Raul Esparza Talks Learning to Play the Piano For COMPANY, Chats With Annette Bening & More on STARS IN THE HOUSE
The Actors Fund has teamed with SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley, to produce a daily mini-online show, entitled Stars in The House, featuring stars of stage and screen singing and performing live (from home!) on social media to promote support for The Fund's services for those most vulnerable to the effects of virus (COVID-19).
Stars In The House continued last night (8pm) with Raul Esparza!
Esparza shared the story of learning to play piano for the 2006 revival of Company.
"I said, I can learn to play Sondheim's music. They said, 'Learn Being Alive, learn Company, and learn Marry Me a Little.' And Mary-Mitchell Campbell, our musical director taught me how to play the piano. It was actually on Stephen Schwartz's piano because I didn't have a piano at the time. We ended up deciding it was going to be Being Alive. So I'm playing and playing and playing and trying desperately not to be nervous. We get to the first performance of the show in Cincinnati, and Steve [Sondheim] usually comes to see rehearsals, but he did not come out to see us until the first preview, which was also the first time I would ever play the piano in public and sing Being Alive... And so when I got to Being Alive, I was so nervous that my hands were sweating so badly they actually fell off the keys. The next day [Stephen Sondheim] goes, 'Raul, when you play the piano could you look up?' And I said, 'No. I can either play the piano, or I can look up, or I can sing the lyrics, but I cannot do anything else."
He also shared that by the time they got to Broadway, his piano playing had improved so much that Sondheim rewrote the opening of the music for him to play!
Watch the full episode HERE!
New shows will be produced DAILY at the traditional theater times of 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET. Each star will be singing a mix of their hit songs and/or something unexpected. Between each song, Seth will interview the star as he does on SiriusXM, leading them to give fun, inside stories about their careers. Both the star and Seth will encourage people watching to donate at ActorsFund.org/Donate and James will be giving updates from The Fund as well as giving shout-outs to people donating in real time.
Raul Esparza's theater credits include Seared, Road Show, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Waves, Chess, All the President's Men, Cymbeline, The Cradle Will Rock, Leap of Faith, Twelfth Night, Speed-The-Plow, The Homecoming, Company,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Children And Art, Hair, The Normal Heart, Taboo, Comedians, Rooms, Short Talks on the Universe, Merrily We Roll Along, Assassins, tick, tick... BOOM! The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret and more! He is also known for playing New York Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Rafael Barba in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Esparza has been nominated for Tony Awards in all four acting categories a performer is eligible for.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski
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