Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sister Act @ Broadway Theatre

Get out your habits! Find your rosaries! And, have your yard stick handy! Sister Act the Musical has arrived on Broadway! Based off of the hit 1992 film of the same that starred Whoopi Goldberg, now serving as the show’s producer, in the title role, Sister Act is back and funnier than ever. With all original songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, this “divine” new musical shines as one of Broadway’s best new musicals. There is nun-thing else like it!
 This sacramental new musical tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier and lounge singer desperately trying to make it big. After discovering that her lover, Curtis Jackson, has no intention to leave his wife and make her a star, Deloris decides to pick up, pack up, and try to make it on her own. Before she can do this, however, she witnesses Curtis murder one of his own employees. Rattled by this, Deloris makes a break for it and runs straight to the Philadelphia Police Station where she is reunited with “Sweaty Eddie” Souther with whom she used to go to elementary school with; and, who is now working as the main investigator in this crime. Eddie quickly realizes that Deloris must go into hiding; and, he knows the perfect spot – the local convent. Led my Mother Superior and Monsignor O’Hara, this new hideaway for Deloris is facing problems of its own – nuns who want more in life, the danger of closing due to low population at mass, and a choir that is anything but heavenly. As different events unfold, every character is moved in unexpecting ways learning that God has a plan for each and every single of us.
This ensemble piece is led by the fabulous Patina Miller (stared as the original Deloris in the West End production of Sister Act) as the woman in hiding, Deloris Van Cartier. Miller takes the audience to heaven and back with her soulful voice, powerful acting, and stunning comedic timing. While making the part her own, Miller still pays homage to the work of the great Whoopi Goldberg. Her performance is fresh, upbeat, and an all around joy to watch. Playing opposite Miller is the old school Mother Superior played by Victoria Clark (Tony Award winner for The Light in the Piazza). Clark gives a glorous performance - allowing the audience to see all of the sides of this "tough cookie" - religious, stirn, doubtful, and caring.  Carrying the male side of things is Kingsley Leggs (from Broadway’s The Color Purple) as the leader of crime, Curtis, and Chester Gregory (from Broadway’s Cry Baby and Tarzan) as the knight in shining armor, Eddie. Leggs and Gregory give stunning performances as the ex and soon to be love interests of Deloris. Gregory brings down the house with his wanna be love ballad “I Could Be That Guy” – he shows off his vocal and dance chops all while being surrounded by a bunch of corner bums. Spreading the Good News is Sarah Bolt (from Broadway’s Wicked), Marla Mindelle (from Broadway’s South Pacific), and Audrie Neenan (from Broadway’s Oklahoma! and Picnic) as the pack of nuns roaming inside the walls of the convent. These three women provide non-stop laughs throughout the entire play – making pun on everything from religion to theatre to language. Holding down the fort of the church is Fred Applegate (from Broadway’s La Cage aux Folles and Young Frankenstein) as Monsignor O’Hara. Applegate truly shines in this role as he goes from figure of God to Dance Club MC as the play moves forward. This wonderful ensemble brings this new musical to Broadway in a big way.
Not borrowing any songs from the movie, Sister Act has brilliant music and lyrics by Alan Menken (score for Broadway’s The Little Shop of Horrors and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) and Glenn Slater (Broadway’s The Little Mermaid and London’s Love Never Dies). Together, Menken and Slater created a rich score complete with disco hits, soulful ballets, and hip church hymns. Bringing this score into the light is director Jerry Zaks (currently represented on Broadway with The Addams Family). Zaks does a stunning job moving the story along smoothly amidst the intricate set changes and large ensemble numbers. Zaks creates wonderful images that are enhanced by the stunning designs of Klara Zieglerova (Broadway’s Jersey Boys) for the set, Natasha Katz (Broadway’s Aida and Elf) for the lighting, and Lez Brotherston (Broadway’s Swan Lake) for the costumes. Together these three designers work together to bring the slums of Philadelphia’s back streets, the dreariness of the convent, and the construction of the church to life with hints of the glamorous disco clubs of the 70s. The picture painted is absolutely stunning – allowing Sister Act to take its place as one of Broadway’s new smash hits.
Whether or not you love the movie and know the lyrics to every song or you have never even heard of the movie, you must see this show. Sister Act the Musical arrives on Broadway at the absolute perfect time – a time when everyone just needs a good laugh. Simply go to the theatre, relax, laugh, and be taken to heaven!

