Tag "Asolo Repertory Theatre"

  • Interview with Lighting Designer Paul Miller

    8-2-16 Interview

    11-22-16 With numerous Broadway, National Tour and Regional Theatre credits, as well as having designed the lighting for the New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square for the past 16 years, lighting designer Paul Miller is returning for his sixth season with the Asolo Repertory Company. This year Paul is designing the for lighting three productions. Having just designed the lighting for Guys and Dolls, the musical which opened the season, he will return to light The Great Society and Little Foxes. Listen to this spontaneous, exuberant, delightful and talented man talk about the way he discovered his passion for light. And hear him describe the challenge of designing a light plan that is flexible enough to accommodate his first show (Guys and Doll’s) as well as all the other shows which will appear in this repertory season, including the ones lit by other designers.

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  • Interview with Sinai Tabak – Musical Director of Guys and Dolls

    Interview with Sinai Tabak – Musical Director of Guys and Dolls

    8-2-16 Interview

    11-15-16 At only 25 years old Sinai Tabak has already been Musical Director for four major musicals. Ironically Sinai only began to take piano lessons because his grandmother had given the family a piano. Uninterested in traditions lessons Sinai was captured by a piece he thought would be fun to play – Listen to him play it even now. And although he studied piano and flute and sang in school choirs, it wasn’t until he was asked to accompany the school choir that he began to feel that there was fun to be had playing the piano. And when he was asked to fill in for a musical director, playing for a musical – he was hooked. Although never actually deciding what career to pursue, when he had to decide on a college major, he found that he was unwilling to stop musical directing. Listen to this delightful, articulate, funny, talented young man describe his life’s journey and come and hear the result of his choices as he musical directs his 3rd production for the Asolo Repertory Theater – this time the opening musical of the season Guys and Dolls

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  • Interview with AK Murhbatah

    4-12-16 Audio Interview

    AK Murhbatah discovered his desire to and delight in performing by the time he was six years old. You can still hear the joy his second grade self-felt at being singled out to be the “Imp who saved Christmas.” But his father didn’t approve and it took a very long time for him to stake a claim to himself, and be what he always knew he was – an actor. Listen to this charming, unguarded man talk about his round-about journey to his destination and come see the results in his standout performance as– Dr. Martin Luther King in All the Way and Dr. John Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner currently playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

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  • Interview with David Breitbarth and Doug Jones

    March 1, 2016 Audio Interview

    Talented and versatile actors David Breitbarth and Doug Jones, both long time members of the The Asolo Repertory Theatre Co are currently appearing in Eugene O’Neil’s comedy Ah Wilderness, listen to these serious professionals talk about their lives and their work. And Listen to Sharon Leslie’s review of Ah Wilderness.

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  • Interview with Emily Sophia Knapp

    2-2-16 Audio Interview

    Having accompanied her mother to rehearsals when she produced West Side Story for a local theater group, nine year old Emily Sophia Knapp feel in love with the theater and when she saw her friend in a 50 kid production she knew that was what she wanted to do. But Emily has many interests and she didn’t want to miss out on anything. At Harvard she pursued independent research but found it too solitary and so she went to England to study acting. She sent a letter to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival asking for an audition and spent 2 years living the actor’s life in NY until OSF finally responded, gave her an audition and offered her a position. It was during her two years as an actor at the festival that she discovered an interest in everything about “how plays get produced;” she learned to write grants and developed a software program for the festival. It was there that she also began to direct, becoming assistant director for the earliest productions of All the Way – which she is currently directing for the Asolo Repertory Theatre Company. Listen to this exuberant, flexible, charming woman talk about her unusual path and hear Sharon Leslie’s review of All the Way.

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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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  • SaraSolo 2016 Interviews

    1-12-15 SaraSolo2016 Interviews

    Last year Annie Morrison, Blake Walton and David Coyle created a one person performance festival called SaraSolo. It was a huge success. This year it is back. SaraSolo 2016 brings a new crop of diverse, interesting and compelling performances. Carolyn Michel and Christine Alexander are two of those performers.

    Carolyn Michel is a staple in the Sarasota theater community. A brilliantly talented actress, she is one of the longest members of the Asolo Repertory Company who has performed at every virtually theater venue. She is bringing a pastiche of several of her favorite characters to SaraSolo2016. Come see her bring Dorothy Parker, Rose, Bev, Trudy, Ann Landers and others both real and fictional to life on Sat 1/23 at 7:00 pm.

