CARRIE IS BACK! The show hasn’t been seen on Broadway since it’s 1988 production but MCC Theater is thrilled to present a newly re-worked and re-imagined production. The stellar cast includes Marin Mazzie, Molly Ranson, Christy Altomare and more. CARRIE is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated shows starting up in 2012! Performances begin January 31st at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and MCC Theater has joined forces with @bwaynews to give away 2 tickets to the show!

Rules:

To enter, RT my daily tweet that says “Enter to win 2 tickets to MCC’s CARRIE musical! Follow and RT for your chance to win. Rules and info at bwaynews.com”

1. You must be following me @bwaynews. Give @mcctheater a follow as well for running this great contest.

2. Only one RT per person, per day. Yes, I will keep track.

3. Contest begins Monday, January 30th and will end Wednesday February 1st at 6pm eastern.

Good luck!

The fine print:

Open to any U.S. resident except employees of MCC Theater and affiliated organizations. No purchase required. Winner must be 18 years of age or older. Prize is as described above; no cash alternatives will be given. Prize may not be sold, traded, transferred or refunded. If for any reason winners are unable to use the prize, MCC Theater is not responsible for providing any replacement prize. No make goods will be given in the event of a canceled or rescheduled event. Transportation is NOT included.

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@bwaynews is proud to present the latest in our interview series – Raymond J. Lee! Ray has appeared in Mamma Mia on Broadway as well as tons of off-Broadway and regional work. Catch Ray currently starring as John in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes!

Who or what inspired you to be an actor and dancer?

I think the first inspiration I had was to be a singer when I was a kid.  I remember listening to Mariah Carey’s “Music Box” back in the day and trying to sing like her.  She was a huge inspiration for me growing up and so was that album.  It’ll always hold a special place in my heart.  And as I kept on singing during middle school and high school, I was introduced to acting and theater and immediately fell in love.  I have been pursuing that love ever since.

What’s it like working with such masters in acting like Sutton and Joel?

I still pinch myself that I get to perform on the same stage as Sutton Foster and Joel Grey.  To me, they are both huge living theater legends, and I’m just in constant awe of them and their talents.  Plus they couldn’t be any more down-to-earth and wonderful human beings! I mean Sutton gets us bagels every Saturday since we opened and “Bagel Saturdays” have become a regular thing.  And Joel will come and hang out with all of us in our dressing rooms, checking in to make sure our days are going well.   It has really inspired me to be humble and professional in my everyday life.

I’ve noticed on your twitter that the AG cast seems like a big family. Tell us about Runway Sundays and what else you all do for fun backstage.

The AG cast is one ridiculously silly, warm-hearted family.  We really do have a great time with each other and really look forward to coming to work.  I actually tell people who come to the show that the show backstage is even zanier than the one onstage.  We constantly joke with each other and entertain one another.  Runway Sundays started back in the day and we’ve had several ridiculous themes.  And let me tell you, our cast doesn’t look like it, but we all LOVE to eat!

What are some of your favorite moments in Anything Goes?

I think one of the most memorable moments we’ve shared as a cast was The Tony Awards.  As a kid, I had always dreamed of going to one, and this past year I actually got to perform on them.  And it was so magical to be backstage when they announced that we had won BEST REVIVAL and when Sutton won for BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL.  We screamed and jumped for joy, all while backstage and staring at one TV.  The energy that night was palpable.

Are there any specific moments from the past year that really stick with you?

There are so many specific moments.  Opening night was really special because it was my first time opening a show on Broadway.  We also had former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton at the show, which was really cool! And of course, when I found out that Hugh Jackman was at our show, I nearly freaked out. 

People might remember you from the tv competition for FAME. What was that experience like for you?

FAME was one huge learning curve for me. I hadn’t really performed professionally outside of Northwestern University so to be suddenly thrust out onto the TV spotlight was frightening.  The pace at which we had to learn material was so fast and I had to make sure I was constantly on my game. But I learned so much from that experience and met a lot of amazing friends.  We all still keep in touch from the show and call each other “Fame-ily.”  It has been really cool to see what everyone has done post-Fame.  For example, Shannon Bex went on to perform in Danity Kane, Allyson Arena is now a member of Mamma Mia! On Broadway, Lauren Hildebrandt and Alex Boyd are both kicking butt as recording artists.   It’s great to get updates from each other and we make sure to keep in touch.

