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Entries in Lane Bradbury (4)


Call Answered: Doug DeVita: The Phillie Trilogy at Fresh Fruit Festival

Doug DeVitaI first came to know Doug DeVita when he was the Marketing Director of the Abingdon Theatre Company. He invited to me Abingdon's production of Marathon '33 where I met special guest Lane Bradbury, the original "Dainty June" in Gypsy starring Ethel Merman. Lane seemed to be the thread that kept us going, reuniting us for Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again which Doug wrote. I loved that show and am so excited to see Doug's latest play The Phillie Trilogy which will be part of this year's Fresh Fruit Festival July 19-23.

The Phillie Trilogy is about Phillie growing up gay in the "fabulous" 70s which was no picnic for the precocious "Phillie McDougal." Through nuns, priests, bullying classmates, parents – and years later the realization his best friend may not be the person he thought she was – he lived to tell the tales, with results no one bargained for. Including him.

The Phillie Trilogy will play in the 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B) on July 19 at 6:30pm, July 22 at 4:30pm, and July 23 at 3:30pm. Click here for tickets!

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

1. I first came to know you when you worked at Abingdon Theatre Company as their Director of Marketing, but now you have switched gears and started writing more plays. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? There were many roads I took to becoming a playwright; in addition to my career in the advertising world – which paid the bills – I was always concurrently involved in theatre. I’ve acted, I’ve directed, I was Artistic Director of the now-defunct Westside Repertory Theatre for a brief stint, and I even wrote reviews for OOBR (Off-Off Broadway Review) for a few years (until I realized I hated the person it was turning me into). It was while I was writing for OOBR that I developed a friendship with Carrie Libling, the head of Vital Children’s Theater, and she’s the one who cajoled, prodded, and pushed me into writing my first produced play – I wrote the book for a musical based on the enchanting Charles and Mary Lamb prose version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest; in the early 19th century, the Lambs wrote adaptations for children of most of the Bard’s plays, and they’re truly delightful. After the success of The Tempest, Vital commissioned another one from me (As You Like It), which was another success for them. I was then invited by another writer to collaborate on some more "adult" fare; I haven’t stopped writing since.

2. Your latest play, The Phillie Trilogy is going to be part of the 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival. Why did you want this show to be part of this festival? I’ve generally avoided festivals in the past; they’re a lot of work, they cost a lot of money, and I hate, loathe, and despise self-producing. But I’m a submission junkie, and last year I sent Fresh Fruit the script for my play The Fierce Urgency Of Now, not expecting anything. Well, it was accepted into the festival, and after a lot of hemming and hawing on my part (and some more prodding, this time from my friend Bob Ost, who’d done the Fresh Fruit Festival already and had a very positive experience) I decided, "What the hell, let’s do it." And it was a dream experience. They’re a smaller festival, so there’s a lot of attention paid to details, they’re a wonderfully warm, human group of people to work with, and the tone set by Executive Director Louis Lopardi and Artistic Director Liz Thaler invites you to really feel like you’re a part of something magical. There was no question in my mind – or in the mind of my brilliant director, Dennis Corsi ­– that we would submit The Phillie Trilogy this year. After several readings, and having won Scrap Mettle Arts Emerging Playwrights Program’s inaugural competition last year, Dennis and I felt it was time to see Phillie on his feet, and Fresh Fruit was the perfect place for this first steps. Again, there were no expectations we’d even be accepted, but we’re thrilled that we were.

"The Phillie Trilogy" 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival cast, Front: Maeve Press (Barbie), Daniel G. Cunningham (Keith/Jude), Bonale Fambrini (Phillie). Back: Carole Monferdini (Older Grace/Lina), Karen Irwin (Younger Grace/Barbara), Terri Kelsey (Veronica/Sheila), David Sabella (Pete/Philip).3. The Phillie Trilogy tells the tale of budding writer "Phillie McDougal" and the struggles he went through growing up gay in the "fabulous" 70s including the realization his best friend may not be the person he thought she was. How do you think "Phillie's" realization about his friend will affect his future friendships? Not a clue. The play ends with that question, actually; I’ve been asked many times what happens to "Philip" and "Barbara," and my answer is always the same: "Not a clue. What’s your fantasy?"

