Backstage Babble
Baayork Lee

Baayork Lee

April 17, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with  legendary Broadway dancer and  choreographer Baayork Lee, whose credits include A Chorus Line, My One and Only, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, and more. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her life and career, including the song for her and Ronald Dennis that was cut from A Chorus Line, the Broadway directing job she turned down, the process of saving Seesaw, being a dancing amoeba in Henry, Sweet Henry, befriending stage hands at 5 years old, founding the National Asian Artists Project, meeting Tommy Tune on A Joyful Noise, how Michael Bennett met John Raitt, and so much more.

 

Make sure to tune in for an entertaining and informative conversation with one of Broadway’s greats.

Beth Fowler Part 2

Beth Fowler Part 2

April 13, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce Part 2 of my episode with Broadway actress Beth Fowler, star of Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, The Boy From Oz, and more. Tune in today to hear more of the amazing stories of her career, including what it was like working with Whoopi Goldberg, her New York Times review for Inherit the Wind, the mistake with the revival of Bells are Ringing, her collaboration with Bob Gunton, why Take Me Along shouldn't have come to Broadway, plus anecdotes about Hugh Jackman, Jerry Zaks, Faith Prince, and more. 

Beth Fowler Part 1

Beth Fowler Part 1

April 5, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my interview with two-time Tony Award nominee and television star Beth Fowler. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including: choosing between two Broadway shows, meeting a real Roosevelt during Teddy and Alice, bonding over Leonard Bernstein with Patricia Routledge, performing the Andrews Sisters’ repertoire with Maxine Andrews, her fantasy Broadway debut, directing for Burt Reynolds, working with Nick Jonas, how she almost didn’t end up on Orange is the New Black, why the New York Times had too much influence, the reason A Little Night Music closed, a compliment from Hal Prince, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this conversation!

Karen Mason

Karen Mason

March 21, 2022

Today, I am so honored to announce the release of my newest episode, featuring Broadway and cabaret star Karen Mason. If you want to see Karen’s talents at work, you can buy tickets to her Birdland show, Kander and Ebb and All That Jazz on March 28 at this link:

 

Birdland Link

 

And you can find her new album, Let the Music Play, on Spotify and Amazon Music.

In the meantime, tune in here to hear Karen tell some of the stoires of her legendary career, including: her disastrous audition for Sunset Boulevard, why Mamma Mia came along at just the right time, bonding with the cast of Rebecca, her first-day-of-rehearsal tradition, finding her own interpretations of Mama Rose and Norma Desmond, the unusual opening night party for Play Me a Country Song, and why she couldn’t be part of the original Torch Song Trilogy. You won’t want to miss this fun and entertaining conversation with a true legend of the theater.

David Loud

David Loud

March 18, 2022

I am so honored today to announce my episode with one of Broadway’s foremost musical directors adnd author of the new memoir Facing the Music David Loud. The memoir is available here:

 

Facing the Music

 

And you can see the Lyrics and Lyricists tribute to him through the ticket link here:

 

Lyrics and Lyricists

 

But meanwhile, tune in today to hear him tell some of the stories of his long career, including what Ann Reinking gained from the choreographers she worked with, an askew turntable at Les Miserables, his complicated history with The Secret Garden, why Sondheim is the perfect idol, working with Mike Nichols, his admiration for Burton Lane, delving back into his life to write his memoir, why he decided to retire, and so much more.

Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein

March 12, 2022

Today, I am so excited to announce Backstage Babble’s 100th Episode! I want to send a sincere thank you to everyone who has listened to this podcast: without you, I could never have reached this point. And beyond that, it is thrilling to be able to present my interview with a Broadway icon, Harvey Fierstein. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including the musical that Warren Beatty pitched to him, the problems he has with the way La Cage Aux Folles is usually staged, hanging out with Marsha P. Johnson, his early days with Andy Warhol at La MaMa, the creation of the global phenomenon that is Torch Song Trilogy, performing Tevye for Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, and more.

 

And if you want more Harvey, remember to buy his newly published memoir I Was Better Last Night! And Happy 100th!

Ted Sperling

Ted Sperling

March 5, 2022

I am so happy to announce the release of Backstage Babble's 99th episode with Tony-winning musical director and  orchestrator Ted Sperling. In addition to his Broadway career, Ted is also the artistic director of Mastervoices, under whose auspices he will be presenting an all-star concert of Anyone Can Whistle at Carnegie Hall this Thursday, March 10, starring Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Stanley. It’s a must-see event for all theater fans, and tickets are available here:

 

Anyone Can Whistle

 

In the meantime, tune in today to hear Ted tell some of the stories of his illustrious career, including getting his start from Paul Gemignani, his long partnership with Victoria Clark, why he decided to leave Ragtime, the tense environment of Titanic, what it was like casting My Fair Lady, the uniqueness of William Finn, building his own circle of collaborators, the very strange experience of Roza, his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, why Anyone Can Whistle is relevant today, and so much more.

