Singer

  • Interview with Judy Renaud

    8-2-16 Interview

    9-27-16 Jazz singer Judy Renaud always knew that she was meant to sing. But, like many others, she “caved” to her family’s desire that she pursue something that would guarantee her security. And although she spent years working and raising her family, she never surrendered her dream. At 50 she decided that it was her time to finally pursue the dream she had never abandoned. She worked with many people including well known jazz performers Madeline Eastman, Mark Murphy and Diane Schuur. All taught her things she needed to know and encouraged her to keep singing. With her husband, jazz musician and singer Tom Renaud, she has been entertaining people in clubs for years and now she has created her first CD (the first of three she will release over the next year). This first CD, named for her own composition, When Love Comes around the Corner, was recorded by engineer Bud Snyder at Spirit Ranch Studio with the remarkably talented Eddie Tobin, who was Engelbert Humperdinck’s pianist, musical director and conductor, on piano. Listen to this charming, funny, guileless woman describe her life journey, and the serious learning curve required when making a CD. Listen to several cuts from her CD and come out to see it launched on Friday October 7th at Amore Restaurant 555 Bay Isles, in Sarasota.

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  • Interview with Tarra Conner-Jones

    5-24-16 Interview

    7-19-16 Listen to singer, actor performer Tarra Connor-Jones tell the story of how she discovered, at 6 years old that she was supposed to sing, describing how she felt when she saw the impact her singing was having of her audience. Follow her journey as she chooses to work as a teacher, doing “theater on the side,” until she got an opportunity to audition for the real thing. Hear how she wound up as part of the West Coast Black Theater Troupe and how the desire to continue to communicate with her audience through her performance motivates her still. And come see her as part of the ensemble company of How I Got Over, a tribute to the Gospel Music of Mahalia Jackson and many other Gospel performers.

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  • Interview with Annie Morrison

    3-29-16 Audio Interview

    Multi-talented actor, singer, dance, writer, producer and advocate Annie Morrison’s, career includes standout Broadway and Cabaret performances. She won The 2010 John Ringling Towers Fund Award and the Best Actress Award at the 2012 United Solo Festival for her one woman show which inspired her to join with Blake Walton and David Coyle to create Sarasolo – a one person solo festival in Sarasota FL. She has also won the Theatre World Award©, a Drama Desk Award© Nomination, the Drama-Logue, SAMMY, HANDY and Sarasota Magazine Awards and a Best Plays Citation. Listen to this one of a kind talent talk about her early life, her commitment to creativity in all of its forms, collaboration instead of competition and encouraging creative humans wherever she finds them. And come see her in the Freefall theatre production of Sondheim on Sondheim. Also hear her singing a cut from the original cast album of Sondheim’s Broadway musical; Merrily We Roll Along in which she originated the role of Mary Flynn.

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  • Interview with Cecil Washington Jr.

    3-22-16 Interview

    Actor, dancer, singer Cecil Washington Jr. and his middle school friends were fooling around with a video camera, pretending to act out a movie. When Cecil saw himself on film he was hooked. The feeling in his body told him that this was what he was meant to do. But since he was skilled in math and science and his parents wanted him to be a doctor – he put his dream of being an actor aside. In college (while majoring in pre-health) he happened to see a call for auditions for a show – Cecil got that same feeling in his body and although he’d had no training went to audition. Listen to Cecil tell the story of that audition; of his re discovered his need to perform and the startling surprise discovery of gifts he hadn’t known he had. Finally Cecil accepted his destiny and changed his major. Come see the result of his powerful belief in what he was meant to do as he stars as Sam Cooke in the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s production of Sam Cooke Story.

