• Interviews Asolo Conservatory Graduating Students Dane Dandridge and Devereau Chumrau

    June 14, 2011

    Interviews Asolo Conservatory Graduating Students Dane Dandridge and Devereau Chumrau are not only extremely talented actors but well rounded individuals, who made unusual choices on their way to the Conservatory, and stating once and for all – I am an actor

    Dane Dandridge was in his first play when he was six years old and has not been out of work as an actor for more than 4 months since then. But while continuing to work as an actor from the very beginning, in college Dane chose to major in Spanish and International Relations, taking the opportunity to live in Mexico and Spain. He was on the verge of submitting a proposal for a Fulbright scholarship to live in Spain, when he was accepted into the Asolo Conservatory Program. Listen to Dane talk about the painful first year studying under “guru-guide” Andrei Maleav – Babel, and hear him quote fellow graduating student, Angela Sauer’s description of that first year with Andrei. (Hear Angela’s interview next week.).

    Devereau Chumrau fell in love with the vision of her six year old self on a TV monitor outside of Sears at the Mall where grandma would talk her for tea. Shy and unsure of herself she nonetheless communicated her love of performing to her Dad, who got her private acting lesions when she was fifteen years old. With this teacher Devereau found the confidence she’d lacked. She had an agent, and was working professionally by the time she was 18. But Deveraeu wanted to expand her horizons and so she went to study in West Africa., where she no only completely her college course work but had an opportunity to act and direct. Listen to Devereau talk about honoring the “scared little girl” within and still becoming the glittering person she is on stage.


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  • Interview with Andrei Maleav-Babel

    6-7-11 Interview

    Andrei Maleav -Babel – is a Russian Immigrant. The son and grandson of writers and artists, Andrei wrote musicals and directed his parent’s friends in his plays, by the time he was 10 or 12. Luckily coming of age as Perestroika was occurring in Russia, Andrei was able to start his own theater as a very young man. Barely able to speak English, he met, courted and married an American Sociology student and became a Professor of Acting at the prestigious Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota Florida. Listen to his amazing story and his ideas about training actors. Keep these in mind when, in the following weeks, I air interviews with many of his students who have just graduated from that program, and talk at length about the impact that studying with Andrei had on them.

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  • Interview with Norman Corwin – Part 2

    5-24-11 –Interview

    The second half of my interview with 100 year old Norman Corwin begins with his description of Orson Wells’ narrating “We Hold These Truths,” which Norman wrote to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights and which was rebroadcast 50 years later on NPR to celebrate its 200th anniversary. Hear him tell the story of the program he created for Election Eve, the year that FDR ran against Thomas Dewey, and his unwillingness to be paid for it because of his concern that he would “not be safe” at CBS if he declared himself a Democrat. Norman’s story continues with the description of his relationship with actor Charles Laughton and how this relationship lead to a career in Hollywood and the writing of screenplays for films such as “Lust For Life,” the Vincent Van Gogh story which he wrote for director Vincent Minnelli and starred Kirk Douglas. Finally hear a portion of his radio play “Between American’s – also narrated by Orson Wells. Also tune in Tuesday July 5th for the full airing of ” We Hold These Truths.”

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  • Interview with actor David Howard

    5-17-11 Interview

    David Howard is the real deal. An actor who uses everything about himself to make his performance as genuine as possible. After having done what he was supposed to do – gone to law school to become the hot shot Labor Lawyer his family expected him to be – David finally, if painfully allowed himself the luxury of being himself. Saying that he should always have known, enumerating all of the clues that his unconscious had given him, but which, in his zeal to be a good son, he ignored, David at long last embraced what he had always know he was – an actor. And he has been studying, working at, and honing his skill ever since. At 82 his performances are flawless but David has not stopped trying to make them better, realer, more universal. Listen to David’s funny, interesting, human story.

