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Theater Buff: Michael Cusumano of “An American in Paris”

April 15th, 2015 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. This month we visit Michael Cusumano, who appears in the new Broadway musical, An American in Paris. Based on the Academy Award-winning film and directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, it’s one of the hottest tickets of the season. Tres bien!

Michael Cusumano (photo: Bill Goulding via The Broadway Blog.)

Michael Cusumano (photo: Bill Goulding via The Broadway Blog.)

Name:
Michael Cusumano

Hometown:
Freeport, New York

What would you do on your ultimate Paris dream date?
If I was to imagine my ultimate Paris dream date I would chose the holiday time of year because I fell in love with the outdoor Christmas market. We would hold hands browsing the cute shops, while of course sipping a mulled wine. Get the grand! Then take a ride on the Ferris wheel, and finish the night being cheesy by going to the top of the Eiffel Tower— standing on top of the world and getting lost in each other’s eyes. (I’m a dreamer if you couldn’t tell!)

Favorite French pastry and where to get in NYC?
I’m not a big pastry fan, but I tell ya, I fell in love with ham and cheese crepes. I ate a bit too many while in Paris. There came a time where I had to force myself to walk another route back to the hotel so I wouldn’t pass my favorite crepe stand. If there’s a good crepe place in New York City, please don’t tell me cause I will be in trouble again. 

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Photo provided by Michael Cusumano.

If I weren’t a performer, I would be:
I may have been a roller coaster designer. When I was a kid I was obsessed with two things. Ballet and roller coasters. I asked my parents to pay for a subscription to ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts) Yes… a roller coaster magazine and club, which I belonged to for a few years. At school I would be in class and draw ballerinas or roller coasters all day. Somehow I got straight A’s—don’t ask me how. 

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? 
Places! I like to blurt out random, inappropriate, silly things to my boys during our excitement before we hit the stage. We are all a little loony in the dressing room. I like to believe it gets us pumped up for the show. I love my boys. I’m lucky to be around them every night. Read more…

Theater Buff: Manny Stark of “Gigi”

March 18th, 2015 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. Ooh la la! This month we visit Manny Stark, who is appearing in the new Broadway musical Gigi.

Manny Stark (photo: Lelund Thompson via The Broadway Blog.)

Manny Stark (photo: Lelund Thompson via The Broadway Blog.)

Name:
Manny Stark

Hometown:
Lake Jackson, Texas 

Gigi takes place in the world of La Belle Epoque Paris—what is your most romantic destination?
Nowhere specific comes to mind, but picture a cabin somewhere surrounded by woods and nature, on top of a mountain and overlooking a beautiful body of water in the warmth of summer. That would be the perfect romantic atmosphere for me.

Favorite French pastry?
I haven’t been fortunate enough to try many authentically French pastries, but I do love an éclair (especially topped with chocolate icing)!

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be:
Roaming all of Europe with a bag on my shoulders doing odd jobs to get me by as I experienced and lived a multitude of cultures. There’s always been something so enticing about backpacking freely throughout different European countries. 

Manny Stark (upside down) in "Gigi" (photo: Howard McGillin via The Broadway Blog.)

Manny Stark (upside down) in “Gigi” (photo: Howard McGillin via The Broadway Blog.)

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? 
In Gigi, I love intermission because that’s when we all get to cool down from a sweaty production number and strip down to fun swimsuits in preparation for the beach!

The best post-show cocktail in New York City is:
Glass House Tavern—it’s a reliable source for an enjoyable time with good drinks and food. 

After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to:
The Cloisters! During the warmer months in NYC, it’s a beautiful escape from all the hustle and bustle.

Manny Stark (photo: Howard McGillin via The Broadway Blog.)

Manny Stark (photo: Howard McGillin via The Broadway Blog.)

My workout “secret” is:
A pull-up bar always does the trick for me.

Swim trunks, speedo or skinny dipping?
Well, it certainly feels most natural to skinny dip! 

When I’m looking for a date, nothing attracts me more than:
Confidence and a good mental and physical connection. 

My favorite website to visit that you may not have heard of is:
www.digitalblasphemy.com
I love changing my desktop background with its interesting art pieces every so often. 

People would be surprised to learn that I :
Will be riding my scooter to and from rehearsal and/or the theater in NYC, especially when the weather gets warmer!

Manny Stark (photo: Lelund Thompson via The Broadway Blog.)

Manny Stark (photo: Lelund Thompson via The Broadway Blog.)

When I was 10, I wanted to be just like:
Aladdin!

One of Gigi’s hit songs is “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” What do you thank heaven for?
For the wonderful team of artists on and off the stage with whom I am about to embark on this Broadway journey! 

Ten years from now I’d like to be:
Much more established in my craft. I’d love to be satisfied and happy with how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown.

