Stories & Cast Interviews

Monday, June 18, 2012

Colin Pritchard Knows Show Biz!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 12:00:00 pm Comments (2)
I grew up in Westchester County.  I am the 2nd of two boys; my mother works in healthcare, and my late father was an actor.  I've basically lived in Westchester my whole life, with the exception of my college years, which were spent in Washington, DC.  

I spent a lot of time around theatre as a child, because my dad was an actor.  I always loved theatre and pursued it as an extracurricular activity, but didn't really seriously consider it as a career choice until I was in my last year of college.  As I was approaching graduation and interviewing for "real jobs,"  I realized that the times I had been happiest and had the greatest sense of fulfillment were when I was performing.  There are a few people who have been really helpful in giving me guidance and opportunities.  Randy Skinner and Mary Jane Houdina are two such people.  

I first saw George M! when I was probably 2 or 3 years old.  My father played Jerry Cohan opposite Joel Grey as George on the national tour of the show and at the now defunct Kenley Players in Ohio.  Though when I saw the show, Ken Berry was playing George; my dad went on to play the part several more times over the course of his career.  Interestingly enough, my dad was also Joel Grey's understudy; Joel was actually older than my dad, but my dad's hair was completely grey by the time he was 30, so on stage he appeared older than he actually was.  I've never done the show before, but I did play George Cohan in the world premiere production of The Seven Little Foys, about New Rochelle's famous family of vaudevillians.  And I'm the voice of George Cohan on Paragon Ragtime Orchestra's recording of George Cohan's music, "You're a Grand Old Rag." 
 42nd Street has a very special place in my heart.  My first paying gig was a production of it in Virginia several years ago.  And my my dad toured the country with 42nd Street,along with Westchester Broadway's own Jerry Cohan, Jim Walton.  It's nice to be working with him; it's proof  that the world is a small place.  I was fortunate to do WBT's production of 42nd Street in 2009-10.  Some other favorite shows are Cabaret, Hairspray & "Millie."  I've been fortunate enough to play some dream roles, and hope I'll get the chance to revisit them again someday...Bobby in Crazy for You, Cosmo inSingin' in the Rain, and Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are all roles, I've played & would love to play again.  I'd also love to play Oscar in Sweet Charity & Leo in The Producers.    
 
In my free time I enjoy taking tap class, and try to go often, to keep my skills sharp.  There's also a decent chance you can find me watching cable news and HGTV.  I try to get to the gym 3-5 times per week, too.  
 
My music tastes are very eclectic.  My iPod has a lot of standards (e.g., Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie) and big band (e.g., Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller) on it.  In the more contemporary rock & alt-pop realm, I love Martin Sexton, Rufus Wainwright, Wilco, Travis, & Arcade Fire.  The playlist that I listen to most often is my workout mix, which is upbeat, dance-pop music...stuff like Madonna, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, & Scissor Sisters.
Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gabriella Palminteri On Stage in George M!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

Gabriella's first introduction to the screen and stage was when she was only 2 years old.  She first appeared in her father, Chazz Palminteri's film, NOEL playing the little girl in red. Her next role came when she was only 4 years old when she appeared as Little Ballerina in her mother, Gianna Palminteri's short film, The Bronx Balletomane which was also nominated for a Student Academy Award.  Her love for the stage and her natural voice led her to win the lead role in ANNIE for Westchester Youth Theatre. Playing Annie was what it took for Gabriella to realize the theatre is where she wants to spend her life. She loves to  study dance, ballet, voice and acting - Gabriella is living her dream and preparing for a life on stage.
 
Her credits include Demeter in CATS, Jasmine in ALADDIN, Little Cosette in LES MIS,  Sally in GREASE and  Alice in ALICE in WONDERLAND for The LIGHTHOUSE YOUTH THEATRE for director John Fanelli. Gabriella spent last summer on the WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE Stage as Mrs Mayor in SEUSSICAL .  Gabriella will also open the BRONX NEW YORK Arthur Avenue 2012 Fer' Augosto Festival singing her Broadway favorites this September and will also appear at THE HAMPTON FILM FESTIVAL 2012 for the second year.  In the next year between auditioning for Broadway and performing at LYT she will begin recording her original songs in the studio. Gabriella is honored to play the role of Little Girl in GEORGE M!  at The WBT

 

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Amanda taps her way across the WBT Stage!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Amanda Trusty plays Josie Cohan in George M!.. here's a little inside info.. about this fiery performer!
 
