Saturday, October 27, 2012


Seth Godin had a great post today:

The end of should

Banks should close at 4, books should be 200 pages long, CEOs should go to college, blogs should have comments, businessmen should be men, big deals should be done by lawyers, good food should be processed, surgeons should never advertise, hit musicians should be Americans, good employees should work at the same company for years...
Find your should and make it go away.

So I wrote out a "should" so I could make it go away: 

Theatres should start with a building first instead of being "virtual" for as long as it takes to build the tribe and let the community chose us. 

I know it takes patience, but nothing, no business, no non profit, nothing, should go by the same rules as it did five years ago.  And if anyone is telling you that, they are still living in the past.  Example: Theatre directors, colleges, producers, casting directors are asking for and getting video submissions, along with their typical live auditions. Regional theatres are doing more education outreach and creative programming instead of just producing shows.  Smart actors are getting good at all things internet related and are able to operate without an agent.  Blogging is something that shows encourage their actors to do for PR (during "Company" it freaked the producers out) 

While we might long for the good old days...of five years ago...NOTHING is a "should" anymore.  The Internet alone has changed everything. Some of the top businesses in CT right now are "virtually" based.  It is what it is, and we have to move and adapt with the times. 

Being "virtually based" is different than just being Virtual.  We are doing some of the work of a "theatre", but are not locked in to one spot yet. This allows us to blow by those "shoulds" when it suits us and to be selective in deciding who we will work with...and who we won't.   

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And our winners are....

So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star...

Junior winner:  Matthew Fliegauf
Senior winner: Amanda Forker
(Pictures below)

What a great event and thanks to everyone who helped. The first thing everyone noticed was the beautiful theatre this year. The Bijou and their staff were awesome and the theatre itself is a great place to perform and see shows.

Our new format, with the singers divided up into two age categories worked well and then on their one day of performance, getting feedback from all judges in the preliminary round was good.  But what they really loved was that the highest scoring folks then got to work on stage in front of us with an individual judge for 10 minutes in the final rounds.   Everyone did so well and the competition had a lot  more of a Q and A feel.  The judges were spectacular in giving advice and working with the contestants.

It was that final round that really helped to decide the winners as well.  We got feedback like:

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. The feedback I got was completely invaluable. I now have a very clear vision of the expectations of the industry. I wish you and your growing program with the NPT all the best.
       Thanks again,  
           Matt Sweeney


Thanks so much for the wonderful performance opportunity on Saturday.  Juliet (and her parents) learned a lot!  We were delighted to see how talented and poised our daughter was in her first "real" competition.  She is thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist and even more thrilled to have worked with "Christine" from "Phantom".  We also learned Juliet needs some "go to" songs that show off different vocal styles and her vocal range and especially, that her choices need to be age appropriate. 
       Pamela Dale

Pictures of our winners. 

                                      Amanda Forker went from Children of the Wind to The Alto's Lament in the finals and    it was her comedic side that won the competition for her.  
Judge VP Boyle working with Matthew in the finals. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sarah Pfisterer our final judge!

Our final judge for So Ya Wanna be a Broadway Star is Sarah Pfisterer.  We went to Northwestern together and she got her Broadway debut wayyyyy before I did!  Sarah is also a teacher and will be a wonderfully thoughtful and precise judge this year for the Junior Division!  And she's gorgeous!

Sarah Pfisterer   (Broadway Perfomer, Wiremill Academy- Theatre Arts for Young People Co-Founder). B.M and M.M. from Nor­­thwestern University. Sarah is one of Broadway’s most esteemed leading ladies, having starred as Christine Daae in over 1000 performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, as well as an acclaimed portrayal of Magnolia in Showboat! (Both for director Harold Prince). Her experience as a successful actor and her passion for teaching, have led Sarah to a busy private voice studio. She finds joy in communicating the knowledge of her craft and takes great pride in her students’ many accomplishments. Her students have appeared in film, television, and on professional stages as well as having gone onto some of the top programs in the country such as, The Stratford Festival, University of Michigan, Syracuse University and Berklee School of Music.

Sarah had a solid foundation, graduating from Northwestern and discovered the professional experience in Phantom and Showboat to be an invaluable extension of that. Teachers include many leading pedagogists in the industry: Bruce Kolb, William Riley, Edward Zambara, Lorna Haywood, Sunny Joy Langton, Elizabeth Fischer, and Sherrill Milnes to name a few.

