Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

    

I have become a staff writer for StageLight Magazine, a new theatrical magazine covering the best of Broadway and Off-Broadway!

Visit http://www.stagelightmagazine.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and pick up your copy at the TKTS Booth in Duffy Square.

Entries in "Call Me Adam" (5)

Thursday
Jun062013

Kristine Nielsen: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Interview

Kristine Nielsen as "Sonia" in Broadway's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"Kristine Nielsen is a genius comedic actress who's a 2013 Tony Award nominee for "Best Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role of a Play for Broadway's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. 

Written by Christopher Durang and starring alongside Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Billy Magnussen, Shalita Grant, Liesel Allen Yeager, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays at the Golden Theatre in NYC (252 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and at http://www.vanyasoniamashaspike.com!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Marlon Brando. I fell in love with him in MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. I created a dream house with him and his children and almost got kicked out of junior high because he was so scandalous. 

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Peter Sellers (the actor). I don't think that will happen.

Cast of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"3. What initially made you want to audition for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike? Luckily, I didn't have to audition because Chris Durang and Nicky Martin (the director) and I have worked together many times.

4. What has been the best part about working with this cast? The laughs and the generosity.

David Hyde Pierce and Kristine Nielsen in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"5. What do you identify most with about "Sonia"? She's always hopeful though convinced she will always get the short end of the stick. And her vulnerability.

6. What is your favorite moment in the show? Putting on sequins and a tiara.

7. What does it mean to you to be nominated for a Tony Award? I'm so happy and so honored.

8. What have you learned about yourself from being an actress? To quote the actor, Robert Prosky: "It has been said that an actor must have the hide of a rhinoceros, the courage and audacity of a lion, and most importantly, the fragile vulnerability of an egg." I think that's very true.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Do the role. Wherever it takes you.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To be a healer and cure cancer.

More on Kirstine:

Kristine's theatrical credits include Lincoln Center Theatre's Ubu and Christopher Durang's Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Drama League, Outer Critics Circle noms.); Miss Witherspoon; Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle noms.); and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge. On Broadway Kristine has lit up the stage in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, To Be or Not to Be, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Spring Awakening, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Green Bird, Jackie, and The Iceman Cometh. Kristine's Off-Broadway credits include Crazy MaryOur Leading Lady, and Dog Opera (Obie Award). Regional audience have been seduced by Kristine in numerous productions at the Old Globe, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Guthrie, Huntington Theatre, Long Wharf, McCarter, Alley Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, La Jolla Playhouse. Film audiences have seen Kristine in Morning Glory, That’s What She Said, The Savages, Adelaide, and Small Time Crooks. On television, Kristine has been in Political Animals, Smash, Law & Order, Law & Order: CI, and Third Watch. Kristine holds an M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama; B.S., Northwestern.

Monday
Feb252013

Marty Thomas: The DIVA Interview

Marty Thomas and the DIVAS (from left to right: Marissa Rosen, Alexa Green, and Kelly King, Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas GarciaMarty Thomas is best known for his roles in Broadway's The Secret Garden, Xanadu, and Wicked. He is the creator of Marty Thomas Presents DIVA which takes place every Monday night at 11pm at Industry Bar in NYC (with no cover charge). The cast of Marty Thomas Presents DIVA will release their debut album, DIVA on March 4. They will perform live that evening at New World Stages. Click here for tickets!

For more on Marty and the DIVAS visit www.martythomaspresentsdiva.com and follow them on Facebook  and Twitter!

1. You are known for your theatrical roles in Secret Garden, Xanadu, and Wicked, just to name a few. For almost two years now, you have been producing, musically arranging, promoting, and hosting the weekly cabaret-style show Marty Thomas Presents DIVA at Industry Bar in NYC's Hell's Kitchen. What made you want to start this show? What has been the best part about the success of Marty Thomas Presents DIVA? I've always had a mild obsession with great divas from Aretha to
Whitney, and Ella to Mariah. I am also a huge champion for talent. I wanted to bridge the gap between nightlife and theater so I assembled some of my very favorite voices to perform together. We found a great venue and time slot and DIVA was born! We've been performing at Industry Bar for 2 years now. The best part about our success is that we are beginning to venture out into other venues.

Marty Thomas and the DIVAS (from left to right: Kelly King, Alexa Green, and Marissa Rosen)2. Marty Thomas Presents DIVA features Kelly King, Marissa Rosen, and Alexa Green along with a guest act from the Broadway stage, recording or dance industry. How did you decide that you wanted Kelly, Marissa, and Alexa  to be your regular singers? How do you pick who will be the special guest? We started the show with Kelly, Kat Hennessey (Wicked) and Anne Fraser Thomas (How the Grinch Stole Christmas). Anne and Kat left the city for exciting gigs, leaving a space for Marissa and Alexa. The girls are all unique and bring their own flare to the show. Kelly is a pop recording artist, she's toured with Michael Bolton and Babyface. She covers the Celine and Whitney power ballads. Alexa played "Galinda" in Wicked and covers the divas of theater and opera. Marissa starred in the Off-Broadway production of My Big Gay Italian Wedding; she covers the classic soulful divas like Etta, Ella and Bette.

The special guest is such a fun part of the show. I started with an extensive wish list of tremendous women that I both wanted to feature and work with. I also find interesting and unique talents at open mic nights, referrals, in the subway, church, I'm always on the hunt! We've recently started a series
called our "diva discovery." Occasionally we'll feature an up and coming artist who isn't yet established but is truly remarkable. It's exciting and the audience loves it!

