Thursday, November 15, 2018
a conversation with Seth Rudetsky, appearing with Tony winner Jessie Mueller this Saturday at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Seth Rudetsy wears a lot of hats.
Not only can be be heard every day as one of the regular hosts on Sirius XM's "On Broadway" channel but he is also an author of numerous books and also the co-author of the recent Broadway musical Disaster!
He is a skilled pianist, having played in a dozen Broadway shows, and is also a frequent accompanist for Broadway stars in concerts around the world, including four shows this coming season at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
When I last had the chance to ask Rudetsky some questions, when he was presenting his Big Fat Broadway show in town three years ago, he said that of all the hats he wears and jobs he's done that interviewing people and getting the chance to ask them in-depth questions is the one that he loves the most.
After having a great time three years ago getting his answers to some fun questions, I had the chance to turn the tables again on Rudetsky to ask him some questions about his past, as well as get his thoughts on the four Broadway stars he's playing for in Scottsdale this season, including his concert this coming Saturday, November 17th with Tony winner Jessie Mueller.
Seth, the series of concerts you've done around the world, as well as in Scottsdale the past two seasons, include you not just accompanying the performers on many songs they are known for but also talking to them between songs and asking them in-depth questions about their past.
How did these shows come about, especially since the traditional form of a cabaret show usually only features a performer singing songs from their repertoire with some pre scripted patter in between songs?
"Well, there you have it; I hate scripted patter! I remember watching a famous cabaret artist do her sound check and she was pretending she was noticing certain people in the audience...and the entire theater was empty. It was so creepy to me! Around 8 years ago, Mark Cortale and I started a series where I would play piano for Broadway's biggest stars but instead of hearing them doing pre-written material, I would interview them in between each song so the show would always remain fresh..and funny!"
If someone asked you to describe each of the four performers you are playing for and interviewing in Scottsdale this season in one or two sentences each what would it be?
Jessie Mueller - November 17:
"An incredible artist...when I saw her as Carole King in BEAUTIFUL, I thought she was making up the lines because it was so real. Add that to her ability to sing anything! From the jazz of ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN FOREVER to the beautiful soprano songs of CAROUSEL"
Sutton Foster - December 14:
"A superstar! She has conquered Broadway and television. So glamorous yet so hilariously goofy. And what a belt!"
Audra McDonald - January 19:
"She's played some dark characters so people don't realize how funny she is. This show will be hilarious...and will feature what many call 'the voice of Broadway.' "
Jeremy Jordan - February 9:
"Holy cow! I am constantly in awe of his 'instrument'...his voice is crystal clear and so flexible. I recently posted a video of him singing and my sister wrote that he had the best male voice she's ever heard!"
Any songs that aren’t in their current repertoire you’d really like to ask them each to sing when you play for them in Scottsdale?
"Are you kidding? That's what I love to do! Here's an example: recently I was in San Francisco with Tony Nominee Ramin Karimloo who just starred in LES MISERABLES. When he announced where he was from, someone in the audience applauded and we found out Ramin had gone to high school with his cousin...and they had done GREASE together. Well, you know that I immediately ran to the piano and made Ramin sing "Summer Nights" with the audience as his backup. It was amazing!"
Any questions you are dying to ask them?
"I can't reveal them here or they will see! Suffice it to say, you will learn things about every single one of these people you haven't heard anywhere else. And songs you've never heard them sing."
Your musical Disaster! ran on Broadway and is now available to be licensed for productions across the country. There are three theatres presenting the show in the Phoenix area this season, including Desert Foothills Theater, where you did your Big Fat Broadway show a years back, and one in Scottsdale at Desert Stages Theatre in January being directed by Gary Crumm, the father of Max Crumm that co-stared in the Broadway run of the show. Did you imagine that Disaster! would become such a hit show in regional theatres?
"Wow! I love that Max's Dad is doing it! I knew it would be done a lot. It sounds like I'm bragging but I'm actually basing it on what the show is: a big cast with lots of great roles...I think there are 11 leads...and regional theaters love having their favorite stars featured. Plus the show is a comedy and that always sells tickets. AND the shows score is all the music from the 70s like Donna Summer and Barry Manilow.. Those songs are super-popular with everyone who was alive back then as well as with young people because they're featured on shows like American Idol and The Voice. So, yes, I expected it to happen but that doesn't mean I'm not thrilled it is! It's a dream come true!"
Any plans for your next musical?
"The next step is getting DISASTER! to London!"
Any current Broadway performers that you haven’t yet had the chance to interview but would like to?
"Ben Platt! I'm working on it!"
What performer who is no longer with us would you have liked to have interviewed and/or played for?
"Oh, man! So many! I interviewed Barbara Cook but never did an entire show with her. And amazing men like Richard Kiley and John Raitt...and Gwen Verdon and Susan Johnson from THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. Roz Russel! Jerry Orbach! Basically, anyone who ever starred in a show!"
