got to interview in 2012. Well, Jennifer has been keeping busy over these past five years and we are finally getting a chance to talk about it all.

We first reminisce a bit more about her days on ABC's All My Children. Then we get into Jennifer's return to the world of soaps! This time around, Jennifer's in Port Charles on ABC's General Hospital in the recurring role of "Quinn." It was so great hearing about the differences between the way soap operas used to be filmed compared to how they are done today! The changes are music to Jennifer's ears! 

Speaking of music, Jennifer is hard at work on her cabaret show. Most of the details are under lock & key, but I was able to pry some of the news out of her for an exclusive reveal!

Finally, Jennifer will be guest starring on the Emmy Award winning web series Anacostia in the role of "Beverly." Her episodes air December 30 & 31st, just in time to wrap this year up.

For more on Jennifer be sure to visit https://www.jenniferbassey.com and follow her on Twitter & Instagram!

Jennifer Bassey & David Canary on ABC's "All My Children", Photo Credit: Ann Limongello/ABC via Getty Images1. It's so great getting to catch up with you after our last interview in 2012! We have so much to talk about, so let's get to it. Before I get to your new stuff, I have to start with an All My Children question. Who do you still keep in touch with from the show? Francesca James, Alicia Minshew, Rebecca Budig, Carrie Genzel and Wisner Washum the original head writer of All My Children.

2. In our last interview, we talked about your most cherished memory of the show, but what I'd love to know is, what was the most ridiculous story line you felt "Marian" had? One of the most ridiculous things I had to do playing "Marian Colby" was  making a pass at a very handsome doctor over the coffin of my dead husband. Even "Marian" had better taste than that.

Jennifer Bassey, Ryan Paevey, and Risa Dorken on "General Hospital"3. Now you are back in the world of soaps once again, this time, delighting the fans of General Hospital as "Quinn." What is one characteristic of hers you are glad you yourself don't possess? I'm loving playing "Quinn" on GH and the cast is fabulous. "Quinn" is very manipulative and I'm thrilled to say I'm not.

4. What is the biggest difference between Port Charles & Pine Valley? There seems to be a lot more people in Port Charles which makes it a lot of fun.

5. What changes have you noticed in the way soaps are filmed today? Of these changes, which ones are you like, "Oh this makes the work so much better!" In the old days we shot everything in sequence which meant you were at the studio all day. Now we shoot all the scenes that you're in one right after another so you are in and out pretty quick, which is great.

6. You have joined the cast of the Emmy award-winning digital series Anacostia. You're character in this show, "Beverly" plays a huge part in the twists & turns that will mark the end of this season. What is the biggest twist & turn to happen in your career that you felt has lead to you where you are? The fabulous Robin Strasser told Anacostia's producer, Ben Bryant, that I would be perfect for the part of "Beverly." He in turn contacted me on my website and the rest is history. I'm so grateful to Robin who may also be appearing on the show in the future.

Jennifer Bassey as "Beverly" on "Anacostia"7. "Beverly" also reveals a lot of secrets people didn't know. What is one secret you've held onto that you are ready to let out? I can't reveal that to you because its still a secret until the show airs on the 30th and 31st.

8. You are also in rehearsals for your upcoming cabaret show which will open Off-Broadway in 2018. What can you tell us about this project? When do you anticipate it to premiere? Probably going to do it in October 2018. Haven't set a date yet. The fabulous Marilyn Maye is directing it and we are having a terrific time. I'm really looking forward to it.

9. What do you still want to accomplish that you haven't? An Academy Award would be nice, ha ha.

10. I have a new segment to my interviews I call "I Can See Clearly Now" where I try to clear-up misconceptions. What do you feel is the biggest misconception about yourself out there that you would like to clear the air about? I would like to make it clear that I am not a nymphomanic even though I played one for 30 years, on and off. People really thought I was sex crazed because "Marian" was a sexual predator.

11. I also have a segment on my website called "One Percent Better" (inspired by my interview with All My Children's Terri Ivens) 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 would like to improve by 1% better everyday? My prayer and meditation.

Jennifer BasseyMore on Jennifer:

Emmy Award nominated Jennifer Bassey was born in Chicago. Her first job in entertainment was as a singing Playboy bunny in the very first Playboy Club. Looking back at her two year stint at the House of Hefner, she recalls, "I was the meanest bunny in the hutch, but I made a fortune, darlings!"

She left her bunny ears behind and was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she got the lowest entrance marks in the history of the academy. Three years later she graduated from the RADA with honors finishing just below classmate and future Academy Award winner Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Jennifer went on to the Big Apple, where she appeared in several Broadway and Off Broadway productions, including Neil Simon's California SuiteNot Now Darling, directed by George Abbott, In Praise of Love with Rex Harrison and The Homecoming (The Original Royal Shakespeare Production).