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  • Interview with Betty Garrett Part 2

    Interview with Betty Garrett Part 2

    The second half of my interview begins with Betty talking about the impact that her husband’s decision to talk to the House on Un-American Activities Committee had on their lives. She describes the rejection they experienced and how it caused them to create a cabaret act which they toured in Europe and Las Vegas – where ironically the blacklist didn’t exist. She also talks about their courtship and marriage (she doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but that’s what happened); and describes her first hand experience with the dictatorial nature of the movie studio system. Listen to the life of a courageous, creative and candid woman and hear her singing with Gene Kelly, Jimmy Durante and her husband Larry Parks.

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  • Interview with Betty Garrett Part 1

    4-5-11 – ­Memorial for Betty Garrett – Part 1

    Betty Garrett – was truly a singleton. A protege of Danny Kay, she starred on Broadway, capered on film with Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney and Red Skelton, made us laugh in Laverne and Shirley and It’s All in the Family, and was always a kind, loving, generous, accessible, friend. On April 6th 2011 at the forum in LA, people will be celebrating the life and work of this extraordinary woman. For the first two weeks in April I will be replaying an interview that I did with Betty several years ago.. Hear her remarkable story and some of her music, watch clips of her – go to my website to see clips of Betty in some of her movie roles…

    4-5-11 – ­Memorial for. Betty Garrett – Part 1

    From the moment the Bishop told Betty’s mother that she’d “better put that girl on the stage.” professionally Betty seems to have lived a charmed life. Her first dance performance was with the Martha Graham Company; her first acting role was with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater co. She did everything from dancing in the chorus and a sort or strip tease at the 1939 World’s Fair, to performing and staring in Cabaret, Broadway, Film, TV, and recording. Listen to her funny, magical story and hear some of the music she made over the years with Milton Berle, Gene Kelly and of course her beloved husband Larry Parks.

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  • Interview with actor Kevyn Morrow

    March 8, 2011

    Kevyn Morrow was interested in everything; he excelled in sports, played the violin and drums, and trained in ballet. But it was the image of 5 year old Kevyn’s older brother, performing with a “cast of thousands” in Peter Pan, that stayed with him and it was acting and singing that became his abiding passion. Hear what it sounds like to have had parents who supported whatever it was their son wanted to do – even when that was acting – something they didn’t understand and were concerned would not support him.

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  • Interview with Actor Jason Bradley

    March 1, 2011

    Jason Bradley grew up in rural Wisconsin and spent his childhood running through the forest behind his house with his friends making up stories to act out. He says it was the freedom to play and the imagination that fueled this play that has stayed with him and allowed him to become the remarkable actor he is. Of course being exposed to an intensive acting and stage craft program in his rural Wisconsin high school, made it possible for him (and all of his high school friends) to discover that theater was where they belonged. Listen to Sharon Leslie’s review of Jason in the Asolo production of Boeing Boeing, and Jason’s charming and self-deprecating acceptance of his talent.

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  • Interview with Brian Torfeh


    Discussion – Have you suspected that you could really have enjoyed sports, or writing or painting, but have somehow been unable to pursue these things? Are you aware that there might be aspects of you that you’ve been unable to surface, access and enjoy? Do you know what stops you, what might have caused you to hide some of yourself, from yourself? In this show I talk about why this happens, give an example and introduce the concept of The Relationship Contract …

    Review – Sharon Lesley reviews the farce Boeing Boeing currently on stage at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota FL Interview – Brian Torfeh stars in Boeing Boeing and also in La Bette, which run concurrently at the Asolo. Brian’s father rebelled against his parent’s wishes for him; he pretended to be studying engineering while actually pursuing acting. A wife an family made it impossible for him to continue as an actor, but this is what he hoped for his son. Brian did the opposite; he decided to study Law instead acting, as his Dad had hoped. But Brian really is and has always been an actor. Several years into college, his academic advisory pointed out that while he hadn’t taken any courses in his major, he had been in about 14 plays. Brian accepted who he really is and has never looked back.

