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Entries in Musical Theatre (136)

Monday
Oct232017

Call Answered: Akron Watson: "The Play That Goes Wrong"

Akron WatsonAkron Watson first caught my eye when he was starring in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. When I found out Akron was coming into The Play That Goes Wrong, now the longest running play on Broadway, I knew I had to go see him.

I had heard countless people say how funny The Play That Goes Wrong was. Others said their mouths hurt from smiling so much because they laughed for two-full hours. Some had stomach aches from the amount of laughter ensued.

After seeing this show, I 1000% agree with them on all accounts. The Play That Goes Wrong is THE FUNNIEST show on Broadway! This show IS the definition of Broadway Magic! Two-hours of non-stop laughter! A master class in physical comedy! I can't recommend it enough!

Akron is great as "Trevor," the lighting board operator. His character doesn't have as much physical comedy as the other actors in the show, but a lot of Akron's genius comes from the subtle looks he gives throughout the show or the way he delivers his lines. He very much reminds of the way Bea Arthur would deliver her lines or looks on The Golden Girls

I'm so excited to have been able to interview Akron. I just hope this doesn't become "The Interview That Went Wrong!"

The Play That Goes Wrong plays the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Follow the show at http://broadwaygoeswrong.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Akron follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Akron Watson, Photo Credit: Adam Anderson Photography1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was inspired by the men in my life: my dad, my pastor, and Will Smith. My dad was in plays at my church, that my pastor directed. My pastor also taught theater at my high school. And Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was basically all I watched as a kid. It was really inspiring to see a young black man be funny and interesting on TV.

2. I just saw The Play That Goes Wrong this past Wednesday and LOVED it! After seeing the show, I have to know, what was the audition process like for this show? The first audition was pretty standard: a character monologue from the show recited for the creators (who also happen to be the original cast members of the show). It was fun, they laughed a lot and gave a lot of affirmation and feedback.

The call back was very unique: a group of about 30 people all playing improv and clown games. We did a physical warmup, then we dived into improv scenes, half on stage, and half as the audience. THEN, we did two to three scenes from the show as everyone else watched (and provided much needed laughter response). It was exhilarating.

Akron Watson as "Trevor" in "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel3. I first came to know you after seeing you in Broadway revival of The Color Purple, a very serious musical and now you are in, The Play That Goes Wrong, THE FUNNIEST show on Broadway, where the audience laughs non-stop for two full hours. How do you ready yourself each night for this comedic show as opposed to the seriousness of The Color Purple? I just talk to my castmates honestly. Everyone is SO funny, and smart and full of positive energy. Especially our four swings, two women and two men who basically cover us all, and a huge nod to my dressing-roommate Jonathan Fielding, who is basically the most hilarious person I've met. I interact with the audience a bit in this show, and I've learned that I can rely on my castmates to get me in the right headspace to be my best "Trevor."

4. There was quite a bit of interaction between the cast and audience on the night I saw the show. What is the funniest thing, so far, to happen both between cast members & between the cast & audience? There are so many moments that are "choreographed" to go "wrong" in our show, that the funniest moments for us are usually when things actually go wrong. Once Mark Evans mushed a line, which is super bizarre because he's so consistently perfect. It was one of the rare serious moments intended to give information and the information given that day was not the most accurate.

Akron Watson & the Cast of "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel5. In The Play That Goes Wrong, you play "Trevor," the lighting board operator, who's only working on the show so he can pass his engineering course. What is one job you took because you knew it would help you get to the next step? The Full Monty. Actually "musicals" in general was my next step job. I just wanted to work more, in certain places with certain people, and musicals were my way in. There were also just more musicals casting at the time. So I went to some open mics to get more comfortable with singing in front of people, and I took a musical audition class at my local community college.

6. This show is like a master class in physical comedy. What part of the show do you just get so excited to perform every night that you can't wait for it to come? What's the hardest part of being in a show that is so physically demanding? I'm not half as physical as my castmates, so I more enjoy watching everything Amelia McClain does as "Sandra": getting knocked out twice and getting yanked through a window are my favorites.

