Backstage Babble
Joyce Bulifant

Joyce Bulifant

September 30, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my interview with star of stage and screen Joyce Bulifant. On Saturday, October 8th, Joyce Bulifant will be performing her solo show, Remembering Helen Hayes with Love, in Rockland County. She will also be doing a conversation with Richard Skipper. You can find tickets to the event here:

https://www.nyackartsfestival.com/helen-hayes-memorial

And you can tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including the upstaging techniques of Gypsy Rose Lee, how she got let go from The Brady Bunch, the hit movie that no one on the set was sure was funny, the directing style of Herman Shumlin, balancing dyslexia with a career in the arts, the magic of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the dance she taught Fred Astaire, how she got her part in The Happiest Millionaire, the process of writing her memoir, why Lillian Gish was like a “fairy godmother” to her, and so much more.

Simon Jones

Simon Jones

September 26, 2022

NOTE: This interview was recorded in April 2022, so all mentions of time reflect that period.

Today, I am so happy to annnounce my interview with veteran actor Simon Jones, star of The   Real Thing, Trouble in Mind, Waiting in the Wings, The Gilded Age, and so many more shows. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his long career, including: a murderous slip-of-the-tongue by Angela Lansbury, the role that Lauren Bacall refused to play correctly, an ungracious invite from Joan Collins, his family connection to Daniel Craig, the rivalry between Rex Harrison and Claudette Colbert, how he knocked his teeth out during My Fair Lady, an alcoholic backstage ritual during Farinelli and the King, the young actor that Lawrence Olivier wanted to punch, the oddness of rehearsing with Nicol Williamson, a cryptic answer from Tom Stoppard, running the theater company TACT, the many reunions involved in The Gilded Age, his strange experience with Covid, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this episode with a delightfully funny gentleman of the theater.

Constance Towers

Constance Towers

September 1, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my  interview with star of stage and screen,  Mrs. Anna herself, Constance Towers. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career including: the sage advice that John Wayne gave, the scene that George Abbott wouldn’t direct, why Yul Brynner insisted on brown dressing rooms, dealing with “The King” onstage and off, the song that was the hardest to memorize, the role that she turned down, the film director that would shoot off a gun to get attention, how she began her charitable organization Project Connie, why she didn’t think she was right for her role in Showboat, her relationship with Richard Rodgers, the role that she performed the most times, working with Lillian Gish, the genius of John Ford, and so much more.

54 Below: https://54below.com/events/charles-kirschs-backstage-babble-live/

David Jackson

David Jackson

August 20, 2022

I am so happy to announce my episode with veteran performer David Jackson. David Jackson will be headlining at 54 Below on August 23rd. Tickets to see his wonderful show are available here:

https://54below.com/events/david-jackson/

Meanwhile, you can tune in today to hear some of the stories of David’s career, including: bearing witness to the start of the Easter Bonnet Competition, getting to perform onstage with Cyd Charisse, the two people who were supposed to headline La Cage on Broadway when it closed, the different ways that Grand Hotel can be interpreted, why Tommy Tune is a great collaborator, the reason he stopped dancing on Broadway, why his Broadway career made him a good salesman, the process of creating his upcoming show, and so much more!

You won’t want to miss this conversation with a true man of the theater—and you won’t want to miss his show.

Will Roland

Will Roland

August 14, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my new episode with  Broadway star Will Roland, who is  currently appearing in the hilarious The Panic of ’29 at 59E59 Theaters. You can purchase tickets for that show here:

The Panic of '29

Tune in today to hear some of the stories of Will’s career, including the changes in the tone of Dear Evan Hansen, the reason why Jeremy Heere is a universally relatable character, why all of social media is a “performance,” why adult audiences were pre-disposed against Be More Chill, the non-Cinderella story of The Black Suits, making a difference in the world through theater with The Bus, the type of comic role that he would like to play next, and more.

You won’t want to miss this honest but humorous conversation about how social media and theatrical success intersect in the modern day, featuring someone who has been part of two fascinating examples.

54 Below

Sandy Duncan

Sandy Duncan

August 2, 2022

Today, I am so honored to announce my episode with legendary Broadway performer Sandy Duncan, the star of Peter Pan, The Boy Friend, Chicago, and so many more shows on stage and on screen. Tune in today for an in-depth interview featuring many of the stories of her legendary career, including the eerie dream she had before the Tony Awards, why she dubs Finding Neverland “Never Never Never Never Land,” the challenges of taking on the role of Peter Pan, the unusual audition song she used early on, her accident during the run of Chicago, a difficult demand from Agnes DeMille, the condition on which she agreed to take over Valerie, what it’s like partnering with Gene Kelly, and the type of role that would make her come back to Broadway.

You won’t want to miss this conversation with one of the most talented triple threats in the industry.

