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Entries in The Laurie Beechman Theatre (38)


Call Answered: Conference Call: Brad Loekle & Julie Goldman: "Gay Bash!" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Brad Loekle, Photo Credit: Ana OchoaphotoJulie Goldman, Photo Credit: Connie KurtewFrom one former comedian to two current comedians, this was one funny interview with out gay comics Brad Loekle (NBC's Last Comic Standing) & Julie Goldman (Bravo's The People's Couch) who are coming to The Laurie Beechman Theatre in February with the double-bill show Gay Bash!.

Brad & Julie bring their unique comedy stylings to NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe) for an evening of laughter! Gay Bash! will be performed for one-night-only on Friday, February 2 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Brad visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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

1. Who or what inspired you to become comedians?

Brad Loekle: I started doing Comedy to shut up all the people in my life that said, “you should be a comedian!”. To no one’s surprise, but my own, people were right! I fell in love with it immediately and threw myself head first into the abandoned swimming pool of Comedy!

Julie Goldman: I was definitely inspired as a kid by Mel Brooks HUGELY and then there was Joan Rivers of course, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman…Mel Brooks was probably the biggest though. I was OBSESSED with his movies. Particularly History of The World Part 1 and I would re-enact my favorite scenes for my family and I'm sure they wanted to throw me in the river...

Brad Loekle2. This February you are both headlining Gay Bash at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What are you looking forward to about this evening of comedy?

Brad Loekle: The chicken Caesar salad I’ll have right before I go on as the obligatory complimentary entree you get when you headline anywhere. Wait, do they have a chicken ceasar salad, if not Julie’s doing a solo hour and I’m going to Olive Garden.

Julie Goldman: I'm looking forward to sharing the theater with Brad. There are few comedians I enjoy watching and who really make me laugh anymore and this gentle gay sir is one of them. It's going to be a fun night for sure. I've also never performed at The Laurie Beechman and I'm really excited as I've heard such great things about the space.

3. Since you are performing on the same show, how do you feel your comedy styles are similar to be double billed?

Brad Loekle: From the first time I met Julie I felt like we were angry, sexually inappropriate twins separated at birth. She actually said to me, on our first road gig together, "I hate all new people I meet but I’m almost scared of how much I like you." This is, in my experience, the closest a Jewish lesbian can come to affection and it chokes me up just thinking about it.

Julie Goldman: I think our styles really compliment each other. WE certainly have a similar POV on the world but I think we have different enough styles that it's really fun and different for the audience.

Brad LoekleJulie Goldman4. What makes your comedy unique?

Brad Loekle: Most of my material is very autobiographical. I’m not talking about food shopping or airplane food. It’s just not my thing. And I think when it’s all stuff from your life, it’s hard for other people to steal it and it makes it easier to stand out. I don’t know anyone else who has a joke about their dad asking them to blow a cop to get out of a ticket. Except, maybe Seinfeld.

Julie Goldman: I do it all in German. I think this is hard question to answer. I can say my comedy is specific to me and is very personal, so in that regard I guess thats what makes it unique.

5. Since the show is called Gay Bash, what is your favorite way to party?

Brad Loekle: Call me a traditionalist but I’m always a fan of hookers and blow! Kidding...ish. Honestly, a great night out is sitting in the corner of a bar with Julie figuring out world peace and trying to guess what various celebrities sexual kinks are. I’m convinced Helen Mirren is into choke sex.

Julie Goldman: Drugs.

Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard, Writing Partner/Bravo Co-Star, on “The Poeple’s Couch”, Photo Credit: BravoBrad Loekle's "Electroshock Therapy"6. How do you feel the world of comedy has changed for out comics over the past eight or so years?

Brad Loekle: Well, though there still aren’t many of us (gay comics), there were a hell of a lot less of us a decade ago. I think it’s A LOT easier for out comics in the actual comedy club scene than it used to be. When I started it was mostly alt rooms where out comics were given chances and able to build an act.

Julie Goldman: I think it’s so different. I think the landscape for women comedians and LGBT comedians has changed. I think it's more open in some ways as far as the audiences are concerned. Hearing someone gay at this point is old news. Boring. Average. You better identify as a Trans Shark gender queer non binary  asexual Sponge if you wanna get a rise out of anyone now.

