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A Q&A with Cyndi Lauper

June 10th, 2016 by admin

Q: In this era of safe Broadway musicals that are based on an existing movie title, or the catalog of a popular band’s songs, how do you think Kinky Boots broke through and rose to the top of the theatre world?

A: I think the answer is kind of a simple one. It’s because the show has a huge heart, and people respond to that. It’s a story about love and acceptance and friendship and overcoming obstacles and everyone can relate to that. Harvey Fierstein is one of Broadway’s great talents and the book is so very very good. It was an honor to collaborate with Harvey and tell the story of Lola and Charlie.

Q: Can you describe that moment when your name was announced and you won the Tony Award? 

A: Incredible. Simply incredible. The Broadway community is an amazing one and to be welcomed the way they welcomed me to this very special family is something that still warms my spirit.

Q: You join rock artists like Neil Young, Duncan Sheik, Sting and the Flaming Lips who have made the crossover into Broadway, not by capitalizing on their existing songbooks but by writing original musicals for the theater. Two questions:

  1. How is writing for the stage different from writing songs for yourself?

A: It’s very different. Your job as the composer of a musical is to move the story forward with the songs. You have to write for many voices and from all the characters’ perspectives. And I had a blast doing that. There were songs that I wrote that I really loved that didn’t make the show because maybe there was a change in the book or there was a different arch for a character and the story and therefore the song had to change. For my own CDs, when I write a song that I love, it makes my records! LOL! And of course when I write for myself, I’m writing from my perspective, it’s the story I am trying to tell through the songs on the album to my fans.

  1. Can you name two or three other artists form the rock world you would most love to see write for the Broadway stage? 

A: I am thrilled to see two of my favorites – David Byrne and Carole King – with shows on Broadway. I would love to see Cher, Price and Joni Mitchell with shows on Broadway.

Q: Of all your wonderful and timeless songs over your career, it appears that True Colors has really grown in stature over the years, becoming a kind of anthem of hope for today’s youth. How does that make you feel, and can you tell us a little about what that song means to you?

A: When I recorded that song a very good friend of mine was dying from AIDS.  He had a horrific childhood. He had been abused. The main reason he was abused was because he was gay. He became homeless really young. When he was dying he asked me to record a song so that he would not be forgotten. He was a beautiful person. A really kind and gentle soul who was told from a very early age that he was no good. That who he was as a person was not acceptable. And that just wasn’t true. So I sang the song for Gregory and for everyone who has been rejected for being who they are or for anyone who feels unloved. I think that it still resonates today because unfortunately we still have bias and we still have bullying. Maybe we have even more bullying because people can be cruel behind a computer instead of having the balls to say something ugly to someone’s face. We still have hatred and that is sad because I would have thought that by 2014 people would have evolved. Because we live in the digital age the world has gotten smaller.  Ya think that would have made us more open and accepting. If we all could just accept each other for who we are the world would be a beautiful place! (That’s also the message of Kinky Boots!)

Q: Live theatre historically struggles for a young audience. Two questions:

  1. Why does Kinky Boots buck the trend?

A: I tried really hard to write songs that could also live outside of the theater, ya know? Before radio, Broadway music was popular music. People bought sheet music and played the music at home with their families. Basically Broadway was Top 40, and I really tried hard to honor that tradition with Kinky Boots by writing songs that people would want to listen to at home after leaving the theater or without even seeing the show.

  1. What do you think is essential for new musicals today to capture the hearts of young theatregoers?

A: If young people don’t discover Broadway, then Broadway will die with the generation that grew up with Broadway and that would be a tragedy. So it’s important that Broadway musicals and plays are written to live in the modern world.

Q: Your life changed seemingly overnight in 1983. What do you think would have become of you if She’s So Unusual had never been released?

A: I didn’t really change overnight. I had been in bands and gigging since I was 20. My band Blue Angel got signed to Polydor when I was 27 and we had some moderate success. We also had done some pretty big tours both in the US and in Europe. And I loved those guys and I loved that band. We were doing rockabilly and we might have been a bit before our time. The Straycats came out years later and really brought that genre out to the forefront again.

I signed my solo deal with Portrait at 29 and the album came out when I was 30. And unlike when you are in a band, I was able to really fully become the artist I wanted to be. It was all my vision, what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, what I wanted to look like, and that was so empowering. And of course to have 5 hit singles off of that album was just unbelievable. I don’t know what would have become of me but I would definitely sing and I would definitely write songs. One of the jobs I had in the beginning of my career was singing at a Japanese piano bar in NYC. Maybe I would have went back there and asked for my job back.

