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I am so excited to announce my new partnership with NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival)! "Call Me Adam" will be providing NYMFerviews (exclusive interviews with some of the cast and creatives from the various productions in this year's NYMF festival).

  

 

Entries in Off-Broadway (2)

Thursday
Jul092015

Call Answered: NYMFerview: 210 Amlent Avenue: Robin Skye & Steven Hauck

Steven HauckRobin SkyeIn my latest NYMFerview, "Call Me Adam" chats with Robin Skye & Steven Hauck about starring in 210 Amlent Avenue, written by Becky Golderg with music/lyrics by Karl Hinze, which will be making it's premiere in NYMF 2015 from July 9-14 at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre (480 West 42nd Street)! Click here for tickets!

In 210 Amlent Avenue, guests are gathering at the old Jordan estate in the Hamptons for Fourth of July Festivities with their host, "Mrs. Jordan," a retired actress. But one unexpected guest, "Judah," a young poet, will soon ignite a firestorm of events. In his search for the truth, he will unearth long-kept secrets that will lead to unexpected consequences. This compelling new musical is inspired by the stylish storytelling of Ibsen, Chekov, and O’Neill.

For more on 210 Amlent Avenue be sure to visit http://nymf.org/festival/2015-events/210-amlent-avenue and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and at http://www.210amlentavenue.com!

For more on NYMF be sure to visit http://nymf.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. You both are starring in 210 Amlent Avenue which is being presented at the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) from July 9-14. What made you want to be part of this production? 

Robin Skye: It was the role. An opportunity to really sink my teeth in to a character with so many layers, with so much at stake.

Steven Hauck: I worked with Karl, our composer/lyricist, on another NYMF show, CROSSING SWORDS, which is one of my favorite theater experiences ever. I knew he was a musical genius and the score for the show would be amazing. I worked with Sami, our director, on a web series that was also a lot of fun. She has just the right balance of toughness and gentleness to be a good director. Plus I was attracted to the subject matter. We have such a love/hate relationship with the wealthy and privileged in this country. We resent them, yet we want to be them. The Hamptons appear to be a paradise peopled by those who have everything. But that's an illusion. That dichotomy is part of the dramatic tension of the show.

2. What do you identify most with about your characters?

Robin Skye: How incredibly fallible we are as human beings.

Steven Hauck: "Murphy" steers clear of the drama and enjoys life in the moment. He approaches everything with humor, enthusiasm and love. I wish I could say that I do that all the time; life is too short to let yourself get pulled down by guilt and fear.

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing 210 Amlent Avenue?

Robin Skye: Hopefully an entertaining evening at the theatre. 

Steven Hauck: The show combines the pulpy suspense of a soap opera with a more nuanced exploration of family dynamics. I hope that audiences will be entertained by the "bad behavior" of the characters and also think about the consequences of living with secrets and lies.

4. If you had to give people one reason as to why they should come see 210 Amlent Avenue, what would that reason be?

Robin Skye: To see, support, the work of new, young, writers, and watch this great cast I have the pleasure to work with.

Steven Hauck: You will be transported into a vivid world that is both idyllic and sinister.

5. 210 Amlent Avenue is about the search for truth and unearthing long kept secrets. When was there a time in your life you searched for the truth? In that search what did you find? 

Robin Skye: Well hopefully I will never stop searching for the truth. I find that I still discover something new every day.

Steven Hauck: My father is a Presbyterian minister. Both he and my mom were students at Princeton Theological Seminary when they met. The Presbyterian church is relatively progressive, but when I started to search for my own spiritual truth, I found another path. For the past 25 years I’ve attended Unity of New York, a "spiritual center for creative living." Unity emphasizes a personal, loving relationship with God, with none of the guilt and shame that even the most well-meaning religions seem to foster.

6. Continuing with this theme, What is a long-kept secret you revealed and in revealing that secret, what were some unexpected events that occurred?

Robin Skye: Haha. That's a secret.

