SPOTLIGHT: MICHELLE DAWSON

May 17, 2017
BY: Jim DeBlasi

 

Michelle Dawson is currently appearing as Donna Sheridan in the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production of MAMMA MIA! – a role that Ms. Dawson has performed on Broadway.  Michelle is no stranger to the WBT having appeared in their productions of  SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Candy), MAN OF LA MANCHA (Aldonza), SOUND OF MUSIC (Elsa), JELYLL & HYDE (Lucy), and OLIVER ( Nancy). Ms. Dawson’s National Tour credits include MAMMA MIA!, SEVEN BRIDES… and THE SECRET GARDEN.

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CUE: How did you get started in theatre?

MD:  I grew up in Vermont and started acting in grade school. My first production was THE WIZARD OF OZ, and no, I didn’t play Dorothy, I was actually a made up role but I knew even then that this is what I wanted to do.  I started studying voice and continued with the school plays.

CUE: Was there a single event that led to your decision to pursue this professionally?

MD:  I wish I could say yes to that but the truth is I just feel this is what I was meant to do and it was always there to me. I had no other real interests other than the school musicals and appearing in community theatre productions. This was just my path – there was no other career driving me.

CUE: Did you find that community theatre was helpful to you to prepare for a career?

MD:  Absolutely. It was such a great way to get experience and to seize opportunities. My first show was ANNIE GET YOUR GUN where I actually learned to tap. Community theatre helped me to understand the foundation of what is involved with putting on a show. You learn that while you need to work hard, you start to understand how your role fits into the overall development of the show as a whole.

CUE: What do you consider your first big break?

MD:  I would say that getting my Equity card was a big break and opened up opportunities for me. It’s funny but sometimes I think just being able to continue working in this field is your big break.  Some people measure success and their big break by getting to Broadway – I’ve had 5 Broadway shows and have come to realize that those opportunities come and go, so staying employed is the key to success and working to hone your skills is constantly your big break.

CUE: What would you say has been the biggest obstacle to overcome in pursuing your career?

MD:  I would say it is getting past myself! I have to keep trying to stop me from sabotaging me. I can’t let my own insecurities an anxieties get the best of me. I believe that so many actors suffer from this same issue. We can stall our own careers due to self-doubt.

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CUE: How did you get involved with MAMMA MIA!?

MD:  I’ve worked at the WBT a few times in the past and they have been amazing to me. They are like family.  I also think that it worked to my advantage that I had played this part on Broadway.  I love the show and I always enjoy working at the WBT so for me this was a no brainer.

CUE: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

MD:  I love performing, “Slipping Through My Fingers.”  I have a son who is 12 and for me and lots of other people that song really makes an impact and highlights the relationship.  I also love, “Winner Takes It All,” it is a powerful number and I love to sing it.  Overall I enjoy so much of the music because it is powerful in how it focuses on relationships.

CUE: Having played this role several times, is it hard to find new things and interpretations?

MD: It is really never the same no matter how many times you do it. You work with different actors who bring their own take on their character which influences how you play yours. Also each production has different staging and blocking. I have usually performed this on a proscenium stage and here at the WBT it is a ¾ round stage so you need to be aware of all sides.  There are just differences in each production that require you to be on your toes and not rely on what you’ve done previously.

CUE: How do you deal with auditions?

MD:  I am not a fan of auditioning.  They generally set off my anxiety and self-doubt. They bring up all my insecurities.  Auditions are hard – you need to be yourself yet you try to interpret what they are looking for. You also have limited time to learn the material.  So you go in and try to do the work as best you can and look to avoid the distractions.

CUE: What types of roles attract you?

MD:  I would say I love an earth mom with complications. I like roles that have baggage – characters that take a journey and have an arc throughout the show. I also like roles that have a little bit of a darker side.

CUE: What has been your best career advice so far?

MD:  Actually I think I just got it recently – Don’t get caught up in the results but rather enjoy the process.

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BROADWAY TODAY: ROBERT CREIGHTON

April 26, 2017

CAGNEY

BY: Jim DeBlasi

 

Robert Creighton stars in the title role of the Off Broadway musical CAGNEY, in which he is also a co-creator. Mr. Creighton’s lead Broadway credits include: THEY MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, ANYTHING GOES, CHICAGO, THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE LION KING and CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. Robert has had guest starring roles on THE FAMILY, ELEMENTARY, LAW & ORDER, & LIFE ON MARS.  He is the recipient of the 2014 Bistro Award for Outstanding Entertainer for his New York Cabaret.

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CUE: How did you get your start in theatre?

RC:  I started as a singer as a kid in a boy’s choir around the age of 7. Through that I learned to read music and nurture my voice. I also was the kid performing for family and friends in the living room. I did the school shows and at age 15 I played the Artful Dodger in OLIVER in a community theatre production and that was when it hit me that this is what I wanted to do.

 

CUE: Was there a particular event that led to your decision to pursue this professionally?

RC:  I always knew I wanted to come to New York and do Broadway but I grew up in a small town in Ontario and I wasn’t exactly sure how to make that happen.  When I was 19, I played Eugene in BRIGHTON BEACH MEMIORES and my dad came to the show and that was the first time he actually acknowledged what I was doing was right and he told me to stick with it.  As a family doctor that was a bold statement for him to make.

 

CUE: What’s been the biggest obstacle to overcome?

RC:  I graduated with a music degree and went on to study acting in New York for two years with the goal to get on Broadway. It took me 10 years to get my first Broadway show.  I worked regionally and on tour but it was a long road to Broadway. So I realized that you need to have persistence and be able to deal with the ebb and flow of your career. I have a family now and that changes your outlook when you have those responsibilities.

 

CUE: What do you consider your first big break?

RC:  I went to an open call for PETER PAN at Paper Mill Playhouse and I was cast as one of the lost boys as well as Peter’s understudy. Two weeks into the run the kid playing Peter got sick and I took over the role for the remaining four weeks.  It was an amazing production and the Daily News came back to re-review the show and gave me wonderful reviews. I got a lot of work from that it was a great jumping off point.

 

CUE: How have you seen Broadway change?

RC: I think one of the big differences is that today there are just so many shows that are centered around finding a star who can sell tickets rather than casting the best person for the part.  That is a huge obstacle for regular Broadway actors because you can be right for the part but you don’t have the name recognition. I understand that bigger names have a greater commercial appeal but this is not the way it was when I started.

 

CUE: How did you get started with CAGNEY?

RC:  It was an idea that started in acting school when one of my teachers told me that I reminded him of Jimmy Cagney.  I started watching his films
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and pretty soon I became obsessed and felt an immediate connection because there are so many similarities – same size, I look a bit like him, both song and dance men.  I always thought that someday I would do a show about Cagney. Then in 1999 I started writing this as a one-man show. Soon after a playwright friend got involved as we expanded the show and the story.  Over the years all the right people just kept crossing my path and in 2009 we debuted in Florida and won best New Work. That production was followed up with a production in Canada and then back to Florida.  Throughout the time I was getting parts on Broadway which delayed CAGNEY but in 2014 we did a reading at the York Theatre.