After a highly successful run in the New York company of Showboat! with John Cullum and John McMartin, she toured the show with Tom Bosley. Also on Broadway she was seen in Children and Art directed by Richard Maltby, celebrating Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday. Off-Broadway she played Anna Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis at the Irish Repertory Theatre directed by Charlotte Moore. Regionally Sarah has appeared in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Maria in Sound of Music (IRNE award – Independent Reviewers of New England - for Best Actress) with John Davidson, Julie in Carousel (IRNE award for Best Actress) with Shirley Jones, Marian in The Music Man (IRNE award nomination), Anna in The King and I (IRNE nomination), Belle in Beauty and the Beast (IRNE nomination), and Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady. A Metropolitan Opera semi-finalist, Sarah has sung in concert with symphonies around the world with performers such as, Michael Feinstein, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Shirley Jones, Ciaran Sheehan, Betty Buckley and Ruben Studdard and has worked with conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas and John McGlinn. She also made a recording of Jerome Kern’s “Oh Boy” in London under the direction of Mr. McGlinn. Sarah has a busy concert schedule, working with Broadway Pops International.  She has appeared on The Today Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and on The Food Network. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sarah lives in beautiful Wilton, Connecticut with her husband, actor and fellow Wiremill Academy Founder Rick Hilsabeck and her two daughters, Hannah and Lily.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Randye Kaye is back again too!

I tell ya, we had so many great comments about Randye Kaye as a judge last year that we just had to have her back again this year.  She gives good, no-nonsense advice that anyone can relate to and she does it with compassion.  

She's also a good friend and has a wonderful career as an author and much more.  Read her bio:

Randye Kaye has over 20 years of experience as a voice talent, stage/TV/film actress, and radio personality, with a long list of major clients. She brings years of acting and improv experience to your commercial - as spokesperson or character – and provides a warm, rich, smooth, intelligent and expressive voice for your website, e-learning tutorial, IVR, on-hold message, promo/imaging, industrial narration, audiobook (children, adults), science/medical/technical instruction, video game, travel/real estate/museum tour, or event. 

Randye has been heard on major radio stations as Morning Drive sidekick, PM Drive Personality, news director, and NPR classical music host, but now focuses on Voiceover work full-time. She is also a Voiceover coach with Edge Studio in New York, Connecticut and the virtual world.

With years of experience as a morning radio personality and actress, Randye knows how to think on her feet and help your event go smoothly and happily as live host, MC, or announcer. She also provides acclaimed motivational keynotes, leads fun and interactive workshops (self-esteem, happiness, communication, presentation skills, media awareness), and is a really fun and productive live auctioneer.
On the more serious side, Randye speaks frequently to groups of doctors, nurses, medical students, families, providers, and legislators regarding the family experience when mental illness hits. She is a published author, Family-to-Family teacher/trainer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and diversity trainer with the Anti-Defamation League.
Randye uses her vast experience in radio, improvisational acting, voiceover and theatre to teach and inspire in educational and corporate environments.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Again, I am going to recommend that everyone read Seth Godin's book "Tribes". In fact I am going to reread it today.  I am seeing it in action over the last few months.  The concept is that, instead of mass marketing and slinging a net out over anonymous groups of people hoping that they will show up at your theatre's doorstep, you instead cultivate and create relationships with people who really want to hear from you.  You cater to them.  You delight them.  You create, just for them.

They in turn become your "tribe" and are much more dependable and loyal than mere strangers who might happen upon your website, facebook page, theatre etc.

Last night we performed one of our customizable concerts at St. Anthony's in Faifield CT.  They hosted an event at their church to benefit The Center for Women and Families.

Part of the reason this event was so successful for them and for us is that Father John has a "tribe" that loves him.  They go to Broadway shows together.  They respect him.  We did our first "In Home" event some months ago for a group of about 20 of his tribe (and ps he would hate that I am giving him credit for it being his tribe because he is so modest) At the In Home event he approach me about doing another larger concert...which became last night's event.

It sold out a couple week's beforehand. They were turning folks away.  Everyone was jazzed when they arrived and the energy propelled our concert.  Um....isn't that what we hope for in our theatres?

I customized the concert, as usual, and no one will see this same concert again.  One section, the "Family Favorites"portion, had Bret Shuford, Fred Rose, Kate Chapman and me going into the audience to sing to them and around them and with them.  I knew this crowd would eat that up and participate.  I sang "Cruella Deville" to some gentlemen, Bret sang "Do I Love you because you're beautiful" to some nuns, and Kate and I brought one unsuspecting woman on stage with us to be "made over" during the song "Popular".

The dinner consisted of pasta and sauces brought by the congregation. There had to be 20 different sauces and you got to chose what you wanted.   So I worked in a "Sauce Judging" competition to our show. While Bret sang "Be Our Guest", Fred, Kate and I tasted all the sauces!   We had fun awards ( I bought prizes at the dollar store) like "Most Joyous sauce" or "Hotter than Hell sauce" for the five winners who had to come on stage with us.

Finally, at the end of the show, I invited them all to become part of our "tribe" too as we have our "So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star" and our "Holiday Show" coming up right around the corner in Bridgeport in the next months.  They are already planning a large group to attend.