Steven Hauck: The experience that leaps to mind is coming out as gay. The late 70's weren't a particularly open time for such things, at least not in Texas where I grew up. There were unexpected events of both acceptance and rejection. All these years and political gains later, I still have to remind myself that being openly gay doesn't mean I’m making myself a target.

Robin Skye rehearsing for "210 Amlent Avenue"7. What excites you about being part of NYMF? 

Robin Skye: Being a part of a community that supports new work.

Steven Hauck: I've done two previous NYMF shows, THE HAPPY EMBALMER in 2009 and CROSSING SWORDS in 2013 (for which I won an Outstanding Individual Performance award, which was quite exciting). The festival atmosphere reminds me of the One-Act Play contest my high school participated in. Not only were we trying to put on the best show possible, we were trying to "win," as a production and as actors. The aspect of competition gives the whole experience an extra shot of adrenalin. Plus it's always a thrill to originate a role.

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

Robin Skye: Follow your gut. 

Steven Hauck: Put yourself first. When you empathize or serve, make sure you’ve taken care of yourself and are doing so from a place of wholeness.

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

Robin Skye: Teleportation. 

Steven Hauck: It's gotta be flying. I used to dream about that all the time, though not so much lately.

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it?

Robin Skye: Hmmm, not being my area of expertise, I think I'd need to consult a bartender on this one.

Steven Hauck: I have one. It's called a "Dead Ringer" and has red wine and Fresca. The name comes from a terrible/wonderful Bette Davis movie in which she plays twin sisters. The poor twin kills the rich twin and takes her place, only to be convicted of a murder that the rich sister committed. When you're not yourself, you can't win.

Robin SkyeMore on Robin:

Broadway and National Tours: Parade, Les Miserables (3 companies), Sunset Boulevard, Cyrano-The Musical, The Tony’s, Broadway the Big Band Years (CamiI). Off-Broadway: Southern Comfort, The Butter and Egg Man, Joe’s Pub (NYMF Shows) - Tim and Scrooge, The Piper, To Paint the Earth. Regional - Williamstown, The Eugene O’Neil, Goodspeed, Barrinton Stage, Hartford Stage, Pennsylvania Center Stage. Film - Ithica (Meg Ryan Dir.) Beautiful Creatures, Freedom Writers, Living Out Loud (Richard Lagravenese Dir.), Split Ends (Dorothy Lyman Dir.) co-wrote the song "With You" with Randy Redd for the film Postman Pat. TV - The Divide, The Wire, The Tony’s, Third Watch, In Living Color, Life Goes On, The National Anthem at Wrigley Field, several Soap’s. Robin’s album House of Love is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Steven HauckMore on Steven:

Steven Hauck has appeared on Broadway in The Velocity of Autumn and Irena's Vow. Off-Broadway credits include One Arm (Moises Kaufman/New Group), The Screwtape Letters (Westside Theater), The Young Playwrights Festival (Cherry Lane), Crossing Swords (Outstanding Performance Award/NYMF) and King Lear with Paul Sorvino. Regional favorites are "Sherlock Holmes" in The Adventure of the Suicide Club (Cincinnati Playhouse), "Louis deRougemont" in Shipwrecked! (Penguin Rep), "Juror #8" in Twelve Angry Men (Engeman Theater), "Marc" in Art (Geva Theater), and "de Guiche" in Cyrano (Milwaukee Rep). Steven toured to Paris, Berlin and Vienna in Phantom of the Opera. He has featured roles in the films Oldboy and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (both directed by Spike Lee), The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and What Happens Next (opposite Wendie Malick). TV includes Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Elementary,The Good Wife, The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, and 30 Rock

Friday
May152015

Call Answered: NYMFerview: Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet Claudio Quest NYMF 2015

Drew FornarolaMarshall PailetIn my next NYMFerview, "Call Me Adam" chats with writer, composer, and lyricists Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet about their new show Claudio Quest which will be directed by Tony and Emmy nominee John Tartaglia. Claudio Quest makes it's premiere this summer in NYMF from July 7-14! Click here for tickets!

