Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Book Of Mormon Tour Review! HELLO!

The Book of Mormon Review

  On July 30th I attended Broadway’s smash sensational musical The Book of Mormon on tour at The Forrest Theater.   Before I get into my review of the production, let me just tell you a few incredible facts about this glorious sensation of a show!  First, this musical, which is still running on Broadway, has won some  nine TONY Awards, including: Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, yes the lyricist for Disney’s Frozen, and Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan), and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus). Also, The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.  Wow!  That is a TON of awards, this is very rare for musicals to score this many awards in one season, so The Book of Mormon is very lucky!

  Now let me get into the show!  I really had vague knowledge of the storyline, as I had only heard the album and just knew what was talked about in those songs.  This was one of the greatest shows I think I have seen in a while.  This is a very heavy dance musical, and it was very hot in the theater (they didn’t turn on the air!); even so, the cast was on their game.  The hit every move and note spot on, even though they were covered in sweat.  This musical was written by the creators of the hit animated TV show South Park, so just from that phrase alone you know it is not going to be your average musical... and it isn’t!  I mean that in a good way, this show takes A LOT of risks in all sorts of ways, and the topic matter is one you usually don’t see on Broadway.  So, I am just putting this out there now, DO NOT BRING YOUR KIDS TO THIS SHOW!  Honestly, this is an adult show and unless you want young kids to be exposed to the language, sex, and more, I would leave them at home!  Okay, so now that all the disclaimers and such are covered, let me give you a brief synopsis of the show.  

  The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young missionaries who are sent to Uganda to try to convert citizens to the Mormon religion.  One missionary, Elder Price, is an enthusiastic go-getter with a strong dedication to his faith, while his partner, Elder Cunningham, is a socially awkward but well-meaning nerd whose tendency to embroider the truth soon lands him in trouble.  Upon their arrival in Africa, Elders Price and Cunningham learn that in a society plagued by AIDS, poverty and violence, a successful mission may not be as easy as they expected.(Broadway.com).  It really is a show that should not be missed.  If you want a night out of the house for a date night, this is definitely the right show to see!  Just remember, it does have rough subject matter, but it is all in good fun!  Also, for those of you who are like myself, and enjoy meeting the cast after the show, there IS a stage door!  It is behind the theater, you have to go down the side alley, and make your first left, you will then hit it!  A friend and I met the entire cast after the show, they were so grateful we came, and signed are stuff for us!

  Now let me get into the members of the cast who I liked, and which songs were the best. First off, KJ Hippensteel (Elder Price) the handsome, and bodacious, leading man was freaking phenomenal!  He had just joined the cast after being on Broadway as the standby for Elder Price.  He blew me away, his voice, comedic ability, and dancing were out of this world.  He wowed the crowd in his solo song, I Believe, in which he says he believes, as a Mormon, he can make a difference with the Ugandan people. Also, Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, the second number of Act II, was my favorite!  This is with him and the rest of the ensemble; it is a nightmare he is having about being sent to hell because he leaves his mission companion, and how they are damning him for breaking Rule 72 in the Mormon faith.  I really liked him in this role, they did such a good job casting it!  (side note- when I often listen to a cast album of a show, I usually go into the show expecting it to sound like what I heard, and if not I get really picky, not in this case though!) Christopher John O’Neil (Elder Cunningham), who plays the quirky, nerdy, not so truthful mission companion to Elder Price was very good as well!  He has been with the 1st National Tour for a good bit, and every night he performs as if it is opening night!  Baptize Me (in which he sings with Nabulungi) was sweet, passionate, and funny.  He is getting ready to baptize her, but they make the lyrics sound like they are getting ready to do something else, which is totally the opposite.  Man Up, which is the Act I finale song that he sings by himself and then the cast joins in on, was also really good as well!  He is proclaiming in this song that he is going to “man up” and not be afraid anymore!  As a musical theater buff, this song is my favorite because it goes into different parts, melodies, and harmonies.  Very nicely done!  Alexandra Ncube (Nabulungi), who is making her tour debut, was fabulous in this role.  I was really hesitant to see how this role was going to be done, because I am so used to hearing the wonderful Nikki M. James perform all of these songs, as she originated this role on Broadway.  But Alexandra proved me wrong, and outdid herself!  DAMMMMN!  Does this girl have chops!  She belts out her solo song, Sal Tlay Ka Siti, in which she emotionally sings about finding the place Salt Lake City, UT and picturing how much better it would be than where they are now.  It is quite beautiful!  She belts out to her highest in Hasa Diga Eebowai Reprise, a song which I had just discovered while watching this show!  Again, the harmony and riffing in this song made the hairs on my neck stand up!  She had the crowd busting out laughing in Joseph Smith American Moses, where she and her people tell the story (which was made up, and falsely told by Elder Cunningham) to the Mormon President who comes to visit… let’s just say that he was in for more than he bargained for!  The rest of the cast was great and all did a phenomenal job! 
The remaining cast consisted of Stanley Wayne Mathis (Mafala Hatimbi), who was also in the Broadway company!  Corey Jones (General), Grey Henson (Elder McKinley), he rocked in his song Turn it Off , he really made it his own. There is a surprise in that number that I can’t give away either!  Ron Bohmer,  Colin Bradbury, Josh Breckenridge, JR Bruno, Michael Buchanan, Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Trevon Davis, Kelechi Ezie, Logan Hart, Jeff Heimbrock, Carole Denise Jones, Tyler Jones, Trevor Leaderbrand, Daniel LeClaire, Antyon Le Monte, Adam Levinskas, Laionna Michelle, Dimitri Joseph Moise, Kevin Michael  Murphy, Dana Joel Nicholson, Lacretta Nicole, Tyrone Robinson, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden, Jamaal Wilson, Jonathan Cullen (Standby for Elder Cunningham), and C.J. Eldred (Standby for Elder Price). Great job again everyone!  