Manny Stark appears in Gigi, opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on April 8.

Categories: The Buzz, Theater Buff Tags: ,

Theater Buff: Andrew Chappelle of “Hamilton”

February 18th, 2015 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. This month we go political with Andrew Chappelle, who appears in the new musical Hamilton (by In The Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda), a rousing take on one of our founding fathers.

Andrew Chappelle (photo: Evan Sherman via The Broadway Blog.)

Andrew Chappelle (photo: Evan Sherman via The Broadway Blog.)

Name:
Andrew Chappelle

Hometown:
Los Angeles, CA

Besides Hamilton’s, what is your favorite political sex scandal?
I suppose the Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky fiasco. The Anthony Weiner mess was also funny given his name.

Andrew Chappelle (center) and the cast of "Mama Mia!" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Andrew Chappelle (center) and the cast of “Mama Mia!” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

If I weren’t a performer, I would be:
Somewhere driving people in an office crazy.

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call:
Places! There is always excitement in the air before our show begins. The audience doesn’t know what’s they are about to see. The cast comes together and has a moment to focus and then its showtime!

The best post show cocktail in New York City is at:
The Library at The Public Theater, of course! I love a dirty martini.

After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to:
Blind Barber in the Lower East Side or you could go see an improv show at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea.

Take the jump for more with Andrew, including a sneak peek at his sketch comedy show, Sketch Betch.

Read more…

Theater Buff: Albert Guerzon of “Honeymoon in Vegas”

January 21st, 2015 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out editor Matthew Wexler’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. We kicked off the New Year with a gamble and it paid off. Albert Guerzon from Honeymoon in Vegas dishes about how to stay in shape and where to binge on “wangs” and ribs.

Albert Guerzon (Photo provided by Brilliant Talent Management.)

Albert Guerzon (Photo provided by Brilliant Talent Management.)

Name:
Albert Guerzon

Show:
Honeymoon in Vegas
Nederlander Theatre
208 West 41st Street

Hometown:
Nyack, NY

Your ultimate honeymoon destination:
Boracay, Philippines. It’s not as crowded and less expensive than Hawaii.

How do you channel your inner Elvis?
Hmm. My Elvis reminds me of The Dynamo outfits in Mamma Mia. I’ve done that show for so long I can’t help but compare the boots and spandex. But I channel the moment I get to take those heels off after the curtain call. LOL!

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be:
A teacher. I think if I went the normal college route I probably would’ve studied early music education.

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call?
I love the curtain call! There’s something really special about seeing a crowd stand up and feeling like you’ve done your job as an individual and as a company. There’s a huge sense of teamwork and gratification that comes from hearing screams and seeing people on their feet. I don’t know what they’re going through but for those two-and-a-half hours we’ve been able to help them escape, laugh and be inspired.

Albert Guerzon (Photo provided by Brilliant Talent Management.)

Albert Guerzon (Photo provided by Brilliant Talent Management.)

There’s more! Take the leap…

Read more…

THEATER BUFF: Charlie Williams of “Peter Pan Live” & More!

December 17th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. Extra special thanks must go to Andrew Glaszek, who is not only a former buff himself, but the man who helps find our talented men each month. For December, we’ve got an extra-talented, extra-handsome, extra-special package to put under your Christmas tree…

Charlie Williams. Photo by Daniel Robinson.

Charlie Williams. Photo by Daniel Robinson.

Name: Charlie Williams

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

The best & worst parts of doing Peter Pan Live on television were: The worst part was the commute. We filmed in a sound stage out in Bethpage, Long Island. It’s a little over an hour commute each way on the Long Island Railroad. That means a lot of early mornings in Penn Station and a lot of late nights on the train. I live in Hell’s Kitchen so I’m not used to such a long commute! The best part was definitely the people. We had such a special cast and I really feel like we all became true friends through the entire process. I miss them all!

When I was a performer at the Kennedy Center Honors (airing Tuesday, December 30th on CBS), I was most starstruck meeting: Pentatonix. I’m a huge Pentatonix fan and we were dancing backup for them on the honors this year! It was great meeting them and finding out that they’re just as cool and down to earth as they seem to be.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: I would love to own my own design firm and help facilitate the design and completion of artistic spaces. Or a fire fighter. Read more…

THEATER BUFF: Evan Siegel of “Cabaret”

November 19th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For November, we are especially thankful for this handsome, talented and verbally dexterous man of the month…

Evan Siegel. Photo by Mark Jenkins.

Evan Siegel. Photo by Mark Jenkins.