7. Prior to starting The Play That Goes Wrong, what made you most nervous about taking the role? Now that you've been in the show for a bit, what have you learned about yourself as an actor that you didn't know previously? I was nervous I wouldn't be as funny as Rob, who originated the role of "Trevor." I learned that this play is funny no matter what. It's brilliant, and it's only my job to do what I know to do, play it for the truth of the situation. Don't try to be funny.

Akron Watson as "Trevor" in "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel8. Since the show is called The Play That Goes Wrong, what has been the biggest thing to go wrong for you on stage either in this show or a previous show? And, what is the biggest thing in your life to go wrong that you just wanted or want to go right? I have to be honest, life is really good right now. Family, friends, work, everything is really great and "on track" for me personally. But once, in a little theater in Dallas, I did a monologue in my boxers and the front button wasn't buttoned. With my family and friends all present, things got a little awkward in the theater that memorable evening.

9. What's it like to work with Bette Midler every night? It's nice to know that every night, I get to be on Broadway with Bette Midler. It's really a dream come true.

10. If it were backwards day at The Play That Goes Wrong, aside from everything going right, which other character would you like to play? I think "Robert" is the most interesting. He definitely believes and performs the hardest and most focused. So it's interesting to watch him deal with the constant roadblocks the show presents his other wise perfect performance.

11. I love all the Duran Duran references in the show. If you had to describe the show in 5 Duran Duran songs, which ones would you choose? Please forgive me. "Trevor" is a Duran Duran afficianado. I would be doing their classic music and my show a disservice by even attempting this answer.

12. If this was "The Interview That Goes Wrong," what is one question I could have asked you to make this interview go right (and please provide that answer to said question)? If you could describe this show in five Prince songs, which ones would you choose? "I Would Die For You," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Thieves In The Temple," "Delirious," "Let's Go Crazy," respectively.

Akron Watson, Photo Credit: Jeremy PopeMore on Akron:

Broadway: The Color Purple Revival. Off-Broadway: The Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater). Regional: Dreamgirls (North Shore Music Theater); Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center); Smokey Joes’ Café (WaterTower Theatre); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Theatre Three Dallas); The Shipment (Undermain Theatre); Kismet (Lyric Stage); The Royale (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis). Film/TV: NBC’s Friday Night Lights; NBC’s ChaseSeasons of Gray; and Spilt Milk. Voiceover: Borderland the Pre-Sequel (Dunks Watson), The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Chris Brian), Satoshi-Toonami’s Michiko & Hatchin. Featured on American Idol, "Season 6." 

Friday
Oct132017

Call Answered: Michael Mott: Abandoned Heart

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Michael Kushner PhotographyWhen I saw the list artists singing on Michael Mott's new album Abandoned Heart, I knew I had to take a listen. What I heard were songs filled with raw emotion in regards to love & relationships. From finding love to losing love, Michael has a voice all his own. And he's found a group of performers, including Brian Justin Crum, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Natalie Weiss, Shayna Steele, & Jenna Ushkowitz, who really knew how to help bring these songs to life!

Abandoned Heart is available now on iTunes and Broadway Records along with his new single "More Than Me," which benefits Puerto Rico.

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://www.michaelmott.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a composer/lyricist? Honestly, the piano. I dreaded playing the rudimentary exercises my piano teacher required of me, so I'd go off and make up my own compositions. I've always written ever since I was a little kid, but didn't really explore this talent seriously until I applied to the BMI Musical Theatre Writer's Workshop in 2012 in NYC. Going through that program gave me the confidence and skill set to pursue writing full time.

2. You just released your new CD Abandoned Heart, a variety of feel good pop, anthemic soul and introspective ballads. How do you feel you struck "Gold" with this album? Haha. Well, as corny as this sounds, I truly wrote all of these songs from the heart. Over the past few years I've found my artistic voice as a songwriter and these songs are written from a place of truth. While this is stylistically very different from my first album, Where The Sky EndsAbandoned Heart explores the type of music I truly love creating and am inspired by as a fan of music.