I grew up in Reading, PA. My mom put me in dance classes at the age of 3 and I started singing in church soon after that. By the time I was 11 I was competing in dance competitions and I started doing the junior high musicals. My mom would let my friends and I take the bus to NYC to take class at Broadway Dance Center when it was still on 57th street and we would student rush a matinee or night show before catching the midnight bus back home to PA. When I did my first community theatre production in tenth grade, I played Zaneeta in THE MUSIC MAN and that was when I knew for sure that this was what I would go to college for. I never wanted to do anything else, but that confirmed that I was willing to really fight for it.

My voice teacher and dance teacher from PA were huge influences on me. I got to dance with Gregory Hines in my hometown right before he passed away-it was a huge moment for me. See above answer for other influences!
I heard of George M!  when I was still in high school and my choreographer from community theatre directed and choreographed it at a neighboring high school but I only knew it was a tap show, nothing else. I've never done the show before.
I am so in love with SWEET CHARITY. The show doesn't get done often but the title role is near and dear to me. ANYTHING GOES, GUYS AND DOLLS, and of course 42ND STREET are all time favorites. Classic music theatre all the way. Dream roles right now are Janet in DROWSY CHAPERONE and Betty in WHITE CHRISTMAS.
When not on stage, I love BAKING! My mom is an incredible cook and baker and it is such stress relief for me to lose my mind in a recipe or constructing a dish from scratch. I also love the beach-the water calms me and I am a sucker for sun and sand!
On my Ipod?  Jason Mraz, Girl Talk, The Beatles, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid michaelson, Adele, beyonce, Marc Broussard!
Monday, June 4, 2012

Jim Walton back at WBT!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Jim Walton plays Jerry Cohan in George M! He last appeared here in 2005 in Bye Bye Birdie. Read on to see what this beloved actor has been up to!

I was influenced by the theater community in my home town, especially by my favorite mentor/teacher, named, coincidentally, F. Ritchie Walton (no relation).  He was a huge theater-lover, and made trips to New York City every summer to see a handful of musicals.  He led the Swing Choir, of which I was a part, and he taught me voice, cast me in musicals in high school, taught me music theory and basically molded me into a musical-theater performer on his own.  I had other teachers and mentors, but none like him. But, to mention a few: Fred Astaire, Ray Bolger, Bobby Van, George M. Cohan and the film, THE WIZARD OF OZ.  See the photo enclosed of F. Ritchie Walton walking me through the parking lot after seeing me in CRAZY FOR YOU in Toronto (1994), still seemingly leading me onward more than 20 years after I graduated high school.  He passed in 2000.

 

I first saw GEORGE M performed by the high school I would later attend, and it inspired me tremendously.  It was directed by my future mentor, Ritchie Walton.  I later played George Cohan in the musical at age 20 in non-equity stock in Warsaw, Indiana (the Wagon Wheel Playhouse), over the bicentennial, July of 1976. Photo attached ... L-R: Shelley Bamberger, me, Tim Sheehan and Anne Gartlan as we finished ALL ABOARD FOR BROADWAY.

 

My favorite shows are: SWEENEY TODD, THE MUSIC MAN, CRAZY FOR YOU, ONCE, WEST SIDE STORY.  Playing 'Bobby Child' in CRAZY FOR YOU was the ultimate role that allowed me to sing, dance and act in a featured role.  Playing 'Harold Hill' in THE MUSIC MAN was another of my favorites.  I've also loved performing with my brother, Bob, in a show we wrote 12 years ago, called, DOUBLE TROUBLE (A Musical Tour de Farce). 

While not on stageI enjoy writing songs, coaching singing actors, staying active at the gym and watching baseball. I'm a fan of the New York Yankees.

I listen mainly to jazz, being a huge fan of jazz piano.  My heroes are Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Dave McKenna and Keith Jarrett.  Also on my iPod is a lot of classical music (Haydn, Samuel Barber, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Mozart and more) and some theater.