One of my favorite people to talk theater with is my dear friend Alex. We started following each other on Twitter a year or two ago and then ran into each other in person at my favorite Broadway event, the annual Flea Market. We hit it off instantly and knew our theater obsession would lead to a wonderful friendship. Today, I’m thrilled to present to you my guest blogger, Alex! If you like what you see (which, I know you will) check out his blog at http://www.nrnwtheater.com. Enjoy!

 

As we often do, your girl Broadway News and I are always discussing new Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Heck, we even see one, two or seven every now and then. And if there is one epiphany that we have had recently, it is this…THERE ARE, LIKE, 20 SHOWS OPENING THIS FALL.

 

Mind you, that’s a good thing. Especially in light of some 12 or 13 shows closing in the last three months (we miss Priscilla, *sniff*). Of the many shows opening, here’s a mere sampling of the who and what we have our eyes on. And we hope some discount and/or rush opportunities will avail themselves to us money-loving folk. Because we really do heart money, despite our penchant for spending it. A lot.

 

Detroit – Playwrights Horizons, Opens on September 18th 

 

Playwrights Horizons has been on role lately. They debuted Clybourne Park, which just went on to win “Best Play” at this year’s Tony Awards. Also, Broadway News and I loved the minimalist gem that was Leslye Headlund’s Assistance.

 

Detroit – a character study of what the term “neighbor” means in this day an age – has two names that stand out. David Schwimmer, whom as you know, Broadway News might even be a bigger F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan then me (*hint* she isn’t) [*he’s wrong. -BN] and Amy Ryan, a Tony and Oscar-nominee whom has made her mark in television and movies as a superb actress. Put it all together and I we will be putting my Playwright’s Horizons membership to good use.

 

If There Is, I Haven’t Found It Yet – The Laura Pels Theatre, Opens on September 20th

 

If There Is…, a story about a bullied, overweight teenager transferring to the school where her mother teaches just as her uncle comes into the picture, debuted to rave reviews around three years ago at the Bush Theater in England, going as far as to win the George Divine Award. Convinced yet? If that doesn’t moisten your lips, the talented Jake Gyllenhaal will be making his American-stage debut playing the corky uncle. Our tickets are already purchased (a rarity for us) and if you are interested, you might want to whip out the plastic right now.

 

Grace – Cort Theater, Opens on October 4th

 

Broadway News and I are comedy people and like the Cort Theater’s previous inhabitant, The Lyons, Grace is serving up dark comedy for dinner with a side of depth as we witness a couple running around Florida trying to open up a chain of gospel-motels. It also boosts one of the more interesting casts, with Paul Rudd at the helm alongside Kate Arrington, Michael Shannon and Ed Asner. For those of us under the age of 50, Asner was the voice of Carl Fredrickson from “Up.” You know what that means? We should give him balloons at the stage door.

 

Running on Empty – Richard Rodgers Theater, Opens on October 9th

 

Anyone in the mood for standup? Because Lewis Black, last seen on Broadway in Black on Broadway, is one hilarious comedian and he is taking his touring show to the Richard Rodgers Theater for a week. Known to dabble in government and politics, you know he has all the material in the world with the current presidential election. Not to be missed, for sure…

 

The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Studio 54, Opens on November 13th

 

Anyone else in the mood for murder mystery musical theater based on the Charles Dicken novel? How about a murder mystery musical production that has won Best Musical, Book and Score in the past? Pair that with a cast including Stephanie J. Block, Chita Rivera, Will Chase, Jessie Mueller, and Betsy Wolfe – you know, amongst others – and we have a trip to the Victorian era worth making.

 

Dead Accounts – Music Box Theater, Opens on November 29th

 

In the “one of these names is not like the other” game, we have a Theresa Rebeck-written show directed by Jack O’Brien starring Katie Holmes and Norbert Leo Butz. Don’t make me say it…because it is glaringly obvious. Broadway News and I took a huge liking to Rebeck’s last outing on Broadway, the fantastic Seminar. Jack O’Brien only has won like 3 Tonys or something, one of which being a musical you might have heard of, called Hairspray. Norbert Leo Butz is a Broadway staple churning out solid work season after season and even worked with O’Brien on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which non-coincidentally, gave Butz his first of two Tony awards. Hey, we’ll take the phenomenal with the Holmes…there, I said it.