Liza Gennaro

Liza Gennaro

March 2, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my interview with Broadway choreographer Liza Gennaro, author of the new book Making Broadway Dance, available here: Purchase Making Broadway Dance

Tune in now for an in-depth study of Broadway choreography, including many of the stories of Ms. Gennaro’s long career, including: what she remembers about seeing the original Oliver!, why Smile deserves a second look, assisting her father on the trouble-ridden Threepenny Opera, interviewing Donald Saddler and Gemze De Lappe, collaborating with Lee Theodore on American Dance Machine, being a dance captain at a young age, how she makes musical numbers evolve out of the script, why the revival of Once Upon a Mattress might have been a mistaken endeavor, recreating Jerome Robbins’ choreography, and so much more.

James Lapine

James Lapine

February 25, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my episode with one of Broadway’s best living directors, the great James Lapine. Tune in today to hear him share some of the stories and wisdom of his legendary career, including what he wanted to fix about the original Into the Woods, why he chose to dramatize Act One, his influences in avant-garde theater, his collaboration with William Finn, what it’s been like to return with Flying Over Sunset, the unique take he had on Annie, collaborating with the late, great Stephen Sondheim, his advice to young directors, and more. You won’t want to miss this interview with a true master of the theatrical art form.

Jo Anne Worley

Jo Anne Worley

February 21, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my episode with legendary stage and screen comedienne Jo Anne Worley, who has starred in such  illustrious projects as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Hello, Dolly!, Grease, The Drowsy Chaperone, and more. Tune in to hear some of the wonderful stories of her long career, including the moment she knew Laugh-In was a success, vocalizing outside Carol Channing’s dressing room, Sandy Dennis’ special talent, the Broadway show that had a blackout on opening night, working with child actors, her signature audition song (a parody of The Music Man), auditioning for David Merrick, and more.

Crystal Field

Crystal Field

February 9, 2022

“Politics is like theater: if you can’t appreciate the little victories, you’ll never get the big ones.” Crystal Field has overseen victories large and small during her over 50 year tenure as Artistic Director of the Theater for the New City (https://theaterforthenewcity.net), and she details many of them on today’s episode of Backstage Babble. Among her fascinating stories: what it was like to work with Elia Kazan, the playwright who threw a stink bomb in the audience of his own play, the song in Promenade that was written about her, a deep dive into the many theories of acting she’s learned over the years, a mistake made by Joseph Papp, what she learned from Ellen Stewart, the mission of her theater and how it has changed, why boards are a vital aspect of any theater, and so much more. Crystal is truly an inspiration, and you won’t want to miss the chance to hear her words of wisdom.

T. Oliver Reid

T. Oliver Reid

January 31, 2022

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Broadway ensemblist and activist T. Oliver Reid. Tune in to hear some of the stories of T.’s long and legendary career, including his many auditions for Hadestown, how he founded the Black Theater Coalition and the work he hopes to do, working with Robert Goulet, working with children and animals in Once On This Island, the meaning behind Polly Bergen’s diamond, adapting to the styles of different choreographers, the many tricks he had to learn for Kiss Me, Kate, reimagining Cabaret, and so much more. T. Is an inspiration in so many ways, and hearing him speak is an extremely educational experience.

Bob Mackie

Bob Mackie

January 9, 2022

It is a true honor to announce Backstage Babble’s first episode of 2022-and what better way to start the New Year than with the legendary Bob Mackie, a man who has created iconic outfits for all of the greatest names in entertainment: everyone from RuPaul to Judy Garland. Tune in today as he talks about his storied career: hear about what it was like to be an openly gay man in ‘70s Hollywood, what he liked and disliked about the ‘50s movie musicals, why fashion doesn’t really exist today, the secret to a great awards show dress, what he learned from Edith Head, why The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public didn’t work, Cher at the Oscars, the brilliance of Carol Burnett, how Ann-Margret is different from her on-screen persona, getting Lucille Ball into a harness, and so much more. Bob Mackie’s outfits have become synonymous with theatricality and grace, and you’ll find the man himself shares those very same characteristics. You won’t want to miss this conversation.

 

You can find more of Bob Mackie’s designs and anecdotes in the recently published The Art of Bob Mackie, available here:

 

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Art-of-Bob-Mackie/Frank-Vlastnik/9781982152116

Joann M. Hunter Part 2

Joann M. Hunter Part 2

December 31, 2021

There’s no better way to send off 2021 than by listening to Part 2 of my episode with amazing choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter. Tune in today for a revealing and fascinating conversation about her choreography career, which includes such shows as School of Rock, Disaster, On a Clear Day, and more. Stories and insights abound: what she looks for in auditions, why it’s hard to cast child actors, preparing the Tonys number for Spring Awakening, how she cast Prince Charming in Cinderella, why she never writes anything down, why Disaster didn’t find as much success as it could have, having a meeting with Jerry Lewis, what it’s like collaborating with Barry Manilow, and so much more.

