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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Don't Tell Mama (3)

Tuesday
Jun132017

Call Redialed: Lane Bradbury: "Let Me Entertain You, Again" at Don't Tell Mama

Lane Bradbury, Photo Credit: Angelique HannahThey say the third time's a charm and that couldn't be more true. I have interviewed Lane Bradbury, Broadway's original "Dainty June" in Gypsy twice before about her upcoming one-woman show Let Me Entertain You, Again, but this time around, we really got deep into the heart of this show, Lane's struggles, her freedoms, and most of all, the backstage drama of Lane's time working with Ethel Merman & Jerome Robbins in Broadway's original production Gypsy!

Written by Doug DeVita and directed by Elkin Antoniou, Let Me Entertain You, Again is a highly personal tour of how Lane Bradbury went from being an Atlanta Debutante to a performer on "The Great White Way" during the Golden Age of Broadway. Songs include "Gee, But It's Good To Be Here," "Corner Of The Sky," and "Another Hundred People," among others, as well as four songs from Gypsy: "Broadway," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "If Momma Was Married," and, of course, "Let Me Entertain You."

Let Me Entertain You, Again played it's first return engagement on June 6 and will now play it's second performance Thursday, June 29 at 7pm at Don't Tell Mama in NYC (343 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Lane be sure to visit http://lanebradbury.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. This June you are bringing back your one-woman show, Let Me Entertain You, Again to NYC, but this time you are performing it at Don't Tell Mama. What made now the right time to return with this show? I got an amazing manager by the name of Stephen Hanks and this was the first thing we did together, so that's why now.

2. Why did you want to do this run at Don't Tell Mama? It's a classic place. I love the intimacy of the venue. I mean "Don't Tell Mama," the title alone just sounds so enticing and it adds a little bit of sweet wickedness to that name. And I've seen other cabaret shows there, so I just felt the venue was perfect for me.

Me: Also since you created the role of "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy and you had "Mama" in that show, "Mama Rose," maybe there's a little tie in there with "Don't Tell Mama." 

Lane: You just put that together, [laughs], but "Mama" sure does stand out.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" at Don't Tell Mama 2017, Photo Credit: Stephen Hanks3. What do you hope to gain from this return engagement that you did not get from your previous mountings of this show? I would like to keep the momentum going and get more engagements of Let Me Entertain You, Again because it's so much fun to do.

Me: Well, it's a lot of fun to watch.

4. This is the third production of Let Me Entertain You, Again that I will be coming to see. Where do you hope this show will take you/your career? I would love to do another Broadway musical. That would just be the perfect icing on the cake. I would love to do a play too, but prefer a musical because I love music. 

5. Which part of the show, Let Me Entertain You, Again, is the hardest for you to perform? Which part is the most fun? There is no hard part, just fun. I talk about this in the show, but I came back to this show with a lot of fear, so much so that it paralyzed me. I would get sooo furious when I got something wrong, but after working with my daughter Elkin Antoniou and her husband film director Bobby Garabedian, they really got me me to loosen up and absolutely fall into freedom and joy and let the mistakes become okay. I've known this from acting, sometimes the best moments are the times when you make a mistake and then something real takes over. You go into your unconscious and something wonderful comes out. That's just a great thing to know and to try to live by. Elkin and Bobby really showed me that.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" at Don't Tell Mama 2017, Photo Credit: Stephen Hanks6. In our very first interview back in 2009, I asked you "What was your worst experience in a show?" At that time, you had said "Working with Jerome Robbins in Gypsy was your worst experience." If Gypsy were being mounted today with you, Ethel Merman, and Jerome Robbins as director and choreographer, how do you think Lane Bradbury of today would handle those big personalities as opposed to Lane Bradbury of yesterday? I hope, with Jerry, from the experiences I've had and the years I've got under my belt would help me not become so paralyzed by his personality and that I would say something like "You know you want a good performance from me. I want a good performance too. The best way to get that is to be positive with me and encourage me, rather than put me down because, now, I have to rise above all your negativity and that's just really hard to do. So you are making your job and my job harder."

