Thursday, October 11, 2018

NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY



Today marks the annual observance of National Coming out Day.  As I have become a more "seasoned" citizen of the planet, I can say that I have seen many things come and go.  I think about what was happening  in the LGBT world before April 17, 1993, and since.  That was the day that I decided to not lie about it.  I was not going to pretend that a huge part of my life did not exist because it made OTHER people feel comfortable. I can make light of that easily today, but I remember how many tears that I shed that night in Seattle some 25 years ago.  Getting on that plane back to Texas, I remembered how hard it was to tell people whose love and concern that I thought that I would lose.  The anticipation of being ready to handle rejection from  people I expect and the ones I did not expect, can be heartbreaking.  It certainly does prepare you for any career in show business.

I must say that coming out on stage was the right thing to do for me, too,  because it truly did open up the rest of my life.  I was able to find a career where being gay was ok. Actually, it was mandatory as the first OUT, African-American, gay man, to be on air talent at Sirius XM for 10 years.  At a time when every voice is important, I could have never predicted that MY voice would have been heard all over the country, much less many major places in the world, thanks to the beauty of the internet. If someone would have told me that the bravery to stand in my own truth would have opened the world to me, then I would have never believed them.

 For those people that are still struggling to own themselves, or those worried about how their environments will receive them, or better yet, to those that the loss of family and friends will change everything as they know it, Coming Out is never going to be easy. However, hiding in the closet is exhausting and soul killing.  Once you have your own sense of independence, like living on your own, making your own money and friends, then you are already there, and coming out will only make your independence stronger.  Believe me.

Please enjoy my conversation with Shawn Hollenbach on his CLOSET CASES Podcast here:




Also, listen to my entire unedited Closet Cases Set:








Sunday, October 7, 2018

October's Roof Raising at Feinstein's 54 Below

                                                                            The Fall season is in full swing at Feinstein's 54 Below and some of Broadway's biggest names will be delivering some really great, personal, and fun shows. Make some plans to visit and catch some of the highlights of the month.


2018 TONY© and DRAMA DESK© Award winner, Lindsey Mendez, returns to Feinstein's 54 Below to turn it out and up with her AMAZING voice.  I have been a fan of Lindsey since the moment I saw her in DOGFIGHT.  She showed how amazing her range is in Carousel.   She is truly a one of a kind performer that has broken a few more barriers by just being a talented person, who happens to be Latina!!!!! 
2x Tony Award/ 4x Drama Desk Award Nominee, and one of my personal divas, Kate Baldwin, is returning to Feinstein's 54 Below with a new act entitled HOW DID YOU GET MY NUMBER? I will admit that I have major love and adoration for Ms Baldwin and here talent, but after you spend anytime with her, you will love her like I do. Please enjoy my conversation with the AMAZING Kate Baldwin.


Singer, Actress, Writer, Tony Award© Nominee, Melissa Errico, returns to the cabaret stage, to promote her latest project SONDHEIM SUBLIME.  She is putting her love and spin on tunes written by one our greatest lyricist/Composer, Stephen Sondheim. Enjoy my conversation with the ab fab, Melissa Errico.


Singing the unheard songs of the late Jonathan Larson at Feinstein's 54 Below is the brainchild of Producer/Creator/Booker/Theater Historian, Jennifer Ashley Tepper. She has cleverly gathered some of Broadway's brightest and most talented crew,( Krysta Rodriguez, Lauren Marcus, George Salazar, Andy Mientus, and Nick Blaemire) to bring those treasures to life. Listen to my conversations with not only that amazing cast, as well as, their intrepid producer/creator/booker/theater historian.

 


Click HERE for more information about these and other shows at Feinstein's 54 Below.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Celebrated Press Agent, Susan L. Schulman, Takes Us Backstage to Dish

Celebrated press agent and author, Susan L. Schulman, drops by the studio to sit and gab with me about the updated edition of her memoir BACKSTAGE PASS TO BROADWAY. We talk about the actual job and its nuances as a press agent.  We talk about some of the AMAZING people she has or had a great relationships with her like Lauren Bacall and George C. Scott, as well as her long time friendship with recent Emmy© Award Winning actor, Henry Winkle  She also tells me some of the updates to the book, including a #METOO moment and how she dealt with it.  It is always fun to just sit and dish with Susan, Please enjoy my conversation with this wonderful woman. 