 

CUE: What type of research did  you need to do for the show?

RC:  Early on in the process I had an association with the Cagney estate who initially was looking to do something themselves about a show but nothing came of that.  I did mange to have a relationship with family members who were happy with what I was doing and they were very helpful. They have been very thankful for the way I have treated the story.  I also immersed myself in his movies and books written including my favorite and most valuable book, Cagney By Cagney.  This was the most helpful book because it was in Cagney’s own voice and how he talked about his days growing up on the streets of New York as well as his experiences in Hollywood.  As the process proceeded people were coming out of the woodwork to share their stories.

 

CUE: What was your biggest revelation in what you learned?

RC:  James Cagney always came across as the rough and tough guy but in actuality he was a true humanitarian – he did things without wanting recognition or credit. One story was told to me by a coule who were traveling n a train with Cagney and their bookings got fouled up. James had two cars and graciously gave  up one car so the couple could have a room.  Another time an elderly gentleman told me about when he was in the army and Cagney was scheduled to do a show but it got rained out.  He remembers that Cagney spent that entire night going to every single soldier and thanking them for their service.

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CUE: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

RC:  There are several actually but I really enjoy the “Tough Guy” number near the end of the show as well as the big tap duet. But truth is I love every moment of the show.

 

CUE: Any Aspect of the show more difficult that you expected?

RC:I don’t know if I realized exactly how taxing the show would be on me physically and vocally.  This is the hardest thing I’ve done but also the most satisfying. So it is rough doing 8 shows a week and balancing that schedule with having time for my family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BROADWAY TODAY

ROBERT CREIGHTON

BY: Jim DeBlasi

(Continued)

 

 

CUE: How do you deal with auditions – do they bother you or can you let them go?

RC: I’ve gotten way better at letting them go as I’ve gotten older.  Rarely do I hold onto anything if I don’t get the part.  I just remember that the audition is a very different animal then performing.  I’ve come to accept I am who I am and I go in prepared to do the best I can and never question my talent or ability.  Also being on the other side of the table in casting CAGNEY, I saw that there are a lot of very talented people who are just not right or the correct type for that particular show.

 

CUE: What are your thoughts on reviews and reviewers and do they still influence the public?

RC:  I allowed myself to read the reviews for CAGNEY and you come to realize that there is such a large range of reviewers and there are those that are well-versed, educated and insightful who provide constructive criticism that you can learn from. And then there are others who you can quickly identify are not educated or qualified to write a review and you learn very soon the ones that should be dismissed.

 

CUE: How do you know when it is time to leave a show?

RC:  Generally I know its time when my knees give out. That is a very tough question and generally a personal decision.  For me personally it comes down to supporting my family. Now CAGNEY has been a great experience and serves my career and artistry very well but it an Off Broadway production so the financial compensation is far less.  There will come a time when I will need to move on to something more financially beneficial to secure my financial obligations.  Also you need to take into account how demanding the particular show is on you vocally and physically. You need to make certain you stay in good shape and healthy. And finally does the show allow you to balance your work life with your family life.

 

CUE: What has been the best career advice that you’ve been given so far?

RC:  When I was doing DAMN YANKEES with Sean Hayes, we went out for a drink and we were talking about auditions and his experience with WILL & GRACE and he told me that I should approach every audition as if I already had the job and I was in fact just going to rehearsal.  I have always remembered that and it has helped.

 

CASTING CALL – MAY

April 26, 2017

 

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS

SPAMALOT
MAY 7 @ 10:30AM / MAY 8 & 11 @ 7:30PM
298 KINDERKAMACK RD
ORADELL, NJ
WWW.BCPLAYERS.ORG
201/ 261-4200

 

ELMWOOD PLAYHOUSE

THE ODD COUPLE – MARGARET YOUNG
JUNE 20 & 21 @ 7:30PM
10 PARK ST
NYACK, NY
WWW.ELMWOODPLAYHOUSE.COM
845/ 353-1313

 

OLD LIBRARY THEATRE

PIPPIN
MAY 8 & 9 @ 7:30PM
FAIR LAWN REC CENTER
10-10 20TH STREET
FAIR LAWN, NJ
WWW.OLDLIBRARYTHEATRE.NET
973/ OLT-4420

 

RIDGEFIELD THEATER BARN

ONE ACTS – 2017
APRIL 30 & MAY 1 @ 7PM
37 HALPIN LANE
RIDGEFIELD, CT
WWW.RIDGEFIELDTHEATERBARN.ORG
203/ 431-9850

 

TRINITY PLAYERS

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN
APRIL 30 & MAY 1 @ 7PM
TRINITY METHODIST CHURCH
6 SO CROSS RD.
LAGRANGEVILLE, NY
WWW.TRINITYPLAYERS.ORG

 

TOWN PLAYERS NEW CANAAN

JOHN LOVES MARY
MAY 22 & 23 @ 7PM
POWERHOUSE THEATRE
677 SO. AVE, NEW CANAAN, CT
203/ 966-7371

 

 

TOWN PLAYERS NEWTOWN

THE VEIL
MAY 21 & 22 @ 7:30PM
LITTLE THEATRE
18 ORCHARD HILL RD
NEWTOWN, CT
203/ 270-9144
WWW.NEWTOWNPLAYERS.ORG

 

WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE

ANNIE
NON UNION AUDITIONS FOR CHILDREN
GIRLS  4’11” OR LESS
AGE 6+
BRAODWDAY PLAZA
ELMSFORD, NY
EMAIL FOR APPOINTMENT
ANNIEKIDSWBT@GMAIL.COM

 

 

TEL: 914/ 476-6508

EMAIL: CUEGRAM99@AOL.COM

BLOG: WWW.THECUE.WORDPRESS.COM

SHOWTIME – MAY

April 26, 2017

SHOWTIME

ACTORS CONSERVATORY THEATRE

TWELVE ANGRY JURORS
MAY 5-7 & 11-13
20 BUCKINGHAM RD
YONKERS, NY
WWW.ACTSHOWS.ORG

ANTRIM PLAYERS

MOON OVER BUFFALO :
JUN 9 – 25
15 SPOOK ROCK RD, WESLEY HILLS
WWW.ANTRIMPLAYHOUSE.COM
845/ 354-9503

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS

CHAPTER TWO
MAY 6 – JUNE 4
298 KINDERKAMACK RD.
ORADELL, NJ
WWW.BCPLAYERS.ORG
201/ 261-4200

BREWSTER THEATER COMPANY

IF THE BOOT FITS (Cabaret)
MAY 5 & 6 @ 7:30PM
DREW UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
28 GLENEDIA AVE, CARMEL
WWW.BREWSTERTHEATERCOMPANY.ORG