With Merman, I don't know how you communicate with somebody who doesn't communicate. Unless, in the interim, she had grown some or exerpienced something in life that would have changed her, I would probably do the same that I did back then, just do the best performance I could do and pretend I was working with someone else, rather than actually working with her. That's one of the things we learn to do in method acting, if the character or the other actor in the scene doesn't work for you in the way they should, then you think they are someone else so it doesn't hang you up. It makes it real for you.

Me: That says so much about the struggle you went through at the time and it's great to hear how much stronger you are now and rise above it all.

Lane: I sure hope so. As artists there is something very delicate and exposed about us and that needs to be protected. That was something Jerome Robbins, I don't think really understood, although he went to the studio, so he was taught that, but a lot of people that know the method seem to have something about their personality where they just can't be as positive as we would like them to be. As artists we have to adjust the best we can and somehow be able to use whatever they are giving us to be better and not let ourselves go down into that negative place where there is no getting back from.

Me: Well, I think you would be able to do it.

Lane: I think I would too. [Laughs]. But I'm looking back over the road at how difficult that was.

Me: Sure and at the time you were just a teenager.

Lane: I was 17. Until that time, I had never come across that negativity. My ballet teacher was an angel and the most positive being in my life. Then when I did Ondine, they just encouraged everything I did, so when I got with Jerry Robbins, it was such a shocker, just something out of the blue.

Me: Especially after coming from such a positive reinforcement with your ballet teacher to go to his negativity, I'm sure it was quite a shock.

Lane: It was. Truly, truly, truly.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" at Don't Tell Mama 2017, Photo Credit: Stephen Hanks7. With your dream of coming back to Broadway, if you could be put into any show currently running on Broadway or coming next season, which show or shows would you like to be part of? I don't get into Manhattan a lot to go to the theatre, but I'd love to play "Diana" in a revival of Next To Normal (even though I'm probably too old for the part, I could pull it off). That would be the pennacle role for me.

Me: I think you could pull it off. I remember in one of our previous interviews you mentioned wanting to work with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey and how you'd love them to write you a musical about "Diana" after she gets out of treament. So, let's put this out there again for that to happen.

Lane: Yes, lets. And the other show I'm really really right for would be Pippin. While I was doing Let Me Entertain You, Again in LA, someone said to me, "Lane, you should play 'Madame Rose'" in Gypsy. I thought, I could do that, even though I feel my size would work a little bit against me, my voice would work for me. I wish I knew more of the current season, but I'm hoping Let Me Entertain You, Again, will put me in a better position to see more shows.

8. 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? I would still love to drop away the negativity that comes into your mind when something doesn't go right and replace it with the magic and wonder that is positive. I know to do that, but it's so easy for the little dark thoughts to invade us, but the quicker we can get over those, shed them and put something positive in there, the better off we are. It's a habbit we need to do.

Me: You have to consciously work at it, to put the postive in your mind and not let the negative take over.

Lane: Right.

Lane Bradbury, Photo Credit: Angelique HannahMore on Lane:

Lane Bradbury created the role of "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy starring Ethel Merman. Her other stage credits include J.B., The Night of the Iguana, and Marathon '33. Her film credits include Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Hawaii, The Barony, and Consenting Adults, and her TV work includes In the Heat of the Night, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, The Partridge Family, The Waltons, and The Mod Squad.

Sunday
Mar012015

Call Redialed: Don't Tell Mama Interview: Karen Mason: Mason at Mama's

Karen Mason"Call Me Adam" catches up with 10-time MAC Award winner Karen Mason! This time around we talk about her new show Mason at Mama's, a weekly show at NYC's famed Don't Tell Mama's (343 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) where she will feature new arrangements of classics, new songs and some of the music you and your longtime composer/arranger Brian Lasser performed in those early days at Mama's! Showtimes are every Sunday and Monday in March at 7pm! Tickets are $20 + a 2 drink minimum. For reservations call 212-757-0788 (after 4pm)!