Review By: James Russo & Ryan Oliveti

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wonderland @ The Marquis Theatre

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” More importantly, what does Broadway have to do with Lewis Carol’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass? In Gregory Boyd’s and Jack Murphy’s new musical Wonderland, the familiar tale of a girl who follows a white rabbit to the journey of her life; is rewritten with a modern day twist. This talked about musical is not a sequel, as some may have speculated, but a visit back to the loveable characters in the whimsical children’s tale; that, unfortunately, leaves theatre goers curiously unsatisfied.

The trip down this rabbit hole begins in New York City, where English teacher, trying to be an aspiring writer, Alice, has moved to her mother-in-law’s apartment, along with her daughter, Chloe, while Alice takes a break from her rough around the edges marriage. But when Alice lays her head down to try and alleviate a nasty head ache, she finds herself transported to the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland.

Wonderland’s cast was energetic, overall, and fully committed to their roles, exuding an energy so inviting, that makes it a shame to admit it is the only put together part of this show. Leading the cast as Alice is actress Janet Dacal, who approaches the classic heroine with a delightful spark, truly reinventing the Alices of Wonderlands past. With a power house of a voice, Dacal rocks every last song, whether it is a ballad or a belting number. And what would our heroin be without a knight in shining armor – or in this case a cream, equestrian uniform? Darren Ritchie delights the audience as Jack the White Knight, an eager-to-please hero, combining the wistfulness of Don Quixote and the over-gelled lead in a boy band. Humor and valor are masterfully portrayed in Ritchie’s performance, that has the gents snickering and the ladies swooning.

Other show stopping performances were that of Chloe, played by Carly Rose Sonenclar, and The Mad Hatter, played by Kate Shindle. Sonenclar’s voice is so unbelievably fantastic, it was nearly impossible to believe that those notes came from her little frame. The deliciously crazed hatter, shone onstage, as Shindle took command as the menacing antagonist, with a voice that proved who wore the hat in this production.

Even with a truly remarkable cast, the book, supplied by Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy, was less than desirable. With left field plot twists, blatant exposition, and trite lessons, the storyline was blasé to say the least, delivering nothing of what its teaser adds seemed to promise. Although the comedic one-liners try to save the show, the former issues outweigh the laughs. As for the music, composed by Frank Wildhorn, the cast packs a punch through each song, one number after the other, which really rallied the audience into louder and louder cheers, but lost its appeal towards the end of the first act, as each song turned into more and more of a ‘I’ll one up you’ fest. Even trying to give the first act the benefit of a doubt, what with it being heavy musically and only introducing the main conflict more than half way through, the second act takes a complete three-sixty, being sparse on the musical numbers and racing through the climax at the blink of an eye. Yes, it has been debated that this reviewer is over-thinking what is to be a children’s musical, allow this as a counter argument. If Broadway has hosted a children’s musical version of Hamlet, retold from an animal’s perspective, for over thirteen years, entitled: The Lion King, then these new, lowered expectations for the twenty-first century’s children’s musical is not only depressing, but insulting.

Neil Patel’s design, though dealing with a limited space, was creative, however, lacked that certain “WOW” factor, as there seemed to be a required change of set per each musical number. Costumes held the same unfortunate fate, as chorus members had change, after change, after change, having Susan Hilferty’s designs become less and less impressive as the play progressed. As for the dancing, for the abundant amount of movement that there was, Marguerite Derricks’ chorography lacked the razzle-dazzle, always having the potential to be impressive and nothing more.

As chaotic as the original land beyond the looking-glass was, there is no comparison to the mixed-up, mad house that is this musical. Then again, if it is a crazy night at the theater is what you are looking for, there are other rabbit holes to venture down for that.