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  • Interview with Jimmy Clark

    January 25, 2011

    Interview – At about 5 years old Jimmy Clark saw the movie of A Midsummer Nights Dream and told his mom “that’s where I want to live.” Lucky Jimmy was surrounded both at home and in school by people who really saw him and didn’t try to force him to be something he was not. A very unique high school teacher recognizing that Jimmy wasn’t going to do any homework offered to pass him if Jimmy read everything he suggested and answered questions about what he’d read. Upon graduation from high school his mother told Jimmy that he’d “never make a living and so he had to find a way to survive as a bum,” so Jimmy was able to look for what he really was, what worked for him. He found it in the drama dept in college and he never looked back. And after a varied and successful career on stage on television, Jimmy is today a valued member of the Asolo Repertory Company in Sarasota FL, Currently turning in an amazing performance in 12 Angry Men.

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  • Interview with Danny Scheie

    January 18, 2011

    Interview – Danny Scheie (pronounced Shay) was 4 or 5 years old when his parents took him to see Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins and when he saw her dancing with a cartoon penguin he thought “I must do that!” When family friends asked him to sing a song, he sang the entire score of a show, so Danny was a performer from the very beginning. Although his parents tried to dissuade him from a career as an actor, Danny says that even as a little kid Danny he was “driven to perform.” At present Danny is appearing as Valere in the Asolo Repertory Company production of La Bette. It is a role which very few people can play and Danny is brilliant in it. In this interview, Danny is not only funny and charming but thoughtful and philosophical, making this not only a delightful and endearing but terrifically interesting interview. For a lively discussion of the intent of the play, La Bette, listen to Bryan Torfeh’s interview next month

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  • Interview with Gil Brady and review of I Love You You’re Perfect, Now Change

    Photo from I Love You You're Perfect, Now Change, by Amy SteinmetzDecember 28, 2010

    Interview – Gil Brady is many characters in I Love You. You’re Perfect, Now Change which has been so successful at the Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota that they have had to extend it. But Gil like Kevin and Jeremy didn’t intend to be a performer. Like his siblings, little Gil (the baby boy of the family) danced and sang to entertain his parents, but he loved to draw and sketch and thought that would be his life. Then one day his interest in drawing simply disappeared. Gil’s family moved when he was in the 7th grade and, to help him “make friends,” his mother enrolled him in an acting class. By the end of his first year there Gil “knew,” this was for him, but it wasn’t an easy ride. A big fish in his hometown pond, Gil was confronted by many challenges when he went off to university – where they treated the students as though they were in “boot camp.” Listen to Gil’s determined struggle to overcome his physical and emotional difficulties, and find himself at a very young age a working actor.

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  • Interview with Actor and Singer Jeremy Jordan

    Photo from Bonnie and Clyde the Musical - by Frank AturaDecember 21, 2010

    Interview – Jeremy Jordan is originating the role of charismatic bad boy Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical, but like Kevin he didn’t expect to live his life as an actor. From the beginning Jeremy could sing and his Mom suggested he audition for shows at the community theater, but his first auditions were “horrible” and he “couldn’t even get cast in Peter Pan or Oliver Twist.” But he didn’t mind because he was a really good student and thought he was going to be an engineer. Just before his junior year in high school Jeremy attended a prestigious conference to jump-start his engineering career and realized that he had no interest in the field. As he says, “when you go for your career and return remembering only a couple of pretty faces, you know something is wrong.” Not knowing what he was going to do with his life Jeremy let life lead him. He sang in chorus in school and was heard by someone who offered him a role in a play. Jeremy was hooked and knew that this was the life he was meant for. And it must be true because at 26 he’s already had staring roles in Grease and West Side Story and now, as Clyde Barrow, he is almost certainly going to find himself on Broadway again – this time creating the role he’s playing.

    I’m pleased to offer a sneak listen to some of the songs from Bonnie and Clyde the Musical.
    Enjoy: Music from Bonnie and Clyde

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  • Interview with Kevin Massey, Actor in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical

    Bonnie and Clyde the MusicalDecember 14, 2010

    Interview –Kevin Massey is originating the role of Ken – the good guy – in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical – which is playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota and expected to go to Broadway very soon, but Kevin never intended to be a performer. Like the rest of his family he was “very musical” but no one thought of “doing it for a living.” Really good in school, Kevin liked and did well in math and science, even attending college as a pre-med major. But even though he was told that “if you’re good in school why would you throw your life away a performer,” life kept letting Kevin know that performing was definitely his path. Arriving in New York (just for a year off) a month before 911, Kevin “instantly became a New Yorker” and a series of happenstances cemented his choice (at least for now) to pursue a career as an actor. In a very short while Kevin was a working actor, winning a role in Big River as his Broadway Debut and now almost certainly destined to return to Broadway in Bonnie and Clyde.