You’ve done tv ads, film, Mamma Mia on Broadway, plus tons of off-Broadway and regional work. What else do you hope to tackle?

I would like to do a lot more in all three areas: TV, Film, and Theater.  I would like to be a series regular on a television show someday and also hope to land a principal role on Broadway where I get to sing and do my thing.  It has been such a blessing playing the role of “John” in Anything Goes, but I’m excited to show New York what I can really do!

What do you think makes you stand out as an actor? Do you have any special skills listed on your resume?

Let’s see.  My current special skills include playing the violin (Suzuki Method Books 1-8), jumping rope, and imitating Mickey Mouse!  I think being an Asian American actor who sings pop music really makes me stand out as an individual and I’m excited to see what future projects I get to work on.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

I’m an army brat!  I went to six elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and one high school.

What’s your ultimate dream role?

Wow I have so many! To name a few: Leo Bloom in The Producers, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Mark in Rent, and Elphaba in Wicked

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay humble and be considerate of others.

Favorite song to sing in the shower?

I am an absolutely Disney freak! My favorite shower songs include Part of Your World, A Change In Me, On My Own, and anything from Disney’s ALADDIN.

What current show have you been recommending to friends?

I was recommending Bonnie & Clyde to all my friends before it closed. I thought Laura Osnes was amazing.  The current show I’ve been recommending to friends is The Book of Mormon.  I have never laughed that hard in the theater!

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

 Well BwayNews…DUH! =)

Big thank you to Ray for taking the time to do the interview! Be sure to check him out in Anything Goes and follow him on Twitter @raymondjlee!

2011 was a phenomenal year for Nick Adams. Priscilla took off and made Broadway fabulous, performing at the Tonys, tons of promotional tv appearances. Nick talks with @bwaynews about what’s in store for 2012 and his past year at the Palace.

Priscilla has had a pretty spectacular run so far. What are some of your favorite moments and experiences?

It’s been the most exciting process of my life. Originating a starring role on Broadway, appearing in Vanity Fair, performing on The View, The Today Show, The Rosie Show, The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Tony Awards, recording our original cast album, riding in the Pride Parade, making the first PSA for “It Gets Better”, singing at and raising $20,000 for AIDS WALK New York, seeing my face on a billboard in Times Square, winning two Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, receiving an Astaire Award nomination, being honored by the American Theatre Hall of Fame, and having the opportunity to work with my dear friends Will Swenson and Tony Sheldon every night.

Priscilla is such a fantastic, over the top show especially when it comes to costumes. What’s your favorite costume? Which is the hardest to perform in?

I love them all! It’s hard to pick just one, but I love the Broken Hill costume. It’s so iconic from the film and I remember putting it on in one of my first fittings and really feeling like Felicia. The hardest to perform in is probably the Gumby.

The bus itself is a major character in the show. I’m sure there’s tons of little trinkets on there that the audience doesn’t get to see. What’s some of your favorite pieces on the bus?

There is so much detail inside that bus. I love all of Adam’s Bettie Page comics on the bus & a little book of men in swim suits!

There’s always a bunch of celebs coming through the Palace, any of them get you star struck?

Yes. Hugh Jackman. Patti LaBelle. Shirley Maclaine. The list goes on…

You have definitely paid your dues and earned your success in Priscilla. What have you learned from your previous experiences in Chicago, Guys & Dolls and La Cage that you have applied to your work ethic now?

Every show has been such a unique experience for me. They all have challenged me in different ways and helped me grow as an actor and performer. Each one required something specific of me and collectively taught me something new.

Thinking ahead, what would you love to see on the horizon? Another Broadway show or a jump to more tv and film work?

I’d love to do more tv and film work.  

I’m sure Hollywood will love you but is the stage always something you’ll come back to?

I feel most at home on stage and I love what I do. I don’t think I could ever leave live theatre forever.