BROOKFIELD THEATRE ARTS

BENT
THRU MAY 13
ORPHANS  (STAGED  READING)
JUN 2 & 3
184 WHISCONIER RD,   BROOKFIELD, CT
203/ 775-0023

CARRIAGE HOUSE THEATRE

RIP CORD
APRIL 28 & 29, MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM
APRIL 30 @ 4PM
LITTLE SHOP OF HAIRDOOS
JUN 9 – 18
CRANBERRY PARK
390 GRUMMAN AVE, NORWALK, CT
WWW.CARRIAGEHOUSEARTSCENTER.ORG
203/ 354-9715

CURTAIN CALL

BEAUTY & THE BEAST
THRU  APRIL29: THURS-SAT @ 7:30PM
SAT & SUN @ 2PM
KWESKIN THEATRE
MAN WITH THE GLASS HEART
MAY 4-14
DRESSING ROOM THEATRE
1349 NEWFIELD AVE.   STAMFORD, CT
WWW.CURTAINCALLINC.COM
203/ 329-8207

CITY  ISLAND THEATER GROUP

PHILADELPHIA STORY
APRIL 28, 29, MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM
APRIL 30 & MAY 7 @ 3PM
GRACE HALL
116 CITY ISLAND AVE., BRONX
718/ 885-3066

DOWNTOWN CABARET THEATRE

IN THE HEIGHTS:
APRIL 28 – MAY 21
263 GOLDEN HILL ST.,   BRIDGEPORT, CT
WWW.DTCAB.COM
203/ 576-1636

ELMWOOD PLAYHOUSE

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES:
MAY 12 – JUN 10
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
10 PARK STREET,   NYACK
WWW.ELMWOODPLAYHOUSE.COM
845/ 353-1313

4TH WALL THEATRE

IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU
JUN 2-11
WESTMINSTER ART CENTER
449 FRANKLIN ST., BLOOMFIELD, NJ
WWW.4THWALLTHEATRE.ORG
973/ 996-8484

 GOODSPEED MUSICALS

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
THRU  JULY 2
6 MAIN STREET        EAST HADDAM, CT
WWW.GOODSPEED.ORG
 860/ 873-8668

HUDSON STAGE

HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
APRIL 28 – MAY 13
WHIPPOORWILL HALL
KENT PLACE, ARMONK, NY
WWW.HUDSONSTAGE.COM

IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE

BILOXI BLUES
THRU MAY 14
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
MAY 31 – JUN 25
WED THRU @ 7:30PM / FRI SAT @ 8PM
WED & SUN @ 2PM
103 MAIN ST, IVORYTON, CT
WWW.IVORYTONPLAYHOUSE.ORG
860/ 767-7318

LOCAL CELEBRITY  THEATRE

HAIRSPRAY

APRIL 28 @ 8PM APRIL 29 @ 2& 8PM

OUR LADY OF ASSUMPTION SCHOOL

1617 PARKVIEW AVE, BRONX, NY

M & M PRODUCTIONS

THE LAST ROMANCE
MAY 6 @ 7:30P CROTON  LIB CLEVELAND DR
MAY 10 @ 7PM OSSINING LIB, 53 CROTON AVE.

NATIONAL PLAYERS

HAMLET
MAY 6 @ 8PM
WESTCHESTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
75 GRASSLANDS RD., VALHALLA, NY
WWW.SUNYWCC.EDU
914/ 606-6262

NUTLEY  LITTLE THEATRE

REGRETS ONLY
JUN 9-11, 16-18, 22-24
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
47 ERIE PLACE
NUTLEY, NJ
WWW.NUTLEYLITTLETHEATRE.COM
973/ 667-0374

 PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE

MARY POPPINS
MAY 24- JUN 25
22 BROOKSIDE DR,          MILLBURN, NJ
WWW.PAPERMILL.ORG
 973/ 376-4343

PENGUIN REP THEATRE

TRAYF
MAY 19-JUN 11
COBB
JUN 30 – JULY 23
7 CRICKETTOWN RD
STONEYPOINT, NY
WWW.PENGUINREP.ORG
845/ 786-2873

PHILIPSTOWN DEPOT THEATRE

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
MAY 19- JUN 4
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
GARRISON’S LANDING  GARRISON, NY
www.philipstowndepottheatre.org

 PLAYERS GUILD OF  LEONIA

HAIR
MAY 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 @ 8PM
MAY 7, 14, 21 @ 3PM
PLAYWRIGHTERS SHOWCASE
JUN 9, 10, 16, 17 @ 8PM JUN 11 @ 3PM
130 GRAND AVE., LEONIA, NJ
WWW.LEONIAPLAYERS.ORG

 OLD LIBRARY THEATRE

PIPPIN
JULY 28 – AUG 6
FAIR LAWN  REC CENTER
10-10 20TH ST. FAIR LAWN NJ
WWW.OLDLIBRARYTHEATRE.NET
973/ OLT-4420

RED MONKEY THEATRE

DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE
MAY 6 @ 8PM MAY 7 @ 2PM
CAHILL THEATRE
COLLEGE OF MT. ST. VINCENT
6301 RIVERDALE AVE., RIVERDALE
WWW.REDMONKEYTHEATER.ORG

 RIDGEFIELD THEATRE BARN

BODY AWARENESS
JUN 2-24
37 HALPIN LANE,     RIDGEFIELD, CT
WWW.RIDGEFIELDTHEATERBARN.ORG
203/ 431-9850

SHADES REP THEATRE

ANDROMACHE
MAY 11, 12, 13 @ 8PM
64 MAIN STREET
HAVESTRAW, NY

SHERMAN PLAYHOUSE

HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES
APRIL 21, 22, 28-30, MAY 5-7, 13 & 14
5 ROUTE 39N  SHERMAN, CT
WWW.SHERMANPLAYERS.ORG
860/ 354-3622

SMALL TOWN THEATRE COMPANY

STEEL MAGNOLIAS (STAGED READING)
MAY 12 & 13 @ 8PM
HERGENHAN CENTER
40 MAPLE AVE, ARMONK
WWW.SMALLTOWNTHEATRE.COM
914/ 273-0300

ST. BART’S PLAYERS

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
MAY 17-20 @ 7:30 MAY 20 & 21 @ 2PM
POETS DEN THEATRE
309 E. 108TH STREET, NYC
INFO @STBARTSPLAYERS.ORG
212/ 378-0248

TOWN PLAYERS NEW CANAAN

TIME STANDS STILL:   MAY 5 – 20
JOHN LOVES MARY
JULY 28 – AUG 12
POWERHOUSE THEATRE,   WAVENY PARK
677 SO. AVE,    NEW CANAAN, CT
203/ 966-7371

