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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 Off-Broadway (4)

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.

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

Monday
Sep102012

2012 Broadway on Broadway Coverage for StageLight Magazine

I was very fortunate to do StageLight Magazine's press coverage of Broadway on Broadway 2012. From pics with Perez Hilton and "Once" Tony Award winner Steve Kazee and a host of other Broadway favorites to interviews with two-time Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello and "Spiderman's" Reeve Carney to a performance by the cast of Kathie Lee Gifford's new musical "Scandalous," StageLight Magazine covered it all! Check it all out below...and be sure to follow StageLight Magazine on Facebook and Twitter!

Adam Rothenberg and Reeve Carney ("Spiderman" on Broadway)Adam Rothenberg and Andrew Keenan-Bolger (currently in "Newsies" on Broadway)Steve Kazee (Tony Award winner for "Once" on Broadway) and Adam Rothenberg

Adam Rothenberg and Perez Hilton (Gossip Columinist and currently starring in "NEWSical the Musical")

Cast of Broadway's "Once" performing "Falling Slowly" From Broadway's "Annie," Katie Finneran ("Miss Hannigan") and Anthony Warlow ("Daddy Warbucks") Legendary Chita Rivera accepting the Spotlight on Broadway award

 

Broadway's "Bring It On" performs "It's All Happening" Carolee Carmello and the cast of "Scandalous" performing "For Such a Time as This" Cast of "Motown" with founder of Motown Berry Gordy. Kathie Lee Gifford hosting Broadway on Broadway 2012Hoda Kotb makes special appearance at Broadway on Broadway 2012Carolee Carmello and the cast of Broadway's "Scandalous"