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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Thursday
Aug032017

Call Redialed: Facetime Interview: Michael Feinstein: "Showstoppers" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Live from Feinstein's/54 Below, "Call Me Adam" brings the 11 o'clock number to this interview with Michael Feinstein, two-time Emmy & five-time Grammy nominee, about his upcoming concert Showstoppers at Feinstein's/54 Below!

It was great getting to catch-up with Michael, from learning why Michael initially wanted to purchase 54 Below to what he feels makes a song a "showstopper." We also clear the air about misconceptions & find out how Michael wants to improve his life by one percent better everyday!

Showstoppers will feature songs by iconic Broadway composers and lyricists such as Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Marvin Hamlisch, and even some contemporary composers and lyricists of today as well as the backstories of each song. Joining Michael at some of his shows will be Broadway's Erich Bergen (August 12), John Lloyd Young (August 23-27), and Betty Buckley (August 29-September 3).

Showstoppers will play Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) from August 8-September 3. Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit https://www.michaelfeinstein.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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

Call Me Adam's 11 o'clock interview with Michael Feinstein:

Michael Feinstein's preview of his concert Showstoppers:

More on Michael:

Two-time Emmy & five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein is the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook. He has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world with recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations, Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, acclaimed NPR series, and concerts spanning the globe. His work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive open to students from across the country has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Michael earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of "'Ol' Blue Eyes." The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with Glee and 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

Michael Feinstein "The Sinatra Legacy"Michael FeinsteinHis Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room – written and directed by Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry – aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program Song Travels, Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

Michael was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Michael’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.

Michael’s book The Gershwins and Me – the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster – features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.

Michael serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s Standard Time with Michael Feinstein in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010 he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Michael FeinsteinLiza MinnelliFeinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his new club in New York, late in 2015. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.

He has designed a new piano for Steinway called The First Ladies, inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2013 Michael released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four time Oscar and eleven time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Michael’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of "10 Best CDs of the Year" by USA Today.

Michael received his fourth Grammy nomination for Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously-unreleased tracks.

Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Michael became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.

Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Michael evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

Wednesday
Aug022017

Call Answered: Facetime interview with "Queen Lesli" Margherita: "Rule Your Kingdom" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Live from Feinstein's/54 Below, "Queen Lesli" Margherita & I have a slap-fest over the return of her signature cabaret show Rule Your Kingdom which will be presented August 24-26!

With her take-no-prisoners attitude and self-deprecating humor, Rule Your Kingdom "inspires," "uplifts," and "slaps you across the face" – and let’s be honest, everyone needs a good slap in the face every once in a while.

Rule Your Kingdom will play Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) from August 24-26. Click here for tickets!

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

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

Call Me Adam & "Queen Lesli" Margherita's slap-fest interview:

Lesli Margherita's preview performance from Rule Your Kingdom:

More on Lesli:

An Olivier Award winner for her West End debut as Inez in ZORRO THE MUSICAL, Lesli made her Broadway debut originating the role of "Mrs. Wormwood" in MATILDA THE MUSICAL. After over 1000 performances, she bid farewell to the Broadway company of Matilda and crossed the street to The Helen Hayes to star as the diva "Mona Kent" in the Broadway premiere of Randy Skinner's DAMES AT SEA. In September 2016, Lesli returned to the role she originated to close out the Broadway run of MATILDA.

Last summer, Lesli created the award-winning role of "Signora Psyche Zinobia" in the NYMF production of A SCYTHE OF TIME (Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role). Later in the summer, she appeared as "Esmerelda" in a brand new production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at Sacramento Music Circus. Lesli also starred opposite Topher Grace, Taye Diggs & JC Chasez in the feature film Opening Night.

Born and raised in California, Lesli trained at UCLA and was soon after chosen to star in MGM's television series Fame LA directed by Kenny Ortega. She has gone on to star and recur on numerous television shows and pilots including Donny!, The Good Wife, Major Crimes, The Suite Life On Deck, Charmed, NYPD Blue,  and On The Lot, produced by Steven Spielberg.