7. What would advice would you give to an aspiring gay comic?

Brad Loekle: It wouldn’t be different that the advice I’d give a straight comic, really. I’d tell them that if they would be suicidally miserable if they did anything other than Comedy, then go spend about 3-5 years doing every shitty little show and open mic you can get on to see if you’re any good. It takes about that long to see if the person really has sustainable talent AND if they are built to handle all the that job is offstage, as well. But if you can be happy living any other life...go be happy. Comedy is for people who read the story of Sisyphus and thought, "that’s the life for me! Where do I sign up?!"

Julie Goldman: GO to medical School.

Brad LoekleMore on Brad:

Brad Loekle was a semi-finalist in season 9 of NBC's Last Comic Standing. But TV audiences may also recognize Brad from the past 7 years on TruTV’s hit original series, World’s Dumbest. Brad's snarky wit was also put to good use as a writer for comedy icon Joan River's on E!'s Fashion Police. In 2016, he was one of the stars of Logo TV's Bianca's Comedy Cabaret a comedy special hosted by Drag Race winner, Bianca Del Rio. Brad has also made appearances on an assortment of shows on E!, VH1, MTV, Logo and many more! Radio listeners will recognize Brad’s voice as a longtime guest co-host on SiriusXM's Morning Jolt w/ Larry Flick or his regular appearances on The Frank DeCaro Show. Aside from touring the country regularly, he also produced one of the longest running weekly comedy shows in NYC The Electroshock Comedy Hour at Therapy Lounge ran for 8 years and was featured in The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, Next, HX and many others. Now an LA transplant, Brad performs and produces shows regularly in LA, San Diego & San Francisco. He also currently performs regularly with Atlantis Events & RSVP Vacations. Since 2010, Brad has travelled to more than 30 countries while entertaining tens of thousands of Atlantis & RSVP guests alongside such notable artists as: Patti Lupone, Sutton Foster, Vanessa Williams, Kathy Griffin, Lea DeLaria, Leslie Jordan and many more.

Julie GoldmanMore on Julie:

Julie Goldman is currently a series regular on Bravo's hit series The People's Couch. She was the star of LOGO's Big Gay Sketch Show, and is a former comedy writer on E!'s Fashion Police. She is the  winner of the NewNowNext Brink of Fame Comic Award, and the MAC Award for Best Headlining Comedian in NYC. Julie has been garnering massive attention around the country headlining stand up in clubs, colleges and headlining and working beside Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, and Jeff Garlin. She has performed at Montreal's prestigious Just for Laughs comedy festival, on Broadway in Laughing Liberally, and emceeing Puppetry of the Penis. She is a favorite on Olivia cruises and 'R Family Vacations and has appeared doing stand up on Logo, and Comedy Central. You may have also caught her performing a duet with Jane Lynch on VH-1’s Do Something Awards, on Bones, or on RuPaul's Drag Race.


Call Answered: Facetime Interview: Nikki M. James & Amy Wolk: "I Only Have Lies For You" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Amy Wolk, Call Me Adam, Nikki M. James at The Algonquin HotelLive from the Helen Hayes Boardroom at The Algonquin Hotel in NYC, I decipher the lies from the truth with Tony Award winner Nikki M. James & two-time Mac Award winner Amy Wolk as we discuss their new live game show I Only Have Lies For You, which will return to the Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street) on Sunday, January 21 at 9:30pm!

Scheduled to appear on January 21 are Helene York (American Psycho, Bullets Over Broadway), Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea), Alyse Alan Louis (Amelie), Pearl Sun (If/Then), Eric William Morris (Be More Chill, Mamma Mia), and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Freaky Friday).

In I Only Have Lies For You Broadway panelists are pitted against each other in a lying contest. Two teams of three will go head-to-head telling stories, some of which may not be true---it is up to the other team to guess, Truth or Lie. Click here for tickets!

Additional dates for I Only Have Lies For You are March 18, April 22, May 20, & June 18 all at 9:30pm.

For more on I Only Have Lies For You visit:

For more on Nikki M. James follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Amy Wolk visit and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Call Me Adam's interview with Nikki M. James & Amy Wolk:



Call Answered: Graham J at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Graham JI am so excited to get to interview international singer, Graham J, who will be making his US debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre this January! Graham J is fast gaining an international reputation as one of the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. Acclaimed for his highly emotional interpretations, outstanding and unique vocals, and his eclectic mix of repertoire, his music is being played on stations throughout the UK, USA and Canada.

