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Entries in Music (172)

Wednesday
Dec172014

Call Redialed: Scott Alan: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 54 Below Debut Concert 

Scott Alan"Call Me Adam" catches up with songwriter Scott Alan to talk about his new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 and his upcoming 54 Below debut concert on January 19, 2015 at 7pm, which celebrates the release of Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1!

Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 features Samantha Barks, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, Liz Callaway, Kerry Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Eden Espinosa, Marcus Paul James and Willemijn Verkaik, and new tracks by Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Cynthia Erivo, RJ Helton, Christina Marie, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett and Natalie Weiss.

Scheduled to appear at Scott's 54 Below concert include 2014 Tony Award Winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), Tony Nominee’s Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) as well as Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), David Burtka (upcoming’s It Shoulda Been You), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Natalie Weiss (Wicked), Katie Thompson (Giant), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Kinky Boots), Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town). More performers to be announced. Click here for tickets!

For more on Scott be sure to visit http://scottalan.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

Designed by Robbie Rozelle1. You have just released your new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 which features, well, some of your biggest hits from your previous five albums, plus a few new recordings and re-workings of other hits. What made now the right time to release a Greatest Hits album as opposed to recording a new album? To make a new album would cost too much money and putting out a Greatest Hits album allowed me the opportunity to revisit my older catalogue of music and reconstruct it enough to give these songs a new feel. In addition, since so many of my past albums are out of print, it only made sense to place the greatest hits on one album instead of spending the money to duplicate all or most of my previous albums. Everything comes down to money, which isn’t to say this album didn’t cost money, it actually cost more to make then my debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake.

2. What does it mean to you to have enough material to be able to create a Greatest Hits album? It means I’m getting really old. I’m now in that stage of my life where graduates tell me they discovered my music when they were in Junior High School. Old. Old. Old.

Scott Alan3. How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this first collection of Greatest Hits and how did you decide which songs you wanted to re-work/change from their original recording? We did a poll on my website and about 90% of the songs were picked from that poll. As for the re-worked songs, it was important to have updates on many of the songs to make this album special and unique and not the normal "greatest hits" collection of songs that fans already own.

4. Some of the artists featured on your Greatest Hits were not the original artists you initially had record the song. Why did you choose to change some of the artists for this release? It started with the song "Anything Worth Holding on To." It’s a very personal song but it never caught on when released on my third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, even though it was beautifully sung by the iconic voice of Crystal Monee Hall. Then when I did my IndigO2 concert at the O2 and it was performed by the extraordinarily gifted talents of Cynthia Erivo, it gained a new life and a new following. I knew I wanted to try and recreate that and so having Cytnhia record the song was not even a question. Nothing will ever match the magic of the live performance but it’s so incredible to have it recorded for this album. And, to have Stuart Matthew Price re-create his performance of "Over the Mountains" was a no brainer. He was my original idea for the recording but I had already offered it to Bobby Steggert. Then we tried to have him in for the LIVE album but he was busy with Shrek. So, we finally had the timing right. Thankfully. And, "In This Moment" recorded in the studio was a no-brainer. Marc Broussard. Hello. This new version of "Kiss the Air" was featured on the special edition of LIVE, so we changed the arrangement a bit. Oliver Tompsett’s voice is timeless. And Natalie Weiss' new version of "The Distance You Have Come" was our way of going back to the original demo of what the song represented. Simplistic and organic.

Scott Alan and Taylor Dayne5. One artist who is new to this recording is the one and only Taylor Dayne who sings "I'm Coming Home To You." I have loved Taylor Dayne since she burst onto the music scene in the 80s. How did you come to work with this Grammy-nominated artist? I’m annoying and overly eager. Taylor can tell the story better but truthfully I just kept tweeting her and emailing her assistant until she said yes. I wouldn’t give up and kept on pushing and thankfully our schedules linked up and I had the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols. I grew up the biggest Taylor Dayne voice and that voice hasn’t changed one bit. It’s still crazy to look in my phone and know I can call her, and I do. She’s so down to earth and awesome. The studio session was a blast. Just two Long Island kids. We have the same lingo and she is brilliant in knowing what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s got a brilliant mind. It was an honor.