Joann M. Hunter Part 1

Joann M. Hunter Part 1

December 29, 2021

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with one of Broadway’s most in-demand director/choreographers, Joann M. Hunter. On this episode, she discusses her career as a Broadway dancer, including the prank she played on Jonathan Pryce, why she loves working with Susan Stroman, rehearsing for 6 months with Jerome Robbins, putting Bebe Neuwirth into Chicago, what it’s like performing on the Tonys, the two Broadway shows she got without auditioning, going on at the last minute in Kiss Me, Kate, having her pig kidnapped by Sergio Trujillo, her mishap-filled audition for Thoroughly Modern Millie, and much more!

Randy Skinner

Randy Skinner

December 25, 2021

I am so thrilled to announce my episode with one of Broadway’s best director/choreographers, Tony Nominee Randy Skinner. His work can currently be seen in the Irving Berlin Cheek to Cheek at the York Theater off-Broadway:

 

Buy Tickets Here!

 

And before you see the show, tune in today to hear him discuss getting advice from Ginger Rogers, the popular Broadway marketing idea that he had first, what was great about the Kenley Players, why he loved rehearsing with Nell Carter, star-spotting Eloise Kropp, the process of working at Encores, the lesson he learned from Angela Lansbury’s Mame, why movies are his first love, and so much more.

Austin Pendleton Part 2

Austin Pendleton Part 2

December 16, 2021

Today, I am so thrilled to announce the 2nd part of my episode with the great Austin Pendleton. Tune in today to hear him to tell more of the stories of his long and legendary career, including: being directed by Samuel Beckett’s assistant, why Barbra Streisand is a great scene partner, the number 1 mistake among actors at auditions, what he thinks it will be like to return to The Minutes, why he’s banned from doing any Neil Simon plays, how he had to be kept a secret from Tommy Tune, and so much more. You can't help but be inspired by Austin Pendleton: a true man of the theater who has collected countless insights and stories from his wide-ranging career.

Austin Pendleton Part 1

Austin Pendleton Part 1

November 27, 2021

I am so excited to announce my episode today with a true man of the theater, the great Austin Pendleton. With countless legendary stage and screen credits including Fiddler on the Roof, The Little Foxes, My Cousin Vinny, and others, Austin has achieved fame as an actor, singer, playwright, director, teacher, and more. He’s very much still part of the theater community, and you can go see him now in The Dark Outside at the Theater for the New City:

 

The Dark Outside

 

Tune in to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including why Barbara Harris didn’t want to be a star, a frank conversation with Jerome Robbins, what it was like being friends with Lillian Hellman, how Fiddler on the Roof almost closed in Detroit, his long partnership with Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, the role he asked Mike Nichols to play, directing his mother in The Glass Menagerie, conversations with Otto Preminger, and so many more.

John Rubinstein

John Rubinstein

November 25, 2021

Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with the amazing John Rubinstein. John is currently starring off-Broadway in the wonderful new production Morning’s At Seven alongside Tony Roberts, Alley Mills, and more. You can buy tickets here:

Morning's At Seven

Tune in today to hear him tell some of the stories of his legendary career, including playing “Soliloquy" for John Raitt, watching rehearsals of Funny Girl, advice from Laurence Olivier, early Shakespeare roles, a late night visit from Bob Fosse, how he almost got Cabaret—twice, what it was like to return to Pippin in 2013, and his advice for everyone else who plays the role.

His wisdom and charm are part of what has made him one of theater’s top stars from the 1970s to today.

David Staller

David Staller

November 20, 2021

Today, I am so excited to announce my episode with artistic director of the Gingold Group David Staller. The Gingold Group is the only one in the world to have presented all 65 of George Bernard Shaw’s plays, and today is your last day to see their mounting of MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION staring Karen Ziemba and Robert Cuccioli. Upcoming is a reading of Jay O. Sanders and MaryAnn Plunkett in VILLAGE WOOING. Tickets can be purchased here:

 

Village Wooing

 

Mrs. Warren's Profession

 

Tune in to hear David tell some of the stories of his legendary career, including: an early shaw reading with Olivier, Fairbanks, Loos, and more, how he became friends with Pearl Bailey, turning down Hal Prince, the majesty of Rebecca Luker, why George Bernard Shaw was a pistol at 94, why he longs for the day when Shaw is no longer relevant, growing up around Hermoine Gingold, the art of editing Shaw, interviewing Rex Harrison, casting over Zoom, his advice to young performers and so much more.

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