3. Now you and the girls have recorded your debut album together entitled DIVA. What does this moment mean to you? Will any guest stars appear on the album? This is our moment on our own in the
spotlight, no guest artists on the record. However, we are excited to work with producer Jamey Ray to record some of our greatest hits from the weekly DIVA series for our fans. We are grateful the show has developed quite a following! The album comes out in March and we'll be celebrating with a one night only concert with a full orchestra at New World Stages on March 4. Ticket and special guest information to be announced shortly!

4. What has been the biggest on stage mishap during Marty Thomas Presents DIVA? We've been fortunate (knock on wood) to not have any MAJOR mishaps, but once I preset the wrong costume for Marissa in a quick change, and she hit the stage in a tiny fringe dress, barely covered. She's a pro [laughs]. Once, several cast members from RuPaul's drag race charged the stage while Eden Espinosa and Shoshana Bean were performing "Proud Mary." I guess they couldn't help themselves; they needed to be in on the diva fun!

5. Where do you want to take Marty Thomas Presents DIVA to? We have plans to perform with pops orchestras and symphonies around the world. We want to play cruise ships, cabarets and concert venues EVERYWHERE. We have a lot of exciting performances scheduled for 2013. Follow our website www.martythomaspresentsdiva.com for live dates.

6. Aside from Marty Thomas Presents DIVA, what other projects do you have coming up that you can talk about? Marissa and I do a fun show every Friday night at New World Stages in the lounge, Kelly performs there with Marti Cummings on Saturday nights. Kelly can also be seen Thursday nights at XES lounge. Along with the DIVA album release, we filmed our first music video in February and we'll be performing all summer in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware at the Blue Moon. We are so excited about this new year!

7. You had a guest starring role during the first season of CBS' 2 Broke Girls in the episode entitled "And The Disappearing Bed." What did it mean to you to guest star on the hit comedy show? When I was asked to create the character of "Damon" on 2 Broke Girls it was a new show, and I loved the script. It was exciting to see the show fleshed out and see how my character fit into the storyline. I'm looking forward to more appearances from "Damon" in the new season!

8. What is something most people don't know about you? I grew up on a farm in Missouri, and I'm rather handy. Farm boys are resourceful. Also, I went to business school [laughs].

9. What was the first concert you ever attended? What music are you listening to these days? My first concerts were all church based. My church was filled with music. I grew up loving country, disco and
gospel. Broadway seeped into my veins rather young too! These days I'm listening to new music from my pals Tituss Burgess, Shoshana Bean, Daniel Kirkley, Cara Samantha Scherker, Eden Espinosa, Telly Leung,
Billy Porter, The Midtown Men....I'm surrounded by incredible talent. #blessed

10. What was the one job you took to make ends meet that you wish you didn't take? Human disco ball at a Bar Mitzvah. Excruciating.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Who influenced you growing up and who influences you now? Growing up, we had two radio stations, country and disco. I loved Donna Summer, Patti Labelle, and Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood. Two of my biggest
early inspirations that continue to educate me are Billy Porter and Jennifer Holliday.

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Netflix and working out at Mark Fisher Fitness. #obsessed

13. Favorite place to hang out in NYC? Industry Bar on Monday nights with the divas!

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Proabably super speed. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Maybe that would help?

Monday
Jan212013

Max von Essen: Evita and Beyond

Photo Credit: Nathan JohnsonWith his golden vocals, great acting, and mesmerizing stage presence, Max von Essen is a performer to go see. From theatre to film to television, Max has put his stamp in almost every medium. On Broadway, Max has lit up the stage in Les Misérables (revival and closing company of original), Dance of the Vampires, and Jesus Christ Superstar. He has delighted Off-Broadway audiences in Death Takes a HolidayHello Again (Drama League Nom), Finian’s Rainbow, and The Jerry Springer Opera (Carnegie Hall), while displaying his talent on tour with Xanadu and Chicago. Max has appeared on screen in such films and television series as Gossip Girl, The Beautiful LifeSex and the City 2, and numerous commercials. His glorious vocals can be heard on numerous records including Finian’s RainbowDeath Takes a HolidayLove Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Broadway Musicals of 1928.

Max is currently turning heads as "Magaldi" and at select performances, Max steps into the role "Che," usually played by Ricky Martin in the Broadway revival of Evita at The Marriott Marquis Theatre (1535 Broadway, between 45th & 46th Street) in NYC until January 26, when Evita will play its final performance. Click here for tickets to Evita and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Max be sure to visit http://maxvonessen.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Evita is closing January 26. What have you enjoyed most about starring in the show and working with this very talented cast? Well, needless to say, it is a gift to actually work in this business, let alone have the honor of being in a new Broadway production. However, the absolute best part is coming to work and being with this cast and crew. Absolutely the coolest group I've ever worked with, and I just love being around them. It's not always the case, trust me. Sometimes you just want to go to work, do your job, and leave. Not the case at Evita!

Max von Essen as "Magaldi" in the Broadway revival of "Evita", Photo Credit: Richard Termine2. You played "Magaldi" and understudied "Che," played by Ricky Martin. Midway through the run, it was announced you would be playing the role of "Che" on select nights. What did it mean to you to have this opportunity? It's been a thrill and a huge challenge. I haven't understudied in ages and it definitely worked my brain and my energy in a new way. To be ready to go on at a moment's notice has been stressful, but a great experience. Keeping all that material in my head, and keeping my voice and body ready has been difficult, but playing this iconic role is the reward. I knew early on I'd be going on, since Ricky had some vacations planned, but I had no idea I'd perform it as much as I have.