3. You have stated that this album helped you find your own individual voice and point of view as a writer and singer. How do you feel this album did that? Not to discredit my first album, but I feel like I was trying very hard to say "Look! I can write in any style or genre!" with that record. I was trying to appeal to a more high brow audience and show everything I could do, which almost made that record feel like a sampler platter. Abandoned Heart is a much more cohesive album. It has a true beginning, middle and end. I honed in on the styles and genres that speak to me as a fan first and foremost and then wrote from my heart and soul.

4. Since the album is called Abandoned Heart, when have you abandoned your heart? This can get pretty deep, pretty quickly. Let's just say working on this album taught me A LOT about myself. Haha. When I was going through the process of naming this project I was listening to these songs over and over again and beginning to analyze lyrics. I don't know why I write what I write, I just write! When I was trying to dissect every phrase, I realized  that every song was written from a place of yearning or longing. Each song on this record deals with a heart crying for acceptance. Hence, Abandoned Heart.

5. Which songs were the easiest to write? Which ones gave you the most trouble? I wrote "Gold" in a matter of 15-20 minutes sitting in the park. "My Favorite Color" also came to me pretty quickly. It's funny because the rest of these songs are like the fourth or fifth versions of these songs. "So Relentless," "Minefield of Love" and "Breathless" all had completely different choruses. It was after I had demo'd them and listened back that I realized what I wanted to do to evolve them into what they are now. I would actually love to do a concert or workshop or something and show the earliest versions of these songs. It's very interesting to see just how different they were in their first draft stages. "Minefield of Love" was originally called "Ask Me To Stay" and had this interesting country/rock vibe. "Breathless" was called "My Man" and had a totally different hook. Listening back on those earlier versions now, they're extremely inferior to the current versions. Thankfully I had the common sense to know I could do better, haha. It's very important for artists to give themselves the time and space to allow the material to grow and evolve. You can not undermine the creative process.

Michael Mott6. How do you prepare for a day of writing? What is your writing process like? Do you say today I'm going to write my emotional songs and then I will tackle my more upbeat songs or vice versa? How do you decompress writing songs? I wish I knew. I've found that when I sit down with the intention to write is when I usually come up with the worst material that makes me feel like the most untalented human being on earth. It's funny because once I allow myself to be in this place, suddenly the flood gates open and I am receptive to inspiration; my subconscious opens and melodies, lyrical phrases and ideas start coming to me in the most inopportune times (see: showering, working out, walking to the park, etc).

7. Your song "Complicated" is about someone holding on to a relationship that seems to be ending. When you write a song like this, if it's based upon your own experience, how far out from this relationship were you when writing it? What do you feel as you write it? Freedom or the anger/frustration of the situation? This song is based on a relationship I was in last fall. I was head over heels for this guy, but he was scared of commitment. We fell for each other and then he pulled away. It's very therapeutic to be able to sit down at the piano and allow the music to do all of the work for me. That song encapsulates exactly how I felt in that relationship and Eric LaJuan Summers' vocal performance is exquisite. I couldn't ask for a better vocalist. He's such a star.

Michael Mott at the "Abandoned Heart" release concert8. I love the different styles of music on your album. How did you know they would all blend together so well? Thank you, I appreciate that. I honestly don't think about it. I just knew I was writing from a place of truth and wanted to write with a more fresh, contemporary pop sound and that was that. It also helped that I worked with one music producer on the entire album, so we were able to hone in on a certain tone that was all encompassing on the entire record. Rich Matthew produced and made everything sound like a million bucks.

9. Another song on the album is "My Favorite Color." So, what's your favorite color? I enjoy a dark blue or black. Let's go with black as the black heart emoji has been part of the branding experience of this new album.

