Joe Panarello is one of those people who have most certainly been born with theater in their blood. As an actor, Joe has played such varied roles as Harry Roat in Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark, Jimmy Smith in No, No Nanette and Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof a vehicle he's performed in several times and designed the sets for on one occasion. He's also directed productions of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park and Henrich Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Joe is a respected author who has written over 100 articles for BWW. Although his latest work, The Authoritative History of Corduroy won't be published until this summer, it is already being translated into several different languages by a group of polyglot nuns in Tormento, Italy.. The proceeds from their labors will go to the restoration of the nearby Cathedral of Gorgonzola.
There's a moment in the current production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL at Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House where James Snyder steps onto the dock which is constructed over the orchestra pit to deliver Billy Bigelow's famous "Soliloquy" that absolutely electrifies the audience. Snyder's strong stage presence and powerful singing voice had enraptured the crowd for most of the first act. Now he was literally in their laps singing of his character's concerns regarding impeding fatherhood. The moment has them sharing his outpouring of emotion.BWW Interviews: The Leading Men of NYMF - Jarrod Spector, Daniel Quadrino, Brandon Timmons & Mel Johnson Jr. July 13, 2012
The New York Music Theater Festival can easily be considered a harbor for the freshest talents in musical theater. Over a period of several weeks, an astonishing number of musical productions are presented on vest pocket stages throughout New York City. As is often the case with harbors, there is a confluence of talent feeding into it. Not only is this talent from all over the nation, but it ranges from the youngest to the most experienced and they all converge on the city for this event.BWW Interviews: John Davidson Joins THE FANTASTICKS June 8, 2012
In 1966 the Hallmark Hall of Fame presented a television adaptation of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's Off Broadway musical THE FANTASTICKS. Ricardo Montalban appeared as El Gallo and Bert Lahr and Stanley Holloway were the two fathers. The young lovers were played by Broadway's favorite ingenue, Susan Watson, and a clean-cut young man named John Davidson who had made a strong impression on Broadway audiences as Lahr's son in the musical FOXY.Looking Ahead to the Boston Pops New Season with Bernadette Peters & More! May 22, 2012
Recently, conductor Keith Lockhart was joined by Bernadette Peters to present the schedule for the Boston Pops' Spring 2012 season. Peters was the guest during the Opening Night concert at Boston's beautiful Symphony Hall. As stellar as she is, Peters is only one of the sensational artists who have been scheduled to appear with the Boston Pops which is celebrating its 127th season. On June 5th, 6th and 7th, Broadway's Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley will perform "A Tribute to Cole Porter". American Idol's Melinda Doolittle will join Gospel singer Crystal Aitkin and Charles Floyd for the 20th Gospel Night Celebration on June 9th. Although many people know Steve Martin as a comic actor and playwright, he is also a very serious musician who will be bringing his bluegrass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, to play with the Pops on May 29th and 30th. Anne Hampton Callaway, who is one of the premier interpreters of the American Songbook will bring her unique stylings to what is being billed as "The Barbra Streisand Songbook" on May 15th and 16th. Singer Maureen McGovern will join the Pops to sing selections from her Broadway show LITTLE WOMEN as a tribute to the novel's author Louisa May Alcott. April 24, 2012
New York's City Center can be a dark and unwelcoming place on a Friday afternoon. The recently restored interior is obscured by shadows and the only light comes from the merciless worklights over the stage which only partially illuminate the two performers beneath them. Yet, even through these shadows, the admirable skills of two Broadway veterans are evident as they recreate their roles in WEST SIDE STORY. Both actors appeared in this musical classic over forty years ago at Lincoln Center.BWW Interviews: Breaking Bread with GODSPELL'S Hunter Parrish March 30, 2012
A careful look through the New Testament indicates that Jesus Christ liked to eat. In addition to the notable Last Supper, he dined at the home of Martha and Mary; grilled fish at the seashore; multiplied loaves and fishes; was a guest at a friend's wedding at Cana; and ate with friends on the road to Emmaus. After healing Peter's mother-in-law, she got up and prepared a meal for Him and His coterie. It's a small wonder then that Hunter Parris, who plays Jesus in the Broadway revival of GODSPELL, chooses to be interviewed over lunch at one of his favorite Chelsea eateries. February 14, 2012
There's no doubt about who is speaking on the other end of the telephone connection. The voice is deep, rich and mellifluous. It's the envy of any classically trained actor, yet there's incredible humor and intelligence in it. It can only belong to actor Kevin Sorbo.Maude Adams: The 'First' Peter Pan December 13, 2011