Any younger performers on Broadway that you’re paying attention to and think could be the next big broadway star?
"Bonnie Milligan. She just made her Broadway debut as a lead in HEAD OVER HEELS and she is fantastic. So funny and what an incredible voice!"
As anyone who listens to you on the Sirius On Broadway channel knows, you love to use the word “ah-mahzing” and to say you are “devastated” about something. What is the most current thing you find “ah-mahzing” and the most recent thing that made you “devasted”?
"Well, on the serious side, people probably know that I care a lot about animal welfare, I think it's "amahzing" that CoverGirl is going cruelty free. No more horrific animal testing! And I'm "devastated" that Juul's and other brands are targeting our youth so there is now an epidemic of kids who smoke e-cigarettes."
You wear a lot of hats and also talk about your personal life on air, including interesting and humorous situations with your husband and daughter. What’s the one thing people may not know about you?
"I actually don't like to go out a lot. I really prefer having a few friends over for a game night or just hanging out with my doggies and reading!"
CLICK HERE for information on Seth's concert with Jessie Mueller this Saturday as well as information on his three other shows at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this season.
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 17 & 18
(Students from ASU Music Theatre and Opera)
(Students from ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre)
(Students from ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre)
(Members of ASU Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Union)
EUN-MI (MIA) OH
LEE VAN CAMP
SAMANTHA WINTERS MCALPIN
CHRISTIAN LUKE OTTINGER
BERT TE VELDE
Phoenix Boys Choir
STEPHEN NEAL, soloist cover
NATHAN SHENK, soloist
Flute (Stage Orchestra)
MIAO LIU, principal
MICHAEL JOHNSON, principal
VINCE DOMINGUEZ, principal
KRISTEN ZELENAK, principal
KIEFER STRICKLAND, principal
RYAN EVERSON, principal
GRIFFIN BOURDON, Asst.
SPENCER BRAND, principal
REBECCA BURINGRUD, principal
NICK ST. CROIX, bass
CHRISTIANO RODRIGUES, concertmaster
KAH YAN LEE
MICHAEL DiBARRY, principal
KIM HANKINS, principal
JENNIFER SON, principal
NATHANIEL DE LA CRUZ, principal
TYLER WALES, principal
Guitar 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALEX OLIVERIO
Guitar 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GULLI BJORNSSON
Bass Guitar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NATHAN BENITEZ
Traps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JEREMY REYNOSO
Percussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN ALBARRAN
Keyboard 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GREGORY PALADINO
Bass Guitar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KARL KESSLER
Traps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EGHA KUSUMA
Percussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LINDSAY DE LEON
Keyboard 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DANI LEE HUTCH
We need singers, dancers, and a Dolly Levi! All roles are open!
Auditions: November 25 and 26 at 933 E. Main St. in Mesa
Rehearsals begin: January 21, 2019
Performances: March 1-17 at the Nesbitt-Elliott Playhouse at the Mesa Arts Center
Director/Choreographer: John Staniunas
CLICK HERE to sign-up for an audition time (plan to be there a full hour to sing AND dance)
Contact Suze St John if you have questions - email@example.com
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 16-25
Grempkin: Christian Bradford
Slank: Kaleb Burris
Astor: Micah Larsen
Scott: Alex Cavanaugh
Ludwig: Joel Segraves
Fighting Prawn: Christina McSheffrey
Hawking Clam: Gavin Harris
Mack: Michael Massone
Cheese: Sam Brown
Mrs.Bumbrake: Ryan Ardelt
Alf: Jessica Rumrill
Lefty: Tyler Sorrels
Peter: Isaac O’Farrel
Stache: Megan Sutton
Smee: Devin Erwert
Prentiss: Brandon Brown
Ted: Mackenzie Reppy
Molly: McKenna Kollman
Teacher: Emily Sheppard
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
CLICK HERE for more information on this production which runs November 23-December 29
Kris Kringle: MJJ Cashman
Fred Gaily: Cody Gerszewski
Doris Walker: Melissa Mitchell
Susan Walker*: Ava Newton
Susan Walker*: Emily Grace Anton
Marvin Shellhammer: Andy Meyers
Miss Crookshank: Renée Kathleen Koher
Mrs. Finfer: Katy Callie
Hendrika's Mom / Clara: Kara Ziringer
Girl Scout: Meggie Siegrist
RH Macy: Tony Blosser
Mr. Sawyer / Whitey: Jay Roberts
Judge Martin Group / Mayor: Fred Gerle
Tammany O'Halloran / Mr. Gimbel: Tim Shawver
Miss Sims / Mrs Beeler: Chae Clearwood
DA Thomas Mara, Sr.: John Knispel
Alvin: Nick Kuhn
Climber / Watchman: Phillip Giandiletti
Bailiff: Jacob Herrera
Mailman: Evan Dolan
Hendrika*: Julianne Creed
Hendrika*: Katerina Anderson
Girl*: Drea Metzger
Girl*: Meredith Arends
Thomas Mara, Jr.*: Cyrus Hilding
Thomas Mara, Jr.*: Creedence Weisberg
Harry Finfer*: Aaron McCaskill
Harry Finfer*: Sam Lawrence
|William Rippenkroeger, Ezra Neighbors, and Jack Francis|
photo courtesy Nearly Naked Theatre
Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 17th.