 THEATREWORKS, HARTFORD

NEXT TO NORMAL
THRU MAY 7
FADE: MAY 25 – JUN 30
FRI SAT @ 8P SAT & SUN @ 2:30P
233 PEARL ST.  HARTFORD, CT
WWW.THEATREWORKSHARTFORD.ORG
860/ 527-7838

THEATREWORKS NEW MILFORD

ANIMAL FARM
MAY 5, 6, 11-13, 19-21, 26 & 27
5 BROOKSIDE AVE.. NEW MILFORD, CT
WWW.THEATREWORKS.US
860/ 350-6863

TOWN PLAYERS NEWTOWN

EXIT THE BODY
MAY 12 – JUNE 3: FRI &SAT @ 8PM
MAY 21 & 28 @ 2PM
18 ORCHARD HILL RD, NEWTOWN  CT
WWW.NEWTOWNPLAYERS.ORG
203/ 270-9144

WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE

MAMMA MIA!:     THRU  JUN 25
ANNIE:      JUN 29 – SEPT 10
1 BROADWAY PLAZA,       ELMSFORD, NY
WWW.BROADWAYTHEATRE.COM
914/ 592-2222

WESTCHESTER COLLABORATIVE THEATRE

PLAY READING: THE MALTESE BABKA
MAY 18
23 WATER STREET  OSSINING, NY
WWW.WCTHEATER.ORG

WESTPORT COMMUNITY THEATRE

39 STEPS:              JUN 9 – 25

FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM

TOWN HALL   110 MYRTLE AVE, WESTPORT

WWW.WESTPORTCOMMUNITYTHEATRE.COM 203/ 226-1983

WESTPORT COUNTRY  PLAYHOUSE

LETTICE & LOVAGE
MAY 30 – JUN 17
25 POWERS COURT, WESTPORT, CT
WWW.WESTPORTPLAYHOUSE.ORG
203/ 227-4177

WHITE PLAINS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

URINETOWN (7-12 GRADERS)
MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM  MAY 7 @ 2PM
11 CITY PLACE   WHITE PLAINS, NY
WWW.WPPAC.COM
914/ 328-1600 X 18

WILTON PLAYSHOP

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
APRIL 28 – MAY 13
15 LOVERS LANE   WILTON, CT
WWW.WILTONPLAYSHOP.ORG
203/ 655-8683

YCP THEATREWORKS

RABBIT HOLE
APRIL 28, 29, MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM
APRIL 30, MAY 7 @ 2PM
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
1176 E. MAIN ST.,  SHRUB OAK, NY
WWW.YCPT.ORG
914/ 245-2184

 YORKTOWN STAGE

THE TRIALS ALICE IN WONDERLAND
APRIL 29 & 30
SAT 11 & 2PM SUN NOON & 3PM
1974 COMMERCE STREET
YORKTOWNHEIGHTS, NY
WWW.YORKTOWNSTAGE.ORG
914/ 962-0606

REVIEW:

April 4, 2017

Westchester Broadway Theatre’s 

MAMMA MIA!

The Westchester Broadway Theater has done it again…. What you ask? They have hit the nail on the head with their bright and lively production of the wonderful “MAMMA MIA”. This show was an audience

favorite on Broadway for over fourteen years simply because it is total FUN from start to finish.

The toe tapping ABBA tunes easily lend themselves to the carefree feeling of this light-hearted story. The music was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (founding members of the Swedish group
ABBA). The music transports the audience to a sun-kissed Greek Island where a wedding is about to take place. The bride to be, Sophie, is played to perfection by Mariah MacFarlane. Her vocals on “I Have A Dream” are terrific and instantly the audience is drawn to her. Sophie it seems has a real dilemma? Who will walk her down the aisle? Without giving too much away here … It turns out to be a multiple choice. It seems that her Bohemian mother, Donna, played with carefree abandon by the very talented Michelle Dawson was quite the “free spirit” in her early years. Dawson, no stranger to WBT audiences, has appeared in many productions here. She possesses a lovely singing voice and really pulls the audience in with the touching “Slipping Through My Fingers” and her tour de force is the rousing “The Winner Takes It All.”

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One of the contenders for the title of “Father of the Bride” is Sam Carmichael, played by Xander Chauncey. He is a fine singer and his portrayal of Sam makes you root for him to be “Father of the Bride.”  Chauncy is once again paired with Michelle Dawson (they both appeared in Jekyll & Hyde at WBT). Donna’s friends’ Rosie and Tanya are adeptly played with great comic timing by Jennifer Swiderski and Elise Kinnon. Their vocals on “Chiquitita” are great and the voices blend beautifully and the ladies keep everyone laughing with their over the top personalities and their skillful harmonies during all the musical numbers. The possible “dads” are well cast and very entertaining. Kilty Reidy is terrific as the very British and fussy Harry Bright, and Brent Bateman as the Aussie adventurer makes the audience smile with every appearance he makes.

Other standouts are Nathan Cockroft, who plays Sophie’s fiancé Sky. Handsome and very likable, he was nicely paired with Mariah MacFarlane. The Costume Designer (Jeff Hendry) provides a wonderful splash of color and fun to Set Designer Steve Loftus’ lovely Greek seaside resort which was all white and blue with flower boxes.  The costumes complimented the sets and were well planned and thoughtful. The orchestra is kept very busy during this show. Thankfully they are up for the challenge. Kudos to the six musicians including Musical Director Eric Alsford on keyboards with Assistant Musical Director Ryan Wise (also on keyboards), Ken Ross on drums, Jordan Jancz on bass, and David Shoup and Nick Dickerson on guitar.

Mama Mia is a show for all ages, fun and suitable for young people and oldsters alike. You don’t often see an audience on their feet clapping and singing along at curtain calls. I definitely recommend this high
energy show.

Running Time: Approximately two hours, with one 30-minute intermission.   MAMMA MIA! is on stage through June 25.  For tickets, call 914/ 592-2222.