Name: Evan Siegel

Hometown: Delmar, NY

Current Show/Role: Cabaret; Han/Rudy

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: The incredible cast and crew. I am beyond fortunate to work with such a warm, close-knit, and caring group of people. It is truly a joy to go to work every day, and to tell a timely and poignant story alongside people for whom I have boundless admiration, respect, and love.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: A few years ago, I was in Miami rehearsing for a cruise ship contract. I was required to learn mountains of material, including solos in Italian, Spanish, German, and Swahili. To complicate matters, I also had to miss 10 days of rehearsal to sing a series of benefit concerts in Zimbabwe with Teatro, an international platinum-selling vocal quartet. So one morning, I desperately rehearsed my daunting multi-lingual ship repertoire for a few hours, and then began a 50-hour voyage from Miami to New York to London to Johannesburg to Zimbabwe. This was my first time performing with Teatro, so I learned the entire 90-minute set in the airspace between North America, Europe, and Africa.  Zimbabwe was mind-blowing, and we raised $50,000 for a child cancer relief organization called Kidzcan. Then I flew from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg to Cairo to New York to Miami, slept for a few hours, was back at rehearsal by 8 a.m., and a few days later flew to Italy for six months through the Mediterranean, Arabia, India, and Africa. I think I’m still recovering! Read more…

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THEATER BUFF: Bobby Pestka of “Aladdin”

October 15th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For October, we’re using up one of our three wishes to meet…

Bobby Pestka.

Bobby Pestka. Image via Bobby Pestka.

Name: Bobby Pestka

Hometown: Born in the Philippines and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona

Current show/role: Aladdin / Ensemble

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: Being a working actor. Having a set schedule and going to work every day to a great group of people and doing what I love most. To catch a dream and live it.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: During my senior year in high school, I landed my first professional job as a “swing” in Legends In Concert, a Las Vegas show based in Waikiki, Hawaii. I was going to school half day and performing two shows each night. I remember squeezing in homework whenever I could… on the bus, between shows and even backstage at times. I couldn’t wait for Graduation Day to arrive, so then I could just focus on dancing.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: Renting kayaks to tourists or running my own beach bar on some beautiful island.

If I could be any Disney character for a day (other than Aladdin), I would want to be: Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Oh, to be a part of that (underwater) world! lol Yes, definitely, Ariel! Read more…

THEATER BUFF: Adam Kemmerer of “Fabulous!”

September 17th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For September, we’ve got a guy who is truly fabulous…

Adam Kemmerer. Photo by Chasi Annexy.

Adam Kemmerer. Photo by Chasi Annexy.

Name: Adam Kemmerer

Hometown: Catasauqua, Pennsylvania

Current Show/Role: Rock Henderson in Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: Listening to the waves of laughter my castmates get every night.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: I was in a production of Forever Plaid in New Hampshire. I think we had to learn the music and choreography in 3 days. I remember a lot of cursing and gentle sobbing. But it turned out to be one of my favorite productions of all time.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: I’ve always wanted to be a police officer. Someone that can help his community. So I think a NYPD detective would have been fun. I’d settle for playing one on TV though.

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? I like intermission best. You get to take stock of how your show is going and make adjustments for the audience you have that day and you also have one more act to get it right! Read more…

THEATER BUFF: Erik Altemus of “Pippin”

August 20th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For August, we’re getting back to nature with our man of the month…

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Name: Erik Altemus

Hometown: San Ramon, California

Current Show/Role: Pippin / Lewis (Pippin us)

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: TThe blend of musical theater and circus.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Playing Kurt in The Sound Of Music with a 105-degree temperature. Thanks to my Mom for the intermittent cold presses and TLC.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: A professional wild food forager!

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Curtain Call, straight up.

The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at: The Men’s Dressing Room at the Music Box Theatre. Read more…

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THEATER BUFF: Nick Cearley of “Pageant” & “The Skivvies”

July 16th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For July, we’re crowning a very special man of the month…

Nick Cearly with Lauren Molina of "The Skivvies". Photo by Michelle Blake.

Nick Cearley with Lauren Molina of “The Skivvies”. Photo by Michelle Blake.

Name:  Nick Cearley

Hometown:  Fairfield, Ohio (Between Dayton and Cincinnati)

Current Show/Role:  Pageant as Miss Great Plains and 1/2 of “The Skivvies”

The best part of the show I’m in now is:  Getting to take my make up off.  

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was:  Being a swing!

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be:  I don’t know how to do anything else.

The best pre-show dinner and post-show cocktail in town are at: I love Lillie’s supreme nachos.  And actually, I am a beer snob so I love Beer Culture right next to the theatre on 45th so I enjoy going there after the show.

After you’ve hit all the traditional sights of New York City, you should totally go to:  Sleepy Hollow (Tarrytown) in the fall.  The town turns into a Halloween love letter and the Pumpkin Blaze is something I look forward to all year long. Read more…

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