Friday, October 17, 2014

Once in a Lifetime

For my next trick, I'll be playing Phyllis Fontaine in the reading of Kaufman and Hart's "Once in a Lifetime." It's a great play about the movie business in the late '20s, going from silent films to talkies. I play a movie star with a terrible voice. Can't wait!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My first cast album

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of playing the petulant debutante, Sophie Teale, for the international cast recording of Jerome Kern's "Roberta."

The musical debuted on Broadway in 1933, but it was never recorded in its entirety, so New World Records decided to release a full length musical recording. It was actually done as a radio play, so there are a lot of scenes in the midst of the songs, which is where my character comes in. I get to make the hero's life hell and thus inadvertently push him into the arms of the heroine. Such a blast!

I played a similar vixen in "Johnny On a Spot" Off Broadway, which is where Larry Moore spotted me and told me about the plans to record "Roberta."

When we recorded this winter, I knew it was something special. The music is so lush! Annalene Beechey's version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" is GORGEOUS! I'm so honored to be part of this recording, and I'm so delighted to say it's my first cast album!

We sold out on Amazon last week, but it looks like they restocked. They also have it a a digital album. Or you can go to New World Records directly to hear some clips:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"My Best Friend": Another video from the NY Theatre Barn

YouTube posted another video from NY Theatre Barn's presentation of Andy Monroe's songbook. This is me singing "My Best Friend" with David Marshall. It's a song about the dating game. :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Grand Gesture

Last month, I performed in the NY Theatre Barn's cabaret focusing on new composers. Andy Monroe, whom I worked with on "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun," asked me to sing a song from his musical  Chasing Garbo, based on the film, Garbo Talks. My character, Jane, helps the hero (played below by Tom Stuart) find his way to Garbo while expressing her longing for the type of man who uses a "Grand Gesture" to win his fair lady:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Up Next: Singin at the NYTB in the D-Lounge

While in the midst of developing "Petunia's Coffee House," I'm also performing some of Andy Monroe's songs next Monday July 21 at the D-Lounge at the NY Theater Barn on 101 E. 15th Street.

NYTB in the D-Lounge is New York Theatre Barn’s revolutionary platform for meeting emerging writers, supporting established writers and presenting new musical theatre work. Established in 2007, the series has featured hundreds of writers and performers.

UP NEXT: MONDAY JULY 21 @ 7:30 pm
Doors open at 7pm, Show starts at 7:30pm

$15 General Admission ($10 for students/BMI Members)

2 drink minimum at the bar

Featuring songs from many of his shows (including his Jerry Bock Award-winning musical, DRIVE) along with stand-alone gems and little-heard specialty material, Andy’s new concert shines a spotlight on the solo performer.  Seven singers (Bill Coyne, Laura Daniel Koch, Robbie Fowler, Deborah Grausman, David Marshall, Courtney Shaw, and Tom Stuart) take turns at the mic, delivering songs that are funny, poignant, and brimming with humanity.

Andy and I worked together on "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun" for the NY Musical Theatre Festival. I won the NYMF Award of Excellence, and Andy later received countless awards for his musicals, including "The Kid." 

Andy has a great pop sensibility, and I LOVE his music! 

I'm singing from a show he wrote called, "Chasing Garbo," which is based on the movie "Garbo Talks." I play Jane Mortimer, a struggling actress who loves old movies and helps the hero in his quest to find Greta Garbo for his dying mother.

Looking forward to singing, "My Best Friend" from Sally Peaches and "The Grand Gesture" from Chasing Garbo.

Another opening, another show!

We unveiled "Petunia's Coffee House" last night in the Colleen Dewhurst room at the Aurora / Friedman building, which is part of the Actors Fund. It was a full house, and there were a lot of laughs.

Elizabeth Bell plays LeeAnn Cumberpatch (L), Wayne Henry plays Petunia Lee Swanson (top right), and I play Darlene Yvonne Kramm, a blast from Petunia's rock n roll past.

LeeAnn and Petunia are trying to open a Bohemian coffee house in NYC, but every stone has been left unturned, and Dar shows up to wreck havoc.

The show is part improv and partially scripted with music from the 80s. We have one more developmental performance on July 28th, and then it's back to the drawing board!

Hope to see you at the Coffee House! ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Petunia's Coffee House

I've been writing and developing a show with my friend and UCB alum, Wayne Henry. He created a character named Petunia Lee Swanson, who's had some segments on YouTube, and he wanted to expand her horizons in a somewhat musical way, so Petunia's Coffee House was born!

We started improvising scenes, and then writing them. I've written some pieces over the years: one for the Vagina Monologues, one was a cabaret called "Love in 35 Minutes," and I've been taking writing classes at The PIT.

In "Writing for SNL," Ali Farahnakian talked about the Writers' Table, and with Petunia's, we've definitely been there! I love the roundtable forum. It's been a blast to toss around comic lines , seeing what makes us laugh. A lot of those sessions have ended in laughter through tears, because we've been cracking each other up!

We "open" Petunia's Coffee House in July as a workshop-in-progress. It'll be interesting to see if people want to go along for the ride! I hope so! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Who put their foot on the gas?

This year has been zoomin by, so blogging has taken a backseat.

I just wrapped playing "Martha" in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf for Susan Aston's acting class. What a RIDE! Greg Connelly, who plays the Osborn butler in The Amazing Spider Man 2 was my George, and it was a delight peeling back the layers of this combustible couple.

In the midst of this, I've been writing and developing a show with my friend, Wayne Henry. We met a few years ago when we were cast in the Off Broadway revival of the 1940's comedy, Johnny on a Spot. While our characters never had a scene together, we just clicked and said, "Let's make something happen!"

He then brought me onto JAWS the Musical, a mini musical he wrote and composed. It was fabulous fun, running 35 minutes.

While he's been fleshing JAWS out, he wanted to write a show around an improv character he created a few years ago named Petunia Lee Swanson.

And so Petunia's Coffee House was born! It's a lesbian love story about a couple trying to open a Bohemian coffee spot in NY. I play Petunia's ex-girlfriend, Darlene, aka DAR, and it's been a blast to develop this wild, dark woman who doesn't care about anything but getting what SHE wants. WHAT FUN!

Most of our initial rehearsals were improvised, but we've been writing as well, and it's been fascinating to feel the piece taking shape. I wonder if Christopher Guest works this way, taking a bunch of improvised larger-than-life characters, marrying them together through story, song, and edits, and then unfolding... something fun. :)

It's been an interesting way to work, and I'm enjoying every step of the way! We "open" Petunia's Coffee House in July as a workshop-in-progress. It'll be interesting to see if people want to go along for the ride! I hope so! :)