3. What did you like best about playing each role? Well, I love playing "Magaldi" because he's mine, you know? I was cast in the role, I had the luxury of developing the character for six weeks with the actors and creative team before introducing it to an audience, and I feel a sense of ownership in the role. Plus, I adore that he's a singer, and I could not only develop his performance characteristics, but his personal side as well. The role of "Che," I love, because it's just so massive. He nearly never leaves the stage, and the role asks so much of me as an actor and even more as a singer. The range is tremendous and the amount of endurance needed is like nothing I've experienced in a role I've played on Broadway.

4. What projects you are working on that you can tell us about? Haha, nothing. I'm mostly just looking forward to some time off. But don't worry, I'll be around and performing, as I'm already lining up some small projects. You'll hear about them.

Ricky Martin and Max von Essen #SIP - October 20, 20125. What has been your biggest onstage mishap? Oh gosh, a few months ago, I was in the middle of the long scene with "Eva" and her family, after I've just sung "On This Night" and I was feeling really great about things. Very into it, and no reason to think I wasn't spot on. Well, 1/2 way through a later verse in the scene, I realized that I was actually on the wrong verse. It felt like some sort of odd dream, because I was singing and emoting and feeling good, and I start to realize that no one else on stage was moving to where they normally move to, and 1/2 way through the verse, I realized I was no longer lined up with the orchestra. It was like an out of body experience. However, I had no idea how to recover. I just continued with conviction and relied on Elena to get me back on track when it was her turn to sing. Then I had to repeat the entire verse again because I was approaching the moment in the scene where it actually belonged, lol. I just sang it again, but this time with more emotion and different inflection, as if it was just so important I had to sing it again. Oh man, it was odd. Took me a few days to shake it off and not second-guess myself every time I arrived at that same verse.

Max von Essen #SIP - September 22, 20126. What is something most people don't know about you? That I was an Economics major in college and I nearly chickened out of ever giving show business a shot. I'd probably be working on Wall Street and be rich, but I doubt I'd be this happy.

7. What was the first concert you attended? What music are you listening to now? I've actually never been asked that question and I love it because I really had to think. The first concert I ever recall seeing was when I was in 2nd grade or something like that and my parents took me to Radio City Music Hall to see, okay wait for it...LIBERACE!!!! Yes, can you even believe it? First of all, yes, I'm that old. And second, it was like the coolest thing ever. I thought, who is this crazy man wearing fur coats and playing the crap out of the piano? It was amazing, actually. When I got home, my family couldn't tear me away from the piano. I practiced like a crazy person after that. I also started wearing my mom's fur coat more often, but what can you do. Nowadays, I listen to everything, but mostly vintage recordings of great vocalists like Rosemary Clooney, Lena Horne, Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, etc....

Photo Credit: Nathan Johnson8. What was the one job you took to make ends meet that you wish you didn't take? Oh, I've been lucky, I've never really had to do anything other than perform. Although when I was in high school, I was a busboy. I worked with a few of my best friends, and one night we all had tickets to see Cats. Well, my friends were able to find other guys to take their shifts, but I wasn't able to. So we agreed that I would be the one who called in sick. Well, the restaurant manager found out I wasn't sick, and instead went to see Cats, and fired me. He said he couldn't have liars working for him. Hah. I don't regret my decision.

Saturday
Dec152012

The Midtown Men Interview

The Midtown Men (left-right): Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer, Michael Longoria, Christian HoffFormed in 2007, The Midtown Men reunites the four stars from the Original Cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys, Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer. Following their storied run on Broadway – where these four magnetic artists shared the stage for over a thousand performances and appeared on The Today Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve and The U.S. Open – they have been selling out venues coast to coast, bringing to life their favorite "Sixties Hits" from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown, The Four Seasons and more, while living the dream they once portrayed on the stage. The Midtown Men is the next chapter for these accomplished entertainers, making them the first vocal group ever formed by the principal cast of a high-profile Broadway show.

Christian Hoff is thrilled to reunite with his fellow stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys as The Midtown Men. He won a Tony Award for his performance as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys, as well as Drama Desk Award, Drama League Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. He was named "The Master of Mimicry" by Entertainment Weekly. His voice-over accomplishments have earned him notable success including Foreword Magazine’s 2008 Audio Book of The Year, when his voicing of over 200 characters surpassed the audio book world record. As the voice of "Richie Rich" in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, his voice-over career was launched and continues today with numerous audio books, television and radio campaigns. Theatrical highlights include the roles of "Frank-n-Furter" in the Los Angeles production of The Rocky Horror Show, "King Herod" in the national revival tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, "Governor Hugh Dorsey" in the Los Angeles revival of Parade, "George M. Cohan" in George M!, "Will Rogers" in The Will Rogers Follies, "Huck" in Big River, and his Broadway debut in the Tony Award and Grammy Award winning The Who’s Tommy. He recorded Grammy Award Winning Cast Albums for both Jersey Boys and The Who’s Tommy with famed Beatles producer George Martin. On television, Christian most recently guest starred on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, appeared as "D.A. Richard Blackman" on ABC’s Ugly Betty, as well as federal prosecutor "Thomas Grady" on NBC’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Other notable film and television credits include roles in Encino Man, Star Trek IV, Honor Thy Mother, In Love and War, ER, JAG, Party of Five, Millennium, The Commish, Beverly Hills 90210, and the recurring role of "Marty" on All My Children. His independent film debut, Bad Dog and Superhero, was an official selection at the Brilliant Lights Film Fest, Los Angeles, winner of the Best Director Award at the Calgary Fringe Film Festival, as well as a best screenplay nomination and winner of the Stand Up For The Stand Out Award at Hell’s Half Mile Film Festival, all in 2007. Christian sings and performs the entire original film score written by Mark Hart of Crowded House, Ringo Starr and Supertramp fame. He has enjoyed solo performances in New York City’s Cutting Room, Triad Theater, Joe’s Pub, Metropolitan Room, BB Kings, Town Hall and repeat solo turns at Carnegie Hall. Christian is a proud husband and a father of five. For more on Christian visit http://christianhoff.com.

