Stories & Cast Interviews

Saturday, August 29, 2009

RAINY DAY ANTIDOTE - see the show!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 9:48:52 am Comments (0)
I Love you, You're Perfect, Now Change offers a welcome escape from the rainy day blues! With a bounty of laughs and poignant moments....the sun will shine within! See Pat McRoberts, without his BUDDY glasses, along with Courtney Balan, Noel Molinelli and Brian Cooper in this PERFECT show! You'll LOVE it!
Monday, August 17, 2009

Calling on COURTNEY!

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, August 17, 2009 at 1:22:12 pm Comments (0)

Courtney Balan, the brilliant actress & comedienne in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, shares her insights!

I grew up right outside New York City in suburban New Jersey.  My parents love Manhattan and we spent many weekends of my childhood in the city seeing shows.  Pretty soon I discovered that Broadway had a profound affect on me.  I was always asking for tickets and cast albums at every birthday and holiday.  Finally through theatre, I found a place where I could harness all my eccentricity and personality.
At first I thought I just loved watching and listening to musical theatre, but pretty soon I discovered that I could sing.  I would learn every song and sing along to the albums in my room. 
My parents, who are very supportive (and my biggest fans), enrolled me in theatre classes and voice lessons.  Eventually my mother found a theatre sleep-over camp, Stagedoor Manor, that I began attending at age 13.  I returned every summer through my high school years.  There is where I met one of my mentors, Michael Larsen, who taught me to be fearless and vulnerable.  He
focused my abilities and challenged me continuously, giving me very adult roles and convincing me that I could accomplish anything (whether I could or not!). After that I was absolutely hooked. 

Sometime in those early teen-aged years I realized that theatre is something people did for a living.  Up until then I thought everyone was just donating their abilities to Broadway like I was to the local JCC.  Once I heard that, forget it. With my parents support I decided to continue my training and I majored in musical theatre at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Courtney Balan (2nd from Left) in Candide at The University of Michigan.

Since graduating college I have been challenged in roles that are classic in the musical theatre like Ado Annie in Oklahoma! And Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof, but nothing excites me more than new musicals.  There is something so special about working on a piece with the writers in the room and with nothing established and no one to be compared to.  I think a dream role for me is defiantly Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, but that role is so associated with Barbara Streisand.  If I could pick anything for myself it would be something that is brand new so I can put the stamp on it.  That is my dream role.
Doing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a dream experience too.  First of all, I will always have an affinity to the piece because it was the first show I ever did in
New York.  Also the role itself is a huge challenge, switching from ingénues to characters, from young women to older.  Getting to sing beautiful ballads like “I Will Be Loved Tonight” and then being a total goof in “A Stud and A Babe” or “Driving” and of course getting to breath life into the incredible words of Joe DiPietro in the beautifully vulnerable “Rose Ritz”.  With all that to choose from, I cannot really pick a favorite moment.  I do really love the moments when we are all 4 onstage together. 

      In ILYYPNC at WBT!

I have been so lucky to make my living at theatre.  When I first moved to New York and started pounding the pavement I worked in the office of a hedge fund management company and then was a nanny for 2 1/2 years.  I am also a licensed real estate salesperson through the state of New York, but I have been focused on theatre as my number one career.  It really is a full time job, even between shows when I am working at getting the next gig.  My free time is filled with family, friends and my incredible boyfriend, Jason.  Since my family is close by, we spend a lot of time together and Jason and I enjoy the perks of having New Jersey (especially the beaches) to escape to when the crazy pace of New York City gets the best of us.
I think the most important thing is to have balance.  I love my job but I have lots of other interests. I love being outside, playing games, doing crossword puzzles, being creative and doing art projects and just slowing down to read and listen to music.  I have an eclectic mix of music on my ipod.  I love listening to my friend’s demos and women rockers like Pink,
Regina Spektor, Alanis Morissette, but mostly I listen to talk radio pod casts as I walk through the busy streets of New York.
For more information or to get in touch with me, please visit my website/blog at www.courtneybalan.wordpress.com.

  As Ado Annie in OKLAHOMA!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

He's back!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 2:54:49 pm Comments (0)

We’re happy to announce that PAT McROBERTS will join our production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!  effective Friday, August 21st. 

Pat McRoberts gave a show stopping performance as Buddy Holly in BUDDY here at WBT. Our audiences jumped to their feet for this dynamic performer!  Many have asked us to have him back here on the WBT stage!  Pat replaces Jonathan Rayson who is going on tour with Legally Blonde.  