Film credits include Lucky Stiff with Jason Alexander, Joel Schumacher's The Number 23, and the Sam Raimi produced Boogeyman 2. Lesli's voice can also be heard on several animated films and shows including Disney's Cinderella 3 and Nickelodeon's Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Regional stage credits include "Lilli/Kate" in KISS ME KATE (Reprise; Ovation Award - Best Actress), THE GRONHOLM METHOD (The Falcon; Ovation nom. - Best Ensemble), "Aldonza" in MAN OF LA MANCHA opposite Davis Gaines (MTW; Ovation nom. & LADCC nom - Best Actress), "Julie" in SHOWBOAT (Goodspeed Opera), "Audrey" in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (La Mirada), "Lady of the Lake" in SPAMALOT opposite Gary Beach (Sacramento Music Circus), "Ilona" in SHE LOVES ME (CLOSBC), the West Coast Premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE (Blank Theatre), Rated RSO (Boston Court), and "Gloria" in DAMN YANKEES (Reprise; dir. Jason Alexander).

In June 2015, Lesli published NECK PUNCH and CARRY ON: Advice from the "Queen", a series of 'inspirational' messages inspired from her Twitter feed (@QueenLesli). The book, which debuted at #1 on the Humor charts, is available exclusively on iBooks.

She is the creator/star of 'Looks Not Books' and 'Ship Happens' the popular backstage vlogs commissioned by Broadway.com which can also be seen on YouTube. Lesli's critically acclaimed solo shows ALL HAIL THE QUEEN​ and BROAD continue to play to crowds in NY, SF & LA.

Tuesday
Aug012017

Call Answered: James Kiberd: "The Crusade of Connor Stephens" + "All My Children"

James KiberdI am a huge All My Children fan and I love getting to catch with AMC alum, so needless to say, it was an honor to get to interview actor James Kiberd, best known as "Trevor Dillon" on ABC's All My Children from 1989-2000 (the uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa). After almost 11 years of not being able to act, James Kiberd is making his triumphant stage return in the Off-Broadway play The Crusade of Connor Stephens.

In The Crusade of Connor Stephens, extreme loss shakes a Texas family as it comes to terms with a tragic act of gun violence. In the midst of widespread media attention, their story becomes an allegory for the national debate over religion, tolerance, and the seedlings of hate. With humor and resilience, they will confront the ghosts of the past and discover the brutal universal truths that define the American family in the 21st century.

The Crusade of Connor Stephens will play through August 6 only! Click here for tickets! 

There will be a special live streaming on Thursday, August 3 at 8pm! Click here for more info!

For more on The Crusade of Connor Stephens be sure to visit https://www.crusade2017.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to be an actor? Gee it’s almost 40 years ago. Grants in support of my art making (I am a Painter) had lead to some expertise in arts management and a consultation for Joe Brancato’s Penguin Repretory. He asked me to audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I said to myself…Acting? Phony Baloney! But, I knew I wouldn’t get it, so why do it. Then, I imagined that some day, I could be comforting a disappointed daughter after being turned down for a role she sorely wanted. "Honey, Dad auditioned for a role once and didn’t get it. I know how you feel, you’ll be ok." Only, I got the part…and, sadly, not the daughter.  My life was forever changed.

As a painter, you spend 12-15 hours a day alone. For years on end. You are the center of that Universe. Not so as an Actor. It’s about the other person! OMG! Relationship! Something at which I was totally inept. But, my God, I needed it so! Joe Brancato kept me working as an actor and brought me into the "wild unknown," with a sure and steady hand. Over the years, I returned to Penguin to some great roles on that delicious stage.

My working relationship twixt graphic art and acting is keen. There is a solid "click" of recognition of "rightness" when working with Art’s physical materials. Not so with Acting, however, where impulses, emotions, relationships, bring ever changing moments different from every moment that came before, especially in front of an audience. My thrill is to bring the "click" to the acting and the emotion and impulse to the art. Serious Fun.