Off-Broadway credits include Moliere's Tartuffe and Wendy Wasserstein's Isn't It Romantic, both staged at the Tribeca Playhouse. Other off-Broadway appearances include playing "Katherine" in The Taming of the Shrew at the Roundabout Theatre, "Lady Macbeth" in Macbeth at the Stratford Theatre and Love Letters in which she co-starred with Ken Kercheval.

The Cast of "All My Children" (1990s)In 1983, Jennifer won the role of "Marian Colby" on ABC TV's All My Children, initially signing for a five-month stint. Due to the incredible popularity of the character, Bassey played "Marian Colby" for over 30 years. She became a contract player on All My Children in the summer of 1998, after having portrayed borderline nymphomaniac "Marian Colby" since the early eighties.

Beyond her other dramatic successes, she has enjoyed a flourishing film career. Jennifer has played characters in feature films such as WaxworkTwogether (which also featured both the performing and directing talents of Nick Cassavetes) and Dunston Checks In, where in a scene-stealing, skin revealing moment, she received an orgasmic massage from an orangutan! Jennifer has achieved prime-time success as a guest star on Law & OrderBody of Proof and Grey's Anatomy. Other notable appearances include LA LawFalcon CrestMurphy BrownSilk StalkingsMatlock and Coach. Most recently Jennifer has been guest starring on ABC's General Hospital.

Jennifer BasseyIn addition to her Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Jennifer also received two Soap Opera Digest Awards, the second of which was shared with her costar David Canary for Favorite Couple.

Jennifer shared her life for 30 years with famous playwright and screenwriter Luther Davis until his death in 2008. Today, she is engaged to George Bamford, a Law & Order alum and fellow actor. Each are working on their theater projects: a play Bamford wrote and a nightclub act for Bassey she’s planning for Feinstein’s 54 Below.

Enclosure

Monday
Dec182017

Call Answered: Katie Garibaldi: "Home Sweet Christmas"

Katie Garibaldi, Photo Credit: Megs Marvels PhotographyChristmas is the most magical time in the city. It's also a time for self discovery and discovering new talent like indie singer Katie Garibaldi. She's has a soud all her own that has been described as a cross between folk, country, & chamber pop. 

Katie just released her ninth album, Home Sweet Christmas, a collection of original holiday and faith themed songs. Filled with lots of emotions and love, this album will surely be one to listen to whenever you need a lift! Home Sweet Christmas is available via iTunes and Amazon!

For more on Katie be sure to visit https://www.katiegaribaldi.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, & Spotify!

Photo Credit: Megs Marvels Photography1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? I feel like being a singer and a songwriter is who I’ve always been, ever since I was a young child. I would constantly make up melodies in my head and want to sing them, even making up lyrics that didn’t quite make sense. But usually I would have pieces of songs and just wasn’t sure what to do with them. I wasn’t really conscious about it; it was just the way my world was—always humming and always thinking of lyrics. But my mom would play the piano and sing in the house, so without a doubt I’m sure that musicality sunk into me. I grew up listening to a lot of different musical influences, including the Beatles and Michael Jackson. When I learned the guitar around age 11, that’s the moment I remember consciously wanting to write songs and to use the guitar to pull those songs out of me and actually give them life.

2. Why did you want to record a Christmas album? I like a lot of music, but by far, Christmas music is my favorite. I love the way it puts you instantly in good spirits and personally, it takes me back to the best childhood memories from the holidays. It was kind of this dream of mine in the back of my head to write my own Christmas album, but I didn’t want to feel pressured to write it just for the sake of having a Christmas album out. I wanted the songs to be true to my voice and just come in its own time. So last year I wrote "Tomorrow is Christmas Morning" and released it as a single, which is also on the album. Ever since I wrote that song, the other songs just naturally followed and pretty quickly I had these 11 original songs so I thought, ok, it’s time to make that album!

Katie Garibaldi, Photo Credit: Anna Haas/Red Hare Photography & Design3. I love how the album is primarily original songs with a few traditional tunes mixed in. What was the hardest part about writing this album? Which song just flowed out of your so effortlessly? Thank you! All the songs are original and then I also added "Silent Night" at the end because I’ve always wanted to record my own rendition of that classic since it’s my favorite. There was actually no hard part about writing this album. All the songs were really fun to write and I remember getting excited about each one as the inspiration was coming to me. The songs came about in different ways, some with the melody first, some with the guitar chords first, and sometimes I wrote the whole song just singing it in my head before even picking up the guitar. I never forced anything or sat down like an appointment to write a Christmas song. I wrote this album in the same exact way that I write every one of my other albums. I just let the muse take me where it leads, and it just so happened that every time I opened my mouth to sing, a holiday or faith-themed story would come out. It was pretty funny because the inspiration would surprise me, since I’d be writing a holiday song in like March, so it feels almost weird taking credit for it when it’s sort of an out of body experience when I’m writing a song.