You recently filmed a guest role on NBC’s Smash. What else can we expect from you in 2012?

Yes. I had a wonderful time on Smash. I’m excited to see the episode. I think it’s going to be an incredible new series. Ill be sticking with Priscilla for a while, I just recorded with Dee Snider for his new album, and there is a potential project on the horizon that would take me out of NY for a while…

You have such a strong twitter presence. Do you think staying involved and interacting with your fans helps contribute to your success?

Absolutely. I think social media is an incredible way to engage fans, promote the show, increase exposure and stay connected. It’s an easy way to personally thank the fans of the show and let them know what I’m up to.

Tons of your fans have expressed desire for an album from you. Is that something you see yourself taking on at some point?

I would love the opportunity.

What’s your ultimate dream role?

I’m playing it! I always wanted to originate a role in a new show. Now my next dream role is something on screen.

Tell us something not many people know about you…

I had a pet Piranha named Mark when I was a kid.

Lastly, I asked my twitter followers to submit some questions for you and I picked 3 of them for you to answer:

@clerkin001 asked: Nick Adams is one of the most real and grounded performers. How does he manage to balance success with sincerity?

Thank you! I have been dedicated to my art since I was a child. I’ve never taken anything in my career for granted. I think if you meet each success with gratitude you will stay grounded and sincere. My situation has changed, but my mindset and heart haven’t.

@ryanghisetti wants to know what was the hardest challenge preparing for Priscilla?

Not allowing myself to be intimidated by the magnitude of the opportunity. I had to focus on the work of telling a story and enjoying myself.

 @broadwaygirl99 asked: Nick is always so busy with the show. What does he do to relax in any free time that he has?

 Not do crunches. Eat. Sleep. Play with my dog. See my family. Did I mention eat?

 

Catch Nick Adams starring as Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre. Follow him on twitter at @thenickadams

Presenting… NBC’s Smash!

January 16, 2012

Finally there’s something on TV that gets me a weekly theater fix. And that would be NBC’s SMASH.

The buzz around this show has been steadily growing since its first whisperings and to garner fans early in the season, the pilot episode was released on iTunes and Amazon for a free download today. After just one episode, people are already declaring allegiance to either #teamIvy or #teamKaren. [I’m #teamIvy in case you wanted to know. Sorry Katharine McPhee, I don’t know what it is about you, but you really annoy me.]

I admit I liked Glee when it first started but after about 5 episodes, I was beyond over it – I feel like it’s so juvenile. I was so disappointed when the HBO pilot The Miraculous Year with a stellar cast was somehow passed over. HBO’s “reason” for not picking it up? There isn’t a big enough audience that would watch the show every week. SMASH just might be the show to change that opinion.

The premise is simple. There’s a new musical in the works and these two lovely young ladies both want the lead. You don’t need to love theater or even understand the inner-workings to follow that plot. But the thing I love about SMASH is that it knows it’s core audience. And that’s us. Those of us that understood the little jokes. Those of us who know who Michael Riedel is. Thanks for putting in those little bits that make theater dorks like me smile.

The thing that Smash has in its favor is familiar all-star faces mixed in with some of our favorite Broadway stars. Who doesn’t love Debra Messing? How could you not love Jack Davenport with that dreamy accent? [Commodore Norrington, oh how I adored thee] I’m sure the younger crowd will know Katharine McPhee [okay NBC, seriously, we don’t need to be “introduced” to her, everyone knows who she is.] And Anjelica Huston? No words. Mix that star power in with brilliant stage actors and actresses like Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, Savannah Wise, the list goes on… the entire cast is phenomenal. [Expect cameos and recurring roles from Nick Adams, Norbert Leo Butz, Will Chase, Wesley Taylor…]

To be perfectly honest, the only thing I’m slightly on the fence about would be the music [yes I know there’s only been one episode]. They have to keep it fresh every week and not over-do it. That baseball number, not my cup of tea. Reminded me of Catch Me If You Can and how that “Pinstripes” song was one of my least favorite numbers in that show. However, that last duet with Megan and Katharine – love. That melody will definitely be in my head for the next few days.

