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!

 

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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!

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

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

One of my favorite things about tweeting @bwaynews is the amazing opportunity I have to interview some spectacular performers. Ghost: The Musical begins previews on Broadway March 15th and I’m thrilled to present an interview with cast member James Brown III! James has a great history with Broadway working on shows such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Memphis, The Little Mermaid and The Color Purple. James shares some insights about bringing Ghost over from London as well as his fashion line! Be sure to follow James on twitter at @jamesgeorgeiii.

What first inspired you to be an actor and dancer?

Hard Question: I started acting recreationally in middle school and basically stayed with it as an extracurricular activity through college, but it was with no intention of ever doing it professionally. I definitely didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a performer. I was a very serious athlete on a path of going to medical school and becoming a Psychiatrist or Neurosurgeon. Fate caught up with me when psych research brought me to NYC and my intended path was laid in front of me. Something that had always been a passion of mine became my profession and I haven’t stopped since. That was a longwinded way of saying I’ve always loved TV, Movies, and of course theater and falling in love with the craft  manifested itself in a career years later.

You’ve had the privilege of being a part of a bunch of Broadway shows. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned that you apply to your work ethic today?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is to LISTEN. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how many performers don’t listen. I use that word in the broadest sense, because it has so many applications. As an actor, listening is the key to making scenes work, it’s the key to actually sharing the stage with your fellow actors. The only way to react honestly is to have truly heard what you are responding to. Another important listening lesson is when you are in an audition and a director, choreographer or musical director gives you a correction or specific details about your audition material and applying them immediately. Listening is the key to learning, growing, and being the ultimate professional.

What show that you have been a part of/person you’ve played fits your personality the most?

“Memphis” and “Ghost” are the shows that fit my personality the most. And I would say that Harpo from “The Color Purple” and Simba from “The Lion King” are the roles I’ve played that best fit my personality.

What can you share with us about your next project, GHOST?

What can I share? Well I can tell you what I can’t share, I can’t share the magic and illusion secrets in the show. We are sworn to secrecy about those amazing moments in the show and I would hate to ruin them. I can tell you that the show is like no other on broadway right now. How can you go wrong with the incredibly smart and talented direction of Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage, The Norman Conquest, Matilda, etc.)?The music is amazing written by our legendary composers Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. If you don’t know their song book, google them and get into it, but it might include Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On”. And of course choreographed by commercial choreographer Ashley Wallen. He’s successfully merged the worlds of music videos and musical theater by using his style of dance to enhance the tone and emotion of fast pace life in New York City. I am so proud to be a part of this production and can’t wait for the Broadway audience to experience the magic of “Ghost”.

Those that have seen the London production, can we expect some new touches to the Broadway version?

You sure can expect new touches and changes. We’ve replaced the song “Ball of Wax” with a great new song called “You Gotta Let Go Now”. The choreography has been amped up for our production, lots of new videos for the video wall, new scenes, edited scenes, broadway actors, and ME…LOL

In the future, do you see yourself still on stage or would you like to make a jump into film and tv?

I can see myself producing theater, TV and film before I would make the jump to being in front of the camera. I have enjoyed the tv and film worked I’ve done in the passed but I am having a great time in theater. I love it. To be honest I just want to continue to follow my passions.

Tell us about your fashion line. What got you started in design?

I’ve always loved fashion and styling. I pride myself of having my own sense of style and knowing what I look best in as well as having an eye for what looks good on other people. With that said, it was Associate Director/Choreographer Tara Young who got me started in design. Tara taught me how to knit 5 years while in tech for “The Little Mermaid” and my growing love for knitting led me into designing my own knit patterns which made an easy transition to sewing. My grandmother showed me how to use a sewing machine and I was off and running.

I love the pieces on your website, the dresses are absolutely gorgeous. What can we expect from you and your fashion work in 2012?

You can expect to see a few of my designs on the red carpet of the “Ghost” Opening Night. Three of the actresses from “Ghost” will be wearing couture gowns designed especially for them from my James George III label. You can also expect to see Most of the Men of “Ghost” wearing tailor made suits from my Alfa line of custom made clothing. www.worldofalfa.com. I am focusing this year on really growing my Alfa line, which is a web based company geared towards allowing the consumer to have a hand in creating their own clothing that is tailored to fit their measurments. I started this company with my dad James Brown Jr., actor Boris Kodjoe (Resident Evil, Soul Food, The Surrogates) and his Brother Patrick Kodjoe. We also plan on creating a site where a portion of the proceeds go to Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. Check it out!!!