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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sven Ratzke Returns to NYC in BOWIE UNRAVELED

International Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Cabaret Divo, Sven Ratzke, returns to NYC and Joe's Pub to take us further into his love and reverence for David Bowie, in a new unplugged show, BOWIE UNRAVELED. He sits and catches up with me about life, career, and more since our last chat.   Please enjoy my conversation with Sven.




Saturday, September 29, 2018

Coming Out Comedically Helps It Get Better

From L to R- Me, Michael Brill, David Hodorowski, Brandi Rowell, Kelsey Bailey, and Host/Creator of CLOSET CASES, Shawn Hollenbach  (PHOTO CREDIT- WILLIAM MULLIN)

Recently, I got a chance as a comedian to talk about my coming out experience in a great show called CLOSET CASES.  It was at the historic Stonewall Inn, where it all went down for the modern Gay movement.  As I remember the more ridiculous moments of my life, it does offer the question. "how did I not know?"  In any case, please enjoy a few of my more "questionable" moments.

The Power of Goldie Hawn


West Side Story was a game changer.  Getting to meet the EGOT Winner and Latina Mami, Rita Moreno, was EVERYTHING.

                                        

No one will deny the power of Wonder Woman when you are trying to figure out who you really are to become.  No one can prepare you for meeting Lynda Carter.  You Just go with it.  
 
Thank you Shawn Hollenbach and all of the fabulous folks of Closet Cases for a good time.  Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast with Shawn, too.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Getting the HOLY GHOSTS with Theatre East's Judson Jones and Tom Green.

A theater conversation that begins with notable Austin, Texas food favorites may seem a weird way to introduce a revival of Romulus Linney's HOLY GHOSTS, but somehow, I manage to make it happen with Theatre East's Artistic Director, Judson Jones, along with fellow actor Tom Green. These Artistic Texas transplants sit and chat with me about the show, their transplanted lives, and much more. Enjoy my conversation with these fantastic men. 

If you happen to be in Austin, then you have to got to either Hyde Park Bar and Grill , El Mercado or Kerbey Lane Cafe. Please do it for me.  I miss them so much. LOL.



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Drama Desk Award Winning Actor CHESNEY SNOW Returns to Dixon Place to express himself in UNWRITTEN LAW

Having had the opportunity to meet Drama Desk Award Winning actor, Chesney Snow,  during his run of IN TRANSIT and maintaining a connection to his artistry, have been an absolute honor and pleasure.  At that time,  Mr. Snow began the process of bringing his autobiographical choreopoem, UNWRITTEN LAW, to life at Dixon Place.  Since that time, Chesney has been performing, teaching, and writing all over the world. 

He took some time last year to retool his work, and since that time, he has been able to consult with Tony Award Winning Actor/Director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and now he is back with a special run this upcoming September..  It is so cool to be at the beginning of watching new works and artists develop.  Please click HERE enjoy my most recent conversation with the amazing Chesney Snow and here's a promotional moment for the show below.




Courtesy of ChesneySnow.com


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Friday, August 24, 2018

Coming to NYC in September?

One of the coolest things that many Broadway performers love to do in New York City, if their schedules permit, or inspiration occurs, is a Cabaret show.  It really is a great opportunity for many of these artists to perform songs from shows they've always wanted to sing, or be themselves in a song versus under the critical eye of some director or producer.  The experience of being in a gorgeous intimate space versus a gorgeous theater is hard to choose, but when some of your favorite theater performers are in these places, like Feinstein's 54 Below, this is your chance to see them in a new light.

Recently, I sat down with a host of FABULOUS women, all of whom have varied stage and screen credits along with amazing accolades, and all are giving September fever with all of their plans of hot performances.  If you happen to be coming to New York City next month, and you have not finalized all of your entertainment choices, then perhaps you might be enticed to see one of your favorite performers doing what they darn well please!!!

Please enjoy my conversation with these amazing women.  

Sally Wilfert & Rebecca Luker
Jana Robbins & Haley Swindal
Ann Hampton Callaway


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Brandon Williams: Broadway's Newest Bad Boy

It is official that the Broadway Theater Season has begun.  Head Over Heels, Pretty Woman, and Getting The Band Back Together, are the musicals kicking off the summer.  I recently had a chance to sit with Brandon Williams from Getting the Band Back Together.  He makes his Broadway debut playing the show's Bad Boy.   20+ years as a stand up comedian and actor shine through as he brings forth the perfect blend of comic timing, talent, and dare I say brawn?  Come to Broadway and see this funny man, and if you cannot, then do yourself a favor and watch his really funny web series, STAY AT HOME DAD.  In the meantime, Click the Pic below and enjoy my conversation with one of Broadway's burning hunk of bad boy goodness.

