Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ring In The New.... With A Miracle!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, November 30, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)
A Gala celebration is in store for revelers here at WBT on the Eve of the New Year! A Sumptuous feast, The wonderfully uplifting musical, Miracle On 34th Street, and then dancing into the night with the Tuxedo Parc Orchestra! At the stroke of midnight, raise a glass of bubbly to the new year, full of  new dreams and unexplored possibilities!

In the past 100 years, the "ball dropping" on top of One Times Square in New York City, broadcast to all of America (and rebroadcast in many other countries), is a major component of the New Year celebration. The 1,070-pound, 6-foot-diameter Waterford crystal ball located high above Times Square is lowered, starting at 11:59:00pm and reaching the bottom of its tower 60 seconds later, at the stroke of midnight. This is repeated for all four time zones in the continental US. It is sometimes referred to as "the big apple" like the city itself; the custom derives from the time signal that used to be given at noon in harbors. From 1981 to 1988, New York City dropped an enlarged apple in recognition of its nickname.. The song Auld Lang Syne has become a popular song to sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

If your head really hurts on New Year’s Day, you could point your finger at the Babylonians who started this new year revelry nonsense. Though the ancient Romans added the idea of alcoholic excess, or at least perfected it. Julius Caesar fixed the start of the year on Jan. 1 by letting the previous year run to 445 days rather than the traditional 365.

New Year’s is among the very oldest and most persistent of human celebrations.

The western world celebrates the new year on Jan. 1. For some thousands of years before the Romans, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon. The new year celebration is an observance of the earth’s ability to renew itself and sustain us for another year. In agrarian societies— foods were the most potent of all new year’s symbols.

Ancient Egyptian and Greek societies paraded a baby around to symbolize the new year, at the end of winter when the crops sprouted, not the beginning when we do it. Baby New remains a popular symbol and turns up at celebrations even today. Father Time, who symbolizes the passage of time and the death of the old year, is a kindly looking old fellow, sometimes depicted holding Baby New Year.

At the stroke of Midnight, as the old year passes into the new, only one tradition is left: the kiss. The Romans loved kissing and incorporated it into their Solstice and Saturnalia celebrations. Thus kissing as a New Year’s Eve tradition persists today throughout the new world. The kiss is meant to set the tone for the new year, so be careful who you are standing near when the clock strikes 12. Pick a loved one. Awkward is not the tone you want to set for a whole year.              

(excerpts from an article by Randy Shore of the Vancouver Sun)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kris Kringle Is In The House!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (3)
 Tony Triano as Kris Kringle

Meet Tony Triano who is Kris Kringle in our Production of the beloved classic Holiday Musical!  After playing SCROOGE for many years during the Holidays... He is thrilled to portray an everyday kind of guy who just happens to be SANTA! 

I'm an "army brat".  My dad was a career Army man- my mom a housewife.  I have lived all over- I was born in the Panama Canal Zone. My Dad was a part of the NATO team in the early sixties- we lived in Orleans, France. I went to an International School there. I Learned to speak French. He also did two tours of duty in Vietnam, while my mom, my sister and I stayed NJ. I have a younger sister who is a photographer in the Orlando, FL area. I have two nieces.

I've always felt comfortable "pretending"-
As a kid I would listen to (and sing along with) Mario Lanza albums- especially The Student Prince. Of course, I was too shy to sing in front of anyone. It wasn't until I was in HS that I felt secure enough to get in front of people and perform. I was terrible at sports, so my HS English teacher, Charlotte Spillane, encouraged me to get on stage. I would consider her my mentor.  My first role was Og the leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow. I didn't start performing onstage until I was in High School in NJ- from then on, you couldn't keep me off the stage.I went to Rutgers and Columbia University

I knew that there were a couple of musical versions of Miracle on 34th Street- I've never done any of those versions.
I love the classics- Hello, Dolly!, Gypsy, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, and yes, The Sound of Music. I would love to play Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof one day.

I am truly boring! Love reading, watching TV, going to the movies and the theatre. As a recent returnee to NYC, I enjoy rediscovering the city.
I have a pretty eclectic collection on my Ipod- from ABBA to Streisand, Donna Summer to Adele.
Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Superb Sarah Rolleston as HODEL.

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I grew up in Berea, Ohio outside of the Cleveland area. I am Jewish but grew up in a predominantly Christian area, so my Jewish upbringing was particularly important for me and being Jewish was always something that made me different from everyone else I went to school with. From a young age I was constantly explaining why we do the traditions that we do because it was unusual to have someone not of the Christian faith where I grew up. 
 Sarah Rolleston as Hodel

I was influenced to become an actor by my mother. Her father loved to sing and even had a music group called the Four Shades of Blue, but he went into the garment industry after WWII. When my mother was a child, the family used to put on musicals as a performance troupe. They called themselves the "Shalom Naich Family Club" and the "SAGS" (Sherman Acting Guild). So I grew up listening to show tunes that my mom would listen to while she was baking or cooking. She put me in dance class and that was the end of that- I was hooked!

Rehearsing with Joe Longthorne (Perchik)

has long been my favorite musical, and I believe it is the best musical ever written. The book is perfect in my opinion, the music beautiful, and I have a strong emotional tie to it as well since some of my Jewish family background is based in Russia. This is my first time in a professional production of Fiddler, and I couldn't be more proud to be apart of it. This is also my first time working at WBT.
Fiddler is on my list of dream shows, as is the role I am playing (Hodel). Other dream shows include Into the Woods, Beauty and the Beast (which I've done), West Side Story, Nine, and more.

When I'm not onstage I'm probably working on my small business. I've recently started a dessert tasting walking food tour company in the city called Sugartooth Tours. Owning a small business is a great deal of work but incredibly rewarding as well. Please feel free to check out our website,, and take a tour if you have a sweet-tooth! When I'm not onstage or eating desserts, then I am probably in a yoga class or dreaming about traveling somewhere exciting. It is a goal of mine to become a certified yoga teacher at some point down the road. Some places on my travel short list include: Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Bali, South Africa, as well as an All-American road trip!

 A few things on my ipod: The Weepies, Jason Mraz, Joshua Radin, Brandi Carlisle, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Eric Hutchinson. I like the indie folk-pop vibe!