Review By: James Russo & Sarah Hogan-DePaul

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Motherf**ker with the Hat @ Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

F**k. F**ker. Motherf**ker. Cursing, curing, and more curing takes place on a regular basis at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre now that Motherf**ker with the Hat has moved in. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, this play, however, moves way beyond the title and the cursing to tell a truly compelling story about what happens when all trust is lost in relationships. Complete with a stunning scenic design, brilliant direction, and some of the best acting to ever hit a Broadway stage, Motherf**ker with the Hat is a brilliant new piece of theatre that is sure to rank up there as one of the next great American plays.
Centering around a recently released prisoner and recovering alcoholic, this brave new piece tells the story of Jackie and his drug addicted and cheating wife, Veronica. The lives of these two “upstanding citizens” crosses paths with some other “high class” people including Ralph D., Jackie’s AA sponsor, and Victoria, Ralph’s less than loving wife. When things get rough and sorts of relationships are tested, Jackie has to turn to his cousin Julio for help. From here the lives of all five of these individuals cross paths, and, as the title might suggest, the results are explosive. With tons of fighting, slaps to the head, and a mystery hat, Motherf**ker with the Hat arrives on Broadway with a bang.
The five person cast delivers what is truly one of the best performances that the Great White Way has ever seen, which is with the exception of one. Starting with the positive, on-stage couple Bobby Cannavale (Broadway’s Mauritius and film’s The Other Guys) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (television’s Flash Forward and ER) shine as Jackie and Veronica. Cannavale commands the stage and takes control of every scene, driving the play forward. His ability to switch back and forth from heart wrenching dramatic acting to laugh out loud comedic acting is impeccable. He has the energy to him that causes the entire audience to constantly want to watch and route for his character. So full of life, Cannavale delivers a truly unforgettable performance. Right beside him with just as much power, if not more, is Rodriguez. She is in one word beautiful to watch on stage. Her presence fills the entire theatre – so much so that when she is not present on stage, the audience longs for her to join in the action again. Both Cannavale and Rodriguez deliver truly wonderful performances. Following them is Emmy Award nominee for The Sopranos, Annabella Sciorra who portrays Victoria. Sciorra delivers a stunning performance full of passion, lust, and love. Her work on stage with Cannavale is breathtaking – leaving some audience members close to tears after hearing all of her characters pain and struggle, and wants and desires. The scene stealer of the piece is none other than Yul Vaszquez (film’s The A-Team and Bad Boys II) as Cousin Julio. Acting in what is sure to be Tony nominated work for his Broadway debut, Vaszquez lays it all on the stage giving a funny and emotional performance. He captures the hearts of each audience member in the room as he delivers undying love and honor to a less than worthy family. The main problem of the piece comes with the star vehicle, stand up and movie star Chris Rock (film’s Grown Ups and Madagascar series) – making his Broadway debut. While Chris Rock might be considered one of the best comedic actors of all time, it does not shine through in this performance. His lack of stage experience is fully brought into the light as the rest of the cast shines as the best of the best. Often looking confused and lost, Rock unfortunately did not have a director on the sideline with a camera and the ability to yell, “Cut!” However, do not let these words discourage you from attending this piece, the acting style of one in no way brings down the piece as a whole. Motherf**ker with the Hat shines as one of the best new plays to hit Broadway this season.
While talented actors is a plus, in order to be a success, a play must come packaged with a stunning script; and, thanks to Stephen Adly Guirgis (playwright of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), Motherf**ker with the Hat has just that. His use of language is crafted so carefully – not one sentence is there just for fluff; each line serves a beautifully thought out reason. Bring this text into the light is Tony Award winning director Anna Shapiro (August: Osage County). Making this play flow with ease and sophistication, Shapiro clearly understood the text and meaning of the piece that Guirgis intended. Accompanying the high level text and direction is out of this world designs in scenic, lighting, and music elements. Designed by Todd Rosenthal, the complex set moves with ease as it changes from apartment to apartment to apartment. Featuring rooms on a turn-table, flipping sofas and walls, and a minimalist outside environment, there is no doubt that Rosenthal is looking to earn Tony Award number two – having won for the August: Osage County design. Bringing this brilliant design into the light is the work of designer Donald Holder (current Broadway designs include Spiderman and Arcadia). With creative lighting techniques – like a choreographed light show to open the production – Holder delivers a wonderful accent to both the set and the original music composed by Terence Blanchard, a five time Grammy Award winner. His jazzy and upbeat score sets the downtown city scene perfectly. Together, these forces create a work of true theatre masterfulness.
Motherf**ker with the Hat is a bold and daring new play that examines the struggles of life, love, and friendship as the key element of trust is removed. As the tagline cleverly states, “2 Hearts. 12 Steps. 1 Hat.” What more could one ask for in a play? It even drops the f-bomb in the title! Motherf**ker with the Hat is a must see!