While it might have been easier for me to make up an eflyer.  To buy lists from other groups. To mass market.  Seriously, it would take less time.  Less effort.  The response from last night, from the At Home in Greenwich folks, from other groups that we are taking time with and helping worth it.  Not only because it helps us to found solidly...but because it builds a community.  A tribe of people who help each other.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broadway Judge #4 Jamibeth Margolis

No "So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star" panel would be complete without the lead judge and our Executive Director, Jamibeth Margolis!

Jamibeth Margolis:

Jamibeth is now entering her 15th year as a professional casting director in New York. She was with Johnson-Liff Casting, Cameron Mackintosh, and Margolis-Seay Casting and is now out on her own as a freelance casting director. Previous credits include the Broadway and National Touring Companies of such hits as Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon, Cats, and Jane Eyre as well as two dozen other shows on Broadway. She also currently casts for Off Broadway, National Touring Companies and shows for prominent regional theaters and all of the major theater festivals in NYC. Her casting office is dedicated to the development of new plays and musicals. Additional casting credits include multiple television pilots and on camera industrials for major US companies.

Jamibeth is also an accomplished stage director. Recent theatrical directing credits include Family Dinner at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row and Do I Hear a Waltz? and Jekyll and Hyde at the Arvada Center Theater in Denver. Jamibeth served as assistant director to Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks on the recent Broadway revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial and also on Jules Feiffer’s A Bad Friend at Lincoln Center Theatre. She has also helmed developmental productions and readings of the following new works: Naked In Encino, Owl Creek, Far From the Madding Crowd, Plane Crazy, Great Googley Moo, 1812, and Warsaw (which is currently on track for a Broadway production in the next two years).

Currently Jamibeth serves as Artistic Director For Musicals at the Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF) where she fosters new writing talent and looks to bring a dozen new musicals to life each summer. Jamibeth also teaches musical theater, acting, and audition technique in studios all around NYC and at Pace University.

Jamibeth comes to New Paradigm Theatre with extensive experience working with non profits including: The National Alliance For Musical Theatre, Theatre Resources Unlimited and more.
Jamibeth is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Casting Society of America, and the Stage Directors And Choreographers Society. She served as a Tony Awards Voter for three Broadway seasons. Member: Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She holds a B.A. from Ithaca College in Drama/Directing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bway Star judge #3! VP BOYLE

NPT is super excited about VP BOYLE being a judge for SO YA WANNA BE A BROADWAY STAR?   Take a gander at his bio...

VP BOYLE wears many hats in the Broadway community, both on and off stage. As an actor, his favorite moments on the boards include The Scarlet Pimpernel with Douglas Sills and Sunset Boulevard with Diahann Carroll. He will be starring in the upcoming short film KINDLING directed by Glenn Kalison.

VP made his film directorial debut with IT IS WHAT IT IS, an original musical short film written with composer Andrew Gerle.  The film premiered as an official selection at Rhode Island International Film Festival—one of the top ten festivals in the country and an Academy Award qualifying festival for short film. It is currently screening in festivals across the country and has garnered awards for Best Direction (BAFF), Best Ensemble Cast (BAFF) and Best Musical Short (NYIIFF). He is currently in pre-production to write/direct his next musical film, LIFELESS and his screenplay for the new musical film WALK AWAY is currently slated for production in 2012 in Canada. Other projects include a new pop/rock musical with Joe O'Keefe, THE TUNNEL, based on the Mole People—the underground homeless living in NYC's abandoned subway tunnels.

Theatrical directing highlights include the sold-out An Evening with Frank Wildhorn and Friends at Studio 54 featuring Linda Eder, Douglas Sills, Frank Wildhorn and others. He also directed the critically acclaimed presentation of The Normal Heart at Lincoln Center. He spent two years as the Producing Director for The Musical Writers' Playground and as a casting director for Broadway shows, tours, and original workshops with Dave Clemmons Casting.

One of the most sought after Broadway audition and life coaches for professionals in New York City, VP created The Musical Theatre Forum, a professional casting workshop with every major Broadway casting agency in NYC.  His book, AUDITION FREEDOM: The Irreverent Wellness Guide for Theatre People is available at, Barnes & Noble and Drama Book Shop NYC. He works with actors at every level across the country to spread his irreverent approach to theatrical wellness with celebrity guest appearances across the globe including Italy's top-rated talent show Io Canto and the new Brazilian television series, Broadway Dreams.

VP currently serves as the creator and Chair of the New York Film Academy's new cutting-edge Musical Theatre & Film Conservatory Program. The two-year program merges conservatory musical theatre training with Broadway professionals and an intensive acting for film curriculum that culminates with an original movie musical.