4. What do you think made "Phillie" able to survive all the hurt he encountered throughout his life to keep going as opposed to giving up? His wit. And his ability to realize that even though he had a contentious relationship with his parents – who definitely raised him with a barrage of mixed signals – they ultimately gave him, albeit reluctantly on the part of his father, the freedom to become who he was meant to become.

5. What were some struggles you went through growing up gay? I was bullied mercilessly in high school; I had lit cigarettes tossed at me, I was locked into lockers, I was followed on the street by schoolmates shouting taunts at me, the gym teacher called me a tub of shit in front of the entire school during an assembly…After I graduated, I left that school and never looked back. It’s interesting to me that I have a lot of friends from grammar school – kids I haven’t seen in over 40 years – who’ve looked me up on Facebook and we’ve reconnected, but very few from high school have sought me out, nor I them. And I’m absolutely fine with that.

"The Phillie Trilogy" ​Scrap Mettle Arts Reading, October 2016 Front: Zachary Clarence as "Phillie McDougal," and Kevin Ligon as "Pete McDougal" Back: Diane Chen as "Barbie," Karen Irwin as "Veronica McDougal"6. What was the most "fabulous" thing about growing up in the 70s? The Broadway shows and performers I got to see: the original casts of A Chorus Line and Chicago, Angela Lansbury in Gypsy and Sweeney Todd, The Andrews Sisters in Over Here!, Madeline Kahn in On The Twentieth Century, Irene Worth and a very young Meryl Streep in The Cherry Orchard, Frank Langella in Dracula, George C. Scott and the brilliant Jack Gilford in Sly many wonderful experiences! (Such a gay answer! HAHAHA!) I also loved the grittiness of New York City; many of my relatives were shocked my mother allowed a 14 year old to go into Manhattan by himself, but she understood that the city, and seeing Broadway shows, was my refuge. Being a Manhattan native herself (she was born and spent her early childhood in Hell’s Kitchen), she passed on her street smarts to me, and was confident I could take care of myself. I miss that city. Mostly I miss being able to navigate quickly through Times Square. But there was something about the scrappy, dirty, slightly dangerous New York City of the 70s that was giddily exciting, something that’s sadly missing in the somewhat sanitized yet far more dangerous version we’re living in now. New York in the 70s was like one of those seedy but entertaining carnivals: you had to be careful but if you knew how to negotiate around some of the smarmier aspects, you were fine; today it feels more like that candy-coated, brightly-colored, but terrifying island "Pinocchio" barely escapes from in Disney’s animated classic.

7. If Doug today could tell Doug of his youth three pieces of advice, what would they be? You’re better than you realize, you’re smarter than you realize, and listen to your mother. Yes, she’s a pain in the ass, but you’re more like her than you want to admit, and deep down you know she’s right, dammit.

Doug DeVita, director James Phillip Gates, and the 2017 staged-reading cast of "The Phillie Trilogy" produced by The Great Griffon / Seeking The Queer Voice Reading Series at 13th St. Rep 8. If this show is based upon any of your life events, what would you say today to those you bullied you in school? How do you react now to someone who may say an off comment about being gay? 

1: Yes, that’s you in the play. [Gives a "Bronx Cheer"]

2: Fuck off. (My husband is convinced I’m going to be shot some day).

9. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing The Phillie Trilogy? Since this has the word trilogy in the title, will there be two more plays after this? Second question first: It’s actually not a "trilogy" in the strictest sense; although I wrote the play in a traditional three-act structure, only the first part, titled Checking The Basement For Leaks, can stand alone as a short play; indeed, in that format it has had productions in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington State. The title actually refers to the books the adult "Philip" has written; in order to clarify this (and inspired by the inspired graphic design created by Christina D’Angelo), I’m mulling a title change to Phillie’s Trilogy after this production closes. So no, there won’t be any more plays with these characters.…For the time being, at least.

What do I hope audiences come away with? I hate this question.…I want them to be entertained, first and foremost…I want them to laugh their asses off one minute and then gasp in recognition the next…I want them to have a theatrical experience that allows for a spirited post-show discussion about what they’ve just seen, perhaps over a few martinis or beers...that’s the best answer I can give without falling down that rabbit hole of self-important playwright pretension.

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? I try every day to be a little less judgmental, a little more forgiving, and a little less controlling. Coming from a long line of judgmental Catholic control freaks, let me tell you: It’s a bitch.