4. One of the songs on your album Home Sweet Christmas is "Jesus Touched My Heart." When have you specifically felt like Jesus has touched your heart? When you give your life to Jesus, there is no day that he doesn’t touch your heart because he’s carrying you. That’s how I feel. I have bad days all the time but I think my saving grace is knowing that God is with me and has been there all along. He’s in my heart so as long as my heart is inside me, He’s there too. I just have to remind myself to keep my heart turned towards Him. I’m not usually so vocal about my faith because it’s always been something so personal and special to me, that it’s like I almost wanted to keep it between me and God. But this album gave me the space to talk about my spirituality a little more and I think no matter what religion you are, you can relate to the messages on the album because the holidays are supposed to be a time of giving, forgiving, and giving thanks. I believe Jesus touches my heart every time that I’m given the opportunity to sing the songs He’s placed in my hands. Music connects us to each other.

5. Another song is your latest single "Tomorrow is Christmas Morning." What is your favorite part about waking up on Christmas Day? I think Christmas morning is the most magical and special time of December 25th. As a child, the best part of course was waking up and running down the stairs with my brother to see what Santa brought us. My parents went all out! We had so much fun. Now that I’m older, I’m obviously not awaiting Santa Claus anymore, but that same joy and anticipation for the day still remains. Now running down the stairs has turned into making coffee with my husband in our Christmas mugs and sitting by the tree, and then visiting our families to laugh about all the silly things we get each other. If every morning was like Christmas morning where we all wake up feeling excited and happy, just think about how great each day would be.

6. One more tune on your album is "Unhappy Holiday." What has been your worst Christmas ever? I’m sure there was a teenage year or two that I wasn’t particularly excited about the holiday, just for the reason alone of being a teenager haha. But I don’t really remember that. There have been a few recent holidays that I wouldn’t call the worst, but they were just harder because loved ones were missing. It’s during Christmastime when you really feel the absences of family that isn’t here anymore.

Katie Garibaldi, Photo Credit: Megs Marvels Photography7. You also do a beautiful cover of "Silent Night." How do you enjoy spending a quiet night in by the fireplace? (and if you don't have a fireplace, let's pretend you did because this song always makes me feel like one should be in front a fire place listening to it). That is so true! We do have a fireplace, but we haven’t lit a fire in some time. I think we are due! A goal for this Christmas! Well for me, the best part is sitting in front of the fire with fuzzy socks on and letting your feet warm up. And the other great part is the crackling sounds. I could listen to that all night.

8. What are your top five favorite things to do during the holiday season? I would say sing Christmas songs, get a Christmas tree, bake, watch my family open their gifts, and then be super lazy the day after Christmas if at all possible.

9. What is your Christmas wish for 2017? My wish is that people will listen to this new album and hear the songs I wrote. I spent the first part of the year writing them and then we started the studio work in June. It’s been a whole year of a lot of heartfelt preparation and I just want to share the songs with everyone. My wish is that they’ll listen to Home Sweet Christmas throughout the year, and not just during the holiday, since it hopefully puts you in good spirits.

10. Since your album is called Home Sweet Christmas, what is your most cherished Christmas memory? There are a lot of favorite memories I have from Christmastime, both from childhood and in adulthood. I’m lucky! I have such an incredible family and husband. But the first memory that just popped into my head is decorating the house and tree as a kid while my parents had old holiday records on and we would all sing with them really funnily and just crack up at how much fun we were having. My mom had bins and bins of Christmas decorations we would put up every year. It was pretty funny—just so much Christmas! It was the best. Those are the moments I’ll always cherish.

Katie Garibaldi, Photo Credit: Anna Haas/Red Hare Photography & Design More on Katie:

Katie Garibaldi is a San Francisco, CA based singer/songwriter and guitar player who has been releasing music independently for about half of her life thus far. Elmore Magazine describes Katie's sound as, "sweet, smooth music that is equal parts old‐school pop princess and folk songstress." The songwriter has a characteristic musical style wherein her country‐tinged dreamy folk gives her a distinct sound—ethereal Americana with sparkling memorable melodies. But this prolific artist continues to stretch the boundaries of any genre’s walls with the release of her new full-length album this holiday season, Home Sweet Christmas, a collection of original Christmas songs that embrace Katie’s operatic vocal prowess and soulful folky affection, but also songs that branch out into traditional country and even gospel atmosphere.

