Stories & Cast Interviews

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!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ERIC is doin' it for SUGAR!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 12:20:00 pm Comments (0)

I recently caught up with funnyman, Eric Santagata, who plays Jerry/Daphne in SUGAR on for some sweet tidbits!

I grew up in Branford, CT.  the youngest of 3 kids in a small oceanside neighborhood called Stony Creek.  

I just always knew the theatre was where I belonged.  I was singing and dancing around for as long as I can remember.  I think my mentors were all of the 'old school' movie stars... Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, the Rat pack...  

Playing "Daphne" in Sugar a blast.  The great thing is we (with co-star Gary Lynch)  don't have to totally commit to being a woman...  we still can lean on the masculine side, so other than that we get to run around acting like idiots in a dress....!
I love the classics...  Singing In The Rain, South Pacific...  but lately, I've been pulled to the more contemporary shows...  the Light In The Piazza, The Wild Party...  I'm a sucker for a great score.  I would love to play Burrs in The Wild Party again...  
When not on stage, I spend a lot of time at my piano writing, or in the kitchen.  I sing and perform my own music ..  and dabble in catering for friends here and there!!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jonathan Stahl's NINE is a Ten!

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 10:56:00 am Comments (0)

 Director of NINE, Jonathan Stahl

I grew up in south central PA in the valley between the north and south mountains.  Newville, PA to be exact. I lived in the country and had a very enjoyable upbringing that did not have a lot of urban culture.  I went to public school and did high school theatre productions.  I played in the band, sang in the choir... I did not start dancing till much later and eventually went away to college for musical theatre -- somewhat against all odds

I was somewhat influenced by Sunday afternoon movie musicals and movies by Shirley Temple.  I had a very supportive teacher in middle school who did one small community review who gave me encouragement.  In high school, I was mesmerized by the movie ALL THAT JAZZ.  I did not see much live theatre, but did go to local regional theatre when the opportunity arose. My own work has been greatly influenced by working with Richard Stafford as his associate the last few years.

In approaching directing NINE, I obviously did as much research as I could... watching the movie 8 1/2, reading up on Fellini, watching his movies, etc.  I saw the original production video at Lincoln Center Library as well as the 2002 revival for research.  I also have the life experience of also being a man who has reached 40 and knows the intricacies on moving forward in life that can accompany such a milestone. 

I have seen the recent movie of NINE. I think Mr. Marshall took on an interesting challenge.  It appears as if he tried to merge the movie "8 1/2" with the musical NINE.  They are two very separate mediums that do not lend themselves to being merged.  I think the movie is cinematically stunning, and there are a few wonderful performances.  I enjoyed the movie, but was mostly disappointed with how the "ensemble" of women that are in the musical were handled amongst the medium.  The stage version so beautifully gives the audience the opportunity to see how ALL women, from ALL walks of life had affected Guido.  The movie just made it look like super models and the likes were his only muse.  I think Guido has many muses.  I hope our production represents that.


I am not a big "favorites" person.  If I had to name a few favorite shows I guess I'd say RAGTIME, FALLSETTOS, INTO THE WOODS, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN.  I have always wanted to play Whizzer in Fallsettos, I loved playing Lumiere in Beauty and Beast, and would like to play the lead in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMEN.


When I'm not working on a show, I like continuing my education…either as a performer (dance classes, acting classes and the like), or as a student of life.  I recently got my undergraduate degree after a 25 year hiatus and thoroughly enjoyed the education I received in doing so.  I like traveling, going to the gym and museums.  Ironically, I have to remind myself I need to go see shows from time to time.  I tend to forget to do that. But when I do go, I always love the theatre.