Performer

  • Interview with Dick Hamilton

    5-27-14 – Audio Interview

    When I say that Dick Hamilton is a musician, I’m not telling you nearly enough. By the time he was two his mother could control her toddler by simply putting on some music, he would stop whatever he was doing mesmerized. Dick Hamilton simply fell in love with music and immediately wanted to create the sounds he heard. Listen to this self-effacing man describe the way he relentlessly pursued this passion which lead him to a career as a studio musician and composer in Los Angeles. Then listen to a cut – I wish I had the time to play more – from his solo (and I do mean solo) album, called Album Myself on which wrote all the songs and played every instrument;
    Piano, Electric Piano, Guitar, Upright Bass, Keyboard Bass, Drums, Percussion, Flute, Alto Flute, Soprano Sax, Trumpet, Alto Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Alto Flugelhorn, Alto Horn, Trombone, Valve Trombone, Baritone Horn and Moog IIIC Modular Synthesizer (1968 vintage – no computer or sequencing to produce the few (italics mine) instruments he didn’t own such as Tuba and Clarinet.

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  • Interviews with Michael James Leslie and David Brietbarth

    2014-03-23 Audio Interviews

    These are two interviews I did last year but didn’t get a chance to air. They are with two incredible performers both of whom created remarkable performances in the 2013 season at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota FL

    Michael James Leslie fell in love with music and singing very early in his life, for which he credits, among other things, The Supremes. But although he had an extraordinary voice and a passion for performing, he was also a loving son who, like his siblings, honored their mother’s wish to use their brains, and became a lawyer. After passing the bar he took a job which made him feel that the law was not for him (listen to the poignant way he discovered this). He took a break and went to New York City, where as he prepared to take the NY Bar Exam, he fooled around with being a performer. Then in the most ironic way (another fascinating story) Michael found himself on Broadway in the first revival of the musical Hair and “never looked back.” Listen to Michael talk passionately about the importance seeing each other’s similarities instead of differences and the joy of living your life based on something you love – instead of what believes most people are doing which is “living dead.”

    David Breitbarth has been a member of the prestigious Asolo Repertory Theatre Company for 17 years and is last year’s winner of the Lunt and Fontanne Ten Chimney’s Acting Fellowship to study with Alan Alda. Ironically David had no interest in acting, or in fact, any idea what he would do with his life until attendance at a “progressive hippy-dippy boarding school, where students were expected to try everything, put him up on a stage.” Listen to this thoughtful, interesting man talk about his career and what it’s like to be a “rep” actor, for whom it is essential to make the others on stage look good, and how that differs from being an actor who must constantly look for the next job. And come to see him in The Grapes of Wrath currently running at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

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  • Interview with Jim Weaver

    12-3-13 – Audio Interview

    Jim Weaver always knew that he was a performer. He knew that it would be challenging but nonetheless knew that it would allow him a kind of self expression that he yearned for. He still remembers the night his Dad took the family backstage to meet James Brown, who picked up six year old Jim and put him on his knee. That event; the lights, the cables, and the way he felt, stayed with him stayed with him. When he was ten he asked his parents for acting lessons and to his surprise they said yes. By the time he was sixteen he’d gotten an agent and his first Broadway show. Over the years he graduated to directing and you can see his work at the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe production of Purlie.

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  • Interview with June Garber

    10-1-13 – Audio Interview

    June Garber always knew that she was born to be performer. She had a natural voice (wait till you hear it!) and at four years old would pack her little suitcase with everything she needed to be a star (again wait till you hear what she packed) and go two streets down to “Hollywood.” June knew what she needed to be and do from the very beginning of her life but the circumstances of her life made it very difficult. A step father and later a husband forbid her to sing or perform and as a girl raised in her generation she obeyed. But June never forgot who she was and finally found a way to pursue what she was meant to do. Listen to this inspiring story and to a couple of cuts from her CD and you too will be glad she persevered.