Michael Longoria is proud to be joining his co-stars from the original cast of Jersey Boys as The Midtown Men. Michael is best known for his star turn on Broadway as "Frankie Valli" in the Tony Award Winning musical Jersey Boys. Hollywood born and Broadway bound, Longoria trained at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, then traveled to the east coast to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned himself a BFA in Drama. Michael made his Broadway debut in the smash hit musical Hairspray (2003 Tony award for Best Musical), later creating the role of Joey in the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys” (2006 Tony award for Best Musical) before taking over the role of "Frankie Valli" and taking his career to new heights beginning with performing solo for hundreds of thousands of fans in Times Square for Broadway On Broadway. He went on to numerous performances on television, including Broadway Under The Stars: A Tribute To Harold Prince, The US Open and the America’s Got Talent, season nine finale with Susan Boyle and Shakira. His journey recently led him back to Atlantic City with feature performance in That’s Life! with Joe Piscopo at Caesar’s. Other theatrical credits include "Peter Pan" in Peter Pan & Wendy at the Prince Music Theater, for which he earned a Barrymore Award nomination for Best Actor in a musical, "Chino" in West Side Story at the Walnut Street Theatre, "Mark" in A Chorus Line at Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center, and "Chuck" in Avenue X at the Abe Burrows Theater. In Europe, he performed the role of "Paul" in the German Tour of A Chorus Line, and "Baby John" in West Side Story at the famed Teatro alla Scala-Milan. As a singer-songwriter, Michael has shared his one of a kind talent at such venues as New York City’s CB’s Gallery, Cutting Room, Joe’s Pub, The Knitting Factory, and Caroline’s on Broadway. For more on Michael be sure to visit http://michaellongoria.com.

Daniel Reichard is honored to join forces once again with Broadway’s original cast of Jersey Boys as The Midtown Men. Daniel, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for his portrayal of chief songwriter and original Four Seasons member "Bob Gaudio" in the box-office smash Jersey Boys, a role he originated both on Broadway and in the La Jolla Playhouse premiere. He followed Jersey Boys with a critically acclaimed performance as "Candide" in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide at the New York City Opera. Daniel made his New York City debut after graduating with a BFA from the University of Michigan with the original cast in the world-famous Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration. His signature style and enormous talent paved the way to starring roles in New York City and beyond, including his triumphant portrayal of artist and social activist "Keith Haring" in Radiant Baby at Joe Papp’s Public Theater, "Man" in The Thing About Men, whose cast album he also appears on, and "Emmet" in the world premiere of the musical version of Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas at the Goodspeed Opera House. As a concert singer, Daniel has had sold-out engagements at New York City’s Joe’s Pub, Metropolitan Room and Ars Nova. Other concert appearances include Symphony Space, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, BB Kings, Town Hall, Firebird and the Cutting Room, as well as appearances with the Arkansas and Grand Rapids Symphonies. He can be seen as "Frankie" in the 2009 film version of the international hit musical comedy Forever Plaid. For more on Daniel check out http://danielreichard.com.

J. Robert Spencer is excited to return to making music with The Midtown Men, which reunites four stars from the original cast of Jersey Boys. He is a Tony Award Nominated Actor, Independent Film Director, Producer, and Writer. In 2004, he was cast and originated the role of "Nick Massi" in the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical Jersey Boys. In 2008 J. Robert was cast and originated the role of "Dan Goodman" in the critically acclaimed Broadway production of Next To Normal, for which he was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, and nominated for a 2008 – 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. As a voiceover artist, he has performed the lead voices for two Japanese animated features: Nightmare Campus and the critically acclaimed, award winning Grave of the Fireflies. In 2004, J. Robert appeared as a psychopathic killer named "Bob" in the independent feature film Night of the Dog. The role earned him a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the Smmash Film Festival, and the film won Audience Awards for best feature film at Palm Beach, Santa Barbara, SMMASH and PBIFF. In 2005, J. Robert began his Independent Film Company, 7 Spencer Productions, for which he produced, wrote, starred and directed his first independent feature comedy titled Farm Girl In New York. The film was featured on The Today Show with Ann Curry and Al Roker, and was the official selection of the Sacramento International Film Festival (Nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actress,) Big Apple Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, and the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, and is being distributed by Maverick Entertainment. He just completed his second independent feature film titled Heterosexuals, for which he is listed as executive producer/producer/actor. He is also executive producer with Wood Media Films on an environmental documentary titled On Coal River, which has been the official selection of Silverdocs, Camden, Hamptons, Chesapeake and New Orleans Film Festivals. J. Robert can be seen and heard in CD/DVD through Sony Masterworks with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in the PBS performances of Handel’s Messiah Rocks, in which he was nominated for a 2010 Midwest Emmy Award for Best On Camera Performance by a Leading Actor. J. Robert is the 2009 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Shenandoah University. For more on J. Robert Spencer check out http://www.jrobertspencer.com.