I had pretty high expectations for this show based on all the chatter and the previews. This pilot definitely met those expectations and I cannot wait until there’s more episodes. The writing is brilliant and it’s obvious they are taking care to make it realistic. The staging is fantastic for the musical numbers. …And I’m begging you SMASH, don’t go the Glee route and go merch crazy. No need to make t-shirts, release a new cd of “Music from…” every other month – it’s not cute. Don’t ruin this for us NBC, you’ve got something amazing on your plate.

SMASH will officially premiere on NBC on February 6th, 10pm eastern. Download the pilot episode for free via iTunes or Amazon.com.

Spotlight: @bwaybites

January 11, 2012

This past year, something glorious happened to the twitter and blog world – Andy Senor Jr., Adam Chanler-Berat and Matt Shingledecker got together and started to write about food. Broadway boys and food, what could possibly be better? They know their way around the city, finding the best places to get some amazing dishes. I sent them a bunch of questions and this is just round one!

What’s your background in regards to food and family?

Adam:  My parents were busy but health conscious, so family meals were usually quick and convenient but nutritional…which let’s face it, isn’t usually a winning combo.  But it inspired my brothers and I to fantasize about a life where we could eat like kings, so we would come home from school and plop down on the couch and watch food shows, cooking shows when it wasn’t yet cool to watch food television.  I need to throw my Mom a bone here; when she had the time, she would turn out a killer recipe.   Holidays were and are very tasty and boozy evenings.  Birthday’s she would cook our favorite dish.  To this day she says, ‘I love to cook, when I’ve got the time to be creative.’  I hear you, Mom.
Andy:   I grew up in a Cuban Household and it was seven of us.  My grandfather who was from Spain did all the cooking.  It was mandatory that we all sat at the table for dinner which were full course meals.  It’s one of the things that I miss most from my childhood.  I never knew how special and fortunate I was until recently.  If I could go back in time it would be to one of those evenings.
Matt:   I have brothers and sisters, but they are all much older than me, so I grew up like an only-child.  My family is Southern and stereotypically not health conscious.  Snacking was a horrible habit, but I developed an insatiable appetite.  The meals, however unhealthy, were well balanced and delicious.  My personal favorites include my mother’s tomato alfredo pasta with Italian sausage, her cauliflower mash, her pork chops topped with a blue cheese gravy, and her blue cheese meatloaf.  Can you tell I we both like blue cheese?

We’re lucky enough to live in NYC where you can find pretty much any kind of food you could want.  So, where would you go for… your favorite meal?
Adam:  Belgian Mussels and Frites at Markt in Chelsea (not to be confused with Chelsea Market)
Andy:  My favorite meal would have to be the Pollo Mirador at Cafe Habana.  It’s a creamy garlic chicken that comes with yellow rice and red beans.  Of course I would get the Mexican Corn to start off.  It’s not the fanciest of foods in NYC, but there’s something about the dish and the ambiance that reminds me of home.  It’s soul satisfying.
Matt:   The chicken and lamb combo from The Halal Guys the 53rd and 6th Halal Cart.  I’ve been lucky enough to share this with the boys of Broadway Bites.  I’m sure we’ll go again and share the magic with all of y’all.

What’s a meal that reminds you of home?
Adam:  Bagged salad.  Sorry Mom.  (Can’t get that anywhere but a grocery store.)
Andy:  For something that would take me even further home I would go to Cubana Social in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and have the Picadillo with white rice and black beans, oh and sweet plantains of course! That would be my last meal before I died!
Matt:   Amy Ruth’s in Harlem for the Mac ‘n Cheese.  It is by far and away the most similar version to my Mama’s.  So, whenever I’m craving it but I’m not cooking for a large amount of people (It can only be made in bulk.), I go there.  And no, I’m still not giving away that recipe.

Thank you guys so much! Any time you want to cook for me, you just let me know ; )
Be sure to follow them on twitter @bwaybites (@ChandelierBeret @shishigabor @andysenorjr) and check out bwaybites.com!