Doug DeVitaMore on Doug:

A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Doug’s play The Fierce Urgency Of Now was produced at the 2016 Fresh Fruit festival, where it won four Fresh Fruit Awards of Distinction, including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Production for director Dennis Corsi, and two Outstanding Supporting Performance awards. Other work includes The Phillie Trilogy, which won Scrap Mettle Arts Inaugural Emerging Playwrights Program competition, and was chosen to inaugurate Great Griffon’s Seeking The Queer Voice reading series in January 2017; The Gruesomely Merry Adventures of NELL DASH, An Irrepressibly Sensible Capitalist With A Vengeance (Winner of two Winterfest Competition ’17 Awards: Best Set Design, and a Best Director nod to Dennis Corsi); and Just A Rumor (co-written with Gary Lyons) which was a semi-finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference and has had readings at New York’s Abingdon Theatre Company and London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. His ten-minute play, Checking The Basement for Leaks (the first play in The Phillie Trilogy) has been performed at the Gallery Players Black Box Festival in New York, The Driftwood Players Short Works Festival in Seattle, Ramapo College in New Jersey, and The Warner International Playwrights Festival in Connecticut. He has also collaborated with actress Lane Bradbury (the original "Dainty June" in Gypsy, starring Ethel Merman) on her one-woman show Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again, which was performed at the Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, and at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York.

Doug belongs to both The 9th Floor Playwrights Collaborative and The 36th Street Writers Block (formerly Abingdon Theatre Playwrights Group 1) in Manhattan.

He has also worked as an Art director/Copywriter for such advertising agencies as Grey Global Group, J. Walter Thompson, and N.W. Ayer, and was the marketing director for Abingdon Theatre Company for four years. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Advertising Design Department at F.I.T. in New York. Please produce his work so this part of his life can become a (sometimes) pleasant memory.


Call Redialed: 54 Below Interview with Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again

"Call Me Adam" catches up with actress Lane Bradbury! This time around we talk about the advancement of her one woman show Let Me Entertain You, Again which will be at 54 Below on Friday, May 8 at 7pm. Let Me Entertain You, Again is a highly personal tour of how Lane went from being an Atlanta Debutante to a performer on "The Great White Way" during the Golden Age of Broadway. Click here for tickets!

1. You are bringing your show Let Me Entertain You, Again to 54 Below on May 8. What are you looking forward to most about performing at 54 Below? 54 Below is a very romantic as well as an elegant environment to perform in. Just being in the room puts the audience in the mood to be entertained and have a fun evening. The stage is very welcoming to a performer because the audience is very close, and contact with them is easy.

Lane Bradbury in a previous production of "Let Me Entertain You, Again"2. What makes 54 Below the perfect venue for this engagement of the show? I first did Sondheim Unplugged last September and that is when I felt that Let Me Entertain You, Again would be a perfect venue for the show. There is a lot of Sondheim in Let Me Entertain You, Again because it tells of my adventures and misadventures in Gypsy. I could just see it and feel in being performed at 54 Below.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Let Me Entertain You, Again? I would like the audience to have a fun filled evening, as well as being moved and to re-experience or experience for the first time, through the story of Let Me Entertain You, Again, how New York and Broadway and life was in the 1950s.

4. Let Me Entertain You, Again was written by Doug DeVita and directed by your daughter Elkin Antoniou, with musical direction by Joe Goodrich. What has been the best part about working with everyone? You know, I talk about those three incredible people in the show. It has been such a miraculous journey. I would rather you come and learn about them through the story and me on stage.

Lane Bradbury and Elkin Antoniou in a previous production of "Let Me Entertain You, Again"5. How do you feel your relationship with your daughter has grown from working together? My respect for Elkin as a producer, director, choreographer, writing consultant is beyond superlative words. In one of the many versions I had a line that said, "Lou Antonio and I produced Elkin and now she is producing me." I will just say this, she is capable of producing miracles with whom ever and what ever she puts her hand to.

6. You originally performed this show two years ago at Abingdon Theatre. How do you feel you and the show has grown in these past two years? I feel like it is like a good wine. It has developed it’s taste with time.

7. You were the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy which starred Ethel Merman as "Mama Rose." What are some stories you can tell about Ethel that are NOT in Let Me Entertain You, Again? We tell it all in the show, I’m afraid.

8. What do you still want to do that you haven't done yet? I want to work with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. I want them to write a musical about "Diana" in Next to Normal after she leaves her home and cast me as "Diana."

