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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in "Rent" (3)

Monday
Apr022012

Telly Leung

Photo Credit: Leslie BohmTelly Leung in "Godspell", Photo Credit: Jeremy DanielKnown to millions from FOX's "Glee," as "Wes," one of the "Warblers" Council Members, Telly Leung is one of our next generation performers who star is rising fast! Prior to "Glee," Telly home was the theatrical stage, starring in "Flower Drum Song" (2003 Broadway revival), Sondheim’s "Pacific Overtures" (2005 Roundabout Theatre Broadway revival), "Wicked" ("Boq" – original Chicago company), and "Rent's" Final Broadway Company, The Broadway Tour, and at the Hollywood Bowl as "Angel" (directed by Neil Patrick Harris, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Wayne Brady), "Song" in "M. Butterfly" (Philadelphia Theater Company), "Godspell" (Paper Mill), "The Bernstein MASS" (Carnegie Hall / Kennedy Center), "Give It Up!" (world premiere, Dallas Theater Center), "Barnaby" in "Hello, Dolly!" and "Harold Bride" in "Titanic" (The St. Louis Muny), "Simon" in "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Music Circus), "Thuy" in "Miss Siagon" (Pittsburgh CLO), and "Lun Tha" in "The King and I" (North Carolina Theater, starring Lou Diamond Philips). Telly can be heard on the original cast recordings of "Flower Drum Song" and "Pacific Overtures." Other recordings include "The Bernstein MASS" (Grammy-nominated), "Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim - Live From Symphony Space," "Dear Edwina," "Sweet Bye & Bye," and "The Broadway Boys."

In addition to "Glee," Telly has lit up film and television screens in "Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "The Tony Awards," "Ellen," "The Today Show," and "Good Morning America."

Currently, Telly is starring the fantastically talented cast driven revival of "Godspell" at Circle In The Square in NYC (1633 Broadway at 50th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave). Click here for tickets!

Next, Telly will be starring as "Young Sam" in the Broadway-bound original musical, "Allegiance" (www.allegiancemusical.com). 

For more on Telly be sure to visit http://www.tellyleung.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was lucky to be inspired by some amazing teachers in high school. I went to a math and science high school in NY called STUYVESANT. It was a rigorous academic environment - and I did theater on the side to get away from the physics and calculus. I found that I didn't see the world in MATH (like John Nash in BEAUTIFUL MIND), but I saw it in stories, people and music - and I had wonderful teachers there that validated this passion and love for the arts.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Who wouldn't want to work with Meryl Streep on something?

Telly Leung in "Godspell", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel3. What attracted you to "Godspell"? What do you identify most with about the show/your character? GODSPELL is about how we can all come together - as human beings, of any religious affiliation - and form a community. What I LOVE about GODSPELL is that it's actually NOT a religious show at all. Yes - we are using the Bible as our source for text, but as a non-Christian, the show speaks to me. Whether you believe in Christianity or not, there is no denying that what this brilliant man named Jesus had to say tap into some universal truths about how we can all be better to one another. "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "Always treat others as you would have them treat you" are basic universal tenants that we should ALL live by - Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, whatever. THAT is what speaks to me about this show. If we can spread that message, and lift someone's spirit or inspire someone to be a better person after 2.5 hours at the Circle in the Square, we've done our job.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Godspell"? (see question 3)

Cast of "Godspell", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel5. What has been the best part about performing with this extremely talented cast? It is a tight company - one of the closest, most collaborative companies I've ever been a part of ever in my career. There is a true bond, and a true sense of trust that has been developed during the process - and I can call these colleagues of mine friends for life. They are there for me - on and off the stage. Plus, after doing the show for almost 6 months of performances (eight times a week), I'm STILL in awe of the amazing talent in the company.

6. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? There's a lot of rehearsing "on my own" in the shower! What singer DOESN'T warm up and sing in the shower? It's good multi-tasking, if you ask me!

As for the favorite part of the rehearsal process: This was truly a UNIQUE rehearsal process. Our director really allowed us to CREATE and encouraged us to come up with our own ways of story-telling. I've never been asked to contribute so much of MYSELF in a project, and though it was hard work and a great challenge, what ended up on stage is COMPLETELY "US." We OWN it, and it shows in the way we perform it night after night. It's a gratifying feeling, to know that our "bits" and our "ideas" on stage.

Telly Leung as "Wes" on FOX's "Glee"7. Prior to "Godspell," you were starring on Fox's "Glee," as "Wes," one of the "Warblers'" Council Members. What did you enjoy most about being on "Glee"? I've been so lucky to be a part of interesting projects that are more than just "gigs." They are "phenomenons." RENT, WICKED, and GLEE are phenomenons that touch so many people and really speak to a generation. They surpass their respective genres of "just a TV show" or "just a musical," and they enter the main stream and help define an era. Millions of people watch GLEE every week, and it gives so many people so much joy. For some of these "gleeks" who are kids now, they will look back on this time as an adult, and "GLEE" will be the soundtrack they hear in their heads. To be a part of something that affects so many people in a positive way is humbling - and just plain cool.