Elaine Helmrich

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CASTING CALL – APRIL

April 3, 2017

 

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS

STANDING ON CEREMONY
APRIL 3 & 4 @ 7:30PM
SPAMALOT
MAY 7 @ 10:30AM / MAY 8 & 11 @ 7:30PM
298 KINDERKAMACK RD
ORADELL, NJ
WWW.BCPLAYERS.ORG
201/ 261-4200

 

BREWSTER THEATER COMPANY

URINETOWN
APRIL 22 FR 1-6PM
APRIL 23 FR 1-3PM
DREW METHODIST CHURCH
28 GLENEIDA AVE., CARMEL, NY
WWW.BREWSTERTHEATERCOMPANY.ORG
845/ 232-0739

 

4TH WALL THEATRE

IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU
APRIL 9 FR 3-6PM
APRIL 12 FR 7-10PM
WESTMINSTER ARTS CENTER
449 FRANKLIN ST, BLOOMFIELD, NJ
WWW.4THWALLTHEATRE.ORG
973/ 996-8484

 

LITTLE RADICAL THEATRICS

THE SECRET GARDEN
APRIL 17 & 18 FR 6-9PM
ARTS WESTCHESTER
31 MAMARONECK AVE,
WHITE PLAINS, NY
AUDITONS BY APPOINTMENT:
LITTLERADICALTHEATRICS@GMAIL.COM
PERF: WEEKENDOF JULY 21
WWW.LITTLERADICALSTEHATRICS.COM

 

NUTLEY LITTLE THEATRE

REGRETS ONLY
APRIL 9 & 10 @ 8PM
47 ERIE PLACE, NUTLEY, NJ
WWW.NUTLEYLITTLETHEATRE.COM
973/ 6670374

 

THEATREWORKS  NEW MILFORD

ZOMBIE PROM
APRIL 1 FR 1-3PM
5 BROOKSIDE AVE,  NEW MILFORD, CT
WWW.TEHATREWORKS.US
860/ 350-6863

 

TOWN PLAYERS NEWTOWN

EXIT THE BODY
MARCH 19 & 20 @ 7PM
LITTLE THEATRE
18 ORCHARD HILL RD
NEWTOWN, CT
203/ 270-9144
WWW.NEWTOWNPLAYERS.ORG

 

WILTON PLAYSHOP

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
FEB 12 & 13 @ 7PM
15 LOVERS LANE, WILTON, CT
WWW.WILTONPLAYSHOP.ORG
203/ 655-8683

 

 

TEL: 914/ 476-6508

EMAIL: CUEGRAM99@AOL.COM

BLOG: WWW.THECUE.WORDPRESS.COM

 

SHOWTIME – APRIL

April 3, 2017

ACTORS CONSERVATORY THEATRE

12 ANGRY JURORS

MAY 5, 6, 7 11, 12, 13

20 BUCKINGHAM RD, YONKERS, NY

THURS-SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM

WWW.ACTSHOWS.ORG

914 / 391-6559

 

AERY THEATRE

ONE ACT FESTIVALS

APRIL 21-23

GARRISONS LANDING, GARRISON, NY

WWW.PHILIPSTOWNDEPOTTHEATRE.ORG

 

ANTRIM PLAYERS

SLYVIA:   THRU APRIL 2
MOON OVER BUFFALO :   JUN 9 – 25
15 SPOOK ROCK RD, WESLEY HILLS
WWW.ANTRIMPLAYHOUSE.COM
845/ 354-9503

ARC STAGES

THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM
APRIL 1, 7, 8 @ 8PM / APRIL 2 @ 2PM
147 WHEELER AVE  PLEASANTVILLE
WWW.ARCSTAGES.ORG
914/ 747-6202

ARMONK PLAYERS

BAD JEWS – APRIL 12 @ 8PM
OUR TOWN
JUN 2, 3, 8-10 @ PM / JUN 4 @ 4PM
WHIPPOORWILL HALL
19 WHIPPOORWILL RD EAST,  ARMONK
WWW..ARMONKPLAYERS.ORG

AXIAL THEATRE

FESTIVAL: CELEBRATING WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS
APRIL 1 @ 3 & 8PM / APRIL 2 @ 4PM
JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
8 SUNNSIDE AVE., PLEASANTVILLE
914/ 286-7680

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS

NIGHT WATCH  THRU  APRIL 22
298 KINDERKAMACK RD.        ORADELL, NJ
WWW.BCPLAYERS.ORG
201 / 261-4200

BREWSTER THEATER COMPANY

BROADWAYS BEST DUETS (Cabaret)
APRIL 7 & 8 @ 7:30PM
IF THE BOOT FITS (Cabaret)
MAY 5 & 6 @ 7:30PM
DREW UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
28 GLENEDIA AVE, CARMEL
WWW.BREWSTERTHEATERCOMPANY.ORG

BROOKFIELD THEATRE ARTS

BENT
APRIL 22 – MAY 13      FRI & SAT @
184 WHISCONIER RD,   BROOKFIELD, CT
203/ 775-0023

CITY  ISLAND THEATER GROUP

PHILADELPHIA STORY
APRIL 28, 29, MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM
APRIL 30 & MAY 7 @ 3PM
GRACE HALL
116 CITY ISLAND AVE., BRONX
718/ 885-3066

CURTAIN CALL

BEAUTY & THE BEAST
THRU  APRIL29: THURS-SAT @ 7:30PM
SAT & SUN @ 2PM
KWESKIN THEATRE
THE INDEPENDEENTS: APRIL 13-23
DRESSING ROOM THEATRE
1349 NEWFIELD AVE.   STAMFORD, CT
WWW.CURTAINCALLINC.COM /
203 / 329-8207

 

DOWNTOWN CABARET THEATRE

SPRING AWAKENING
THRU  APRIL 2
IN THE HEIGHTS:    APRIL 28 – MAY 21
263 GOLDEN HILL ST.,   BRIDGEPORT, CT
WWW.DTCAB.COM
203 / 576-1636
 

ELMWOOD PLAYHOUSE

A LESSON BEFORE  DYING
THRU APRIL 8
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES: MAY 12 – JUN 10
 FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
10 PARK STREET,   NYACK
WWW.ELMWOODPLAYHOUSE.COM
845/ 353-1313

 

GOODSPEED MUSICALS

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
APRIL 21 – JULY 2
6 MAIN STREET        EAST HADDAM, CT
WWW.GOODSPEED.ORG
 860/ 873-8668

HARRISON PLAYERS

INHERIT THE WIND
APRIL 1 @ 8PM APRIL 2 @ 2PM
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
VETERAN’S MEMORIAL BUILDING
210 HALSTEAD AVE, HARRISON
WWW.HARRISONPLAYERS.ORG
914/ 630-1089

HUDSON STAGE

HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
APRIL 28 – MAY 13
WHIPPOORWILL HALL
KENT PLACE, ARMONK, NY
WWW.HUDSONSTAGE.COM

IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE

MY WAY
TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA
THRU  APRIL 9
BILOXI BLUES: APRIL 26- MAY 14
WED THRU @ 7:30PM / FRI SAT @ 8PM
WED & SUN @ 2PM
103 MAIN ST, IVORYTON, CT
WWW.IVORYTONPLAYHOUSE.ORG
860/ 767-7318

LOCAL CELEBRITY  THEATRE

HAIRSPRAY

APRIL 28 @ 8PM APRIL 29 @ 2& 8PM

OUR LADY OF ASSUMPTION SCHOOL

1617 PARKVIEW AVE, BRONX, NY

 