10. If you had the opportunity to write songs for five of your favorite artists, who would you want to write for? Well, I have been lucky enough to have worked with most of my favorite artists from the Broadway and television worlds, including everyone on this album and my first album. That is something I do not take for granted at all! However, it would be an absolute dream come true to write with Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, Sia, John Mayer and P!nk. I love collaborating because I learn so much from the writers and artists I'm working with. You can not get any better than those legends and it would be a dream come true to be able to work with them in any capacity.

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Cristin DownsMore on Michael:

Michael Mott  is a composer, lyricist, singer, actor and voice teacher living in NYC. Born and raised in New Hartford, New York, Michael graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After graduating, he moved to New York City and enjoyed a successful career performing in numerous Off-Broadway, regional and national touring shows. In 2012 he decided to shift his focus to writing and was accepted into the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writer’s Workshop. He has since been named one of Playbill's "Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know."

Michael's debut album, Where The Sky Ends, is a compilation album of his original theatre, jazz and pop music performed by some of the best singers on Broadway, co-produced by Mott and legendary orchestrator/ producer, Kim Scharnberg. The LP has been referred to as "a masterpiece" by Broadway World and was released by Grammy Award Winning label, Broadway Records on June 17, 2014. Due to popular demand, Where The Sky Ends: The Dance Remixes was released by the same label on October 14, 2014 and spawned the popular dance track, "Gone" (Julian Marsh Ethereal Mix). In 2016 he composed a Christmas single for Broadway star, Laura Osnes, co-produced by Mott, Scharnberg and Jeremy Roberts. "Christmas, Will You Stay?" was released digitally on his own label, Motta Music, on December 6, 2016.

Michael has had the great fortune of working with some of the best singers in the business both in the recording studio and on stage in his touring show, Michael Mott & Friends. His collaborations include TONY Award Nominees Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Jennifer Damiano, Orfeh, Sierra Boggess, Zachary Levi, Jenna Ushkowitz, Andy Mientus, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Adrienne Warren, Justin Guarini, Brian Justin Crum, Shayna Steele, James Snyder, Jackie Burns, Mitch Jarvis, Michael Lanning, Marissa McGowan, Crystal Monee Hall, Loren Allred, Natalie Weiss, Teal Wicks, Jason Gotay, Ryan Silverman and countless others. As composer/ lyricist, Michael’s original musicals include In The Light (book by Nathan Wright and Justin Silvestri), The Don (book by Corey Skaggs) and Lucifer (co-lyricist, Mike Squillante, book by Corey Skaggs). He co-conceived and composed music to the original ten minute musical, Riding Out The Storm, written with lyricist and librettist, Christine Toy Johnson. Additionally, he has written and recorded several stand alone pop/ R&B/ top 40 songs.

Wednesday
Sep062017

Call Redialed: Maxine Linehan: "One: The Songs of U2" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Maxine Linehan, Photo Credit: Emma MeadeMaxine Linehan has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard! The minute I was introduced to Maxine, I fell in love with her. From U2's "One" to Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes" to Petula Clark's "Downtown," Maxine really knows how to put her stamp on a song. She makes them sound like they were written just for her! 

It's been two years since my last interview with Maxine, so believe me, it's wonderful to catch up with her as she readies to hit the Feinstein's/54 Below stage this fall with her show One: The Songs of U2The extraordinary songs written by Bono and U2 find a new voice in a concert that holds to the beautiful melodies, while bringing the lyrics forward into a fresh light. Accompanied by piano, cello, violin, bass, and drums, Maxine will continue her mission of providing audiences with the unexpected experience of hearing U2's famous songs as if for the first time - while staying true to the heart and soul of each time-honored hit.

One: The Songs of U2 will be play Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on September 15 & October 13Click here for tickets!

For more on Maxine be sure to visit http://maxinelinehan.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit https://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, & Instagram!