6. On January 19, you will be making your 54 Below debut to celebrate the release of your Greatest Hits. What excites you about making your 54 Below debut? Why was now the best time to make your 54 Below debut? You know, I feel like I’m having an affair on Birdland because I've been performing there for years but when Jennifer Tepper asked me if I would be interested in doing a concert at 54 Below I couldn’t help but say yes. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids doing it? Sometimes new scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

Scott Alan7. In addition to this concert being your 54 Below debut, your first concert in a year and a half, why should fans get excited for this concert? and What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I have always feared performing in New York because I feel like I can’t just sit back and relax and be myself. Over the years, performing in London and Australia and Holland and Germany and just having the opportunity to sit back and tell my story - I’m excited to do that now, in my city. It’s gonna be a very different vibe and I’m really excited to share that with this audience.

8. Why did you wait a year and a half to return to the New York concert stage? I always think nobody will show up and so I think it’s always smart to take breaks so that the audience awaits your next visit and I don’t overdose on xanax.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? From Frank Wildhorn. He said "The day you stop thinking you’re a new voice and think you’ve learned everything there is to be learned, leave the industry." Smart advice. Thankfully, I keep learning. And advice I always tell the young one’s which is to "Always remain a fan" and I do. I continue to work with my childhood hero’s because I am still that 12 year old kid in his bedroom waiting for life to begin.

Scott Alan10. What have you learned about yourself from being a composer/lyricist? How truly therapeutic music can be if you let it.

11. How do you want to be remembered? As a father and a husband. I just need a husband and kids to father. But that is what I want my legacy to be. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I seem to dream about flying a lot. I don’t know why. I have dreams often that I can fly. So, I guess that one?

13. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Oh, hmmmm. Is cool mint an option?

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Dreamer. Part Malibu Rum, Part Pineapple Juice, Part Citrus Absolute Vodka, part Midori Melon and topped off with a cherry. And yes. I was a bartender and that actually was my signature drink back in the day at Stonewall Inn, located in the W. Village. So I’m sorta cheating.

Scott AlanMore on Scott:

Since returning to New York City in 2003 many of Broadway's elite have sung Scott Alan's songs, including Liz Callaway, Jonathan Groff, Shoshana Bean, Adriane Lenox, Stephanie J. Block, Cheyenne Jackson, Eden Espinosa and more, all of which can be found featured on his debut CD Dreaming Wide Awake. Scott then released the follow up CD, Keys, in 2008 which features more of Broadway and West End elite singing his work, including Sutton Foster, Norm Lewis, Kerry Ellis, Randy Graff, Megan Hilty, Hadley Fraser, Julia Murney and many more.

In the fall of 2010, Scott Alan released his third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, featuring Christiane Noll, Darius de Haas, Christopher Sieber, Willemijn Verkaik, Patina Miller and more.

Scott Alan released his fourth album, LIVE, in 2012 which was recorded at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This recording featured Samantha Barks, Lea Salonga, Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Ramin Karimloo, Pentatonix and many of today's brightest Broadway and West End stars. On May 24th, 2012 Scott's composition, "It's Good to See You Again" was featured on the premiere episode of the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. His work has also been heard in the documentary The Standbys and on VH1's reality show Off-Pitch.

In 2014 Scott released his fifth album, a seven song collection sung by the composer called Anything Worth Holding on To.

Scott Alan has sold out concerts of his music in New York City, London, Holland, Germany, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Australia.