Do you see your love of fashion and theater merging at some point? Maybe you’ll be a future costume designer?

I could easily see the two worlds merging. Costume design is absolutely in my future, I just don’t know when.

What would be your ultimate dream role?

I have a few ultimate dream roles, I know you asked for one but I’m not following the rules. I am dying to play Tom Collins in “Rent”, Papa Ge in “Once on this Island”, and Bobby in “Company”. Also Tiger Woods in a Tiger Woods Biopic.

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

I am a really good gift giver, my mutant power is surprises and surprise parties. I’m still obsessed with cartoons…Thundercats, Phineas & Ferb, Winks Club, Dragon Ball Z, X-Men, Ben 10. My favorite bands are Country Bands, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum. I LOVE TV, DVR was the greatest invention ever (Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, Revenge, Game of Thrones, Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Spartacus, Tosh.o, American Dad, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, Chelsea Lately, True Blood, Homeland, and various reality competition shows) List goes on and on.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad “Dress the part”. If you wanna be successful, look successful. From my mom “Follow your first instinct”, it’s usually right. And of course LISTEN

Favorite twitters you follow?

@brubendall @ghostbroadway @elliesaabworld @itgetsbetter @andyroddick @danieltosh @themine @chelseahandler and of course @bwaynews

Big thanks to James for taking the time to chat. Be sure to check out Ghost at The Lunt-Fontanne, starting previews March 15th with an opening night set for April 23rd. Follow James on twitter @jamesgeorgeiii and check out jamesgeorgeiii.com


For this interview I had the privilege of chatting with Ben from Jujamcyn Theaters and Givenik! He’s going to tell us more about what Givenik does and how buying theater tickets can be a winning situation for everyone.

What is your role within Givenik and how long have you been with them?

My name is Ben Cohen and I am a Marketing Associate at Jujamcyn Theaters. I work mainly on Givenik.com, which is the only place on the web where you can get Broadway tickets and 5% goes to your favorite charity! I started full-time in June 2011 and focus a lot on the digital marketing world.

 So tell us, how did the idea for Givenik come about?

Givenik.com was started in 2007 by Jordan Roth. He is an incredible visionary for Broadway and has always supported many charitable organizations. He realized that these two passions don’t intersect in a way that they should. From there, Givenik.com was born and we have become a year-round fundraising mechanism for some incredible organizations.

For those unaware of how Givenik works, can you explain why it’s beneficial for people to buy their theater tickets with you?

Of course. Givenik.com is redefining theatergoing, one ticket at a time. The revolutionary service offers discount, full-price & premium tickets to dozens of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as group rates to all shows, and donates 5% of the ticket price to the charity of the ticket-buyer’s choice. Give money, save money, see a show-it’s a win-win-win situation.

What are some of the top charities that people choose?

This is definitely a hard questions to answer. We have national groups to local chapters, and from arts organizations to educational institutions on Givenik.com, including The Trevor Project, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, City Harvest, Broadway Green Alliance, Dress for Success Worldwide, God’s Love We Deliver, The Actors Fund, Stand Up to Cancer, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The It Gets Better Project, New York Theatre Workshop, local chapters of Susan G. Komen For the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, the Museum for African Art and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. And of course, if your charity isn’t signed up, just visit the site and select the “add my charity” tab. It takes only a few minutes and is absolutely free.

How do you pick your Givenik ambassadors?

We’ve been blessed to have so many incredible Givenik Ambassadors, who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to record a video discussing their favorite charity and answer questions from fans. We’ve been privileged enough to interview Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Carter, Reeve Carney, Joel Grey and many more who all have a unique connection to various non-profits. There are some people who immediately pop into your head, like Rory O’Malley from The Book of Mormon, who co-founded Broadway Impact and other times we help start that relationship.

What are some of your favorite events to be a part of throughout the year?