Trivia Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O-Xnecg2ro

Jonathan Hadary

Jonathan Hadary

July 21, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with veteran actor Jonathan Hadary, who starred on Broadway in Gypsy, Guys and Dolls, Torch Song Trilogy, and so many more shows. Jonathan can currently be seen in the wonderful play Epiphany at Lincoln Center, running through July 24. Tickets for that can be found here:

 

Epiphany

 

Tune in today to hear him tell some of the stories of his legendary career, including the varying reactions he got to the original Assassins, why his first trip to New York made him think he could be on Broadway, the long audition process for Torch Song Trilogy, a way that Gypsy could be re-imagined, why Epiphany took on more significance during the pandemic, and so many more.

Teri Ralston

Teri Ralston

July 17, 2022

Today, I am so thrilled to announce my episode with Company’s original Jenny, Teri Ralston, whose many other credits include A Little Night Music, The Baker’s Wife, and more. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including the original problem with the pot scene in Company, why Michael Bennett was an unusual choreographer, the three shows she saw and knew she had to be in, the meaning of the Greek chorus in A Little Night Music, the perfect way to sing the ending of “Send in the Clowns,” how Peggy Lee decorated her apartment, the saga of The Baker’s Wife that ended in a physical fight, the director that made her cry, and so much more.

Barbara Barrie

Barbara Barrie

July 15, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with my  second guest this week to have starred in the original cast of Company: its original Sarah, Barbara Barrie, whose other credits include The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Torch Song Trilogy, and Signficant Other. Tune in to hear some of the fascinating stories of her long career, including the battle she had with Hal Prince and Equity over Original Cast Album: Company, the part she turned down but later got to replace as, the Neil Simon show in which she felt her part was undeveloped, the challenges of balancing motherhood and acting, the difference between Art Carney and Hector Elizondo as co-stars, how she landed her Broadway debut, the differences between starring on stage and screen, the “total disaster” that was The Selling of the President, how she almost got held in a mental asylum while researching a part, acting with Tony Randall on The Odd Couple: Together Again, working with Barbara Baxley on A Little Night Music, what would make her come back to Broadway now, and so much more.

You won’t want to miss this fascinating look into the Golden Age of Broadway with one of its most skilled actresses.

Donna McKechnie

Donna McKechnie

July 12, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Broadway legend Donna McKechnie, star of A Chorus Line, On the Town, State Fair, Promises, Promises, and Company. Tune in today to hear her share some of the insights of her legendary career, including the difference between Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett, the replacement of the choreographer in How To Succeed, touring with Ethel Merman, the story of her iconic “Tick Tock” dance, the many versions of Cassie that were proposed along the way, the monologue she had that was cut from A Chorus Line, tricks for surviving New York in the 70s, choreographing Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, dancing on TV in Hullabaloo, and so much more.

 

You won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation with a star whose dancing epitomizes the Golden Age of Broadway.   

Lesli Margherita

Lesli Margherita

July 10, 2022

Today, I am so honored to announce my episode with a Broadway star who I’ve been a fan of as long as I’ve loved theater, the one and only Queen Lesli—Lesli Margherita. Lesli is currently appearing at BroadwayCon through July 10, Broadway’s fan convention featuring unmissable panels and performances. You can find tickets to it here: https://www.broadwaycon.com/

Tune in today to hear her tell some of the stories of her legendary career, including why Matthew Warchus is a great director, the challenges of developing a cabaret called All Hail the Queen, being a positive influence on social media, why Dames At Sea couldn’t attain the success it deserved, the upcoming revival of Dames At Sea, moving to NYC in 2013, auditioning for Kenny Ortega, her go-to audition songs, the Patti LuPone role she would love to play, and so much more.

Ken Waissman

Ken Waissman

July 2, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce Part 2 of my celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Grease,  featuring its producer, Ken Waissman. In addition to Grease, Ken Waissman’s other producing credits include Agnes of God, Torch Song Trilogy, and more. But before you listen, make sure to purchase Ken’s new book Grease: Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon, which can be found here:

 

Purchase Tell Me More, Tell Me More

 

But first, tune in today to here fascinating stories including: the theater on Broadway that Ken named, the strategies he used to launch Grease at the beginning, the process of persuading Harvey Fierstein to bring Torch Song to Broadway, firing Lee Remick, the ways in which The Andrews Sisters tortured each other, ridiculous demands from David Merrick, why Over Here couldn’t go on the road, why he decided to leave the business, and so much more!

 

You won’t want to miss this episode with a true man of the theater.

Tom Moore

Tom Moore

June 26, 2022

Today, I am so excited to announce the first part of my celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Grease with it’s original director Tom Moore. In addition to Grease, Tom Moore’s Broadway credits include ‘Night, Mother, Over Here, and Frankenstein. If you want to hear even more about the creation of Grease, make sure to purchase the recently released book Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon That Started it All, coauthored by Tom Moore, Ken Waissman, and Adrienne Barbeau. You can find it here:

 

Purchase the Book

 

But first, tune in today to hear some of the stories of Tom’s amazing life and career, including: why Frankenstein never got its chance, the stars he thought were dead before he worked with them, his initial hesitance to accept Grease, the art to meeting with Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, why he wanted to revive Once in a Lifetime, the show he feels was the best work he ever did, the idea he never used for the film of ‘Night, Mother, the two shows he thinks weren’t right for Broadway, the perfect pairing of stars for Moon Over Buffalo, and so much more.