Broadway's Latest Bad Boy, GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER's, Brandon Williams


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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Max Von Essen Stays Busy

Max Von Essen, courtesy of MaxVonEssen.com 
I just recently sat down for a chat with another one of my favorite people working on Broadway, Tony© and Grammy© Award Nominee, Max Von Essen.   We talk about his his two upcoming concerts, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and Birdland NYC, as well as his life and career.  I met Max during my tenure at Sirius XM, when he received his Tony© Award Nomination for his amazing performance in An American in Paris, and not only have I have been a fan, but he's proven to be a kind soul and friend to me.  While preparing for his upcoming personal performances, he is currently amazing audiences eight shows a week in the blockbuster hit, ANASTASIA I have been wanting to have Max on my podcast for quite some time, and the stars finally aligned. His gratitude about being able to just perform is easily one of the most fabulous attributes of this fantastically talented man.  Click HERE and enjoy my conversation with the totally dreamy and super talented, Max Von Essen.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Off Broadway Has Great Choices While You Wait on Broadway

As the summer starts to sizzle, there is always anticipation about what shows are coming this season to the Great White Way.  GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER and PRETTY WOMAN are both on deck.  I will admit that I cannot wait to see what they will have to offer, but I must remind you, especially if you are a fan of musical theater, that Off Broadway will also aim to please.  I had the chance to talk to some of the cast and creatives of 2 shows, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE and DESPERATE MEASURES (2018 Drama Desk Award Winner for Best Music and Lyrics).  In my opinion, the common thread that these shows have, is the joy that these talented artists bring to these amazing projects.

Please enjoy my conversation with Conor Ryan and Lauren Molina of Desperate Measures.

Click the pic. 
  Enjoy the fabulous cast and creatives of 2018 Off Broadway Revival of Smokey Joe's Cafe:
Click the pic.



 


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Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Few Moments with the Tony Nominees

I had the chance to meet a few of this year's Tony Award Nominees at a few places around town before the the big night.  Enjoy some of these mini moments with some of the stages absolute best people working in theater.  Congratulations to all of this year's nominees, past nominees, and a special thank you to the those who took some time to chat with me.

Lindsay Mendez


Ethan Slater

Glenda Jackson

Nathan Lane


Ariana Debose & Storm Lever 
Kenita Miller from Once on This Island


Orfeh and Andy Karl, Pretty Woman
Drama Desk Winner, Jenn Colella, and Jason Tam




Monday, May 28, 2018

LIZ MIKEL & KIERSEY CLEMONS Are Bringing A Fresh, New Energy to Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY

Actresses, Liz Mikel (Lysistrata Jones) and Kiersey Clemons (Hearts Beat Loud, Transparent) stop by my studio to talk about their upcoming run in the New York Premiere of Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY, being presented by Abingdon Theatre Company as their final production of its 25th Anniversary season.   These women talk to me about getting involved with the project, the obvious conversation about women of color in these roles. and so much more.  Please enjoy my chat with these FABULOUS women. 

Liz Mikel and Kiersey Clemons


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waiting for Denzel

For the past 3 years, I have been able to cover the New Dramatists Luncheon, and each time, I am amazed at the people that I get to meet when doing a red carpet. It's nice to see some new faces and a dream to see the familiar ones.  This year's honoree is 2x Academy Award winning/ Tony Award winning and current nominee for his performance in Eugene O'Neill's THE ICEMAN COMETH, Denzel Washington.  Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to talk to him, but I did meet some fabulous folks.  Among some of those guests: 4x Tony Award Nominee, Condola Rashad, Tony Award winning director, Kenny Leon, 2x Academy Award winning/ 5x Tony Award Nominee, Glenda Jackson, Tony Award winner and current nominee, La Chanze, to name a few.  So take a few minutes, CLICK THE PIC,  and enjoy some of my shenanigans and fun chat with some of today's biggest names on the Great White Way.


