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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in "Adaumbelle's Quest" (129)

Sunday
Jan152012

Will and Anthony Nunziata: Make Someone Happy Interview

I first interviewed Will and Anthony Nunziata this past July when I attended their show, "An Evening with Will and Anthony Nunziata" at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in NYC. Since that time, they spent the remainder of 2011 traveling around the country delighting audiences with their gift of music and working on their debut album, "Make Someone Happy," which will be released on February 9, 2012.

To celebrate the release of "Make Someone Happy," Will and Anthony will be performing and signing CDs on February 9, 2012 at 7:00pm at Barnes and Noble in New York City (150 East 86th Street, 86th & Lexington).

For much more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://www.willandanthony.com/ and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

1. What made you want to release a CD? Will: There was a lot of interest in us putting one together, especially when we do concerts on the road. The most common question, besides "Whose older?" is "When is your CD coming out?" We wanted to take our time, and really decide what we wanted to say with the CD. We got to talking this summer, and we realized we wanted our first CD to be an intimate, easy listening album with our voices and piano & bass of our favorite songs from Broadway and the American & Italian songbooks. And an album that will hopefully make people smile.

Anthony: Over the past few years audience members have come up to me after shows and asked if we had a CD. I said No. I was tired of saying No. So this Fall, I said Yes. Yes to making a CD. And now, a CD!

2. What does it mean to you to release your debut CD? Will: It's exciting. It's been a lot of hard work, we have great musicians on the album (Brad Gardner on piano, Michael Kuennen on bass) but it's been an incredible learning process. My family is also thrilled, and has pre-ordered at least 50 copies.

Anthony: This is a very proud moment. I'm very excited to share this music with others. My hope is that these songs touch the listener in some way.

3. How did you come up with the title/concept/song selection for "Make Someone Happy"? Will: I think I can speak on behalf of both of us and say that our main goal when we perform is to entertain and make people happy. So we decided to make the song "Make Someone Happy" the thesis of the album, and the rest of the songs kind of fell into place.

Anthony: I love the song "Make Someone Happy" and we decided to shape the entire CD around this theme and all the different meanings of being there for someone else.

4. What excites you about your upcoming CD signing and performance at Barnes and Noble on February 9? Will: To perform at Barnes & Noble is a dream come true. I remember growing up outside of NYC and seeing in the NY Times all of my favorite singers from the music and Broadway worlds with announcements of their CD signings, and in the back of mind, it was always a "Wow, that would be cool one day." Everyone at Barnes & Noble has been fantastic to work with in preparation for the signing and performance, and I'm excited to spend it with family, friends, and fans. It's going to be a party!

Anthony: What a wonderful opportunity and great honor to debut our CD with a signing and performance at the Barnes & Noble in NYC. Everyone at Barnes & Noble has been extremely supportive. I'm excited to celebrate this singing with friends, family, and anyone who wants to come out and see us.

5. What do you like about interacting with your fans at a signing as opposed to one of your shows? Will: I don't know yet, as it will be my first signing. But I can imagine that it will be like meeting an audience after a concert. It's one of my favorite parts about what I do. I love people and I love to talk, so talking with people...I'm in heaven.

Anthony: I love being an entertainer and singer because I get to meet people. I love people. I am fascinated by people. I love hearing people's stories. I love to find out what makes people tick - what makes them happy - what entertains them. These past few years has afforded me the blessing to befriend so many people around the country (and world)....it feels like I have many "homes" in places where I've performed because of the relationships I've forged from people I've met at my performances.

6. In addition to Barnes and Noble, what other events are you planning to celebrate the release of "Make Someone Happy"? Will: We have a few fun television appearances that are still in the works, and some concerts as well. In terms of signings, we don't have 100% confirmation yet, but stay tuned to our FB Fan Page or WillandAnthony.com, because we will most likely be coming to a city near you soon!

Anthony: Our schedule is filling up for the rest of the year and I look forward to sharing this CD with our audiences.

BONUS QUESTION:

7. If you could "Make Someone Happy," who would you choose? Will: First and foremost, I feel an obligation to continue to make audiences, who come out to pay and see us perform, happy. It's the most fulfilling feeling in the world to hear that you have affected another person's life in a positive way. At the end of the day, it's also about continuing to make my family proud and happy, but also continuing to remain true to myself when I perform so I am happy as well.