2. You are currently starring in the new Off-Broadway play, The Crusade of Connor Stephens, about a Texas family who suffers extreme loss as a result of gun violence. What made you want to be part of this show? As you may or may not know, 10/12/17 will be the 11th anniversary of the stage injury that took me out of commission for years. These past 10 years has been spent trying to find a way back to functionality through four operations. So, on May 9, 2016 (my hip replacement day), I woke up in my hospital bed to find a new play script forwarded to me by an actor I know and respect, Ben Curtis, with a request for me to read and consider the key role. I was astounded! Reticent - no terrified - to even consider it. But, I told myself, "it came to you - read it James." I read it. Enthralled, I asked my wife to bring me "Lear" - the next role I wanted. After I read it, I went back to Crusade.

Through the haze of the drugs, I found a profoundly disruptive play, lead by one of the most soulfully despicable characters ever written. A play that hangs our era in it’s own noose of contradiction and ultimately shows us a way to redemption. Though terrified of this challenge; I just had to play this part. This was worth getting out of bed for! Could I do it? I can’t even walk! Rehearsals were starting in four weeks! I started writing the producer/director/ writer, Dewey Moss to let him know I was interested. I told him I wanted to audition so we all would know what we were getting. He offered to drive out of NYC to meet & audition me in seven days - my first day out of rehab.

Saturday at 9am, I met him at the door - asked "Coffee?" "No." "Water?" "I’m good." So, I handed him the script as he came through the door and started the scenes as he found his way to a chair in the kitchen. No small talk. 20 minutes later, he was doubled over in between tears and laughter. "You have no idea how I have been trying to figure out ways to tell you how you are just not right for the role. It is such an impossible challenge…but you're perfect! Now I have to ask you - will you do it, really do it? And why? It's only a festival - three performances - and a lot of time and effort to rehearse in the city. Why would you want to do this?"

"I am doing this for me - me alone - not to get another job (as actors will do) - not for notice - not for PR. I want to see if I can still act, if I enjoy it, if I can pull off such a wickedly ambitious role.

First, my old friend, Bryan Cranston, saw the Festival Performance and compared this piece to All My Sons by Arthur Miller. "It gives us the picture of our times and the ethics, morals and values we need to live by. There is great humor, pacing, tension and passion wrapped into a compelling story."  Then, Crusade won all of the main Awards in the festival, so we were off to the races.

Dewey’s play sears a brand in the side of the times asking Americans to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth—what we kill for, what we live for, how and why do we pray?

James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of his you are glad you don't possess yourself? Strong, relentless surety and promulgation of his truths. Passion.

I am staggered how people hate him so. Perhaps because he so resonates our current leader…though "Big Jim" is much more rigorously trained in his thinking. At the same time, I have had audience members claim he changed their point of view.

West of NJ to California he could be seen as a hero. The play is so well-crafted, that the points of view could shift according to the community where it is performed.

His is a "truth not tolerance" position. Furthest from my own position.

4. Guns have been killing people for years, but it seems we hear about a massive shooting somewhere almost every day of our lives. How do you feel this show will either help someone who's been affected by one of these deadly shootings or perhaps change the way someone feels about instilling stronger gun laws? Wow! That’s an impossible question because it doesn’t involve common sense. In my experience, the only time people really take gun control seriously is when they get shot in the face. Any and all assumptions we maintain about positions on these issues only become relevant when we have direct experience of the event, its horror and the people affected. We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray? These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

James Kiberd and Ben Curtis in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland5. How do you find the resilience to get through rough times in your own life? Having been disabled for the past 10 years, this is a question to which I have too many answers. Really listening to what the body is saying is both complex and simple. But of paramount importance. Having had four doctors tell me I am fine when I sure didn’t feel fine, I finally found whiz bang PT at West Side Dance in Lincoln Center who could tell me why and what was so dysfunctional. Two years of hard work, 21 exercises a day brought me a new me. Also, Alexander Training is an truly liberating process.