1. It's so great to catch up with you! Last time we chatted was in 2015 when you were releasing your album Beautiful Songs. What do you feel has changed the most for you in the past two years since we last spoke? I love chatting with you Adam, and spinning with you! Beautiful Songs was an exciting project and the album has been so well received, beyond my expectations - it even became a top 10 pick by USA Today. That album and show was really the catalyst for what has become a wonderful concert career. The next show we created was What Would Petula Do?, my tribute to Petula Clark. It has travelled the county and last year we took it to Paris’ famed Théâtre du Châtelet where it sold out. At that performance we recorded a live album with an incredible Parisian orchestra which will be released in the Fall.

Beautiful Songs also features U2’s "One," which was the first time I had recorded or performed a U2 song, and that led to my asking the question, "Are there more U2 songs that could be given this treatment?" Turns out there were!

2. Now, you are getting ready to return to Feinstein's/54 Below with your show One: The Songs of U2. What made now the right time to perform this show? The songs written by Bono and U2 are extraordinary. Many of my fans who have heard me sing The American Songbook are not too familiar with the songbook of the boys from Dublin. Bringing that music to a different audience has been very exciting. We performed the show for the first time as concert with many performers and a fundraiser for BCEFA, and the response really surprised me. The audience fell in love with the profound lyrics combined with the beautiful new orchestrations. As I developed the show further, I found new meaning and emotion in these classic songs. Bono doesn’t write fluff, he’s one of the greatest lyricists of our time, and when you shine a light on his lyrics they are very powerful. It’s amazing to me that songs they wrote in the 1980’s about war, about taking care of each other, are more relevant today than ever! Our world is chaotic right now and to come together with music, spreading words of love and forgiveness is essential.

3. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment. When did you become a U2 fan? What was it about that particular song/time that made you go, this is a group, I will like for years to come? Growing up in Ireland it was easy to become a U2 fan. As a nation, we are exceedingly proud of these four Irish men who changed the face of music. Of course today it’s not only their music that is extraordinary, it’s also the longevity. I just saw The Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour and they are as exciting and relevant today as they were 30 years ago! As I mentioned, recording "One" on Beautiful Songs was a tipping point. The potency of that song performed live is outstanding.

4. How long did it take you to create this show...from idea to inception? The show developed from a group concert to a solo show over a two year period. I have collaborated with Scott Siegel (Director) and Ryan Shirar (Music Director) on all my concerts and together I believe we’ve created something very unique with this show.

5. What was the hardest part about putting this show together and what was the most fun? The hardest part was selecting the songs. With such a vast and brilliant songbook, it was very difficult to select just 14 or 15 songs. The most fun for me was hearing Ryan’s orchestrations played by some of my favorite musicians for the first time. I was reduced to tears. Tears of joy!

Maxine Linehan6. With U2's immense catalog of music, how did you narrow down which songs you wanted to perform? Well, as I said, it was the most challenging part. However, I need to sing songs that resonate with me on a deep personal level so that was a helpful way to narrow down the song choices. I don’t think I can bring anything new or interesting to "Mysterious Ways" or "Lemon," but I sure do connect with "One" and "Bad!"

7. For those who are big U2 fans, why should they come to see you sing their music? How do you think you'll win them over? As some critics have said, it’s U2 like you’ve never heard them before. I’m no Bono, no one ever will be! With all my tribute shows I’m very careful to interpret, not impersonate. I take these incredible U2 songs and present them through my voice, my experiences and my emotions.

One of the things I find most remarkable about the reception this show has received is the support of diehard U2 fans! When I see these fan clubs and social media groups talk about how much they love my interpretations it validates me. I’m so grateful to all the U2 fans for that support.

8. How do you feel your musical style or interpretation of music is similar to theirs to make you a premiere interpreter? Deep, compelling lyrics are my favorite. Connecting with an audience through the great lyrics of a song is one of the most powerful experiences a singer can have. U2 has always done that, and I continue to strive to do that with every song I sing.

Maxine Linehan9. One of my favorite U2 songs is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." What is something you are still searching for? I find great joy in interpreting songs, from Gershwin to U2 and everything in between. The next chapter for me is about finding my own original voice. Songs that come from me. I have started to explore what that is and next year I will be teaming up with some remarkable writers to help me find that voice. So stay tuned!