For more on Karen be sure to visit http://www.karenmason.com and follow her on Facebook!

1. This March you will be premiering your new show Mason at Mama's where every Sunday and Monday in March you will be performing at Don't Tell Mama's in NYC. This show will feature new arrangements of classics, new songs and some of the music you and your longtime composer/arranger Brian Lasser performed in those early days at Mama's. What excites you about this upcoming show? Well, I am not only excited...I am nervous! It was slightly shocking to me how nervous I was feeling! And that nervousness is keeping me energized and on my toes, and certainly the most important thing for me: striving! Striving to do a really good show!

I am so happy to be going back to Mama's, which I opened in 1982 (with Nancy LaMott!). It reminds me of a time in my life when it was all about making music and finding joy in that process! Sometimes, all of that gets clouded with making money, ticket price (yes, I get concerned about that these days), gowns, etc......and we have a $20 cover (with of course the 2 drink minimum! it is a club, after all!!)....and I am hoping we sell this out!!! So we can have a great time with our audiences!

Karen Mason in "Unfinished Business" at CAP 21, Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy2. What made now the right time to premiere this show? I was feeling very very frustrated in trying to get a run at the clubs in NY! I just wanted to do more than one show! And couldn't seem to get a run without a lot of rules and strictures! So.....Lennie Watts suggested maybe going back to Mama's! and Chris Denny (my MD) suggested maybe going back to Mama's....and so I asked Sidney Myer if I could come do a run at Mama's! Mama's is a place to make music and learn! and I need another learning curve in my life! About what is important in my life and making music and having audiences is the most important!

3. For someone who has never seen you perform, what is one reason you would give them to come see Mason at Mama's, aside from it being a new show? THE $20 COVER! Come on!! You ain't gonna find this perhaps ever again! of course, cash only!!!

4. What will Mason at Mama's give your fans that you have not done in a previous cabaret show? The older Karen Mason.....at the club she sang in 33 years ago!! A lot of water under the bridge, a lot of life since 1982....I was singing with Brian Lasser 33 years ago and now I have another magnificent artist, Christopher Denny!

Karen Mason performing at Birdland Jazz, Photo Credit: Seth Walters5. Mason at Mama's will conclude March 30 with your birthday celebration! What are you looking forward about celebrating your birthday during this show? CAKE!!!

6. You are a 10-time Mac Award winner and on March 26 you will be hosting the Mac Awards at B.B. Kings. What does it mean to you be a 10-time winner and to be hosting the awards show? I was around when MAC was started! It means I am very very old! lol Lennie Watts, President of MAC, has asked me for a few years to be the host...and I've had to cancel because of out of town work. THIS YEAR, I made sure I was going to be in town by booking around the dates at Mama's!!! And I wouldn't miss it for anything! So many friends who all started at the same time are gone. So many amazing artists are still here.....and it is always a good thing to celebrate the NOW! Happy I am still here at this moment to celebrate!!

7. With Mason at Mama's you are returning to the room at Don't Tell Mama that you opened with Nancy LaMott. What memories do you have of the time you performed together? I honestly don't remember much about the time...except I was so happy! I am not one who remembers a lot about specific times in my life, that was Brian's job when we were together! Believe it or not, I am asking some of the people who were there to tell me things they remember! I just stink at remembering!

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I have learned that I ain't such a bad person after all!

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To have a very fast metabolism!!!

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? Grey Goose Vodka, 3 olives....and a limo ride home after seeing Chris Denny and me at Mama's in March! I would call it 3M (Mason at Mama's in March: 3M).

Karen MasonMore on Karen:

Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, and recording: and "has few peers when it comes to ripping the roof off with her amazing voice that knows no bounds!" (TheatreScene.net) Karen is a ten-time MAC Award winner and has won the MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist of the Year for six consecutive years. She has also won the 2006 Nightlife Award for Major Female Vocalist and has three Bistro Awards.