The Midtown Men are currently touring the country through 2013! Click here to find out when they will be in a city near you. Also be sure to pick up their album "Sixties Hits" and their new holiday single "All Alone On Christmas."

For more on the The Midtown Men follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and at http://themidtownmen.com! 

1. Who or what inspired you to become performers? 

J. Robert Spencer: Steve Martin and Johnny Carson were actually a big influence on me as far as comedians and as entertainers. I wanted to do what they were doing. Making people laugh and have a good time. Now I get to do that along with my other love, which is 60's Rock And Roll.

Christian Hoff: I remember being kinda shy but having a great imagination and loved to pretend and loved music. I also loved being physical. I loved sports and riding my bike and running around and singing and dancing. When I got onstage for the first time and found that I could have all those things and be a storyteller too...I was hooked. I started pursuing every opportunity I could find to just do it. A reluctant but unwavering ham.

Michael Longoria: My mom sang in a band when I was growing up, so it started there watching those late night rehearsals. After that, Ritchie Valenz. The first song I ever sang for a public audience was "Oh Donna."

Daniel Reichard: My first (and truest) idol that inspired me to do what I do (the way that I like to do it) was Steve Martin. I loved movies like The Jerk and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Most especially, I would watch his appearances on Saturday Night Live, and his television specials. His work as a comic actor, especially in the 70s and 80s, was exceptional...He was dashing but the joke was always on him.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? 

J. Robert Spencer: I would love to do a play one day with Jeff Daniels.

Christian Hoff: Christopher Nolan as a director would be a great opportunity to couple a real life perspective with larger than life circumstances. Something I have always been drawn to as a person and an actor.

Michael Longoria: Stephen Sondheim...I've always been a huge fan of his work. Stephen, write me a song will ya???

Daniel Reichard: I love great directors...I've worked with a few--George C. Wolfe, Des McAnuff, among others. I would love to work with Susan Stroman and Graziella Danielle, among others.

3. You all starred in "Jersey Boys" together on Broadway, which I was fortunate enough to see. Looking back, what was the best part about starring together in this show? 

J. Robert Spencer: Being able to say that we are a part of history by being one of the Original Stars, forevermore, in one of the biggest hits of all time!

Christian Hoff: The experience of having a character tailored to you was incomparable. Your essence and timing and inflection stamped forever in a script as brilliant as it is raw, like Marshall Brickman and Rick Elices. Having your performance shape a legendary production and then be recognized for your contribution, unforgettable and glorious. We all like to be liked and seek to be somehow indispensable in our lives and work. Now the molds they made with us are allowing other actors to explore themselves in our shoes, much like I did filling the shoes of the one and only Tommy DeVito.

Michael Longoria: Knowing that the four of us had each other at every moment. I never felt lost on the journey of the play cause the connection was so raw and real.

Daniel Reichard: Oh wow, there is so much to think about here. We were very lucky to grow together and discover both good and bad realities of show business in the center of this huge Broadway success. I did JERSEY BOYS for two years and three months, and it felt like we were the toast of the town the entire time. With that success came sacrifices and rewards, and we got to experience all of those things together.

The Midtown Men (left-right): Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, J. Robert Spencer, and Daniel Reichard3a. What made you want to continue on as The Midtown Men? 

J. Robert Spencer: Being our own bosses, and running things our way!

Christian Hoff: A sublime addiction to the power of mixing dynamic personalities, sound and storytelling like we learned to do together led me back to the guys and our ability to do what we love most, entertain and share something great with each other and our audiences. The entertainers' life, lived out to the fullest.

Michael Longoria: We continued getting requests to sing together and it felt good to keep the magic we created together in Jersey Boys going, especially with our debut album as The Midtown Men. We wanted to show what our sound could do on songs recorded by the other pop groups that sang in the same era as the group we portrayed on stage.

Daniel Reichard: Now it's very similar with The Midtown Men; we are going on the rocket ride together all over again. We spend time away from our friends and family, we meet incredible fans, we do exciting shows, and we are STILL learning so much.

3b. How has your relationship strengthened over the years? 

J. Robert Spencer: On Broadway you have separate dressing rooms to hide in IF you're annoyed at one of your cast mates. When you're side by side on the road as much as we are, you can't hide and if you are having an issue with anyone on the team, you have to Man up, speak your mind, and try to do it as respectfully as sensitively as you can. Honesty is the only key to success and a stress free environment and we've all been really good at balancing that...and it's made us stronger.

Christian Hoff: Our relationship has strengthened in love and commitment. It's sort of like a family business whose success and sacrifice refines the bond and raises the stakes.

Michael Longoria: I think we know each other very well. We share hundreds of stages across America and every audience that come to see us sing leave knowing our friendship. That comes from being stuck on a 5 hr road trip to the next city!

Daniel Reichard: Our relationship strengthens every week...We thought we knew each other THEN, but boy do we know each other now. We have a brotherhood, and with all we have been through together, it is a sacred connection between us.