    Christine Alexander is founding member of Florida Studio Theatre’s Improv Troupe, and the Lazy Fairie Improv Troupe. Christine has brought her infectious capacity to generate laughter to businesses, corporations, non-profits and regular people’s living rooms. At SaraSolo 2015 Christine brought the audience to their feet. Jay Handelman says of her “she keeps finding new ways to keep everyone laughing.” She’s bringing her improvisational magic to SaraSolo2016 on Sat 1/23 at 1:00 PM

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  • Interview with Justin Lucero

    12/15/2015 Audio Interview

    Justin Lucero says he was always “bossy,” always telling his siblings and friends what to do and how to do it. He was addicted to anything Disney but had no access to theater and never imagined being – what he became – a theater director. A talented saxophonist, he was unable to make music his college major because his parents insisted that he major in “something to do with computers,” an area that neither he nor they knew anything about but which his parents apparently thought would make him able to support himself. A series of accidents and unforeseen opportunities lead Justin to a discovery of theater and on his ironic journey towards his final goal. Listen to the hilarious and serendipitous events which lead him to work, right out of conservatory, with Timothy Sheader, one of London’s foremost directors and winner of back to back prestigious Olivier Awards, then later spent four years with the El Paso Opera. Yearning for more training Justin applied for and was accepted to the first director training position at the Asolo. There w he assisted Michael Donald Edwards, Frank Galati, Peter Amster, and Greg Leaming. Greg was so impressed with Justin’s work that he has assigned Justin to direct The Liar, the second production of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training season which opens on December 30th and runs thru 1/17.

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  • Interview with Conductor Donald Chan

    12/8/15 Audio Interview

    The multi-talented Donald Chan is a conductor, musical director, pianist and composer. His repertoire includes 75 or 80 musicals. He has guest conducted at the American Conservatory Theater, the Seattle Repertory Theater and the Cleveland and Seattle Opera Houses. Donald was the musical director for the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the largest theater in the United States, for 12 years. Today, with director/choreographer Joey Mc Neely, he travels the world bringing the real version of West Side Story which he has conducted more than a thousand times. Luckily for us he is currently bringing his experience and expertise to the stage at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Although he has worked with Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Joel Grey, Sid Caesar, Len Cariou, Clark Terry and Shelly Manne to name a few, Donald is soft spoken and self-deprecating. In this show listen to him talk about the outrageous schedule he kept during his time at the St. Louis Municipal Opera and his decision to courageously follow his passion to be a musician and a conductor, so clearly the right choice, even though it disappointed his father who wanted him to be a dentist, also hear Pam Wiley’s review of the Asolo’s production of West Side Story and some of its glorious music.

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  • Audio Interview with David Lutken

    6/16/15 Interview

    David Lutken is anything but the charming hayseed he may appear. With a BA in the classics – mostly Greek – from Duke University (his father told him not to study something that would get him a job but to get an education, and by the way to study the “hardest thing they’d got” – would that we’d all had David’s Dad) and a graduate degree in acting at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. David is a skilled actor, musician, musical director and playwright, but primarily David is an entertainer. Like the epic poets he studied -Ovid, Vigril, Homer – and Woody Guthrie put David in front of an audience and put a guitar in his hand and sit back and enjoy yourself. Currently you can enjoy David in Woody Sez, a musical biography of Woody Guthrie which David wrote based on Woody’s writings as well as his music, at the request of Harold Leventhal – Woody’s manager. It is playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre until June 21st. Listen to this unusual man talk about how he “evolved” into the multi-tasking artist he is and hear him sing his favorite Woody Guthrie song – Pretty Boy Floyd.

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  • Jimmy Hoskins – A Celebration of Life

    2-3-15 Audio interview with Jimmy Hoskins

    There will be a celebration of Jimmy’s extraordinary life at 4:00 on Mon 2/9 2015 at the Mertz Theater in the Asolo Repertory Theatre complex.

    Dancer, choreographer, movement coach, director, painter, writer, storyteller, teacher, cook, Jimmy Hoskins was member on the of the Penn State University theater faculty for 10 years, professor emeritus of theater at Florida State University, staff choreographer for the Asolo Repertory Theatre for 45 years, visiting choreographer at Florida Studio Theater, The Golden Apple, the Sarasota Opera, the Banyan Theater, the Venice Theatre and the Players Theatre and adjunct faculty member of the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, following his long and distinguished career in New York, California, Texas, Mexico and Paris.