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  • Interview with Joyce Valentie

    9-3-13 — Audio Interview

    Two and a half year old Joyce Valentine would stand by the piano and listen to her music teacher mother give lessons. Although shocked when she heard little Joyce playing the song she’d just taught to her seven year old student, Mom began to teach her remarkable little girl and by the time Joyce was three she was playing and singing on the radio, and by four she was performing on The Children’s Hour. Not surprisingly from then on Joyce’s life has been about playing the piano. Listen to her talk about the up’s and down’s, and all the hard work. Hear her describe how, while a student at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City she was asked to learn the Beethoven A Major Piano and Cello Sonata overnight, because none of the professors wanted to try it and how that experience introduced her to a lifelong friend, Cellist, Debbie Brooks. And listen to these remarkable musicians play one of Joyce’s original compositions in their joint creation of the CD Reunion.

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  • Interview with De’Zhon Fields

    8-20-13—Audio Interview

    Class clown and family entertainer De’Zhon Fields always knew that he would be a performer he just didn’t know what form it would take. Without training or a mentor or a teacher or any real direction, with only his certainty that entertaining was what he was meant to do, De’Zhon found a way. At 19 he studied to become a ballroom instructor thinking that whatever he learned he could use. After that he created very successful Karaoke business which lead him to a gig at a Casino in Washington State. There, unexpectedly he found what has become his passion, creating an homage to Sammy Davis Jr.; something it had never occurred to him to do. Listen to this delightful man talk about how he follows where life leads, hear an example of his remarkable voice, and hurry down to see Sammy Tonight.

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  • Interviews with Beth Duda and Michael McKeever

    7-30-13 – 2 Audio Interviews First Beth Duda and second Michael McKeever

    Beth Duda still remembers being the tightrope walker in her kindergarten circus show, and cajoling her non artistic family to participate in and be the audience for the shows she relentlessly insisted on creating. But she followed her practical upbringing and became a teacher instead of a performer, until the twists and turns of her life made it possible for her to pursue/combine both of her passions, today she is the Director of Education and Resident playwright at Florida Studio Theater. Listen to this delightful, enthusiastic woman tell her charming story.

    Multi-talented, Michael McKeever decided that he had a better chance of making money as an artist – something he was very good at and enjoyed doing – rather than in the theater where he “soul really was.” He majored in advertising design and did in fact make “stupid money” as an art director. But when life gave him opportunity and he jumped on it. He wrote his first play at 30 years old, and his “soul” must have been right because in the 15 years since he wrote that first play, Michael’s written 21 plays and all of them, including the first one, have been produced. Listen to this exuberant, passionate man talk about the joy of finally being what he was always meant to be. And come to Florida Studio Theater where his play funny, thoughtful, compelling play South Beach Babylon is currently running.

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  • Interview with Zak Edwards

    6-18-13 – Audio Interview

    Do you like toe-tapping music, incredibly clever lyrics, and exuberant choreography performed by a remarkably talented ensemble? Then run right down to Florida Studio Theater’s Gompertz Theatre to see The World Goes Round a revue of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s music – much of which will be familiar to you as it comes from Chicago and Cabaret and many other of their splendid musicals. And in that delightful revue (which has been extended through June 29th) you will see the very talented Zak Edwards who says he was “always a musician,” having begun piano lessons at 5 years old and performing professionally by the time he was in the 4th grade. Listen to this skilled performer talk about his recognition of what he was meant to do and be, and hear his interesting explanation of what it means to be the dance captain of a show.

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  • Interview with Billie Wildrick

    Brunhilde from Das Barbeque7-3-12 –Interview

    Billie Wildrick can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making up stories, becoming characters and singing all the time. Her Mom would carry little Billie into company so she could sing Thummertime, so it is not surprising that Billie became a performer. And she got lots of breaks as people easily saw her talent and potential. She was spotted by a talent agent in grade school and went to NY for auditions but her Mom wasn’t comfortable with the role of stage mother and brought her home. Right out of college, she was “scooped up” by the prestigious 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, where she will be performing in her 20th production next year. But even with all her talent Billie’s journey has not been easy. At auditions and certain venues she suffered such severe anxiety, that her body shook and she could not sing “with her voice.” But she has found ways to deal with that obstacle and you can see the glowing result in her performance as Brünnhilde in Das Barbeque currently playing for another 2 weeks at Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota. You can hear her story and hear her singing in this interview, and see a picture of her as Brünnhilde here.