"Buddy Thomas' The Crumple Zone is a smart and funny play follows a group of young gay men on Staten Island who are all looking for the perfect romantic relationship but having a difficult time finding it. Nearly Naked Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of this show, which ran off Broadway in 2000, in a production that features a talented cast and spirited direction, and amounts to a comical drama of humor, heart, and an abundance of honesty....Director Damon Dering does a very good job in keeping the playful comic moments high but also ensuring the heartfelt realistic scenes are truthful. He also keeps the pace taut. The cast features a superb performance from William Rippenkroeger as the long-suffering Terry. With perfect comic timing and line delivery infused with the driest of wit, Rippenkroeger is a laugh riot as the high-strung, put-upon man who always has a put-down at the ready. ...Ezra Neighbors is quite good as Alex...With rugged good looks and a charming demeanor, Jack Francis is adorable as Buck. ...A. Katen is excellent as Sam....With a cast who know how to get big laughs while also creating honest individuals, Nearly Naked Theatre's production of The Crumple Zone makes for a fun and honest roller-coaster of a romantic comedy that also offers moments of contemplation, a touch of melodrama, and a lot of honest reality......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
|Megan Holcomb, Jodie Weiss, and Racquel McKenzie|
photo by John Groseclose
Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 24th.
"...a perfect study of a topical issue with characters that are richly layered and realistic...Stray Cat Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's 2017 play in an excellent production, full of rich, natural and poignant performances, that will most likely challenge you and give you food for thought and new understanding of people who have different beliefs and values than you. The plot focuses on Della, the owner of a bakery in North Carolina who follows the scripture like she follows her recipes—by the book. ...Della's world is about to encounter a major hiccup and an unsurmountable obstacle when Jen, the daughter of Della's now deceased best friend whom she loves like a daughter, asks her to make the cake for her upcoming wedding. Della is ecstatic at the news. The only issue? Jen is marrying a woman, which doesn't align with Della's literal reading of the Bible....while there is plenty of drama and ugliness in the piece, there is also a lot of comedy and beauty. Brunstetter paints fully three-dimensional characters who, under Katie McFadzen's succinct direction, are brought vividly to life by a superb cast for this production...Jodie Weiss is exceptional at portraying this lovable, conflicted woman who shows just how difficult it is for someone to change. Brunstetter has crafted a soulful woman who, while she may at first be perceived to be a bigot and simpleminded, we clearly see from her many layers that she is far from either....Megan Holcomb and Racquel McKenzie are equally as good as Jen and Macy. ...As the world and culture changes around us, Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake is a relevant play that expertly challenges our ideas and beliefs." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)
"...an incisive and deeply empathetic perspective on love and acceptance, the marriages of true minds, and the unspoken impediments to their fulfillment. ...rises to perfection in Stray Cat Theatre's current production, baked with exacting precision and balance by director Katie McFadzen, and seasoned with outstanding performances by Jodie Weiss, Megan Holcomb, Racquel McKenzie, and Christopher Haines....The wisdom of Brunstetter's work is to transform the impasse between old friends into breakthroughs of perception and ultimately alterations in attitude. The result are riveting moments of poignancy, tempered with humor and tears....one tremendous theatrical dessert......." - Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27
Tinker Bell: Jamie Greaves
Wendy: Brynn VanNewkirk
John: Keira Jakobsen
Michael: Charlie Pettee
Mr Darling: Peyton Jones
Mrs Darling: Nikelle Lander
Peter Pan: Katerina Anderson
Hook: Shyla Gowda
Smee: Madeline Jones
Chief Tiger Bamboo: Manvik Malreddy
Tiger Lily: Drea Metzger
Nana: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Crocodile: Drea Metzger
Silver Mist: Alyssa Jakobsen
Iradessa: Elsie Thompson
Rosetta: Victoria Reiter
Fawn: Tori Jakobsen
Lyria: Sydney Stoneberg
Vidia: Jaiden Rinta
Lead Lost Boy:
Cubby: Gabriella Batt
Skunk: Sofia Posner
Hop: Caprice Warren
Fox: Annaliese Saunders
Raccoon Twins: Nathan and Jonah Thompson
Skottish Jukes: Teagan Allison
Cockney Flint: Nicole Greaves
Mean Murphy: Anela Wailani
Simpleminded Noodler: Manvik Malreddy
Clubfoot Cookson: Makayla Voeller
Sweet Skylights: Marlee Williams
Aquata: Scarlett Warren
Adella: Annaliese Saunders
Arista: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Allana: Jordana Saunders
Brave Pine: Anela Wailani
Brave Oak: Teagan Allison
Brave Shrub: Nicole Greaves
Indian Tappers / Dance Ensemble
Katerina Anderson (as Peter)
Drea Metzger (as Tiger Lily)
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27
from our friends at ASU Gammage:
DEAR EVAN HANSEN has launched its First North American Tour and is coming to ASU Gammage November 27 – December 2, 2018. DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the fastest-selling Broadway show in ASU Gammage history and with limited availability, the tour has announced that DEAR EVAN HANSEN will host a digital ticket lottery offering fans the chance to purchase a limited number of $25 tickets available per performance.