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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thank You 3x Tony/Drama Desk Nominee, Joshua Henry, For Answering My Question

I was excited to ask one question that has been on my mind about the 11x Tony Award Nominated Revival Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL.  The iconic lead role of the criminal, domestic abusing, Billy Bigelow, being played by the 3x Tony/Drama Desk Nominee, Joshua Henry, is a dichotomous case for Color-Blind Casting.  On one hand, for Joshua Henry to sing the lead male vocals for the lush music of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, is a crowning achievement for ANY actor.  However on the other hand, when I simply follow the optical nature of what is presented on the stage, it is sometimes a hard thing to watch, as an African American man of a certain age, living in this current racial and political climate, especially with a phone call to the police, and not take note that for simplicity sake, a black man is abusing a white woman onstage. Now before everyone blows a gasket, yes, I  know in spite of the irony of this conversation, that Audra McDonald did win her first Tony Award in the 1994 revival as a non-traditional Carrie Pepperidge.  Currently, Lindsay Mendez is in that role and also nominated for this year's Tony Award.  It might be presumptuous, but it might be safe to assume that the original creators of this musical never foresaw these type of cast changes.

                                                                                                  Not to take anything away from what I am sure is a brilliant performance (at the time of this piece, I have yet to see it), but if you ignore the time period upon which this Billy Bigelow is moving through life, doing the things that he is doing in his clearly interracial household, and still being alive,  is a TON of belief suspension.  There is a scene in which Billy has a run in with a police officer.  Because of the dialogue, there is an interesting choice to cast another man of color in that role.  Is it because of the implication of the optics in our current environment?  Well if it is, I wonder how they initially justified choosing Mr. Henry to play this controversial character?  Again, please note that I am not saying Joshua Henry does not deserve to be on that stage in this role, because of him doing a lead role in a Rodgers and Hammerstein show, he has kicked down another door for someone else of color to play this and any other iconic R&H roles.  Just like Taye Diggs stepping into the title role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, it opens another door of perception and allows the next young black actor a new possibility.
                                                                     Taye Diggs as Hedwig on Broadway

I will note that Mr. Henry was also in Kander and Ebb's THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, which for some reason drew more ire and protests from the "black community" in retelling that story and showing the injustices that befell that unfortunate group of young black men, than the image of an ex-con, wife abusing, Black, Billy Bigelow.  I will say that I did get to see THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, and I can say that Black people did themselves a disservice by not at least giving it a chance.  Not that I am expecting nor wanting anyone to protest this show, but I do find it odd in this culturally sensitive time, no one wanted to ask the question.  Perhaps, if there were more people of color talking about theater in general, then maybe more people would be brave enough to have the discussion. I am hoping and praying for a long run of CAROUSEL.  I want Mr. Henry to have a brilliant run with that cast. I hope there is a chance that I'll get to see the show before this year's Tony Awards. In the meantime,  I did get to ask Mr. Henry about him being in this show, and he answered me brilliantly.  Click on the hyperlink for more information about Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL.  Checkout my moment with Joshua Henry in the video. 
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Monday, May 7, 2018

COFFEE, COLLEGE, and FEAR


At the very start of this I will say that this is not about theater, but when the feeling takes you, then you must write it down.  What is more theatrically dramatic than that? Anyhoo, right around the corner from where I record my fun, sometimes ridiculous podcast is a Starbucks Coffee that was calm between the morning rush.  I quickly found a spot next to a plug for my laptop, just like every other pain in the ass that thinks his/her script or blog post is gonna change the world. Anyway, I politely asked the person sitting next to the plug, but not using it, if he would kindly keep an eye on my bag, as I rushed to get in the really short line to get a Venti Dark Roast and a delicious Chorizo, Egg, and Monterrey Jack Cheese Sandwich.  I had no plans to meet anyone, and I could clearly go back to the studio to do what I am doing right now: Drinking said coffee, Eating said sandwich, and typing such world changing prose. 

About 30 seconds into checking my emails, because like many budding writers I love to procrastinate, I noticed that my receipt was not only on the table in front me, but facing out.  Anyone who walked by would not only see the coffee and now empty sandwich bag, but they would also know that I paid for it.  Therefore, I am justifying my presence in the space, because there may be someone sitting in this room, extremely “threatened” , and will call the police.  I also noticed that it was done subconsciously.

 I'll admit that if you did not know me, as I sit typing in this Starbucks,  nor could you "hear" the enthusiasm and passion that I have about theater and other things (check out my podcast), or notice the various colors of feather boas that I own, you might mistake me for one of those "suspicious" looking characters that just might shank you.  Oddly enough, the comfort that you feel by what you might presently be seeing, does not mean I wouldn't shank you.  It just means that your defenses are being fooled, and to quote Zoraida,  SNL Ellen Cleghorne's NBC Page character, "what makes you think I won't cut you?!"