Of his NYC debut, Graham says while his music has universal appeal, it is written from the point of view of his life as a gay bear. He considers himself to be a torch singer. Graham J will present his one-night-only US debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre on January 26 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Graham be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? This probably sounds a bit strange but my family tells me I was singing before I could talk. My parents say that I’d run up and down my cot all night singing. Much to their annoyance. When I got older I just new I wanted to sing. I liked that when I sang people paid attention to me. I suppose you can call it middle child syndrome. I was always fascinated by big personalities on screen and stage. Instinctively drawn to the theatricality and glamour of singers like Shirley Bassey, Liza Minelli, Sinatra and Tony Bennett. The same can be said of the great classical singers such as Callas, Sutherland and Pavarotti. I was spellbound by the way they’d tell a story and hold an audience in the palm of their hand. I always knew that this was what I wanted to do.

2. This January you are making your USA cabaret debut at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What made now the right time to do this? Hubris? Stupidity? I’m only joking. It’s long been a dream of mine to perform on Broadway. When David Goodman from Bear World Media approached me with the idea of showcasing my music in the USA I jumped at the chance. He’s been an incredible champion of mine over the last year and a half. I felt that if he was willing to put his neck on the line for me I’d be foolish to say no. I’ve been having moderate success in Europe for the last few years. The BBC has been very good to me. I’ve been conducting a network tour for the last year. It’s now time to test myself in a bigger arena. The sophisticated NYC audience has long been both the cradle and graveyard for many artists. To paraphrase RuPaul they value "Charisma, Uniqueness and Talent." My music is quite unique as it blends various elements jazz, classical and pop. I’m also a big hairy white guy with a genre(ly) confused Diva trapped inside. It’s time to test my metal.

Graham J3. What are you most excited & nervous about with this premiere? I’m most excited about sharing my original music with a new audience. I’m also most nervous about this. My songs cover a wide variety of topics. They can be about love, war and everything in between. It’s always a terrifying thing for an artist to reveal their inner life. We want to be loved and respected but that also comes with the fear of rejection and criticism.

4. Since this is your first time performing in the US, what should people know about you before coming to see this show? My shows are an eclectic mix of repertoire. They incorporate my own original songs with a mix of standards, showtunes and reimagined pop songs. There’s always a slant or an unexpected twist. You never know what you’ll get. I also try to add humour to my show. You’ll laugh and cry and hopefully come away a lot happier. My voice is also a quite wide-ranging alto which allows me to play with lots of vocal colours and effects.

5. While your music is universal, you have said it is written from the viewpoint of being a gay bear. What is one song that you wrote that surprised you people related to? That’s a tough one. I’d say it’s a toss between "Love Lies Bleeding At My Feet" and "Always By Your Side." I wrote "Love Lies" in about twenty minutes. I was reading a lot of distressing headlines in the news and the song came to me. The morning it aired on radio in Ireland I received a beautiful e-mail from a Catholic Priest. He told me that he was really moved by the message of the song which is that we all have to love one another and put aside our differences. "Always" is a fragment from a musical I’ve started to write. It’s about Robbie Ross’s infatuation and unrequited love of Oscar Wilde. A lot of people both gay and straight, male and female have approached me about it. I suppose we all hanker after the one that never was.

6. Your debut album is called Wild Is. Playing with the title, what is the wildest thing you've done both on stage & in your life thus far that made you go, "Whoa, that was crazy!"? Where to start? Is this a family friendly article? Lol! I suppose one of the maddest things I’ve ever done on stage belongs to my past as a classical singer. I used to sing as a guest soloist with the Belfast Bach Cantata Consort. My host/ the organiser held a very boozy lunch before we went on. She had us drinking gin and wine from very, very early. Let’s just say that I was very chilled by the time the performance came. I’ve listened to the recording, it was some of my best singing so it can’t have been that bad for me lol. In my personal life as an exercise in confidence building I took part in an erotic photoshoot. I was in various states of dress and undress throughout. The result of which has actually crossed over into my musical life. For the craic I recorded a dance version of Shirley Bassey’s "Never,Never,Never." If you search for it, you’ll see me sitting on a chair pretending to smoke a cigar while wearing a bowler hat and a leather chest harness. It’s very Liza.

