Singer

  • Interview with Robert Fowler and Rita Rhen

    Audio Interview

    Although always surrounded by music in his childhood, Robert H Fowler followed his parent’s advice and became an electrical engineer. He was working as an engineer and studying gymnastics as a hobby when his coach suggested he take a dance class. Someone in his class offered him a job dancing in Las Vegas and he never looked back. Although that job fell through it freed him from his previous life and set him on the path to a career as a dancer, a singer, and an actor. Rita Rhen was not only a working professional by the time she was 11 but an entrepreneur as well. She and her sister created The Entertainers – a group of young girls who put on plays and became so successful that they were in demand in their community. Listen to these two talented people talk about the interesting and very different paths they took to becoming professional performers. And come see the result of all their hard work in By Gershwin and The Book Of at Florida Studio Theater.

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  • Interview with Rick Kerby

    3-12 13 – Audio Interview

    Actor, dancer, singer, director choreographer Rick Kerby says “my life has been one big wave, which I’ve ridden wherever it took me.” Opportunities did seem to pop up in front of him but Rick was always ready – listen to the charming and funny story of how he learned to dance for his college audition. While on a trip to NY with his college to see shows Rick courageously placed himself in front of the wave by walking into Actors Equity and, as a non equity actor, auditioning for the tour of Oklahoma. He got the job and never looked back. He was continually working; touring and touring and touring in Oklahoma, The Best Little Whore House in Texas, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers he worked in Las Vegas and he taught. Today he brings that wealth of skill, experience and expertise to his position as producing artistic director of the Manatee Players Theater in Bradenton Florida, which is opening their brand new space with a production of Miss Saigon.

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  • Interview with Jgar Hellwig

    3-5-13 – Audio Interview

    Jgar Hellwig discovered very young that he was “different;” he liked to invent characters, have conversations with the trees and talk to his imaginary friend. Even though his family was “not artistic,” they appreciated, enjoyed and encouraged his talent as a performer and by the time he was twelve he was playing the guitar and entertaining his family and friends with his remarkable voice, which he understood even then, was his “ticket.” Although he had a teacher who criticized his voice Jgar was able to overcome this criticism and continue to do the thing which brings him not only work and recognition but extraordinary pleasure – sing. Listen to him tell his story and hear that remarkable voice in a cut from his CD. Also come see and hear him as the outrageous Miles Gloriosous in the delightful and hilarious Manatee Players production of “A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum.”

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  • Interview with Brian Sills

    2-19-13  – Audio Interview

    Apparently Brian Sills has The Muppets to thank for his career in theater. Inspired by them, Brian began creating puppet shows for friends, family and classmates by the time he was 6. Ironically Brian’s first role in a national touring company was in The Lion King, where his knowledge of puppetry came in handy. Like so many others Brian credits his teachers with “encouraging his creativity” and the local Community Theater for “welcoming and teaching him.” But he also talks about the potentially devastating effect an arrogant voice teacher might have had on his and other’s creativity. Fortunately this teacher was fired before he could damage Brian’s and other student’s vocal talent. Hear a sample of what we might have missed and listen to this delightful man talk about the joys and struggles of making a career in theater. Also hear Sharon Leslies’ review of “The Heidi Chronicles” currently running at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in which Brian shines as part of the ensemble company.

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  • Interview with Carlo Thomas

    2-5-13 – 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. And with his life partner Timothy Gray (who with High Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit), 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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  • Interview with Kevin Morrow

    1-15-13 – Audio Interview

    Kevyn Morrow is an actor, dancer, singer, director and choreographer, who hit the ground running. Seen performing as an all American College Band Dancer at Disneyland, he got an audition and his first professional a job at 19 in the National Touring Company of A Chorus Line, where he worked with the legendary Michael Bennett, and again in Dreamgirls. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award nominated musical Leader of the Pack. And from there he has done everything, including music videos with Stevie Nicks and a background dancer for Ann-Margret and Cher. As a boy Kevin was interested in everything; and he was lucky enough 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. He excelled in sports, played the violin and drums, and trained in ballet, and minored in architectural design. But it was the image of his older brother, saying his one line in a local production of Peter Pan, which captured his 6 year old heart and stayed with him. And it was singing, dancing and acting that became his abiding passion. Currently you can see Kevyn’s directing and choreographing skills on stage in the Florida Studio Theater (FST) production of Smokey Joe’s Café and his acting chops in the FST production of Best of Enemies. Listen to this charming, funny man tell his own story and hear him sing a song from a show he was in.