Karen most recently garnered rave reviews starring as "The Queen of Hearts" in WONDERLAND on Broadway She originated the role of "Tanya" on Broadway in Abba's MAMMA MIA!, and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress. Her other leading roles include "Norma Desmond" in SUNSET BOULEVARD, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; "Velma von Tussel" in the final Broadway company of HAIRSPRAY; "Monotony" singer, "Mazeppa" in JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY; "Rosalie" in CARNIVAL (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's TORCH SONG TRILOGY; and PLAY ME A COUNTRY SONG.

Karen Mason in "Show Queen: Life after Wonderland"Karen won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, and starred Off-Broadway in her own show KAREN MASON SINGS BROADWAY, BEATLES AND BRIAN.

Her television appearances include the hit dramas ED and LAW & ORDER: SVU. Film credits include SLEEPING DOGS LIE and A CHORUS LINE.

In regional theatre, Karen starred in the 1st National Tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY as "Miss Shields," in the world premiere of the stage production of WHITE CHRISTMAS, (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Muni Opera), SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida), GYPSY (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of ONE TOUGH COOKIE (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), HEARTBEATS (Goodspeed Opera House in NY) and COMPANY (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Most recently in New York, Karen starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE.

Karen MasonKaren has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at The Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci' Place, The Supper Club and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco; and Davenport's in Chicago.

She has shared concert stages with Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. Karen has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka. Her starring symphonic performances include The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Michael Berkowitz, The Philly Pops with Peter Nero, The New York Pops with Skitch Henderson, The Oklahoma Philharmonic with Joel Levine, the premier performance of The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic, and the St. Louis Symphony with John McDaniel.

Karen MasonHer highly acclaimed recordings include her newest single, IT'S ABOUT TIME, written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC AWARD-winning Right Here/ Right Now, 2005's The Sweetest of Nights, the MAC Award-winning When The Sun Comes Out, as well as three other CDs: Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!, recorded live at the West Bank Cafe Better Days, featuring songs by her longtime composer/arranger, Brian Lasser (including the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song "Hold Me"); and Not So Simply Broadway. Karen has been featured on the soundtrack of the original cast CD of Wonderland Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande), the studio cast recording of Wonderful Town (JAY Records), the original cast album of And The World Goes Round (RCA Victor), The Child In Me, Vol. 1 (Harbinger Records), and Lost in Boston ll (Varese Sarabande).

Friday
May252012

Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality.

I first spoke to Del Shores in 2009 when he, Jason Dottley, Rue McClanahan, Caroline Rhea, and Leslie Jordan were touring the country with their show "A Sordid Comedy Affair." Since that time his play "Yellow" was a sold-out success at The Coast Playhouse in CA, he turned his play "The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife" into the feature film "Blues For Willadean," and toured the country with his one-man show "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions."

Now Del and I have re-grouped to discuss his new one-man show "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality," in which Del will share more sordid stories about his Texas family, read letters he's written to the haters (including Newt Gingrich and Kirk Cameron), act out scenes from your favorite reality shows (including Hoarders, The Kardashians and The Housewives of Beverly Hills) and yes, he will address his new, unexpected, single life.

Launching in New York City at Don't Tell Mama on June 2 at 6pm and 8:30pm, "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality" will then travel the country! Call 212-757-0788 after 4pm to make your reservation! $20 cover + 2 drink minimum. CASH ONLY. 

For more on Del be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Since we last spoke in 2009, a lot has happened for you. Your play "Yellow" was a sold-out success at The Coast Playhouse in CA, you turned your play "The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife" into the feature film "Blues for Willadean," you toured the country with "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions" and now you are once again out on tour with your new show "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality." What made you want to do another tour and how did you come up with the title and concept for this show? Wow, love the question because it makes me realize how busy I've been! I love working and have really gotten addicted to performing again. Standup is a perfect fit for me because I like to rant, to spew, to tell stories. The last tour was so successful and I was so happy on the road. I've decided to try and go out and connect with my fans once a year on tour. It feeds me. It heals me. And frankly, I need a little healing right now.