Review By: James Russo

Friday, April 8, 2011

Anything Goes @ Stephen Sondheim Theatre

ALL ABOARD! Cole Porter’s classic high seas tale is back on the Great White Way and dazzling audiences night after night with high comedy, stunning voices, and outstanding choreography. Anything Goes, which has taken dock at the newly named Stephen Sondheim Theatre, now features Sutton Foster as the sassy Reno Sweeney and Joel Grey as Public Enemy Number 13, Moonface Martin. This hilarious musical is back and bigger than ever!
 While aboard the S.S. American, a cast of beautiful characters all mix, mingle, and intertwine in a trip filled with dance, disguises, and love. Rather than taking care of business, Billy Crocker decides to jump aboard a cruise ship, under a false name of course, to follow the woman that he loves, Hope Harcourt. Love does not come easy, however, when his assumed name turns out to belong to Public Enemy Number 1 and Hope is engaged to another man. In order to stop the wedding and win over his love, Billy must team up with long time friend Reno Sweeney, a famous lounge singer, and Moonface Martin, a less than famous gangster. Together, the three of them all scheme to bring Billy and Hope together and let their love shine through. Along the way, their lives twist with the lives of a colorful cast of characters, including gambling Japanese converts, a businessman who is blind without his glasses, a sailor loving gangster girl, and a British tourist just learning the slangs of American culture. Confused yet? Yes. Good because that is half of the fun of this brilliantly funny musical, Anything Goes.
Led by two of Broadways biggest stars, Cole Porter’s master piece is stronger than ever. Sutton Foster (Tony Award winner for Thoroughly Modern Millie) plays the sexy Reno Sweeny. Filling the shoes of past Reno’s like Ethel Merman and Patti Lupone, Foster makes the part all her own. She breathes youth into a part that is normally portrayed slightly older woman. Her sassiness, wit, and sophistication come together wonderfully for this role – not to mention her voice and dance chops. Her brilliant performance is matched by the adorable Joel Grey (Tony and Academy Award winner for Cabaret), who portrays the clever Moonface Martin. Grey gives a stunning performance. He is the grandfather that everyone wants – funny, exciting, and loveable. Together, Foster and Grey have the audience in stitches for most of the show, especially after their wonderfully realized duet “Friendship.” Colin Donnell (of Broadway’s Jersey Boys) and Laura Osnes (of Broadway’s South Pacific and Grease) portray the two young lovers Billy and Hope. Their chemistry together is spot on; and their solo work is just as strong. Donnell does a masterful job at being leading man – his charm and cleverness really shine through. He moves the entire show forward with such ease; it is just wonderful to watch. Joining the chaos on stage is: John McMartin (of Broadway’s Into the Woods) as the not-so-savvy business man Elisha Whitney, Jessica Walter (of television’s Arrested Development) as the greedy mother to Hope Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Adam Godley (a regular face on the London stage) as the crazy foreigner Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, and Jessica Stone (of Broadway’s The Odd Couple) as the mobster girl Erma. In this truly ensemble piece, the cast comes together beautifully to create the perfect night out at the theatre.
This high seas adventure shines thanks to the stunning direction and choreography of Broadway great Kathleen Marshall (whose past credits include The Pajama Game and Kiss Me, Kate on Broadway). Marshall delivers some of the best choreography to hit the Great White Way in years. Featuring a mix of tap, jazz, modern, and more, Anything Goes delivers enough dances to please all theatre goers. The Act I finally, the song “Anything Goes,” features a full cast tap dance number that fills the theatre with such joy and awe that audience members are left clapping for minutes after the curtain has already come down. Marshall has greatly out-done herself with this jaw dropping revival. Also making this production dazzle is a great design team – from set to lighting to costumes, Anything Goes is a visual pleasure. The workings of the S.S. America sail in onto the stage thanks to the clever scenic design of Derek McLane (current designs on Broadway include How to Succeed . . . and Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo). The three leveled ship is designed beautifully – full sized rooms, jail cells, and lounges move on and off effortlessly in this stunning design. To add to the wonderfulness, Peter Kaczorowski (current designs on Broadway include Born Yesterday and Driving Miss Daisy) provides a masterful lighting design. The bright and colorful scheme brightens up the entire theatre and truly lets the laugh-out-loud comedy sparkle. Also adding the overall picture of Anything Goes is costume designer Martin Pakledinaz (past designs include The Wild Party and Lend Me A Tenor). Pakledinaz’s designs transport the audience back to the glitz and glam years of the 1930s. Sutton Foster sports a new lavish dress decked out with sparkles and beads every time she renters onto the stage – it is a joy to watch. This creative team masterfully brings this old-school musical back to Broadway with tons of razzle and dazzle.
Thanks to the Roundabout Theatre Company, Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is revived with true excellence. This hilarious song and dance show is the perfect escape from reality. An absolute must see!