8. You have been featured on several cast recordings, but you have also written a handful of your own songs. What do you get from writing and singing your own music that you don't get from performing in a theatrical show? I tried to take a stab at writing and producing a few years ago, and I'm glad I did. It gave me great respect for writers, and it made me realize how DIFFICULT it was. I've taken a little break from writing, but maybe I will get back to it one day. Waiting for the right inspiration...In the meantime, I'm working on a solo album, featuring some of my favorite songs. There aren't any originals on it, but maybe on the next CD I'll take another stab at writing. Stay tuned for more details about the upcoming album!

9. The first time we met was at Gavin Creel's concert at The Zipper, when Shayna Steele was opening for him. I remember you telling me at intermission how amazing Shayna was. What is it about both Shayna and Gavin (whom I've had the pleasure of interviewing) that you like so much? Both of them have some of the best voices I've EVER heard in this industry - and they are both capable of so many styles of music. What I love about both of them is their unique sound, and their ability to make you FEEL something when they sing. Yes - their voices are technically close to perfection, but it's their ability to tap into themselves, and invest truth and heart in their music that makes them great singers.

Telly Leung in Chicago production of "Wicked"10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Every day, I remind myself how LUCKY I am to be doing what I'm doing for a living. I'm a performer - by TRADE - and I'm lucky enough to get to do what I love as my JOB. That is rare. That is a gift. This business is hard, and sometimes we can complain and curse the showbiz gods - but at the end of the day, I'm grateful to get to do what I do: inspire and spread joy to an audience.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? NEVER stop being a student. There is always something to learn, and the mark of a TRUE artists is someone who never feels like they are "finished" or perfect. Always keep learning.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I'm not sure about "anyone," but if I could dream about "anything," it would be FLYING. I LOVE flying dreams, and I'm always a little sad when I wake up, and I realize it was just a dream. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

13. Favorite way to spend your off? Actually, I love going to the theater. I love to sit on "the other side" and be entertained. I'm glad I have wednesday nights off at GODSPELL, so I can go see the other Broadway shows that are happening right now...

Photo Credit: Leslie Bohm14. Favorite way to stay in shape? I'm a BIG fan of P90X! I started doing it when I was on tour with RENT. There are ton of us RENT guys who LOVE working out to P90X - like Nicolette Hart, Adam Halpin, Adam Pascal. We all worked out on tour together and got hooked. It's hard to do the program when you're doing 8 times a week, which is already a work out - but whenever I'm at the gym, I do a modified version of a p90x workout. They are amazing! 

15. Boxers or Briefs? All of the above! I don't discriminate: Boxers, Briefs, boxer briefs... Depends on my mood!

16. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would love to fly.

Sunday
Jan232011

Anthony Rapp

Adam & Anthony RappOn Monday, January 10, 2011, I also had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Anthony Rapp after his and Adam Pascal's concert at Town Hall (click here for my review). Personable and gracious, I was honored that Anthony took the time to answer my questions.

Best known as "Mark" in the Tony Award Winning production of "Rent," Anthony Rapp received an OBIE Award for his role. He has gone on to do it all...theatre, film, television, and author. His numerous theatre credits include Broadway's "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Precious Sons" (for which he received an Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Nomination), and Off-Broadway's "Some Americans Abroad," "Private Jokes, Public Places," and "Spalding Grey: Stories Left To Tell."

Anthony has lit up the big screen in such films as "Adventures in Babysitting," "School Ties," "Dazed and Confused," "Six Degrees of Separation," "Rent," "Man of the Century," "David Searching," "Road Trip," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Winter Passing" (a film written and directed by his brother Adam Rapp). On television, Anthony has been seen in "The Lazarus Man," "The X-Files," "The Beach Boys: An American Family," "Kidnapped," and "Law & Order: SVU."

In 2000, Anthony released his debut album "Look Around" performing in clubs and colleges around the country and in 2006 his memoir "Without You" was released, focusing on his time in "Rent," the death of Jonathan Larson, and the passing of his mother. "Without You" was most recently turned into a one man show, debuting at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA and then featured in NYMF 2010 (click here for my review) and moving onto a production in South Korea.

Anthony is currently out on tour with Adam Pascal in “Adam & Anthony Live.” They have one more stop on their US Tour. January 29 at 8pm: The Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My earliest memory is watching some tap dancer on TV and I didn't think to myself, "I want to be a tap dancer," I just remember being moved/impressed by the life energy force coming from him and his performance. I feel like that was the seed that was planted as to what performing could be about. Then I started doing shows and had very specific people working with me who were very inspirational at the time.