Again, I cannot stress how important it is that you go see this show before it is GONE!  It is almost impossible to get tickets for the Broadway production, and tour tickets go fast, so hurry!  They also do a lottery 2 ½ hours prior to the show where you can get tickets purchased for as low as $25.  Must have a valid ID, and must be present at time of drawing! That is a little incentive to help you all go see it!
The Book of Mormon runs from July 29-September 14 at The Forrest Theatre, visit www.telecharge.com for tickets. You can keep up with The Book of Mormon and more on Facebook: /TheBookofMormonOnBroadway Twitter: @BookofMormon, #LoveMormon, and Instagram @Bookof Mormon. Also visit their website at www.BookofMormonTheMusical.com , continue to keep up with me on my website at www.ThePositivityProject.org . I can be found on social networks as well!  Twitter: @RyeTheNewsGuy,  Facebook: /ThePositivityProject1 and Instagram: @OfficialRyeMy                                                                   “Encourage. Inspire. Empower”


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Miss Saigon Review: Haddonfield Plays and Players

I attended the opening night of Miss Saigon at Haddonfield Plays and Players (HPP) on July 18th, 2014. Going in I had no prior knowledge to this show, just that it had to do with The Vietnam War and the people of Saigon.. Literally! Personally, I always like when I do not have any prior knowledge of a show because I feel like I have nothing to compare it to, which is always a good thing! Let me first start out by saying that I' am always impressed with the shows that HP&P performs, and the quality of their shows as well. They are a very small intimate theatre, which only house about 130 people and you really feel like you are right in on the action of the show! Some of the amenities they offer to their patrons is tons of leg room, and the theatre (a once barn at one point in the past) is also very much handicap accesible as well! They always do a 50/50 raffle during intermission, and a snack and beverage stand (no alcohol folks, it’s a dry town!). Tickets for their shows are very reasonable, and for the quality of show you’re getting, very good as well!

Now to the show... The show is a operetta- which means the show is mostly singing with little speaking involved. Here is a brief Synopsis of the show for anyone who wants to know more about it! Miss Saigon, which was adapted from  the story of Puccini's Madame Butterfly- is  set during the Vietnam War. As the war turns against the Americans, villagers are rushing to Saigon for refuge. One of them is Kim, a 17-year-old girl whose family was killed in the war. She becomes a stripper at the Dreamland club where she meets a young American GI named Chris. The two quickly fall in love and move in together. However, when Saigon falls Chris is forced to evacuate from order of his unit. Thinking he would never see Kim again, he marries an American woman named Ellen. However, in a strange twist of things it just so happens that two years later, Chris's friend, John, informs Chris that he has fathered Kim's child that she has named Tam. After Ellen meets for the first time in Bangkok, Kim gives up the child, leaving us with an ending we did not see coming.. I will not give away the ending SORRY!! 