Anthony: Ditto.

Thank you, Adam. This was fun!

Friday
Dec232011

Joanna Gleason

I first had the honor of interviewing Tony, Drama Desk, and Theatre World Award Winner Joanna Gleason last year when she starred in Nora & Delia Ephron's Off-Broadway smash hit show "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" (click here for our first interview). I am thrilled to be given this honor once again.

Since our previous interview, Joanna has been working hard on her forthcoming book, "Rancho Mirage," which is slated for release in 2012, and is currently starring in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Stephen Karam "Sons of the Prophet" through January 1, 2012 at the Laura Pels Theatre in NYC (111 West 46th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

1. What attracted you to "Sons of the Prophet" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? The moment I read it, I knew I had never seen characters like this...or played one so rich and layered.

2. What is the best part about performing with this cast? We are tightly knit and adore each other.

3. You have peformed at Manhattan Theatre Club and now Roundabout Theatre Company. What do you like about working with non-profit/institutional theatre companies? Their internal structure, the wonderful people who take expert and personal care of a show and everyone in it.

4. Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I have an office upstairs at our house, and it overlooks the woods...I work there.

5. In addition to performing, you made your theatrical directorial debut in 2002 with "A Letter From Ethel Kennedy" and have directed several television series including "Love and War" and "Oh Baby." Do you feel there is a difference between directing for theatre and directing for TV? The technicalities of cameras are a world of their own, but it is all the same end--tell the story...get the actors on the same page, and tell the story in small and large ways...but the acting is the same.

6. What can you tell us about your forthcoming book, "Rancho Mirage?" What made you want to write a book? Where is your favorite place to write and what was your favorite part of writing a book? I write in that upstairs room, or in my dressing room between shows at the theatre...in the times when I wasn't working, I felt dammed up, like there were notions and tales in my brain that I wanted to get on paper...just be creative...how many dinner parties could we have (many, actually) or how many scarves to knit (also, many) but then, I sat down and it started to reveal itself.

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer, director, and writer? That I was always in search of a mate, children, friends, a home...the rest just got better as I found and was blessed with what grounds you in life.

8. What has kept you grounded in an industry that can lead others down a darker road? See above.

9. Looking back, what was it like/what did it mean to win a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for "Into The Woods" and what did you enjoy most about working with Chip Zien (who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year)? What was the best part about starring on "Bette" and what did you learn from working with Bette Midler? The awards? Extraordinary...very moving to me to have work recognized...Chip has been since that show and remains one of my best friends...we have watched each others' kids grow...grandchildren...he is amazing and such a talent...that voice...one of the most beautiful ever...Bette Midler...a force of nature-loved that she was a regular gal and an icon at the same time.

10. You have worked in theatre, film, television, and now publishing. What aspect of entertainment have you not tackled that you would like to? Professional ice skating and tango...I am actually doing one now...the other? Ahhh, that's what watching the olympics is for.

Thursday
Dec222011

Claybourne Elder

Claybourne Elder is another one of our next generation actors who's on the rise! He's thrilled to be making his Broadway debut in "Bonnie & Clyde" as "Buck Barrow," after originating the role in La Jolla Playhouse and Asolo Rep. Claybourne's other theatrical credits include rave reviews in Moises Kaufman's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "One Arm," at Tectonic Project/New Group and Stephen Sondheim's "Road Show" at the Public Theatre where Claybourne originated the role of "Hollis." Regionally, Claybourne starred in the US premiere of Matlby and Shire's "Take Flight" as "Charles Lindbergh" at McCarter and as "Wolf/Cinderella's Prince" in Moises Kaufman's revival of "Into The Woods" at Kansas City Rep.

Claybourne Elder and Jeremy Jordan, Photo Credit: Nathan JohnsonMelissa Van Der Schyff, Claybourne Elder, Jeremy Jordan, and Laura Osnes, Photo Credit: Nathan JohnsonYou can currently catch Claybourne in "Bonnie & Clyde" at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in NYC (236 West 45th Street). In the role of "Buck," Claybourne brings much heart and sexiness to the show as well as a terrific singing voice! Click here for tickets!

For more on Claybourne be sure to visit http://www.claybourneelder.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Well, I played the violin my whole childhood until a teacher told me that my hands were too big to really be a great violinist. I was pretty heartbroken but that was the year I did my first play.