Since the famous "sitting while Black" incident at Starbucks became a viral sensation, another story about 2 young Native American teens on a college visit tour, being stopped and questioned by police because someone on the tour was "uncomfortable" by their presence, broke last week.   Now the 2 men in the Starbucks incident have since settled with the city symbolically with a promise to help future young entrepreneurs.  Starbucks gave them an undisclosed settlement, scholarships to college, and free corporate mentorship.   Starbucks will also close their doors for half of a day for "cultural sensitivity" employee training.  Good luck with trying to undo years of what many still do in their sleep.

The real question should be asked, because like my receipt turned outwards, do they have to prove to HER that they are part of the tour so SHE can feel safe?  Get Over it, lady!!! I shouldn't have to make my receipt known to validate my presence, and it is not those kids' place to make her feel safe.   I am not sure how big the tour group had been, but if she is the ONLY person to have issue with them, and no one ELSE felt "threatened", who designated her to make the call in the first place?   If the tour group was small, she should have tried to be a tad bit more welcoming, banded with the other members of the tour to not be too close, or maybe pull her kid closer to her for protection, instead of reaching for her phone and showing her fearful sense of entitlement.   If I were these 2 Native American teenagers, I would be looking at that college with the lawyer that those Starbucks brothers had and figure out what my major should be without any worries about paying for it.

Now being a man of a certain size, age, hue, out gay, having lived in Texas during the 70's/80's and half of the 90's, and all while watching this nation continually fight its shaky history of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia,   I'll  admit that I, too, maintain a side eye for all kinds of "suspicious" looking people.  I also note that I, too, have felt unsafe.  However, in those moments, I ask "how far is the exit from where I am standing? " I will check to see if there is ANYTHING that I have on me, just in case I have to defend myself.  When walking home late at night, I check to see if I put my keys in between my fingers in my pocket,  because if someone is going to push up on me, especially after I have taken the time to do my own "racist-xenophobic-I-think-that-they-are-after-all-the-white-women" assessment, they will get stabbed in the neck or eye with a MEDCO front door key.  I will have to use that as a weapon of choice, because that is easier to explain as to why I have my keys out rather than a gun.

The fear mongering that our current administration fosters is spreading infection like a virus, and it needs to stop.  It is infecting people at such rates that the Centers for Disease Control should be called in to investigate, but thanks to this current administration and their shenanigans, even that department is a hot mess.  These so called "vigilant" people are slowly, but surely moving towards becoming passive aggressive "vigilantes" using the police to carry out their fear filled plans. This Trumped up panic that people are feeling might be real to those folks, but because many people in this country refuse to read books,  watch only Fox News, never travel, and live in that white cloud of fear, they make it so easy to be manipulated and unfortunately trigger happy.  Now of course this is all based on THEIR experiences and history.   If you really think about it, the people that they SHOULD be fearing are the ones telling you to be afraid.  Like my childhood minister, Rev. Gates, used to say, "when you point the finger at something or someone, three fingers are pointing back at you."

MY history and experience in this country has forced ME to do things like really watch the way I speak, be more mindful of the places that I go (as a black and gay man), watch how I walk, and be cognizant of what I wear,  because the fear of the hoodie, dark skin, and low hanging pants is still very real in America.  Any black man of color, growing up in the south gets those lessons everyday.  For the record, I am not big on the low hanging pants, but to each his own. I have encountered many "suspicious" people, and yet with all of MY experiences, calling the police on them is never the first response, especially in a public place like a college.  Oddly enough, it never seemed like a legitimate option.  I want to honestly ask those "scared" individuals, "are any of those thoughts instilled in you through the actual actions of others or stuff that you've heard has happened as you walk through your everyday life? "  The insane thought that comes over me: By doing all of those things to make sure others feel safe, I can still sit in a New York City Starbucks in 2018, and subconsciously wonder if I will be the next "suspicious" human about to make some person so nervous enough to call the cops on me.  WTF?

So America, do me a favor: Read a book, travel, stop watching so much Fox TV,  stay vigilant, because we all need to be watchful and mindful, but also CALM THE F**K DOWN.  No one really wants your guns, women, or your children, and the ones who do will more than likely NOT look like me, or the 2 Native American soon-to-be college students, or those 2 young entrepreneurial and industrial brothers in Philly.  You might want to look in the mirror, or better yet,  Ask Susan Smith where those "suspicious and threatening" people are, and what are they capable of doing? 