Friday
Dec052014

Call Answered: Jackie Beat: Jackie Beat on Ice at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Magnus Hastings"Call Me Adam" chats with The World's Biggest Bitch, drag superstar, Jackie Beat about her brand-new holiday show Jackie Beat on Ice which play at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC (407 West 42nd Street at 9th Avenue) on Saturday, December 20 at 7pm (sold-out) and 9:30pm and Sunday, December 21 at 7pm (sold-out) and 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

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

1. On December 20 and 21, you will be premiering your brand new holiday show, Jackie Beat on Ice at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. What excites you about this upcoming show? The same thing that excites me every time: Making a roomful of people laugh at things they really don't want to laugh about. I especially love getting a bunch of different people in a room together to drink and laugh and connect. No cell phones, no computers…Just a raunchy old clown singing horrible songs!

2. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? What does this venue offer you and your show that another one might not? I love that it's hardcore Jackie Beat fans who have been coming to my show for 20 years sitting next to a straight couple who read about me in The New York Times. I love the melting pot aspect of it all. After all, I am an "equal opportunity offender!"

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Jackie Beat on Ice? Sore stomach muscles from laughing so hard. Seriously, I hope they leave knowing the importance of not taking oneself - or life for that matter - too seriously. Oh, and I hope they leave with some of my merchandise. The bitch has bills to pay!

Jackie Beat, Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska Thunderfuck and Courtney Act, Photo Credit: The New York Times4. What do you think will surprise Jackie Beat fans the most about this new show? That I am still alive?

5. In this show you will be debuting some new seasonal material including  "A Gay in A Manger" and some classic Christmas Jackie including your cocaine-fueled rewrite of "Let It Snow," the pregnancy confessional "Santa’s Baby," a menorah-loving "Jew Christmas," a booze-infused spin on "Happy Holidays" called "Alcoholidays," and the STD cautionary tale "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Syphilis." Over the years, how have you decided which songs you wanted to parody? First, you never know what "classics" I will throw into the show, so don't get too excited by or attached to those aforementioned titles. That all depends on how much new stuff I get done. And when it comes to the holidays I honestly feel like I have done every song out there! So now I am having to get very creative and make regular songs festive. Like when I turned "Call Me Maybe" into "Vegan Gravy," about getting invited to a holiday potluck with an annoying twist. This year I am doing something called "The Nutcracker Not-So-Sweet" where I put words to a song that doesn't have any words.

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Inspire Theater6. Jackie Beat on Ice is your 17th annual holiday show. What do you like most about creating a holiday show? When you created your first holiday show, did you ever think, you would be doing one for the next 16 years? The most fun thing about the holiday show has to be shattering the reverence of the season. I love taking serious and/or heartfelt songs and making them about pigging out, beating the shit out of fellow shoppers, drinking, drugging or screwing under the Christmas tree. It's pretty mathematical: Something sweet plus a few bad words equals comedy.

And no, I never thought in a million years that I would be doing this so successfully for so long. All joking aside, I am truly blessed.

7. What is your favorite part about spending the holidays in NYC? Trying to get a cab in Times Square while freezing my ass off in full drag. Good times!

8. You have been performing as Jackie Beat for 25 years now. What has been the most rewarding and challenging part about being Jackie Beat? To be honest, Drag Race has really been challenging. I hate to harp on it, but it's very difficult being more talented than famous. But I have faith that when the smoke clears people like myself, Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, Varla Jean Merman, Coco Peru and other seasoned professionals who have been doing this since the stone age will not go extinct!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? My teacher at The Second City, the supremely talented Chris Barnes, always told me: "You should be having so much fun onstage that the audience feels jealous and wishes they were up there, too!"

10. How do you want to be remembered? As someone who made people laugh.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flight, of course.

12. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Butterscotch!

13. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would you put in it? It would be colorful, bold and sweet - with just a dash of bitters, of course. And is it safe to sprinkle a cocktail with glitter?