Take advantage of our Special 35th Anniversary Deal to see Pat McRoberts in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!  Through 9/19/09, Buy 1 Regular Priced ticket at $73 and get a second one for only $35!!   Call the Box Office for Details: (914)592-2222.  

 Pat McRoberts, starred as “Chris” in MISS SAIGON on Broadway and in Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver, Denver, Cleveland and Detroit. “Buddy” in BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY National Tour and recently at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Other Regional productions include TURN OF THE CENTURY(Goodman Theatre), MAN OF LA MANCHA (Long Wharf), RING OF FIRE: The Johnny Cash Musical (Studio Arena), HAIR, FOREVER PLAID (Downtown Cabaret), MY WAY: A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra (Gateway Playhouse), PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES (Carousel), WEEKEND COMEDY(Totem Pole), PRELUDE TO A KISS (Chicago), WMKS: Where Music Kills Sorrow (Barter, Fulton Opera House, Missouri Repertory), ON THE ROAD (Florida Studio), ANYTHING GOES(Arkansas Repertory), I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE! and Yoko Ono’s NEW YORK ROCK off-Broadway on Capitol Records. TV credits include recurring roles on ALL MY CHILDREN, GUIDING LIGHT and AS THE WORLD TURNS. Pat has a B.A.in Music from Otterbein College.

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Becoming Brian

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 4:42:59 pm Comments (0)

  

Brian Myers Cooper who brilliantly transforms into many diverse characters in ILYYPNC!  

 

I grew up on a farm in southeastern Ohio (the part of Ohio without a major city). It was a pretty idyllic setting – safe, secure and loving, with parents (now married 45 years) who instilled in me

a sense of self esteem, a sense of responsibility for my words, thoughts and deeds, and a great work ethic. I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation for life.

 

I was bitten early on in performances at church and school, so by the time I got to high school, I was fairly bursting at the seams to be a part of the spring musical. My freshman year came and they didn't have one - seems the director had moved away and the music teacher retired leaving no one willing to take up the reins of corralling 30-40 teenagers to put on a musical comedy. I was devastated, but the next year, the new music teacher stepped up to direct, and I was picked to play the lead in Bells Are Ringing, the alcoholic, ascerbic, urbane and witty down-and-out writer character made famous in the movie version by Dean Martin. I was fifteen years old. I didn't understand ANY of it, but I was onstage and for the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to do. 
 

Some of my favorite shows: I have fond memories of the National Tour of Miss Saigon and the wonderful family that company created out there on the road, and I've been fortunate to originate a couple of roles Off-Broadway as well as an American premier of a wonderful play, The Cavalcaders by Irish playwright Bill Roche at Florida Stage, which stand out as  particularly proud accomplishments. But I'm still waiting to play Whizzer in Falsettos by William Finn - it's a great role that I'm just now growing into, type-wise.

 

Developing the multitude of characters for Man#2 in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change! began several years ago when I did the role in a different production. I worked then to really ground these characters in their given situations and then let them live. Each scene is it's own world with it's own over-arching rule or theme, and it's our job to create believable people to live in that world - people the audience will recognize from their life, or family, or maybe themselves - and then the fun begins as we unspool the story of the scene. The work I did before came in handy as I joined this production just as the company was preparing for Opening Night, so my challenge was to adapt my characters to fit into the slightly different worlds that director Charles Repole had already created with this cast, and to do it from the sidelines as Travis (the male standby) rehearsed and performed the role with the cast. It was a wonderful challenge, and I have to thank Charlie, Victor Lukas (our stage manager), Christine DiTota (the ladies' standby) and especially Travis for helping me prepare to go on.
 

My favorite moment in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change! is hands down the final scene, “Funerals are for Dating”. I love these characters, and my own character (Arthur Beasley) is really an amalgam of amazing men from my family and beyond who inspired me the first instant I read the scene. I took traits from all of them to create my Arthur, and I think of them all fondly every night as I play him. 

 

I have done a number of other creative endeavors between acting jobs, including authoring CD-ROM multi-media content for a reading program and supervising the staffs of about a hundred weddings. When I'm not on stage, you will most often find me at the Actors Equity building in NY serving the membership as an elected Councillor and Board member, coaching other actors, running through Central Park (just two blocks south of my apartment), or cooking anything and everything - I rarely eat out unless it's an occasion, and I love to create in the kitchen.

 

When you see me with my ipod earbuds in, I’m most likely listening to either an NPR podcast or a recorded book. I have loads of music and I love it, but I’m not big on having sounds around me all the time - the TV or radio - just as atmosphere.  So if I'm listening, I'm usually just catching up on the news or preparing for my next audition.