This is a strong singing show as previously mentioned, and there were quite a few songs that I thought were performed magnificently! The hit number which has become familiar to all of us "The Heat is on in Saigon" was one I enjoyed very much. Vocally, it was a well mix with males and females. It was also a very big dance number.(Oh, and before I go on, this musical I DO NOT recommend for young children as there is strong language, and sex situations throughout the show).  This number takes place in Dreamland, an underground Prostitution night club where the men choose what woman they want to take home with them. Next, "The Movie in My Mind" which was made famous by Lea Salonga was absolutely fabulous as well! Samantha Pruna who plays the leading lady Kim (She also made it to Hollywood week on American Idol Season 4, beating out nearly 15,000 other contestants), did such an amazing job on the song. Her belting and emotion combind really made you feel the song, and grasp the meaning behind it. "The Morning of The Dragon", which was done using red lights throughout the stage, and Vietnamese banners was visually the best! I think the best number though for me, and the number that made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up and made the audience cry, was the touching song "Bui-Doi". This is the opening number for Act II and is amazing! It starts out with the GI soldiers singing the chorus acapella which goes "They're called Bui-Doi, the dust of life, conceived in hell, and born in strife", then music slowly starts playing as the character John played by Matthew Weil begins to sing. This takes place at a Sunday morning mass, as John is recalling the war, and the tragic events he saw while fighting. This is also a big belt song for a male, and was done VERY WELL! Best song of the show for me!

The show was led by and incredibly talented cast, with some unique individuals from the Tri- State Area! Some other notable leads to point out are: Bryan M. Pitt (Engineer), who is no stranger to the stage and HP&P, and once again delivered an outstanding performance, while keeping the audience involved.  Stephen McBride (Chris) the leading man of the show was phenomenal and incredible with a strong voice! Other cast members include: Eileen Ashley, Antonio Baldasari, Charles L. Bandler, Mallory Beach, Dawn Bellows, Brian Burke, Kayla Carnation, Jordan Dobson, Devon Duffin, Jonathan Edmondson, Samantha Gammill, Jonathan Greenstein, Ken Hellings, Wes Hopkins, Megan Jones, Dakota Judge, Jenn Kopesky, Kat Lee, Tyler Lee, Brooke McCarthy, Josee Matela, Jessica Money, Jeremy Noto, Adriana Pillot, Mason Romeo, Emme Renbjor, Michael Thor Vilhauer, Sara Viniar, Harrison Webb, Kahlil Wyatt.  The creative team behind this show, who had a vision and made it happen onstage consists of the following: Pat DeFusco (Director), Pat did a wonderful job directing this masterpiece, he has also been seen on the stage as the leading man in favorites such as Les Miserbles, Fiddler on The Roof & many more! Erica Paolucci (Choreographer), Kate Brown (Music Director), Ed Doyle (Tech Director), Sue Stein (Producer), Kim Blood (Stage Manager) and Rebekah Macchione (Lighting Designer) I have seen shows they have worked on before, and they NEVER dissapoint! These people deserve a lot of credit for their work and dedication to the show!! Great job to BOTH the cast and all the crew!

 Miss Saigon runs from Jul.17th- Aug 9 at HP&P, for tickets, visit their website at www.haddonfieldplayers.com or contact the Box Office (856)-429-8139. I recommend everyone take a night, and go see this magical gem onstage before it closes! Also- I received word this weekend from a source who says that the show is currently running back in London, if it does well it could POSSIBLY come back to Broadway!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

EVITA On Tour Review

 EVITA On Tour Review

This week I had the pleasure of attending Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's hit musical sensation EVITA at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia! I must say, I was very very surprised by how amazing this show was. I had no prior knowledge of the show, and what I did know- it just personally did not seem thrilling. The opening number is what really had me stunned and turned on! The cast is out on stage singing "Requiem for Evita", mourning the death of their leader. It is an emotional number with powerful voices, and amazing projector use used onstage to show video reels from Eva Peron's (whom the story is based on) funeral. This then led into "Oh What a Circus" sung by Josh Young (Che). Let me give you a brief summary of the show. EVITA tells the story of former Argentina First Lady Eva Peron, who used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the Presidential Mansion as First Lady to the President Juan Peron. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world- while her greed, outsized ambition, and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva's passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater's most beautiful songs, including: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", "High Flying, Adored", and "Rainbow Tour". That being said.... this is a show that YOU MUST get over  to see! If there is one show you should  see that I have recommend over the last few  months- it has to  be this one! If it weren't for my crazy schedule this coming week I would be attending again.. A nice little incentive with this show is that they do student rush tickets! This means that if you are a student in high school or college (must have a SCHOOL ID with you) you can buy tickets for the show at an incredible $35. The tickets go on sale 2 Hours PRIOR to the actual start time, and can be purchased at the box office!