    He wrote three books. “The Dances of Shakespeare,” for which he also did the illustrations;. And his two book irreverent and delightful memoir “Our Hearts were Khaki and Gay,” and “No Fairies, No Magic.” which can be purchased at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

    Greg Leaming of The Asolo Conservatory says “He very strongly connected to his students as a friend, mentor and teacher. What he brought into the room was an infectious spirit and a love of the art form.”Richard Hopkins of Florida Studio Theater says “In an age before political correctness, in a society that all too frequently rejected people who were different, Jimmy was proud to be gay. He was adept at teaching us straight guys how to relax with the gay guys, how to revel in our differences, and how to appreciate the depth of our similarities.

    He was, as Carl Meyer his beloved partner of 19 years says, a “Renaissance man.” But for me the most enduring memories of Jimmy will be of his sweetness and his generosity. Jimmy was always giving – even when he was suffering he never burdened others with his distress. I was lucky enough to be one of the legions of people who benefited directly from his talent and his willingness to give it selflessly and joyfully. My life is changed forever by both what I learned from Jimmy and how he taught it.

    In 2011 the Asolo established the Jimmy Hoskins Visiting Artist Chair for Stage Movement and Dance, an endowed fund that brings guest artists in to work with conservatory students. Contributions to the Jimmy Hoskins Visiting Artists Chair in Stage Movement and Dance are welcomed by sending a check, payable to FSU Foundation (reference Jimmy Hoskins Fund in note section) to the Florida State University Foundation, Suite 300, 2101 Levy Ave., Tallahassee, FL 32310, or by giving online at one.fsu.edu/community/.

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  • Memorial to Jimmy Hoskins

    12-30-14 Memorial to Jimmy Hoskins – Audio Interview

    Dancer, choreographer, movement coach, director, painter, writer, storyteller, teacher, cook, Jimmy Hoskins was member on the of the Penn State University theater faculty for 10 years, professor emeritus of theater at Florida State University, staff choreographer for the Asolo Repertory Theatre for 45 years, visiting choreographer at Florida Studio Theater, The Golden Apple, the Sarasota Opera, the Banyan Theater, the Venice Theatre and the Players Theatre and adjunct faculty member of the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, following his long and distinguished career in New York, California, Texas, Mexico and Paris.

    He wrote three books. “The Dances of Shakespeare,” for which he also did the illustrations; intended for dancer’s, choreographers and directors but which could also be understood by a lay audience. And his two book irreverent and delightful memoir “Our Hearts were Khaki and Gay,” and “No Fairies, No Magic.”
    Greg Leaming of The Asolo Conservatory says “He very strongly connected to his students as a friend, mentor and teacher. What he brought into the room was an infectious spirit and a love of the art form.” Richard Hopkins of Florida Studio Theater says “In an age before political correctness, in a society that all too frequently rejected people who were different, Jimmy was proud to be gay. He was adept at teaching us straight guys how to relax with the gay guys, how to revel in our differences, and how to appreciate the depth of our similarities.

    He was, as Carl Meyer his beloved partner of 19 years says, a “Renaissance man.” But for me the most enduring memories of Jimmy will be of his sweetness and his generosity. Jimmy was always giving – even when he was suffering he never burdened others with his distress. I was lucky enough to be one of the legions of people who benefited directly from his talent and his willingness to give it selflessly and joyfully. My life is changed forever by both what I learned from Jimmy and how he taught it.

    In 2011 the Asolo established the Jimmy Hoskins Visiting Artist Chair for Stage Movement and Dance, an endowed fund that brings guest artists in to work with conservatory students.

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  • Interview with Rob Ruggiero

    11-11-14 – Interview

    When he was eight years old Rob Ruggiero would make up stories, corral his cousins, costume and rehearse them and put on performances for his large Italian family. He instinctively knew who he was and what he wanted to do with his life – but like so many of us, he forgot. Luckily in his high school senior year Rob, already a disco dancer was asked to dance in a production of Oklahoma and he says that it was there that he “found his place, his people, his family.” Still, while he knew that the theater was his path, he didn’t discover his role in it until he took his first directing class in his senior year in college and remembered his eight year old passion for creating theater by directing. In addition to a prodigious free lancing career as one of the few directors to earn national recognition for his work in both straight plays and musicals, Rob is the producing artistic director of theater works in Hartford CT. The only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards (2 for Best Direction of a Musical (Urinetown and Ella) and two for Best Direction of a play (Take Me Out and The Little Dog Laughed), he is in Sarasota FL to direct his fourth production for the Asolo Repertory Theatre Co, this time and intimate production of the Roger’s and Hammerstein musical classic South Pacific. Listen to this charming, ebullient, delightful man talk about his circuitous path to the place he calls home.