My wife keeps joy in my life. And she reminds me that our dogs (born in our house) have opened my heart, my garden teaches me each day (humility) and nature so soothes and inspires me. I have learned, finally, that The Dark Funk changes when I move - yes physically move.

6. In this show, the family confronts the ghosts of their past. What is one past ghost you've confronted? PTSD - always needs to be respected and tended. My father - a WWII vet never dealt with his PTSD and passed it on to his family. This is something I share with my Crusade character.

Kathleen Huber and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland7. From this confrontation, the family discovers the brutal truth that defines the American family of the 21st century. What is the most brutal truth you've discovered about yourself that you fought so hard not to believe? I think more than one brutal truth is discovered in the play…I‘ll say again, "We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray?  These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

I am not sure how to answer this question without sounding full of bull. But I asked my wife and she immediately said it, "Honey, for some reason, you don’t feel worthy of love." I am still working on it. My Alexander teacher, Judith Stern, noticed a couple of things immediately when we started. When she would work with me, she noticed that my eyes were always moving. This was me trying to remember and analyze the experience I was having. She suggested that I could either have the analysis or the experience but not both. That I could allow myself to just have the experience and begin to trust that. She also noticed that when she encouraged me to see, take in what was around me, that I would look. What happens when I "look" is I focus hard and tend to thrust my head a bit forward which moves the head out of alignment and breaks the easy flow of energy in the spine, triggering "fight or flight" response. This kind of "looking habit" usually arises in a child when the person who was to nurture that child was in fact dangerous to that child.

And ………………………………………

Common Sense

And …………………………………..

The parts of me that I share with Trump. He reminds me every day of the selfish, thoughtless, small minded, fatuous, un thinking, pompous, lying, lazy glutton that I could so easily become.

James Kiberd8. I can't do an interview with you without asking about your time on one of my favorite soaps, All My Children. From 1989-2000, you played "Trevor Dillon," uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa. First, why did you want to be part of the All My Children family? What was the best part about working with Kelly Ripa? Can you tell us one fun juicy tale from your time on the show? Kelly was an unspoiled bundle of life and joy that I wanted to play with. Whatever I could share with her was immediately soaked up and made her own. The intimacy we had was blood family in nature. Just that matter of course kind of thing. She told me right away that her dream was not so much the acting but to be a talk show host! Well Well Bang Zoom Hip Hip HoooRaaay!

Why AMC? and Juicy? Here goes! A five day gig turned into 11 years. I had been developing a character in experimental theatre from my sense that by the year 2020 America would no longer be a "White" society. That we needed to encounter other world/third world cultures—their morals and ethics. On the morning of my first day after having come home during the night from a trip, I asked my wife if she liked my "look" for the part. In her sleepiness she said "What’s with the beard and the pony tail? You look like a pirate! AMC won’t go for that! "That’s what I want!" said I. She joked, "Then you need an earring." I grabbed one of hers, poked a hole in my ear, went off to AMC with my bloody booty."  At first, they wouldn’t let me in the building - so scruffy was I. Ha!

After camera rehearsal, I got called to the the producer’s office (Felicia Behr). I walked in saying, "I know, cut the hair, shave the beard, axe the earring." "No, No, NO!" she said "Would you be interested in a three year contract?" "I have to think about it" said I. The next day I suggested that I write a background description of the character I would like to play for the writers to consider. To my surprise, she said great.  When I submitted a 22-page document detailed to costume, set, lingo, accent and music, she was surprised and then sent it to the writers. Couple of days later, she told me they loved it! And would go ahead with my character as presented. Six months was my first contract. I wasn’t sure they, AMC, would or could really do it.