Outside of the zany world of show biz, VP is an amateur potter, French Bulldog lover, closet photographer and self-proclaimed man of leisure with more professional union cards and guild affiliations than any one person should really have. Member: AEA, CAEA, SAG, AFTRA, SDC, ASCAP, The Dramatists' Guild. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

This weekend's press!

This weekend Channel 12 will run the interview that contestant Kevin Durkee and I did last week about So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway star!

It will run:
Saturday: 8:33 AM   12:03 PM    3:33 PM    and
Sunday:   6:03 AM    8:33 AM     2:33 PM

It is a half hour talk show called "Our Lives" and it focuses on social issues as well as cultural.  Kevin is a natural and will be singing in our junior division.   

Next week I am taking another contestant, Ilayda Muftuoglu with me to Channel 8 ABC.  I think it's good for the audience to hear from actual excited contestants and to see how educational the whole thing is.  

Please let all interested folks know that they can visit our new website!  and get the applications and buy tix for the event too.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Website Design!!

So excited that our new website design has launched.  Would love your feedback.   We think it's sleek and business-like and also ...purple..which for some reason, was important to me. lol.

Thanks Ortal for the work you did to help us get what we wanted!  Click on the link below to be taken to our new site!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WILLIAM WADE- judge for So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star

Another great judge for So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star at the Bijou Theatre Oct 20/21.

William Wade:  is a composer, lyricist, orchestrator, arranger, conductor, musical director, and pianist whose work includes the musicals, ImaginOcean (off-Broadway, national tour, Guatemala, Singapore, and Drama Desk nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience) with John Tartaglia, Warsaw (Queens College, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYMF, among many) with John Atkins, Alice (Midtown International Theatre Festival, York Theatre) with Frank Blocker, and Wounded Knee (currently being developed). In all instances, William is the composer and orchestrator and contributed lyrics. His ballets include Madeline (Symphony Space, NYC),Mole Music, and Snow White. Other work includes chamber music, choral music, and art songs. He partcipated in the short-form festival of theatre, Raw Impressions, on multiple occasions as a composer and musical director.
As an arranger, William has worked for Rosie's Theatre Kids (the youth group founded by Rosie O'Donnell), Broadway Theatre Project (with Ann Reinking), Mark Morris Dance Group, and National Dance Institute. He is the arranger and musical director for the Broadway-bound Yeast Nation, the new musical by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis (who wrote Urinetown).
As a teacher and accompanist, William has worked for Broadway Classroom, AMDA, Professional Musical Theatre Workshop at Manhattan School of Music, American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera, Julliard, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake on Broadway, University of Washington, Alvin Ailey, Ballet Hispanico, Broadway Dance Center, Steps, and many choreographers, including Karole Armitage, Donald Byrd, Jennifer Muller, Mark Morris, among many.

William holds a BA in musical composition from University of South Florida and is an alumnus of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop.

Monday, October 1, 2012

At Home in Greenwich

What a lovely, lovely Gala and a great group of folks we were privileged to entertain last night for  At Home In Greenwich.   At Home in Greenwich is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization founded to help senior residents of Greenwich with both the practical means and the confidence to live their lives to the fullest in their own homes as they grow older.

And they were so receptive and ...lovely.   We custom-built a show for them that contained Classic musical theatre tunes from shows like Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Chicago, South Pacific and many more.  And since Fred Rose (one of my Company cast mates) was a performer we both brought our instruments (he's a superb cellist) and in addition to David Miacco on piano (amazing!)  we played flute and cello on all the numbers.  We even did a tag team medley that we created just for them that had us singing and playing alternately. 

Bret Shuford and Gwendolyn Jones were awesome as usual and four of my own voice students were the singing waiters who warmed up the crowd with their 16 bar songs at the tables of the 250 folks that came to the event.

When this nonprofit booked us for the event they had seen us at the Bruce Museum's event and we had had a few discussions on the phone and in person as to what they wanted for their own event.  Then I had a "marketing advice" phone call with about five of their members. After that I booked the talent, accompanist, sound guy Steve, and custom built the show for them to their specifications. 

This non profit did it up right at the Greenwich Hyatt with food "stations" and pretty, festive tables. They also kept their presentations short and sweet and moved everything along. Peggi, their MC and board member, was just the right touch of pizazz and glamour.   The board and the folks attending were all excited and positive and I made sure our Bway folks mingled and talked to everyone they could. 

Always trying to work in the mentoring aspect, I had my students ask questions, while we were eating, to the Broadway stars so they could hear first hand what these pros did in their careers, business-wise, education-wise and just survival-wise.

All in all this was a fun and exciting evening and I totally credit At Home for setting their "fans" up well for it.  Everyone came expecting to have fun and to see Broadway singers perform just for them. I am sure they rewarded this non profit generously as well!   

Congrats to all!!