Introducing Lee Gundersheimer – The Players Theater’s new Artistic Director
-31-22 Actor, Director, Playwright, Administrator, and Educator. Lee Gundersheimer has done it all. Actor in 75 shows in New York and more all over the country. Director of over 80 plays, from Shakespeare to Annie. Playwright of 7 full length plays and 4 one acts including “Incommunicado,” nominated for four Audelco Awards, and opened the new Federal Theater Season off Broadway and Pas De Deux which won Best play in the New Play Festival on Theater Row. Administrator – he built and ran two theaters in New York; a Rep Company an off Broadway theater, was the Managing Director of a professional Shakespeare Festival and Arts and Culture Coordinator for the city of Winona, MN. Educator he taught at 7 University’s. Listen to this passionate man describe a lifelong commitment to every aspect of Theater.
Interview with Stephanie Larking – Dancer, Musician, IT specialist and Head Penguin at Red Penguin Books
1-24-21 Interview with the extraordinary Stephanie Larkin, who is the poster child for the adage when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Beginning ballet school at 2 and “adoring” it, Stephanie thought she’d be a dancer. An injury at 13, left her with 6 years of surgeries. Spending her teenage years on crutches, and unable to walk, altered what would have been the natural trajectory of her life. Nudged by her mother to purse another early passion, music, Stephanie began by learning violin. She majored in music, where she learned to “play everything.” She now beleived that her career would simply be in music, as composer and performer. But life had another lemon to throw in her path, a lemon which became another opportunity for Stephanie to discover how versatile she is. Listen for enjoyment and inspiration to the way this intrepid woman turns adversity into opportunity. Stephanie doesn’t make lemonade, she makes champagne.continue reading
Interview with multi-talented Francine Achbar
The Anatomy of an Artist Series with Lynne Bernfield
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1-3-22 To start the New Year, I am airing an interview with Francine Achbar who created an uncommon life for a woman of her generation. Born in Ottawa, Canada, “a tiny claustrophobic Jewish community,” Francine launched herself into the wider world by enrolling in Boston University. Beginning her career as a newspaper reporter, she worked her way up to Executive Producer of News at WBZ-TV, Boston’s CBS station, then went to the Programming Dept. where she created documentaries and specials. At every turn, instinctively knowing when she’d “had enough,” Francine simply quit, and moved on to the next thing. Finally finding herself where she was always meant to be, first, as Director of Development (a job she’d never done before) and then, Executive Director of Boston’s new Jewish Cultural arts organization, the New Center for Arts and Culture, now called JArts Collaborative from which she “retired.” But, of course, Francine could not retire from being productive. She tutored reading to young children in a Sarasota public school and spent 25 years as panelist on the Public Radio quiz show Says You, www.saysyou.net. Which will broadcast its two farewell shows in September in Seattle and San Francisco. Listen to this extraordinary woman describe the details of a full, exciting, challenging life in which she very definitely “met the moment.”continue reading
Interview with Carolyn Michel and Howard Millman,
The Anatomy of an Artist Series with Lynne Bernfieldcontinue reading
can be heard and downloaded https://thelynneshow.com/Audio/Podcasts/Show_628_1_14_21_Carolyn_and_Howard_SJT.mp3
1-14-21 Interviews with Carolyn Michel and Howard Millman.
On Sunday, January 31, 3:00 the first show of the brand new Sarasota Jewish Theater season will feature Carolyn, directed by Howard, performing Women I Have Loved featuring monologues from her favorite characters, and stories from her career, ranging from Sid Caesar and Broadway to performances in Regional Theaters and 24 seasons with Asolo Rep.
Carolyn Michel has had a storied career, from her success as a baby ballerina, to the early days at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, to performing with Sid Caesar on Broadway and on tour, major performances in Regional Theaters across the country, and 24 seasons on the Asolo stage.
Howard J. Millman was Producing Artistic Director of the Asolo Repertory Theatre from 1995 until he retired in 2006. Prior to rejoining the Asolo in 1995 he was Producing Artistic Director for Geva Theatre in Rochester, New York, Executive director of Pittsburgh Public Theatre and Managing Director of the Asolo. From 1968 to 1980. .