Review By: Ryan Oliveti

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

INTERVIEW: J. Elaine Marcos from Priscilla Queen of the Desert

1. From Flower Drum Song to The Wedding Singer to A Chorus Line, you have had many hits on the Great White Way. What is it like moving from one success to the next?
What is it like? It a roller coaster of emotions that’s for sure. Each Broadway show is a journey from the audition to the callback, to being offered the show, to first day of rehearsal, opening night to closing night to waiting for another audition so I can work again. Ups and downs, but the UPs are a blast! It’s nothing less than amazing being part of different shows and “show families”. You also never know how long a show will last so I am grateful every time I walk in my theatre. I usually like to say I am heading to the “theatre” as opposed to “work”, it’s just more fun that way.

2. You are currently starring in Priscilla, the new Broadway smash. What is it like starring in this glitz and glam show?
Priscilla is just the opposite of my last show A Chorus Line in term of the glitz and glam. As Connie Wong in A Chorus Line, I wore flats, a woven - wool pant-suit-unitard with minimal make-up. But as Cynthia I wear lingerie, thigh highs, lashes and glitter in my lips. It’s Connie Wong gone wild!! I am having an amazing time playing this role.

3. You are playing the iconic role of Cynthia. How did you go about making this role your own?
Honestly, this role is really me impersonating my own Mother. My Mom (Esther) is lovable and charming most of the time...but other times (sorry Mom) she can be a little over the top, so I just channeled her energy. In addition to adding a bit of a cartoon aspect to Cynthia because I love cartoons!

4. This role has you going crazy and taking over a bar with a very special talent that involves ping pongs. How did you go about playing this role?
Playing” is the key word when it comes this role. I really love being in the moment and trying out different things during my number, just so I don’t get stuck in a rut. Most of the movements are choreographed but in certain spots I like to just see what happens. If I don’t feel like I am playing and having fun then I am not doing my job. My” job” is to “have fun”, now who wouldn’t want that job?

5. You have a strong background in stand-up comedy. Did those past experiences help you prepare for this role?
ABSOLUTELY! It’s mainly the ability to take risks that helped me land any job I’ve had so far. Standup comedy is one of the hardest things to do and so is auditioning so the more times you can practice that skill of putting yourself out there and risking it all...I think the better and stronger you become as a performer.

6. What is it like working with the big star of the show, Priscilla, the bus herself?
Oh Priscilla......(sigh) She doesn’t talk to me much. She’s a bit of a diva. I actually think she’s gained weight since the first production in Australia, but I don’t tell her that. I do appreciate her work ethics though; she hasn’t missed one show yet.