2. What made you want to do another tour and how did you come up with the title and concept for this show, "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality."? Well, Sordid is my brand so it's always a word I use in my shows. My ex-husband Jason Dottley was a master at marketing and that was something I learned and embraced from him. It was his idea to change the name of my first show from "The Storyteller" to "My Sordid Life." Naked implies "exposure" and I will be exposing MUCH in this show. No skin, oh no, no, no, no…without photoshop, that would drive them away! But the stories will be honest, the rants MY truth and the "reality" part is based on the fact that I'm actually acting out scenes from some reality shows -- "Hoarders," "The Kardashians" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Not changing a word.

3. How will "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality." differ from your "Sordid Confessions" tour? There are similarities of course. More letters with my famous P.S. Fuck You. But I'm single for the first time in 10 years and I'll address that. It's an elephant in the room and it cannot be ignored. I also have an entire section on my real Aunt Sissy!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I want them to laugh a lot and think a little. And whisper…"Wow, Del Shores really looks great and should get laid often!"

5. "Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality." will be making a stop in NYC on June 2nd at Don't Tell Mama. What made you want to bring this show to Don't Tell Mama? Laurie Beechman where I've played in the past was booked and I've always loved Don't Tell Mama. My manager Michael thought of it. He reps Coco Peru and I believe she's played there. I'm spending a week there with my daughters and told them, "Dad will work one night and the rest of the trip is all vacation!"

What does this venue offer that another one does not? History! I love how legendary it is! I'm very excited about playing a new venue in NYC.

6. What do you get from your one-man stand-up shows that you do not get from your film/television/playwrighting? Instant laughs and adoration and complete creative control!

7. What's your favorite part of the creative process in putting your one-man shows together? I love finding the stories, the themes, and hitting that stage for the first time seeing if it works. NYC will be my first shows. I started "Confessions" there so I thought…well, it'll bring me luck. To launch in NYC, I was told recently was either stupid or brave!

Where is your favorite place to rehearse? In my living room. In the car. To my friends. I'll just corner anybody and try out something.

8. You created one of my newer favorite TV shows, based upon your hit film, "Sordid Lives." Looking back, what did you enjoy most about turning the film into a TV series? I frankly loved working such an amazing cast. I loved being on location with my husband at the time and our new puppy Ty Guapo. Returning to those characters was sheer heaven and working with Caroline Rhea for the first time, who has become one of my best friends and the late great Rue McClanahan along with all the other players I had worked with before was a highlight in my career. I miss Winters, TX and the Sordid franchise and hope to return to it one more time for a film or two. It was so unfortunate that greed from the producer of the show cost us the show.

9. You were also a writer for one of my all time favorite TV shows in the 80s, "Family Ties." What was the best part about working this hit series? I actually got my WGA card writing one episode. Gary David Goldberg (the creator) saw my play "Daddy's Dyin'" and hired me in the lobby that night. I was 29 years old. It was a monumental opportunity for me, writing TV for the first time, and Gary taught me much. In that, my episode never aired. I turned it in and we went on strike the next day. I was featured on the news as the newest member on strike with the WGA.

10. What have you learned about yourself from all your endeavors (performer, writer, director, producer)? Oh there are many things I've learned, Adam, but I must say today after yesterday, a hard day signing divorce papers, I've learned that I'm strong and I always take tragedy and turn it into comedy. I also have realized that people like to see me with a microphone in my hand, ranting. AND, I've learned that the power of my words and stories has changed lives for the better. That's huge and very humbling.

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Oh I'd like to read minds. Hear other's thoughts.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Reading a great book.

13. How old were you when you had your first real kiss? Wow. Real. I guess that would be one with a man that felt so right, where everything made sense. Pathetically late coming out, being a Southern Baptist preacher's damaged by religion child….35!!!

14. What's the most unusual place you've ever had sex? Hand job on an airplane. And for me sex means somebody came!