Today is Carolyn’s birthday, a great birthday gift would be buying a ticket and supporting the theater.
Get tickets at https://jfedsrq.org/events,
Interview with Andy Sandberg
The board of the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida announced today that the organization has chosen Andy Sandberg as its Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer as of January 1, 2020. Sandberg succeeds Bruce Rodgers, who is retiring after serving as the Hermitage’s Executive Director since 2005. Sandberg, an accomplished director, writer, and Tony Award-winning producer whose national and international career has been committed to new work and artist development, was selected following an extensive national search. In his new role, Sandberg will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations, artistic programs, administration, and strategic plan.continue reading
Interview with Film Commissioner Jeannie Corcoran
2-24-20 Jeanne Corcoran is the director, Sarasota county film & entertainment office since 2007. She is an award-winning writer/producer/creative director and on-camera talent, in television and video productions, including dozens of concept-to-completion projects plus original tv and video content, music, books, electronic media, and web content. Listen to this amazing woman describe all the things she has done and is doing and come to the Film Commission’s 6 & a mix event – at Suncoast Technical College : 4748 S Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233 on Thursday Feb 27 – see details below
Featuring two upcoming young stars from Los Angeles, who have been on abc and other networks, cable and streaming, plus marvel and disney and numerous other major feature films and tv shows — Booboo Stewart (x-men, descendants, twilight saga and much more) and his sister Fivel Stewart (Hansel and Gretel, etc.) will speak on our vip panel in the conference center at 6:30 pm and if you’d like to just attend the beverages and nibbles mixer at 5:30 and then the vip panel, it’s only $12 total! if you’d like to come to any of the six workshops that run from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm you can register for those too at a different total cost of $50 for everything including the workshop, but it is not required, of course!continue reading
And if you have any questions, call the office at (941) 309-1200 extension 104
Interview with director Celine Rosenthal
1-20-20 Celine Rosenthal, is an Associate Artistic Director at The Asolo Repertory Company. She was captured by theatre very young and predictably studied acting. Surprisingly, although she loved everything about acting; script analysis, the rehearsal process etc., she really didn’t like being on stage. And in tandem with her acting studies she was also a pre-med student. After graduation she spent a year in Mumbai India creating a children’s theater, then found her way into producing, achieving Tony nominations for her work on Leap of Faith and Seminar. She worked as a New York City Medic before and taking the plunge to get her Directing degree from the New School of Drama in NY. Listen to the thoughtful, serious, exuberant woman describe the circuitous path that lead to her true calling – directing – and hear her describe “Lifespan of a Fact” the unique play she has directed for the current season at Asolo Rep.continue reading
Interview with Jeffery Kin – on his 55th Birthday
7-1-19 In honor of his 55th birthday and to invite you all to his birthday bash – fund raiser I am re-airing an interview I did many years ago with Jeffery Kin. The youngest of six from a farm family in Central Ohio, Jeff broke the family mold by being the “creative kid.” Discovering very early his desire to entertain and the charisma that would later make him so compelling on stage, Jeff was lucky enough to have a mother who saw that he “belonged on the stage.” So he was able to develop not only his acting, singing and dancing skills, but his play writing, directing and finally the administrative abilities that make him the perfect choice to shepherd The Players Theater’ renaissance. Come out to let him know how much we appreciate and love him – Happy birthday Jeffery!!!continue reading
Interview with Sharon Ohrenstein – Patra
5-13-19 Sharon Leslie Ohrenstein is a renaissance woman. Her extraordinary voice was first discovered in Kindergarten when she was chosen to sing the solo in the Christmas play and has delighted countess audiences since. She is a fine actor appearing in vastly dissimilar roles with authenticity. As a director she has helped actors find nuances which enabled them to be better than they were. And, as a teacher, she has enhanced the experience of the eager students at Roads Scholar for 16 years. Although writing came late in her life, along with her composer husband David, she wrote the book and lyrics to two musicals and two operas; producing, directing, and staring in many (she even made the costume). Listen to this amazing woman talk about her life journey and her current adventure; the creation of Patra a brand new Opera based on Cleopatra’s last days, which was chosen as a workshop production at the prestigious Seagle Music Colony in Schroon lake NY. And click here to donate to its gofundme page to be a part of this adventure. https://www.gofundme.com/patraoperacontinue reading