7. Along with many successes on the stage, you have had a great career in movies and television. How is it different transferring from in front of a camera to in front of an audience?
The environment is totally different that is for sure. Being in front of one thousand people and feeling their energy and laughs is totally different when you are in front of just a camera/director and the crew on a set. But I think I have to remember that just because I might only be filmed from the waist up, doesn’t mean I only “act” from the waist up. As a dancer first, I’ve always felt comfortable with “being in my body” meaning my body has to be as energized as it would be on stage even if I am not dancing. I used to think that stage equals big and TV/film equals small. In a sense that is true, but small doesn’t have to mean “shut off”, you still need to have energy or else you just look boring.

8. You recently starred in the hit movie Morning Glory. What was it like working with that extremely talented cast?
Working with Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams?? It was amazing and I tried to just soak up it all up. They are all such talented, kind, and sweet people, it’s not a wonder they are stars that we look up to. I think we like watching them on the screen because their own personal charm comes thru in their acting. They are wonderful human beings first and foremost....then talented. I think that’s what I learned from them the most.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying @ Al Hirschfeld Theatre

How does one succeed in business without really trying? Beats the heck out of me! But it seems the cast over at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre have the little black book on the business. Show business that is. With the familiar toe tappers of Frank Loesser, the keen eye of Rob Ashford, and the sharp deliveries of Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a knock out, show stopper of a revival.
Picture this now folks, atop the World Wide Wicket Company hangs a lone window washer by the name of J. Pierrepont Finch; played by Daniel Radcliffe, a name that means zilch, that is until he starts to climb the cooperate ladder in leaps and bounds, causing ladies’ heads to turn and men to shake their fists. How does this young whipper snapper do it? Why by reading his handy dandy “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” guide, of course. This guide gives him all the know how, from schmoozing with the boss; J.B. Biggley, played by John Larroquette, to avoiding the company weasel, Bud Frump, played by Christopher J. Hanke. Now if only he can get the dream job as well as the dream girl, Rosemary Pillkington, played by Rose Hemingway, then he’d be in business.
Director, Rob Ashford, has polished one gem of a musical. From cast to costumes, sets to sound, lights to laugh-out-loud timing; Ashford nails it right on the dime. He captures the fast paced business world of the 1960’s drone worker both in dialogue and in dance. Each number having very clean and defined dancing moments that ranged from wisps of Fosse in “How to Succeed,” to a full on tap in “Cinderella Darling,” and even little sarcastic jab at a dream ballet in the number, “Rosemary.” Although it can be contested that the dancing was a bit much, none can rival the brilliance of “Old Ivy,” and “Brotherhood of Man,” which had the audience in a frenzy of cheers.
Now for the question that is on all of the tweeny-boppers minds, can Daniel Radcliffe pull off a Broadway musical? The answer is: yes, he can. With a charisma that charmed the audience into a standing ovation, Radcliffe takes the character of Fink by the bowtie and does not let him slip out of his grasp for a second. Although thin at times; his voice carried a pleasant, warm tone thought the production, which worked well for the character of dear old Finchy. As for the dancing, boy does he have rhythm! With a discipline to rival any seasoned Broadway actor, Radcliffe takes to the steps like a natural. His rapport with the rest of the cast is generally seamless, however, his relationship with the character of Rosemary left this reviewer wanting more of that romantic connection.
And who can forget our leading lady. Rose Hemingway shines in her Broadway debut, approaching her character with such endearing sensitivity and sweet comedic grace, it isn’t hard to see how third time was the charm to finding the perfect Rosemary. Hemingway’s rendition of “Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm,” is a cherry of a performance, which has this reviewer hoping to see more of her work on the big white way in more shows to come.
It would be a crime not to mention the brilliant comedic performances of the cartoonishly maniacal Christopher J. Hanke and the boisterous deliveries of the sexy sectary, Hedy La Rue, played by Tammy Blanchard. But the biggest crime of all would be not to state how delightful it was to see John Larroquette strut his stuff as J. B. Biggly.
This musical would not be complete without the imaginative designs of Derek McLane for sets, Howell Binkley for lighting, and Catherine Zuber for costumes. McLane and Binkley’s tag team work on the light up honeycomb backdrop, set the mood and location with a creative flare complementing Zuber’s classy cuts for Sixties business chic.
So let’s review reader: How did the cast fare? With class! How did the style shine? With flare! Finally, how do you get to see a show like this? You get tickets and you get them fast!   