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  • Interview with Graham Dechter

    3-27-12 – Interview

    Family stories say that at the age of 2 or 3 little Graham Dechter would sing along with the records his parents played or the music his film arranger Dad was composing. “It just came naturally” he says. It was not that he thought of becoming a musician, it was that he always was a musician. And he discovered his own way to make music. His first piano teacher objected when ­­five year old Graham refused to bring in the Bach piece he was asked to learn and instead brought in a John Williams film score – Raiders of the Lost Ark. So Graham changed teachers. And although he learned piano and violin it wasn’t until he picked up the guitar – “just to fool around with,” that he discovered his instrument. Listen to Graham talk about the way he learned to play by ear and the unique way he found to play the guitar which is “not how any other guitar player plays” and of course listen to a cut from his CD where he is backed by jazz greats John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on Drums and Tamir Handelmen on piano.

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  • Interview with Katherine Michelle Tanner

    3-13-12-Interview

    Katherine Michelle Tanner is one of the lucky ones; with an actress mother, artist father and concert pianist grandmother, she grew up surrounded by, and encouraged to, experience the all of the arts. As a result she’s played with and mastered virtually all of them; a dancer, who convinced her ballet master to take her on before she reached the mandatory age, a pianist, violinist, artist, singer and actor, Katherine is currently part of the ensemble cast of Next Fall at Florida Studio Theater. Listen to Katherine talk about the intricacies of this play – it will make you want to run out and see it and her.

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  • Norm Corwin Interview Part 3

    11-08-11 Interview Part 3

    On December 15th 1941, (following the bombing of Pearl Harbor) President Franklin Delano Roosevelt requested that Norman Corwin’s radio play “We Hold These Truths,” become the first radio program to be carried by all the network stations in the country. Written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and starring Edward Arnold, Walter Brennen, Bob Burns, Walter Huston, Marjorie Mane, Edward G Robinson, Corporal James Stewart.

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  • Norm Corwin Interview Part 2

    11-1-11 Interview Part 2

    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.

    And listen next week for the full airing of “We Hold These Truths.”

     

     

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  • Norm Corwin Interview Part 1

    I’m interrupting the airing of my Bonnie and Clyde The Musical interviews to dedicate the next 3 shows to what I believe is the last interview given by Norman Corwin who died on 10/18/11 at the age of 101. I interviewed Mr. Corwin at his home shortly before his 100th birthday. Propped in his wheelchair, with little capacity to move his ancient body, Mr. Corwin was nonetheless lucid, erudite, and remembered virtually everything about his 70 plus year career. After the interviews I will rebroadcast one of his most beloved radio plays “We Hold These Truths.”

    10-25-11 Norm Corwin Interview Part 1

    Norman Corwin has been called “the poet laureate of radio,” the Bard of Broadcasting, a “citizen of the world” “and “to radio what Shakespeare was to theater.” He is truly a national treasure. Listen to the hilarious “accidents” which propelled his career. Hear the story of his interview with world’s greatest ashcan roller, (who could roll an ashcan faster and further than anyone without spilling an ash,”) and was the very first interview ever broadcast on radio, to the production,”On a Note of Triumph.,” written to mark the end of the war in Europe, which then president FDR had alerted him was soon to come, so that he could have the piece ready in time.