7. Your music has been described as having a sense of mourning, loss and ultimately resolution. What do you mourn today? What has been your greatest loss? What is one of your resolutions for this New Year? I don’t think I’m any longer in a state of mourning as such. Obviously, we always reflect on the past and the what ifs and the what could and should have been. At present I’m the most positive and happy I’ve been in a long time. I’m living and singing my truth. My greatest loss was that of my partner Declan. He lost his battle with depression a few years ago. His death shook me to my core and made me look at my life. It made me finally decide to be true to myself. I decided to leave classical singing and move into Jazz and Cabaret. I decided all I wanted was to sing and to be happy. I’m an entertainer at heart and I want to make people forget their troubles for an hour or two. As for my resolutions, this year I’ve decided to teach myself the guitar. Heaven help the neighbours. They’ve already put up with hours of singing and piano.

8. Let's have some fun with two song titles off your debut album Wild Is. First, "Life on Mars." What is your vision of what "Life on Mars" is like? It’s very theatrical, dramatic and gets very high. Very Vaudevillian. I was inspired to tackle it after seeing Jessica Lange perform it in American Horror Story Freak Show. I was sitting up in bed the night it aired and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

9. Another song on your album is "Into My Arms." If you could have anything come into your arms right now, what would hope it would be? I’m going to be a bit cheeky with this. If I could have anything I wanted I suppose it would have to be a multimillion dollar record deal. I’m technically an "indie" artist. I wear a lot of sequins, they cost a fortune!

10. Let's end this interview on looking towards the future. I read that you will be working on some new music to be released this year. What can you tell us about this new work? I’ve been very fortunate. The BBC asked me to record a song for a new documentary about how Irish music and musicians have influenced life in Liverpool. There’s an amazing cast of other performers including Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and Chris Hawkins. I’ve also busy writing a lot of new material. I’ve written a new love song called Déjà Vu. I’m very lucky to have a close group of very good friends. Two of them came over to a show I was doing in London. Afterwards we were drinking cocktails in a private members club in Soho. I was watching how they unconsciously checked in on each other. By the time I’d flown home to Dublin I’d written the song. It’s receiving its premiere at my show in the Laurie Beechman. There are also plenty of other new songs dealing with all sorts of topics. You’ll just have to come and listen.

Graham JMore on Graham J:

Graham J. is fast gaining an international reputation as one of the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. Acclaimed for his highly emotional interpretations, outstanding and unique vocals and his eclectic mix of repertoire. His music is being played on stations throughout the UK, USA and Canada. Graham's first album Wild Is received much acclaim with four and five star reviews from magazines such as Maverick Magazine and Blues Matters.

On his debut album Wild Is...Graham explores elements of jazz, blues, classical and alternative contemporary. The avant-garde, almost vaudevillian, presentation underlies themes of evolution and transformation which define the work. The strictures of Graham's extensive operatic career as a rarely found tenore contraltino, though strongly acknowledged, are overthrown by his love of a broader breadth of influences including Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey and Karen Carpenter. A sense of mourning, loss and ultimately resolution permeate Graham's choice of repertoire echoing the work of truly indefinable characters like Rufus Wainright, Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork.

Graham was approached by BBC 6 Music and BBC Merseyside to record his own version of Ian Prowse’s "Does This Train Stop on Merseyside." This recording will feature as part of a new documentary about how Irish Artists have influenced musical life in Liverpool. Graham J’s performance will be featured alongside contributions from major musical artists including Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and Miles Hunt.

2018 will bring exciting new material to be released.



Call Answered: Conference Call: Barry Anderson & Lucia Spina: "WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook" charity album/concert for Housing Works

Lucia Spina, Photo Credit: Maia Rosenfeld PhotographyBarry Anderson, Photo Credit: Albert Lin PhotographyI love the holiday season for so many reasons, but what makes this holiday time extra special is getting to catch up with Broadway's Lucia Spina & meeting composer/lyricist Barry Anderson. She is not only part of Barry Anderson & Mark Petty's new album WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook, but she is directing their release concert as well as participating in it.

All profits from the album & concert will be donated to Housing Works, a local NYC organization supporting those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook concert will be on Monday, December 4 at 7pm & 9:30pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th  & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe). Click here for tickets!