Her latest release, prior to Home Sweet Christmas, Rooted Clarity, recorded in Nashville, TN, is an EP that houses five songs which focus on self‐discovery and faith and combine Katie’s folk‐driven roots with a mix of classical and country string arrangements together. The sonic result delivers an effective and effortless sound that perfectly highlights the singer’s trademark, soulfully vibrato-smitten and sometimes operatic voice. This mini album, available everywhere and also released on limited edition 10” HIFI vinyl, has garnered Katie dazzling reviews from the press, including No Depression, who writes, "Katie sings with vibrancy, hitting high notes even Joni Mitchell would appreciate. Katie packs a wonderful folky extravagance. This woman doesn’t have to prove a thing to anyone – she is a powerhouse driven by an intoxicating vocal tone. It reaches heights that are so easy on the ear that it’s a treat, a pleasure to listen to. The voice – free of bombastic notes – is just pure musicality." The Daily Country says, "Garibaldi’s light as a feather vocals exude a strength that makes you want to believe in yourself and pursue your dreams and most importantly, gives you the courage, and clarity, to be yourself, trust yourself and allow yourself to fly." The sweet soprano weaves between airy and operatic delving into the emotional depths of the stories behind these five brand new original songs, one of which, "I Am," premiered on The Boot, the top source for the latest in country music.

Katie GaribaldiAnother standout song from Rooted Clarity, "Delightful" has become highly identifiable with Katie Garibaldi, even lending its name to describe her sound in many instances as "delightful Americana." "Delightful" has received a plethora of positive reviews as well as a nomination in the 2016 Hollywood Music In Media Awards. And the song's official music video, filmed in Nashville and directed by Anna Haas, has taken the international independent film festival market by storm, gaining multiple nominations and awards. Since its worldwide premiere on The Alternate Root in August 2016, it continues to screen at film festivals internationally and the video has earned its own reviews from film blogs and critics, including Top Shorts film festival’s Les Brandt, who says, "Haas and her crew did a great job of becoming ‘secondary’ to this video and allowing Garibaldi to shine. Mission accomplished! One word, wow…" Indie Spoonful, writes, "Katie got the title right because this song and its video are a pure delight from beginning to end…The video takes us on a journey of self-discovery." And Skope Magazine declares, "With a hushed reverence for the world is the gentle spirit of Katie Garibaldi’s ‘Delightful.’"

Katie GaribaldiOther accomplishments for Katie Garibaldi since the release of Rooted Clarity include the LA Music Critic Award for Female Country/Americana Artist for 2016 as well as Female Americana Artist of the Year from the Indie Music Channel in 2017. The indie artist was also featured on Acoustic Guitar magazine's "Acoustic Guitar Sessions" with a live performance video sharing her songs and the stories behind them.

The rootsy songstress' previous release in 2014, Follow Your Heart, recorded at Tiny Telephone Recording Studios in San Francisco and engineered by Ian Pellicci, is a country‐esque collection carrying her powerful message of the importance of having the conviction to follow one’s heart. The record includes performances by notable musicians, including the Magik*Magik Orchestra [Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, John Vanderslice, Glen Hansard], and Philip Brezina [The Brothers Comatose] on fiddle. The album brought Katie multiple songwriting awards as well as hometown credit for "Artist of the Month" by The Deli Magazine SFFollow Your Heart also gained esteemed reviews, such as Guitar Player magazine calling Katie "a gifted songwriter with a gorgeous voice," and praise from Music Connection magazine, who says, "Garibaldi is blessed with a sweet and pure soprano, and we hear a sincerity in this artist that is real." Her earlier work, including pop-country inclined album Next Ride Out (2009) can be found at digital stores.

Katie Garibaldi, Photo Credit: Anna Haas/Red Hare Photography & DesignThis determined and enthusiastic national touring performer has been named a Music Connection magazine "Top 100 Live Unsigned Artist" and has acquired a devoted fan base over the course of her career, due in large part to her engaging live shows and personal connection to her listeners through her music. An active voting member of the Recording Academy, an endorsed artist of Breedlove Guitars (who worked with her to build a custom Master Class guitar), G7th Capos, Fishman, Reunion Blues, and Pig Hog cables, and a singer/songwriter who has continued to release a consistent stream of original new music, the ever-evolving Katie Garibaldi has proven to be an artist with staying power.

Saturday
Dec092017

Call Answered: Jessica Morris: "One Life To Live", "Ladies of the Lake", "A Christmas Cruise", "The Wrong Man"

Jessica Morris, Photo Credit: Tim SchaefferI'm always amazed at how much one person can do! Best known for her portrayal of "Jennifer Rappaport" on ABC’s One Life to Live, I am not surprised how much Jessica Morris has going on! I was exhausted just reading about it. So needless to say, I had to find out she does it all.

