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Entries in Music (164)

Monday
Jun092014

Call Answered Again: Emily Bergl: Til I Get It Right at 54 Below

Emily Bergl at Broadway Belts for PFF 2013Call Me Adam once again chats with actress and singer Emily Bergl about her brand new cabaret show at 54 Below, Til I Get It Right, which exposes the lengths we go to in our search for love and what we do when we don’t find it, or even more frightening, when we do.

Til I Get It Right plays June 10, 13, and 14 at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on Emily be sure to visit http://www.emilybergl.net and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. On June 10, 13, 14 you are bringing your brand new show Til I Get It Right to 54 Below. What made you want bring this show to 54 Below? It's one of the few places where I actually like the food! I've always found my experience as an audience member there so welcoming, and I'd like to give that to my fans as well. Plus their programming is so diverse. I don't have to worry about being too edgy for the crowd and they will also appreciate some of the older music that I love so much.

Emily Bergl at Broadway Belts for PFF 20132. What are you looking forward to most about making your 54 Below debut? Hopefully they will put the Oysters Rockefeller back on the menu.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? "I loved those songs and I never really listened to some of those lyrics before tonight."

4. What music influenced you for the creation of this show? I think like most modern music listeners, my taste is very eclectic. The foundation of my show is cabaret classics from the likes of Irving Berlin or Noel Coward, but I think that other great songs should be given the cabaret treatment too. We've got some Blondie, some Tracey Chapman, some Billy Joel, and of course some Britney.

Emily Bergl at 2013 Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention5. Since Til I Get It Right takes us on a journey of lengths we go to in our search for love, what lengths have you gone through to find love? What have you learned about yourself from this journey? This show taught me a lot. When I was developing it I was in a relationship, and I thought that I'd finally do a really happy and sweet show because I was so in love. I ended up choosing some pretty dark songs, and I kept wondering why. Turns out the song choices were prophetic, or my subconscious speaking to me. But I'll never learn and I hope I don't. Love is an act of utterly foolish bravado.

6. What was your favorite part of the photo shoot for this show? I love the picture of you on the subway. Well I love working with Michael Creagh because we went to grade school together in Chicago. My favorite part was when we were shooting outside my local deli and the garbage truck driver called out "nice dress." We ended up doing a picture of me hanging off the garbage truck in a ball gown.

Emily Bergl "NY I Love You", Photo Credit: Michael Creagh7. How do you feel you've gotten things "right" since performing your cabaret shows? The maddening but wonderful thing about cabaret is that you never get it right, it's always a work in progress.

8. How have your cabaret shows and singing grown over the past few years? What are you stronger with now than when you first started? What do you feel you still want to improve on? I had no idea WHAT I was doing in the beginning, which I think was also a strength of sorts because it allowed me to not follow some of the more predictable aspects of cabaret shows which aren't that interesting to me. I've been working a lot on my voice, which is stronger but definitely always a work in progress. I've learned that the show isn't really about you - you just have to make people think that it is.

9. If you had to give one reason as to why someone should come see Til I Get It Right, what would that reason be? You won't know what to expect and you will be thoroughly entertained.

Emily Bergl in "Comedy of Errors" 201310. In addition to cabaret, you continue to work in television and theatre. Of the current shows running in both mediums, are there any you would love to be a part of? What cabaret singer wouldn't want to play Sally Bowles?

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to wash my face at night without having to get up and go to the sink.

Emily BerglMore on Emily:

Emily Bergl burst onto the cabaret scene in 2011 with her debut hit show "Kidding on the Square" in the historic Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. She received rave reviews from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, and was crowned "A Harlow for the New Era" by Stephen Holden of the The New York Times. For her next show she headlined at the legendary Cafe Carlyle, receiving a Nightlife Award for Best Musical Comedy Performer. Ms. Bergl, who has since toured the country with her shows, is heralded for her unique "nouveau cabaret" style in which she blends classics from the Great American Songbook with rock and roll hits and pop favorites.