 

Bare: A Pop Opera – New World Stages, Opens on December 9th

 

Of everything else coming out this Fall, Bare is probably what I am most excited for. The show has had a cult following since its debut in California over a decade ago.nAn opera with a rock musical score filled to the brim with timely, teenage issues and featuring a young, talented cast? Count us in…right in the mold of Spring Awakening and not a moment too soon.

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Theater Ink

August 14, 2012

Theater has a way of striking a chord in us. Truly great theater leaves a lasting impression on our hearts and keeps us thinking about what we witnessed long after we go home. There are some shows that really stick with us and even change us. Some can have such an affect on us that we are compelled to declare our love permanently; to always have a piece of it be a part of us.

Tattoos are a major form of self-expression [but if you try to convince me that the multicolored butterfly above your ass is an expression of your freedom, I will laugh right in your face]. I asked my lovely twitter followers at @bwaynews to send me pictures of their tattoos and what it means to them, why they got it in the first place…

Addie shares her love for Wicked:

This is my wicked tattoo. I first saw the show in 2009 (saw it 3x that yr). The whole show holds a special place in my heart. Defy gravity means (to me) not having anyone hold you back, to not let people bring you down. To do what YOU feel like you need to do. To feel comfortable w yourself.

 

 

 

 

The next two are from Marg – both from Priscilla Queen of the Desert:

The first is the iconic symbol of Priscilla…the shoe. And underneath it is Nick Adams signature. I fell in love with Nick the first time I saw the show.  I live in Toronto and saw the show 6 times here..and then traveled to NY many times and ended up seeing the show 29 times. I went to the last show on Broadway and it was such an emotional weekend. 
Nick is the most talented Broadway performer I have ever seen and on top of that he is such a special and generous person.


The other tattoo is the silhouette of the 3 main characters on top of Ayers Rock…the completion of their journey to find love and tolerance. My brother and I watched the movie Priscilla a hundred times or more…it was “our” movie. When he passed away from AIDS a few years ago..I wanted a permanent tribute to him and to the show I love so much.

Kaci combined her love for two shows in one tattoo:
This is the tattoo I got about a year ago.  The music notes are Natalie’s part in Light “There will be light” from Next To Normal. I love the message that no matter how tough times get there will always be “light” And one of my biggest “lights” is Next to Normal. Also the music staff is left open because my journey has just began. I have seen N2n 25 times and followed the tour to 4 different cities. I connect on such a deep level that it almost becomes therapy to watch! Never thought a show could impact me so much!  Then above it I have Defy Gravity because sometimes we just have to trust our instincts and leap!  It reminds me that no matter what I control my own destiny.

Nathaly shares her drama masks:
I thought I’d share my theatre masks located on the back of my left wrist. Every time I look at them, they are a simple reminder that I need to continue striving for my goal of being a working actress, and eventually being on Broadway. The imperfections represent the hard work. The time that has passed working and trying to get where I want. I plan on retouching it when I get my first broadway show, symbolizing that I have reached a huge goal.

Sydney shows off her two theater tattoos:
I got this one from  In the Heights in Feb 2009 I believe, soon after it closed. I saw the show over 20 times and those words, Paciencia y Fe, always jumped out at me. My tat is a reminder when I start to lose patience OR faith!
No show has ever affected me more.


From RENT. Words to live by! I had part of another tat covered up, so it seemed like the perfect spot for those words 🙂

June 18, 2012

One of my favorite shows on Broadway right now is Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Sadly, the production will be closing on June 24th and in honor of it’s glorious run at the Palace, I have a Playbill signed by the entire cast to give away to one lucky winner. Please thank the amazing Ellyn Marsh [@ellynmarsh] for getting it for us!