    The Plot to Overthrow Christmas
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    Orson Welles performs “Between Americans” by Norman Corwin 1 of 3
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    Orson Welles performs “Between Americans” by Norman Corwin 2 of 3
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    Orson Welles performs “Between Americans” by Norman Corwin 1 of 3
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  • Interview with Bob Trisolini

    9-13-11

    Five year old Bob Trisolini and his cousins entertained their parents by putting on plays which always ended with little Bobby being stood on his head and pushed over – a perfect beginning for the entertainer that Bob would become. But like KJ Hatfield, Bob was concerned about making enough money for the life style he wanted, so he took his talents to corporations. Listen to the incredibly long list of companies for whom he created spectacular events which introduced products, celebrated successes, motivated sales forces etc. Now in retirement from an overwhelmingly successful career which took him all over the world, and with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of talent and energy Bob continues to work here and there for FL based companies and to direct and perform in local theater productions. Just having finished directing “Stop The World” for Sarasota’s Golden Apple dinner theater, he is currently directing “Seussical The Musical” for the Players theater. Listen to this irrepressible dynamo and hear a song from “Seussical The Musical.”

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  • Interview with Jazz Pianist Eric Scott Reed

    8-30-11

    Interview with the talented and engaging jazz pianist Eric Scott Reed who made the seasoned musicians at the Newport, CA Marriott Jazz Party take notice by playing both rapid fire jazz and achingly sweet melodies, like his version of the classic Thelonious Monk tune ‘Round Midnight’ from his tribute album to Monk called The Dancing Monk, which I will play as well original compositions from his CD Stand. Two year old Eric began fooling around with his neighbor’s piano while they were babysitting for him. He was always surrounded by the music his parents loved and his experience with his neighbors piano led him to try to play whatever he heard on the radio or the record player. He would pick out the notes he heard and it wasn’t long before he was playing full songs. His parents finally decided to give five year old Eric piano lessons. Listen to Eric talk about his parents, who although raised poor and black in the south, were able to give him and his siblings love, acceptance, discipline and faith. And in Eric’s case to have nurtured a thoughtful and talented professional musician who is dedicated to sharing the gift of his music in every way that he can.

     

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  • Interview with Dotti Anita Taylor

    August’s shows included interviews with people who came in with their destiny clear in their minds, all four musicians were playing the piano by the time they were three years old.

    August 03, 2020 Dotti Anita Taylor Re-Run Interview – see March 30, 2010

    Dotti Anita Taylor was a true prodigy. At three years old Dottie would play the music she’d heard her seven year old sister play. Not surprisingly her sister’s piano teacher didn’t believe it until she saw tiny Dottie play what she heard. Cleverly the teacher insisted that Dottie not hear any of the music she was learning so she would not be able to cheat – but had to learn to read music. The result is a consummate musician who plays not only piano but flute exquisitely. A soft-spoken gentle woman Dottie is a powerhouse when connected to one of her instruments.

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  • Interview with Duncan La Mont Part 2 of 2

    July 13 Interview with Duncan La Mont

    Although already a very successful musician and composer Duncan La Mont discovered that his first love is songwriting. Listen to how he discovered his skill and his passion for songwriting and hear some of his songs which were recorded by Natalie Cole, Blossom Dearie and Cleo Laine – to name only a very few. Duncan’s story to use his words is nothing less than “Magical and Spiritual.”

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  • Interview with Duncan La Mont Part 1 of 2

    July 06, 2010

    This is the first half of my interview with the much awarded, applauded, and accoladed Duncan La Mont. A boy from the tiny poverty stricken town of Greenock, Scotland, who expected to spend his life working in the mines, and although he tried hard to avoid it, found himself playing with Henry Mancini, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman, Paul McCartney. Listen to remarkable way Duncan was pushed into accepting and using his prodigious musical gifts. Hear his wonderful music and his disarming sweetness.

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  • Interview with Mike Moran

    September 08, 2009

    Interview – In this show I interview composer, arranger, pianist, songwriter Mike Moran (husband of Kitt Moran from last week), a year behind his wife, Mike decided at four years old that what he wanted to do was “make music.” Less supported in this dream than lucky Kitt, he finally gave himself to music. Listen to the lovely result of that surrender.

    Interview – Whenever I encounter a couple, both of whom make their living or their life with an art, I like to interview them as a couple. The Moran’s have been together 36 years and when you hear them talk together you can tell why. There is tenderness, affection, respect, and admiration in virtually everything they say about each other.

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