We love doing red carpet arrivals at Broadway openings because we get to ask questions that no one else is asking. For example, at the 2011 Tony Awards we were able to chat with Edie Falco and James Earl Jones about their favorite charity. We’ve recently begun hosting charity nights at various Broadway shows, which are honestly the most exciting events for us. Our first was with Chicago, where fans who bought a ticket on Givenik for that specific performance could attend a post-show reception with Kara DioGuardi. On Tuesday, February 21st we have our next charity night at The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It’s great to see an entire company support an organization.

I remember when you started up and shows were jumping on board. Now Givenik has become a huge force in the theater world. Have you ever considered conquering other areas like sports or concert ticketing?

Ha! When Givenik.com first launched, we dedicated a lot of time securing partner shows. All of our tickets are processed directly through Telecharge and Ticketmaster, so each show has to come to an agreement on the price, locations, dates etc. It’s an advantage for the consumer because we aren’t a broker, the 5% donation comes directly from the ticket price, and they can enjoy the user-friendly experience of these authorized ticketing websites. Fast forward to 2012, it’s great to see the biggest hits like Wicked and Jersey Boys join our long-running shows and off-Broadway hits. We’ve really been embraced by the theatrical community. The natural next step is to dive in to sporting events and concerts (last year was the first year we sold any MSG events, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Peter Pan), and it is definitely a 2012 goal. We love what we do and hope to spread our wings as wide as we can.

How can we be more involved with Givenik? Do you take on interns?

YES! Jujamcyn Theaters and Givenik.com has an incredible internship program, which led to me getting my first big break. Visit Jujamcyn.com to learn more and you can even watch videos from past interns discuss their experience. The Marketing/Givenik.com department is always looking for great interns who love theater and have a knack for the non-profit world.

Thank you so much for your time Ben! Be sure to check out givenik.com the next time you’re looking for your theater tickets. I really support this organization, it truly is a win-win situation for everyone involved. See great theater while supporting a great charity!

You may have noticed on my Twitter that I have so much love for the @bwaybites guys. How could I not? Gorgeous Broadway boys that blog about food? Sold. I had sent them a ton of questions and they have been kind enough to work with me to do these interviews. Stay tuned for more of their responses in the future and be sure to look into some of their culinary recommendations!

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 53rd and 6th Food Truck.  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.

…your favorite after-show bite?

Adam: Pizza, preferably homemade.

Andy:  Back in the Rent Broadway days at the Nederlander I always craved a cheeseburger, and not much has changed. My current favorite is the burger at Corner Bistro. I salivate as I think of it.

Matt:   Please accept my apologies for doubling up, but I’m gonna have to go with Halal for the win again!  I have also been known to frequent 5 Napkin Burger after many a show to satisfy my burger craving which is probably my favorite food on earth.  I think I’m craving one right now!

…your favorite snack?

Adam: The Trail Mix from Westerly Market.  Hmm…I’m beginning to notice a grocery store theme here.

Andy:  Definitely the Country Pate on Toast from Blue Ribbon Bakery around the corner from my house in the West Village. They place two beautiful slices of pate on toast with dijon mustard, sea salt, drizzled olive oil, and diced cornichons. It’s heaven.

Matt:   This might sound a bit strange, but my favorite snack is coffee.  Addict alert!  Check out the latest Coffee Talk to find out where I go for the very best in the city.

You all seem to be pretty adventurous in your dining experiences; what’s the most unique thing you’ve ever tasted?

Adam: I’m afraid of answering this question for fear of sounding forever lame. I’d have to say fried chicken gizzards from this awesome, unexpectedly authentic Japanese pub in midtown called Sake Bar Hagi on 49th St. between 6th and 7th Ave.

Andy:  Turtle Soup.  Yes, you heard correctly, Turtle Soup. I had it in Hong Kong when I was touring with the Asian Tour of RENT. It was gelatinous, black, and awful. The next day I had Snake Soup which actually wasn’t that bad. Reptiles in food however are not my thing. Oh, I also had donkey that same week. We were told what it was after we had been eating it for a while. That’s a whole other story….

Matt:   When it comes to reptiles: alligator; sushi: Uni (sea urchin); and I can safely say I’ve tasted pretty much every unique thing that Korean BBQ has to offer.  Tripe anyone?

Be sure to follow them on twitter @bwaybites (@ChandelierBeret @shishigabor @andysenorjr) and check out bwaybites.com!

@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

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!

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