10. Another one of their songs is "Last Night On Earth." If this was your last night on earth, how would you spend it? Sitting around the fire pit in my back garden with my husband and children, sipping wine and listening to U2!

11. If, during one of your shows, Bono jumped up and said, let's sing a duet together, your choice. Which song would you choose? "One." No contest! After I picked myself up off the floor of course!

Maxine LinehanMore on Maxine:

International concert and recording artist Maxine Linehan has been hailed as an incredible talent by the thousands of audiences who have witnessed her performances. Maxine made her Paris debut at Théâtre du Châtelet with the wildly acclaimed What Would Petula Do?, a tribute to Petula Clark. As a concert performer she has enraptured crowds in venues large and small, from New York’s Lincoln Center and The Town Hall, to Feinstein’s/54 Below and Birdland, to cities across America. Her ability to emotionally engage throughout a stunning vocal performance is unparalleled.

Her solo show An American Journey, a story of immigration told through song, sold out its New York City run, and led to a live album. Maxine's show Beautiful Songs (and album of the same name) also had a sold out run and received rave reviews from The New York Times, USA Today and The Huffington Post.

The most recent addition to her three albums, Beautiful SongsWhat Would Petula Do?, and An American Journey, is a single of U2’s "One." A live album of What Would Petula Do? at Théâtre du Châtelet drops in the Spring of 2017.

A Barrister by training, Linehan studied at The Inns of Court School of Law in London, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is a member of Actors’ Equity.  She lives in Vermont and New York City with her husband and two children.

Friday
Aug252017

Call Answered: Nancy Holson: "Me The People" at the Triad Theater

November 8, 2016 was doomsday for a lot of people. Since then, everyone has been finding their own way to get this dingbat removed from the White House.

Well, Emmy award winning writer Nancy Holson has found her way to fight the resistance...she has written a hilarious new show called Me The People, a musical revue lampooning #45. It's an uproarious take on the craven, self-dealing Trump agenda intent on tearing apart our government and building a stupid wall. The show delivers a topical, up-to-the minute mockumentary of red-white-and-orange America. You don't need to be a nasty woman, a Mexican or a Bernie-bro to find cathartic laughs in this 90-minute tonic for your 2016 election hangover.

Me The People plays at the Triad Theater (158 W. 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Ave). Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer? I was always that kid who wrote the summer camp songs for Color War and family shows for birthdays and anniversaries. When I got older I kept doing it. I ran out of friends and family, so had to expand to a larger audience. As far as political satire, I grew up with Tom Lehrer and Alan Sherman, and they were certainly inspirations.

Cast of "Me The People"2. Your latest show, Me The People, a new musical revue lampooning #45 is an uproarious take on the craven, self-dealing Trump agenda, currently playing at The Triad in NYC. When did you first think, I have to write a musical comedy about this loser? Then, when did you actually start writing the show? Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency thanks to the Electoral College (which clearly is even more of a sham than Trump University). He didn't win the popular vote - or maybe he did if you discount all the votes by dead illegal aliens who crossed state lines to vote multiple times for Hillary Clinton. Imaginary voter fraud aside, the day after the Election, after emerging from a state of shock, I knew that I needed to write this show. I began writing the day after the inauguration (the best attended inauguration EVER in ALL OF HISTORY). The Woman's March was inspiring and gave me the push I needed to put pen to paper.

3. With his ever changing craziness, what is the biggest challenge presented for you in wanting to keep the show as up-to-the-minute as possible? I've been writing political satire for 25 years. In all of this time, there has been a fairly predictable pace to the news. Well, "Dorothy," we're not in Kansas any more. This is a presidency on speed. Forget my plan to take a vacation! This guy is keeping me chained to my computer.

Opening night cookies at "Me The People"4. When was there a time when you wish you had a crystal ball to see what was going to happen so you would have had more time to write one of the scenes in the show? I can handle making the changes I need to make to keep the show current, but I sure would like to have a crystal ball so that I could glimpse the joyous day, hopefully in the not too distant future, when this dangerous charlatan is impeached.