Interview with Sheilah Rae receiving a Lifetime Award from the NY theater Barn
4/29/19 On May 6 2019 “The New York Theatre Barn is honoring co-founder and board member Sheilah Rae with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional contributions to musical theatre as a writer, composer, lyricist and performer for over 50-years, and her outstanding service and vision for New York Theatre Barn for more than a decade”. Sheilah found her life path very young. During the performance of “South Pacific” 5 year old Sheilah told her mother that she was “going to do that.” Her parents arranged for her to study dance with the renowned Edna McRae. Since Ms McRae also required that her students know music, 6 year old Sheilah began piano lessons. She was soon studying dance, piano, music theory and violin at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. She got her first role on Broadway in “Fiddler on the Roof” right out of college and never stopped adding to her arsenal of talents and accomplishments. Listen to this multi-talented, effervescent woman talk about a career in which she has done everything. And hear a song from one of her musicals (“I Married Wyatt Earp,” now called The Belle of Tombstone) lyrics by Sheilah and music by Michele Brourman.continue reading
Interview with Florida Studio Theater Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo
1-28-19 Florida Studio Theater Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo bounded into life. She decided to play the piano at two, by four she was demanding that her family listen while she described and acted out her dreams, but that was just the beginning. A good student, she was also an actor, a singer, a dancer, a volleyball star, president of school government, member of the chorus/choir, accompanist to same. There isn’t room on the page for all of her skills and accomplishments, all of which was achieved with a positive, open, self-deprecating, warm energy. Listen to this, talented, charming, remarkable woman talk about a life in which everything is possiblecontinue reading
Interview with Grammy Award Winning Record Producer Val Garay
1-21-19 Because his father was a well-known singer and actor and his uncle was a popular guitarist, Grammy Award Winning Recording Engineer and Record Producer Val Garay was surrounded by music during his childhood. But he didn’t even think of making a life with music until he realized that Medical School was not for him. Listen to this charming, thoughtful man describe the ironic journey which led him to create some of pop music’s most iconic records with Kim Carnes, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Burdon, Dolly Parton, Jackson Brown, Elton John, Pablo Cruise, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Kenny Rogers, The Motels, Queensrÿche, Randy Meisner, Sarah Brightman, Nicolette Larson, , Santana, Mr. Big, Reel Big Fish, Dramarama, EZO, Joan Armatrading, and Katrina,continue reading
Interview with Glenn Schudel
1-14-19, a scholar, rhetoric and Shakespeare specialist Glenn Schudel is a multi-faceted, multi-talented man. Although he didn’t take a straight path, over time Glenn discovered his interest in and passion for acting, writing, directing, and teaching. Disciplined and conscientious he studied and became all of them and more. Listen to this thoughtful, articulate man describe his circuitous route to become all that he is. And come see him perform his one man show based on one of his delightful, if arduous experiences at 1:00 on Jan 26th at this year’s Sarasolo festival.continue reading
Interview with Andrei Maleav Babel
Andrei Maleav-Babel is a Russian Immigrant. The son and grandson of writers and artists, Andrei wrote musicals and directed his parent’s friends in his plays, by the time he was 10 or 12. Luckily coming of age as Perestroika was occurring in Russia, Andrei was able to start his own theater as a very young man. Barely able to speak English, he met, courted and married an American sociology student and became a Professor of Acting at the prestigious FSU Conservatory for Actor Training, one of the top ten actor training companies in the United States. Listen to him tell his amazing story and talk about his direction of the Conservatory’s production of Ibsen’s’Ghosts opening on Jan 4thcontinue reading
Interview with Tony Award Nominee Jeff Calhoun
11-19-18 Interviewcontinue reading
11-19-18 By the time he was 9 years old Jeff Calhoun knew what he wanted to do: he wanted to be Dick Van Dyke, he wanted to be Fred Astaire, he wanted to join the Ernie Flat dancers on the Carol Burnet show. He wanted to be a dancer! It was, he says, “in his DNA.” And, as if it was meant to be, a series of circumstances propelled him on the path of dancer, choreographer and director of musicals. Listen to unexpected way he became the protégé of the amazing Tommy Tune and the remarkable series of happenstance’s that led to his directing such musicals as Jekyll and Hyde, Grease, Big River, Bonnie and Clyde – The Musical, Newsies, and Pulse. And luckily nor us he is back at the Asolo, teamed once again with the incomparable Noah Racey, to direct the Broadway classic Music Man. Listen to this thoughtful, generous, self-deprecating man talk about a life spent “imagining” for the theater.