Since it’s such a great prize, you’re going to have to work for it. I have some Priscilla trivia questions for you to answer. Each question you get right, gets you one entry. The bonus question gets you an additional entry ONLY if you get both answers correct.

To enter:

– Email your answers including your twitter handle to bwaynews@gmail.com

Rules:

– You must be following me @bwaynews

– Contest is open to anyone – not only US/Canada (yay!)

– Contest begins 6/18 and will run until 6/23 at 5pm eastern.

-Winner will be drawn and announced Sunday night to coincide with Priscilla’s final performance.

Ready? Here’s your questions!

1. Priscilla officially opened in Toronto on what date?

2. …and it played which theater in Toronto?

3. They make a pit stop on their way to Alice Springs and Felicia gets herself into some trouble. Name that dangerous town.

4. Name the actress that plays Cynthia in the film.

5. Will Swenson received his BFA from which school?

Bonus question:

Who designed the costumes for the Priscilla Broadway run?

Good luck!

Spiegelworld : Empire

June 17, 2012

Last night I had the privilege of being invited to see Spiegelworld Empire. I’ve walked past their tent on 45th many times and have always been intrigued. Not at all your typical Broadway show, Empire brings thrills, laughs and moments where you forget to breathe.

What I loved about the experience before it even started, was the fact the place was flat out awesome. Funky on the outside, small and intimate on the inside. Show aside, I’d probably go there for drinks on any given night if it was just a bar. Any seat you get is perfect. They perform in the round, just a couple rows of chairs. The only off-putting aspect of it that kind of ruined it for me was before the show began. The performers would mill about all holding signs asking for money in some way – a dollar for a money tree, a quarter to ride a mechanical horse ride. I get that they are carnival-like performers trying to make a living but couldn’t they at least hold off asking for money until the end? With ticket prices over $60, let us see what you can do first.

The show features a couple different acts, mostly based on strength. Balance, contortion, roller skating [trust me on this one when I say, “wow”], ballet… the show has it all. I haven’t seen anything like it. I watched the acts in awe, one of the final balancing acts left me unable to breathe I was so nervous and captivated. Not only are these feats incredible and enthralling, the way it’s presented is visually stunning. The first act features an incredibly flexible woman in a giant bubble. Between the lighting and the actual bubbles blowing all around the room, it was beautiful. I have to say, the one “act” that I didn’t like, was the husband and wife duo that were basically the comedy relief – except they weren’t funny. They would come around between each act, do something stupid and/or crude to fill time. They really just weren’t my taste in humor and I dreaded every time I saw them coming back to the stage – I just sat and waited for it to be over.

The show runs about an hour and I think for the ticket price it’s worth it. You get to see a bunch of great acts, there’s a lovely woman that sings along with a killer one man band. You’ll laugh, you’ll be amazed, and you might get a lapdance. The show is a raunchy, ridiculous, good time.

Spiegelworld presents Empire plays at 265 West 45th street NYC. Tickets range from $59-$129, with $29 student rush. Check out  http://www.spiegelworld.com/ for more info.

Today I’m thrilled to bring you another great interview – this time with Michael James Scott and Asmeret Ghebremichael! They are both currently in Book of Mormon on Broadway but are branching out on their own in a solo show, Fingerlickin’ Fierce. The show is May 14th at the Canal Room in NYC. Check out their website for more info and to buy tickets. Follow them on twitter at @asmeretyemane and @fashinistamjs. Thanks guys!

 

Thrilled to bring you a new interview with the fantastic Greg Hildreth! You know him from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and now he’s currently making magic in Peter & The Starcatcher. Check out what Greg has to say about the show, working with Alex Timbers and how he loves to spend his free time.

Can you give us a brief insight into your theater background?

I grew up in Boston and from a very early age belonged to a theatre company called Neighborhood Children’s Theatre which is still around today. I was involved with that company through high school. I attended Boston University’s Theatre program and while I was there I studied for a semester at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. I moved to NYC in the fall of 2006 and have been pounding the pavement since

What first attracted you to Peter & The Starcatcher?

