Michael Newton-Brown’s Dad was a high school track coach who put a pole vault in his hands and said jump (listen to Michael’s reaction to that) and tried to interest him in golf. But, a deeply creative person, Michael was drawn to and consequently learned everything there is to know about making theater happen. There were many twists and turns in Michael’s path. He found himself in the middle of several violent eruptions in the 1960’s. He went on the road with the newly discovered Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. And luckily for Sarasota FL he finally found a home there. He is currently directing Cabaret for the Players Theater. Listen to this thoughtful, knowledgeable man talk about his life and career, about the ways the musical Cabaret has changed over the years and why he chose to direct the version he has chosen – also hear a cut from the Broadway cast album of this iconic show.continue reading
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.continue reading
The second half of my interview begins with Betty talking about the impact that her husband’s decision to talk to the House on Un-American Activities Committee had on their lives. She describes the rejection they experienced and how it caused them to create a cabaret act which they toured in Europe and Las Vegas – where ironically the blacklist didn’t exist. She also talks about their courtship and marriage (she doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but that’s what happened); and describes her first hand experience with the dictatorial nature of the movie studio system. Listen to the life of a courageous, creative and candid woman and hear her singing with Gene Kelly, Jimmy Durante and her husband Larry Parks.
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