Mark Moses as "Paul Young" and Emily Bergl as "Beth Young" on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"Ms. Bergl currently stars as "Sammi," daughter to William H. Macy, on the Showtime dramedy Shameless. She is also well known as the tragic housewife "Beth Young" on ABC's Desperate Housewives, the eccentric cop's wife "Tammi" on TNT's Southland, and the whimsical "Annie' on ABC's Men In Trees, as well as guest appearances on numerous television shows. She most recently appeared on Broadway last year opposite Scarlett Johansson in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and as the female lead in The Comedy of Errors at the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park. She also starred in three other Broadway shows as well as numerous productions Off-Broadway and throughout the country. Ms. Bergl appeared in numerous films and was introduced to the industry in her debut starring role in The Rage: Carrie 2. She can be seen this summer in Steven Soderbergh's new series for HBO The Knick.

Her album, Emily Bergl: Live at the Algonquin, the last album to be recorded in The Oak Room, is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Til I Get It Right is Ms. Bergl's third and newest show.

Friday
May302014

Call Answered: Rory Partin Interview

Call Me Adam chats with singer Rory Partin about his the release of his second album, touring, his roots, marriage, and acting!

Rory's self-titled album is slated to release on Tuesday, August 19, with his first single, a cover of Hunter Hayes' "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me," is already climbing the charts!

For more on Rory be sure to visit http://rorypartin.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/musician? Music moves me emotionally. I grew up singing in church and all the songs moved me somewhere. Music is such an emotional vehicle that I always wanted to have the ability to move people in the same way. 

As far as who inspired me that would be Andre Krause, Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como, the list goes on and on. My mom would have everything playing on the stereo.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with some of the bigger producers out there, the legends that I grew up listening to like Quincy Jones or David Foster. There are so many amazing musicians to work with out there, I hope to get to work with them all.

3. You are getting to release your second album. What excites you about this upcoming release and what can fans look forward on this album? This album is a little different from the last one I did. Just a little background, for years the conventional wisdom of the industry was you need to do this one thing musically and stick to that. If you try to do more than one thing (like sing Jazz, Big Band, and Pop all on one album) we'll have trouble marketing it because people won't know what category it belongs in. Then Michael Buble comes on the scene and he had pop hits on the jazz radio and that sort of opened up the doors for all of us. So this album I'm really getting in touch with my musical roots. It's really cool. My fans will hear everything from my big band roots they expect, but also they'll hear some of my biggest musical influences, like Ray Charles (as I mentioned earlier). A song I always loved is "Georgia On My Mind," and we put that on this album. Another song I grew up loving was "Jambalaya," so we put that on the album and I also put a country song on this album by Hunter Hayes called "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me." While I have different genres on this album, it's going to be the familiar big band I'm known for.

4. What's your favorite part of the recording process in making an album? It's so cool to be in the recording studio with a full big band. I bring everyone into the studio, about 18 musicians. It's terrific to have them all there during the recording process. On my first album we recorded all the tracks in a single day. On this album, we also recorded all the music in a day and they are amazing. I have a fantastic band. We have a great energy and synergy together. 

5. You've toured around the world entertaining your fans. What do you like most about touring and interacting with your fans? It's funny because I discovered several years ago, I need people. I really believe this slogan I got from my church in Nashville, "Together is better." I love the interaction I get with the audience during my shows. It's so fulfilling. I love languages and cultures, so as I travel around the US and the world, I try to get into as much of the culture and language as I can while I'm there. 

6. Sometimes you perform with your wife, Alexa James. What do you like about performing together and what is it like to have your two worlds intertwine being that you work together and that you are married? When we first thought about getting married, we had never seen an marriage with two artists who are successful. We went into this relationship eyes wide open and committed ourselves to be with each other through thick and thin. What we have discovered through this is that we work really well together. It's not without our bumps and struggles, but we started touring together as a co-bill, and people asked us all the time for us to do something together. So I asked Alexa if she wanted to travel with me and the band and we started doing that and it just works. It's so awesome! It makes me think of Linda and Paul McCartney because they loved traveling together. It's great that we get to experience life and these adventures with my soul mate, the one that I love.