A lot of the best aspects of this show are things that attracted me to being an actor in the first place: storytelling, using your imagination, working in a tight knit ensemble.

I saw the show a few times at NYTW and fell in love. That size house seemed perfect for a magical show such as this. Was there any hesitation making that jump to Broadway and keeping that audience involvement? Were you skeptical at all about how the show would be received?

Whenever you take something that is rare and a bit outside-of-the-box there is always a risk that the masses won’t appreciate it. The design team has done a really great job of making it seem just as intimate as it was downtown. Our genius set designer, Donyale Werle, has built a proscenium INSIDE the existing proscenium at the Brooks Atkinson to zero in on the onstage action. And a lot of our narration lines have become a bit more three dimensional in an effort to include people in all corners of the theatre. I think the Brooks Atkinson is a great fit for our show.

The show has some pretty memorable moments and lines. What stands out to you the most? What’s your favorite part of doing the show 8 times a week?

It is a workout! I like to feel like I’m actually DOING something when I come to work. Its a really fun show to do. It’s so much more engaging than a play where you come in and sit on the furniture and say some witty lines. I love creating the chaos of a storm at sea at the end of the first act and of course there is a very, very soft spot in my heart for the fart jokes.

The majority of the off-Broadway cast made the big Broadway leap – and for a lot of them, this is only their first or second show. What was opening night like for all of you?

We were beside ourselves! It was like a dream. And for those of us who have been with the show since La Jolla, it has been quite a journey. Its amazing to open a show on Broadway where you feel like you have some ownership of the material. I pinch myself every time I get to that theatre and my 6-year-old-self loses his mind.

This is your second Broadway show and your second time working with Alex Timbers. What’s it like doing a show with him?

This is actually my FOURTH show with Alex. We met at Williamstown and at the time I was still living in Boston. He asked me that summer if I would move to NYC to do a play that he was directing. It was Hell House at St. Ann’s Warehouse. He said, “If you hate NYC you can leave immediately after the show. If you love it, you should stay.” It ended up that I loved it and we’ve worked a lot together since. It’s amazing to have a working relationship with a person you really admire and respect. I like to think that we have a very similar sensibility — comedy-wise and theatre-wise. After years of working together, we have a great short-hand language/vocabulary that only makes working together easier. Often times I am called upon to translate from Timbers into English for people who are working with him for the first time.

What’s your favorite way to spend an off day?

I love me some Prospect Park! Its smaller than Central Park but less populated. You can truly wander and get lost and not see any buildings or people. I like to get lost there. Its also a great place to meet a friend of a bagel date/stroll.

Tell us a fun fact not many people know about you…

I have a cat named Pigeon who behaves like a dog. Also — some nights the farts in Peter and the Starcatcher are real.

Favorite twitters you follow? (theater and non-theater related)

@TheTweetOfGod, @meganamram, @amycao (for great foodie recommendations), @perlapell and of course @StarcatcherBway

Many thanks to Greg! Be sure to follow him on twitter @greg_hildreth and check out Peter & The Starcatcher at the Brooks Atkinson!

On this eve before 2012 Tony nominations are announced, I wanted to share some of my opinions on this theater season. I’ve managed to see a lot of new shows this year but alas, there are some major ones that have escaped me [ie, Newsies and Porgy & Bess]. This list is just a lovenote to some amazing actors and productions…

For me, musicals fell short this year. Lots of forgetables. As much as I love Spiderman [Be quiet, I will defend that show for eternity.] and would love to see it win and get some positivity, there’s one show that will knock down all others. Every season there’s that one show that wins every category it’s nominated for. Think Memphis. Think Book of Mormon. This year, it’s Newsies.

Best revival of a musical is where it can get tricky. As much as I loved Godspell let’s be honest, next to Evita and Porgy and Bess it doesn’t stand a chance. While I haven’t seen either of those shows, I’ve heard great things about both. I do have a feeling the award will lean a little more towards the Gershwins.