 Now let me get into the characters and their roles. I will begin with the lead, and star of the show Caroline Bowman (Eva), who hails from Broadway in her run with the Original Broadway Cast of Tony Award Winning musical Kinky Boots as Maggie.  She was absolutely stunning and fantastic! I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with this lady! You could tell she was really enjoying herself onstage, and was grasping every moment of it. Even though she was playing an Argentina Women, she did not play it with an accent which I thought was really good, it was more real and authentic I felt! She is a big belter-but not in the over doing it type of way, she is a strong belt singer with soul! Her dancing was quite on par, and stunning as well! They picked a very good person for this role, and after a playing an ensemble member  in WICKED, and a feature role in Kinky Boots I am very happy she got her shinning moment in the spotlight! Josh Young (Che), who originally played this same role in the Ontario Shakespeare Festival, and hails from  a year run in the New Broadway Cast of the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar,  was quite phenomenal as well! He was just getting over a cough, but that did not stop him, nor could you notice! He is a strong Barritone-Tenor who really leads the show. They had him play his role as more of a "buddy or pal" instead of JUST the narrator, which was a very interesting angle to take, I thought it was good! He had the audience cheering and loudly clapping after every number, especially after his favorite number "And The Money Kept Rolling In" (Stated in his interview with me on my website.) I  was quite excited to see him, as I was a fan of his when he did Superstar  and  I was excited to hear his voice live- he certainly delivered!!! Sean McLaughlin(Juan Peron) was also very good as well! He was recently seen in Phantom of The Opera  on Broadway and in Canada as Raoul. He played the strict and sly army Colonel Juan Peron very well! He has such a beautiful voice, and was great in this role. One of my favorite songs of his were "Peron's Latest Flame", a  very upbeat rock song about Peron's latest flame, and how Eva is not good for him because of her past. One of my favorite numbers! Christopher Johnstone (Magaldi), and Krystina Alabado (Mistress),  also were great as well! The whole cast was fantastic, I wish I could go on about each of you- we would be here all night!

EVITA runs at The Academy of Music from June 17th-22nd for a limited engagement! You can follow the show on Facebook /EvitaTour, on Twitter @EvitaTour, and you can join in on the conversation by using the hash tag #RainbowTour. For Tickets visit www.kimmelcenter.org/broadway for tickets. To view my interview with Josh Young and to keep following all my interviews, buy my apparel, and more! Please  visit me at www.ThePositivityProject.org also follow me on Twitter @RyeTheNewsGuy , Facebook /ThePositivityProject1, and Instagram @OfficialRyeMy . Join in on the fun and use the hash tag #ThePositivityProject when Tweeting, Facebooking, or Instagramming me! xx RyeMy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interview with 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan

Below is my interview with the amazingly gracious,sweet, and talented Miss America 2013! I hope you all find inspiration in her interview, and that she too, can "Inspire. Empower. and Empower" you! :) xxRyeMy

Interview with 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan

 What was it like being crowned the dream title of “Miss America”, what did you feel when they announced your name?

Well it was certainly surreal! I never, in a million years expected to actually win Miss America. It was honestly a life-long dream come true. I was in shock!

What was your life like after winning Miss America? (Question from my face book page!) 

Lots and lots…and lots of travel. I think many people are under the impression that Miss America just walks red carpets and smiles for photos all day, but it’s truly a job that comes with a lot of responsibility. I had the opportunity to do some things that were really fun and visit some cool places, but it was also a big change in my personal life!

Your platform was on child sexual abuse, how did you go about raising awareness and money during your reign? How did you gain national awareness of your platform, and how can we help?

I had the opportunity to work with many national organizations such as Prevent Child Abuse America, National Children’s Alliance, Stop it Now and Safe Horizon. In addition, I lobbied Capitol Hill on several occasions to restore funding for the 2014 fiscal budget for the National Children’s Advocacy Centers. I was able to raise awareness through my national media appearances as Miss America. You can help by donating to any of the above causes and opening up the conversation about child abuse in your own home.