Rory Partin on set of his music video7. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/musician? Going from singing with different bands to having my own band, a lot comes out. I have learned that I am a very emotional person. I think that comes from the acting technique I learned which was Meisner Technique which is all about being in touch with your emotions and everything being real. Their definition of acting and I think it's a good one is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. They believe you are really feeling what your character feels and you are just acting it out. So I feel a lot of emotions with everything I do.

Rory Partin8. Since you mentioned that you studied acting, do you have any aspirations to do more professional acting or come to Broadway and do a musical? I love acting. It's such a wonderful expression of emotions to communicate with people. Just like music there are notes on a page you are communicating, in acting there are notes on a page in the form of words that you are communicating to people and you are supposed to do it in a real way and not fake it. In L.A. I've been cast in a few small films, but I definitely have plans to do both acting and music like Harry Connick Jr. or Justin Timberlake. 

It's funny you mention Broadway because when my wife and I do some acoustic shows, the guy who plays for us, Matt Caplan, was just on Broadway in Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He's such a great guy! While, I don't have any immediate plans to come to Broadway, I might possibly in the future.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? One of the best pieces of advice I got was from my parents, in regards to marriage. "Marriage is one of the most amazing things in the world, but it is the most difficult thing to ever do." My mom would also say to me, "I love your father, but I don't always like him." So at the time, these things didn't make much sense to me, but when I got married, I understood what she was talking about.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would it be? The first one that pops into my mind is flying because I fly in my dreams. It's wonderful!

Rory PartinMore on Rory:

Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and then on to Nashville, Tennessee, Rory’s music has been influenced by some of the all time greats such as: Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and The Doobie Brothers. Having later swapped one ocean for the other, Rory made the move to Los Angeles, where his career has taken off in ways he never imagined. His highly entertaining live show, his superb repertoire, and his mere love and gift for music and performing, have taken Rory around the world performing for sold out concerts, Presidential Inaugural Balls, multiple casinos and exclusive hotels like the Waldorf Astoria & the Ritz Carlton, corporate & charitable events, as well as countless private parties and weddings for some of the worlds elite.

Rory Partin is bringing back genuine passion for entertaining and making great music people can enjoy and relate to. Having traveled to and performed in places such as Brussels, Paris, Prague, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Toronto, London, Helsinki, and many more, the anticipation for Rory’s new album is worldwide. Anywhere he performs, audiences beg for his swift return. "People don’t want to just sit and listen to music for music’s sake. They want to experience something. They want to laugh, sing, reminisce…they might dance or they might shed a tear. I bring my heart to my music, and I believe that’s what people are wanting." Nobody is bringing the Big Band back as hard as Rory is, and whoever is attempting to, is definitely going to be doing so in his shadow.

Friday
Mar142014

Call Answered: The New York Pops On Broadway with Steven Reineke, Andrew Rannells, and Stephanie J. Block

"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes at The New York Pops On Broadway press event to speak with The New York Pops Musical Director and Conductor, Steven Reineke as well as their special guest stars Broadway Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells.

The New York Pops On Broadway will take place on March 21 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall (57th Street & 7th Avenue) in New York City! Click here for tickets!

For more on The New York Pops be sure to visit www.newyorkpops.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Call Me Adam and Steven ReinekeSteven Reineke:

1. The New York Pops, On Broadway, will be presented on Friday, March 21 at 7:30pm. What excites you about this upcoming concert? A lot excites me about this concert. One, it's our first concert back at Carnegie Hall since December, so it's always fun to get back to it. I am also getting to perform with two of my great friends Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells. We are doing all this great Broadway repertoire. We got to pick it ourselves, so it's like making our own party playlist of what we would want to sing in my living room, except we are bringing it to life at Carnegie Hall with an 80 piece orchestra.

2. Of the songs being performed, what are some of your favorite selections? There are just so many big 11 o'clock numbers in this concert, but if I had to choose, we are featuring the orchestra in some great music from West Side Story, which I never get tired of performing and conducting. Stephanie J. Block does the best "Defying Gravity" I've ever heard in my life, and hearing Andrew and Stephanie do "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George is another favorite of mine. Andrew is singing a song that I was just introduced to a few years ago by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the song,  called "Love Who You Love," which has become a bit of a mantra for me. It's just so powerful.

Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells preview "Move On"

3. Why should the fans come see The New York Pops On Broadway? I think it's a no brainer to come hear Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells sing with this amazing orchestra and we are going to do great hits that everybody loves. We do one night only, which is very special here in this city. I always try to make our concerts an event that if you weren't there, you missed out on something. You have to be there that night because something great is going to happen.

4. This is The New York Pops 31st Season. What excites you to keep going with them? Well, they are the best Pops orchestra on the planet and we get to perform at the finest concert on on the planet, in the best city on the planet. It's quite a thrill every time I get to take the stage with The New York Pops. We've planned out the next season already, which we are very excited about. We continue to grow by leaps and bounds, selling-out all of our concerts. There's a lot of excitement and everyone is just happy to come to work. So, it's a lot of fun to be part of it.

Call Me Adam and Andrew RannellsAndrew Rannells:

1. You are going to be performing once again with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm in their show On Broadway. What are you looking forward to about this evening? I'm so honored that they asked me to do it. I'm so excited to be working with Steven Reineke again and to be singing with Stephanie J. Block, and while I've known her for a long time, this is our first time singing together. She's no joke, so when you work with her, you got to bring it.

2. You've performed with The New York Pops before, so what excites about coming back to sing with the Pops and work with Steven Reineke again? I was so nervous when I sang with them at their Spring Gala in 2012 that I don't remember it. I mean, I remember that I sang, I think it sounded okay, and then I walked off-stage and I didn't remember anything. So, this time around, I'm sure I'll be petrified, but at least I'll have time to warm up before it. We are doing a whole two acts of many, many songs, so hopefully I'll remember something [laughs].

3. Which songs are you looking forward to performing most? I'm really excited about "Move On" because it's been so fun to bring it to life. I'm getting to sing "Being Alive" from Company, which for every Tenor in my opinion is a dream song to sing.

Andrew Rannells previews "The Streets Of Dublin"

4. If you could give people a reason to come see you perform with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would that reason be, aside from coming to see you? Stephanie J. Block is a big reason. The New York Pops is a huge, huge orchestra which you don't really get to hear anymore, plus we are going to be singing an array of Broadway songs from classics to contemporary. There is something for everyone.

5. I know The New Normal is not part of this evening, but what is like to go from working in theatre to working in television and how do you feel your training in one helps you with the other? I feel very fortunate that while I was doing The Book of Mormon, Lena Dunham, cast me Girls on HBO. I got to do The Book of Mormon at night and work on Girls during the day, which was very exciting. Lena was so generous and so lovely that after we did the first couple of scenes, she would let me watch the playback of them, since she was directing the episodes as well, so I got to see what we did. I saw I didn't have to project as much for television as I do for theatre. I'm allowed to be as internal as I wanna be because the camera picks all of that up. That was a big adjustment for me. So, by the time I got to do The New Normal, I had done two seasons of Girls already, but The New Normal was a little different because network shows move faster, so I didn't have the luxury to check my work after we filmed, but I was more confident in myself by the time we started filming The New Normal. 

6. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would love to be able to teleport.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs today. Not always. Sometimes it's a boxer. You have to mix it up.

Call Me Adam and Stephanie J. BlockStephanie J. Block:

1. What excites you about performing in this concert? I'm thrilled to be back with The Pops. I was lucky enough to perform at The New York Pops Gala last year and sang "Don't Rain On My Parade," and Steven Reineke said to me, "You are going to be coming back to this stage singing that song at some point, I don't know when," and that when is now.

2. Out of all the songs you are performing, which ones are you most looking forward to singing, in addition to "Don't Rain On My Parade"? I think Sondheim because I've never performed it professionally. It's challenging, touching, and so beautiful. When you get an 80 piece orchestra to play his stuff there is nothing like it. The list of composers that were chosen for this program are pretty great. In addition to Sondheim, we are also singing Stephen Schwartz, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and so many more). A lot of big notes. A lot of 11 o'clock numbers.