The concert, hosted by MTV & VH1’s Amy Paffrath, features songs from the album sung by many of the original recording artists along with other performers from stage and screen. Scheduled to appear are (in alphabetical order): Christy Faber (Les MiserablesKinky Boots), Katie Goffman (Ghost tour, Wisco Queens webseries), Ellen Harvey (Present LaughterHow To Succeed…), Leah Horowitz (FolliesThoroughly Modern Millie), Natalie Joy Johnson (Legally BlondeKinky Boots), David LaMarr (Jersey Boys tour, La Mirada’s Dreamgirls), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky BootsCharlie & The Chocolate Factory), Jonathan Rayson (Little Shop of HorrorsA Year With Frog & Toad), Brian Charles Rooney (Threepenny OperaBedbugs), Drew Seeley (Another Cinderella StoryThe Little Mermaid), Lucia Spina (Legally BlondeSilence! The Musical), and Allie Trimm (13Bye Bye Birdie).

For more on Barry Anderson visit and follow him & his writing partner, Mark Petty on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

For more on Lucia visit and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. How did you come to work together on this project?

Barry Anderson: It just happened to come up casually in conversation. I had been talking to Lucia about the charity album while I was in the midst of recording it. She was the one who brought up the idea of an album release concert. I honestly hadn't even had time to think that far ahead. I'm so glad she offered to take the reins on it! It's a luxury to have someone as passionate and excited about putting the work in as Lucia has been.

Lucia Spina: One day, Barry & I were hanging out and we were talking about the new album and how it was going. I suggested he do a CD release concert to celebrate the album and let people hear the songs live, and I offered to direct/produce it. And that was that!

2. The album and subsequent concert is called Wish: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook. What is your holiday wish this year?

Barry Anderson: My wish is for this country of ours to begin 2018 with a fresh, clean, LOVING slate. This year has been cray-cray, to say the least.

Lucia Spina: My holiday wish this year is that everyone comes to our shows on Monday 12/4 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre! Other than that, honestly and without any intended cheese-factor, I’d really like for everyone to be kinder to one another.

3. Out of all the charities out there, why did you want this concert to benefit Housing Works?

Barry Anderson: Aside from donating clothes to the location near my home every so often, I hadn't really done anything creatively for Housing Works before. Mark and I have enjoyed writing tunes for various charities and benefit concerts both here and in the U.K. for quite awhile. But we thought it would be fitting to reach out to Housing Works this time around, especially given the organization's focus on homelessness. The holidays seemed like a perfect time for doing it.

4. What do each of you like about the other's artistic vision as it lines up with your own - meaning, Barry what is about Lucia as a singer and director that made you go, I want to not only feature her on our album, but also have her direct this show? Lucia, what is about Barry & Mark's songs that made you want to sing them and help them put on this show?

Barry Anderson: I love Lucia's enthusiasm and ability to see the "down-the-road" big picture. It's been fun watching her brainstorm about casting ideas as well as how to best utilize and showcase the music. She's so well-established in the cabaret scene and Broadway community here she knows what works and what doesn't. She's also one of those singers who can handle just about anything you put in front of her. It's been great to have her record for us. And it's also been really fun to have her in a rehearsal studio and just workshop some of our things.

Lucia Spina: Well…I put them together, so I’m kind of invested in them. Barry & I were on tour with Legally Blonde and he mentioned he wanted someone to write with. I was Skype-ing with Mark and he mentioned he wanted someone to write with. So, I set up a facebook message introduction, and the rest is history. The first song of theirs I sang "Love Will Find Its Way" was featured on their first album You Are Home. I’m not sure if they wrote it specifically for me, but I was the first person to sing it and Barry and I wrote the back-up harmonies together. We’ll be featuring a few tracks from You Are Home in the concert and I’ll be singing "Love Will Find Its Way."

Lucia Spina5. What will excite audiences about this concert & album?

Barry Anderson: I think the quality of the product is what I'm most excited about in terms of the album itself. Cameron Moncur did the album orchestrations and is music directing the concert. He's fantastic. Wait until you hear what he's done with some of these songs! And our engineer Matthias Winter has also made this album completely shine. I'm beyond proud of and humbled by the talented singers and musicians who have given their time and creativity to both the album and the live concert. I really feel like each tune aligns perfectly with the people performing it.