Have a blessed day, and go see some live theater. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK gets Revisited at the Laurie Beechman Theater

For many of us of a certain age, SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK, was the cornerstone to everything we kids learned about Civics, Mathematics, Grammar,  and so much more.  It was one of those things that made our Saturday Mornings literally sing.  After learning about nouns, various multiplication tables, and of course, how a bill turns into law, I felt like I had tapped into a new world of learning.  Thanks to many people, including one half of the team that currently is wowing Broadway with Anastasia and the revival of Once on This Island, Lynn Ahrens, MILLIONS of kids can do things like still recite the preamble to the Constitution and remember the first time they crushed out on Interplanet Janet: Galaxy Girl.  Perhaps, many of our elected officials should truly review.


I recently sat down and chat with one of my favorite people, LUCIA SPINA, and her friend, Rob Maitner, to talk about their upcoming show WE WILL SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK YOU!, a concert celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock! Playing The Laurie Beechman Theater in The West Bank Café, 407 W 42nd Street (at 9th Avenue), New York, NY 10036 on Sunday, May 6th for two shows at 7:00pm & 9:30pm.  The shows will now dedicate the performances to the late great Bob Dorough, the first and most prolific composer of the animated series. The evening will feature everyone’s Schoolhouse Rock! favorites including “Conjunction Junction”, “I’m Just A Bill”, “Interplanet Janet”, “Three Is A Magic Number” and “Interjections!”, taking you back to Saturday mornings with a never-ending bowl of cereal and all the Pop Rocks you could handle.

Click HERE For Tickets to WE WILL SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK YOU!!


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Kitchen Table Kiki about 2018 Tony Awards.



It never gets old to sit and have a good old fashioned, theater Kiki, with one of your friends, who also happens to be playwright, actor, producer, screenwriter, and successful author, Gregory Allen.  What has become a bit of a tradition of handicapping the upcoming Tony Award Nominations, has turned into a chance to talk about theater in a way that many of us do, but seldom get a chance.  It's the Kitchen Table Kiki about theater.  Usually we are joined by our other partner in crime, actor/presenter/ and fellow Theater Obsessed Geek, Paul Winkler, but because of studio scheduling availabilities, we could not reunite.  We will have a chance to catch up with him around the ceremony.  He always brings that extra bit of dish and shade that makes the Kiki that much more fun.  We did our best to keep it real and honest.  Click our pic to hear our picks and our shade. LOL.

Make your plans to to watch the Tony Awards on CBS, Sunday June 10, 2018, hosted by Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles.   For the list of this year's nominees, go to https://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/index.html

To learn more about the great work that my friend Greg is doing, go to http://www.gregorygallen.com/





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When A Gentleman Calls

Last month, I had the opportunity to talk to playwright, Phillip Dawkins, about his latest play, GENTLEMEN CALLER.  We chatted about the men who are about to start previews in the New York premiere of the play, Juan Francisco Villa and Daniel K. Isaac.  I was very specific that I wanted to chat with them.  Sometimes, you get exactly what you ask.  Both Juan and Daniel braved spending time with me, and we had a fantastic chat about the show, their careers, and  being non-traditionally cast in the roles of Tennessee Williams and William Inge, respectively. 

As you can see, there were obvious challenges for these actors before they opened those scripts, but beginning on May 5, 2018, at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City, they will begin their run in what will most certainly be a great experience in storytelling for them and great night for new work.
Click HERE to hear my conversation with these very talented men.  Make sure to watch Daniel in Showtime's BILLIONS, too. 

Click HERE  For More Information and Tickets to the New York Premiere of GENTLEMAN CALLER.

Good Morning, Moulin Rouge

Some days the publicists will shower you with a little deliciousness.  This morning it is the oh-so dreamy Aaron Tveit singing to me, I mean, to all of us.  It is a tease for the upcoming MOULIN ROUGE Stage Musical adaptation,  performances to begin in Boston's Emerson Colonial Theatre June 27, 2018 through August, 5, 2018.   