Well they went along with my creation! All the names I made up for the characters on the show, the wild outfits ,the Runyonesque lingo and the other world values. At my first public appearance the first audience question asked was "What planet is this guy ("Trevor"/my character) from? I knew we all were on to something special. The shows rating went from #7 to #2 rickety split and I was having some Serious Fun!

Katherine Leask and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland9. Since 2001, for the most part, you have focused on stage/film work as opposed to TV. Why did you choose to focus more on the stage and film? What do you get from this work that you weren't getting from TV? Acting Chops. Bad ass scary adventures. Every day I give up what I know for what I might discover. (me). You can’t do something that you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you do know. (FM Alexander).

AND my new agents in LA gave me two pieces of advice….

1) Lose weight and whiten your teeth!

2) And if you really want to act you need to find away to do some theatre. We would love to see you acting.

Well, I invited them to come see me about four months later. I was opening as "Gabbo the Clown" in Merchant of Venice on a Friday Night , Saturday 10am was Henry IV Part I, 2pm Henry IV Part II, 8pm Henry V. They didn’t come. And told me they couldn’t work with me as I was to busy doing theater an not available for TV!

10. 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? Joy. (which means doing what my wife, dogs and garden tell me to do) My acting. My art making. My Garden. My dogs (they are major hunters and need a lot of clean up) Spinning! House keeping, Friends…..Have you read Twyla Tharps books?

Sunday
Jul302017

Call Answered: Facetime Interview: Carole Demas: "Grease", "The Magic Garden", + "The Broadhurst at 100!" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Carole DemasLive from Feinstein's/54 Below, "Call Me Adam" does the hand-jive with Carole Demas, Broadway's original "Sandy" in Grease. We get the inside scoop of what really went on inside the halls of "Rydell High" + a quick revisit to The Magic Garden, one of my favorite & most popular children's show in the 70s/80s.  

On Wednesday, August 16, at 7pm & 9:30pm Feinstein's/54 Below will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of The Broadhurst Theatre with The Broadhurst at 100! It's an evening of songs and stories, performed by the legends themselves who were lucky enough to grace the Broadhurst stage! Carole will be performing at the 7pm show! Click here for tickets!

For more on Carole be sure to visit http://caroledemas.com!

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

Call Me Adam's interview with Carole Demas, Broadway's original "Sandy" in Grease:

Carole Demas performing "It's Raining On Prom Night/Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" from Feinstein's/54 Below's upcoming The Broadhurst at 100!:

More on Carole:

Carole Demas, Broadway & TV Legend, stole the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her captivating and critically acclaimed creation of "Sandy," in Broadway’s iconic, original GREASE. Her 56 year (and counting) career has included thousands of leading role performances On and Off-Broadway and in Regional Theatre, among them two years at New York’s Sullivan St. Playhouse as "Luisa" in THE FANTASTICKS and the creation of original ingénue leads in Fred Ebb’s MORNING SUN; RONDELAY (director Cyril Ritchard, choreographer Jacques d’Amboise); Oscar Brand’s HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION (opposite Clifton Davis); Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt’s PHILEMON and THE BONE ROOM as well as major regional theatres, including "Philia" (A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM); Regina (ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST); Angel (CELEBRATION); "Wanda" (ENTER LAUGHING); "Corrie" (BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, with Joan Bennett) and her singing for the Champlain and NY Shakespeare Festivals for multiple seasons.

Carole originated the title role in the premiere production of Stephen Schwartz’s THE BAKER’S WIFE, in Los Angeles. She was back on Broadway in Broadway Cares - GYPSY OF THE YEAR celebrating Grease's 40th Anniversary at the New Amsterdam Theater. Carole played numerous guest star roles on classic prime time TV (including, KOJAK, MANNIX, ROUTE 66, BARNABY JONES, MAN FROM ATLANTIS, FANTASTIC JOURNEY (recently, BLUE BLOODS – CBS and ALLEGIANCE - NBC) and recurring roles on daytime dramas (EDGE OF NIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, AS THE WORLD TURNS). For the popular PBS Series GREAT PERFORMANCES, Carole joined other stars of the Great White Way for Lorimar’s SHOWSTOPPERS - THE BEST OF BROADWAY. In films, Carole starred in the 300 YEAR WEEKEND, with William Devane and THE SPACE WORKS for Trans-Lux Corp. Other films include appearances in: A LOVELY WAY TO DIE for Universal Films and the THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM.