Lane Bradbury "Let Me Entertain You, Again"9. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? Oh goodness, I just like "Pino Grigio" . . . Actually, I can think of a name "Goliath," which was the name of my Friesian Stallion . . . so it would be a big potent drink, but someone else will have to come up with the ingredients.

10. How do you want to be remembered? What a hard question. What do you want a book? I care about "at risk children," I care about the homeless, I care about turning our tragedies into some kind of a miracles that makes this world a better place to live in.

Lane BradburyMore on Lane:

Lane began dancing at age five with Dorothy Alexander, founder of the Atlanta Ballet, and was made a member of the company at age twelve. By age 17, she auditioned for the Actor’s Studio in New York. She was admitted, and at that time she was the youngest actor ever to achieve the honor of becoming a lifetime member. After seeing her work at the Actor’s Studio, Elia Kazan cast her in the Broadway play, JB. She then went on to originate the roles of "Dainty June" opposite Ethel Merman in Gypsy, "Charlotte Goodall" in Night of the Iguana, and "Mick" in June Havoc’s Marathon 33. She has appeared in such films as Alice Doesn’t Live Here AnymoreHawaiiThe Barony, and Consenting Adults. She has had guest starring roles in many Movies of Week including: Maybe I’ll Come Home in the SpringDial Hot LineA Real American Hero, and To Dance With the White Dog. She has also appeared in over 40 series including such classics as GunsmokeIn the Heat of the NightKung FuThe Rockford FilesThe Partridge Family, Walking TallSerpicoThe WaltonsPolice StoryMcCloudThe Mod Squad, and The Streets of San Franscisco. Lane is now the artistic director of Valkyrie Theatre of Dance Drama & Film, a non-profit organization that utilizes the arts to bring hope, healing and identity to "at risk" children and teenagers.


Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again Interview

Lane Bradbury was the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy, starring opposite theatre legend Ethel Merman as "Rose."

Lane is taking to the stage once again in her new autobiographical one-woman show Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again! this Sunday, September 15 at 7pm at the Abingdon's June Havoc Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

1. On Sunday, Sept 15, you are premiering your one-woman show "Lane Bradbury: Let Me Entertain You, Again!" What made you want to create this show? This show was Doug DeVita's idea. When I was here for the Marathon 33 Fund Raiser at the Abingdon, Doug took me to see Next To Normal...I flipped out. I couldn't get out of my seat! Doug sent me the CD! It was always playing when ever I was in my car. I confessed my feelings to Doug about Next To Normal...that I was thinking of what I had to do to go after the part of "Diana" the mother, and play it on the road or what ever.

I received an email from Doug proposing that he had come up with this "insane idea" of writing a "one woman show" for me. "You could sing songs in French and songs from Next To Normal. My feet went COLD. Could I really resurrect a voice that had not sung for 30 years? But, the temptation was too great. I found through my daughter, Elkin, an accompanist, Jan Roper, who has since become the show's musical director. Jan introduced me to Robert Edwards, who became my vocal coach.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" in Los Angeles2. What made now the right time to premiere it? That is a secret that you will learn by coming to see the show and I don't want to give it away.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your show? I hope the audience will have such a good time going on this journey with me and come away feeling, "Yes, everything can still come up roses." 

4. You are premiering the show at the Abingdon Theatre's June Havoc. What do you feel this venue offers your show that another one might not? I respect so much what the Abingdon does as a creative force for New York and because we will be in The June Havoc Theater and I played "June" in Gypsy and was in Marathon 33 it has emotional connections for me.

5. What was it like going back through your career and life to create this show? Did you learn anything about yourself through this process or did you rediscover something you lost? This question is answered within the show and the audience will discover the answer as we travel together. What I did discover and can talk about is what the power of love did as I worked with my daughter Elkin, her husband, Bobby Garabedian and the times that Doug and Joe were able to see the show as it as coming together in Los Angeles.

Lane Bradbury as "Dainty June" and Ethel Merman as "Rose" in Broadway's original "Gypsy", Photo Credit: Friedman-Abeles Photograph Collection6. As the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's Gypsy, what are some of your cherished memories from that time? This question is answered in the show as the audience travels with us through with song and dance.

7. Your "Rose" in the original Broadway production of Gypsy was Ethel Merman. What was your experience of working with her? What did you learn from it? Come see the answers come alive.