Claudio Quest is a new musical comedy that follows a very super hero, his less super little brother, and one butt-kicking princess, as the three embark on a mission to overcome killer eggplants, a love-starved platypus, and their own 8-bit existential crisis. 

For more on Claudio Quest be sure to visit http://nymf.org/festival/2015-events/claudio-quest!

For more on NYMF be sure to visit http://nymf.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. This summer, your show Claudio Quest is being featured in NYMF. This show is a new musical comedy that follows a very super hero, his less super little brother, and one butt-kicking princess, as the three embark on a mission to overcome killer eggplants, a love-starved platypus, and their own 8-bit existential crisis. What made you want to write Claudio Quest?

Drew Fornarola: The genesis was NYMF-related, actually! My first musical, College The Musical, was produced at NYMF years ago, and board member Charlie Fink saw it. Charlie took me to breakfast after the festival and said "I loved your show and want to commission your next project. What do you want to do?”  And I said "I’ve got this idea for a show that’s sort of like Avenue Q meets 80s video games" and Charlie said "I can’t quite picture it, but I trust you," which is honestly just about the greatest thing a producer can ever say to a writer. And thanks to Charlie’s generosity, Claudio Quest was conceived over lukewarm hash browns and coffee on Madison Avenue. 

Marshall Pailet: Drew then called me up, I was still a senior in college, and he said I’ve got this opportunity and I’d love to write it with you. He pitched me on the idea and I said "Yeah! And they’ll all have existential angst!"

Drew Fornarola: And I said "it’s a comedy."

Marshall Pailet: And I said "Yeah! And then we’ll kill off some of our leading characters!"

Drew Fornarola: It's a comedy.

Marshall Pailet: Yeah.

2. How did you come to work together? What has been the best part about this collaboration?

Marshall Pailet: We balance each other well. I’m a morning person, Drew’s a night person. I’m structure, and Drew’s tone. I’m groove and Drew’s melody. I’m handsome, and Drew’s –

Drew Fornarola: Smart?

Marshall Pailet: Yup.

3. What made you want to apply Claudio Quest to NYMF? What does this festival offer you that another one might not?

Drew Fornarola: I have a long relationship with NYMF having done two productions and been involved in numerous concerts here over the years. When this opportunity presented itself, and the team that we’ve built around the show wanted to help us do it, it was a no-brainer for us.

Marshall Pailet: It’s a great honor to be selected and we’re thrilled to be included this year! The community of artists that NYMF assembles and the energy and enthusiasm they have for new work is second to none.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Claudio Quest?

Marshall Pailet: At the premiere of this piece in Washington DC, we were actually reviewed by a videogame magazine, which said "it’s really good, even if you didn’t grow up with a controller in your hand," and I think that’s really what it’s all about. Sure, the piece is (hopefully) really funny, and it evokes a nostalgia for a certain place and time, but it’s also a great, universal love story.

Drew Fornarola: Maybe they’ll leave with a song or two stuck in their head, too!

John Tartaglia5. Directing this show is none other than Emmy and Tony nominee John Tartaglia. Why did you want John to direct this show? How does his vision for the show line up with yours?

Marshall Pailet: Tartiggles is a perfect fit for our show. I’m sure he likes it when I call him Tartiggles.

Drew Fornarola: He definitely doesn’t.

Marshall Pailet: He’s a friend of ours, and since the show is tonally in a similar world to Avenue Q we naturally thought of him as an actor for it. He came and did a table read and really responded to the material, and we thought "man, if we’re really lucky, maybe he might direct it." We shyly asked if he might be interested, and somehow he actually said yes.

Drew Fornarola: Acting, directing, puppets…it’s really not fair that he’s so good at everything.

6. Who or what inspired you to become writers/lyricists?

Drew Fornarola: I decided in the back right corner of the balcony at the Majestic Theater when I was ten years old that I wanted to write musicals. It was the end of Act 1 when the "Phantom" is up in the angel crying because he realizes "Christine" really loves "Raoul." I took four years off to study politics at Princeton, but other than that I’ve really never deviated from this path.