5. What was the hardest part of the show to write? What was the most fun? The hardest part of writing this show was living in the country which actually produced and elected Donald Trump. The most fun part is going to be closing the show because he is no longer in office.

6. What is a scenario you wanted to have in the show, but for whatever reason, you just didn't put it in? I did do a number with Trump and his three wives, where they took multiple cheap shots at him, from his small hands to his obsession with big towers. It was pretty satisfying to write a bunch of nasty dick jokes, but ultimately it didn't serve our purpose of dissecting the Trump agenda with intelligence and class.

7. How did writing Me The People help you? In all seriousness, I believe that in this dark time, all of us must step up and do whatever we can to try to make a difference. Writing ME THE PEOPLE is my contribution to the resistance.

Cast of "Me The People"8. Everybody is looking to laugh these days as this tyrant has caused so much heartache for our world. At the same time, people just want to find a way to escape from this monster and all that he is doing, which is, I feel, why people look to the world of entertainment. For someone who wants to laugh about this dork, but is hesitant to come see show about him, what are reasons they should come see Me The People? Many people have said to me that this situation is so dire that there is no way that they can laugh. However, after they see ME THE PEOPLE, they tell me that not only did they laugh their asses off, but that by the end of the show, they felt a real sense release and even catharsis.  It will be the bigliest catharsis EVER!

9. What is one or two of your favorite audience reactions from seeing the show? We end the show with a segment which encourages the audience to sing lyrics which suggest in impolite parlance, that the president has sex with himself. It's a riot to see the whole audience - especially the old ladies - giving the president the finger and yelling obscenities at him.

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. I normally ask my participants what is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day. But for this interview I want to know, what is something you feel we can do 1% better everyday to get this fucker out of the white house? I love this section! So let me get on my soap box. All of us need to engage with politics. We need to be educated and informed - there is such a thing as REAL news. In a Democracy, we cannot afford to sit back. We need to be realistic, which means that there are times we need to compromise - you may not get the candidate you love. But you need to VOTE!!!

Nancy HolsonMore on Nancy:

Nancy Holson is an Emmy-award winning writer, director and producer whose 25-year career spans the worlds of commercial live theater, corporate theater, and television. Nancy wrote, co-produced and co-directed the long-running hit show The News In Revue (1992 - 2011), on PBS (5 Emmy Awards), NPR, Off Broadway, the Berkshires and numerous venues from coast to coast. Writer/Director/and/or Producer - Off Broadway: Bush Wars and Ludwig Live! NYC and Regional: Parenting 101: The MusicalDear Mom, Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears A Yarmulke? London: Ludwig Live! Her new piece, Nutcracker! The Musical, had its initial productions in New York and London. Nancy believes that we all need to resist the horrors foisted upon us by the Trump administration in whatever means we can, and Me The People is her way of using her voice.

Monday
Aug212017

Call Redialed: Lindsay Mendez: Feinstein's/54 Below: The Golden Age of Broadway

Lindsay Mendez, Photo Credit: Murphy Made Photography (Matthew Murphy)It's been five years since Lindsay Mendez & I got to chat, so it's great to finally catch up with her and find out what's been happening! First and foremost, we talk about her upcoming concert at Feinstein's/54 Below from Sepetmeber 12-16, highlighting the Golden Age of Broadway. We also discuss life changes, Broadway, and the one thing Lindsay has not spoken about in any other interview....

Lindsday Mendez will be performing at Feinstein's/54 Below from September 12-16. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lindsay follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit https://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, & Instagram!

Lindsay Mendez Wakefield & Philip Wakefield, Photo Credit: Murphy Made Photography (Matthew Murphy)1. I can't believe it's been five years since we last spoke! It was 2012 and you were starring in Pasek & Paul's Dogfight. What do you feel has been the biggest change for you or in you during these last five years? I know!!! So wild! And so happy to be back! The biggest change in the last 5 years is probably my new marriage! I am married to an amazing man named Philip Wakefield now…and my marriage and our little family is a big focus for me and what I am working for.