You’re also very big on anti – gun violence, which I love and think is awesome because that is the leading cause of deaths today..What do you feel like this country needs to do today to end the war on guns and get them out of the wrong hands?

Well, I think that the country needs to come to a conclusion about federal laws to protect our citizens. The three most obvious choices for protection seem to be background checks, psychiatric evaluation and gun safety classes. If anyone in our country plans to use a firearm responsibly, then none of these steps should be an issue for them. In addition, I think the NSA’s influence among our politics is far too strong. 

What was it like winning Miss New York in 2012?

Winning Miss New York 2012 was a fantastic feeling but being Miss New York was the best! There’s just simply no way to explain the cool things that “Miss New York” gets to do in the ‘city that never sleeps.’ I had a blast during those 6 months!

Did you do any pageantry growing up, if so what kind, and what made you finally decide to go out for the Miss America Competition?

I began pageantry in the Miss America Organization through their Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program. I started as a way to be on stage and showcase my talent, but ended up falling in love with the Organization and what it stood for.

You’re a very good tap dancer, did you dance as a child? And do you still dance now? Any plans to do theatre?

I grew up dancing as a child in my grandmother’s studio in Memphis,TN and my mother’s studio in Opelika, AL. This year my mother celebrates her 20th season! No plans for theater for me. That’s not really my thing! ;)

What is next for Mallory Hagan in the future?

Who knows! I’m here in Los Angeles pursuing a career in television, but plans and people change. I wish I knew what the future held, but I’m having fun finding out!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you did, or even just wants to change the world?

It only takes one person to make a huge impact! Don’t ever think that you are incapable of changing the world or, at the very least, a person’s mind. Child Abuse was a very difficult subject to talk about, but my becoming Miss America was something that sparked a national conversation. Go for it!

What was the best advice you ever received growing up?

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” – No one owes you anything. If you are lucky enough to receive blessings, go out and touch others, make a difference and do something to better the world!

For more information on Mallory Hagan, or to keep up with her, follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/TheMalloryHagan

And for more info about what i am doing and to follow up with me, visit me at www.ThePositivityProject.org (You can also find my social networks on there as well!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Interview with Jacquelynne Fontaine currently starring as Carlotta on Phantom Tour!

Hey All-
Enjoy this most delightful interview with Jacquelynne Fontaine currently starring as Carlotta on the new National Tour of Phantom Of the Opera. She is so amazing! 
What is it like playing evil villain Carlotta in the 25th Anniversary tour of Phantom of the Opera?
Carlotta is such a fun character to create, especially with this talented, generous cast.  Every night is slightly different :-) As for playing Carlotta- she “shoots out from a cannon” at the entrance with a held high D and C- and holding a severed head nonetheless!  I wouldn't actually consider her an evil villain; despite her bad rap, she doesn't do anything evil in the show, save calling some names and yelling (a lot).  I'd say Carlotta's an egotistical Italian woman who demands perfection, and who doesn't know how to manage her anger. And has a drop dead gorgeous wardrobe!
What was your audition process like?
So much fun!  That's not what you expect to hear, right?  I guess there comes a point where you have to make the conscious decision not to be nervous.  It's a performance, and if that's the only performance of Carlotta I get? Shoot, I'm gonna have fun! The team, throughout the entire audition process, was really supportive, gave great notes, and you could tell was excited about the project.  I knew if I were to get hired, it would be a really fun process, and it was!

When crowned Miss California, what was your platform? What was that experience like, and what was it like being able to be a part of the Miss America Competition?
When I was crowned Miss California, my platform was Music Education.  I'd done a lot of work with local schools throughout Southern California, teaching music, conducting a children's choir in LA, and volunteering.  However, the week of the competition, unbeknownst to me, my Dad suffered a stroke from undiagnosed diabetes and a hole in his heart.  Dad is great now and better than ever, but it was scary!  I immediately changed my platform to Diabetes Awareness.  I worked with several national and statewide organizations for diabetes, including the California School Nutrition Association.  It was a full-time job for a year!  
The Miss America Competition was a whirlwind!  It was nine days long, held in Las Vegas, and we got the royal treatment!  Though, it was sure balanced with a lot of work :-) The night of the final competition, I was so honored to called for the Top Ten!  Shocked, I mouthed "Holy smokes!" but that might have been read for something different on TV?  We were all cheering for each other, so when Lauren, Miss OK, won, we rushed the stage to congratulate her!  As for the swimsuit portion, woof.  I'd had a fake tanning mishap so I was much darker -embarrassingly so- than I wanted.  I don't think I even recognized myself!! Haha!  
I have been able to see a couple of the ladies so far on the tour-- like Allison Rogers, former Miss RI, who now works at the state capital! On top of being Harvard educated and continuing to do amazing things, is one of the sweetest, humblest ladies around! Ladies, if you're driven and want money for school, I say give a look into this program.  I greatly admire the women and volunteers of the Miss America Organization; they are some of the best people around. 