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Austin YoungMore on Jackie:

Award-winning drag darling Jackie Beat has been wowing unsuspecting audiences since 1989. She has toured with Roseanne Barr -- as the comic legend’s opening act -- including a 7-week run at The New York New York in Las Vegas; written for TV (Fashion Police, Hello Ross with Ross Matthews, Hype! and The Sci Fi Channel’s Tripping The Rift) and collaborated on special material with the like of Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell and Jennifer Coolidge; appeared in countless TV shows (Sex and the City), movies (Grief, Wigstock The Movie, Flawless, Adam & Steve) and Off-Broadway hits (Valley of the Dolls, Tell-Tale!). She has been named Best Drag Queen by New York Press and Best Live Performance by HX Magazine. Jackie is also a columnist, lead singer for the electro-rock band, Dirty Sanchez, and the subject of the documentary film My Name is Jackie Beat including commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne. 

Monday
Dec012014

Call Answered: Payson Lewis: Out of the Woods

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: Alex Dean"Call Me Adam" chats with rising singer and actor Payson Lewis about his cover of Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" with Rumer Willis, Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," his break up with Janel Parrish, his fans, staying in shape, and many other aspects of his life and career!

For more on Payson be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and Patreon!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/actor? It's tough to say. I've always had a passion for performance; musical and theatrical. But I never would have had the courage to pursue that passion as a career without the love and support of my family. My mom, dad, and brother have always believed in me, even when I have had my own doubts. I couldn't do it without them.

2. Your latest single is a cover of Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" with Rumer Willis. What made you want to cover this particular Taylor Swift song and how did you decide to team up with Rumer Willis? Well, first of all I love the song and, like everyone else, all of Taylor's new record. But this song in particular really spoke to me. When we first started working on it, Ru and I had some "interesting" stuff going on with our relationships...and that's what "Out of the Woods" is all about; Getting through all the stuff that bogs down relationships and that can make you lose sight of the person that you're in the relationship with. But, all that stuff...just trees.

3. What was the best part about working with Rumer? Rumer has become one of my closest friends and working with someone that you genuinely care about and respect is so fulfilling. That and the "onesie parties" we have at her place! Oh, and have you heard her sing?! INCREDIBLE. So, basically there are lots of best parts!

Payson Lewis and Rumer Willis, Photo Credit: Kenton Chen 4. Your cover of "Out of the Woods" has over 44,000 views so far on YouTube. What does it mean to you to have that kind of response to this song? It means so much to me that people have enjoyed it enough to share and spread the word about the video. But more than just the number of views, I am BLOWN AWAY by the overwhelmingly positive response it has gotten. I have loved hearing from people who liked the song. It's been really fun getting to interact with people from all over the world who share my love of music and have enjoyed my version of this song.

5. In addition to Taylor Swift, you have covered Sam Smith's "Stay With Me." What do you like most about getting to put your own spin on these popular songs? Do you know if the artists you have been covering ever get to hear your version? If so, what has their feedback been? What's great about music is that it is so deeply personal. There are an infinite number of ways to sing a song. Every single person's version is going to be a little different. I just love taking a song that means one thing to someone and sharing with the world what it means to me. Because in turn, my version will mean something else to someone else.  It's never ending and beautiful!

As for the original artist hearing them, I'm not too sure. I was able to send my cover of "Out of the Woods to Jack Antonoff (who co-wrote the song with Taylor) through a mutual songwriting friend. I never heard any feedback. I'm hoping it's because he was just too blown away! :)

6. When you start releasing your own original music, what genre do you think you most likely will want to be part of? I am working on some original music and I really hope to share some of it soon. I think my music is safely in pop territory but avoids being bubblegum. It's "genuine pop," if that makes sense.

7. Who do you hope to get to work with during your career? Wow. That's an incredibly difficult question to answer. There are so many people that I would LOVE to work with. I'm honestly overwhelmed thinking about it. Off the top of my head though, how about Pharrell musically and PT Anderson theatrically.