Q: How does it feel to be thought of as a musical – and fashion – role model for the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj?

A: They are all great artists. If they look to me as a role model then I am flattered. I think as women we all need to be able to see another woman doing what we dream of doing to know that it’s possible. There are so many women who I looked to for inspiration – Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell and Cher – all of these women who came before me to help light the path, and if I paid that gift forward that makes me feel really good.

Q: What do you want audiences throughout the country to know about what they are in for if they come to see Kinky Boots?

A: An amazing show with great heart that will lift you up.

Original interview conducted by John Moore, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Journalist.

Kinky Boots at the Shubert New Haven now thru June 12th. 

Purchase tickets at www.shubert.com

 

 

A Confession from the lyricist of “Seen Change”

February 17th, 2015 by admin

I have a confession: I’ve never seen a show at the Shubert Theatre! In fact, I hadn’t been inside until a few weeks ago for a rehearsal.I am, however, reminded on a daily basis of the importance of the Shubert and the role it has played in the history of musical theater. You see, I’m a musical theatre writer, and also work for Rodgers & Hammerstein, the licensing and publishing company founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. And, on my way to the copy machine shubertseatsatR&Hthroughout the day, I pass four red-cushioned seats from the original Shubert Theatre, on display in our office. So, when I had the opportunity to write lyrics for A Broken Umbrella Theatre’s Scene Change! – a show inspired by and staged at the Shubert – well…”I cain’t say no.”

Scene Change! is a love letter to the Shubert Theatre and the history of musical theatre. The back-stage story involves a creative team in 2015 putting on a forgotten musical that was written in 1944. One of the fun challenges for me was to create lyrics that might have been written in the 1940s as well as present day. Since we also wanted to celebrate the Shubert, the majority of songs were designed to harken back to composers and lyricists who premiered shows in New Haven.

Songs by Rodgers and Hart, who made their Shubert debut in 1925 with Poor Little Rich Girl, inspired lyrics for our tap dance number. The structure of our ballad was based on a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific, which had its world premiere at the Shubert in 1949. Other lyrics take inspiration from Cole Porter, Jerry Herman, Lerner and Loewe and Irving Berlin, to name a few. Will Aronson then composed the music, crafting his own blend of pastiche and modern musical styles. Hailing from Guilford, Will has had the good fortune to see many shows at the Shubert.

It is wonderfully strange to think that the first show I see at the Shubert will be my own. I hope that Scene Change! pays tribute to this theater’s brilliant legacy and honors all the artists who inspired me to become one.

Blog Post: Rob Shapiro

Lyricist, SEEN CHANGE!

www.thatrobshapiro.com

Rob Shapiro Head Shot

 

 

 

Meet the Writers – John-Michael Whitney

October 28th, 2014 by admin

Name?   John-Michael Whitney

 

Official Occupation/Company?  Assistant Box Office Manager / Shubert Theatreheadshot - John Michael Whitney

 

Organizations Belonged to?  Manchester Musical Players, SATB Cabaret

 

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Soul de Cuba

 

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Pepe’s Pizza

 

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Pepperoni & Mushroom

 

Hobbies/Interests?  Singing, Performing, Traveling, Amusement Parks

 

Sports/ Sports Teams?  

 

Vacation Spot?  Disney World

 

Dunkin or Starbucks?  I don’t drink coffee, but Dunkin would be my first choice.

 

Nicknames you have, why?  

 

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I have 15 nieces and nephews, and 14 great-nieces and nephews

 

What animal would you be and why?  A large bird like an eagle or an albatross so that I could fly.

 

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why?  D.B. Sweeney…he’s the voice of the OWN Network, and has a great voice.

 

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  Either Matt LeBlanc, David Arquette, or Nathan Lane

 

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be?  Peter Pan

 

203 or 860?  203

 

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say?  Still trying to figure out Twitter after all these years!

 

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? #broadwaybaby

 

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Ice Cold Beer

 

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? Viva Zapata

 

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Concerts or Movies on the Green

 

Meet the Shubert Blog Writers – Ian Galligan

June 24th, 2014 by admin

The Shubert Theatre blog will feature articles from staff and guest writers covering a variety of Shubert topics. Instead of the standard writer biography, we thought our readers would enjoy learning some non-traditional fun facts about our contributing writers.   We hope you enjoy the Shubert blog experience — happy reading!

Name:  Ian Galligan

 

Official Occupation/Company: Operations Assistant (aka jack of all trades) – CAPA/Shubert Theatre

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Miya’s SushiIan

 

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern, hands down!

 

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Eggplant… and now I’m starving. Thanks!

