Stories & Cast Interviews

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

James Van Treuren returns as Gerard Carriere in PHANTOM!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

  I was born in Paterson, New Jersey and grew up in the neighboring town of Hawthorne. My twin brother and I were always interested in the theater and although our parents knew nothing about show business at all they were always very supportive.

During high school and college we would travel to New York and I was able to see some of the great Broadway Musicals of the day including, "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hello Dolly" (starring Ethel Merman), “Promises, Promises”, and of course my first Sondheim musicals the original casts of "Company" and "Follies." Experiencing these amazing shows at a young age surely helped solidify my love of musical theatre. On a personal note, I actually saw my life’s partner Peter (40 years and counting) in that production of “Fiddler” on Broadway, even though we didn’t meet until years later.

In this production, I’m playing Gerard Carriere for the second time. I have a long history of  WBT’s productions of “Phantom” since I have been in all four productions dating back to 1992. Westchester Broadway has been like a second home to me. I’ve appeared in 14 productions starting with “Annie” in 1983 at An Evening Dinner Theatre. Some other WBT shows include, “Funny Girl”, “Jekyll and Hyde”, “South Pacific”, “Kiss Me Kate” and the list goes on. I’m extremely grateful for the years of work, and the friendships I have made here. 

Getting back to talking about this show, I hesitate to compare the two most popular versions of “Phantom” since they are so different from each other. I am much more familiar with the Yeston/Kopit version so I can say what makes this show so entertaining and exciting is its beautiful score and libretto that is so emotionally complex and compelling. My character is (hopefully) a great surprise for the audience, especially in Act II, which makes him very interesting to play. His storyline ultimately is as tragic and moving as the Phantom’s.   

In my career, I’ve been fortunate to have appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and many Regional Theatres. I’ve played many of my “dream roles” including, Don Quixote, in “Man of La Mancha',  Emile de Becque in “South Pacific', Georges in “La Cage Aux Folles”, and Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”. In other words, I’ve been around for a while but I’m not ready to hang up the towel yet. I love to work and I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love.

When I’m not on the stage we love to travel. We just got back from a fabulous European cruise this past summer and we’re looking forward to a Caribbean cruise this December when we are on our hiatus from “Phantom”!

As Carriere with Matthew Billman as Erik.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Kilty returns as Alain Cholet in PHANTOM

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I was born in Charlotte, NC.  I was raised in North Carolina by Midwestern parents (Chicago).  So the rules that applied in my home didn’t always apply outside.  For instance, when responding to an adult in Southern culture, it is polite to reply with a Ma’am or a Sir.  When I would respond to my mother with a "yes, ma’am”, she would tell me not to take that “tone” with her.  Ah, cultural differences.

My mother is a huge fan of theatre.  I was raised listening to Leonard Stallman’s New Faces of 1952.  What do you mean you don’t know it?  Later on, Annie and A Chorus Line were thrown into the mix. My mother also put together Vaudeville Shows for the Church Fall Festival.  And we always had a piano player at the house when my parents threw big parties.  Clearly, there was no hope for me.

I took class with a Meisner teacher who taught out of the old Carnegie Hall Studios.  His name was Fred Kareman.  He made a lasting impression on me.

My father always joked when I started working professionally, “It’s about time that loud mouth made you some money!”  He was right.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew there was another version of Phantom Of The Opera, but I had never heard, seen or read it. Arguably. I think this one is the better version.  Much more story, connection, and humanity.

I've done several shows at WBT; Carousel, West Side Story, Funny Girl (twice), And The World Goes ‘Round, Happy Days, Christmas Inn, Mamma Mia, and Annie Get  Your Gun.  I love that I can work and live at home (that is the dream).  Also, after many years and many shows, WBT feels like a family to me.  They gave me one of my first jobs as a new Equity member and have always been kind enough to let me return.  

 Some of my favorite shows include The Most Happy Fella, Once on This Island, The Scottsboro Boys, Light in the Piazza, Fiddler on the Roof, Drowsy Chaperone.. just off the top of my head!

My dream role is Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Albin in La Cage aux Folles and I want another shot at Alfie Byrne in A Man of No Importance.

When not on stage, I spend my time trying to find a way on stage!  I listen to tons of musical theatre.  I love podcasts…“This American Life”, “The Moth”, “Ronna and Beverly”, and many more.