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: David Muller8. You have a campaign going to encourage fans to help you create music videos with various incentives depending on how much they contribute. From just $1 to $100 or more, fans can be part of your creative process. In creating this campaign, how did you decide on what the incentives would be? What is it like to have fans be part of your creative process? What is their reaction to getting to be involved in this way? To be honest, I'm new to using patreon. But I am incredibly excited about being able to interact with the people who really love my music and want to be more involved. I just thought about what I would want if I were contributing to a musician that I truly supported. I really can't wait to get more involved with all the fans who want to be a part of the creative process!

9. The music industry is vastly different today. What do you find the most exciting aspect to be of the industry today and what are the biggest struggles you face? I think that the most exciting thing about the music industry today is also the thing that all of us have struggled with most. There's no roadmap for success in this industry anymore. We're all just trying to find our way, which is very hard, but very rewarding and exciting.

10. Speaking of struggles, your year-long relationship with Janel Parrish recently ended. In times of adversity, how do you bounce back on your feet? Ah yes. The breakup. I don't want to get too into the details, but we had a really good run and a lot of happy times. Unfortunately, those times had to come to an end. It was VERY difficult for me but luckily I am surrounded by amazing friends and family. They were there for me above and beyond what I ever could have expected. I am very lucky to have each and every one of them and they are almost exclusively responsible for getting me back on my feet.

Payson Lewis on ABC's "Revenge"11. In addition to music, you are also an actor, performing in film, television, and on stage. What do you get from acting that you do not get from music? The two pursuits offer, to me, a creative outlet and a path to the emotions of the audience. I am a very empathetic person. I feel everything around me. That's what I love about music and acting. I don't know though if I can separate what one gives me that the other doesn't. I just think both feed my need to emote and share deep feelings and storytelling with everyone who wants to come along for the ride.

12. What's the best advice you've ever received? My dad always told me to do something every day that improves you and the world around you. It's simple. But it's how I try to live my life. One day at a time. Always trying to make it better and be better than the day before.

13. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/actor? I guess I've just learned how there isn't anything else I could ever see myself doing. Growing up I had more "sensible" plans for what I was going to do with my life. But I know now that this is what I was put on this earth to do. Once I figured that out, I was free to find out the things about me that drive that sole purpose.

14. How do you want to be remembered? First and foremost, I just want to be remembered for being a good person. I don't think there is anything more important to being good to the people around you. I also hope to uplift and inspire some people along the way.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I don't know that it's that super, but I would love to not need to sleep. There's just too much I want to do on a daily basis to fit into 16 waking hours. I could really use those pesky 8 hours of sleep for other stuff if I didn't need to, you know, sleep or whatever!

16. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Brussell sprouts. I don't think people would eat me if I were a Brussell sprout flavored lifesaver. Even though I do LOVE Brussel sprouts...a candy flavor version just sounds weird. I'm all about self-preservation.

17. Favorite way to stay in shape? I HATE working out. But to stay in shape I force myself to do a little regimen of push-ups and sit-ups. 10 minutes a day. It's just enough to keep me looking alright.

18. Boxers or Briefs? Both. I don't discriminate against any underwear. I'm an equal opportunity underwearer!

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: Theo & JulietMore on Payson:

Payson Lewis is an actor and singer originally from Philadelphia, PA. He graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. While at USC he was a member of the 3-time ICCA champion a cappella group, the SoCal VoCals. Since graduating, Payson has pursued a career in music and on TV with appearances on Revenge (ABC), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), Rules of Engagement (CBS), Love Bites (NBC), VicTORIous (Nickelodeon), and was a Top-4 Finalist on The Sing-Off (NBC).

In addition to other recent TV appearances, he's been seen in a number of notable LA Theater productions including Glory|Struck productions' Bare as "Peter" (BroadwayWorld Award Winner: Best Leading Actor in a Musical) and as "Rocky Horror" in The Rocky Horror Show. He's also been seen every weekend for the last two years in the hit "For The Record" series at Rockwell and, more recently, DBA Hollywood with the likes of Tracie Thoms, Barrett Foa, Steve Kazee, Janel Parrish, and Rumer Willis.