2. Who's the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with the Cohen Brothers or Martin Scorsese.

3. What's the best advice you've ever received? "The only way out is through." It's from my friend Cynthia O'Neil who runs "Friends in Deed." She gave me that advice during a very, very tough time in my life when my mom was sick. I have learned over and over again how to true that advice is.

4. What do you get from performing in a solo show that you don't get from performing in a Broadway show? There's a kind of freedom and ownership that is really sweet. There certainly are Broadway shows that I've loved, but some of things that have made the biggest impression on me as an audience member are concerts. So, I aspire to communicate/convey/share that kind of thing that has moved me. It's a very big dream come true doing a concert, like tonight. Being in "Rent" was kind of like both a show and concert at once in a really fantastic way...being able to tell a story, play a character, and act, but kind of also front a rock band. Now I get to do both, separately, but more. "Without You" is kind of like that too, part show part concert.

5. If you couldn't be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? It's hard to think of something else out of the arts entirely...I teach, direct, write, produce, but if had to be something completely out of the arts, I don't know that I would want to do this as a career, but I love playing poker and it's such a crazy career that I would never want to do it as a career, but it is a passionate pursuit. It's more than a hobby, but less than a job. If I had to choose something, I think I would teach.

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? There are so many different ways I like to spend my day off. Like when we were on tour with "Rent" last year, if we were near some place where I could play poker, I would it. Poker is such a different head space. It's a totally different way to think and be than performing. If we were in a really amazing place, I would spend the day traveling around or hiking or something in the area that you could only do there. I'm also a big believer in true vacation time and vacating, turning off things and have quiet time and chilling to recharge the batteries.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.

9. Favorite website? One of them is The Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan's Blog). He's a really smart and interesting person full of contradictions. He writes very eloquently about things. I don't always agree with him, but I find it very provocative.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talents that nobody knows about? I'm very, very flexible.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I have dreamt about conversations with my mom who's been gone for 14 years now and that's always been nice. Whenever I wake from those dreams, they feel so vivid. You know, a night like tonight, I think she would really be proud, even though she might not have liked all the songs.

Wednesday
May192010

Adam Kantor

Adam Kantor is another one of our next generation actors on the up and up. Since he made his Broadway debut in "Rent," Adam has continued to raise the bar to new heights. He produced the 2009 Fringe Festival hit "A Contemporary American's Guide to a Successful Marriage (c) 1959" (which starred fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participants Autumn Hurlbert and Lee Aaron Rosen) and is one of the founders of "Broadway in South Africa," a non-profit organization comprised of actors, singers, dancers, directors, musicians, and producers from New York City to help affect change in the world through art. Adam (along with Autumn) can currently be seen in the Off-Broadway show "Killing Women" at The Beckett @ Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Ave) until June 5, 2010.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My grandparents and parents, thankfully and oddly enough. They took me to see Broadway shows starting at the age of 4!  As soon as I found a passion in performing, they were nothing but supportive. Their encouragement truly was a blessing for me.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Depends on the weather and my mood. Generally, a low F up to a B-flat in chest and up to a high F-sharp in falsetto.

3. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? There are many. All of the old British farts who are the best actors in the world...Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, etc.

4. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can move my tongue incredibly fast, like a lizard. I do it in Killing Women.  Check it ooouuuttt....

5. What's the best advice you've given someone, but not taken for yourself? Shut up and dance.

6. What's your proudest moment? My grandmother did a walk-on in RENT with me when I was playing "Mark". She was in the life support scene; an 85 year-old woman wearing a tank top with a peace sign on it.  They put blue streaks in her hair, and she got to say her name coming up the stairs. "Steve, Pam, Lisa, LUCILLE!". We bowed together at the end of the show, and then she signed autographs with me outside.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love playing tennis. My entire family plays. I used to play a bit competitively, and there was a time I thought I'd either wanted to be a famous actor or a famous tennis player. Then someone beat me in a tournament and I was like "screw this, I hate this feeling of rejection, I'll be an actor." Oh, the things we think....

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers. I like celebrating my freedom.

9. Favorite website? broadwayinsouthafrica.org as my shameless plug.

10. "Gobots" or "Transformers"? I am embarrassed to say I have no idea what Gobots are. And, I'm not such a huge Transformers fan either....as a kid, I was much more entertained by the musings of my own imagination. I mostly sat alone in my room and spaced out. I do a lot of that now too...

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Ooh well, if the weather's warm, I love going to Jones Beach with friends, and catching a concert there at night.  And if it's cold, I'll sleep ridiculously late and dream I'm doing that.

12. Favorite ride at an amusement park? Splash mountain. It has everything a great ride should....great characters, a compelling plot, catchy music....oh and the drop is pretty sweet too.