4. You've recently released your debut album as "The Midtown Men" called "Sixties Hits." What excites you about this release? 

J. Robert Spencer: That we did it our way all the way!

Christian Hoff: The music from our live show that made the album was distilled down through politics and passion. We wanted to capture the love and respect we have for one another and this incredible decade of music and give people a way to take the excitement and energy home with them.

Michael Longoria: That people get to hear us sing outside the box of being a character. In Jersey Boys I let Frankie Valli's recordings and his video taped performances influence how I used my voice to portray his life and music...with the album I get to sing these songs how I would approach them. We get to reinvent them a little and spread it to groups like the Mamas and Papas.

Daniel Reichard: Well, this album really reflects our first year and a half on the road.  It is a time capsule for this period of our lives. We had just enough time to record some of the highlights of our show in the midst of a busy touring schedule. Most importantly, we funded, produced, distributed, and conceived this album ourselves. We love how we show what "The Midtown Men Sound" is...I always say, it's great driving, treadmill, and making dinner music.

4b. What is it about this time in music that made you want to keep on singing it? 

J. Robert Spencer: Because this era of music is universal and timeless.

Christian Hoff: No other decade of music has captured machismo and vulnerability like the Sixties did. It is dream to bring it to live every time we step up to the mic.

Michael Longoria: The men at that time really knew how to bare their souls on a song. I learn a lot from listening to those recordings, many of them done on a few takes.

Daniel Reichard: These songs truly speak to the romantic spirit of people, and we intend to energize and uplift people when we sing for them. The album is meant to reflect that intention.

The Midtown Men Live5. What do you enjoy most about traveling the country on tour? 

J. Robert Spencer: I love seeing America. I love meeting the people. I love playing these historic venues.

Christian Hoff: I enjoy the people. 

Michael Longoria: Dominos Pizza!

Daniel Reichard: We have played big cities, small towns, and everything in between. It's been fascinating to get a comprehensive tour of our country. We have played cities I would never have imagined visiting --Galveston, TX, Lafayette, LA, Cedar Rapids, IA and dozens and dozens of other cities and towns. I have loved gaining a broader perspective of the country. We are a little sheltered, a little "inside a bubble" in NYC, and it's been refreshing. The fact that we get unanimous ovations at the end of our shows no matter where we are tells me are still in the game. We sign every autograph and take every picture after every show--It sometimes takes over an hour, but it is worth it. It is our way of thanking our audiences.

5a. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending your concerts? 

J. Robert Spencer: A big smile.

Christian Hoff: A shared experience that is unforgettable and unique.

Michael Longoria: Joy, memories, and a soar throat!

Daniel Reichard: We are giving it our all, and our audiences give us their energy back.

The Midtown Men in their Houston Symphony Orchestra Debut6. This past summer you made your symphonic debut with the Houston Symphony. What did this occasion mean to you? 

J. Robert Spencer: To originally start as 4 guys around a piano...to 4 guys with an 85 piece orchestra backing them?!? We were SO thrilled! Top of the world!

Christian Hoff: It was like wearing a new suit, with a vintage tie.

Michael Longoria: Huge accomplishment as performers, singers, entrepreneurs, and best friends.

Daniel Reichard: The Houston Symphony was PHENOMENAL. What a milestone for us. We were blown away by Jones Hall, and the 85 talented musicians that backed us onstage. It was surreal but it felt right. The response was exciting and sincere. We have symphony performances ahead of us in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Omaha.

The Midtown Men on "Good Morning America"7. You also made an appearance on Good Morning America this summer. What did you enjoy most about that?

 J. Robert Spencer: Showing off The Midtown Men to millions of viewers! Also, the energy, excitement, and love for what we do and what we have accomplished as artists!

Christian Hoff: We reached 4.5 million new fans in an hour and had a blast just doing our thing.

Michael Longoria: Getting introduced to the nation as the Midtown Men.

Daniel Reichard: Again, Good Morning America was a milestone. It was great being on the Today Show when we were in JERSEY BOYS, but this felt so much more gratifying because the four of us, with our incredible team, got us to this occasion. We were on a ton that morning, and it was a great adventure.

 

8. What have you learned about yourselves from being performers? 

J. Robert Spencer: That being a performer is where I am most comfortable.

Christian Hoff: Humility and pride are both necessary. You must be strong willed and teachable at the same time. 

Michael Longoria: How to maintain the gift in the hardest of circumstances and the coldest and driest of climates. The show must always go on.

Daniel Reichard: You learn that our friendships are like our performances. You have to give effort and you have to learn to receive thanks. You have to be quiet and still sometimes, and other times you have to take the lead. You have to respect your audience and you have to respect your colleagues.

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

J. Robert Spencer: Whiskey and beer never fear...beer and whiskey now that's risky!

Christian Hoff: Be yourself.

Michael Longoria: Don't push. And don't tank up on air...thanks Joan Lader ;)

Daniel Reichard: See this opportunity through!

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? 

J. Robert Spencer: It would be wonderful to dream and visit with my great, great, great, great, grandfather and grandmother.

Christian Hoff: God.

Michael Longoria: My honey boo boo child.

Daniel Reichard: It would probably be Call Me, Adam :-) 

The Midtown Men (left-right): Daniel Reichard, Christian Hoff, J. Robert Spencer, Michael LongoriaBONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? 