Payson has most recently started a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/paysonlewis) which will focus on music; both original and covers. Twitter and Instagram: @paysonlewis

Monday
Nov102014

Call Redialed: Steven Reineke: New York Pops: By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit: Michael Tammaro"Call Me Adam" once again chats with The New York Pops' Musical Director Steven Reineke. This time around we discuss the second concert of their 32nd Season, By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra, which will take place on Friday, November 14 at 7:30pm at Carnegie Hall in NYC (57th Street and 7th Avenue). By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra will feature popular symphonic pieces by European masters; selections from great American composers such as Copland, Gershwin, Bernstein with Essential Voices USA; and the New York premiere of "Festival Te Deum" written by The New York Pops very own Steven Reineke. Click here for tickets!

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

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna Webber1. On Friday, November 14, The New York Pops continues their 32nd Season with By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra. What do you like most about doing these special request concerts? I love that we've begun a tradition of featuring the orchestra and its wonderful musicians each season. We collaborate throughout the year with so many incredible guests artists and soloists but at the heart of it all, it's the orchestra that makes each concert so special with their amazing musicianship and versatility. 

Doing a program like this really allows the orchestra to shine. The repertoire I've chosen is very demanding, giving us a chance to push ourselves and challenge the orchestra to reach even greater heights artistically.

2. During this show, you will perform your composition "Festival Te Deum," which will be making its New York debut. What excites you most about premiering this song during By Special Request? What, if anything, makes you nervous about having an audience hear one of your compositions for the first time? I'm very excited to conduct this piece in New York for the first time. I don't often program a lot of my own music here but I thought this was a great opportunity to show our audience another side of me. I'm not sure many of them realize that I'm also a composer. It's always a little scary to perform your own music for an audience because it's very personal. I just take a deep breath and hope that it connects with the listener and has an impact on them.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops Gala, Photo Credit: Richard Termine3. How did you decide which songs you were going to perform for this concert? The second half of the program is dedicated to iconic New York composers - Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin. It all started when I realized the date of the performance, November 14th, fell on Aaron Copland's birthday. He would've been 114 years old this year. That's when I decided to feature his music and pair it with Bernstein and Gershwin. The first half of the concert features some great music from the European symphonic repertoire.

4. Since the evening is called By Special Request, what is the one special request you get asked the most in regards to The New York Pops? Patrons and fans are constantly giving me their ideas and opinions regarding what they would like to see and hear. I really like that and take it all to heart. Honestly though, the number one thing I've heard from patrons over the years is that they sometimes just want to hear the orchestra featured without guest artists.  I think this is a huge compliment to the musicians of The New York Pops. That's why I decided to create a concert each year called By Special Request: An Evening With the Orchestra.

5. If you could request anything of the New York Pops' audience, what would you ask them? Please tell all of their friends to buy subscription packages or single tickets to our concerts! Also, feel free to use social media to spread the word about this great orchestra. If you enjoyed a concert, then tweet about us or post on Facebook. We want everyone to know how special our concerts are and to continue to sell out our performances.

Steven Reineke conducting, Photo Credit: Richard Termine6. Once again, you are teaming up Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA for this evening's concert. How did you first come to work with them and what makes you want to continue to team up with them for your concerts? Judith Clurman and the chorus were recommended to me the first season I was with the orchestra. We brought them in for a concert and I was blown away by their sound and professionalism. Judith is an extraordinary conductor and prepares the chorus beautifully. We know each other so well at this point that she knows exactly what I'll like or not.

7. What makes this By Special Request concert different from previous ones? For these concerts, it seems as though I've alternated programming film music one year and classical repertoire the next. This year we are back to classical pieces. I'm excited that this one also includes music from opera, ballet, and theater.

8. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Pineapple. It's the most interesting of the five original flavors.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Johanna Webber9. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea. That I was born to be an entertainer and that I think love is the most powerful force in the universe.