Lucia Spina: Barry and Mark write really great songs and these holiday songs showcase them at the top of their game. I can’t stop listening to the CD. It’s been on repeat all day. The tunes are easy to settle into—they remind you of your favorite Christmas pop tunes but with a fresh, new take. They’re going to become part of your permanent Christmas CD collection. Also, the lineup of singers on the album is fantastic! New York audiences especially will drool over performances by Broadway favorites Sean Allan Krill, Alexa Green, Kyle Taylor Parker, Graham Scott Fleming, Brynn Williams, Allie Trimm, Ellen Harvey, Nic Rouleau, and of course the incomparable Liz Callaway. 

Composer/Lyricist team Mark Petty & Barry Anderson6. Lucia, what can you tell us about the song you will be performing? Barry, can you walk us through your writing process for this song? Did you write it with Lucia in mind?

Barry Anderson: "Love Will Find Its Way" was one of the very first songs I brought to Mark to collaborate with me on. He and I had a lot of fun with the idea of "self-love" and owning who you are. Not caring what other people think. It's not always the easiest thing to do. The vibe and feel of the tune was just kinda fun and hooky and a bit brass-y. Once we had the general song in place, we both knew Lucia could knock it out of the park. Hands down. It's the song she sings on our debut album, You Are Home. It'll be so much fun to have her do it live again!

7. Barry & Mark's debut CD, You Are Home: The Songs of Anderson & Petty came out in 2013 and Lucia, you sang on that album as well. When in your life, have you walked into a project or scenario that made you feel, "You Are Home"?

Lucia Spina: Barry & I have always had a great time collaborating and creating. I adore him as a friend and we have a fun, easy, midwestern rapport. But I also have come to treasure my long-time participation in Phil Geoffrey Bond’s Sondheim Unplugged. I’m in my 7th year of singing all sorts of Sondheim’s songs and I’ve been to so many wonderful artists, many of whom have become dear friends.

8. What's your favorite way to spend the holiday season in NYC?

Barry Anderson: My partner Rusty and I LOVE walking through the Christmas market they set up in Columbus Circle every year. It's charming. It's a bit of a tradition. I'm also a fan of a good holiday house party.

Lucia Spina: I usually return home to Chicago for Christmas, but I spend Thanksgiving with a small group of friends and it’s become a lovely new tradition. I religiously watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The National Dog Show, and hit up the Holiday markets across the city.

9. The holidays are a time when people come together (I mean, people should come together year round, but I digress). What do you think is one way this nation can come together this holiday season and bring that unity into the New Year (aside from impeaching that loser running our country)? 

Barry Anderson: By fearing each other less and by looking into each others' eyes MORE.  #FeelsSoMuchBetterToLove :)

Lucia Spina: I agree with you, I think we should do a lot more "coming together" throughout the year. It shouldn’t be reserved for the holidays. I think as we all gather with our families we should contemplate that this isn’t an insular thing—millions of people all over the world are doing the same thing. At the heart of everything, how can we all be that different? Also, as we treasure being surrounded by those we love, maybe we can think of all the people who aren’t so lucky and how we can extend that joy to others as 2018 rolls in.

Barry AndersonMore on Barry:

Barry Anderson is a native of rural Wisconsin and graduated with a music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He has lived in New York City for over a decade where he’s worked as an accompanist/vocal coach, musical director and Broadway actor. His Broadway credits include Legally Blonde & Jersey Boys.

Lucia Spina, Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia PhotographyMore on Lucia:

Lucia Spina has appeared on Broadway five times, most recently as an original cast member of the Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots. She has also graced regional and Off-Broadway stages originating roles in Winter Wonderettes, Fugitive Songs, as well as SILENCE! The Musical in which she appears on the original cast recording.


Call Answered: Blake McIver: "Blake Sings Barbra" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Blake McIverIf you are a Barbra Streisand fan, this interview won't rain on your parade, except maybe this first paragraph. While I only have two or three Barbra Streisand albums and have only seen Yentl (please don't take my gay card away), I have always been fascinated with what Barbra Streisand is working on. There is something about her that intrigues me, which is one of the reasons I LOVE the fictional play Buyer & Cellar, which I feel goes inside the mind of Barbra Streisand.

When it was brought to my attention that Blake McIver was going to be bringing his acclaimed tribute show, Blake Sings Barbra to The Laurie Beechman Theatre, with her 1994 MSG concert as the backdrop, I couldn't wait to call Blake. I'm thrilled that Blake answered my call allowing me to get to the heart of what makes him LOVE Barbra Streisand so much!