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  • Interview with Soprano Rebecca Caine

    1-26-16 Audio Interview

    Internationally known Soprano and versatile actor Rebecca Caine’s life had a rocky start. When her parents separated her mother took Rebecca and her younger sister out of school and relocated them in London. When Mom and younger sister returned to Dad, Rebecca remained in London. When at 17 she unexpectedly left the Guild Hall School she was alone, without friends or family. But talent and tenacity helped her endure and overcome sadness, loneliness, and depression. Then she was surprisingly picked to create the role of Cosette in the Royal Shakespeare Company premier production of Les Miserables and to originate the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera. Since then her career has included Opera, Musical Theater and Cabaret. And now luckily for us she is staring in her very first “straight play,” as The Diva in Living on Love at the Asolo Repetory Theater Company. Living on Love by playwright Joe DiPietro is a glorious confection. Genius director Peter Amster found every laugh in this piece and invented many of his own, Karl Hamilton as The Maestro is amazing – especially if you saw him as a very different character – Sen Hubert Humphrey in All the Way. But the star of this piece is the sparkling Rebecca Caine, come to support this courageous and talented woman – or just come to have a roaring good time.

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  • Interview with soprano Anne Fridal

    12/1/15 Audio Interview

    Trinidad and Tobago dramatic soprano Anne Fridal didn’t start out to be a world renowned singer, but she always wanted to be a star. She would get up on tables at school and recite. She invented people to perform for – her invisible audience. Although she wasn’t invested in her voice she began to win competitions at the age of 8. It took a teacher at Julliard to recognize her potential and simply insist that Anne would be a star and of course she was right. She joined and became a principle with the Living Arts International company with whom she traveled the world (she says that that she has been “everywhere”) mostly amazing audiences with her creation of Serena in Porgy and Bess. When she performed to a packed house at the Opera Singers and Actors Church in Covent Garden in London the audience cheered and a gave her a standing ovation. She will return to London in March to perform with Pegasus Opera. And she will launch her Calypsopera CD at the Trinidad and Tobago Fiesta Plaza. Listen to this high-spirited, vivacious, exuberant, thoroughly delightful woman talk about her extraordinary life and listen to several cuts from her

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  • Audio Interview with Carlo Thomas

    11-24-14 Audio Interview

    Carlo Thomas is a gift to anyone who wants to sing – or use their voice. He is not only a brilliant singer and teacher, but kind, generous and committed to helping everyone achieve their potential. And Carlo knows a great deal about achieving potential. Born and raised on a dairy farm where his first audiences were his family and the cows, he went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music.

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  • Audio Interview with Ben Vereen

    11-17-2015 Audio Interview with Ben Vereeen

    Ben Vereen is an icon; star of stage and screen, he is an internationally known and loved performer. Although he was singing and dancing in church and entertaining at churches and hospitals by the time he was four, Ben had no aspirations to be a performer; he thought he was going into the military. It took a very perceptive school principal to insist that he try out for the school of performing arts, and another perceptive teacher to see though his “bad audition.” Listen to the ironic way life conspired to help him find his passion. And once having found it he grabbed on and hasn’t let go. His credits include Wicked, I’m not Rappaport, Chicago, Hair, Jelly’s Last Jam, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Christmas Carol and winning the Tony and Drama Desk awards for his performance in Bob Fosse’s Pippen. His movies include Idlewild, All That jazz, Sweet Charity, and Funny Lady. TV; How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Law and Order, Criminal Intent, Armstrong. His latest film Time out of Mind costarring Richard Gere opened in September. He’s been inducted into both the Theater Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame. Hyper aware that his generation “failed to make good on its promise to create a safer more humane world,” Ben has re-imagined the iconic musical Hair and directed a very young cast at the Venice Theater in Venice FL in a production that will run Dec 13th. He hopes that by bringing this version to a current audience he will jump start a renewal of the spirit contained there. Listen to this serious, funny, self-deprecating, man talk about his life, his hopes for his version of Hair; and hear Sharon Leslie’s review as well as several songs from the show.

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  • Interview with Kathryn Parks and Allen Kretchmar

    Sept 1, 2015 – Audio Interview with Kathryn Parks and Allen Kretchmar

    Dancer, singer, actor, writer Kathryn Parks is part of the stand out cast in Tennessee Williams ground-breaking play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Players Theater. Listen to this talented, articulate woman talk about her life, her work and her role as Maggie the Cat, in which she gets to express aspects of herself which she might otherwise keep under wraps. And find out more about her at her website http://kathrynparks.com. Then Allen Kretchmar, who will be playing the patriarch, ‘Big Daddy,’ in the same production, talks the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the roller coaster ride he’s taken to finally wind up back where he started and always wanted to be – on stage.