Read the rest of this entry »

The time has come for BwayNews to start tackling the interview world! Obviously, my first choice was Mr. Brandon Rubendall – currently starring in Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark until Sunday January 15th. Those that have had the pleasure of meeting Brandon would, I’m sure, agree that he’s by far the sweetest, most positive guy. His smile is contagious. His hair is fierce. His dance moves are fabulous. (And obviously he’s easy on the eyes). Check him out rocking Spidey this week, then catch him aboard the S.S. American at Anything Goes!

What inspired you to be an actor and dancer?

Music. That is easy. My mom played the best music growing up. Oldies 98.1 was always on the dial and I knew every song. That and her Disco/Motown records from when she was a kid. How could you not wanna dance to that music?? Even now, when I hear an amazing song with good beats, I just have to dance to it!

What do you think makes you stand out? Do you have any special skills listed on your resume?

 I would say my height, but anyone who knows me would probably say my VERY loud laugh. Although I sometimes get stopped on the street because people recognize me by my long flowing locks… lol as for special skills, well… I can fly now:-)

Tell us about Spidey! Actors in Spidey have to multi-task so what are your roles?

Most people know me as Dr. Connors/The Lizard. I also can be seen as my high school altar ego, Chad Realness , in Dr. O’s Lab scene. I enjoy playing Chad because he “keeps it real.” hmm what else… I’m one of Peter’s bedroom walls, I puppeteer Chris Tierny’s legs, I’m a soldier, I liiiiive in a dance club scene and of course, a Spidey Flyer 😀 Then there’s my understudy duties….

Spidey was your Broadway debut – what was your first performance like?

My first performance was so many things. On one hand, I wasn’t sure if I would ever see it. Rehearsals were very long, then the tech process took even longer, and then we pushed our first preview back. We finally got to Nov. 28th, and still hadn’t run the show full. EVER. So I was nervous. But when the Burning Building music started and the iris lifted to show our reveal, I literally stared crying. I was so proud of all the hard work I put in, not just with the show, but in life. I was performing on a Broadway stage for my first audience ever. I watched the Brooklyn Bridge rise and then Spidey started running with that amazing swell of music. I knew in my heart I was a part of something very special. The world just felt so right at that moment. Then the show turned into 4.5 hours. But we did it. We put on a Broadway show… and finished.  🙂

What’s your favorite number in the show as a whole, and what is your favorite number you’re a part of?

Favorite number as a whole? Easy. Pull The Trigger. Its hard, but its very fun. as for number I’m a part of… My flying in NY Debut, of course. Some people don’t know it, but I’m the very first Spider-Man in the show. When that guitar begins and the floor starts rising to reveal the costume for the first time, the feeling you get from hearing the audience go crazy is just wild.  And then you take off flipping, almost landing on the front row. The looks on people’s faces are just priceless. Its the first time they see Spidey fly, and then it looks like he’s about to land on you. It’s a very cool moment in the show and I love love love it. I also get to swing across and web the gangsters which is fun. Although, there was about two weeks that I missed them more often than not. lol

What can you share with us about your next project?

Well I’m about to start my final week at Spidey. My last day is Jan 15th. On jan 17th you can catch me in my new show Anything Goes!!!!! Also, I would like to tell you exclusively that I recently filmed a secret music video for one of the Biggest Female Pop Stars of all time. I cant say who until the video is released, but I can say its the video for the first single off HER new album. And this person may or may not be debuting the single during the halftime show of a MAJOR sporting event coming up… possibly on a Sunday 😉

Tell us something not many people know about you…

Im a BIG NERD!!!!!!! I asked santa for some kind of toy that hovers or could fly because I saw an infomercial for a hover craft that was in the shape of Hans Solo’s ship. I got something better… http://youtu.be/uVNtE6LMD2o

If you could join the cast of any show (currently running or not) which would that be?

Well I guess it would be Anything Goes:-) lol Don’t forget you can catch me there starting Jan 17th!! lol

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

Well when I’m not reading @Bwaynews 😉 I love @funnypics & @OMGfacts. What can I say? I love news about broadway, funny pictures and facts 🙂

Thank you SO much Brandon! I can’t wait to see you tap your heart out in Anything Goes! Be sure to follow his twitter @brubendall.