After conducting this interview, Blake's enthusiasm and insight has made me want to dive deeper into the artist that is Barbra Streisand. Blake Sings Barbra will play at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe) for one night only, Friday, July 28 at 7pm! 

Due to popular demand, Blake Sings Barbra will be returning to The Laurie Beechman Theatre on Saturday, August 19 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

Due to popular demand, Blake Sings Barbra will be returning to The Laurie Beechman Theatre on Sunday, October 22 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Blake be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

For more shows from Spin Cycle visit and follow them on Twitter!

Barbra Streisand1. Aside from Barbra Streisand, who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was drawn to singing and dancing as early as I can remember. My parents both have performance backgrounds as do many of their closest friends, so I grew up in an environment where that just seemed like the thing to do; the family business, if you will. Thankfully I had a little bit of natural born ability that I could couple with a lot of hard work and training.

2. When did you become a Barbra Streisand fan? What was it about her that made you go crazy for her? I’ve been a Barbra superfan since the first time I watched Funny Girl at seven years old. I think it really is her innate ability to infuse this electric passion and character into a melody and a lyric that was almost immediately a spiritual experience for me. Obviously I didn’t have that vocabulary to explain to my mom what was going on the first time she walked in on me with a bed sheet around my waist belting "My Man" into the bathroom mirror!

3.This July you are bringing your show Blake Sings Barbra to the Laurie Beechman Theatre. The show is a love letter to "The Greatest Star" using her 1994 comeback concert as a back drop. What was it about that particular concert that touched you so much? I have wanted to do this show for years! I’ve been completely obsessed with Barbra’s 1994 concert since it first aired on HBO. It was one of those things that I would joke about with my friends and then one day I just sat down at my laptop and decided to do it! But what makes this show unique is it isn’t just a recreation of the concert note for note. I take you on a journey through my own life to explain how this particular show came to mean so much to me. It’s part theatre, part concert, part cabaret, part therapy session.

4. When you decided to create this show, did you have any reservations about singing her songs, considering they are so well known? Yes! Hahaha. But the thing is, no one is her but her, and nothing about this show is an impersonation. I definitely tried to approach all the music as if it was brand new. Also, by revealing so much of myself in the stories between the songs, they become like telling new stories through very known material.

Blake McIver, Barbra Streisand5. What was the hardest song of hers to learn and which one was a piece of cake? There are challenges in all of them because I don’t think she’s ever picked an easy song in her entire career! I definitely am the most excited performing the "I’m Still Here/Everybody Says Don’t/Don’t Rain on My Parade" medley. It’s one of my favorite moments of her show and I’ve added my own spin to it and thrown in some references to Full House, The People’s Couch, and yes even being a gogo boy! The biggest challenge interestingly enough is "Not While I’m Around." Barbra dedicated it to her son Jason in ’94 and when I do it in my show it’s dedicated to my parents who have been so vital in every step of my journey. It’s always a struggle to get through it without tears.

6. What have you enjoyed most about your journey from child actor to go-go dancer to singer/songwriter? Well it definitely hasn’t been a boring life or career! I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities I did at such a young age. That has given me the ability to learn and grow and change and evolve within my industry. The most enjoyable part is wearing different hats. Some days my title shifts from actor to songwriter, director to choreographer or music video editor, and the list goes on. And that’s what keeps me on my toes and always trying to learn and grow and get better at each thing.

7. You were on the original Full House as "Michelle's" friend "Derek." What do you remember about your time on the show? What is one story you can share with us? I spent three wonderful years on Full House and even though it’s not salacious or click-baity, the greatest thing was how truly kind everyone was. I did a lot of episodic work on other sitcoms in the 90s and I can say that many of those sets were oppressive environments *cough Home Improvement *cough. I would always feel so happy to go back to my home base set and the wonderful group of people both on and off camera who made that show happen.

Blake McIver, Photo Credit: DNA Magazine8. How did you get involved in the world of go-go dancing? What made you want to be part of it? Well, for me it’s always been about music. The first thing I ever did professionally was win Star Search as Jr. Vocal Champion ’92. Full House, Little Rascals, and all of the other "child actor" things came into my life as a result of that. My parents are both incredibly skilled actors so I was lucky to have great teachers in my own home. I always knew I would return to music. At 19, I started writing and songs began pouring out of me. I wanted to create a concept album based on the stories of my very strange childhood and how I evolved past them. Obviously that’s the last thing a record label wants to hear! So I did it on my own. The trick was, I didn’t have the money to finance it so instead of doing a kickstarter or an indie go go, I became a go-go! It was perfect because I could write and sing all day and then do what I called my "vocal rest/paid cardio" at night. The cash in my underwear literally made my dreams come true, haha! *And please download the fruits of my labor The Time Maniuplator on iTunes (SHAMELESS PLUG)!

