Stories & Cast Interviews

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Romance is in the Air!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 3:12:00 pm Comments (0)

Looking for  a  Romantic Valentine Treat that won't break the bank? For All lovers of great music, WBT is the place to be on February 14th!  

 STEVE LIPPIA in "Simply Sinatra"    Playing to sold-out audiences with a hot live band behind him, singer Steve Lippia impeccably recreates timeless music of Frank Sinatra with charm and ease, and the magic of a time gone by. This concert is a terrific way to celebrate Valentine's Day and a must see for Sinatra Fans! Enjoy a romantic Dinner and the music you love:   "My Funny Valentine", "Summer Wind", "The Lady Is A Tramp", "That's Life". "Mack The Knife", "I've Got You Under My Skin" and so much more!  "Uncannily like Frank Sinatra." - Wall Street Journal     Choose From two Performances. Dinner at 4:30pm & Show at 6pm  or  Dinner at 8:15 & Show at 10pm. XOXOX

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wonderful Juli Robbins

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 2:36:00 pm Comments (0)

   Juli Robbins & Duke Lafoon as Mary & George Bailey

I grew up in Richmond VA (oddly enough, the same place that Duke Lafoon grew up but we didn't know each other until rehearsals for A Wonderful Life!).  I have one older sister who is  completely the opposite of me who works in the corporate world.  My father was a college head basketball coach (he just retired this year after 30 years with the same University). My mother was a stay at home mom and we grew up going to most of my dad's games and tournaments/championships. I grew up in the suburbs and went to a public school then to Florida State University. Our family has always been very close and I'd say the hardest part about this career is being away from them.  I've lived in FL, LA, and NY and it's tough being so far from the ones you love.  I suppose these traditional family roots help keep me grounded when my career can feel a bit unbalanced!

So many people influenced me along the way, from teachers who saw something in me and encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing to my family who saw me performing non-stop at home and provided me with dance lessons, and voice lessons, and sent me to college for music, and camps and on and on...  I was that ham of a child that on EVERY home video from about 8 years old was jumping in front of the camera and taking over.  I cower down now as I watch these embarrassing home movies, wondering how my family didn't just say "JUST BE QUIET ALREADY", but I chuckle at how young it all started and how entertained they seemed to be.  I do feel blessed to have had SO many supportive people in my life along the way.  My parents always told me that I could do or be whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard and as long as it made me happy.  They warned me from the start that I was going into one of THE toughest careers out there... often filled with rejection and criticism, but they've supported me 100% nonetheless.

I am a fan of the Frank Capra film, but am not someone who religiously watched it from start to finish every year over the holidays.  I can remember many years visiting my grandmother's house for Christmas and having it on in the background, but it had been a while since I'd actually done a full sit-down viewing.  Honestly, I had no clue there was even a musical of it until I was called in for the audition!  Since there aren't any cast recordings, I hadn't heard any of the music until just a few days before rehearsals started, so musically this was all very new to me.    

 Favorite moment in the show?  Hmmm. I think I'd have to say the bedroom scene with George when I sing "I couldn't be with anyone but you".  I just think it's a very sweet, vulnerable moment for George and a very real moment between two lovers sharing what it is that makes them love each other.  Duke makes everything SO comfortable on stage that it gives this moment such truth.  This scene for me is just very honest and comfortable and the essence of what love is. 

 As for my dream role... I think it'd have to be something that hasn't yet been written! To me a true dream role would be one that was actually written FOR me with my instrument in mind.  A role written for Juli Robbins' voice, not just my voice "type" and for the quirks that I personally bring as an actor. Yes, there are many (already written) roles that I would love to play someday, but instead of playing a role that someone else made famous...that the audience often wants to see replicated as "so-in-so" created it, why not have the dream of playing one just for me?!  Yes, a big dream, but that's the point of dreaming right?

Well, I currently have paint all over me from remodeling my boyfriend's kitchen!  I LOVE "playing house" whether that be remodeling something, painting, decorating, cooking... basically getting very hands-on with projects!  I'm also a licensed/certified massage therapist so I really love the healing arts and the balance that it brings to my life.  I particularly love working in the prenatal field of massage and may even become a certified Doula (labor coach/assistant) in the future!   

