Sunday, October 27, 2013

Justin Long and Amanda Seyfriend in attendance!

Last night NPT did a show at St. Anthony's in Fairfield to benefit a girl's orphanage in Nicaragua.  I custom-built "Hooray Hollywood" with Broadway stars Kimilee Bryant, Matt Castle and Bret Shuford. So fun to sing with my friends on this show.

Since this is Justin's church this was his charity that he supports so his girlfriend Amanda came as well. They were great about taking pix with the youth board (our singing waiters) and our college interns. Just a shout out to Ilyada and Kate who are also our ASK interns. They kept everything hopping and together and having two amazing assistants like that is something I could get used to!

We love doing shows at this church (have done four I think) and when I asked who had seen our shows before to this sold out crown 80% of the folks raised their hands!  We even have a whole gaggle of nuns that follow us around to all our gigs.

See the pix below of all.  I will have more later I am sure because Kate brought her pro camera and was taking great ones.

This whole event was NPT firing on all pistons.  1. Partnering with another non profit to help others 2. Broadway AND TV/film stars, Youth mentoring (and boy were they thrilled to meet Amanda and Justin!) and a custom-built show.

Very proud of this group of folks.

Nun posse

college intern Jeremy was a "featured" performer

Monday, October 14, 2013

Channel 12 and ASK interns

Below are some of the photos from our Channel 12 visit.  The segment is taped and then airs on the weekend about six or seven times.  I took Kate, one of our stellar interns for ASK (After School at the Klein) with me and she did a great job.  Very well-spoken and intelligent. She also manages our Facebook page and some other social media.

This opportunity for Kate and about 9 other college interns is a chance to gain experience.  They get to assist the professional teachers from NPT as well as a Shakespearian teacher, Sketchup, Puppetry etc.  And they get to take the class for free.  Also they can put two resume credits on their materials.  One for interning with the Klein and one for interning with NPT.

They are an enthusiastic group who are making a huge difference for the kids in this program.  They are closer to their ages and are setting a great example.

Stamped all over this is NPT's mission statement.  1.  Partnering with another non profit (The Klein)  2. Mentoring young leaders  3. Working with Broadway/Film/TV/Commercial etc pros.

And most of all, making a difference in the community.

Photos of our visit:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

NY city opera and what it means for theatre

Here is a good repost from Ken Davenport on what the demise of NYC Opera means for theatre.
While our mission is not to exclusively develop new works, we need to remember to include it.  Developing new ARTISTS and leaders in our industry is part of our mentoring so that is a component already.  

Just good to keep in mind for any theatre...any place:

Broadway opera

About two and a half years ago, I blogged about New York City Opera’s shocking moveout of Lincoln Center to . . . nowhere.
It didn’t take a Harvard MBA to know what that meant . . . that fat lady was taking a big old breath and getting ready to sing one helluva note.
Two and a half years later, she let ‘er rip.
And that’s the end of my feeble attempts at humor, because this ain’t that funny.
New York City Opera filed for bankruptcy last week, ending an era of “affordable opera” for NYers, and leaving a ton of people without jobs, and an already beaten-up art form, up against the ropes again.
While articles like this one point to a whole bunch of missteps by the opera management over the years, there’s a bigger issue that those of us in the theater should pay attention to.
The opera audience just ain’t as big as it used to be.  And for the ones that are around, there’s not much for them to see anymore that they haven’t seen before.
How many Toscas can one see?  How many Bohemes?  Aidas?  Traviatas?
Sure, there are new productions and new stars, but they are the same ol’ operas done again and again and again.  New operas are still written, of course (NYCO’s last production of Anna Nicole was one of their most courageous works . . . ever), but they are not done nearly at the frequency of other artistic mediums (plays, musicals, novels, movies, etc.).  Partly because there isn’t the audience for them, and partly because it’s exceptionally difficult for authors to make money writing them!
So, opera companies put on the same ol’ productions or the same ol’ operas that they have been seeing for . . . centuries.  And well, that gets . . . old.  Literally.
The same could happen for the theater.  We’re a decade and a half away from the 100th anniversary of the modern theater (I peg its birth around the time of Show Boat) . . . and doesn’t it feel like we’re running out of revivals?  How many times can you see Oklahoma?  Or go back further . . . how many productions of The Seagull can we take before audience members stop going?
I’m convinced that this is one of the reasons why our attendance has been waning over the years.  Too many revivals, and not enough interest . . . unless, of course, they’ve got massive stars (but even those productions don’t run long enough to make a difference in attendance).
Takeaways from the New York City Opera story?
If you’re a theater company just focused on revivals, you’re in for a bumpy ride . . . unless you’ve got a ton of Hollywood stars on speed dial.
And while producing revivals is an important component to keeping the tradition of theater alive . . . it can’t be all that we do.  Our own fat lady will be belting out something as well . . . and it won’t be a show tune.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Channel 12 and Focus ON: Shay LaRusso!