Moulin Rouge! The Musical will star  Karen Olivo (Tony Award® for West Side Story, In the Heights), Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You Can, Next to Normal), my Danny Burstein (six-time Tony Award®-nominee, Fiddler On the Roof, Cabaret), Sahr Ngaujah (Tony® and Olivier award-nominated for Fela), Tam Mutu (Doctor Zhivago, Encores’ Hey, Look Me Over! and The New Yorkers), Ricky Rojas (Burn the Floor) and Robyn Hurder (Nice Work If You Can Get It, Chicago)

The intrepid and sometimes forgotten ensemble and swings include Jacqueline Arnold, Olutayo Bosede, Kyle Brown, Sam Cahn, Joe Carroll, Max Clayton, Natalie Cortez, Jennifer Florentino, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Bahiyah Hibah, Ericka Hunter, Holly James, Brandon Leffler, Reed Luplau, Jeigh Madjus, Daniel Maldonado, Morgan Marcell, Brandt Martinez, Jodi McFadden, Kevyn Morrow, Fred Odgaard, Dylan Paul, Khori Petinaud and Benjamin Rivera.

Directed by Alex Timbers (Tony Award®-nominated for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Peter and the Starcatcher) with a book by John Logan (Tony Award® for Red), choreography by Sonya Tayeh (Lucille Lortel Award and Obie Award for Kung Fu, and Emmy winner), and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Justin Levine (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Moulin Rouge! The Musical will play this limited engagement at the newly refurbished venue (106 Boylston Street) prior to Broadway (New York City details to be announced).  The word out is that rehearsals have begun.  I cannot wait.

Tickets for the run of Moulin Rouge! The Musical are now on sale. Tickets start at $55 and are available at EmersonColonialTheatre.com or by calling 888.616.0272.



Thursday, April 26, 2018

The 63rd Annual Drama Desk Nominees Are.....


Titus Burguss and Jane Krakowski announcing the 63rd Annual Drama Desk Award Nominees at Feinstein's 54 Below


The 2018 Drama Desk Award Nominations were announced this morning at Feinstein's 54 Below with the help of Tony/Olivier Award Winning and Emmy Nominated actress, Jane Krakowski, and  3x Emmy Award Nominee, Titus Burguss.   The pair had fun mangling a few of the names, and at the same time brought joy and excitement to a definite handful of creatively fabulous people.  The Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York City theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same category.  Catch the 63rd Annual Drama Desk Awards at 8:00pm on June 3, 2018 at New York’s Town Hall, where Michael Urie returns as host.

And the NOMINEES are...... 



2018 Drama Desk Award Nominations
Outstanding Play
Admissions, by Joshua Harmon, Lincoln Center Theater
Mary Jane, by Amy Herzog, New York Theatre Workshop
Miles for Mary, by The Mad Ones, Playwrights Horizons
People, Places & Things, by Duncan Macmillan, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, by Jocelyn Bioh, MCC Theater
Outstanding Musical
Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theatre Company/Woodshed Collective
Mean Girls
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Revival of a Play
Angels in America
Hindle Wakes, Mint Theater Company
In the Blood, Signature Theatre Company
Three Tall Women
Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory/Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Amerike-The Golden Land, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
Carousel
My Fair Lady, Lincoln Center Theater
Once on This Island
Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Johnny Flynn, Hangmen, Royal Court Theatre/Atlantic Theater Company
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory/Roundabout Theatre Company
James McArdle, Angels in America
Paul Sparks, At Home at the Zoo, Signature Theatre Company
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Carrie Coon, Mary Jane, New York Theatre Workshop
Denise Gough, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
Billie Piper, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Jelani Alladin, Frozen
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones, the cell
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Gizel Jiménez, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
LaChanze, Summer
Jessie Mueller, Carousel
Ashley Park, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ben Edelman, Admissions, Lincoln Center Theater
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero, Second Stage
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, The Iceman Cometh
Gregg Mozgala, Cost of Living, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jocelyn Bioh, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
Jamie Brewer, Amy and the Orphans, Roundabout Underground
Barbara Marten, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Deirdre O'Connell, Fulfillment Center, Manhattan Theatre Club
Constance Shulman, Bobbie Clearly, Roundabout Underground
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Damon Daunno, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova
Alexander Gemignani, Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants
Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Lindsay Mendez, Carousel
Kenita R. Miller, Once on This Island
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady
Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls
Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Jeremy Herrin, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Joe Mantello, Three Tall Women
Lila Neugebauer, Miles for Mary, Playwrights Horizons
Simon Stone, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Teddy Bergman, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Jack O'Brien, Carousel
Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady
The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Justin Peck, Carousel
Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air, Abingdon Theatre Company
Outstanding Music
The Bengsons, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova/Piece by Piece Productions/Z Space      
Ben Caplan, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
David Friedman, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Outstanding Lyrics
Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls
Quiara Alegría Hudes/Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theatre
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Outstanding Book of a Musical
Tina Fey, Mean Girls
Kyle Jarrow, SpongeBob Squarepants
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, York Theatre Company
Hannah Moscovitch, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre/59E59
Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants
Annmarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin (John Bertles and Bash the Trash, found instrument design) Once on This Island
Charlie Rosen, Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theater
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Jonathan Tunick, Carousel
Outstanding Music in a Play
Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Justin Hicks, Mlima's Tale, Public Theatre
Amatus Karim-Ali, The Homecoming Queen, Atlantic Theater Company
Justin Levine, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Public Theater
Adrian Sutton, Angels in America