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  • Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    6-30-15 Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    Katherine Michele Tanner is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Raised by a family that encouraged all of the arts she was able to pursue every one of her passions. As a result she is an exceptional actress, dancer, musician (violin and piano), playwright/composer, singer and painter. Submerged in, and bouncing back and forth between her passions Katherine radiates a breathless exuberance and joy. Listen to this unique woman talk about her life which is brimming over with creativity and productivity and come see her extraordinary performance in The Amish Project at the Banyan Theater from 7/16-8/2.

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  • Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    5-12-15 Audio Interview

    Katherine Michele Tanner is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Raised by a family that encouraged all of the arts she was able to pursue every one of her passions. As a result she is an exceptional actress, dancer, musician (violin and piano), playwright/composer, singer and painter. Submerged in and bouncing back and forth between her passions Katherine radiates a breathless exuberance and joy. In addition to performing in every possible venue, Katherine is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise and so she teaches. Currently, one of her classes will perform a musical version of the classic Pippi Longstocking, adapted and composed by Katherine. Performances will be 5/29 at 7:00PM and 5/30 at 3:00 and 7:00 at Mars Vision Productions 4366 Independence Court in Sarasota. Tickets are $12.00 and can be purchased at treefortproductions2@gmail.com. Listen to this delightful woman talk about her life and her work.

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  • Interview with Michael Milton

    4-18-15 Audio Interview

    When 7th grader Michael Milton saw a Jr. High School production on HMS Pinafore he thought “if they can do that – so can I.” And when he saw Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha, he thought “those actors probably did HMS Pinafore in Jr. High school and now they are doing this amazing thing.” He was hooked, and began a lifetime love affair with the theater. Following were years of singing, dancing and acting until he finally made his way to New York City. Listen to this candid, engaging, articulate man talk about his various careers and his willingness to be all that he is. Also listen to him read a charming original piece of writing.

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  • Melanie Souza—In The Heights

    April 14, 2015 Audio Interview

    Melanie Souza is a lucky woman. She has always received encouragement and support for who she is and what she wants to do, as a result she has been able to pursue her two passions wholeheartedly. The passion to which she is currently giving her determination, energy and skill is at the acting, singing and dancing. And you can see her display these talents as she plays Abuela Claudia – the quintessential Grandmother in the production of In the Heights at American Stage in the Park.

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  • Audio Interview with Joey Panek

    2-17-15 Audio Interview

    Untrained, but with plenty of raw talent, Joey Panek spent his early career as an actor, singer and dancer. When work became scarce, realizing that he didn’t have the skills to make money in the down times, he returned to school and got a degree in video production. Today Joey is impossible to categorize; he still acts, sings and dances on stage, in his cabaret act, and as a popular MC; he is a TV personality, appearing regularly on ABC 7; he is a media personality with a significant on line presence where he has a popular video blog (check him out at howboutjoey.com); he and Christine Alexander have created various ways bring their improvisation skills to coaching, consulting and just plain bringing laugher. Listen to this joyful, exuberant man talk about what it is like to have a life which doesn’t have a simple definition and just keeps expanding. And come see him in Guttenberg the Musical at American Stage Theater in St. Petersburg Florida March 11th to April 5th.

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  • Interview with Actor, Michael Mendez

    2-10-15 Audio Interview

    Singer, dancer, actor, bilingual Michael Mendez didn’t intend to be a performer, he just loved to sing and wanted to get better and better at it. So he said yes to a role in Chorus Line thinking that doing it would strengthen him as a singer. He was completely unprepared for the dancing required but Michael always wants to be “going for growth” and so, helped by the early martial arts training which gave him flexibility, he just learned all the routines. And that was only the beginning, listen to Michael describe his journey from a boy who just loved to sing to a “23 year old aspiring artist who is making a living with his art.” And come see him in the musical, Violet at the Players Theater (2/11-3/1 2015), and his solo performance at the West Coat Black Theater Troupe theater (3/2/2015).