Part 3 – Interview with actor, author, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist, photographer and, producer Roger Steffens
9/17/18 Part 3 of my interview with Roger Steffins begins with his description of how he discovered Bob Marley and Reggae Music and how this discovery became a lifelong obsession. Today his collection of records, posters and other memorabilia, is the largest in the world. Hear about his frustrating campaign to establish an archive of this collection as the Museum of Reggae Music in Jamaica. Then he describes his years of doing a radio show on MPR, the creation of the Reggae/African Music newsletter which lasted 28 years and had as many as 60,000 subscribers, his relationships with film greats Waldo Salt, Bill Link and John Ritter which led to his career as an actor and narrator of film, audio books and documentaries.continue reading
Part 2 – Interview with actor, author, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist, photographer and, producer Roger Steffens
9/10/18 The radicalization of Roger Steffins. Part 2 of my 3 Part interview with Roger takes him through his service in the army during the Vietnam War. Listen to Roger describe his extraordinary experiences, including; training in Psyops, having had the Tet Offensive happen all around him, and being responsible for tons of food and clothing delivered to displaced refugees. Listen to him talk about the impact his war-time experience had on his beliefs, the life he then chose to lead as a result, and the work it spawned. This segment ends with my asking Roger about his relationship with the legendary Bob Marley.continue reading
Interview with Beverly and Bob Bartner
6/25/18 Beverly and Bob Bartner had long and successful careers. They were interested in all kinds of performances, but it wasn’t until they were captivated by a production of Wit at the Long Wharf Theater in Connecticut that they decided to actively participate in producing for the theater. Since then they have produced countless productions, and their commitment to producing “good theater,” has remained constant. Bob says “we don’t want to lose money, but when we believe in a play – even if we think that it will probably lose money, we will support it.” This passion for supporting good theater has also resulted in the producing of many big hits. And now Bob and Beverly bring their talent, knowledge and passion to the Asolo Theater in Sarasota.continue reading
Interview with Musician Jerry Bilik
5-28-18 Jerry Billik is a composer, arranger, songwriter, conductor, and director of stage productions. Although he downplays his skill and accomplishments Jerry’s career is extraordinary. A musical virtuoso by the age of 13, he has composed more than 50 pieces of music, from popular ballads to marches to his ‘Symphony for Band’. His concert march “Block M” composed for the University of Michigan Marching Band when he was a senior there has been voted by band composers as one of the top 100 marches of all time. He wrote the “M Fanfare” which is still played by the University of Michigan marching band prior to their playing the famous fight song. He has worked with many popular artists, including Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke, Leonard Bernstein, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. He has arranged music for several television series and serves as Vice President of creative development for Disney on Ice, having arranged all the music for the Disney on Ice shows, which he also writes and directs. Listen to this self-deprecatory charming man tell delightful stories of a life spent with music and theater like the ironic reason he taught himself to play piano.continue reading
Interview with Actor, Dancer, Singer, Writer, Educator Marie Thomas-Foster
5-14-18 Interviewcontinue reading
5-14-18 Marie Thomas-Foster knew by the time she was twelve years old that she didn’t want to follow in her families tradition – and become a teacher – she wanted to perform. She began taking dance lessons as soon as she could and convinced her friends to create “shows” in which they sang and danced. She misled her mother into thinking she was majoring in Education when she was actually studying Theater. And her determination paid off as her career has taken her to roles on Stage and Screen (big and little). But apparently the power of her early training never quite left her as she also taught theater at the City College of New York and created Theater Workshop where she gave hundreds of youngsters and opportunity to learn to sing and dance and act. Today she is staring in Having Her Say at the Goodman Theater in Chicago directed by Chuck Smith.