2. Who is the one or more than one person that you have not worked with that you would like to? There are so many! Walter Bobby definitely, Neil Patrick Harris, Moises Kaufman (I've already worked with him but I always want to work with him again).

3. What attracted you to "Bonnie & Clyde" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I think the best thing we can hope for as performers is that someone is changed in some way by our show. I was attracted to Bonnie and Clyde, and my character "Buck" because I felt like his story has such an amazing arch. It asks the question: What makes a seemingly moral person do bad things? 

4. What is it about your character "Buck" that you identify most with? Buck always follows his heart and wants to do what is right to take care of the people he loves. I'm not sure I always want to do what's right, haha, but I really identify with his need to care for people. I think he would have been a great father.

5. What does it mean to you to be making your Broadway debut in "Bonnie & Clyde"? It's amazing. I try to stop and take inventory on this experience as much as possible because it is the fruition of years and years of work. Opening night was an amazing celebration. My whole family came out, it was a great way to say thank you to them for all the voice lessons and driving me to play practice :)

6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? Previews are by far the best part of rehearsals for me. I love getting response for the audience in the evening and then coming in to rehearse during the day based on their reaction. I also feel like its the best time for the audience to experience the show for themselves before anyone else has told them how to feel about it. When I was working on "One Arm" we did A LOT of work during the preview period on the ordering of scenes. I never left the stage so I never had the chance to go backstage and look at my script to see what would happen next. There were definitely times when I would finish a scene and think to myself 'I have no idea whats going to happen next, but I know that someone is going to come out and start talking to me and I'm going to have to talk back at them' We often joked that we would never call 'line' because we'd forgotten, but we would call for a 'scene.'

7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? You have to really know yourself and be comfortable with yourself. To really be daring in the choices you make on stage, you have to be ready to fall on your face. I can't tell you how many terrible jokes I've made in rehearsals in my life, but if you don't weed through the really terrible ones, then you never find the gems.

8. What was it like to perform at in the "80th Birthday Celebration of Stephen Sondheim"? It was amazing! Working on "Road Show" with Sondheim was my first job in the city and so it was great to give back to him in some way. My favorite part was singing selections from "Pacific Overtures" with B.D. Wong because I don't suppose I'll get another opportunity to sing that show with a full orchestra, haha. When I came in that day for my sound check, I walked off stage when I finished and ran into someone (literally) on the stairs and I was halfway up to my dressing room when I realized it was Catherine Zeta Jones! She's remarkably glamorous. The absolute highlight of the evening was sitting backstage next to Angela Lansbury in her robe and slippies listening to Len Cariou sing "Sweeney Todd." She was incredibly sweet and got really emotional when he started singing. It was really touching.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Be well rounded. My freshman year of college I had a mentor who urged me to always explore and not just bury my head in the theatre all the time. So I got a job working for a Non-Profit that set up English schools in communities around the world and took off time from school to work in China and Russia. People questioned why I was wasting my youth as a performer, but the real life and struggles I saw while working with those people changed my life. In many ways those experiences have informed me as an artist and actor.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My dog Diogi (pronounced like D.O.G.). He's always happy. I wonder what he would do if he was in a dream land where he could do anything he wanted. He would probably go open the refrigerator and eat all the almond butter.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? Going to the movies, reading, playing in the park with Diogi. I like to run outside when it's warm or do yoga with Melissa van der Schyff who plays my wife in "Bonnie & Clyde."

12. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

13. Favorite website? www.bbc.com. I don't know why I rely on the British for my news, but I do. I just like the format of their website.

14. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? Well, Julia Murney, an Elphaba, lives in my building and makes the best brownies in the world, so I would say Elphaba.

Wednesday
Dec212011

Alan Pagano

Alan Pagano as "Chris Farley", Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images North America)Alan Pagano as "Chris Farley", Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images North America)I was fist introduced to rising performer Alan Pagano this past February when he starred in a staged reading of Charles Messina's "The Fatman Cometh: The Life and Death of Chris Farley." This hilarious, touching, and at times emotional show was very well written by Charles. Charles vision was brought to life by Alan(who played Chris Farley) and Carlo Rivieccio (who played Chris Farley's personal manager). Alan's performance was so strong that at times I felt as though I was watching Chris himself, if he were still alive. While this was a developmental reading, I really hope it comes back around and that Alan and Carlo is still attached to the project.

