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"Call Me Adam" chats with...



Entries in Joanna Gleason (3)


Call Redialed: Aaron David Gleason: "Wry Observer"

Aaron David GleasonIt's so great to catch up singer/songwriter Aaron David Gleason on the heels of his new album Wry Observer being released last month. I really enjoyed learning about the making of this album, why Aaron waited 12 years between albums, finding his place in this world, his favorite things to do in NYC, and remembering his grandfather, Monty Hall, co-creator of the hit game show Let's Make A Deal.

Aaron will be celebrating the release of his new album with a concert this Tuesday, November 14 at Rockwood Music Hall (169 Allen Street) at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

Wry Observer is available via iTunes!

For more on Aaron be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/singer/songwriter? David Bowie, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, The Beatles....and a million others....but Bowie and Rufus at that age when you really decide.

2. Last month you released, your second album, Wry Observer, 12 years after your second album. Why did you wait 12 years in between albums? I was waiting because my first album got crushed by the press and by the industry after that. That hurt. I also felt like I wasn't as good as I would like to be. I had to reevaluate and take inventory. I did that. I came to New York where I was dressed down immediately! That was painful but necessary. I'm grateful for the New York kiss, as it were. Is that a term? Nope, just made it up. But there is a term, "Glasgow Kiss," and it was figuratively similar.

3. How do you feel you have grown as a singer/songwriter in these 12 years? I feel like I'm naked now as a singer. I'm not hiding behind artifice. That took me a long time, since despite what it seems, I'm very shy.

4. On November 14 you are celebrating the release of Wry Observer with a concert at Rockwood Music Hall. What are you looking forward to most about this concert? What are you most nervous about premiering this new music? Most looking forward to sharing this excitement with a crowd and a crowd mostly of friends. I love my band, and time stands still when we perform, so it will be nice to stop the clock again. As far as performing 10 songs in a row for the first time, yeah...trying not to think about that haha....

5. Why did you name the album Wry Observer? I've always felt like a reporter. Maybe it was a protective shield. I'm a watcher. I'm fascinated by the human condition. But I also know very much that as much as I think I'm the watcher, there will always be someone watching me. So...who is the wry observer? I think Rashoman has an interesting answer to that question.

6. One of the songs on your new album is "Place in the World." How did making this album help you find your place in this world? I'm a songwriter. As much as I love acting, or performing music, my deepest passion is songwriter. I think about it like a puzzle and talk about it ad nauseum.

Aaron David Gleason7. Another song you recorded for Wry Observer is called "Brooklyn at Dawn," an ode to the clarity and introspection that only exists in the wee hours of the morning. What is something you learned or got clarity on at the wee hours in the morning? There is no bravado early in the morning. So anything I've ever done by sheer bravado, doesn't count. When I'm up that early, I see myself in the most brutal but purifying light. It's not fun, but like meditation, its ripple effect of good is very appreciated.

8. One more song on the album is "Nueva York." What are some of your favorite things to do in NYC? How do you like to spend the holidays in NYC? Oh I love The Village and part of me just adores the funkiness of Alphabet City, though I'm sure it's a much more sanitized, homogenized place than in 1979, say. But there is a pulse there, and it's undeniable. I lived in Greenpoint for 7 years--I'm so grateful for that time, it fed my soul a lot. Holidays? I live in Tarrytown now, it's pretty beautiful around that time.

Monty Hall, "Let's Make A Deal"9. In these 12 years between albums, what is the biggest change you made in your life that you feel allowed you to finally make new music? The biggest change has just been to incrementally follow the path to humanity instead of lusting after celebrity. I lust after humanity now and it's much more gratifying.

10. This past September your grandfather, Monty Hall (co-creator of the game show Let's Make A Deal) passed away. What is something you learned from your grandfather about the world of entertainment? What do you miss most about him? The world of entertainment is a mirage...a very beautifully crafted one. Life is family and good deeds and loyalty--he embodied that more than humanly possible at times. That education will never leave me. He always asked how my gigs went. I miss very much sharing victories with him. But it's my job now to be that to someone else. So Adam, tell me what's going on in YOUR life :)

Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Alex TurshMore on Aaron:

Singer-songwriter Aaron David Gleason isn’t afraid to think outside of the box. His approach to creating his music is nothing less than inspired -- years in the making, his new album, Wry Observer, finally expresses exactly the things he’s needed to say.

Wry Observer was recorded over four days at Nashville’s Sputnik Sound with producer Brad Lindsay. Filled with mystery and humor, the album offers insight on what Aaron has learned about life in the past 15 years – after overcoming several obstacles both personally and professionally, he’s arrived at a place where his songs tell his stories the way he wants them to be told, with his unique wit weaved in.

During a nine-year hiatus from music, he moved from Los Angeles to New York City, embarked on an acting career and eventually started over from scratch with music. Now 38, with the aid of therapy and a new-found community of artist friends in New York and Nashville, he’s made another record – 12 years after his last.