M & M PRODUCTIONS

THE LAST ROMANCE
APR 9 @ 2PM HARRISON  LIB. BRUCE AVE
MAY 6 @ 7:30P CROTON  LIB CLEVELAND DR

NUTLEY  LITTLE THEATRE

OLEANNA:     APRIL 7-9, 13-15, 20-22
47 ERIE PLACE     :  NUTLEY, NJ
WWW.NUTLEYLITTLETHEATRE.COM
973 / 667-0374

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
THRU  APRIL 23
MARY POPPINS    MAY 24- JUN 25
22 BROOKSIDE DR,          MILLBURN, NJ
WWW.PAPERMILL.ORG
 973/ 376-4343

PENGUIN REP THEATRE

TRAYF
MAY 19-JUN 11
7 CRICKETTOWN RD
STONEYPOINT, NY
WWW.PENGUINREP.ORG
845/ 786-2873

PHILIPSTOWN DEPOT THEATRE

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
MAY 19- JUN 4
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
GARRISON’S LANDING  GARRISON, NY
www.philipstowndepottheatre.org

 

PLAYERS GUILD OF  LEONIA

HAIR
MAY 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 @ 8PM
MAY 7, 14, 21 @ 3PM
130 GRAND AVE., LEONIA, NJ
WWW.LEONIAPLAYERS.ORG
 

OLD LIBRARY THEATRE

13, THE MUSICAL
APRIL 10, 21 & 22 @ 7PM APRIL 23 @ 2PM
FAIR LAWN  REC CENTER
10-10 20TH ST. FAIR LAWN NJ
WWW.OLDLIBRARYTHEATRE.NET
973/ OLT-4420

RED MONKEY THEATRE & M & M PROD

SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE FINAL PROBLEM
APRIL 1, 2, 7-9, 21-23
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
CAHILL THEATRE
COLLEGE OF MT. ST. VINCENT
6301 RIVERDALE AVE., RIVERDALE
WWW.REDMONKEYTHEATER.ORG

RIDGEFIELD THEATRE BARN

WHOSE BARN IS IT ANYWAY?  COMEDYIMPROV
APRIL 1 @ 8PM
EVE OF ONE-ACTS: JUN 30-JULY 15
37 HALPIN LANE,     RIDGEFIELD, CT
WWW.RIDGEFIELDTHEATERBARN.ORG
203/ 431-9850

SHERMAN PLAYHOUSE

HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES
APRIL 21, 22, 28-30, MAY 5-7, 13 & 14
5 ROUTE 39N  SHERMAN, CT
WWW.SHERMANPLAYERS.ORG
860/ 354-3622

SMALL TOWN THEATRE COMPANY

STEEL MAGNOLIAS (STAGED READING)
MAY 12 & 13
HERGENHAN CENTER
40 MAPLE AVE, ARMONK
WWW.SMALLTOWNTHEATRE.COM
914/ 273-0300

ST. BART’S PLAYERS

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
MAY 17-20 @ 7:30 MAY 20 & 21 @ 2PM
POETS DEN THEATRE
309 E. 108TH STREET, NYC
INFO @STBARTSPLAYERS.ORG
212/ 378-0248

TOWN PLAYERS NEW CANAAN

TIME STANDS STILL:   MAY 5 – 20
POWERHOUSE THEATRE,   WAVENY PARK
677 SO. AVE,    NEW CANAAN, CT
203/ 966-7371

 

THEATREWORKS, HARTFORD

NEXT TO NORMAL
THRU MAY 7
FADE: MAY 25 – JUN 30
FRI SAT @ 8P SAT & SUN @ 2:30P
233 PEARL ST.  HARTFORD, CT
WWW.THEATREWORKSHARTFORD.ORG
860 / 527-7838

THEATREWORKS NEW MILFORD

ANIMAL FARM
MAY 5, 6, 11-13, 19-21
5 BROOKSIDE AVE.. NEW MILFORD, CT
WWW.THEATREWORKS.US
860 / 350-6863

TOWN PLAYERS NEWTOWN

CIVIL RIGHTS: FROM THE WAR TO THE MOVEMENT (READING)
APRIL 9 @ 3PM
EXIT THE BODY
MAY 12 – JUNE 3
18 ORCHARD HILL RD, NEWTOWN  CT
WWW.NEWTOWNPLAYERS.ORG
203/ 270-9144

WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE

MAMMA MIA!
THRU  JUN 25
ANNIE
JUN 29 – SEPT 10
1 BROADWAY PLAZA,       ELMSFORD, NY
WWW.BROADWAYTHEATRE.COM
914/ 592-2222

WESTCHESTER COLLABORATIVE THEATRE

PLAY READING: THE MALTESE BABKA
MAY 18
23 WATER STREET  OSSINING, NY
WWW.WCTHEATER.ORG

WESTPORT COMMUNITY THEATRE

MOON OVER BREWERY
APRIL 7 – 23
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
TOWN HALL   110 MYRTLE AVE, WESTPORT
WWW.WESTPORTCOMMUNITYTHEATRE.COM
203 / 226-1983

WHITE PLAINS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

AFTER THE STORM
APRIL 21 @ 8PM
11 CITY PLACE   WHITE PLAINS, NY
WWW.WPPAC.COM
914/ 328-1600 X 18

WILTON PLAYSHOP

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
APRIL 28 – MAY 13
15 LOVERS LANE
WILTON, CT
WWW.WILTONPLAYSHOP.ORG
203/ 655-8683

YCP THEATREWORKS

RABBIT HOLE
APRIL 28, 29, MAY 5 & 6 @ 8PM
APRIL 30, MAY 7 @ 2PM
FRI & SAT @ 8PM SUN @ 2PM
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
1176 E. MAIN ST.,  SHRUB OAK, NY
WWW.YCPT.ORG
914/ 245-2184
 

YORKTOWN STAGE

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
APRIL 29 & 30
SAT 11 & 2PM SUN NOON & 3PM
1974 COMMERCE STREET
YORKTOWNHEIGHTS, NY
WWW.YORKTOWNSTAGE.ORG
914/ 962-0606

Westchester Broadway Theatre

March 4, 2017

THE BIKINIS – Review

 THE BIKINIS, a musical revue now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, is a tidal wave of fun and memorable music that will put a smile on the audiences’ faces.  The songs span from the 1960’s through the 1970’s capturing some of the biggest song titles of the time, such as “Under the Boardwalk,” “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Chapel of Love,” “Where the Boys Are,” and “Be My Baby.”  The book that weaves together the songs is at best corny and thin but the musical performances by the 4 girls – who make up the singing quartet of THE BIKINIS – is powerful, energetic and non-stop fun. The cast features the vocal talents of Katy Blake, Anne Fraser Thomas, Joanna Young and Karyn Quakenbush.