Review By: James Russo & Sarah Hogan-DePaul

Friday, April 1, 2011

INTERVIEW: Nick Adams From Priscilla Queen of the Desert


1. Your last role on Broadway was one of the "Cagelles" in La Cage Aux Folles. What was it like working on that Tony Award winning production?
*It was an incredible time. It was my first time working on such a critically successful production from the beginning. I love that family. Working with Kelsey and Doug, learning from them... It was a wonderful experience.
2. You are now playing the lovable Felicia in the smash hit Priscilla Queen of the Desert. What is it like tackling your first lead on the Great White Way?
*It's an absolute dream. It really doesn't feel real sometimes. It's the most exciting time in my life. I've never been happier. It's the most responsibility I've ever had in a show, yet I have the most fun I've ever had. I've realized the dream I've had from the time I was a nine year old boy in Erie, Pa. My mind is blown!
3. Guy Pearce, the original Felicia from the movie, attended opening night. Did you have the chance to meet him? Did he give you any advice?
*Yes! It was such a wonderful opportunity to meet him and receive his blessing on my interpretation of this role. We spoke at length on opening night and to receive the "OK!" from the man who brought this character to life on film was a very magical and humbling moment. 
4. Priscilla is such a nationwide smash; what did you do to truly make this role your own?
*Well I've never seen a stage production of the musical, so I went on instinct and allowed myself to find him with the guidance of our amazing creatives and my incredible leading men costars. I wanted to bring a lot of myself to the role and infuse Adam with a youthful, jovial essence. I wanted to show the little boy hiding inside under all the wit and muscle.
5. You have the chance to belt some of the biggest disco hits of all time in this show. Was it nerve-racking taking on the likes of Madonna?
*I was so excited. It's a first to have her music in a broadway show so I felt honored to be the one to get to create it. I forget in the context of the piece that they are all preexisting popular hits. It's only when I step out of it and people ask then I say, "oh yeah you're right!"
6. Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon, and you seem to have amazing chemistry on stage! How did you guys get to become so close both on and off stage?
*Will and I knew one another socially before we started rehearsals, but when the three of us got together the first day, we just clicked. Our creative team said "we finally got it right." We are like family offstage now as well so that carries over into the show. It's necessary that you believe and care for the three individually and collectively. We hung out together right away, went to drag shows... really established a great bond from day one. They are incredible people and I can't imagine doing the show with anyone else.
7. What is it like working with the big star of the show, Priscilla, the bus herself?
*She's unreal! I love her. She's very consistent and always shows up for work. It's amazing to see a set piece that has a mind of it's own. (There are actually many people involved in making her move so effortlessly.) But she is a crowd pleaser. 
8. The reception each night for Priscilla from audience members and critics alike has been extremely positive. What is it like being up on that stage each night?
*I've never been in a musical that gains a reaction like this. It's maniacal. We get them in a joyous frenzy! It's remarkable to hear the roar of applause each night and to look out and see so many people look so happy. You'd think you were at a rock concert the way the crowd is dancing and screaming. It's the most thrilling thing I've ever felt.
9. You had a chance to work for the “It Gets Better” campaign. What was that experience like?
*I was very honored to work with the "it Gets better" campaign and act as spokespeople for their work. The message of our show is that of love and acceptance. We celebrate individuality. I can't think of a better vehicle to help the campaign and spread awareness. I'm a living example.  
10. You have a popular video blog now on What can your fans look forward to on that series – any big episodes coming up?
*We just had our biggest last week with the opening night segment including the today show. In the next coming weeks I'll be taking the camera about town with me more (daily life, classes, interviews) and will introduce more of the cast. I want people to see inside our family at the Palace.