This was a stellar year for plays and this is where I have issues picking a favorite. There’s no clear cut winner for me here. I can narrow it down to 4 – Seminar, The Lyons, Venus In Fur & Peter and The Starcatcher. I have a feeling Starcatcher will win – amazing cast, magical, inventive, a show with heart. I have yet to see their Broadway run but caught the show at NYTW a few times. If it wins, well deserved. …Seminar is a witty, funny, well cast show. I saw it once with the original cast and loved it. Saw it with the new cast, liked it. I did like the casting the second time around but for whatever reason, I was not as engaged as I was the first time around, I think the show needed Lily Rabe back. …The Lyons, I loved. Linda Lavin livessss in that show.  Sorry but, Kate Jennings Grant annoyed me from start to finish. Dick Latessa was great even though his part felt small. For me, aside from Linda, Michael Esper was the one who was shining the brightest. I thoroughly loved his performance and found him to be the one I would relate with the most in some slight way. …Last but certainly not least, Venus In Fur. This show has changed me, I am absolutely in love with it. I have been singing the praises of Nina Arianda for a while now and if she doesn’t win a Tony for her performance, be prepared for my wrath. Brilliantly acted, Nina and Hugh are the perfect pair.

Best revival of a play without a doubt has to go to Death of a Salesman. I have loved Philip Seymour Hoffman for most of my young life and always knew he was something special. I felt beyond privileged to be able to see him on stage. I had box seats and hovered over all the action like a spirit. To me, there was no one else in that audience, I was fixated on that family. You could hear a pin drop. People didn’t dare to even cough. That show was a masterclass in acting and human emotion. PSH was outstanding. Andrew Garfield abolutely blew me away. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him but watching him spar with Philip was something I’ll never forget.

Tony Award nominations will be announced May 1st at 8:30am eastern by Kristin Chenoweth and Jim Parsons. Watch the live webcast on tonyawards.com

 

Spotlight: Telly Leung

April 13, 2012

You know him from Glee, you know him from the stage, it’s Telly Leung! He’s been a part of Wicked and Rent, and now he’s rocking Godspell 8 shows a week. Definitely a stand-out in that cast, Telly talks about his experience with the show plus his theater past.

Let’s talk Godspell! What I love about the show is that it’s not overly religious, it’s universal and more about how we should all treat each other. What first attracted you to doing Godspell?

The thing that first attracted me to GODSPELL is Stephen Schwartz’s incredible score. Believe it or not, he wrote the whole thing in 3 weeks! It’s kind of mind-blowing, to think that these songs that have touched so many people in the last 40 years was written in 3 weeks by a very talented, 23 year old! The score is filled with such joy – and his melodies linger well after the show is over. Also – there is something about MUSIC that’s able to inspire and touch people of ANY religious background. Music unites – and breaks barriers.

 

Who has been your favorite guest at Godspell so far? I was there when Paul Shaffer appeared, that was a real treat!

Sharing the stage with Paul Shaffer was great. He is GODSPELL family – and we had a blast with him the show. He is PURE MAGIC behind the piano. He was so game to play, and such a great sport – and supportive of this new production. I think he’s been my favorite on stage guest. My favorite celeb to visit the show has to be Angela Lasbury, hands down! She’s a living legend – and an inspiration to everyone on Broadway.

 

Your list of theater credits is neverending. What’s something you would love to do if given the chance?

I’ve been very blessed to be a part of a lot of fantastic shows, but I’m bummed that I NEVER got to do Les Miz. It’s one of my favorite shows, and the show has a great reputation of casting actors non-traditionally. I’d love to be a part of the production someday: Marius, Enjoloras, Thenardier, Val Jean, or barricade boy #3! Just wanna sing that score.

 

What was your experience like being a part of the final RENT cast on Broadway?