Marshall Pailet: Writing began as something I did as a child with my dad, who is a noted lyricist in his own right. I also came from a performing background as a child. This has been in my blood for as long as I can remember.

Drew Fornarola7. What's the best advice you've ever received?

Drew Fornarola: My dad, teaching me to catch a football when I was about three: "watch it all the way into your hands, squeeze it with your fingers, and then pull it in." I didn’t drop many passes in childhood, and I try not to let too many opportunities slip through my fingers as an adult.

Marhsall Pailet: Be the hardest worker you know.

8. What have you learned about yourselves from being writers/lyricists?

Marshall Pailet: I’ve learned how hard this form really is. Everything has to gel absolutely perfectly for the musical to be a success. It’s a really unforgiving task. That said, when it all comes together properly, there’s nothing quite like it.

Drew Fornarola: Redbull and Cheez its have become important parts of my life.

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

Marshall Pailet: The ability to get my dog to stop trying to kill Drew when he comes to my apartment.

Drew Fornarola: The ability to give Marshall the ability to do that.

Marshall Pailet10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it?

Drew Fornarola: I have one! I wrote a song called "alcoholeluia" for a show, and at a production in Gainesville, FL the theater’s bartender created a drink with that name. It had a little of everything in it, was served in a pint glass, and was a strange blue color. They eventually had to stop selling them because patrons kept throwing up at intermission.

Marshall Pailet: I had a show called Triassic Parq and we had a drink called the T-Rex 1. It was better than Drew’s show’s drink.

Drew Fornarola: But my drink is bigger.

Marshall Pailet: Yeah.

More on Drew:

Drew Fornarola is a songwriter and playwright from New York. He holds a B.A. from Princeton, a J.D. from The Fordham University School of Law, and is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. He is currently developing both a new stage musical and an animated movie for DreamWorks. Theater: Molly Shannon’s Tilly The Trickster (Atlantic Theatre Company, collaboration with SNL's Molly Shannon, pub. Theatrical Rights Worldwide); Thucydides (Winner Samuel French Play Festival, pub. Samuel French); COLLEGE The Musical (NYMF Award for Excellence, pub Dramatic Publishing Co.); Claudio Quest: A Videogame Musical (Best Musical, DC Fringe, optioned by DreamWorks); and 2 musicals for children. NYMF Award for Excellence in Lyrics, John Wallowitch Award for Songwriting, Finalist for the 2014 Kleban Award and 2009 Richard Rodgers Award, four-time MAC Award nominee. Drew’s new play, STRAIGHT, is under option by Tony Award-winning producer Andy Sandberg, and highlights from his musical TIANANMEN premiered in a March 2014 concert at 54 Below starring Telly Leung and Ruthie Ann Miles. In 2013 Drew provided string arrangements for #1 charting Japanese hip hop band CREAM. http://www.drewfornarola.com

More on Marshall:

As Composer/Bookwriter: Triassic Parq (Off Broadway, Soho Playhouse; Chance Theater, Ovation Award - Best Musical; Best Musical NY Fringe); Loch Ness (World Premiere, Chance Theater); Shrek the Halls (In Development with Dreamworks Theatricals); Veggie Tales: Noah's ArkWho's Your Baghdaddy, or How I Started the Iraq War (Best Musical DC Fringe '11; Osborn Award Nominee); Super Claudio Bros. (Best Musical DR Fringe '10); The Chocolate Tree (NAMT, Houston Stages); Where It's At, The Darq Knight; Upcoming projects in development with Dreamworks Theatricals/Animation, Big Idea, RKO, and the New Musical Foundation. As Director: Triassic Parq (Ovation Nomination - Best Director); Loch NessEudaemonia; Who's Your Baghdaddy; Super Claudio Bros.; Uncle Pirate; Stuck; The 49 Project; Thursday; With Kings in the Back; The 70 Scene of Halloween; Bat Boy; Escape Artists; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Resident Playwright Chance Theater, Graduate of Yale University. http://www.marshallpailet.com