2. However, I did get to see you in Significant Other in 2016 which I loved. It was like watching my own life of dating unravel before my eyes. What did you relate to most about your character and that story? Well, I saw myself so much in this story…both in the character I played AND in Gideon’s character from my single days. I think I related most to that feeling of change and growth in friendship…and how it can be really painful when people are growing at different rates than you are. I went through that a lot when I first moved to New York and all of my friends from home were settling down...and it still felt very palpable to me when I played this role this time around.

Lindsay Mendez3. This September you are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with an all new solo show performing songs from the golden age of Broadway, beloved tunes from your collaborations with current musical theatre writers, and more! My first question right away is, what is the more? HAHA. I’d say the "more" are selections of random FAVORITE artists of mine that may or may NOT be Musical Theatre artists. Fans that know me know that I am also a folk music fan…and if they come to see my show…they will DEFINITELY get to hear some great folk tunes that evening as well.

4. What is it about the Golden Age of Broadway that made you want to create a show around that time? The first music I fell in love with as a child was Rodger’s and Hammerstein and MGM Judy Garland movies…that material was exactly why I wanted to do this for a living. And when I think of Cabaret, I think of exposing the audience to your own personal style, taste, and journey…so this felt like the right time for me to express and explore my love for the art form THROUGH the stuff that got me started.

Lindsay Mendez singing at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: David Gordon5. If you could have been in any show during the Golden Age of Broadway, which show or shows, would you have liked to be part of? OH MAN!!! SOOO MANY! Meet Me In St. Louis, Bell’s Are Ringing, High Spirits, Oklahoma, Flora The Red Menace……dare I go on? You don’t have enough cyber space!

6. What do you like most about performing at Feinstein's/54 Below? I absolutely LOVE the atmosphere there. The audiences are all so warm, kind and appreciative. And the staff is just lovely to work with, always. And, that venue is so iconic, and beautiful. It just feels like home to me. And it feels like what I always dreamt cabaret would feel like…it’s that exact feeling. Like the PERFECT….jacuzzi??? Warm, welcoming, life-changing. (Is that too much?)

7. Which musical theatre writers songs will you be singing? What is it about them that makes you want to perform their music? I am going to be singing some Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Schwartz, Pasek and Paul, and Ryan Scott Oliver. I have a nice long history with all of these composers…and singing their work feels like an extension of them that I am excited and honored to get to present. These are all people I love (or loved), and I couldn’t perform a night without having them be up on that stage with me.

Lindsay Mendez with Pasek and Paul8. Which writers do you want to work with that you haven't already? OH my! There are so many! I love collaborating with anyone who wants to write and work…so I don’t feel like I can name anyone specifically. I am OPEN and always excited to attack new work!

9. What is something you can tell us about Lindsay Mendez that you haven't revealed in another interview before? Hmmmmm….I love clothes???? Shopping is like, the biggest release and relaxation exercise for me. I LOVE getting to shop around and try stuff on…even if I don’t end up buying anything…it’s just something I used to do with my mom that always makes me feel happy and energized.

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? Oh! I love this! Okay…one thing I would love to improve everyday is committing time “for myself…” where I am not booked up all day everyday and never have a moment for me to just, read, exercise, walk my dog, or hang out and watch tv...that is something I would love to get better at.

Lindsay Mendez, Photo Credit: Murphy Made Photography (Matthew Murphy)More on Lindsay:

Lindsay Mendez is a gifted singer and actress who has appeared in numerous Broadway shows including Grease, Everyday Rapture, and Godspell. In her most recent Broadway musical engagement, Lindsay took flight with the role of "Elphaba" in Wicked. Lindsay is celebrated for her star turn in Pasek & Paul’s Dogfight, which premiered at Second Stage Theater in 2012, where she earned Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Awards nominations.