 

Hobbies/Interests?  Theatre, Directing, Performing

 

Sports/ Sports Teams?  I don’t understand the question…

 

Vacation Spot?  Any spot where you can be neck-deep in the ocean and still clearly see your feet!! A tiki bar is also a plus.

 

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Dunkin for hot coffee, Starbucks for iced… not sure why.

 

Nicknames you have, why?  Given my short, 3-letter name, none, really. One professor in college called me “E”, and it just made me think he was lazy. Come on, it’s ONE more syllable!

 

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I was born two weeks early, after my mother got hit in the head by Fuzzy Zoeller’s golf ball at the Greater Hartford Open (now the Travelers Championship) and went into labor. I was on the cover of all the papers and dubbed “The GHO Baby” by Al Terzi. That’s right, kids… making headlines at 2 days old.

  

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why?  Maggie Smith – but she’d have to do it as the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. Otherwise, Vincent Price.

 

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  I’ve been told I’m a dead ringer for a young Jerry Lewis (not sure he could play me… but I could play him! Any producers out there looking to do The Jerry Lewis Story??)

 

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Peter Pan… he can fly and gets to pay kid prices for the rest of his life. No brainer.

 

203 or 860?  Born & raised in the 203, and still rockin’ it.

 

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.

 

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag? #organizedchaos

 

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Can’t go wrong with a nice Pinot Grigio… but I love a good Margarita!!

 

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink? Geronimo

 

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Preferably something air conditioned…

 

 

Meet the Shubert blog writers – Sue Jacobson

June 19th, 2014 by admin

The Shubert Theatre blog will feature articles from staff and guest writers covering a variety of Shubert topics. Instead of the standard writer biography, we thought our readers would enjoy learning some non-traditional fun facts about our contributing writers.   We hope you enjoy the Shubert blog experience — happy reading!

 

Name:  Susan Jacobson

 

Official Occupation/Company: Director of Ticketing, Shubert TheaterSue headshot 1

 

Organizations Belonged to?  INTIX, New Haven Preservation Trust

 

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Union League

 

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

 

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place? Cheese, sauce and onion

 

Hobbies/Interests?  Knitting, reading, theater

 

Sports/ Sports Teams?  Yankees

 

Vacation Spot?  Minneapolis, because that’s where my grandkids are

 

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Starbucks

 

Nicknames you have, why?  Sue or Suzie (people who have known me since I was a kid)

 

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  What you see is what you get. I have no secrets.

 

What animal would you be and why?  I’d be a cat, so I could pretend to sleep all day.

 

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? Meryl Streep (why not?)

 

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  I have no idea –I’m too boring.

 

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)

 

203 or 860? 203

 

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? – I wouldn’t write one

 

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? anonymous

 

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  White wine

 

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? 116 Crown

 

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Concerts on the green

Meet the Shubert blog writers – Sheri Kaplan

June 5th, 2014 by admin

 

Official Occupation/Company? General Manager, CAPA CTSheri

Organizations Belonged to?  TGSSD

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Barcelona

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Sausage & Pepper

Hobbies/Interests?  Reading, outdoors, quilting, apiary, cooking

Sports/ Sports Teams?  ND, FB, Yale Hockey

Vacation Spot?  Mountains or Beach…ANY!

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Dunkin’ (iced only)

What animal would you be and why?  Bird (any)…I could fly

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? Lauren Bacall

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Sebastian from the Little Mermaid

203 or 860?  203

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? #keepingup

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Wine

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? The Owl Shop

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Summer concerts, what else!

Meet the Shubert Blog Writers – Kelly Wuzzardo

June 4th, 2014 by admin

 

Official Occupation: Director of Education and Outreach

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Temple Grill

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place? Artichoke and sundried tomato, mozzarella

Hobbies/Interests?  Spending time with my niece, nephew, and cousin’s kids. Tennis for fun and exercise.  Honestly, I work a lot.

Sports/ Sports Teams?  Philadelphia teams

Vacation Spot?  Sarasota

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Starbucks

Nicknames you have, why?  At Co-Op I’m Ms Wuzzardo or Miss Kelly

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I am fluent in American Sign Language and used to work as an interpreter

kelly w headshot 2What animal would you be and why?  A cat. They seem to live quite the cushy life when not napping.

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? the guy who narrates Ken Burns documentaries–people instantly think you’re important

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  No idea.  I’m going to choose Kate Winslet

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Ariel (Little Mermaid)

203 or 860? 203

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? Everyone has troubles–you can deal with them by destroying or creating. Arts education teaches people to create.

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? #kwuzz

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Mojito

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? Temple Grill

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? I’m doing summer camp!

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