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  • Interview with Jeff Parker

    12-11-12 – Audio Interview

    Jeff Parker as John DickinsonJeff Parker began appearing in musicals as a youngster and although he did four years of actor training at California’s USC. But knowing that he could always fall back on ‘the family business,’ Jeff says that he “kind of coasted.” Then a friend set up a surprise audition for him at the theater at which she was working. He was hired and literally never looked back. Last year Jeff starred as the charming, erudite, if arrogant Henry Higgins in Asolo Repertory Theatre production of My Fair Lady at directed by 2 time Tony winner Frank Galati. This year he is back as – the passionate, erudite John Dickinson, who was the only member of the Continental Congress to refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence – in The Asolo’s production of 1776 which is also directed by Frank Galati and he is so convincing you almost want him to prevail. Come see this multitalented actor, singer, dancer, in this extraordinary production.

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  • Interview with Berry Ayers

    11/27/12 – Audio Interview

    Everyone in Berry Ayers family sang; his preacher grandfather sang to the congregation, his mother was a soloist in several professional gospel groups and aunt had a record deal. When Berry was 2 Mom and Aunt taught him and his six year old brother a song to sing in church and Berry performed 3 or 4 times a month from then on, learning along the way how to “work an audience;” how the little smile or wink would cause the audience to “go crazy.” To correct a foot deformity he was born with the doctor prescribed ballet or braces, Berry’s mother chose ballet (even though their Baptist religion frowned on it) and Berry has been singing, dancing, writing, acting, choreographing and directing ever since.

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  • Interview with Corinne Aquilina

    11/13/12 – Interview

    Currently running at FST’s main stage is Smokey Joe’s Café. In this show you can hear the Musical Director, Corinne Aquilina, who was the arranger/music director for the long running, Off-Broadway show Menopause, The Musical, and played in the Broadway pit of Boy From Oz, talk about this play which she has “gotten up” several times and this particular production. Then listen to the funny, passionate and exuberant Arthur Marks, one of the remarkable players appearing in Smokey, talk about his journey to becoming the versatile and in demand performer he is. When Arthur was 5 he heard his mother sing in church. Without a mike the former Opera singer’s glorious voice filled the room and seeing that the congregation was just as “moved and captivated” as he was, Arthur decided that he too would do that. He made his debut the next year at the same church. And at 6 ½ had his first professional job as a boy soprano in a production of The Magic Flute – for which he sang in German. Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain made him want to dance and he studied ballet, tap jazz etc. He studied the piano and the viola (because everyone else was learning the violin.) When the band needed a trombone player he volunteered to learn it, when the symphonic band needed a Bassoonist – ditto. He says he was like a sponge. Listen to him talk about a life filled with the joy of performance and come see the result of all that rigorous training on stage in Smokey Joe’s Café.

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  • Interview with Esta Cassaway

    10/23/12 – Interview

    Like Austin, Sheilah and Preston, Esta Cassway knew she was an artist by the time she was 3, and she has the sketches to prove it. But the fine arts – she is an accomplished, represented and purchased painter and print maker – were not enough to satisfy Esta, who is also a singer, a lyricist, a published author and most recently the memoirist of her deceased father. Listen to this extraordinary story of Esta’s attempt to learn about her charming, larger than life father whose history remains a mystery to this day but whose spirit continues to make itself known in the most dramatic ways. Hear Esta describe how she came to believe that her father wanted his story told and how he participated in its telling. Her book, aptly titled Ghost Daddy, was recently published by XLibris and is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book. Go to Esta’s website http://estacassway.wordpress.com to learn more about this amazing journey; listen to Daddy’s voice and get a copy for yourself.

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  • Interview with Preston Boyd

    10/16/12 – Interview

    Like Austin and Sheilah, Preston Boyd found his life path very early when his first grade teacher asked him to narrate the class play because he “had such a good voice.” He did and was hooked; having discovered not only that he loved performing but that it was also a way to escape his desperate shyness. Giggle along with us as he re-enacts his very first starring role and listen to this charming unself-conscious man talk about his diligent pursuance of a career in theater, and how he and his family wound up in Sarasota Florida where he now teaches acting, occasionally acts himself, and directs for most of the local theaters. Also listen to songs from Pump Boys and Dinettes the play he is currently directing for Manatee Players Theater in Bradenton FL which opens on October 25th.

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  • Interview with Rick Kerby

    7-31-12 – Interview

    Actor, dancer, singer, director choreographer Rick Kerby says “his life has been one big wave, which he’s ridden wherever it took him.” Opportunities did seem to pop up in front of him but Rick was always ready – listen to the charming and funny story of how he learned to dance for his college audition. While on a trip to NY with his college to see shows Rick courageously placed himself in front of the wave by walking into Actors Equity and, as a non equity actor, auditioning for the tour of Oklahoma. He got the job and never looked back. He was continually working. He toured and toured and toured in Oklahoma and The Best Little Whore House in Texas, he worked in Las Vegas and he taught. Today he brings that wealth of skill, experience and expertise to his position as producing artistic director of the Manatee Players Theater in Bradenton Florida, where on August 2nd and 3rd they will be presenting the premier of a play by Robin Givens.