9. Like Barbra got Back to Broadway, let's get back to talking about her and you. As a super fan, what is something you know about Barbra that the average person wouldn't? As Rosie O'Donnell learned the hard way when she had Barbra on her talk show, Babs likes to drink champagne with a hint of peach juice. It’s not quite a bellini, and definitely not a mimosa. I just want the opportunity to offer her a drink once so that I can say, "Can I get you a champagne with a splash of fresh peach?" and see her reaction.

10. If you record an album of duets with Barbra herself, what songs would want to sing with her (please keep it to a limit of 10 or less)? So here’s the thing, if that ultimate fantasy were to ever happen I would want to pick all new material. Her recordings are already so iconic, why would anyone dare to mess with them. The only exception is I would want to do a duet version of "Woman in the Moon" from her A Star Is Born. It’s my absolute favorite and I think I could find some interesting harmonies there, haha!

11. As a Barbra Streisand fan, I'm guessing you are aware of the critically acclaimed one-man show Buyer & Cellar, the fictional story about an out-of-work actor who gets a job working in the "mall" in the basement of Barbra Streisand's house. There is a scene in the show where Barbra and "Alex" share a moment together over ice cream. If you could have ice cream with Barbra Streisand, what would you want to talk with her about? Yes, don’t tell her but I did love Buyer & Cellar! I saw Michael Urie’s incredible performance and then my boyfriend (actor Emerson Collins) went on to do two critically acclaimed productions of it, so I’m now very well versed in the world of the basement. And of course, like the character of "Alex" I believe I’m the only other person on the planet who has actually read My Passion For Design cover to cover! If I had the "ice cream" moment I would talk about something really nerdy and specific: vocal placement. What makes her voice so spectacular to me is her ability to bend a note, a vowel, or even a phrase across the plane of her range. I’m completely obsessed and I want to know what goes on in her brain when she makes those iconic choices.

Mary Lane Haskell and Blake McIver12. What have you learned about yourself from Barbra Streisand? Never settle. If it’s not right, then figure out a way to get it right. Also, put the work first, above all, and don’t worry what anyone is saying about you. If you’re proud of your work, it will speak for itself.

13. For me, I went and saved the best for last. Your director: Mary Lane Haskell! I am a big fan of hers, so I'm beyond thrilled to see that she is directing this show. What made you want to work with her? What is a common interest or love about Barbra Streisand that you both share that you didn't know prior to working with her? Mary Lane is like a sister to me. We grew up together in LA and our families have been extremely close since before we were born. We watched the 1994 concert together countless times over the years (on both VHS & Laser Disk, you’re welcome) and she is equally obsessed with it. And beyond just the personal and historical connection I have such a deep respect for her as an artist. She’s got an incredible and unique perspective and she was able to bring things out of me in this process that I never dreamed would end up in the show. It’s truly one of my favorite collaborations ever. I could have never done this without her amazing vision.

Blake McIverMore on Blake:

Blake McIver has been performing since the age of six when he won Star Search as Junior Vocalist Champion and he has been working as a professional singer, actor and entertainer ever since in film, television and theatre. His film work began with a breakout performance as "Waldo" in The Little Rascals. In television, he starred as a series regular for three seasons as "Derek" on Full House opposite Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and went on to guest star on The Drew Carey Show, Clueless, Home Improvement, and The Nanny. Blake played "Edgar" in the US Premiere of the musical Ragtime and was the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for his performance. Other theatre highlights include "Freddie" in Chess, "Fabrizio" in The Light In The Piazza, "Radames" in AIDA and "Link" in Hairspray. Blake has also worked extensively in voiceover and animation including Tarzan, The Little Mermaid II, Anastasia, Recess, and as the beloved "Eugene" on Hey Arnold. Blake has also worked extensively as session vocalist, backup singer and featured soloist for recording artists such as Michael Jackson, David Foster, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins and Barry Manilow. Blake is currently starring in BRAVO’s hit series The People’s Couch. He also released a solo album entitled The Time Manipulator.