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  • Interview with Joey Panek

    1-13-15 Audio Interview

    Untrained, but with plenty of raw talent, Joey Panek spent his early career as an actor, singer and dancer. When work became scarce, realizing that he didn’t have the skills to make money in the down times, he returned to school and got a degree in video production. Today Joey is impossible to categorize; he still acts, sings and dances on stage, in his cabaret act, and as a popular MC; he is a TV personality, appearing regularly on ABC 7; he is a media personality with a significant on line presence where he has a popular video blog (check him out at howboutjoey.com); he and Christine Alexander have created various ways bring their improvisation skills to coaching, consulting and just plain bringing laughter. Listen to this joyful, exuberant man talk about what it is like to have a life which doesn’t have a simple definition and just keeps expanding. And come see him and Christine host this year’s Iconcept – the fund raiser for the Sarasota Art Center.

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  • Interview with Carlo Thomas

    12-09-14 Audio Interview

    Carlo Thomas is a gift to anyone who wants to sing – or use their voice. He is not only a brilliant singer and teacher, but kind, generous and committed to helping everyone achieve their potential. And Carlo knows a great deal about achieving potential. Born and raised on a dairy farm where his first audiences were his family and the cows, he went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music. And come see the Manatee Community Theaters production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors which Carlo not only directed but in which he plays one of the Kings.

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  • Interview with Stephen Hope

    11-4-14 — Audio Interview

    Actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, stage manager Stephen Hope has brought his talents to more than 30 productions at the Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota FL, and he is doing it again in the current production of Hairspray. All kinds of music was sung and played in Stephen’s home, but it wasn’t until his first role as the cowardly lion in a Jr High School production, that Stephen found what was “right for him. “ Knowing that “people were laughing because of what I was doing – that we were all laughing at the same thing so we weren’t separate, we were one, it was very powerful.” That night Stephen’s Dad said “this is what you should be doing,” and the die was cast. In his 20’s Stephen took a detour; attempting to see if another path was right for him, but he soon realized that while he could do it – his “heart wasn’t there.” So he returned to the theater, to what makes him “happy,” to doing what is “right for him.” Hear him talk about his life and the exciting production of Hairspray. Also hear a rousing song from the show.

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  • Interview with Sheldon Rodin

    7-15-14 –  Audio Interview

    By popular demand Sheldon Rodin is reprising his role as the iconic performer Marvin Gaye in the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s next production, Marvin Gaye – the Man and his Music. Sheldon clearly remembers the very first time he sang in public. He was six years old and singing in front of his church congregation. He sang with his eyes closed, simply concentrating on the song. When he opened his eyes he was surprised to see the reaction of the congregation – they were smiling. Sheldon can still remember the delicious feeling of bringing a smile to the faces of his audience. Today he is still motivated by his desire to use his gift to make people smile. Listen to this thoughtful young man talk about his intention to bring pleasure and joy wherever he can, and to strive always to be better. And come to see Marvin Gaye – the Man and his Music and let Sheldon put a smile on your face.

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  • Interview with George Ball

    July 8th Audio Interview

    When actor, singer George Ball was four or five years old he could hear a song on the radio and immediately sing it. His talent was discovered by everyone who heard him sing. He auditioned for and was accepted into the Trinity Cathedral Boys Choir when he was just six years old, part of the Pittsburgh Opera Company’s chorus after high school and winner of a Metropolitan Opera contest. Over and over he was encouraged to pursue a career in Opera, but it didn’t feel right. Listen to the ironic way that an abortive audition for the Merv Griffin Show lead to a role in Jacques Brel is Alive and living in Paris, and how he learned the two roles which he would play in Jacques Brel, all over the country and much of the world for the next five years. Hear this articulate, self-disclosing man talk about how he evaluated what did and what didn’t appeal to him and how he achieved a career, which although not that of a star, allowed him to do his chosen work, and have a real life. Then listen to a cut from his first CD, Think of Me, which he is launching as he turns 80 years old.

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