 As Alain Cholet with Sandy Rosenberg as La Carlotta.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Meet LA CARLOTTA, Sandy Rosenberg!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and am a product of the NYC Public School system.    I attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. My parents always loved going to Broadway shows and I inherited that love

 I believe I always wanted to perform…from singing ‘RED RED ROBIN’ on top of a piano in the Catskills at age 5 to imitating TV commercials, to school plays….At synagogue, around 6th grade, I moved into the role of Tevye from Yente in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF when Tevye had too much homework.  I was also the Fiddler as I took 50 cent violin lessons every Tuesday at school. But I never got accepted into the grade school talent shows. Hmmmm.
I’ve been aware of PHANTOM since 1994 when I performed the role of Carlotta at La Mirada Civic Light Opera, the Southern California premiere of the show. I reprised the role right here at WBT in 2007.  I love this version. I feel the audience gets to know and understand the Phantom without all the spectacle. 
 This is my fifth show at WBT.  First was Carlotta in PHANTOM, next HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, the Christmas show,  Flo Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER last year and most recently Sister Mary Lazarus in SISTER ACT. Love the people who work at WBT. It feels like a family after all these years.

I’ve been going to the theatre since I was 5….too many favorite shows to mention or even think about.  Would love to play Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY of my favorite shows, along with CANDIDE, HAMILTON, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, the current production of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND and of course PHANTOM 

When not on stage, I love to cook, travel, do photography…hang out with the husband and the dog.

    with Kilty Reidy (as Alain Cholet)

6 Questions for Kayleen Seidl

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 Kayleen is the Beautiful Christine in PHANTOM! Here she tells us a few interesting tidbits!

Where are you from? Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing?
I was born in Iowa but grew up from the age of 7 in Joplin, Missouri. Just your typical smaller Midwest town upbringing. I was a busy kid always involved in a bunch of extracurricular activities: dance, piano, sports, church youth group. I also spent lots of time at our community theatre while my mom was rehearsing shows. I then began performing in my school productions from 6th grade on and that’s when theatre and music started to really be a big part of my life. 

What influenced you to become an Actor? 
I definitely wasn’t one of those kids that knew from age 3 that they were going to be a performer. I always loved singing though and really enjoyed music and theatre. As I mentioned, my mom does theatre so I was around it a lot, and I think it was definitely in my blood. I wore out many CDs in the car...Footloose and Wicked just to name a few. My family took a trip to NYC when I was in 7th grade. I had a total Mary Tyler Moore moment stepping out of the car into Times Square between the two jumbotrons. I think I was hooked from that moment. On that trip, I saw my first Broadway show, Wicked and sobbed through all of “For Good” as a 12-year-old. But when I went to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved singing and Spanish, so I decided I’d study those things and see what happened.

Were you aware there was another "Phantom" musical out there prior to signing on? 
I knew this “other” version of Phantom existed and was somewhat familiar with a couple of Christine’s numbers, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Before this production, I hadn’t performed in either version. I don’t know Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera as intimately as I now know this version, but I’m partial to this one for sure. I think Yeston’s take on the character of the Phantom makes much more sense than the Webber version. The Phantom shouldn’t be sexy because he’s been isolated his whole life. He wouldn’t know how to be. It makes much more sense for him to be less experienced socially as Yeston depicts him. It’s much more realistic and makes you feel for him so much more. 

What are some of your favorite shows? What is your dream role?
Oh gosh. I’m the worst at picking favorites. Fill out your favorites surveys are my nightmare. Too many options to choose from. Some shows I’ve seen lately that I really love are Songs for a New World, Bright Star, Dear Evan Hansen, and A Play that’s Goes Wrong. The current revival of Once on This Island was also incredible. I also love the classic golden age shows like Guys and Dolls, Fiddler On The Roof (especially after my most recent experience with the Yiddish production), and everything Sondheim! 

Dream roles are always hard for me to choose because I always love a new experience and many roles tend to become favorites after I’ve really explored them. Some roles I would really love to play would be Glinda in Wicked, Marian in Music Man, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Lily in Kiss Me Kate, Clara in Light in the Piazza, Julie in Carousel...the list goes on. There are just so many great roles out there! I had my first crack at a contemporary show recently (It Shoulda Been You) and loved it, so I’m excited to start sinking my teeth into some more contemporary roles as well! I’m sure there are more of my “favorites” out there waiting to be discovered! 

What do you enjoy doing when you're not on stage?
I love having game nights, whether it’s a night in with friends or my husband and I spending an evening at the board game bar, The Uncommons, down in the Lower East Side. Bananagrams is definitely one of my favorite go-to games, but there are just so many fun games ones out there!! 

 The biggest treat is when I have a chance to sneak home to my parents' lake house in Arkansas for some quality family time and R&R. It’s the perfect getaway! 

What music do you listen to?
Some days I’m in a Sara Bareilles mood. Some days call for Paramore. Rainy weather often leads me to Paolo Nutini or John Mayer, but honestly 9 times out of 10 it’s Y2K era country music. That’s what I grew up on, so that’s my happy place.