Today's blog is a Two-fer.

At the bottom of the email you will see the info for our Channel 12 Interview that will run this weekend.   It was on our partnership with The Klein auditorium for the After School at the Klein (ASK) program that started this week.  FREE to Bridgeport students from 8th grade-12th grade.  Part of our "mentoring" component.

Classes in Commercial production, Film and TV, Voice, Acting, Puppetry, Shakespeare, Improv, Sketchup, Flashmob, Stage Tech and much more.  Taught by teachers from NPT and the area.  All Pros. College Interns assist and get to take the classes for free as well.  I took the amazing intern, Kate Billard, with me to the interview.  She has put together (with Tyler) our social media. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) 

Then the next part of this blog is a FOCUS ON: Shay LaRusso!  

Shay is a voice student of mine who is also on our Youth Board. She is at every meeting, every event and is often featured as a singing waiter and performer in our "youth" section of the shows for non profits.

She also recently won the role of Penny, in Hairspray!  A part she is perfect for and will perform in January at Yorktown Stage!  I would have been proud of her no matter what because she really went for the role. She dressed for it, prepared for it and was even a bit sick when she auditioned, but still lasted till the bitter end.

She will also be performing for the So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star event on Oct 19th, at the Watermark. The picture below shows she and her sister and her cousin singing for the seniors at this space and was one of the reasons we came up with having the event there.

CONGRATULATIONS SHAY for having the relentless spirit of a performer and for being a great student and youth board member!

Shay with cousin Shelby caroling at senior homes during the Holidays.

Info on the channel 12 airings:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

At Home in Greenwich the 2nd time around!

Quick Bullet point updates for you:

1. Sunday's AT HOME in Greenwich (Non profit- our 2nd event with them) went extremely well. At the Hyatt. Three Broadway performers (Fred Rose, Kelly Grant roommate from Company and currently IN Phantom of the Opera..., and me)  in an hour and a half customize- built show "Hooray for Hollywood".  

We also had 2 featured college interns in the show, Cori Stolburn and Jake Oswell (an example of our hands on mentoring as they got to be on stage with us the whole time)  and 6 Youth board members as singing waiters who also helped this non profit sell raffle tix.  Our three lovely cousins on the Youth Board, Shay, Skye and Shelby performed "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" in the show too!

Over 200 gown and tux clad folks enjoyed this swanky night.  Board members Lynn Vetare and advisory board member Lisa LaRusso helped with the kids.

2. Today I am meeting with St. Anthony's (they have hired us for shows a few times to benefit other nonprofits)  and will be hiring us for yet another show on Oct 26th. 

Also have a meeting today with The Sterling House in Stratford.    They want a show in February and I will discuss contracts and customizing what they want as well. 

On Thursday I will meet with the BPT council of churches to discuss their fund raiser show in April/May.  

So three new gigs!  and a successful one this past week. A bit hard to squeeze in "life" this week, but next week is more relaxed.