RENT was the show of my generation. It was THE show that I saw in high school that inspired me to pursue a career in theater. It was the first time I saw the DIVERSITY of my home, NYC, represented on a Broadway stage, singing music that was of MY generation – and it opened my eyes to the possibility of being part of the Broadway community. I was definitely a RENT head. I must have seen the show over 20 times ever since it opened in 1996 (thank goodness for rush seats and lotto tickets). Who would have thought that 10 years later, in 2006, I’d get to join cast, stand on “the line” singing SEASONS OF LOVE, looking at my front row seat the first time I saw RENT? It was a full circle moment.

 

 …And how was the Hollywood Bowl experience?

Neil Patrick Harris is part of the RENT family – and I was thrilled he asked me to be a part of this awesome production. We got to add some new folks to the family (Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger, Wayne Brady – my darling Collins) – and they all stepped up to the daunting task of putting together this beast of a show in 10 days! The Hollywood Bowl is a “dream venue” to play. 17,000 seats, being broadcast on a giant jumbo-tron, singing I’ll Cover You with Wayne Brady under the stars… it was an experience I’ll never forget.

 

Aside from the stage, I’m sure you have a big following because of Glee as well. What has been your favorite part of working on that show?

My favorite part of Glee: Getting to know Darren Criss and my Warbler brothers. It’s truly a great group of guys – all super talented and genuinely good people – and I’m honored and proud to call them my colleagues and friends. We’ve all keep in touch (thanks to twitter and FB), and I miss my boys terribly.

 

Godspell is such a physically demanding show, so what’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

I try my best to STAY QUIET on my day off. I also try to catch OTHER shows and sitting in the audience, instead of performing. We have Monday nights and Wednesday nights off from GODSPELL, so I actually DO get a chance to see my friends in shows – even though I’m in a show myself. I also enjoy spending my day-off catching up on my DVR!

 

Anything new on the horizon you can share with us?

I have some exciting things coming up! On May 14 (7 pm), I’ll be doing a one-night only gig at BIRDLAND with an amazing trio of musicians (Gary Adler – composer of ALTERBOYZ is my music director with Michael Croiter on drums and Mary Ann McSweeney on bass). You can get tickets here: http://www.birdlandjazz.com/event/110269/

I’m also working on a solo album as well – with the good folks at YELLOW SOUND LABEL. I’m honored to be working on my full length album with the same folks that have done recordings for other artists I really respect like Chita Rivera & Alan Cumming. http://www.yellowsoundlabel.com/

In the fall of this year, I am expected to star alongside Lea Salonga and George Takei in the world premiere of ALLEGIANCE, a new musical about a Japanese American family during the Internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The show is being directed by Stafford Arima, one of my favorite collaborators, and I will be reunited with Christopher Gattelli, my choreographer on GODSPELL. The out-of-town try out of ALLEGIANCE will be at the Old Globe in San Diego, and we have high hopes that the show will open on Broadway in the Spring of 2013. http://www.allegiancemusical.com/

 

Tell us something not many people know about you…

I hate water chestnuts (I know – shocking, since it’s found in so many Chinese dishes!)

 

Favorite twitters you follow?

At the moment, my favorite tweets are from my GODSPELL cast mates. We are a VERY tech-saavy cast, and our cast is big on social networking. We all love to tweet, Facebook, use instagram, etc.

 

Huge thanks to Telly for taking the time to chat with @bwaynews. Be sure to check out Godspell on Broadway. Follow Telly on twitter @tellyleung

Want to win a Playbill signed by Hunter Parrish and the Godspell cast? Of course you do. But, you’re going to have to work for it. I decided to make this a little more fun, so we’re going to do a scavenger hunt! Don’t worry, it will be really easy. Best part is, all the answers can be found right here on bwaynews.com!

How to play:

– There are 3 questions below. Find the answers here on bwaynews.com and email your answers including your twitter handle to bwaynews@gmail.com

– You need to get all three answers correct to get an entry into the contest. Read the questions carefully, don’t get tricked!