What has been your favorite city to perform in (so far)?
I'm loving Philadelphia!  The Academy of Music is a real -and gorgeous- opera house, so it's the perfect setting for Phantom!  (I might sing aria snippets in the hall when no one is there, but don't tell).  But we've been to great cities with wonderful people, so it's hard to pick!   

From what I have been told you exude positive vibes which is what I am all about, and what this news network is about! How do you exude these vibes onto the show and onto the cast to keep a fun and no negative environment!?
Well thanks! :-) And thank you for what you do!  This is truly a great cast, full of kind, hilarious folks, so it's easy to keep positive vibes.  Even when we are tired from a long, long week, we still find humor even in that.  How can you keep a no negative environment?  Well, we all need to blow off steam sometimes to come back to reality.  It's human!  As long as you can find the humor in it, and find compassion, you're ok.  It's easy to remain positive with this cast :-)  

What was your favorite opera you have performed in? 
Verdi's "La Traviata"! Hands down.  Violetta is such a complex, loving, strong character, and the music is glorious.  Also, singing Donna Anna in Mozart's "Don Giovanni" (on which Don Juan is based) in Viterbo, Italy, was a really cool experience.

How do you bring a new fresh twist to the character of Carlotta?

Laurence Connor, our fantastic director, stressed from day one – realism.  He didn’t want over the top characterizations, but honesty.  Every actress brings something different to her portrayal, and I’d like to think that the time I spent in Italy has given me some extra Italian sass!  Another twist, I like thinking that Christine’s plea for help during second managers moves Carlotta, so she helps Christine on the side in navigating Don Juan’s difficult score. 

What is your favorite song or scene in the show, and why?
“Prima Donna” into “Il Muto” of course!  How much fun is it to be singing and acting with such talented colleagues, get to do a quick change into a huge powdered wig, then jump into a Mozart inspired opera? I love those scenes and look forward to them every night.  Ok, ok, aside from what do? “Music of the Night!” It still moves me every time I hear it. :-)

Do you feel like you can relate to your character in real life at all ?
One time the bag that's supposed to drop near Carlotta accidentally fell a couple measures too soon. It happens!  That's what makes live theater grand.  Everyone was ok, but shoot, you can bet it was genuine fear! 
Other than that? I don't like the way she treats people. Haha, so no... Wait, I love her costumes. 

What do you do to keep yourself. physically and mentally fit to play Carlotta?
I love yoga, walking (exploring the city when the weather is nice), Jillian Michaels workout DVDs, and meditation. Lots of sleep and lots of water, and I can do the show 8 times a week. :-) 
What are some pre show rituals you do?
I love walking to work (it's a good warm up) then doing vocal warm ups with the cast while stretching.  It's a nice way to check in with everyone, too.  Before going on stage, I'll sing part of an aria or art song in my dressing room for fun and to get ready for that crazy entrance cadenza! 
What is the best advice you can give to someone about wanting to make it in this industry?
Be the kind of person with whom you'd want to work.  I look at my colleagues who've had long, great careers, and they are so humble, so professional.  Always focused 100% in rehearsal, easy with a smile, and generous on stage and off.  They are prepared, quick to acknowledge a mistake, yet quick to forgive themselves.  Aside from preparedness, positivity and compassion go a long way in this business.  Self compassion too.  Keep those paramount, and you'll keep your sanity navigating this career.   
Other than that? Perform as much as you can, in safe venues. Try, fail, try, succeed, try, fail again.  It all helps you get comfortable in yourself and performing in front of an audience.  Definitely perform in different ways- through speech, debate, pageants, dance, concerts, volunteering, teaching.  Then go on the other side - direct, coach, build.  These all make for a well rounded actor and human. :-) 
These were great questions!  Thanks for asking me to contribute! :-)   

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Phantom Of The Opera Tour Review!