J. Robert Spencer: With my family.

Christian Hoff: Watching the kids play outside, my wife and I watching and sharing a drink and something good to eat.

Michael Longoria: Rosa Mexicano.

Daniel Reichard: I love walking my French Bulldog, Boscoe, through my neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, stopping into shops, and drinking iced lattes.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? 

J. Robert Spencer: Stretching on yoga ball.

Christian Hoff: Crossfit.

Michael Longoria: Not going to Rosa Mexicano :)

Daniel Reichard: You gotta mix it up. I love lifting weights, doing sprints on the treadmill or bike, and when I'm really strong, I swim laps.

13. Boxers or Briefs? 

J. Robert Spencer: Hugo Boss Briefs!

Christian Hoff: Calvin Klein Boxer-Briefs.

Michael Longoria: It depends on how hot the party after the show is ;)

Daniel Reichard: Briefs. There's no choice. That's the way it needs to be.

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

J. Robert Spencer: To FLY!

Christian Hoff: Healing Factor like Wolverine or Jesus.

Michael Longoria: Flying.

Daniel Reichard: To fly, because I'm getting so sick of sitting on planes.

 

Tuesday
Nov272012

Recipes Of The Stars

We asked some of our favorite Broadway personalities to share their best recipes with us.

Jenn Gambatese's Corn Souffle

Corn Souffle aka Corn! Corn!! Corn!!!

(one recipe for 8-10)

 

 

Grease casserole dish (8 c. size=2 qt.) with Crisco, bottom and sides

1 egg, beat with fork, then add

1 can cream style corn, mix, add

1 can regular corn, drained, mix, add          

(x 2 of everything for large group)

1 pt. sour cream, mix, add

3/4 stick melted butter, mix, add

1 Box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, mix

Pour mixture in casserole dish, bake 350 for 1hr.

James Barbour's Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

Note: This isn't a fat-free recipe, though it does have less fat than other recipes of its kind.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, cooked (I used a pressure cooker) and peeled

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup unbleached white flour

3/4 cups chopped pecans

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray (or wipe with canola oil).

Mash the sweet potatoes with the margarine until smooth. Add the soy creamer, orange juice, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined. Spread or sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until hot throughout.

 Ann Harada's "Aunty Bessie's Custard Pie"

In Hawaii, where I'm from, custard pie is a staple food, more common than apple pie! This is based on a recipe from the best baker in our family.

 

 

 

Aunty Bessie's Custard Pie

Crust: 

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. butter

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 tsp saltice water

Cut the butter and shortening into the flour and salt until mixture is pebbly and fine. Add the ice water in tablespoons and stir until it makes a ball. Roll out between two pieces of wax paper and transfer crust into 10 inch pie tin. Refrigerate until needed.

Custard filling:

2 and 3/4 c. whole milk

6 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 t. vanilla

nutmeg

Scald milk. Beat together eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour scalded milk into mixture, stirring constantly (or eggs will cook!) Pour custard into unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350F and bake for 15-20 minutes. Test custard with knife blade, custard is set when knife comes out clean. 

"Serve warm or chilled."

Karen Mason's Satan Bars

CHOCOLATE PEANUT-BUTTER BAR (aka SATAN BARS!)

Recipe from KAREN MASON by way of her Mom, Marion Mason

(This is one of my favorite desserts my Mom made! I couldn’t stop eating these bars, so I nicknamed them Satan Bars……which stuck! They are evil!!! And soooo delicious!) 

 

Ingredients:

BARS:

3/4 cup butter or margarine

1-1/2 cup sugar3 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1-1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

3 tbl. Baking cocoa

4 cups miniature marshmallows

TOPPING #1

1-1/3 cups chocolate chips3 tbl butter or margarine1 cup peanut butter

TOPPING #2

1-1/3 cups chocolate chips

3 tbl butter or margarine

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups crisp rice cereal

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs & vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Spread in a greased jellyroll pan & bake @ 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Spread Marshmallows evenly over cake, and return to oven for 2-3 minutes. Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake. Cool.

For Topping #1, combine chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted and well-blended. Spread over cooled bars.

For Topping #2, proceed as above, only add rice cereal to melted ingredients. Spread over Topping #1. Chill.

Once chilled, you can cut the cake into about 36 delicious bars!

Gavin Creel's Oreo Surprise

ONE package oreos

ONE cup butter

ONE cup powdered sugar

ONE 8 oz cream cheese

TWO 8 oz cool whip

TWO boxes instant chocolate puddings

TWO and 2/3 Cup cold milk

Press 2 rows of oreos (crushed) onto the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Melt butter and pour over the cookies.

Place in fridge while you prepare the following:

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in 8 oz of cool whip.  

Make the pudding (both boxes) using only 2 2/3 cup milk total. 

Layer the cream cheese mixture on top of the Oreo crust, then later the pudding on top of that.

Finally,  spread the rest of the cool whip on the top and garnish with the remaining row of oreos.

Eat, smile, die of a heart attack. 

Mary Bond Davis' Jalapeno Corn Bread

In Los Angeles, the corn meal and grits we buy on the West Coast is Alber's. The foundation for my recipe is based on the corn breadrecipe from the side of the Alber's corn meal box.

 

 

 

 

Jalapeño Corn Bread

1 cup corn meal1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder (use Rumford - it has no aluminum!)