– Tweet about the contest on twitter (include my twitter handle so I see it) and receive one extra entry. [limit, one tweet per day]

Rules:

– You must be following me @bwaynews

– Contest is open to anyone – not only US/Canada (yay!)

– Contest begins 4/6 and will run until 4/15 at 5pm eastern.

Ready? Here’s your 3 questions!

1. What is Adam Chanler-Berat’s favorite snack?

2. When Brandon Rubendall was in Spider-Man TOTD, what was the name of his alter ego?

3. Raymond J. Lee appeared on what reality competition show?

Good luck!

For someone who only came onto the Broadway scene a few years ago, Ephraim Sykes already has some pretty impressive credits under his belt. He started out in the ensemble of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and went on to major shows like Memphis and RENT at New World Stages just this past year. Now, Ephraim has taken on one of the biggest shows 2012 has to offer – Newsies. Based on his twitter feed it’s obvious the theater community loves him!

What first inspired you to be an actor and dancer?

My first inspiration to become a performer was Michael Jackson! I grew up listening to the Bad and Off The Wall vinyls while I did my chores on the weekends and watching all his videos whenever I got home from school!! He has and always will be my favorite performer!

You’ve worked in the largely popular Broadway shows Memphis & RENT. How have your previous roles prepared you for tackling another big show like Newsies?

Doing Memphis and Rent have helped prepare me tremendously for Newsies! Memphis was a very technically demanding dance show for me which required alot of the same moves I’m having to do 8shows a week in Newsies. Rent was very demanding vocally and I learned alot about my voice that I’m able to call upon for the EXTREMELY demanding Newsies score.

For many people, Newsies is a movie very dear to their heart. Did you grow up loving that movie? Any pressure trying to live up to people’s high expectations for a good musical adaptation?

I actually never saw the movie until I was doing the first reading of it about a two years ago and they gave us all a copy of the film. I will say though, once I saw it I was instantly a huge fan of it and was very excited to see what a staged version would be like…always knowing that it would be a great adaptation that would have no choice but to meet and/or exceed people’s expectations.

What has been your favorite part of the Newsies experience so far? I’m sure the standing ovations that keep happening right in the middle of the show have to be pretty awesome!

I have to say that the audience’s standing ovations have been one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced on a broadway stage! #thatisall

Free time while working on Broadway is rare. What’s your favorite way to spend an off day?

I have to say my favorite way to spend a day off is at Spa Castle….35$, stay ALL day, good food, great saunas, steam rooms etc and even nap areas with your own lazy boy and flat screen attached!

I asked my twitter followers to send in some questions for you! I picked one question from @officialgigi. Gabrielle wants to know who your favorite Newsie in the film is.

It’s funny, my favorite Newsie in the film is actually Mush!lol

What would be your ultimate dream role?

To be completely honest, my dream hasn’t been created yet and I hope to one day create a role where I can really act, sing, dance and really bare my soul every night! As for roles done before, I really would love to be Scarecrow in the Wiz (I.e. Michael Jackson in the movie lol)

Tell us a fun fact not many people know about you…

A fun fact not many people know about me is that I actually started out as a musician, playing saxophone and drums my whole life and was actually kind of bad at dancing when I was little!lol I also had a lisp for a few years and anytime I needed to say words with an “s” I said it with an “f” like ” mommy I wanna go fwimming!”

Best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to think of SHARING your gifts/talents as opposed to thinking of performing or entertaining. That way you take yourself and your ego out of the equation and focus on what matters most which is speaking truthfully from your soul which effects and changes people lives. Be the blessing!

Favorite twitters you follow? (theater and non-theater related)

My favorite people to follow on twitter are Chris Gattelli (@cgattelli), TheInspiredWordNYC (@inspiredWordNYC), African Proverbs (@AfricanProverbs), and Martina Sykes (@ladysykes10) …and of COURSE BWayNews! ; )

Big thanks to Ephraim for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat. Be sure to check Ephraim out in Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre. Follow him on Twitter @ephsykes.

Photo credit: Kevin W. Paige