The Cenacle Retreat Center lies in one of the most serene areas of Long Island. It is run by the Sisters of the Cenacle, a French religious order founded by St. Therese Couderec who died in 1885. Located just north of the Long Island Expressway in Ronkonkoma, the Retreat Center provides retreats, spiritual direction and human development programs for the laity. It is also the site where Maude Adams lies buried.BWW Interview EXCLUSIVE: Cathy Rigby - Still Following the Second Star to the Right December 13, 2011
Musical theater is filled with thrilling moments. Not the least of these is in PETER PAN, when Peter is trying to get the three Darling children to fly and young John finally utters the word "Christmas". Suddenly they become airborne along with Peter. The scenery whisks away, the music swells and a starlit sky appears over the misty clouds and Peter and the Darlings fly with abandon in one of Jerome Robbins' most stunning theatrical feats of choreography. With former gymnast Cathy Rigby playing Peter, there are some stunning aerial feats of derring-do as she whizzes through the stars and leads the three youngsters to Neverland. Even the most jaded theatergoer finds himself caught up in what has to be one the most exhilarating moments in the theater.BWW Interviews: Keith Lockhart Talks Christmas and the Boston Pops December 2, 2011
Driving back to New York after enjoying Thanksgiving in Massachusetts found virtually every radio venue had switched to an All-Holiday format; a true indication that the Christmas season was upon us. It's a joyous time of the year, even if we have to cope with those perilous twelve pains of Christmas.BWW Interviews: George Chakiris - Fifty Years After WEST SIDE STORY November 16, 2011
To those who've seen the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY, the recollections of George Chakiris' performance as Bernardo remain vivid. His acting is top notch, his singing is superb and his dancing comes darn close to burning up the celluloid it is preserved on. He was awarded an Oscar as 'Best Supporting Actor' for his work on that film and now, fifty years later, he is about to imprint his handprints and signature outside of the famed Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Sometimes the film industry can be a little slow on the uptake, won't you agree?BWW Interviews: John Capo - From Broadway's PR to the Internet's RAs September 7, 2011
When a person handles public relations for legitimate productions that are running in New York City or elsewhere, they are accustomed to setting up in-person interviews with various cast members of their shows and the media. These interviews result in positive exposure and become a vital form of publicity for the vehicle which is being promoted.
BWW Interviews: DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY'S Jill Paice August 3, 2011
Writers have been personifying the concept of Death for many ages. Geoffrey Chaucer made him a wizened old man who points some riotous characters to three bushels laden with gold in the story told by The Pardoner in THE CANTERBURY TALES. The antithesis of this is the presentation of Death in Maury Yeston's beguiling new musical DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY which is now on stage at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre.BWW Interviews: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST's David Furr June 15, 2011
One of the nicest aspects of seeing a play in The Roundabout's beautiful American Airlines Theatre is that it has fine acoustics. Little, if any, amplification is used when drama or comedies are staged at that venue do nothing stands between the actors' voices and the audience's ears. Such is the case with the charming revival of Oscar Wilde's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST which will be presented there until June 26th.BWW Interviews: Keith Lockhart Talks Boston Pops 2011 Season May 19, 2011
The Boston Pops really know how to open a new season at Symphony Hall! There's a wonderful cocktail party before the concert with delicious hors d'oeuvre and drinks. Then the actual concert hall is awash with attractive pastel lighting and projections of butterflies all about the auditorium. It's definitely springtime in Boston and once Maestro Keith Lockhart steps up to the podium, the music begins as America's most beloved orchestra plays and delights the sell-out crowd.
Starting with Boyer's delightful "Silver Fanfare" and continuing with works by Herold, Rimsky-Korsakov and Gershwin, the audience relished every moment of the concert and joined in during the SOUND OF MUSIC sing-along that closed the first part of the program. The second half was devoted mostly to Broadway's Linda Eder, who wowed the crowd with her Judy Garland tribute and impressed everyone with her powerful and supple vocalizing. It was a remarkable evening.
In a phone conversation two days prior to the event, Lockhart sounded slightly fatigued. He'd just returned to Boston from Abu Dhabi from where he conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra, for which he's been appointed Chief Conductor. It was a concert that featured Broadway's Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley who performed songs from KISS ME KATE, FOLLIES, SOUTH PACIFIC and other Broadway classics, while the orchestra excited the place with what is frequently referred to as "The Symphonic Dances" from WEST SIDE STORY. It was a well-received performance but such travels keep Lockhart on-the-go. "It's hard to hit a moving target," he quipped.