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  • Interview with Antoinette LaVecchia

    6-3-14 Audio Interview

    When actor Antoinette LaVecchia was two years old she ran down the aisle of the TWA flight that was taking her family from their home in Italy to begin their new life in “the states.” Little Antoinette found herself sitting on the laps of strangers and she can still see “the delight on their faces;” the delight that she put there. This memory became a guiding force in her life and today she is still dedicated to delighting audiences. Despite her immigrant parent’s certainty that this was not what their daughter should be doing, Antoinette’s commitment to her destiny was so strong, that it overcame any obstacle in her path. Listen to this charming, passionate, vitally alive woman talk about her work and come to the Asolo Repertory Theatre to see her in I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti to be delighted!

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  • Interview with Don Forston

    5-13-14 – Audio Interview

    Don Forston always knew he would be an actor. As a small boy he made his parents, friends and classmates laugh; and his father told him that one day he would be “a show boy.” At seven years old he donned the costume of Green Eggs in a playground production of Green Eggs and Ham and the die was cast. 50 years later he can boast a career in which he has never gone more than a month without an acting job. It is a remarkable achievement but not surprising when you see and hear him on stage. Listen to Don talk about his commitment to this career which “captured and never let him go,” and about Hero, the beautiful, touching, delightful play by Aaron Thielen which is currently running at the Asolo Repertory Theatre and in which Don says he is playing “the best role he’s ever had.” Also hear snatches of the wonderful score by Michael Mahler.

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  • Interview with Actor Doug Jones

    4-1-14 Audio Interview

    Actor Doug Jones began his life in Costa Rica, where his father was stationed. When he was three years old his father was transferred back to the United States, little Doug spoke only Spanish so to help him learn English his parents enrolled him in a little drama class. He did his first play at the age four and says “he was doomed.” Thus began a life in the theater and the creation of a very thoughtful philosophy of what it means to be an actor. Doug has been a pivotal player in the Asolo Repertory Theatre Company for 28 years. Listen to this introspective man talk about his philosophy of acting and different styles of directing. And come see his extraordinary performances in this year’s productions of Philadelphia Here I Come and The Grapes of Wrath.

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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 Andrew Sellon

    3-4-14 Audio Interview

    Actor Andrew Sellon began his career at the age of 8 by volunteering to play a girl in the play his sister and her friend were putting on. It was an auspicious beginning for an actor who is dedicated to bringing truth to every role he plays. It is honesty in performance which motivates Andrew and in this interview he talks about his commitment to finding the humanity in every role – refusing to play a cartoon, but reaching for the person not the caricature. This, he says, is especially important in comic roles – Listen to the story of when Jason Robards commented on his performance in A Thousand Clowns, a play in which Mr. Robards had starred on Broadway and in the film. Andrew received his MFA in Acting from UNC-Chapel Hill, He is currently bringing his honesty to three roles in the Asolo Repertory Theatre season. In this interview we talk mostly about his portrayal of Vanya in Christopher Durang’s absurdist comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Listen to this articulate man talk seriously about what makes a performance funny. And hear Sharon Leslie’s review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

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  • Interview with Wade Russo

    12-10-13 – Audio Interview

    Wade Russo is the Musical Director of the Asolo Repertory Theatre production of Show Boat and there could hardly have been a better choice, as he fell in love with the score of Show Boat early in his life and never lost his enchantment with it.

    This enchantment led him to read everything there is on the subject. Listen to the fascinating stories he tells about the way Edna Ferber (who wrote the book on which the show is based) came to write it. And listen to Sharon Leslie’s glowing review of the current production.

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  • Interview with Rob Ruggiero

    11-26-13 – Audio Interview

    When he was eight years old Rob Ruggiero would make up stories, corral his cousins, costume and rehearse them and put on performances for his large Italian family. He instinctively knew who he was and what he wanted to do with his life – but like so many of us, he forgot. Luckily in his high school senior year Rob, already a disco dancer, was asked to dance in a production of Oklahoma and he says that it was there that he “found his place, his people, his family.” Still, while he knew that the theater was his path, he didn’t discover his role in it until he took his first directing class in his senior year in college and remembered his eight year passion for creating theater by directing. In addition to a prodigious free lancing career as one of the few directors to earn national recognition for his work in both straight plays and musicals, Rob is the producing artistic director of TheaterWorks in Hartford CT. The only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards (2 for Best Direction of a Musical (Urinetown and Ella) and two for Best Direction of a play (Take Me Out and The Little Dog Laughed), he is in Sarasota FL to direct his version of Show Boat, which he created for the Goodspeed Opera House, and which garnered him his fifth Connecticut Critics Circle award, to open the 2014 season at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Listen to this charming, ebullient, delightful man discover his deeper connection to Show Boat and talk about his circuitous path tp the place he calls home.

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