Offering matured songwriting, a liberated vocal and experimentation with open tuning, the songs on the album dovetail into each other musically and thematically. "The Last To Die In Battle," written about England’s infamous 15th-century king Richard III, flows into the title track, which represents many things for Aaron. He’s felt like an observer for much of his life -- a journalist of sorts taking notes on the world around him -- though the song is ultimately about his wife and how she helped him heal. "Pops" then offers a tribute to The Staple Singers and how their music also helped Aaron through tough times, along with fragments of his own relationship with his father. "Nueva York," and its poetic take on New York’s persuasive powers are juxtaposed with "Brooklyn At Dawn," an ode to the clarity and introspection that only exists in the wee hours of the morning.

Aaron released In Flagrante Delicto when he was 22 with his then-band All Hours. With its collage of pointed lyrics and song fragments that only touched the surface of his ability to create quality songs. The band and their label eventually parted ways, and Aaron later self-produced a self-titled album. Both were lessons that he needed to experience to arrive at the music he’s making now – and Wry Observer is finally, genuinely, him.

Surrounded by music and entertainment for much of his life as the son of Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason and the grandson of Let’s Make A Deal co-creator Monty Hall, Gleason released his first album when he was 22, and later self-produced a self-titled album. He eventually moved from Los Angeles to New York City, embarked on an acting career and now started over from scratch with music. Now 38, with the aid of therapy and a new-found community of artist friends in New York and Nashville, he’s made another record – 12 years after his last – an album that is finally, genuinely, him.


Call Answered: Aaron David Gleason: 54 Below: Midnight at 9:30

Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Prospect Photography"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, producer, and singer/songwriter Aaron David Gleason about his upcoming show at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) Midnight at 9:30 on February 18 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

Midnight at 9:30 is an evening of songs from every genre about "midnight." Joining Aaron in this special evening are his Tony Award winning mother Joanna Gleason, Chris Sullivan, Lucas Papaelias, Brittain Ashford, Or Matias, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Andromeda Turre, Daniel Ballen, and David Ballen.

For more on Aaron be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. On February 18, you are presenting Midnight at 9:30, an evening of songs about Midnight. What are you most excited for about this concert? Getting this crew together. I'm a huge fan of these other artists.

2. What made you want to produce an evening of songs about Midnight? What does this bewitching hour mean to you? My first band was called The Midnight Radio, of course I was inspired by Stephen Trask's song. That song encapsulates all of Hedwig's emotions at that time. It's heavy and exalting all in one. As for "midnight songs": Funny, that a lot of songs with that word in it end up being blues. The non-blues ones end up being epic. Once you get into that subject matter, there's no messing around. You must have something to say. When I posted that I wanted suggestions on songs with "midnight" in them, I got about 100 replies.

3. What do you love most about performing at 54 Below? Nice ambiance. Great history. The other people performing on a nightly basis there are incredible. It's been a fantasy to play there.

Joanna and Aaron Gleason performingAaron and Joanna Gleason in Aaron's music video for his song "Mastermind"4. Joining you on February 18 will be a host of Broadway performers including your mother, Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason, whom you have performed with before at 54 Below. She was also featured in your music video for your song "Mastermind." What are looking forward to most about having your mom as part of this evening? What do you like most about performing with her? My mom asked if she could make soup for everyone. I said, "I've had your soup, how about you sing one song." She agreed to that deal. All kidding aside, I'm as much a fan of hers as anyone. Her interpretations are inspired and inventive. Some people try in vain to distill her talents -- that's pretty tough because she is so nimble and electric.

5. Some of the other performers performing with you in Midnight at 9:30 are Chris Sullivan, Lucas Papaelias, Brittain Ashford, Or Matias, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Andromeda Turre, Daniel Ballen, and David Ballen. How did you decide that you wanted these particular performers to be part of this concert? This is my favorite part. These artists all have something that's impossible to pin down. Anytime I saw them perform, they changed the way I saw theater. I saw Brittain and Or in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and it blew my mind, to be honest. Lucas and I used to play basketball, before I knew anything about the guy. Then, I see ONCE and he damn near steals the show. Nikka and I grew up together, and her mother and my mother were in I Love My Wife. Nikka has infectious charm. I'm a big fan of The Knick, and Chris Sullivan is incredible on that show.  He also happens to sing blues and folk like a mountain man. The Bailens are an up and coming great band and Drew Cooper, my MD, is literally my next door neighbor. I heard his playing coming through the wall, and thought, yeah I have to get that guy. Andromeda and I were in a reading of The Happy Hooker, and she knocked my socks off with her killer energy and voice.

Aaron David Gleason6. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending Midnight at 9:30? Their money's worth. Just having a nice night out. Excitement. Whimsy.

7. In addition to performing in Midnight at 9:30, as mentioned earlier, you are also producing the concert. What do you get from producing that you do not get from performing? Ownership, for better or for worse.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? If someone ever tells you their way is the only way, it probably isn't.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? It's what I live for, totally, completely. It CAN make you take a long look in a close mirror, which is fairly horrifying at first, but then you learn to be at peace with it. What I've learned most though, is that if I go too long between performances, I start to lose my sense of self.

Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Prospect Photography10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to play music at a high level.


11. If you could create a signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? The Midnight Special. Ingredients: Gin, Bitters, Grand Marnier.


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 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 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 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.