10. How do you want to be remembered? Um, I sure hope that I'm not going anywhere very soon!!! I would like to be remembered as a kind, thoughtful, and generous person that gave everything to my work and lived life to the fullest. Hopefully, I also touched some people through music along the way.

Steven Reineke, Photo Credit; Michael TammaroMore on Steven:

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 husband Eric Gabbard.

Steven Reineke conducting The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Richard TermineMore 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. Led by Music Director Steven Reineke, the orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops was founded by Skitch Henderson in 1983 with a mission to create greater public awareness and appreciation of America’s rich musical heritage. 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. 

Thursday
Nov062014

Call Answered: Conference Call with John R. Waters and Stewart D'Arrietta: Lennon: Through a Glass Onion

Stewart D'Arrietta and John R. Waters, Photo Credit: Joan Marcus"Call Me Adam" chats with John R. Waters and Stewart D'Arrietta about their new show Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, part spoken word, part concert, and all heart, this show is a celebration of one of the most distinct voices of his generation: John Lennon. Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is currently playing at The Union Square Theatre (100 East 17th Street) in NYC through January 11 only! Click here for tickets!

For more on Lennon: Through a Glass Onion be sure to visit http://lennononstage.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Your show Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, is currently making it's New York debut at the Union Square Theatre. First conceived in 1992, you have played to sold-out houses around the world including Sydney's Opera House and London's West End. How did you guys first come to work together?

John R. Waters: Stewart and I were put together by a mutual friend to meet and discuss another project. This was in the mid-eighties. We've worked and written songs together on and off ever since; with our main focus on the times we reconvene to do another tour of Glass Onion.

Stewart D'Arrietta: John and I first worked together on a theatre piece in 1985 for the New Moon Theatre Company. We got on well and when John was offered a 3 week season at a 85 seater Pub theatre, he contacted me asking if I would like like to be involved on a Lennon piece, I said yes.

Stewart D'Arrietta and John R. Waters in "Lennon: Through a Glass Onion", Photo Credit: Joan Marcus2. What made now the right time for Lennon: Through a Glass Onion to make it's New York City debut? 

John R. Waters: We had refined the show for a tour beginning at the Sydney Opera House, and at the same time we joined forces with Producer Harley Medcalf, who made an approach to the estate regarding rights, and it was successful. Opportunities further opened up with the assistance of Richard Frankel here in NY, and the availability of the fabulous Union Square Theatre. Now we're here!

Stewart D'Arrietta: It was the meeting of Harley Medcalf last year that brought about the production here in New York at this time and then Yoko allowing us to perform the piece.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show?

John R. Waters: I like what most of the audience tells me afterwards; that they were surprised and taken aback by the unique style of treatment of the material, and that they feel somehow closer to the man and his story.

Stewart D'Arrietta: We would like the audience to be moved as they leave in the sense that realizing the greatness of the man and the loss to our society with his killing.

John R. Waters in "Lennon: Through a Glass Onion", Photo Credit: Joan Marcus4. What made you want to write a show about John Lennon? How has he influenced you?

John R. Waters: I was influenced by not just Lennon, but all the Brit-rock scene of the sixties. It was my time - I was in mid-teens to early adulthood in London in that decade. I had already loved rock-n-roll from the time I heard "All shook Up" at the age of ten. When I decided to write a show that brought all the aspects of my own career together - acting; singing; playing in bands and generally telling stories - the subject matter came very quickly to mind.

Stewart D'Arrietta: It was John’s idea to do a show about Lennon. Lennon's influence has been large in my life as I grew up with his music and his philosophy of peace.

5. How did you decide which John Lennon songs you wanted to include in Lennon: Through a Glass Onion? Were there ones you wanted to include that you didn't?

John R. Waters: It goes without saying that we can't do them all without having a show longer than War and Peace, so I used the most autobiographically interesting songs which provided a 'text' of their own. Plus a few that are just bloody good songs!

