Podcast Episode 205: Our Season Finale Mashup! In case you missed . . .

And in the blink of a podcast, our fall season has vanished like the leaves on the trees.

It’s been an exciting few months of podcastin’ for us and when I thought about how best to wrap up this season, I thought . . . what would Happy Days do?

Some of my favorite episodes of my favorite childhood sitcoms like Happy Days and Different Strokes and Silver Spoons (I so wanted to be Ricky Schroeder) were the compilation episodes that tied together the best scenes from the best episodes of the series.

So that’s what we did for you!

For this season finale, we mashed-up clips from all of our guests throughout the season!  Listened to them already?  Be reminded of some of the truth bombs and greatest lessons.  Missed an episode? This is a chance for you to get the cliff notes!

You’ll get some of the top takeaways, stories, and maybe even me beatboxing.

Listen in and hear: 

  • Anthony Veneziale’s key to success when starting out 
  • Ali Stroker’s “ninja patience” and how she gets through any challenge that comes her way
  • How building a career outside of Broadway helped Mara Isaacs to see Broadway differently and why she wants to maintain her “outsider status” for as long as she can
  • Why Alan Cumming feels it’s so important to not try to pretend to be perfect all of the time
  • And much, much more!

Enjoy . . . and if you like this mashup idea, let me know and we’ll do it again!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

Thank you to Julie Halston, Mark Sendroff, Stephanie Lee, Susan Blackwell, Adam Gwon, Anthony Veneziale, Ali Stroker, Mara Isaacs, Charlotte Wilcox, Ken Cerniglia, Glen Kelly, and Alan Cumming for joining me on the podcast this season!  

If there’s anyone you want to hear from next season, let me know. I want to bring in who the listeners want to hear. Message me your requests on Instagram and I’ll do my best to get them on the podcast next season! And while you wait for us to come back (mark your calendars!) on February 24th, catch up on the rest of the 200+ episodes here!

Thanks, Terry Knickerbocker, for supporting this episode. Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a two-year acting conservatory, workshops, studio rentals, one-on-one coaching, beginner acting classes, and the best actor training in New York. For more information, visit terryknickerbockerstudio.com

The final #SongWriterOfTheWeek for the 2019 season is . . . Kerrigan-Lowdermilk! And my good friend and Godspell company member, Lindsay Mendez is singing their song called Hand in Hand from their immersive house party musical THE BAD YEARS. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.kerrigan-lowdermilk.com or @kerrigan_lowdermilk on Instagram.   

Happy holidays and “see” you back on the podcast for the spring season in February!

Podcast Episode 204: Tony Award Winning Actor and Artrepreneur, Alan Cumming

Soap.

That’s how this episode kicks off . . . with a conversation about soap.

Not just any soap, mind you.  Alan Cumming’s soap.  Like not his bar of Ivory . . . like his actual branded and sold on shelves, soap.

So you see, Alan Cumming truly has done everything.

And what’s amazing is, as you’ll hear in one of my favorite podcasts of my 200+ episodes, he’s only just getting started.

I knew when I saw him in Cabaret back in 1998 that I was watching something . . . well . . . beyond.  Then I had the pleasure of producing his one-man Macbeth on Broadway and realized that Alan was not just an actor . . . he was a Super Hero of an Artist.  

We talked about Cabaret, Macbeth, and a whole host of things on this podcast about acting, art, getting recognized in public, success, failure, running nightclubs, and yes even those bars of soap (and how you can get them), as well as:

  • How he still gets nervous and how he deals with those nerves.
  • Why he is working on a solo dance piece . . . when he is NOT a trained dancer.
  • How being vulnerable is what gives him confidence.
  • The importance of actors being able to “turn it on.”
  • Why artists feel the need to leave on the edge of fear (and why he wants to do a documentary about it).

This episode is a must for all TheaterMakers out there, because Alan is one of the most successful makers of art . . . his own way . . . that is.

Here’s how to listen!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Joey Contreras! Check out his song “Joyride” from his latest EP, “Joyride.” It’s available on iTunes/Spotify/Apple Music. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.joeycontreras.com or @joeycontreras on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by Sunlight Studios. With 8 bright and spacious studios for rent, you can rehearse your next Broadway hit knowing you’re in good hands. To book a studio today, please visit www.sunlightstudios.com. Use Code DAVENPORT to receive a 5% discount on bookings until January 2, 2020.

And when you’re done listening to the podcast, go listen to Alan’s cabaret song and story show, Legal Immigrant on Audible!

Podcast Episode 199: Tony Award-Winner And All Around Inspiration Ali Stroker

There have been just a few times during the 199 episodes of my podcast that I’ve wished it was video, so you could see what I see.

Watching Ali Stroker’s joy-filled smile as she talks about living out her dreams is at the top of that list.

But many of you saw that smile already when you watched her hold her Tony Award up high this past June, when she won for her turn as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!.

What’s truly amazing about Ali, is that her smile seemingly never leaves her face, even when she talks about her struggles after the accident that confined her to a wheelchair since the age of two.  That’s right, when most kids are just learning how to walk, she was told she wasn’t going to anymore.

But as you’ll hear in this incredible episode, thanks to a pair of parents cut right out of the “perfect parenting handbook”, she turned that trauma around, and turned it into a ferocious energy, drive and will to succeed, no matter effin’ what.

And guess, what . . . despite having to work harder than most of us . . . it worked.

This is where I’d usually put some bullet points of key points Ali makes during our discussion.