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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 Laura Osnes

    6-26-12 – Interview

    Director Jeff Calhoun describes Laura Osnes as “beautiful inside and out” and it is definitely true. The term unaffected is old-fashioned but seems to apply here; Laura seems almost unaware of her beauty, talent and sweetness. And her story is perfect for her; from the beginning others saw the potential star in her and encouraged it. Listen to the remarkable way her career simply unfolded, including how she won her starring role in Grease on a reality show! From there she captured roles in South Pacific and Anything Goes, but they were roles others had created. She finally got her chance to define the role, when she starred as Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde the Musical of the same name and to be rewarded for her amazing performance with a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Listen to her sing songs from Frank Wildhorn and Don Black’s beautiful score, and you will understand why.

     

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  • Interview with Jeremy Jordan

    6-12-12 Interview

    I interviewed the charming as he is talented Jeremy Jordan as he was about to star as the charismatic bad boy Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical. Surprisingly he didn’t intend to be an actor, He says that his first auditions for shows at the local community theater, 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. After deciding that engineering was not for him he didn’t know what he was going to do, so he just let life lead him. He sang in the school chorus 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 27 having already starred in Grease and West Side Story, created the role of Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde –The Musical, appeared in a movie with Dolly Parton, Jeremy is nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for his standout performance in Newsies . Listen to his story and the extraordinary voice that got him that first role in high school as he sings the beautifully poignant Santa Fe, from the wonderful score of Newsies by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman.

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  • Interview with Corey Brunish

    4-3-12 –Interview

    Actor, Director, Singer, Writer, Producer Corey Brunish, says that he became all that he is in defiance of those who actively discouraged him. This is a remarkable story of a man who refused to listen when others told him who he could or could not be. A soft-spoken, gentle man Corey exudes a quiet strength that says I will decide who I am and what I can do and his life is the proof of that pudding. Listen to his remarkable journey, hear songs from one of his many CD’s and also a cut from the cast album of  Bonnie and Clyde The Musical which he produced.

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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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  • Interview with Jeffrey Kin

    2-14-12 – Interview

    Jeffrey Kin is a sextuple threat! He sings, he dances, he acts, he writes, he directs, he produces and all this while guiding the fate of Sarasota’s community theater – The Players. A farm boy who discovered as a small child that he was a performer, Jeffrey pursued his chosen field with a vengeance and now brings all of the knowledge and skill he’s garnered to The Players production of A Chorus Line, which opens on Feb 16th and which he not only directs acts in as well. Listen to this charming, dedicated, funny man talk about his life and work and hear a special song from A Chorus Line.

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  • Interview with Joel Hatch

    12-13-11 Interview

    Although he knew he could sing – having made his solo debut in church in the 2nd grade – Joel Hatch always thought he was headed for the seminary and a religious life. Despite being cast as the lead in Annie Get Your Gun and The Sound of Music, Joel doggedly continued to believe that he would become a Pastor. After graduation he spent a year as an assistant Pastor and learned that there were things about that life that were not what he wanted. Ironically Joel found that he had more opportunity to lead a truthful life on the stage than in the Church. Listen to this thoughtful, interesting man talk about this discovery and hear the song he sings in My Fair Lady, performed here by Robert Coote and Rex Harrison from the film version.

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  • Interview with Laura Osnes and Don Black

    11-29-11 – Click here to listen to the Interviews

    Interview with Laura Osnes
    Director Jeff Calhoun describes Laura as “beautiful inside and out” and it is definitely true. The term unaffected is old-fashioned but seems to apply here; Laura seems almost unaware of her beauty, talent and sweetness. And her story is perfect for her; from the beginning others saw the potential star in her and encouraged it. Listen to the remarkable way her career simply unfolded, including how she won her starring role in Grease on a reality show. From there she captured roles in South Pacific and Anything Goes, but they were roles others had created. On Dec 1st Laura gets her chance to define a role – she will put her stamp on Bonnie Parker, beloved partner of Clyde Barrow. If you want to catch a rising star – hurry on down to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, and see Laura launched.

    Interview with Don Black
    If Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan are on the cusp of their careers, Don Black the lyricist for Bonnie and Clyde the Musical is riding the crest of his. With more than 1000 songs for film and stage to his credit, mega hits – To Sir With Love and Born Free among them – Don continues to write songs which perfectly establish and define the characters for whom he is writing. Lyrics like the exuberant “When I Drive” and the poignant “My Bonnie” help us see the Clyde behind the gun. And the lyrics for “You Love Who You Love” and “Dying” help us understand why a “sweet girl like Bonnie” would give her life to a “bad boy” like Clyde. A tried and true veteran Don continues to love the life he’s chosen, to appreciate the opportunity to dream. He says that old song writers maintain a “twinkle,” and a spring in their step, this is definitely true of Don. Listen to him twinkle and .hear his beautiful lyrics.

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