Hey All-
 I hope everyone is well, and doing good! I had the amazing opportunity this weekend to review the new 25th Anniversary Tour of Phantom of the Opera! I hope you enjoy!

Lloyd Webber's hit longest running show is now on tour once again, and is at the Academy of music for a limited time only! This new production is produced by renown producer Cameron Mackintosh (Les Miserbles) and directed by Laurence Connor (Superstar UK, Saigon UK, and Phantom UK). Webber was quoted as saying "It's wonderful to have a new of Phantom touring America now that the show has celebrated over 25 years on Broadway". Phantom runs at the Academy of Music until April 12th 2014, for tickets and show times visit www.kimmelcenter.org/broadway 

I loved this show and production very much, and the cast was phenomenal! I can really see where they put new touches on things, and added a few things! Other then a technical difficulty that stopped the show momentarily, the show was great! Pyrotechnics were used, as well as smoke, and gun shots, as well as the falling chandelier!  The costumes were stunning and there are over 1,200 pieces used throughout the entire show! Over 120 wigs travel with the production, and over 50 are used in the show, and all are made from actual human hair except for 5! Here is a little about Phantom for those of you who don't know. 
Based on the 1910 horror novel by Gaston Leroux, which has been adapted into countless films,The Phantom of the Opera follows a deformed composer who haunts the grand Paris Opera House. Sheltered from the outside world in an underground cavern, the lonely, romantic man tutors and composes operas for Christine, a gorgeous young soprano star-to-be. As Christine’s star rises, and a handsome suitor from her past enters the picture, the Phantom grows mad, terrorizing the opera house owners and company with his murderous ways. Still, Christine finds herself drawn to the mystery man. Audiences agree—The Phantom of the Opera is Broadway’s longest-running hit. Ever. (Broadway.com)

This cast is absolutely stellar! The casting was spot on, and although the original Phantom was re-casted mid run because of personal reasons, this new one is just as good! Cooper Grodin (Phantom) is awesome! His vocal abilities and range are like non I have ever heard, his rendition of the hit song "Music of the Nigh" was Phantasic, very haunting amd yet charming at the same time. Julia Udine (Christine Daee) who is a Voorhees, New Jersey Native I was truly in awe with! Her voice for only being 2o years old is that of someones voice who is much older!  She beautifully belted and sang "All I Ask of You", 'Think of Me", and the tearjerker and beautiful classic "Wishing You Were Somehow Hear Again".You need to hear this girl sing, she has cords of steel! Especially when she is in the Phantom's liar and she has to "keep singing" for him. I could go on for days about this young women, and i truly 100% mean this when I say that she needs to play Christine on Broadway (If your reading Andrew Lloyd Webber CAST HER!) I can also see her in other leading roles on Broadway as well! So proud of her, and she also studies with the same vocal coach that I do! Jaclyn Fontaine (Carlotta Giudicelli) was also fabulous and had a great voice. She was a former Miss California, and Miss America finalist (where she performed opera as her talent), she really has quite the resume! Ben Jacoby (Who's father Peter was the he leading role as "The Phantom" on Broadway a few years back) was also good! Craig Bennett (Monsieur Firmin), Edward Staudenmayer (Monsieur Andre), Linda Balgord (Madame Giry), and Hannah Florence (Meg Giry) were also wickedly talented as well! 

You must see this show and all of the new aspects that the show has to offer as well! I will say, if you are VERY picky and you don't like change, this production may bother you, as they have made it very updated and very 2014! Just putting both sides out there! 


xx Rye

Monday, March 10, 2014

Interview with America's Got Talent Season 1 Winner: Bianca Ryan!

Hey All-
 Sorry for the brief break I have been so busy with life, and having so many things come up with the project! So many good interviews coming up in the near future!  I really cant wait for you to see them all! Below is interview with Super Star Bianca Ryan. Bianca rose to the charts at just 11 years old when she won the hearts of the judges, and America as Season 1 winner of "America's Got Talent" (AGT). Blowing everyone away with her big (which is an understatment!) voice, and tackling songs like "And I am Telling You" by Jennifer Hudson in which Simon Cowell called her "One of the best singers ever", Bianca was on a path of fortune and success!
  Since then, she has been very busy working on her career, being  student, and continuing to follow her dreams! She has stepped away from the spotlight, and has chosen to go her own direction with her songs, and is not letting  anyone tell her what to write!  She is so amazing, and I am so honored to have a connection to her! I am so thankful she took time out of her crazy busy life to do this Q&A interview with me! Enjoy! For more information on Bianca Ryan visit her website at www.BiancaRyan.com and also follow her on her social networks as well! She is great with keeping up with her fans! Continue to check out my website with the latest and greatest entertianment news and more! www.thepositivityproject.org   Encourage. Inspire. Empower. xx RyeMy