Looking ahead to the 2011 Pops season, Lockhart becomes extremely excited despite his jet lag: "I think it's a very strong season this year. It's a lot of the things that we normally do but there's a wonderful, wide variety of genres and they cross every American musical boundary that you can think of. We go from bluegrass to R&B to Broadway to Gospel. Everything seems to fall in there and we'll have many great artists performing with us. We'll also have a lot of the Boston Pops Orchestra featured in the concerts this year to show them off a bit."
Speaking of Linda Eder, the maestro's admiration for her becomes very evident. "She's been with us a good deal over the years. She'll be doing a tribute to Judy Garland, who was one of the great voices of our time and age. Quite frankly, she was one of the great voices of all time." Eder is also an audience favorite because the Opening Night crowd cheered her first appearance on the stage and was enthusiastic in their applause after every one of her numbers. One person in the crowd was heard to say,"This woman must have six foot lungs!" Allowing for hyperbole, that was an apt description of Eder's vocal skills.
"We're also emphasizing the fact that the Pops is and always has been an interactive experience where everybody gets to make music," continued the conductor. "We'll be having sing-alongs in many of our concerts throughout the season. We're kind of getting everyone actively involved in performing with the Pops." It seems to be effective because at the SOUND OF MUSIC segment on Opening Night, several people showed up dressed as their favorite characters. There were girls in dirndl skirts, boys in lederhosen, several nuns (of varying religious orders), a Captain Von Trapp in a smoking jacket, and a would-be Maria--who toted a guitar case with her. The sing-along prompted a great response from the crowd, many of whom were still singing snippets from the Rodgers and Hammerstein score during intermission.
One of the most novel segments of the May 11th concert was the video montage of "Over The Rainbow" that was shown above the orchestra as Lockhart led a sweeping rendition of the Harold Arlen tune. Months prior to the event, a message went out over Facebook and other social networking sites for people of various talents--and equally varying musical skills-- to submit videos of themselves singing this beloved tune. "There are certain songs that have crossed all boundaries and everyone knows. We asked Pops fans to give us their best few bars of 'Over the Rainbow' and the video is a pastiche of these different renditions and takes on a classic tune." As edited by Supan Deb, the end result was remarkable; featuring people from various places across the nation singing their own versions of the song-there was even a girl dressed as Dorothy sitting in what appeared to be a wheat field warbling to good advantage.
Broadway favorite Michael Feinstein will be performing with the Boston Pops this season. "The interesting thing about Michael is that I just saw him last month. We did a concert in London together. He and I are spending a lot of time together this year" chuckles Lockhart. "He's doing a Sinatra Tribute with us and as you know, Frank Sinatra is the master of the American Songbook." Michael Feinstein performs with the Pops on May 31st and June 1st.
The Boston Pops will be welcoming the New York Pops' Steven Reineke as guest conductor. "Steve has been here before," Lockhart remarks. "It's no more crossing the line with the New York Pops than when Erich Kunzel from the Cincinnati Pops would join us. Each guest conductor brings his own repertoire and an interesting take on things." Reineke's concerts with the Boston Pops will take place on June 16th and 17th and will feature guest soloist Julia Murney who will sing "Back to Before" from RAGTIME, "Don't Rain on My Parade" from FUNNY GIRL and "Defying Gravity" from WICKED among other selections.
This season also features what is billed as a "Family Concert" "It's a shorter, more compact sort of concert. We're trying to plan it as a concert that will appeal to adults but will also be an interesting first-experience to bring the kids to We'll be joined by the jazz trumpet player Brian Stripling who is, in himself, a walking educational concert because he has spent much of his career performing and talking about the music of some really big pioneering Black jazz musicians including Louie Armstrong , who he does an amazing tribute to," explains the conductor. "I think that's something great to expose the kids coming in to. We're also joined by the Varsity Girls who have a large fan base on Nickelodeon. Additionally, we're featuring a young artist who won the Boston Symphony's Concerto Competitions and it's always great for youngsters to see kids accomplishing a high level of artistry themselves. It'll be a very special sort of event." This Family Concert was scheduled for Saturday, May 14th.
The month of August will be taken up on the Pops schedule with their first-ever Minor League Baseball Tour. The famed orchestra will visit ten Minor League Ballparks, a tour stretching from Birmingham, Alabama, to Buffalo, New York, August 16-30. Iconic singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins will join Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for a program that features music inspired by three of this country's favorite pastimes--baseball, movies, and rock 'n' roll. "I think it's a great way to get families interested in the Boston Pops," said the maestro. "Hopefully we'll be getting whole families who wouldn't normally be coming to see us if we performed at their local concert hall. However, the combination of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and the Boston Pops might appeal to them." The program will be a tribute to America's Favorite Past Times and includes music from Hollywood, the music of the Boston Pops, rock and roll and the music of baseball. Sounds like a winning combination regardless of the box scores.