The digital lottery will begin accepting entries 48 hours prior to the first performance in each tour city and will be accepted until 9:00am local time the day before the performance. Fans who have been selected will be notified daily via email and can then purchase up to two (2) tickets at $25 each. The ticket lottery will continue on a rolling basis for every performance in the engagement. All entrants are encouraged to follow DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Instagram (@dearevanhansen), Twitter (@dearevanhansen) and Facebook (@DearEvanHansen) for additional lottery news and information.
Entrants must be 18 years or older. A valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter is required for pickup. Seat locations awarded by the lottery are subject to availability. Additional details and times will be announced in each tour city by the local theatre box office prior to the engagement. Additional lottery requirements can be found at www.luckyseat.com/dearevanhansen.
The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).
Monday, November 12, 2018
|Hector Coris, Nicholas Gunnell, Heidi-Liz Johnson, Samantha Gibbons, Elliot Noah Thompson, and Cast|
Photo by Stephanie 'Tippi' Hart-Dragonfly Studio Photography
Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 18th.
"Mesa Encore Theatre's production of Mary Poppins is, to use a phrase that P. L. Travers' iconic literary character uses to refer to herself, "practically perfect." MET has found perfect leads and with lively direction and effective creative elements the end result is a perfectly wonderful, crowd pleasing and joyous affair....Heidi-Liz Johnson wonderfully gets across Mary's perfect combination of strictness and good intentions with undercurrents of fun and love. ...Johnson's voice excels on every song she sings with bright, beautiful notes. Nicholas Gunnell is joyful and spirited with plenty of charm and a playful mischievousness as Mary's chimney sweep friend Bert..Gunnell's strong and clear signing voice, limber limbs, and wink in his eye instill the role with a jolt of vibrancy and theatricality. MET has included a flying component in the show, which adds a few magical moments for Johnson as well as a fun bit for Gunnell in "Step in Time" ..Samantha Gibbons and Elliot Noah Thompson deliver spirited portrayals of two rambunctious, fun-loving and adorable kids...Tom Mangum and Danielle Hale are equally good as their parents....Director David Chorley does an exceptional job. He adds many original comic bits throughout that add pops of humor while always making sure the seriousness of the story is never lost...Full of exuberant moments, a terrific cast who create memorable characters, lively musical segments, and superb direction, Mesa Encore Theatre's Mary Poppins is a beautiful production of a beloved classic......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)
Click on any show title to get more information on that production
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18
photos by Carly Weekly Photography
photos by Carly Weekly Photography
Sunday, November 11, 2018
audition notice - THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - Fountain Hill Theater's Youth Theater - December 10, 11
Music and Lyrics by Book by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman - Additional Material by Jay Reiss
December 10, 11, at 5:45 pm, and possible call backs on the 12th, 2018
Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
Call to register for audition:(480)837-9661x3
There is a $50.00 participation fee for all cast members.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is spelled W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L and follows six awkward adolescents through their daunting and hilarious championship quest. As they navigate the tournament’s pressures, the eccentric coterie finds a new sense of belonging. Along the way, they learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy.
Auditioners should prepare:
- 16 bars of an upbeat song or ballad that best shows off their voice
- Bring sheet music in appropriate key or edited karaoke track in proper key
and queued to desired start
- 1-2 minute monologue
- Dress to move for dance audition
- Headshot and resume if available
- List of possible rehearsal conflicts
Auditioners should register by going to www.fhtaz.org/youth-auditions
For The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we are casting male and female actors ages 12-19 for the following parts:
An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (Schwartzy)
Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year.
The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.
A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.
The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents' work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts you can find in your casting pool.
A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms.
Rona Lisa Peretti
The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward.
The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better.
Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers.
The more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers.
Deity invoked by a speller in need.
Leaf’s Mom, Dad, and Siblings
All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success.
A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work..
A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India.
CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 17th
photos courtesy Nearly Naked Theatre
photos courtesy Nearly Naked Theatre