The story revolves around THE BIKINIS hosting a fundraiser on the New Years Eve of 2000 in order to save a mobile home beach resort from property developers. Throughout the night the girls take us on a journey as they look back and remember their careers, which never really progressed beyond Shore Gigs and a one hit wonder 45 record.

The lighthearted beach party feeling of the show shifts slightly in Act II as the show instead tackles more culturally relevant songs from “The Summer of Love,” along with Woodstock and anti-Vietnam protests.

Joseph Baker did a fine job as musical director and arranger. These 4 women demonstrate strong vocals and deliver each song with passion and emotion, despite the often time silly and campy patter.

The simple sets and the hint of costuming with accessory pieces may make the show feel less than the normal mainstage production for the returning patrons but it is a musical treat to enjoy. Directed and choreographed by Ray Roderick, the show runs through March 19. For reservations, call 914 592-2222.

 

*** CUE REVIEW *** CUE REVIEW *** CUE REVIEW ***

 

 

Jim DeBlasi

BROADWAY TODAY: ANDRÉA BURNS

July 5, 2016

BY: Jim DeBlasi

Drama Desk Award Winner, Andrea Burns is currently appearing as Gloria Fajardo in the Broadway musical ON YOUR FEET. Previously Burns created the role of Daniela in the musical IN THE HEIGHTS. Andrea’s other Broadway credits include THE NANCE, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, THE FULL MONTY & THE RITZ. Her Off Broadway credits include SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD and SATURDAY NIGHT.

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CUE: How did you get started in theatre?

AB: My father was a lover of movie musicals, so as a young kid I would sit with him while he played things like OKLAHOMA!, CAROUSEL or WEST SIDE STORY. So he introduced me to musical theatre. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade there was a kid’s playhouse that put on musicals and I started to go there and my love of theatre was born.

CUE: So was theatre something you always wanted to pursue?

AB: I don’t know if I would say that I always knew I wanted to do this professionally, I just knew I loved it. By the time I was a teenager I did realize that this is what I wanted to do. I always sang and there was something about acting and singing at the same time to tell a story that I found most satisfying.

CUE: was there a particular event that led to your decision?

AB: When I was 11, I went to a summer theatre camp in the Catskills and being surrounded by other kids like me was satisfying. I had always felt a little awkward being a young girl in Miami interested in Broadway. So to see other kids that had that same passion was wonderful.

CUE: What do you consider your first big break?

AB:I did an Off Broadway show, SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, by Jason Robert Brown. We had originally met when we were 12 years old. We both moved to New York and we would run into each other and always supported each other’s work. He was getting his show produced and he asked me to be part of it. He could have chosen other actors who were more established but he chose me. That was my first job in New York and from that a lot of doors opened up to me.

CUE: What’s been the biggest obstacle to overcome?

AB: The biggest obstacle for me is trusting the fact that I know I should be doing this and believing that the right roles will appear if I work hard. There is just so much rejection with not being the one that they choose. You definitely learn to appreciate and realize what a wonderful thing it is when you find that needle in the haystack – getting the right role at the right time in a show that runs.   The biggest challenge is choosing every day to keep wanting this and not give in to the rejection.

CUE: Is it hard to stay motivated?

AB: It is really easy when you are starring on Broadway in a hit musical. When you are not, it is a bit more challenging.

CUE: How did you get involved with ON YOUR FEET?

AB: I was lucky, Jerry Mitchell, the show’s director, reached out to me and asked me to be a part of the developmental reading. I was excited about the musical, although I was a little unsure when he wanted me for Gloria’s mother. I feel very fortunate to have been able to work on creating this role from the beginning – really co-creating this with Gloria and her mom.

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CUE: Is it more difficult to portray a real person versus a factious character?

AB: Yes, because in the end you can take everything you’ve learned in your research, which is useful but the material that comes through you is going to create its own person and it has to be what serves the piece best. So in the end, you create a Gloria Fajardo that is the best version that works for ON YOUR FEET. I try to pay as much homage to her incredible spirit as I can.

CUE: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

AB: Yes, it is the flashback scene where she goes back to Havana and you see what might have been. She was a very talented lady in her own right and in the scene, she is performing at a nightclub. You see her as a woman in complete control and it turns out to be one of the most dramatic nights of her life because she realizes she must leave her homeland to protect her family and yet she must go on with the show pretending as if nothing has happened. It feels as though everyone involved collaborated to make that scene a one-act play and I love taking that ride every night.

CUE: Any aspect of the show more difficult than you had expected?

AB: I would say that the difficulty came up front – you have any idea how hard it is to sing Gloria Estefan songs to Gloria Estefan? That was hard – do you pay homage, do you imitate – what do you do with the songs? In the beginning, that was very intimidating. Gloria took me into a rehearsal room early on and said she wanted to sing the songs with me to be sure I got the rhythms. I was nervous but then I needed to take that leap and realize and trust that they picked me for a reason, so I had to go off and just do what I do and it became this beautiful collaborative thing.

CUE: How involved was Gloria in the overall production?

AB: She was extremely involved. Gloria was with us every hour of every day. She was always encouraging and passionate about the project. She and Emilio were there all the time and they are just great collaborators. For the actors, it was great having the opportunity to be able to get into it with them. We were all so lucky that they wanted to be there in the trenches.

CUE: What types of roles attract you?

AB: I like complex people that the writers create, not just 2 dimensional characters. I like characters with authenticity and sometimes in musicals that can be tough. Often times musical can get a bad rap. I have a strong belief in the power of musicals, so I like to be part of a project that has dramatic storytelling with real, human, complex characters.

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CUE: How do you deal with auditions?

AB: You just have to make friends with the fact that sometimes they bother you and sometimes you can just let them go. I think of it as I invite them into the party to present my wares. They either decide they need them or not. I try to make peace with that. I try to remember that it is just such a joy to be able to walk into the room and throw my hat into the ring. To me that is exciting so when it doesn’t work out, it can be a real disappointment. You need to keep in mind that it is a privilege to even be selected to walk into the audition room and get that appointment when so many can’t even get that.

CUE: How have you seen Broadway change over the years?

AB:   It is a very exciting time on Broadway culturally. I am half Latin and half Jewish so I am now what the industry calls “Ethnically Ambiguous.” When I first came to Broadway that was a problem. No one knew what to do with me or how to categorize me. Now everything I bring to the table people are interested in. Broadway is now open to diversity so that everyone doesn’t all look the same. Also the roles for Latinos have changed from just stereotyped roles like drug dealers, domestics or low socio-economic characters to more socially diverse characters.

CUE: Is it harder to get to Broadway or stay on Broadway?

AB: Both. I think staying might be a little harder but not to say getting there is easy. You can bring your skill, talent and drive but if the show is only about a particular subject matter that you don’t fit, you’re not going to be seen. You need to be just what they are looking for. Sometimes just being in the right place can land you your Broadway debut, after that it’s your showmanship and talent and willingness to collaborate that start speaking for you.