I’m skipping that this week, because everything she says is so inspirational and so important.

Enjoy.

And advocate for access for all!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Carmel Dean. Featuring the song “The BeanStalk” from the musical Renascence and written by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dick Scanlan. The full album is available on iTunes and Spotify.

This episode is sponsored by Curtain Call! Curtain Call is the platform for all theatre professionals; onstage or backstage, creative or cast, producer or theatre. You can network easily AND look for work. You can view and apply for jobs directly through the platform. Just go to curtaincallonline.com to sign up. They also have an awesome Instagram page – with incredible photography @curtaincall.

Today, we pay respects to the man who gave us Tomorrow, Mr. Martin Charnin.

I loved Annie.

Not just the musical.  I’m talking about Annie herself.

Her name was A***** L*******, and she was the star of our local community theater production of the cartoon-turned-musical.  And she was also my first big crush.

Looking back, my elementary schoolboy Annie attraction wasn’t just because the young lady playing her was super talented and adorable.  I now realize I had fallen in love with the character herself.  How can you not go head-over-heels for an orphan who believes her one dream is “maybe far away or maybe real nearby” and is “never fully dressed without a smile”?  If only we all had that kind of optimism.

The spirit of Annie had a lot to do with the genius of Martin Charnin, the man who not only wrote the lyrics, but also directed the original production (and countless thereafter), secured the original rights, put together the rest of the writing team, and just made the whole effin’ thing happen.

We lost Martin over the weekend, and although I only met him a few times, I wanted to pay tribute to a man who gave us one of the biggest musical successes of the 20th century (Annie is right up there with Cats in terms of recognition) and who had the same never-give-up attitude of the orphan he made so famous.

See, as I was reading his obituary on Playbill, I was reminded that Martin’s first writing credit on Broadway was in 1963 for Hot Spot . . . which ran for 43 performances.  Gulp. Then he wrote Zenda . . . which you’ve also never heard of . . . because the Broadway production was canceled when the show was out of town.

Don’t worry, he went on to do a third show . . . Mata Hari . . . which David Merrick also canceled out of town.  Instead of giving up, he and his composer brought the show to Off-Broadway themselves, under a totally different title.

It wasn’t until 1977 that Annie finally arrived on Broadway . . . 14 years after Martin’s first “failure.”

And I’m sure he’d tell you today that he never would have written “Tomorrow” without all those shows you’ve never heard of that came beforehand . . . and that the only way he wrote it was really, truly believing that the sun WOULD come out tomorrow for Annie . . . and for himself.

The sun has just set on his incredible life and career, although thankfully, his words will echo throughout the halls of theaters for a long time to come.

Martin, I want to say thank you for inspiring me yesterday and continuing to inspire me today . . . as I look to my own tomorrow.


Curious how a show like Annie gets to Broadway, from the origination of the idea all the way to opening night?  Click here to check out my free Road to Broadway webinar.

Should actors be “required” to stage door?

In 1991, I moved to New York City and while making my way to my tap class on 53rd St., I discovered my first Stage Door.

It was the Broadway Theatre’s SD and Miss Saigon was playing at the time.

“So that’s how all the actors I admire so much get into the building,” I thought.  “Wow they walk through that very . . . ” and before I could finish the thought, the actor playing Thuy, Barry K. Bernal, stepped up to the stage door to cross the magical threshold from the street to the stage, and prepare for his matinee.

“Have a good show,” I mumbled, a bit nervous to be speaking to an actual Broadway star.

He smiled, grateful for being recognized, thanked me and in he went.

As you can tell, I’ll never forget it.

A lot has changed since then.  Unfortunately, Barry K. Bernal passed away at the tender age of 31 years old, three years after I saw him at that Door.

And Stage Doors are no longer empty, vacant areas where actors just come and go as they please.

Now, fans flock to the doors, before and especially after each show, for a chance for a sighting, an autograph and maybe even a few kind words from the stars they admire.

One of the great things about the theater is that our stars are so accessible.  You can’t “stage door” a football game or a rock concert in the same way you can a Broadway show.  It’s just not logistically possible.

And with Broadway booming, the crowds around the doors of hit shows often spill into the street, as selfies get snapped and autographs get signed by the hundreds.

You can’t buy that type of promotion . . . because when people fall in love with actors, they also fall in love with the show they’re in.

Last fall, “stage dooring” reached a tipping point when a controversy erupted when Ben Platt, who was practically puking up his heart onto the stage at Dear Evan Hansen every night, said that there were some nights that he just couldn’t do it . . . and still deliver the type of performance the next night’s audience paid to see.

And oh, the tweetlash that he received, including one “fan,” calling him an “a**hole” and “garbage.”

And I’ve seen plenty of other comments on message boards and across the twittersphere hating on actors for wanting to save their voices, and keep their energy up, by skipping out on what can be an added hour or more to their day.

Actors in Broadway Shows are not only more accessible than any other “celebrity” out there, but in my experience, our actors WANT to be more accessible than any other performers out there.  And as fans and Producers we should be so thankful that they’re willing to give that extra hour or more that it can take to sign every Playbill and take every photo before they can head home.

And, of course, as Ben unfortunately learned, they take more of the heat than the actual show if they choose to opt out of appearing for their fans.

So if that’s what they decide, we must trust that they know best, and they are doing it to protect what is most important . . . the show and themselves.

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Are you an actor?  Read one of my most popular posts . . . My 10 Audition Tips for Actors by clicking here.

 

 

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