Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, October 19, 2007

Forever Phantom: Charismatic Phantom, Incandescent Christine Light Up Night

Posted by: WBT on Friday, October 19, 2007 at 5:05:00 pm Comments (0)

 Photo/John Vecchiola,

WBT WPCNR CENTERSTAGE. Review by John F. Bailey . October 11, 2007:

The first time you hear Kate Rockwell’s shimmering and haunting voice as Christine Daee, you are enchanted. Your first sight of Aaron Ramey as Westchester Broadway Theatre’s new Phantom of the Opera commands you with his magnetism, machismo and tortured soul. Together their romantic chemistry deliver an emotional Phantom that never lets go of your heart and builds to an emotionally draining climax you will not soon forget. It was a Phantom Night! Driving rain. Lightning in the sky, fitting for a return of the Phantom to the Westchester Broadway Theater. Tonight the lightning was on stage! Full Story

Killer Plant Speaks!

Posted by: WBT on Friday, October 19, 2007 at 4:05:00 pm Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Audrey ...lovely Audrey

Posted by: WBT on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 9:04:00 pm Comments (0)

Julie Connors as Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors.

I grew up first in San Jose, CA (thru 8th grade), and then Turlock, CA, where I went to high school.  So I am a (Northern) 'California Girl'!   I started out as a dancer.  First with tap, starting in 2nd grade.  By junior high, I was in jazz class, and by high school, was studying ballet.  I taught tap and ballet to youngsters when I was a senior in high school.  I danced at the Atlas School of Dance in San Jose, and the Backstage Academy of Dance in Turlock, CA.

I always enjoyed singing.  I attended St. Christopher School, a Catholic School, in San Jose, for first thru eighth grade.  Starting in the fourth grade I sang in the church choir.  I got a lot out of this experience and between the dancing and singing, naturally fell into the musical theatre.  I did my first musical at Turlock High School when I was in the tenth grade.  THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, THE SMELL OF THE CROWD.  I was a member of the ensemble.  When one of the cast members who had a featured role of "The Girl" came down with the chicken pox, I took over her role the opening weekend and even received a positive review in the local paper.  From that time on, I had officially caught the theatre bug...even if I didn't yet know it. :)
The late Cathy Wydner was a positive role model for me.  Cathy played Peggy Sawyer in the National Tour of 42ND STREET and many regional productions in the Southern California area afterwards.  I got my AEA card by performing in a production of this show in which Cathy was playing Peggy.  I deeply admired Cathy's immense singing, dancing, and acting talents.  Peggy Sawyer had always been a dream role of mine.  Ever since I had seen the National Touring production of 42ND STREET at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, around the time of my eighth-grade graduation.  Turns out I had seen Cathy in this role.  Amazing.  More importantly, Cathy was an incredible individual.  She was warm and friendly, complimentary, and encouraging.  I ended up playing the role of Peggy in 42ND STREET at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, NY many years later.  I felt like I had learned how to do that role successfully by learning from the best.  I even got to wear the "Peggy" costumes from the most recent National Touring Co.  It was a dream come true.
 Another favorite show is LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  Audrey was a dream role!   I also love MY FAIR LADY.  And GYPSY.  I have performed in both shows.  Just love both of those shows' scores.  Have played Dainty June (long ago; it was the first role that I performed in a professional production!).  I think that someday I'd like to play Mama Rose.  ANYTHING GOES is also a fantastic show, with wonderful music.  I loved playing the sassy gun moll, Erma.  But someday I'd like to play Reno Sweeney.  Would love to sing that role.  CABARET is also an all-time fave.  Just LOVE Liza!  The film is the perfect movie musical.  How thrilled was I when Liza came to our last performance of LITTLE SHOP at WBT?  And she came backstage after the show!  Pretty awesome.  I saw the Broadway revival of CABARET five times.  That's a record.  Sally Bowles is definitely a dream role.  Liza definitely the inspiration.  I think it is her greatest performance.  She's an icon.  One of the last "real" musical theatre stars.  If I were to play Sally, it would have to be pretty soon!
I loved watching the film of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  Ellen Greene is a phenomenon.  But I couldn't study her performance before creating mine.  We are so different!  I'm glad I "did my own thing". :)
My favorite moment in the show was singing "Suddenly, Seymour".  For the high-powered singing plus the emotional investment.  Talk about a theatrical high!  
I just had a baby on November 1, 2008!  Adrienne Nicole Grunspan.  She is already the love of my life.  I know she will react positively to my being on stage.  When I get back on one!  For now, I am happy to take care of this precious little miracle.   
I love to EAT.  And I love to TRAVEL.  I love to travel to different countries and EAT their food!  My husband and I took a trip to Poland this past summer.  I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant.  I had a fantastic time eating.  Enjoyed some kielbasa and pierogis-to-die-for, for sure, and other delicious traditional polish cuisine.  I like to stay in shape by way of dance class and jogging.  Actually, I do not enjoy jogging.  I guess I enjoy the way I feel AFTER I jog...good about myself and energetic!  I enjoy good conversation.  A good conversation with a family member or friend really makes my whole day.  I enjoy going to the movies and the theatre, of course!  I love documentary films, independent, foreign, drama, comedy, even action/adventure, and animated films, on occasion.  In fact, I take my movie-going/movie-watching fairly seriously!  And I like to cook and bake.  Just made a delicious Christmas dinner for five.  Yum!  Oh, I mustn't leave out my "guilty pleasures"...reality TV in the form of lots of Bravo TV:  Project Runway, Top Chef, and Top Design.  Also addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance?".  Next season I am starting an internet pool to predict the winner among my family and friends, LOL.  Oh, and I can't leave out "The Office".  Have watched every single second of every single season of that show.  Never laughed so hard in my life.  

I have lots of favorite musicals!  MISS SAIGON, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, CHESS, COPACABANA, MY FAIR LADY, WICKED, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, CABARET.  also some musical theatre soloist albums:  Kristin Chenoweth, Debbie Gravitte...Barbra, of course.  Dolly Parton, Norah Jones, Annie Lennox, Kelly Clarkson.  The Story.  Ella.  I guess you could say I'm into female vocalists. ;)  There are some men...Bill Withers, James Taylor, Nat King Cole, Billy Joel.  I want to see James Taylor in concert.  

Phantom WBT Westchester Photo Call

Posted by: WBT on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 8:51:00 pm Comments (0)


 Take a peek at the lavish production of Phantom at Westchester Broadway Theatre starring Aaron Ramey and Kate Rockwell. Directed by Tom Polum also starring James Van Treuren and Sandy Rosenberg as Carlotta.