Prior to "The Fatman Cometh: The Life and Death of Chris Farely", Alan delighted audiences in "Frankenstein," "Beer and the Meaning of Life," "Crossing Lights," "A Bard's Day's Night," "The Shape of Things," "Elway," "Benches," "I Got Fired," and "Fair and Decent." Alan is such a dynamic performer that I'm looking forward to his next endeavor!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? When I was in 4th grade, I saw Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and said I wanna do that. When I was a junior in high school, I saw Cuckoo’s Nest (my favorite movie) and said I wanna do that. And then the people who inspire me are limitless. My high school drama teacher, Doug Gipple, who stapled my pants to the stage because I wandered too much; my college directing teacher, Chris Catt, a big inspiration for the play, for teaching me everything I know about acting.  Parents, of course. But my girlfriend, Kelly, and my best friend Sanchez are the two people who believe in me for than anybody. If I don’t think I can make it, they do. They inspire me.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Philip Seymour Hoffman! I could write a thesis on why he is one of the greatest American actors working today. 

3. What attracted you to "The Fatman Cometh"? Chris Farley has a story that hasn’t been told. Yes, he’s funny, really funny, but there is a real story within that layer of comedy, a real human story. That was the interest. Also, when Carlo, Charles and I began working on this piece, there were some similarities with Chris’s life that crossed over into mine.  I used be 70 lbs heavier than I am now. If anything, his life made me want to change mine.  Also, at the time of working on the piece, a very close friend of mine was battling a heroin addiction and I watched her single-handedly destroy her life and the people around her. But there is an energy that attracted me to the story. Chris had so much energy. He was electric. I loved that about him.

4. What was it like to portray such a well known personality? It was terrifying at first. I used to do some of those skits goofing around with my friends, but with no attention to detail. Then, we started writing the play and I start doing them full out, and it’s scary.  I have a lot more work to do. People know those skits and if they aren’t right, I’ll get killed. So, that was difficult. Then, there’s the voice and the mannerisms and living in his shoes that’s even harder. It was intimidating. It was exhausting. Charles was great directing me and constantly letting me discover those specifics out on my own. Eventually, I came up with something that I felt was right. I’m never gonna sound exactly like him or look like him, and that’s okay. I mean Linda Hunt won an Oscar for playing a man. Cate Blanchett almost did. As an actor, you have to go with something specific and be confident and hope it works.  

5. What's the best advice you've ever received? Bet with your balls! I live by that advice. 

6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I manage a movie theater, Ramsey Cinema, in my home town. Every now and then, I’ll unlock the door and rehearse in the empty theater.

7. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? Dunkin’ Donuts. A large Dunkacinno is awesome.  Hot chocolate and coffee. If only they could squeeze a Boston Cream Doughnut in there, I’d be set.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

9. Favorite website? Imdb.com. I cannot disclose any others in case my girlfriends reads this.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS: 

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I’m a film and awards buff.  For fun, I memorize every Oscar winner. I can also do some cool tricks with a hackysack.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Kate Winslet if my girlfriend doesn’t read this. If she does, I wouldn’t mind watching a Lakers game with Jack Nicholson.

Wednesday
Dec212011

Patti Murin

I was first introduced to rising performer, Patti Murin, when she starred in "Xanadu" on Broadway. At that time, I was impressed with what I saw. Then this past summer, I saw what Patti was really capable of when she reprised her role of "Lysistrata Jones" in the Transport Group's Off-Broadway premiere, after creating the role at Dallas Theatre Center.  Now, to see Patti yet again in the role of "Lysistrata Jones" on Broadway, reminds me and reinforces the reason why she is "Lysistrata Jones." Her strong vocals coupled with her fine acting skills and positive energy, really make Patti shine! In addition to Broadway, Patti has delighted audiences around the country in "Emma" at the Old Globe Theatre (Emma Woodhouse), "The Little Mermaid" at the MUNY (Ariel), and "Beauty and the Beast" with Theatre of the Stars (Belle). Patti holds a BFA from Syracuse University in Musical Theatre, where she was also a cheerleader.

Be sure to catch Patti's triumphant performance in "Lysistrata Jones" (click here for my review) at the Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC (219 West 48th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave). Click here for tickets!