The Hudson Scenic Studio Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, Three Tall Women
Bunny Christie, People, Places & Things, St. Ann's Warehouse/National Theatre/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Lizzie Clachan, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Maruti Evans, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Louisa Thompson, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Beowulf Boritt, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Dane Laffrey, Once on This Island
Santo Loquasto, Carousel
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Dede M. Ayite, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and the King
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ann Roth, Three Tall Women
Emilio Sosa, Venus, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once on This Island
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady, Lincoln Center Theater
Dede M. Ayite, Bella: An American Tall Tale, Playwrights Horizons
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Natasha Chivers, 1984
Alan C. Edwards, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Paul Gallo, Three Tall Women
Paul Russell, Farinelli and the King
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre Company/59E59
Amith ChandrashakerThe Lucky Ones
Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer, Once on This Island
Brian MacDevitt, Carousel
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Woodshed Collective

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali, Van Gogh's Ear, Ensemble for the Romantic Century
Andrezj Goulding, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Peter Nigrini, SpongeBob SquarePants
Finn Ross and Adam Young, Mean Girls
Finn Ross and Ash J. Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Brendan Aanes, Balls, One Year Lease Theater Company/Stages Repertory Theatre/59E59
Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Tom Gibbons, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Stefan Gregory, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Palmer Hefferan, Today is My Birthday, Page 73 Productions
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, The Band's Visit
Scott Lehrer, Carousel
Will Pickens, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Woodshed Collective
Dan Moses Schreier, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Wig and Hair
Carole Hancock, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Campbell Young Associates, Farinelli and the King
Cookie Jordan, School Girls;, or The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
Charles G. LaPointe, SpongeBob SquarePants
Josh Marquette, Mean Girls
Outstanding Solo Performance
Billy Crudup, Harry Clarke, Vineyard Theatre
David Greenspan, Strange Interlude, Transport Group
Jon Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Lesli Margherita, Who's Holiday!
Sophie Melville, Iphigenia in Splott, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff/59E59
The Chase Award for Unique Theatrical Experience
Derren Brown: Secret, Atlantic Theater Company
Master, Foundry Theatre
Say Something Bunny!
Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Is God Is, Soho Rep
Steve Rankin, Carousel
Unkle Dave's Fight House, Oedipus El Rey, The Public Theater/The Sol Project
Outstanding Puppet Design
Finn Caldwell, Nick Barnes, Angels in America
Michael Curry, Frozen
Charlie Kanev, Sarah Nolan, and Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Vandy Wood, The Artificial Jungle, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers
SPECIAL AWARDS
To Sean Carvajal and Edi Gathegi of Jesus Hopped the A Train ­­whose last-minute entrances into the Signature production of this powerful play ensured it had a happy real-life ending
Ensemble Award: To Nabiyah Be, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Zainab Jah, Nike Kadri, Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole, and Myra Lucretia Taylor of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, whose characters learn the facts of life but whose portrayers taught us all a thing or two about the way things are.
Sam Norkin Award: To Juan Castano, whose varied performances this season in Oedipus El ReyA Parallelogram, and Transfers not only make a complex statement about American life but also indicate great things to come for this talented performer.
Totals:
Carousel -- 12
SpongeBob SquarePants -- 11
Mean Girls -- 10
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- 8
Angels in America -- 7
KPOP -- 7
Once on This Island -- 7
People, Places & Things -- 7
Three Tall Women -- 7
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story -- 6
Miss You Like Hell -- 5
My Fair Lady -- 5
Desperate Measures - 4
Yerma -- 4
Farinelli and the King -- 3
In the Blood -- 3
The Lucky Ones - 3
Pacific Overtures -- 3
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play -- 3
1984 -- 2
Admissions -- 2
Frozen -- 2
A Hunger Artist -- 2
Kill Move Paradise -- 2
Mary Jane -- 2
Miles for Mary - 2
Prince of Broadway -- 2