Stewart D'Arrietta: The songs that reflected his life journey as a lot of Lennon’s songs were written autobiographically. "In My Life" and "Don’t Let Me Down" are used as underscore but we would have liked to use them as songs sung but it was not to be.

Stewart D'Arrietta in "Lennon: Through a Glass Onion", Photo Credit; Joan Marcus6. Since this show is about John Lennon, if you could have sang any song of his with him as a duet, which one would you have chosen?

John R. Waters: Well if I had ever got to sing a song with John Lennon, I don't think I would have cared much what we sang. "We're a Couple of Swells" in reggae, maybe?

Stewart D'Arrietta: "Come Together"

7. Has Yoko Ono come to the show or anyone from his estate? If so, what did they think of it?

John R. Waters: I am thrilled and gratified to have been licensed by the estate. Beyond that I believe is not my territory, really, but of course I'm very pleased that our treatment that has been approved.

Stewart D'Arrietta: No.

Stewart D'Arrietta and John R. Waters, Photo Credit: Joan Marcus8. What has been the best part about working together? What have you learned from each other?

John R. Waters: Stewart and I know each other well enough to work 'instinctively' off each other, and that saves a lot of time! I think that Stewie's high level of motivation to get things done has been his biggest influence on me.

Stewart D'Arrietta: You always have to have a sense of humor in this business and hang on to the positive.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received?

John R. Waters: "Give up acting." It made me try harder.

Stewart D'Arrietta: What goes around, comes around.

Stewart D'Arrietta and John R. Waters, Photo Credit: Joan Marcus10. If you could have a song written about your life, what are some key elements you would want to make sure the lyricist wrote into the song? For example, I've had two theme songs written for me...one for my past radio show and one for a live interview series I used to conduct. The key elements I wanted to make sure got written into each theme song was that I did entertainment interviews and then the lyricists wrote my theme songs around that idea.

John R. Waters: I wouldn't like anyone to write a song about me. Except maybe if it was one of my children who did it. And they could write all about how I was the greatest dad in the world. The best songwriting always contains an element of invention.

Stewart D'Arrietta: Any song written about me would have to have in it that I gave life my best shot and I didn’t die wondering.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

John R. Waters: X-Ray vision. I sent off for those glasses advertised on the back of Superman comics. Imagine my disappointment when the girls I looked at still had all their clothes on.

Stewart D'Arrietta: To fly.

12. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be?

John R. Waters: Blackcurrant. Same goes for pastilles, gums etc etc. the black ones.

Stewart D'Arrietta: Lime.

14. How do you want to be remembered?

John R. Waters: Being remembered at all, is a good start! I think I'd be happy with that.

Stewart D'Arrietta: As a Cool Garden Gnome...now wouldn't that be cool!

John R. Waters, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusMore on John:

John R. Waters is one of Australia's most recognized, respected and critically acclaimed actors and singers. Born in Britain, he has built and retained an audience in Australia across four decades of theatre, musicals, TV, film and music. Waters has performed in over 20 stage productions, 22 films and 43 TV series/telemovies. Some of his best known works are My Fair Lady, They're Playing Our Song, Oliver!, The Graduate, Jesus Christ Superstar, Breaker Morant, Weekend of Shadows, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Rush, "All the Rivers Run," "City Homicide," "Singapore Sling," "All Saints," "Underbelly" and "Offspring."

Stewart D'Arrietta, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusMore on Stewart:

Stewart D'Arrietta recently enjoyed a nine-month New York run of his Tom Waits show, Belly of a Drunken Piano. Last January, Stewart was the musical director for The White Album Concert by the Beatles, performing on stage at the world famous Sydney Opera House with 15 other high profile artists including Jon Stevens and Jack Jones. Other musical director/performer/composer credits include Cafe Brel, Reunion and Satango. Stewart has also composed and conducted soundtracks for features, short-form drama and documentaries including Whitsunday Ash, Sugar Inc., Blood Oath, Colour in the Creek and the Emmy Award-winning documentary Faces in the Mob.