Carole Starred (with dear friend Paula Janis) in TV’s most successful regional children’s series, THE MAGIC GARDEN (for over 12 years) leading to hundreds of live family concerts and recent viral clips on Facebook. The Magic Garden’s enduring holiday special, A MAGIC GARDEN CHRISTMAS (Emmy Nominee) airs annually on WPIX-TV-New York and streams worldwide with new recent footage. THE MAGIC GARDEN DVD collection and CDs are available at www.caroleandpaula.com.

Carole's wonderful versatility has been seen on camera in principal roles in over 200 commercials for television (everything from Men’s Cologne to Peanut Butter and often singing the jingles as well), among them: Kodak, Promise Margarine, Lipton Tea, Puss ‘n Boots, Wonder Bread, M&M’s, Clairol, Timex, Lysol, AT&T, etc.

Her career trials and triumphs are highlighted in Schirmer, Citadel and Applause books chronicling the history of Broadway. Carole’s career began in her Junior Year at the U of VT, with the 1960 CHAMPLAIN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL and continued, from her days as Miss Vermont in The 1960 MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT, her zany "singing chicken" voice in the LIDO SHOW (Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas), to major dramatic and comic roles in theatres coast to coast, and New York City concert and cabaret performances (BROADWAY ORIGINALS (Town Hall), OFF-BROADWAY CLOSE UP (Merkin Hall), 50th Anniversary celebrations for WBAI Radio, Lincoln Center Library, The Fantasticks. She is seen in NYC’s favorite cabaret venues (Feinsteins/54 Below, Birdland, The Metropolitan Room, Laurie Beechman Theater, New World Stages, Le Poisson Rouge, The Iridium, The Triad-Stage 72, Signature Theatre, Urban Stages, Concerts For City Greens, etc.). She sang for BROADWAY TO BARBADOS for two seasons and headlined on Crystal Cruise, Film and Theatre Cruise to French Polynesia. She is a recurring favorite star in The Ziegfeld Society Productions in New York City.

Her one-woman show in NYC and other locales (including The Caribbean Theatre, St. Croix) received rave reviews…"a powerhouse of musical theatre," "a vocal champion," "a consummate artist," her voice has been described as "shimmering and thrilling with great warmth, sweetness and surprising power." Her engaging, exciting cabaret and concert performances have brought funds and attention to many worthy causes. Carole is featured on the original cast albums of: GREASE, HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION, GREEN SONGS and THE MAGIC GARDEN.

She is one of 50 Broadway Stars who sang in the Broadway For Orlando Initiative, on MAYA and MARTY (NBC), in concert in NYC’s Bryant Park and other events. She is a recurring favorite star in The Ziegfeld Society Productions. Carole was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame with her Magic Garden co-star, Paula Janis. She is a Governor Emeritus of the NY National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Friday
Jul282017

Call Answered: Alaska: "On Golden Girls" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

AlaskaThank you for being a friend! I love The Golden Girls, so anytime someone has a show about them or in praise of them, I'm checking it out. I am thrilled that RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 favorite, Alaska, & I got to fly to Miami, eat cheesecake, & discuss her upcoming show On Golden Girls, with her sidekick Handsome Jeremy.

On Golden Girls takes you on a musical journey of story and song, diving deep into the lake known as The Golden Girls. Drawing upon their vast knowledge and worship of the Girls of Gold, Alaska and Jeremy will explore the songs featured within the seven seasons of the hit TV classic, while offering their own unique analysis and perspective on all things Golden.