For more on Patti be sure to visit http://www.pattimurin.com and follow her on Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have taken dance since I was 3 years old, so I was always performing for people. Plus my sister, brother, and 2 cousins would always make up dances and write plays and perform them for our relatives, so I was taught to be very creative at a young age. And then when I started doing school plays and shows in high school, I realized that you CAN actually go to college to study theatre, and that pretty much sealed my fate. Plus my parents were always incredibly supportive of me, so that helped more than anything.

2. If you could perform alongside anyone, who would you choose? I think the answer to this question will always be my husband, Curtis Holbrook. We have actually done a lot of shows together, including "Xanadu", playing opposite each other when he was playing the role of Sonny and I was on for Kerry Butler as Kira. I just love being able to share the stage with him and be able to see his incredible talents from right next to him!

3. What attracted you to "Lysistrata Jones" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I love this show because it has so many wonderful messages of being who you really are, going for your dreams, and being passionate about life. The same things that can be so hard for every human being to remember from day to day, we try to share in just over 2 hours with an awesome score and a hysterical book. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but at the same time, people are getting really inspired to reach for the stars after seeing our little show. So anytime we can make people smile as they leave the theatre and spread the joy that we feel every time we do the show, we know we have done our job for the night.

4. "Lysistrata Jones" started Off-Broadway this past June before making the transfer to Broadway. What is it like to be part of a production that has transferred to Broadway and what excites you about being part of this experience? It is SUPER exciting! One thing that most people in the business know is that almost every single new musical that is written has the aspirations of going to Broadway. So the longer you work on something, the more hopeful you are that it will go to Broadway, but more often than not, it doesn't. So to finally have one hit, and one that I love so much, is just overwhelming. Every so often I have to take a minute to step back and look at everything we have all accomplished with this show and realize how lucky we are.

5. What do you identify with your character "Lysistrata Jones" the most? I identify with so much! One thing is that both of us are absolutely incapable of sitting still and not DOING things. I mean, we always need to have a project or something to be working on, or else we get extremely antsy and unhappy. We are both extremely energetic and peppy, and like Lysistrata, I was also a cheerleader in high school and college! Ironically, at Syracuse, which is our big rival in the show!

6. What is your favorite part of the preview period/rehearsal process in a show? I love that if something isn't working for someone, they can ask to change it. It feels amazing to have a show basically written for the current cast. So there are lines in here that are there for reasons that only the original company will ever know, and from now on when the show is performed at other theatres or in colleges, they will be working with the very thing that we all poured our hearts and souls into. That's a pretty neat feeling!

7. Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I like to rehearse in my own bedroom. It's set back from the hall of the apartment, and our building is pretty quiet, so I'm fairly certain you can't hear me when I sing. And I can't rehearse when my husband is home! I share so much with him but when I'm rehearsing a song, it has to be just me or else I get too self-conscious!

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned that I do this because I truly love performing. This business is so hard that if you don't truly love doing it, there is basically no reason to stay in it. It sounds weird to say, but to be able to go through all of the hard times and the ups and downs and the roller coaster of this business and still be able to say that I truly love it, is a really wonderful feeling.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? My dad has two pieces of advice that I have never forgotten! He told me that most people in the world don't have jobs where people stand up and clap for them at the end of every day, and to really appreciate every minute of that and to know how lucky I am. He also told me to be nice to every single person I meet on the way up, because I'll meet them again on the way down! Luckily I really like people and I'm nice anyway, but that bit of advice puts the entire industry in perspective right there!

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? These days, I like to sleep so deeply that my mind completely shuts off and I don't dream about anything! It's an important part of being able to do this show 8 times a week :)

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? Catching up on my DVR, and spending good quality time with my husband and dog. Mainly resting! Favorite way to stay in shape is doing "Lysistrata Jones" 8 times a week! I'm not really a gym kind of girl :)

12. Favorite skin care product? The moisturizer that our makeup designer for the show turned me onto! It's called Embryolisse and is it AMAZING. My skin has never been better, even though I wear a lot of makeup 6 days a week.

13. Favorite website? This season it has been the ESPN Fantasy Football website....I'm a football girl!

14. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? I'm a little bit of both since I can sing like Elphaba, but I have to say my spirit is more a Glinda spirit. Plus, she gets to wear the pretty dresses :)