CUE: Is Broadway too much the measurement of success?

AB: It can be and that is in no way diminishing Broadway because I love it and am honored every time I get to come back but it doesn’t make me any less of an actor when I’m doing theatre any where else. I’ve had extraordinary experiences on tour or regionally. Broadway is great because you work with the highest budgets and with people who are masters in their field.

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CUE: How do you know it’s time to leave a show?

AB: When you’re on stage and your mind starts drifting so far you forget your lines. When you are in a scene but thinking about your grocery list, it’s time to go. If you are not having a good time, there are so many other people who want your job. If you are not enjoying every minute, then someone else deserves to be there.

CUE: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

AB: Trust what you bring to the party. Trying to turn myself into a blank slate or cut off pieces so that I fit into a particular box is foolhardy. I need to embrace my qualities & know at some point they are exactly what someone needs.

BROADWAY TODAY

June 8, 2016

RACHEL TUCKER

BY: Jim DeBlasi

Before assuming the role of Elphaba in Broadway’s WICKED, Rachel had performed this role on London’s West End. Ms. Tucker’s other credits include THE LAST SHIP, WE WILL ROCK YOU, THE WIZARD OF OZ, MERRY CHRISTMAS BETTY FORD, RENT, THE WHO’S TOMMY, THE FULL MONTY and HAVE A NICE LIFE. Recently Rachel released her debut solo album, THE REASON.

Rachel Tucker

CUE: When did your interest in theatre start?RT: I come from a very musical family so music was always in our house. My sister first started in theatre and I remember that she took me to a rehearsal for the WIZARD OF OZ in which she way playing Dorothy. I was absolutely amazed that she got to wear costumes and ruby slippers on stage. I was hooked. Eventually my sister gave up theatre and I took over.

CUE: So was this a career path you always wanted to follow?RT: I knew this was what I wanted to do from when I was a very young girl. I was just drawn to it and I was always comfortable on stage. I had a great passion for theatre and just loved being on stage.

CUE: Was there a particular event that led to your decision to pursue this professionally?RT: I think that my Ah Ha moment came at around age 15. I spent the summer doing JOSEPH in what was a very professional production. I learned so much that summer including mastering harmonies and getting along with cast members my own age. I next moved into the older group that Fall and started doing theatre almost full time. I just had to keep doing it and I started getting lead roles and I realized there was nowhere else that I was happier than on the stage.

CUE: What eventually brought you here to New York?RT: I was asked to audition for a new musical, THE LAST SHIP. I had heard about it but hadn’t been involved in any of the early workshops. They held auditions but didn’t find exactly what they were looking for and I was called and asked to come in to audition.

CUE: How did your family respond to your plans to come to New York?RT: They were just beside themselves. They thought that I had to be kidding. The idea that I was going to be on Broadway in a Sting musical was just unbelievable.

CUE: What’s been the biggest obstacle to overcome in pursuing a career?RT: Balancing work and family. I have a 3-year old son and a very supportive husband so I find it a challenge finding the time to rest during the day to be ready for the show, especially with a role like Elphaba, and to have enough time to give my son and husband attention. Balancing being a wife and mother along with an actress is tough. It takes a lot of effort to keep that happy balance.

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CUE: How does performing on Broadway compare with London’s West End?RT: A stage is a stage is a stage and I truly believe that. When the lights come up you can really be on any stage. I came to realize that during THE LAST SHIP. I kept waiting to feel the difference and came to realize that there is no real difference. When you are ready to do your job, you could be anywhere and would be able to perform for 20 or 2,000 people. This is your job, it’s what you do. So there is no great variation between Broadway and the West End, although the audiences are slightly different. I find Broadway audiences to be a bit more vocal.

CUE: How did you first get involved with WICKED?RT: I auditioned for the role from when it originally came to London and was lucky the third time around. I then played the role for almost 3 years in London. Then I worked with Joe Montello on THE LAST SHIP and afterwards he asked me to come over to NY to play the role.

CUE: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?RT: I love it when Elphaba discovers that she is the one with the power and not the Wizard. It is her turning moment and I just love it.

CUE: Any aspect of the show more difficult than you anticipated?RT: Yes, all of Act II. The stakes get higher and higher as the show progresses. It takes a lot to push through it in order to keep the momentum going to the end.

CUE: Is the Broadway production much different than the show in London?RT: No not really. It is a little different in terms of the stage but overall the show is very much the same.

CUE: How difficult is it getting in and out of the makeup?RT: Basically it takes me about 25 minutes to get into makeup and only about 10 minutes to get it off. It really isn’t as terrible as people may suspect.

CUE: The show has been running for years with   many actresses playing this role – how do you make it your own?RT: I start with what is on the page and try to be as honest as I can. I re-visit the script every couple of weeks to really keep true to what the words are saying and I try to bring as much of Rachel to Elphaba as I possibly can. The producers encourage each actress to put her own stamp on the role and to just look for honesty. If you do something really different but it reads honest, they’ll love it. I’ve brought many things from what I did in London and it was all well received.

CUE: How do you deal with auditions, do they bother you?RT: I like auditions. I recently had an audition that may have been the worst audition of my life. I just had to let it go and I know that I just wasn’t prepared enough. I didn’t put enough time in to prepare, so it was my bad. What I find here on Broadway is that auditions are far more businesslike.

CUE: Does rejection get easier to deal with over time?RT: I always try to not take it personally but that’s hard because your putting yourself out there to be judged and to have people decide if they like you or not. I always try to remind myself that I just wasn’t right for the part or I just wasn’t what they were looking for – that helps to keep it from feeling personal.

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CUE: What are your thoughts on reviews and reviewers and do they still influence the public?RT: I think massively. I’m not a big review person, I generally don’t read them. I think because you are in a show, it is very hard to believe what other people say about it, especially if it is critical. Doing a show, you want to believe it’s good, so it is difficult to put that aside and accept how other people view it. I do think it is important to have them and yes they do influence the public but everyone needs to keep in mind that no matter how well educated the reviewer, they are still one person’s opinion.

CUE: How do you know it’s time to leave a show?RT: I think you just know when you’ve had enough. My tolerance for repetitiveness is high so I don’t get bored easily. For me it takes a good deal of time to reach a point where I feel I’m done.

CUE: Is Broadway too much the measurement of success?

RT: When you work on Broadway you are working with the best, so the standards are much higher and everyone strives to work with that level of talent. It is perceived as the crème de la crème so everyone wants that. Broadway makes you feel that you are surrounded by the people who are considered the masters in their field. So it creates a sense of accomplishment.

CUE: What’s been the best career advice you’ve been given?

RT: Do what you do and concentrate on what you are doing at that moment. Do what you’re doing to the best of your ability and don’t split yourself in two. Focus on one thing at a time. Most women are multi-taskers, I’m not!