    I’m pleased to offer a sneak listen to some of the songs from Bonnie and Clyde the Musical.
    Enjoy: Music from Bonnie and Clyde

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  • Interview with Ghafir Akbar

    November 23, 2010

    Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Ghafir Akbar, thought acting was a nice hobby, he and some friends “put on a show” for fun, but a director saw it and asked Ghafir to audition for a play he was casting. Ghafir did and got his first acting role. Still he accepted a scholarship and spent 3 years at a prestigious university studying engineering, until realizing where his passion really was. Listen to the way life kept offering acting to Ghafir and the courage it took to leave school and follow his passion.

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  • Interview with Jennifer Logue

    November 16, 2010

    Discussion – In this show I continue to talk about our undercover qualities, why we have to put some of the most important things about ourselves undercover and how doing the Family Pie exercise can help you discover what you have had to hide undercover.

    Interview – Jennifer Logue is an actor, she has been an actor for as long as she can remember. She can recall her four year old self, doing commercials for her family, entertaining at the drop of a hat, pushing her brothers out of the way the minute the cameras starting to roll. Graduating from the 3 year “boot camp” at the Asolo Conservatory, and refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer Jennifer joined with 6 other Asolo Conservatory Graduates and started the Mad Dog Theater Company in NY. Listen to the passion, energy, and wit or this charming and talented young woman – get in on the ground floor of Mad Dog’s journey.

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  • Interview with Laura Osnes and Don Black

    November 9, 2010

    On November 19th the Asolo Repertory Company of Sarasota Florida will be premiering Bonnie and Clyde the musical which brings a brand new focus to the Bonnie and Clyde story. In my show I am airing interviews with Bonnie, Laura Osnes whose previous work includes starring roles in South Pacific and Grease; listen to the remarkable way Laura’s career simply unfolded before her and how she won her starring role on Grease on a reality show, and lyricist Don Black whose 1000 songs include not only To Sir With Love, and Born Free but too many others from film and stage to name…

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  • Interview with Kate Alexander

    September 28

    Kate Alexander is not only assistant Artistic Director of the Florida Studio Theater, but an extremely talented actor and director. She was not an outgoing or precocious child and says that no one would have expected her to become an actress. Even in college where she majored in drama her teachers “didn’t know what to do with her.” But although she couldn’t say exactly why, Kate had decided at age 8 that the stage was her destiny, and difficult and discouraging as her path was, Kate knew she had to travel it, and it has brought her to where she always wanted to – and knew she should be.

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  • Interview with Jeffrey Kin

    July 27 Jeffrey Kin

    Jeffrey Kin is the artistic director of The Players Theater a community theater in Sarasota Florida. The youngest of six from a farm family in Central Ohio, Jeffrey broke the family mold by being the “creative kid.” Discovering very early his desire to entertain and the charisma that would later make him so compelling on stage, Jeffrey was lucky enough to have a mother who saw that he “belonged on the stage” and “took care of Dad’s disapproval.” So Jeffrey was able to develop not only his acting, singing and dancing skills, but his play writing, directing and finally the administrative abilities that make him the perfect choice to shepherd The Players Theater’ renaissance.

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  • Interview with Jimmy Clark

    March 23, 2010

    Interview – Jimmy Clark is so much of a rebel, that his Mom cautioned him to find a work that he wanted to do – because he just wasn’t going to fit into any one else’s mold or pigeon hole. Lucky for Jimmy not one but many teachers who not only understood him but were able to coax and lead him towards the direction Jimmy needed to go; first literature and finally theater. Of course Jimmy is a wonderful actor. And his story makes you want to go out and take a teacher to lunch.

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