Interview with Bianca Ryan

RM:What was the experience of being on America’s Got Talent like? And what was it like winning the competition at just 11 years old? Also, what was your favorite performance during your run on AGT?

BR:My favorite performance was when I performed And I Am Telling You. Just because that was one of my favorite songs and to be able to perform for so many people was life changing. That video of me singing that one song completely changed my life and enabled me to be able to travel the entire world! Literally. It's crazy.

RM:What have you been up to since winning back in 2006?

BR:Since winning AGT, I've been writing a lot of music and really trying to find who I really am as an artist, and songwriter. I love writing music so much (might even love it more than singing it)! So it's been interesting because I've been through all the ups and downs that a career has, and I've even left the spot light a couple of years ago just to go back to high school and live a normal life. It's not all that it’s made out to be honestly, so now that I'm finished, its MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC! Again, and I couldn't be happier. Right now I'm writing new music and in the studio almost 24/7. I can't wait to truly find my new sound through all of this writing.

RM:What was it like being so young, and being so famous at the same time?

BR: It was actually really hard being so young and having all the opportunity in the world because you don't realize how huge the opportunity is. There are people that work their entire lives for that chance, and you can't help but almost take it for granted just by the mere circumstance that you're only like 11 or 12! haha. It was super hard though. I was 11 and I felt like I was being compared to the world. Immediately my You Tube videos were getting millions of views and everyone was comparing me to every other singer in the world. Especially after Simon Cowell announced to the public that he thought I was one of the best singers he's ever heard in his entire life!. I was pretty self-conscious to be compared to people three, four, and five times my age! I was flattered though through all of the comparisons

RM:Your hit Christmas EP ‘Why Couldn’t It Be Christmas All Year Long” rose to the tops of the Holiday charts back in 2007. How did that feel to have your music charted so high, and so many people buying your stuff!

BR:It was incredible that my Christmas music charted so high! I wish I could honestly tell you exactly what I remember and how I felt,  but I really was so young that unfortunately I can't remember much of it. It all sort of seems like a blur and even to this day, I can't believe all of this happened. Its still setting in. I do know that I was SOOO in love with the Christmas song soooo much! It was my favorite one to record and make a video for! Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday and the best season ever!

RM:What are your plans for the future? Do you have another CD coming out soon?

BR:MY plans for the future are to keep going with Music and really dive hard this 2014. I want to be able to make a comeback and now as an artist who CAN SING ANY ARTIST. I want to be the artist. I want to be compared to myself (if that makes sense)! . I just want to be able to be unique and have my own sound and enjoy the music that I'm singing. It helps that I'm writing my music now, because I can relate so much more to the lyrics of my songs.

RM:Do you plan on doing any movies or Broadway in the future?

BR:I love the idea of Broadway someday! I was a  Broadway singer before I was a soulful singer! And before the Broadway singer, I was a country singer! hahaha. I love singing all different genres. And of course I LOVE to act. SO movies are awesome and I especially like writing songs for soundtracks. I'm working on one for Mockingjay right now. (Hunger Games). So hopefully we'll finish it soon!

RM:What is coming up next for Bianca Ryan?

BR:What's coming up next? Hm. I have a lot of stuff! Right now I have the product, the songs, what's really been hard is finding the right team! Finding the right people to work with, and people who truly believe in me as an artist, not just a singer. I don't want a team that’s going to make me be AGT BIANCA RYAN again, and make me sing all the crazy show stoppers, I just want to be able to enjoy my shows and have people enjoy my music without having to be a freak singer that blows everyone away every time I sing. I'm okay with not getting a standing ovation every time I sing. As long as people are enjoying the music and singing along, I'm pleased. So hopefully an EP and single out by summer, and hopefully another movie that I can get cast in this year. And songs in multiple movie soundtracks! That's what I'm looking forward to hopefully accomplishing this year! Grammy's 2015? Who knows! I hope! Hahahaha.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!