Of course, the Pops will be playing their famous Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Boston's Esplanade on July 3rd and 4th, portions of which will be telecast on the CBS Television Network.
There will also be Boston Pops appearances at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, MA this summer. This outdoor venue will host "America's Favorite Orchestra" in their incredibly popular Movie Night, where John Williams is on the podium. Lockhart will lead the orchestra there when Broadway's Jason Danieley and Kelli O'Hara are in the spotlight singing some memorable music written by Cole Porter on July 17th.
Whether the Boston Pops is enjoyed at a ball park, an outdoor venue like Tanglewood or in the elegance of Boston's Symphony Hall, audiences are guaranteed a memorable time. Under the skilled and sensitive baton of Keith Lockhart, the orchestra is in prime form. However, it seems that musicians aren't the only ones who respond so favorably to Maestro Lockhart. The Opening Night crowd at Symphony Hall was just as enthusiastic about the conductor as they were about the music he was so admirably conducting. Nothing could be more felicitous.
To purchase tickets to Boston Pops concerts or to get further information about the orchestra, go to www.bso.org
To visit Keith Lockhart's website, go to www.keithlockhart.com
BWW Interviews: Bobby Steggert on His Career, A MINSTER'S WIFE and Being a Nerd May 11, 2011
It's obvious that Bobby Steggert is beginning to feel very much at home in the bowels of Lincoln Center. He's in the very dressing room that he had less than a year ago when he appeared in their production of A. R. Gurney's delightful play THE GRAND MANNER. Now he's playing Eugene Marchbanks in Joshua Schmidt and Jan Levy Tranen's A MINISTER's WIFE; a musical treatment of George Bernard Shaw's CANDIDA which opened on Sunday, May 8th.BWW Interviews: CACTUS FLOWER's Maxwell Caufield April 13, 2011
Walking along Ninth Avenue on an early Saturday evening after enjoying a light meal at one of the neighborhood sandwich shops, Maxwell Caulfield looks up at the Minskoff Building in the distance and sighs. He remarks, 'What a lovely view you have from the rehearsal space up there! There's a beautiful view of the setting sun as it goes down over the Hudson River! It's gorgeous. That rehearsal space will always be one of my favorite spots in New York.' There's good reason for that because it was in that rehearsal studio that he met his wife, actress Juliet Mills. They were preparing for the touring company of Bernard Pomerance's play THE ELEPHANT MAN in which Caulfield played the title role and Ms. Mills was Mrs. Kendall. The electricity between the two actors was evident to everyone in the room and it blossomed into a full romance and a marriage that has lasted 31 years. In these times of throw-away marriages and quickie divorces, it's refreshing to observe that Maxwell Caulfield is still very much in love with his wife. In fact, the two of them recently toured England together in a production of Alan Ayckbourn's BEDROOM FARCE.BWW Interviews: Actor and QVC Host Rick Domeier April 9, 2011
Anyone who watches the television shopping networks is familiar with QVC's Rick Domeier. The self-proclaimed 'Captain Midnight' is usually on in the late night hours and has more energy than a classroom full of kindergartners. His staccato laugh can be likened to the tommy guns that are seen in gangster movies, only Domeier isn't shooting down thugs with his laugh; he's setting sales records-and winning the hearts of millions of women in the process. He jokes with people who call in to testify about their purchases, he trades quips with Joan Rivers as he sits beside her during jewelry shows, he dances his goofy dance steps to the delight of his viewers and he shows genuine compassion to a woman on the phone who breaks down in tears when talking about the recent demise of her pet dog. At all times he is what Business 2.0 Magazine calls 'a whirlwind of energy.'BWW Interviews: BURNING BOY's Reed Birney April 4, 2011
Theatergoers of a certain age will remember walking past The Little Theatre (now the Helen Hayes) when Albert Innaurato's comedy GEMINI was running and seeing Kenn Duncan's black and white photographs outside. The one that received the most attention was that of the bare-chested Reed Birney who was featured in that long-running comedy. Birney also received even more attention when the television ads for that production were aired. The TV commercials not only popularized a phrase that became a buzz word throughout the tri-state area: Herschel, take human bites!'; but gave Birney a few seconds of air time that were unmistakable.BWW Interviews: MILK TRAIN's Maggie Lacey February 23, 2011
Viewing the DVD of Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN presents one of the greatest delights for a theatergoer. Not only is Paul Newman in superb form as the Stage Manager, but Maggie Lacey's luminous portrayal of Emily Webb is preserved for generations to come.