Jessica can be seen in so many things right now, I don't know how she had the time to do our interview, but she did and I couldn't be more grateful! This holiday season be sure to stay glued to your TV because you'll get to see Jessica along with Vivica A. Fox & Rib Hillis in ION's original holiday movie A Christmas Cruise airing December 16 at 9pm and on December 29 in The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network.

Additionally, Jessica is currently filming the second season of Amazon's highly-anticipated web series Ladies of the Lake which will return in the summer of 2018! 

For more on Jessica be sure to visit http://jessicaannmorris.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was very shy as a child to the point where my teachers were concerned, because I would make good grades but barely spoke a word in class. But I grew up performing as a dancer. I was a member in the local dance studio's company, went to competitions, auditioned, and danced year after year in The Nutcracker Ballet. When I did my first play, being on the stage already felt like home to me. And people were shocked to see timid me playing such a confident character. It turned out that playing someone gave me the courage to express myself. At that point, I fell in love with acting and never stopped.

2. You have so much going on from filming Season 2 of Ladies of the Lake on Amazon to your upcoming original holiday movie, A Christmas Cruise on December 16 on ION TV, The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network on December 29, + about nine other projects in various stages of completion in addition to getting ready for the holidays. In this busy time, how do you stay centered, healthy, and moving forward? I have been very busy, and it honestly is hard to find time to work out, meditate, and do all the things necessary to keep myself balanced. I made the choice not to travel this holiday season, which will give me a little more down time for myself and for some rest and reflection, which is much needed. Writing is an amazing creative outlet for me, as well. It keeps me sane.

Jessica Morris3. Before we get in depth about your current projects, let's go back in time to One Life To Live, where you played "Jennifer Rappaport." What was the best part about being on that show? What was your favorite story line? Which story line made you roll your eyes and say, "I can't believe this is happening, but how cool I get to live this out as an actress"? The best part about the show was everything that I learned. I was a brand-new actress. It was one of my very first jobs. I grew up a lot and learned so much about my craft.

I loved the story line when my character's mom went crazy. It was some great stuff to work with and, Catherine Hickland, the actress that played my mom, was so convincing that it was scary and easy to react off.

When I lied, and told "Christian" that I was pregnant with his baby, that got a bit silly. But it was fun to get into being so manipulative and calculating.

4. Since we only have "One Life to Live," what is something you learned while on the show that you will carry with you forever? I learned to really appreciate every moment. It was a bit of a struggle to pick up my life in L.A. and move to NYC for five years so suddenly. Much of the time I was in New York for the show, I was desperate to come back to L.A. But since being back, I have missed my experience there and only thought of it fondly. So, I realized that I need to be happy right where I am every day.

Jessica Morris5. Now, let's get to the present. We'll start with Ladies of the Lake on Amazon, where you play "Crystal Amhurst," a trophy wife who is willing to do anything for her husband's attention & love. First, how did you first come to be part of this project & what are you looking forward to most about the new season? Secondly, what is the craziest or most unusual thing you have done to gain someone's attention/love? The producer, Michael Caruso, offered me the role, and as soon as I read the script, I was so excited to jump on board. In this new season, I am looking forward to "Crystal" being less of a victim and taking control of her life.

The craziest things I have done to get someone's attention? Hhmm, there are a handful of these stories, and some of them could get me arrested, so I will plead the fifth.

6. As mentioned above, you will be starring in the ION Original movie A Christmas Cruise airing December 16. In this film, you play "Pam's" best friend "Becky" who drags "Pam" along on a holiday themed sail in the hopes "Pam" will unexpectedly find the love of her life. What do you still aspire to do in your own life? What is the most unexpected thing to happen to you in your career so far? I have actually never been on a cruise. I need to make this happen soon. Also, there is so much traveling that I have put off because of work or not wanting to miss opportunities. But I plan on taking time to travel more in 2018. And I aspire to keep writing. In my career, I never really thought that I would end up writing scripts that I could star in. I have sort of surprised myself this year with a couple of developments on that front.

7. On December 29, you will be seen in The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network where you play "Kim," a woman who after the untimely death of her grandmother, returns to their home to slowly discover the friendly, handsome man caring for her grandfather isn’t at all what he seems to be. What's the biggest loss in your life you have suffered? What do you miss most about this person? I have lost a few people in my life, and it is never easy to process this kind of pain. Definitive endings are something that are very difficult to wrap my brain around. When I think of these people, who are no longer in my life, I think about their smile, the sparkle in their eyes and their hugs.

8. You also starred in two Lifetime movies, The Wrong Roommate & The Wrong Student. What is something you did as a student that in looking back, you wish you didn't do? I was a good student and made excellent grades -- until I had my heart broken by my first love. I was destroyed. I thought I would never get over it. So, I kind of gave up during that time, and my grades began to slip. I failed a couple classes. I regret that. I will never again let a boy or a man come in the way of my success in life. Or, I will at least try.

