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BWW Interview: John Tartaglia Talks Hosting A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and More

You're also hosting a talk back the day before the show with some of the kids. That sounded like such a good idea to me! What kind of advice do you think you'll be doling out to kids who are just starting in the arts?

I always try to relate to kids that they should keep an open mind, and definitely have goals and have a set point that you'd like to get to, but keep yourself open to what is brought to you. I think that the reason I've been successful in what I do is because I never limited myself. And I think so many people spend more time focusing on what they don't have and what they're not doing than what they are. The most successful people I know are the ones that trusted what was given to them and moved along on the journey.

That's a big thing. If you have an opportunity to do sculpture, but you see yourself as more of a singer, take sculpture anyway. Learn about it; it'll come into play somehow. Or if you never dreamed of doing character voices but you have an awesome opportunity to do a voice on an animated show -- maybe you want to be on Broadway -- but do that. The more skills you have -- in any part of life, but especially in theatre or the arts -- the more valuable you are. So I try to always encourage up-and-coming artists to learn as many skills as they can, because it just makes you a better performer.

Is there anything about A Charlie Brown Christmas that you wanted to add?

Just that I feel very honored. It's such a poignant viewing every Christmas for so many people -- this particular special -- and this is the first time it's been brought to life like this, so it's kind of incredible. And I hear that there are almost no tickets available, but I would encourage people to try and come because hopefully this will be the beginning of a new tradition. Hopefully, every Christmas, this will be just like the special that airs and re-airs. And I hope the live version will be something that people count on every year.

Before I let you go, I have to ask you quickly about Because of Winn Dixie which in Little Rock. Could talk about directing that project and how it's going?

We really got lucky; we have the best cast, we have the best crew. And people seem to really be loving it. It's kind of the first step on our journey forward, but it's been really rewarding, and I'm really proud of it because the book is beloved by so many people, and we felt this great weight of responsibility to try to get it right and try to tell the story as much as we could, as lovingly as Kate [DiCamillo], the author, did. And I'm just really happy with where we ended up.

Be sure to read BWW's interview about A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS with NY Pops Music Director Steven Reineke here.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, featuring The New York Pops and Music Director Steven Reineke, Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA, dancers from the New York Theatre Ballet and actors from TADA! Youth Theater, as well as Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia, is set for this Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m. in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. For more information, visit www.carnegiehall.org.

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