On my I pod?  Oh gosh... everything!  I'm not one of those people that walks around listening to constant show tunes just because my job is in theatre.  I love so many types of music depending on my mood, which I imagine is the case for most.  I enjoy finding new eclectic artists that aren't being played on the radio 15 times a day.  :)  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ryan Foy fills us in!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 5:32:00 pm Comments (0)

 Ryan Foy (as Harry Bailey) & Katie Sina (as Ruth)

I was born in Dallas, TX, but I grew up in Denver, CO.  I've been performing since I was a little kid, in many different capacities.  Performing has always been a big part of my family's history, since I am the great-grandson of famed Vaudevillian performer Eddie Foy.  That's a whole family history, I could go into... but the film version tells that story well enough.  After high school, I attended the University of Michigan for my Musical Theatre degree and then moved straight here to New York.  My sister helped get me into performing initially, and then after a while it didn't make any sense to do anything else.  I know that I will always be involved in this profession somehow, be it acting, directing, or even building sets backstage.  I have had so many mentors over the years of my training, that it is hard to name but a few.  Shirley Verrett was a great influence, as well as all of my professors at Michigan like Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich.  They all taught me how to balance this career as an art and a business.

I am a big fan of the sardonic music theatre canon, especially the shows that take a big bite out of the genre.  Shows like Urinetown, Bat Boy, and Reefer Madness stick out as favorites in my mind.  I always like to say that my dream role hasn't been written yet, but out of the existing great roles I would love to play Sweeney Todd.  I may have to wait a few years yet, but someday.

The film version of It's A Wonderful Life is a classic, but one I only watched a few times while growing up.  Revisiting it now while prepping for this show showed me how poignant the story still is today.  It's a depressing tale, with a very happy ending.  I knew about this musical a long time ago, because it actually premiered at my alma mater back in 1989.  When I told my old teachers I was doing it, they were thrilled.  One of my music professors even said to look for some of his signature licks in the orchestrations because much of what is published comes from his original notebooks.

Although I don't have a family yet,  I do have a few baby cousins who loved it when I was touring with Thomas the Tank Engine!  When not on stage, I enjoy going on spontaneous adventures around Manhattan just as much as I do curling up at home and watching all my favorite TV shows on my DVR.  
I've got one of the giant 160gig iPods, so I have more music and movies on there than I know what to do with.  It is however an eclectic mix of indie rock, musical theatre, and mainstream pop music.  You get some strange combinations when you hit shuffle.


Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 12:22:00 pm Comments (0)

For the past 34 years, Westchester Broadway Theatre has donated a matinee performance of one of its mainstage productions each year to the children residing in the area institutions in Westchester County. This year the children will be treated to our new musical production of "A WONDERFUL LIFE”.  

THIS YEAR’S INVITES INCLUDE Andrus Children’s Center, Children's Village, St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center, Green Chimneys, Edenwald, Ferncliff Manor, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, Pleasantville Cottage School, Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, Lincoln Hall, The Spark Program, Cardinal McClosky Home and Diagnostic Center in Ossining. There will be over 400 children and chaperones attending this performance. Approximately 14,00 children & chaperones have attended since the program began.  The children range in age from five up to eighteen. Some of the children reside in the institutions due to physical or emotional disabilities, where their emotional, behavioral, school and family difficulties can be assessed. Others live in residential treatment centers which offer long-term care and schooling. Each of the homes is contacted by a staff member of the theatre, and a need of the institution is met by the donation of gifts which are presented at the end of the performance. Proceeds for the gift donations come from our generous audiences during the holiday season. These gifts include: Computers, Color Printers, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras, TVS, VCRs, DVD Players, Microwaves, Stereo Systems, Super Nintendo Games, etc. In the past years a couple of unique requests came from several of the homes. St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center requested eight strollers, while another requested an electric guitar.

The purpose for the donated performance is to give children residing in institutions a chance to see a fully staged musical show free of charge. At the intermission ice cream, cookies and sodas are provided. Each year we are gratified by seeing how involved the children become with the experience of watching live theatre. The reaction of the children and the appreciation of the staff is the reason the owners Bill Stutler and Bob Funking continue to donate this special performance, and fill the gift requests year after year. 

Other contributions in 2008 included Gift Certificates totaling in the amount of $32,000 donated to local charities, schools and other deserving organizations.