Jessica MorrisJessica Morris9. There is a picture on your Instagram where you are at a bowling alley with your friend. What is something that was a sure-fire strike in your life and what is something that was a spare, just one pin off? Most of the time it's one pin off. I guess anytime I book a role I feel that it is a strike. And I must say that making the decision to move to Los Angeles was a definite strike. I have always felt that this is the right place for me.

10. There is another picture on your Instagram where you are alluding to a secret project. What is one secret you have not revealed in any other interview that you are ready to share with the world here? Unfortunately, I still cannot talk about that project. It should be coming out in 2018 though. But I do have a secret about the world: No one knows what the heck they're doing. We are all just pretending like we do. We are all excellent actors. Some of us just learned our lines better.

Jessica MorrisMore on Jessica:

Known for her portrayal of series regular "Jennifer Rappaport" on ABC’s One Life to Live, Jessica has cultivated her career as the leading lady in various television shows and independent films. Also making a memorable appearance in Universal’s theatrical success Role Models. Jessica has recently been the star of Lifetime TV’s hit movie The Wrong Student and has also had strong guest starring roles on popular primetime shows, including Fox’s Rosewood and TNT’s Perception. Jessica stands out as an actress who conveys honesty and depth through all of the characters she plays and has also discovered her passion for screenwriting.

Thursday
Dec072017

Call Answered: Sarah Stiles: "Squirrel Heart" returns to Joe's Pub this January (2018)

Sarah StilesOne of my favorite musicals is Avenue Q! Upon it's Broadway closing in 2009, Avenue Q did something no other show had done at the time, it re-opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages. It was there, I got to feel special when I saw Tony nominee Sarah Stiles as "Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut."

Now, I am able to return the favor and make Sarah feel special with this fun interview about the return of her show Squirrel Heart at Joe's Pub this coming January! Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair.

Cartwheels at birth, pooping nerves, working in Television & Theatre, developing Squirrel Heart, Sarah & I cover it all!

Squirrel Heart will play Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 7pm & Monday, January 8, 2018 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

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

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Born that way. My mom says I was born to applause. Which is literally true because she pushed me out in a home birth surrounded by her hippy friends who were holding hands and singing songs. I cartwheeled outta that vag and took center stage to the roar of the crowd.

2. This January, you are returning to Joe's Pub with your show Squirrel Heart. What are you looking forward to most about this return engagement? Not being so stressed and worried leading up to it. The first time we did it I was PETRIFIED that I would get laughed off the stage, and not in a good way. I got so nervous my body shut down. I lost my voice, I couldn’t sleep, I got super skinny cause I couldn’t stop pooping, it was awful. But the show was really great and we’ve since made it even better. I love doing every single second of SQUIRREL HEART. There are no wasted moments. I’m really confident in it this time.

Sarah Stiles3. How did you come up with the show's title Squirrel Heart? It's the title of a poem I wrote awhile ago. When Holly Gewandter and I were coming up with the show we were inspired by that poem. It is now woven into a medley that is ultimately the heart of the show. "The Squirrel Heart Medley" is a true collaboration between my Musical Director Brian Nash, Director Darren Katz, and Holly and me. Once we created that piece, the rest of the show fell into place pretty easily.

4. If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year's wish would be? I read this wrong. I thought the question was "If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year’s PLANS would be?" So here’s that answer: I would grab an acorn or two, a thimble of champs and lay out in sheep’s meadow watching the fireworks and those nut jobs with glow sticks do the midnight run.

Sarah Stiles as "Lucy The Slut" in "Avenue Q"5. What did you learn from the first engagement of this show in 2016 that you will now bring with you in 2018? The people who show up want to have fun, they want to be filled with joy, they want to smile and laugh and explore your world with you…all you have to do is stay present and bring them on the journey. It’s actually really simple and sweet. And truly whatever happens, happens. Messy is ok as long as you’re ok with it. I didn’t know that the first time around. Now I do!

6. For people who didn't see this show the first time around, what can they expect? It’s a nightclub act with theatrical moments. It’s fully staged and intricately designed but feels off the cuff and spontaneous. I got stories and songs and my morning poems and dance numbers and lots of costume changes. I play the ukulele one time, hand out four packs of goldfish and there may or may not be puppets.

7. Press notes say, Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair. What are some caffeinated emotions you want to slow down in this coming New Year? Are you suggesting caffeinated emotions are bad? Why are they bad?! Why would I want to slow down?!? AND HOW CAN YOU DO IT WHEN YOU HAVE SO MANY THOUGHT AND IDEAS CONSTANTLY SWIRLING-……Yup seeing it now.

