Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, August 6, 2010

Patti Wilcox ... Back for RENT!

Posted by: wbtpress on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 1:47:00 pm Comments (0)
Patti Wilcox, the Brilliant Director/Choreographer will return to WBT to direct RENT. WBT theatre-goers may remember her outstanding directorial efforts in our Productions of Little Shop Of Horrors and Aida.
 grew up in Decatur, Illinois with my parentsone sister and two Brothers I had a great Midwestern upbringing and a wonderfully supportive Family. 
It was the works of  Kidd, Robbins, Fosse and countless  modern choreographers that made me want to choreograph. I love the  way story can be told through movement. 
 
I started out as a Choreographer and Assistant Director for a show in NYC called BLUES IN THE NIGHT.  Sheldon Epps, who is a Broadway Director and was the Conceiver and Director of that show, greatly influenced the Direction of my career.

I have not seen the Film version of RENT. But I had the great pleasure to be at Opening Night on Broadway (1996) And was Invited to closing night but I was, unfortunately, unable to attend. My approach to Directing this ground-breaking piece is to simply tell the story!

As a Dancer, My favorite show to dance was WEST SIDE STORY.  As a Choreographer, seem to love best whatever I am working on at the time.would like to do  KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN  because the movement possibilities are just endless. And what look forward to most would be to work on the piece that has yet to be written.

When not on Stage I enjoy  being with my husband and two children. Traveling, Tennisand we all just discovered ZIP-LINING! 

What's on  my Ipod?  I wouldn't even know where to begin... About  EVERYTHING!  
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peter Pan?? Shh...he's really a girl!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:55:00 pm Comments (0)
Christine DiTota will fly through the theatre as Peter Pan. At 5'2" she'll be the perfect height to play a young boy!  Previously at WBT, she played The Ghost of Christmas Past and other characters in A Christmas Carol and had the challenging task of being the Female Swing in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. (In which she performed both female roles and approx 40 characters!)  She is a brilliant Actor and Singer, as well as an accomplished Director. We caught up with her at rehearsal between flights!
     
I was raised by my little Italian Mom in a small apartment in Yonkers NY.  My brother and I shared a room until he got a little too old and then I shared a room with my Mom.  It was funny because one side of the room had religious artifacts cluttering the walls and the other side had pictures that I had ripped out of the latest "Teen Beat" magazine taped to the walls.  Usually, the pictures that were hanging on my side of the room were of guitar playing, long-haired icons.  And on her side, the Virgin Mary.  We ate pasta at least three times a week and went to church every Sunday.  It was a standard Italian household.  Lots of food, fun, laughter, and tears! 

I attended Maria Regina High School, graduated with honors from Westchester Community College and received a BFA from Purchase College Conservatory.  My first year of college, I had decided I would become a pharmacist.  I thought that was a strong/reliable choice.  I got a job working in CVS in the pharmacy so that I would be ready.  I had a meeting with my academic advisor and he took a final glance at the courses we had chosen and said: "I’ve got an idea, how about you try taking a theatre class."  I was a little surprised.  Then I thought,  " hmmm, maybe as a hobby".  I signed up for an acting class.  The teacher put actors in pairs and gave out one scene for each couple to perform.  I watched couple after couple get up and perform their scenes. The day came that it was my turn to perform my scene. I sat in a wheelchair, my character was handicapped and began the scene.  Something changed the moment I sat in the chair, I began to feel.  And I forgot who I was for a moment.  When the scene was over the whole class stood up and applauded.  When I could finally focus again, on something besides the character I was playing, I saw everyone standing there, clapping, and I began to cry.  It was a wonderful moment.  I have pursued the theatre since then…..

I love the classics!  It is my absolute dream to one day get the opportunity to play Blanche DuBois in "Streetcar Named Desire".  Some of my favorite roles have been:  Phoebe in  As You Like It,  Diane, a role I originated, in Clinton's View at the American Theatre Of Actors, Mabel in Pirates Of Penzance,  Maria (originated the role) in Swish, Maria in the Mourning.  Anne in A Little Night Music,  Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream,  Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors, and Willie in "This Property is Condemned.

I’ve worked in the children’s entertainment business for the last 7 years.  I’m a party planner/entertainer.  It’s a great job for an actor.  I’ll dress up as a Princess, Pirate or whatever character a child could possibly desire for their birthday.  We play games with them, give out prizes, face paint, make balloon animals, etc.  It’s a lot of fun working with children and they ARE the toughest audience.  Also, it provides a person with some of the funniest stories you’ll ever hear in your life.  The birthday party business is chock full of entertaining mishaps

When I’m not on stage, I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  I love going to the theatre to see plays or musicals.   Of course, there is the homebody side of me.  I like to curl up on the couch with my husband and dog and watch a good movie. My husband Keith DiBuono and I recently moved from an apartment in Harrison, NY to our first home in Carmel, NY.  We Live there with our cat, Zizi, and dog, Seymour. 
Monday, June 14, 2010

Gary gabs! (in a dress!)