Stephanie J. Block previews "Don't Rain On My Parade"

3. You've performed with The New York Pops before. What do you love about working with them and Steven Reineke? Their musicianship is remarkable, but Steven Reineke is a showman in of himself. You don't just get his back and a baton, you get a guy who is SO invested in his musicians and his performers and we can tell that he is really there with us and it's not a detached thing where the singers are not part of what they are creating and performing. I love that. You can feel his support. He breathes with you. He's the third soloist, well, he's the first soloist actually.

4. If you could give the fans one reason why they should come to On Broadway with The New York Pops on March 21 at 7:30pm, what would it be? On Broadway we are lucky enough to have incredible musicians. There are 15, sometimes 23, but when you hear musical theatre scores with 12 cellos, an entire horn section, 14 violins, there's nothing to explain that experience. The textures, the colors, the nuance, it's really exceptional and takes the music to a completely different place.

5. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Mmmm...I know a lot of people say flying, but I would be invisible. When the time is right, I would love to just disappear and become invisible. I think you would learn a lot and I think you could change the world a lot.

More on The New York Pops:

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.

Steven ReinekeMore on Steven Reineke:

Steven Reineke is the Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his partner Eric Gabbard.

Stephanie J. BlockMore on Stephanie J. Block:

Stephanie J. Block has established herself as one of the most relevant and versatile voices in contemporary musical theatre. She most recently starred as "Sheryl Hoover" in the Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine written by James Lapine and William Finn. She received both a Drama Desk and Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of "Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Broadway credits include Anything Goes and 9 to 5: The Musical, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination. She created the roles of "Grace O'Malley" in The Pirate Queen and "Liza Minnelli" in The Boy From Oz (opposite Hugh Jackman). Ms. Block is best known for her portrayal of "Elphaba" in the Broadway company of Wicked. She also originated the role in the first national tour, for which she won numerous awards, including the prestigious Helen Hayes Award. Ms. Block has sung with numerous orchestras including The New York Pops, Boston Pops, National Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch), Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Pops, among many others. For more on Stephanie be sure to visit: http://www.stephaniejblock.com and follow her on Twitter!

Andrew RannellsMore on Andrew Rannells:

Andrew Rannells is best known for his breakout role as "Elder Price" in Broadway’s Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, which was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame along with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q. The Book of Mormon received 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and on the 2011 Tony Awards telecast Rannells brought down the house with his performance of "I Believe." For his work in The Book of Mormon Rannells received Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League award nominations. He also won a Grammy Award for "Best Musical Theatre Album" for the cast recording of The Book of Mormon. He can currently be seen in third season of HBO’s Golden Globe-winning comedy series Girls, from producers Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow. Last year Rannells starred as "Bryan Collins" in Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking series The New Normal for NBC. Rannells is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. For more on Andrew follow him on Twitter!

Thursday
Mar132014

Call Answered: Gretchen Reinhagen Interview: Listen To The Music: The Songs Of My 70s

Gretchen Reinhagen"Call Me Adam" chats with award winning performer, director, and teacher Gretchen Reinhagen about her upcoming show Listen To The Music: The Songs Of My 70's at The Duplex in NYC (61 Christopher Street at 7th Avenue) from March 13-23. To make a reservation call 212-255-5438. 

For more on Gretchen visit http://www.gretchenreinhagen.com and follow her on Facebook and YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My parents! I’ve had many influences over the years, and I’m a fan of a LOT of artists, but it definitely started at home. My parents were (and are) both performers – my dad's a singer and my mom was a dancer. And they act, and direct and produce, and all that great stuff. I remember always wishing I could have the grace of my mother. She’s a lovely woman on stage and off. But, my brother and sister got more of her dancing abilities, while I was always more like Dad. That was just fine, as he’s a charismatic entertainer with a great voice, and I was happy to be anything like him. Of course – that wasn’t always easy! But I’m beyond grateful for the gifts they’ve given me.

2. From March 13-23, you are going to be performing your show "Listen to the Music: The Songs of My 70s" at The Duplex in NYC. What made you want to create a show of this musical genre? Why do you think this music have such an influence on you? For starters, I was born in 1970 (and this is the last decade in which I’m going to admit that…) and I’ve always loved this period of music. It was my introduction to music, which is my first love, so that alone makes this period of musical history very special to me, but it remains a favorite of mine for a number of reasons, one of which is its diversity. In no other decade do you have so many different genres of music vying for center stage. Some of these genres were always around, but in the 70s you had folk and soul enjoying the same level of commercial success as pop and rock, plus funk, disco, and so on. I find it fascinating. I’ve always been diverse in my musical tastes. So this fits my Gemini personality well!