Sean Bridgers & Sarah Stiles in "Get Shorty" on EPIX8. Your press release also mentioned that while you were busy on the West Coast playing "Gladys" in the new hit EPIX series Get Shorty, you also missed the NYC theatre scene. What was the exact moment that made you go, "I miss the bright lights of Broadway"? I missed people laughing at me! I would do these funny scenes in Shorty and not a peep, cause duh we're filming, but it totally messed with me. It took me awhile to get comfortable. I was like, this is cool and all but I’m too needy. I gotta get back on a NY stage so I can get some instant gratification. Also I was really hungry to sing again. I got to sing a tiny bit on Shorty and made me all cravey.

9. I was lucky enough to see you in Avenue Q as "Lucy The Slut/Kate Monster." What I want to know is how are you going to make your audience at Squirrel Heart feel special? Hmmmm... well….Coming to my show is like coming into my bedroom and looking through my private drawers so…that’s pretty special.

10. You also made quite a splash in Showtime's I'm Dying Up Here as "Toni Luddy." When has there been a time in your career when you felt the sentiment of "I'm Dying Up Here"? Oh yes. So many times. Failure is an important part of being a performer - It means you were brave. And I consider myself a little warrior.

Sarah StilesMore on Sarah:

On Broadway, Sarah was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Featured Actress in a Play" for her role in Hand to God. Additionally, she has appeared as "Muriel" in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Jesse Mueller, popped her puppet sex cherry as "Kate/Lucy" in Avenue Q, and took turns playing multiple eccentric children in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee. Sarah received critical acclaim as "Little Red Riding Hood" in The Public Theater’s Into the Woods, presented as part of its Shakespeare in the Park programming. In addition, she voices "Lacey" on Nick Jr.’s Sunny Day and "Spider" on Pasek and Paul’s James and the Giant Peach album. Sarah made a splash as "Toni Luddy" on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here and is in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming feature Unsane.

Sunday
Dec032017

Call Answered: Frances Ruffelle: "Les Misérables" + "Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York" at Green Room 42

Frances RuffelleOne of my all time favorite musicals is Les Misérables, so how excited was I when, "On My Own," I got asked to interview the show's original "Eponine" (in both London & Broadway), Frances Ruffelle! Frances returns to The Green Room 42 with her show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York, an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma that's kept "Frankie's" ardent fans coming back for more since she created the iconic role of "Eponine" in Les Misérables and turned "On My Own" into one of Broadway's most beloved standards.

Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York will play The Green Room 42 (570 10th Avenue, 4th Floor of the Yotel) on Saturday, December 9 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Frances be sure to visit http://www.francesruffelle.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was possibly born in a trunk! My Mother is Sylvia Young of the famous British Theatre School. I grew up going to the theatre and living around creative work and I don’t remember not wanting to perform.

2. On December 9 you are returning to NYC to perform at The Green Room 42 with your show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York. What are you looking forward to most about this show? I love performing my one woman shows…I also think I get quite excited about surprising the audience with my unusual theatre piece. The audiences usually expect a cabaret style show…but I tell a story in song and I love how involved they get…I take them on dark but funny trips and I love it when they tell me how they can relate to my story.

3. What will excite fans about this show and what will surprise them? A lot of my fans love me to sing "On My Own" my song from Les Miserables…Of course I do it, but I also love some of to them to sing it too…so get studying on those lyrics!

Frances Ruffelle performing at The Green Room 42.jpg4. Press notes state, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York is wildly entertaining ride straight through the core of the most tender heart, fiery passion and loose comic confidence of a seasoned performer at the height of her game. Let's break this down into a few questions:

 

  • What has been the most tender moment to happen to you in a show? Lot’s of tender moments…but in this show my favourite is when my British friend, the talented Sally Ann Triplet, comes on stage and we sing a sisterhood best friend moment…I cry every time.
  • What’s a project that you worked on or are working on that you have a fiery passion for like nothing before? I secured the rights to Michae John LaChiusa’s Wild Party…I certainly have a fiery passion for that and LOVED performing it in London and am dying to do it again in NY.
  • What is the funniest thing to happen to you on stage? Probably when Andrew Lloyd Webber gave me champagne when I was 18 in between the matinee and evening performances of Starlight Express…which I performed on roller skates…the evening show during the song "A Lotta Locomotion…" I fell on my bum and was a heap of giggles.

Frances Ruffelle5. Press notes also say the show is an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma. What is one secret you've held on to that you are now ready to share with the world? My secrets wouldn’t be secrets if I announced them in print…it’s all part of the fun of the show :)

6. You were the original "Eponine" in both the London & NYC productions of Les Misérables. When you look back at your time in that role, what makes you smile and what makes you go, "Oh, I wish I did that better”? I am so lucky and proud that I was offered that amazing role and performed it in London and New York. I don’t feel I could have done better...I always work hard and do my best in my work and my performances…I never stray from being in the moment…sometimes the moments are different..but that’s the beauty of live theatre.