2 eggs

1 can Green Giant Mexicorn

1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups for cheese-eating freaks! (CEF))

1/8 to 1/4 cup of pickled, sliced-in-a-jar, jalapeño peppers (according to taste. I like it spicy!)

1 cup milk

1/4 cup corn oil

Preheat your oven to 400°. Put the first five ingredients into a bowl. Drain the Mexicorn, put it in the batter. Chop the pickled, sliced-in-a-jar, jalapeño peppers and add them to the batter. You can even put a couple of tablespoons of the liquid from the brine of the peppers into the batter. Shred the cheese. Add 1 cup (1 1/2 cups for CEF) of cheese to the batter along with the milk, eggs and oil.  Stir it up and throw it into a greased pan. I use corn oil in a cast iron skillet because it gives the bread a nice flavor. Put the remaining half cup of cheese on top of the corn bread batter. Bake for at least one hour or until it's as firm as you want it to be. I’ve made this recipe with whole wheat flour, blue corn meal; experiment. Try it this way first and then start riffing! Serves eight or more depending upon how you slice it. Use this corn bread for your stuffing! ENJOY!

Scott Nevins: Bobchi's Deviled Eggs

Growing up in Queens NY, the biggest night of the year for my family was Christmas Eve. My Bobchi (Polish for Grandmother) would plan for months to get everything ready for this big night. My Grandparent's home in Woodside would be packed to the walls with family, friends, food, drinks, laughter and even a visit from Santa Clause himself! Being a child who was slightly on the heavier side (ahem) I of course couldn't wait for all of the delicious food she had prepared! For me though, one dish stood out from all of the rest: Bobchi's deviled eggs. For years I would race my brother Ryan and cousin Nicole into the house to devour these yummy little treats (I always won THAT race!).

 By the time I was almost a teenager, Bobchi, noticing my love of these deviled eggs said "do you want me to teach you how to make them?". I didn't know why, but even at that young age, I felt that this was an important moment, like the passing down of a family ritual. For weeks I would boil dozens upon dozens of eggs trying to perfect her simple recipe (the problem was: it's more about eyeballing every measurement and going by taste buds, not numbers). I finally started to get it right and began making them when we would have holidays at our own house. I even added my own signature touch on how to prepare them (see below). They were no match for Bobchi's deviled eggs of course, but why worry, we'd always have her perfect ones on Christmas eve. Well, shortly after Christmas Eve that year, Bobchi became very ill. She was checked into a hospital, diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away just days later.

Bobchi had a huge impact on my life, the way that all Grandmother's do, which obviously reached much further than just a deviled egg recipe, but by teaching me this recipe just in time, she kind of passed the torch, and It was now my turn to take the lead. I still feel a real sense of tradition and pride each time I have to make these eggs for a Holiday or a party, and I think of her each and every time I make them. So, I guess in a way, I am passing the torch once again as I share this recipe with you. Just do me a favor: think of her (and me) when you make them, and even more so, when you enjoy them with your family and friends. Happy Holidays!

Bobchi's Deviled Egg Recipe

- Boil and de-shell 1 dozen eggs.

- cut each egg in half and remove the yoke, placing it in a bowl

- clean out the remaining egg white areas of left over yoke and wash them gently.

- Mix (about) 3 table-spoons of mayonnaise into the egg yokes and stir until you get a nice smooth consistency with no "lumps" of dried yoke.

- for extra flavor, add some dry mustard  (you can also use the sandwich kind) to your desired taste. Don't add too much before tasting. Some people sprinkle it on top after the eggs are done, I personally like it mixed in instead.

- Now for my signature touch: Once the mix is complete and you have the taste you desire, pour it into a sandwich baggy and seal it. Take a scissor and cut off one of the corners of the bag (only a small piece). This will create your own version of a "pipping bag" like cake decorators use. This will make your process simpler and cleaner, with stylish results!

- Squeeze the bag gently from one end and fill the empty egg-white in a small circulate motion. 

- Once all of the eggs are filled, you can either place them out for eating or If you need to store them, a great trick is to gently place toothpicks in the eggs that are in all corners of your platter, and one in the center. Then lay a piece of cellophane or cling wrap over. This will allow you to store the eggs properly without damaging the design.

Scott Nevins is producing and hosting SPARKLE: AN-ALL STAR HOLIDAY CONCERT as a benefit for The Actors fund on Monday, Dec 17th in NYC with Harvey Fierstein, Lorna Luft, Norm Lewis and a slew of Broadway's best. Get your tickets at www.XLCabaret.com

Marty Thomas: Sweet Stuff Chili. Serve it only to the best people in your life this holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Halston: Best Butter Cookies Ever


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan Maxwell: Butter-braised Asparagus and Oyster Mushrooms with Peas and Tarragon

I never look forward to Thanksgiving dinner. I always say, "Oh goody, Thanksgiving. We get to have beige food." And I'm a vegetarian, so...not much for me to eat. We found this recipe in the NYTimes a few years ago and tried it out. Now it's a regular at Thanksgiving. My fave, because I can eat it, it's delicious and most importantly -- it's not beige. We usually double or triple this recipe because there's usually a crap-load of ingrates at the table.

It's hard to mess this one up. But if you do, do what I do and just throw yourself on the kitchen floor howling, "Why me?...Why me?!!" repeatedly until someone you've invited with culinary talent comes in and takes over. Then you can grab a drink and relax with the rest of the guests. 

Niki Scalera: Scalloped Corn Casserole