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this show? This show is very personal for me. Not only are we playing great music, but we’re also digging into my earliest memories and experiences. My hope is that A) since there are so many well-known songs in the show, people will enjoy revisiting this music and their own memories of the times and songs, and B) folks might know me just a little bit better. Above all else – I just hope people are entertained! That in itself is enough!

4. Why is The Duplex the perfect venue for your show? I’ve worked at many clubs in town – all great experiences – different shows fit different rooms. With the Duplex, not only is it a great place to work with an incredibly caring, artistic and professional atmosphere, but it also has a very groovy, downtown vibe going on, which is a perfect fit for this show, and this music.

Barry Kleinbort, Photo Credit: Stephen SorokoffAndrew Sotomayor5. How did you come to work with Barry Kleinbort as your director and Andrew Sotomayor as your Musical Director? What has been the best part about collaborating with them? This might be the toughest question – well the second part anyway – because I’ve had the privilege of working with so many great musicians and directors! I’ve been fortunate to have many rewarding collaborations, and this one has been no exception.

I first met Barry Kleinbort in 2006 when I treated myself to a (life changing) week at the Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School studying the art of cabaret with some incredible artists and teachers, one of whom was Barry. I didn’t know him at all, but after one class I knew he was the guy for me. He’s since directed several of my shows. He even directed my wedding! He’s also become one of my dearest friends. I call him the man in my life, and that he is. I trust him with so much more than just my artistry.

Andrew, I met just this past year, so it still has that shiny "new relationship" feel. Love that! And him! I directed a debut show for Bennett Silverstein, and Andrew was the musical director. I’m always a little nervous walking into a new collaboration, and we didn’t know each other at all, so it was like a blind date. But after one rehearsal we clicked, and we had a great time working together on Bennett’s show. For my show, it just ended up being the right place and time, because I was in need of someone available for these March dates, and he and I wanted to work together again, so it all fell into place. He’s brought a fresh perspective to my work, because he comes from a different background, and quite frankly a different decade. He and Barry really hit it off as well, so from day 1 in the rehearsal studio, this show just started to take off.

When we did this show in December at Urban Stages, my good friend Tracy Stark sat in at the piano, and she brings a different experience and groove altogether, which I absolutely love. With this show, I’ve gotten to work with dear friends, each with a different set of experiences and sensibilities, and that kind of evolution to the show, and fluidity to the artistic ideas being passed around, has made this a very memorable ride for me.

6. You are a Bistro, MAC, and Nightlife award winner. What does it mean to you to get this kind of recognition? The Triple Crown! Ha! I won these for another show which I’m very passionate about, Special Kaye: A Tribute to the Incomparable Kaye Ballard. The last one to be given out that year was the MAC Award, and I remember being so excited and going into the MAC Awards thinking…is this really happening? Winning prizes had never been my strong suit! It was exhilarating and rewarding on so many levels. The awards themselves were so validating and exciting, but the moments that really stand out to me are each a bit different. For the Nightlife Award, I was notified via email, and I happened to be awake and checking my email at 5AM that day. I was sitting by myself at my desk, jumping up and down (quietly) at 5AM. I was completely overjoyed. So, of course, I woke my partner up! She was thrilled for me, and got up and celebrated with me by making me a cup of coffee, and then she went back to bed. It was 5AM! The Bistro Award moment, was actually an incredibly lovely introduction given to me by Klea Blackhurst. I think she’s exceptional, and I was so honored and thrilled to be introduced by her and by her very kind words. I remember feeling completely visible in that moment, and that’s not something I always feel. And for the MAC Award, it wasn’t actually hearing my name as the winner – it was the moment right before – the moment they read my name on the list of nominees and the entire packed house roared with applause. That was the moment I felt like a winner. That’s a moment that still chokes me up.