Frances Ruffelle as the original "Eponine" in London & Broadway's "Les Misérables"7. You got to sing "On My Own" eight times a week and it has become synonymous with you. How do you keep the song fresh for you after singing it for so long? Each word must be expressed as if it’s the first time you have ever thought about it or spoken it.

8. What is something in your life that would ring true to the lyrics of "On My Own," where you created a scenario in your mind, but the reality was quite different? It’s there in my show!

9. You have released five studio albums in addition to performing on stage, TV, & in Film. I love the title of your fourth album Imperfectly Me. When you look in the mirror, what is one imperfection only you see that you would like to improve on? Oh Gosh…I’m sure we all do that…and growing older is no fun…but that title is about the imperfections of human behaviour...I think I do everything with the best intentions but sometimes I make human mistakes…that’s the way it is.

10. Bringing this back to your upcoming concert, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York City, what are your top five favorite things to do when you are in NYC? I live in NY now. I love to wander around the west village, go to the theatre, eat soft boiled eggs at Joseph Leonard, pop into Club Cumming and go to Barry’s Bootcamp!

Frances RuffelleMore on Frances:

You could be forgiven for expecting Frances Ruffelle to be French. After all, her latest album, I Say Yeh-Yeh features a number of French songs and she has played many French roles on stage. Then of course there’s her Gallic-sounding name.

You possibly know her best however for originating the role of iconic waif "Eponine" in the original London production of Les Misérables, for her anthemic hit single "Lonely Symphony," or for recently playing "Naomi," Dorien Green’s vicar daughter in ITV comedy Birds Of A Feather. But Frances is a recording artist at heart, with five solo albums and a series of 5-star sellout UK and US live performances to her name. Oh, and she is British, born in Essex.

As a singer/songwriter Frances has released the albums Fragile (produced by Guy Chambers), Frances Ruffelle (an album of torch songs from the 16th century to the present day, produced by Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp), Showgirl and Imperfectly Me. She also recorded the meditative album Purify, based on ancient Sanskrit mantras as one half of duo PaTala. I Say Yeh-Yeh, her new, fifth solo album showcases her collaboration with renowned singer/songwriter and producer Gwyneth Herbert as she puts a unique, earthy and at times mischievous spin on some of the best – and lesser – known French songs.

Following the success of her widely acclaimed solo Beneath The Dressconcerts at the Edinburgh Festival and in London in 2014, Frances took the show to legendary venue 54 Below in New York, for a series of sold out performances. Later that year she premiered her follow-up show Paris Original at The Crazy Coqs, London, with an updated version of Beneath The Dress selling-out the same venue in March 2015. Following five dates performing I Say Yeh, Yeh in its entirety to celebrate the album’s release, at Crazy Coqs in October 2015, Frances also took the show to Washington DC, New York, and again in London in 2016.

Aside from her own albums and live performances, Frances’ is famed for creating the character of "Eponine" in the original London RSC production of Les Misérables (for which composers Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil wrote the legendary number "On My Own" especially to suit her voice). She went on to recreate the role on Broadway where she won a coveted Tony award, Helen Hayes award, Theatre World award and Outer Circle Critics award for her performance. It seems fitting then, as Les Misérables celebrates its 30th Anniversary in the West End, Frances reinterprets "On My Own" and introduces us to "L’Un Vers L’Autre," a song originally written for "Eponine" that didn’t make into the show.

Frances’ first hit the London stage in Terence Rattigan’s play The Sleeping Prince with Omar Sharif, before starring as "Dinah" in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Numerous stage adventures have followed, including creating the role of "Yonah" in director John Caird’s West End production of Children of Eden, playing opposite Ian Dury in Apples at the Royal Court and starring as "Roxie Hart" in Chicago at London’s Adelphi Theatre.

More recently, Frances was able to explore her love of French chanteuse Edith Piaf, playing the title role in Pam Gems’ play Piaf at the Curve Theatre, Leicester, for which she received a UK Theatre award nomination.

Frances’ film career includes a cameo appearance as "Whore #1" in Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning big-screen version of Les Misérables (2012), where she was one of only two original West End cast members invited to take part in the movie (the other being original "Jean Valjean," Colm Wilkinson). She also appears in the films Devil’s Tower (2014), Hide (2014).

Alongside the release of I Say Yeh-Yeh, Frances appears in a short film produced by Sadie Frost, which features her album track "Bang, Bang."

With a multi-faceted career spanning recording to live performance to theatre to TV to film, who knows how Frances Ruffelle will surprise us next?