8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Maybe you could ask me that question again sometime, because right now I love so much who I have been working with. I am just so happy to stay in this sacred place for a while.

Lane Bradbury in "Let Me Entertain You, Again" in Los Angeles9. In addition to acting, you are also a teacher. What have your students taught you? That I had a privileged life and if a student doesn't show up for class or disappoints me for one reason or another I don't have the privilege of getting all huffy and put out because I never had to go home to the things the "kids in crises" have to go home to...if when they go home or if they even have a home.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? My Mother always told me: "Where there's a will, there's a way." and "There's no such word as can't." Put that together with visualizing a better world, cooperative conversations and the fact that each of us are special and have something marvelous to contribute. This is my choice of a Super Power and a gift we can all use and give.

More on Lane:

Lane began dancing at age five with Dorothy Alexander, founder of the Atlanta Ballet, and was made a member of the company at age twelve. By age 17, she auditioned for the Actor’s Studio in New York. She was admitted, and at that time she was the youngest actor ever to achieve the honor of becoming a lifetime member. After seeing her work at the Actor’s Studio, Elia Kazan cast her in the Broadway play, JB. She then went on to originate the roles of "Dainty June" opposite Ethel Merman in Gypsy, "Charlotte Goodall" in Night of the Iguana, and "Mick" in June Havoc’s Marathon 33. She has appeared in such films as Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Hawaii, The Barony, and Consenting Adults. She has had guest starring roles in many Movies of Week including: Maybe I’ll Come Home in the Spring, Dial Hot Line, A Real American Hero, and To Dance With the White Dog. She has also appeared in over 40 series including such classics as Gunsmoke, In the Heat of the Night, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, The Partridge Family, Walking Tall, Serpico, The Waltons, Police Story, McCloud, The Mod Squad, and The Streets of San Franscisco. Lane is now the artistic director of Valkyrie Theatre of Dance Drama & Film, a non-profit organization that utilizes the arts to bring hope, healing and identity to "at risk" children and teenagers.


Lane Bradbury

While attending The Abingdon Theatre Benefit "Marathon '33" on Monday, October 19, I had the pleasure of personally interviewing, in her first blog interview, Lane Bradbury, the original "Dainty June" in Broadway's "Gypsy" which starred Ethel Merman as "Rose." Her other Broadway credits include "J.B.," "The Night of the Iguana," and "Marathon '33." Lane has also been seen in such hit TV shows as "Gunsmoke," "The Mod Squad," "The Partridge Family," "The Waltons," "I'll Fly Away," "In The Heat of The Night," "Party of Five", and "Savannah."  Currently, Lane is the Artistic Director of the Valkyrie Theater of Dance and Drama which brings drama and dance to at risk teens.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Performing was always something I did. Something was just in me that made me want to perform. As a young child I would always dance on the sofa and to spruce things up I would change my clothes, putting on my Sunday best to make the performance more colorful.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? When I was a child. Mother started taking me to ballet at age 5 so I was always gearing up for some kind of performance. Performing professionally was a natural manifestation of what I already did a lot.

3. What has been your best & worst experience in a show? My best experience was the first play I ever did, "Ondine."  My worst experience was working with Jerry Robbins in Gypsy.

4. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so what did you consider doing? I never thought about quitting. Being on Broadway was very tough and eventually that experience morphed into me focusing more on dance and doing my own thing and which ultimately led me to becoming the Artistic director of Valkyrie Theater of Dance & Drama. I bring dance & drama to at risk teens after school. I like to mix in professional people with the kids watch what unfolds.

5. Out of all the people you've worked with, who did you learn the most from? Dorothy Alexander, my first ballet teacher taught me and inspired me a lot.

6. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? At the moment, no one comes to mind, but I will let you know if I think of one.

7. What's the best advice you given someone, but not taken for yourself? Use the negative experiences of your life and making something positive out of them. Also, bring yourselves honestly to what you are doing.

8. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I just finished reading "True Compass" by Ted Kennedy. Growing up, the Kennedy family were legends and I dream that they really made a difference in this world. To me, they are the epitome of turning a negative experience into a positive one.

9. Favorite pastime? Training my new Pomeranian puppy.

10. Favorite play/musical? My favorite play is "Good Bobby" about Bobby Kennedy. My favorite musical is "Cats."