 

You won’t want to miss this masterclass in directing peppered with fantastic anecdotes.

Charles Flateman

Charles Flateman

June 19, 2022

Today, I am so thrilled to announce my interview with the executive director of the Shubert Organization Charles Flateman. Charles is also the chairman of the board of NYC and Company, the CEO of Audience Rewards, and the co-founder of Broadway Inbound. Tune in today to hear some of the insights of his great career, including how theaters are assigned to different shows, Bette Midler’s special dressing room demand, what Elaine Stritch was like to work with, the unfortunate case of The Scottsboro Boys, how Broadway ticket prices are set, the “lift-and-shift” process of ticketing The Music Man, how he first became aware of Covid, the reason behind the naming and renovation of the James Earl Jones Theatre, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation with one of Broadway’s producing insiders.

Jill O’Hara

Jill O’Hara

May 28, 2022

Today, I am so honored to announce my episode with Tony Nominee Jill O’Hara, whose many stage credits include starring in the original productions of Promises, Promises, George M!, and Hair. She shares so many of the stories of her wonderful career, including standing her ground with David Merrick, a funny encounter with Kristin Chenoweth, giving a note to Tom Bosley, the differences between the off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Hair, growing up in a theatrical family, why every copy of The New York Times once had to be taken out of Stockbridge, the song that was cut from Promises, Promises, the new cabaret show she is developing, and so much more.

Clint Ramos, Creative Director of Encores!

Clint Ramos, Creative Director of Encores!

May 7, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with  Encores! Producing Creative Director and  Tony-winning set designer Clint Ramos. Clint’s current project is Encores!’ newest production, Into the Woods, which runs now through May 15. You can find the remaining tickets here:

 

Into the Woods

 

You can tune in today to hear some of the stories of Clint’s amazing career, including the art of designing for a star, creating a program with the American Theater Wing for young costume designers, his extensive research process for Respect, why Slave Play had extra resonance after quarantine, how he helped create the new mission for Encores!, working with Henry Krieger and other original creatives on Encores! shows, putting together a virtual season, the concept for the new Into the Woods, and so much more.

Chris Mouron and Anne Tournié, Creators of THE LITTLE PRINCE

Chris Mouron and Anne Tournié, Creators of THE LITTLE PRINCE

May 4, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Chris Mouron and Anne Tournié, creators of The Little Prince. Chris is the narrator, adaptor, and co-director, and Anne is the co-director and choreographer. Tune in to hear them speak about the international success of the show, including the process of modernizing the book, the location where audiences had never read the book, what was added for the New York run and why, the place they’d like to perform the show next, how Broadway audiences are different, connecting with Antoine De Saint Exupery’s estate, the parts of the book that were hardest to adapt, and more.

You won't want to miss this fascinating conversation with two ground-breaking artists.

Celebrating 54 Below with Jennifer Ashley Tepper

Celebrating 54 Below with Jennifer Ashley Tepper

April 30, 2022

Today, I am so honored to announce my interview with  Jennifer Ashley Tepper, who has been  Creative and Programming Director of 54 Below since 2013. Today, she’s here to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the legendary cabaret room. On May 2nd, you can see a fabulous celebration called Ten Years of Musical Theater History at 54 Below:

 

Tickets Here

 

Tune in to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including presenting the premiere of A Strange Loop, choosing concerts to present virtually, which Broadway stars she’d love to have perform there, creating the schedule, setting prices for shows, having the Real Housewives film there, the difference between 7 and 9:30 PM programming, how the club has changed over the years, what it’s like marketing a 54 Below show, finding the line between fan and producer, and so much more.

Bonus: Linda Cho of POTUS

Bonus: Linda Cho of POTUS

April 25, 2022

   Today, I am so excited to announce my interview with Linda Cho, recorded in October of 2020. You can see her highly praised costume design in POTUS, currently running on Broadway, which you can find tickets for here:

 

POTUS

 

In the meantime, tune in to hear some of the stories of her career, including the influence of Ming Cho Lee, working with Broadway’s first all-female creative team on The Lifespan of a Fact, why Christy Altomare is an ideal star, the method in which she sketches, doing research as a costume designer, how her aesthetic sense affects her personal life, and more! Tune in today for this fascinating conversation with one of Broadway’s most in-demand artists.

Sam Pinkleton

Sam Pinkleton

April 20, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my new episode with Sam Pinkleton, movement director of the current Macbeth and choreographer of Amelie, Soft Power, and more. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his career, including why he chose not to be a performer, the unusual Macbeth rehearsal process, adding a dance break to Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, fighting his “musical theater demons” with Soft Power, the influence of Elizabeth Swados, creating a tango for Heisenberg, the changes he wants to see in the musical theater art form, and so much more.

Make sure to tune in today for an inspiring conversation with one of the people leading the charge to change the face of American theater.

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