On Golden Girls will play The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe) from August 3-13. Click here for tickets!

For more on Alaska visit http://alaskathunderfuck.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. The story of your creation goes something like "After your spaceship crashed in the Matanuska Valley, a remote part of south-central Alaska, the U.S. government recovered an emaciated… make that an emancipated alien" which turned out to be you. As your spaceship was going down, what was going through your mind? What was it like when you were rescued? How did surviving the crash change you? The reason the space ship crash landed was because I ran the air conditioner, heater, cappuccino maker, and hair straightener all at once. As I crashed down, I was grateful that I was wearing cute underwear.

2. You are known for being one of the final three contestants on Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. What is the one lesson you learned from Ru herself that you will carry with you? RuPaul works hard and has a sense of humor.  But she also doesn't take any shit and will throw a fit when it's necessary.

3. This August, you will be returning to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with your side kick Handsome Jeremy in your new show On Golden Girls, a musical journey of story and song, diving deep into the lake known as The Golden Girls. Drawing upon your vast knowledge and worship of the Girls of Gold, you and Handsome Jeremy will explore the songs featured within the seven seasons of the hit TV classic, while offering your own unique analysis and perspective on all things Golden. First, what was it about The Golden Girls that made you want to create a show with the sitcom as its backdrop? I'm not a religious person, but if I had to choose a religion, it would be The Golden Girls. I study the scriptures daily, and I can point you to an episode that will shed light upon any problem you may be experiencing in life. Jeremy and I have bonded a lot over the show, and so we found it natural to do a show born out of our obsession.

4. How did you and Handsome Jeremy come to work together? What is the best part about this partnership? We met in Psychology class in my freshman year of college. The best part of our partnership is the friendship I've found in Jeremy. He is the kindest and most honest, open-hearted person I know and we are family.

Alaska5. Which "Golden Girl" are you? I'm tall with a deep voice, so I'm "Dorothy." But I also have flights of self-centered insanity, like "Blanche." So I'm a "Dorothy" with a "Blanche" rising.

6. Were you nervous to create a show centered around one of the most beloved TV shows of all time? What do you think die hard Golden Girls fans will think of the show? I'm certain the die hard Golden Girls fans will love it. It's the fair-weather, casual Golden Girls observers I'm worried about. They may have no idea what the hell we're talking about. I suggest a binge watching session before coming to our show.

7. I have seen several Golden Girls parody shows, but none have explored the musical numbers before. What song was the most was the hardest to fit in? A lot of the times when there are songs on the show, they usually only last for like 20 seconds. So that's challenging -- but we're going to try to do our best to cram as many of them in as we can.

Alaska8. What do you feel is something you know about The Golden Girls that the average super fan would not know? People like to pretend there was a feud or friction between Betty White and Bea Arthur, but that's not really how it was. They all ate lunch together every day. And Estelle Getty would write her lines all over the fake fruit on the table or various props so that she could remember them.

9. If you could have cheesecake with the The Golden Girls, what flavor cheesecake would you have? What problem would you ask them to solve for you? I would have to have some vegan, dairy free chocolate cheesecake with Coconut Bliss ice cream. I would love to hear the girls' perspectives on social media. I'd love to see "Blanche" on Tinder and "Dorothy" on Twitter.

10. If you never made out of the Matanuska Valley and the only form of entertainment you had was to watch five episodes of The Golden Girls on a loop, which five episodes would you want to be on there? "A Little Romance;" "Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself;" "Dorothy's New Friend;" "All Bets Off;" "The Case of the Libertine Belle."

AlaskaMore on Alaska:

After her spaceship crashed in the Matanuska Valley, a remote part of south-central Alaska, the U.S. government recovered an emaciated…make that an emancipated alien, or that’s how the story goes. Alaska went on to become one of the final three contestants on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race on Logo.  In October 2013, she starred in The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Woodlawn Theater in San Antonio.

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