Stories & Cast Interviews
The Producers' Director, David Edwards had some fun tales to share!
I am basically a born and bred New Yorker, although I, mostly, lived in a commuter town in New Jersey while growing up. My mom was from Passaic, New Jersey and was a trained ballet dancer. She did Broadway and nightclubs as well, but gave it up before I was born. My dad grew up in Manhattan. I was a child actor, on Broadway in THE ROTHSCHILDS at age 12, and singing at NY City Opera at 11.
I can't remember ever wanting to do anything else--I saw Broadway shows from the time I was a toddler. My mom had been in show business, but was NOT a stage mother. If anything, she didn't want to push me into the business--to protect me from the hurt and rejection. But she certainly shared my passion for the theatre and understood my "need" to be a part of it.
Actually, I have played a lot of my dream roles already (at least in musicals) and a few of them at WBT. Don Quixote in MAN OF LA MANCHA (7 times, once at WBT), Arthur in CAMELOT (twice), Albin in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (twice, once at WBT), El Gallo in THE FANTASTICKS (I was the final actor to sing "Try to Remember" at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in the record breaking final performance, Fredrick in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (3 times), and Max Bialystock in THE PRODUCERS (on the national tour). Still have a few I'd LOVE to tackle--I guess tops would be the title role in SWEENEY TODD. Came close to happening twice--still on my wish list..and Henry Higgins in MY FAIR LADY. Have a few other favorite shows I would love to tackle as a director, too--THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, SHE LOVES ME, TITIANIC, FALSETTOS
I Stayed with the second National Tour of The Producers for 14 months. Our choreographer, Matt Vargo, was also in the company as were Bob Amaral & Joel Newsome--for a while I was Bob's understudy. I alternately played the principal character man, Roger DeBris and Max Bialystock. Nothing like touring with a show that was this kind of hit--we were front page news everywhere we went and treated first class all the way. The company was an exact replica of the Broadway version, down to the tiniest detail.
There is a certain "style" and rhythm to this kind of comedy, and it's getting to be a lost art. A lot stems from Yiddish Theatre and vaudeville and the early days of "musical comedy"--I had a big success doing a wonderful revival of the classic play ROOM SERVICE Off-Broadway last year that is based on the same type of humor and timing. It's another backstage valentine to the theatre that was made famous by the Marx Brothers in the movie of the same name. The character I played was alot like Max Bialystock, although a little more of a romantic leading man, and his sidekick was a young playwright named "Leo"--I think Mel may have gotten some ideas from this play.
Mel Brooks was at my auditions, some rehearsals, opening night and several performances, working along with us. He was very loving and protective of this show. I was so relieved to have made him laugh out loud. He said of me to the group at the audition (including Susan Stroman) "He can sing, he can act, he can move, he's funny...what more could you want?" I will also tell you that at my initial audition, they gave me the music to "Heil Myself" that Roger DeBris sings during the "Springtime for Hitler" sequence. I sang the song and gave a big gesture at the end, drawing the paper across my face and I accidentally got a paper cut just under my nose which immediately started to bleed. I told them I had just had a freak accident, and everyone was astounded that I suddenly had a red Hitler moustache. Maybe that's one of the reasons I got the job.
When I’m not on stage, I’m looking for work on the stage. (Just kidding...sorta) My partner and I love to travel. I am an ocean liner buff and I collect memorabilia and we enjoy doing things for our home and with our family and friends. We also try to go to theatre of all kinds--it's hard to separate business from pleasure in that respect.
Move over Bob Funking & Bill Stutler! Bob Amaral & Joel Newsome will wear the producer's hats beginning on August 7th!!
It's A Hit...34 years & counting!!
Bill Stutler & Bob Funking are the Producers/Owners of WBT
For 34 years, they've put on a show....157 shows.....to be exact! Not always smooth sailing, sometimes, downright hairy...In any case, the show must go on! And it does.....beautifully! Marisa LaScala at Westchester Magazine wrote a wonderful behind-the-scenes expose. You can see the full story at: http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Westchester-Magazine/August-2008/Live-From-New-York/
Belle & The Phantom?
Rena Strober, our spunky Belle, will join the cast of of the new Broadway-bound musical Angels. Robert Cuccioli, who was our breathtaking Phantom, heads the cast as Lucifer. Based on Milton's "Paradise Lost" poem. Angels tells the extraordinary story of the ancient war between the Angels and Lucifer's fallen minions. A timeless tale of good versus evil and hope versus despair. FUN! But the question is, will Belle fall for the Phantom & leave The Beast behind? Hmm..