And then last year- winning the MAC Award again, this time for directing, brought a whole new level of validation to my work. When I get overwhelmed (which happens often enough!) and I feel like giving it all up, these are the moments that remind me that there’s something to all this, and to hang in a little longer. That kind of recognition, even from myself, is priceless.

7. In addition to performing, you are also a teacher. What do you get from teaching your students that you don't get from performing on stage? It’s a very different responsibility. I teach voice, as well as cabaret performance workshops, and I also direct cabaret acts. They all work slightly different muscles, but in all cases the clients are the ones putting themselves on the line, and it’s my job to create a safe space for them to do that, or to help hone their technique or focus their ideas and their voice. I consider it a huge responsibility and I try to never forget that. The rewards for me are great. I have amazing clients and they all have a different sense of humor, a different set of life experiences, a different artistic expression, and I get to experience them all. And I get to experience their joy and passion. They remind me of why I love to sing.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Well – I get a LOT of advice! Sometimes unsolicited! Ha! But some of the best words have come from family and friends – like my dad telling me to hang in there, and someday I’ll be an overnight success! I love that! I also love the idea that we’re only in competition with ourselves. That’s a BIG one for me. Along those same lines – I once had a friend say to me, "Why worry about what other people think? You worrying about it isn’t going to change what they think?" I’ve come back to that one time and time and again.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/teacher? That I have a voice! That I have something to say – something valuable. I have to remind myself of that ALL the time.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying! Who wouldn’t want to fly?

Gretchen Reinhagen singing at the Nightlife Awards, Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter Keddy.More on Gretchen:

Gretchen Reinhagen won the 2013 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Award for directing. Additionally, she is multi-award winning artist, having received the coveted TRIPLE CROWN of cabaret awards by winning the 2010 Nightlife Award, Bistro Award and MAC Award for her show Special Kaye: A Tribute to the Incomparable Kaye Ballard, which has played around the country, including an Off-Broadway run at Urban Stages. In 2011 she was nominated for a MAC Award for Female Vocalist for her performance of Janis Joplin's iconic final Album, Pearl, and again in 2012 for her show Both Sides Now, which premiered at Urban Stages. She’s worked with some of the best names in Cabaret, including Karen Mason, Barry Kleinbort and Steve Ross to name a few. Former Back Stage and Citysearch critic, Roy Sander, said "Gretchen Reinhagen's shows are marked by intelligence, warmth, a lovely spirit of benevolence, and fine vocals. It is always a pleasure to spend an hour in her company."

As a director and a teacher, Gretchen has been praised for her ability to facilitate the best performance in each of her clients. Times Square Chronicles said "Cabaret award winner Gretchen Reinhagen is Diamond’s director and every single moment…was brilliant." BroadwayWorld.com named one of her 2012 shows "one of the best directed shows of the year."

Gretchen resides in New York, where she maintains a busy studio of voice students and directing clients, and also teaches a series of workshops in the Art of Cabaret. She holds a degree in Voice Performance from Pepperdine University.

Wednesday
Mar052014

Call Answered: 54 Below Facetime Interview with Tony Award winner Stew

"Call Me Adam" chats with Passing Strange Tony Award winner Stew live at 54 Below about his return to the Broadway community with his new concert at 54 Below in NYC on March 7 and 8 at 8pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Stew be sure to visit http://www.stewsongs.com and follow him on Facebook!


Interview with Stew live at 54 Below:

StewMore on Stew:

Works include Passing Strange for which he received the 2008 Tony award for 'Best Book of a Musical.' Wrote lyrics and co-composed music for the same. Two-time Obie winner: 'Best New Theater Piece' and, as a member of the PS acting family, 'Best Ensemble.' A four-time Tony nominee, Stew leads, along with his collaborator Heidi Rodewald, two critically acclaimed bands: The Negro Problem and Stew. Works: Post Minstrel Syndrome (TNP 1997), Joys and Concerns (TNP 1999), Guest Host (S 2000), The Naked Dutch Painter (S 2002), Welcome Black (TNP 2002), Something Deeper Than These Changes (S 2003) and the cast album of Passing Strange (2008).