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, June 14, 2010 at 11:11:00 am Comments (0)

Gary Lynch is turning out a hilarious performance as Joe/Josephine in SUGAR! One you won't want to miss! I asked him to tell us a bit about his journey! 

I grew up in Rhode Island, my Mom is an artist and my Dad was a teacher, athletic director, and coach, I started playing sports and acting at a young age...the two combined are what I feel represents who I am.....
My Mom got me involved in theatre at a young age to combat shyness...LOL,  I was hooked after performing onstage, it was Home...I also didn't mind the multitudes of actresses....what a life! It's where I met my wife.

How does it feel to play the girls  It has its own persona, I try my best to be my version of a woman, I consider it an acting exercise..stretch the limits....and of course, I have a new found respect for the amount of time that goes into making an appearance...all that make up and uncomfortable heels...yikes!

I recently saw the  Billy Wilder movie and realized I never saw the whole thing until now...I think the musical tries to capture the best of the film but could have had more of the film content in the stage show
What are my favorite shows?  Yikes...I commit to everything I'm involved in.....I don't have a favorite...but Les Miz would be on the top of my list. My dream role is something I originate in a new show.....  

When not on stage, I enjoy sports,  golf, gardening, grilling the general Dad stuff...............
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You are my Sugar!

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 1:59:00 pm Comments (0)

The fabulous Colleen Hawks, as Sugar Kane in SUGAR, "The Some Like It Hot" Musical!

       I grew up in a little cowboy town in California's Central Valley called Oakdale.  I started taking ballroom dance when I was in 2nd grade and competed in the LA Star ball when I was in 6th grade winning the junior's Waltz competition with my partner Michael Thompson (now Las Vegas choreographer Mic Thompson).  My sister, Lenore, was a competitive ballroom dancer, and she was the one who got me started and always pushed me to try new things.  I started taking tap, jazz, ballet, gymnastics, flute and piano in fourth grade, which I kept up with mostly through high school and college.  My poor mom was stuck driving me from our little town to bigger areas always at least a half hour away almost every day of the week.  I started taking voice lessons from Hildegard Shadbolt at the age of 16, which was the earliest she would take students and started college as an opera performance major as a coloratura soprano.  Once I discovered the musical theatre BFA program, though, I was hooked and transferred over, as musical theatre was always my first love.  I discovered it for the first time in fourth grade at Fallon House Theatre in historic Columbia, CA, where my mom took me to the whole season of summer stock.  Back then the productions were put on by University of the Pacific.  I can remember sitting in the audience and just feeling a burning desire in my heart to be up on that stage doing what they were doing.

've seen several of Marilyn Monroe's movies, including Some Like It Hot.  The first time I was asked to impersonate her was for an American Variety show in Japan, where I was fortunate to be the lead singer opposite Hinton Battle, and also introduce the various scenes as "Marilyn."  They had me do a running gag as Marilyn with a local Japanese comic who was trying to deliver an orange tree to someone in the audience.  Every time he appeared the tree had grown, and as Marilyn, each time my Japanese got a little better, but still bad enough to provide some comedy with my errors.

I think the musical adaptation "Sugar" is really a fun show.  I think having Spat's and his gang portrayed as tapping gangsters is brilliant and I think most of the music is extremely well written.  My favorite is probably "Penniless Bums," which I find myself humming every so often.  Some of the funniest lines in the movie were unfortunately left out of the stage version, although we have rectified that in some instances in our version here at Westchester.  I also think it's such an iconic film that the main characters are obligated to give nods to the stars that made it famous.  I believe audiences would be disappointed if they didn't get to see a hint of Marilyn in the role.  Fortunately, the role is such a vulnerable, kind of messed up character -- to me -- it almost is Marilyn, so layering a little of her mannerisms with the honesty of what's happening to the character isn't all that hard a stretch.  The most difficult thing is to keep it honest and not let her become a caricature.  I have to say, this is made much easier by having such talented co-stars in Gary Lynch and Eric Santagata!

My favorite shows and roles include "Polly Baker" in Crazy for You and "Laurey" in Oklahoma! (which is the role in which I met my yummy husband, Jeff Pierce, who was playing "Curly!").  I also very much enjoy playing "Val" in A Chorus Line, and the gun moll "Bonnie" in Anything Goes! (which I had the great honor of doing in Paper Mill's production with Chita Rivera).  Two roles which have escaped me so far and that I would love to do are "Audrey" in Little Shop of Horrors and "Adelaide" in Guys and Dolls.

When not on stage I very much enjoy teaching.  I am the musical theatre director for Rutgers' Summer Acting Camp and the choreographer for Bronx High School of Science Spring Musical each year.  I co-wrote and directed my husband's one-man show Southern Man.   voice out of my home.  Other than that I'm a huge bookworm and can be caught in my spare moments reading fantasy fiction. Last but not least, I'm a little bit of a computer geek as evidenced by my website, which I had a fun time putting together and am constantly playing with.  I do photo retouching, a little bit of oil painting and I have two cats who yes, have their own web page, also on my site!  In fact, you can learn more about me on that darned website than you probably ever wanted to know!