Stage Review: “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” – Kansas City

“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
The Music Hall, Kansas City, Missouri
March 28, 2017

Our Score: 5 out of 5 Stars

What can I tell you about Carole King that you probably don’t already know? Her 1971 album “Tapestry” has sold over 25 million copies, making it one of the most successful albums of all time. It earned four Grammy Awards, was the second highest selling album of 1971 (behind “Jesus Christ Superstar”) and spent an amazing 313 weeks on the Billboard charts, second only to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” But what was Carole King like before she became CAROLE KING?

When we meet Carole Klein (Julia Knitel) she is 16 and writing songs on the living room piano. Her mother wants her to be a teacher but she allows Carole to take her latest composition into New York City to try and sell. There she meets music publisher Don Kirshner (James Clow) who likes the song and buys it. Having skipped two grades in high school, Carole is a freshman in college and it is here that she meets Gerry Goffin (Liam Tobin), who dabbles in writing song lyrics. Soon the two are a couple, both personally and professionally. They compete with fellow songwriters Cynthia Weil (Erika Olsen) and Barry Mann (Ben Fankhauser). From the beginnings of rock and roll through the fabulous 60s they created some of the greatest music of all time, and “Beautiful” captures those songs perfectly.

You can have great music but if the cast is not up to snuff it doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe me, you should have been with me at a performance of “Les Miserables” where the little boy playing Gavroche was so bad that I actually applauded when he was shot. But this isn’t a problem here. Ms. Knitel is spot-on perfect as King. She plays her like the young, innocent woman she was, gradually growing more and more as her life takes various turns. Vocally she is amazing, belting out song after song with a voice that could easily hit the back row of the balcony without a microphone. Tobin and Fankhauser play Goffin and Mann with quiet vulnerabilities, especially when things do not seem to be going their way. Ms. Olsen is a firecracker on stage while James Clow does his best to keep things together, adding humor and emotion to a character many of us think we know but clearly don’t. (You can read my interview with Mr. Clow here)

Couple these performances with such classic songs as “So Far Away,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” Up on the Roof,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and over 20 more and you have a genuine toe-tapping musical that the audience can – and does – sing along to.

“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” continues in Kansas City through April 2. For tickets go here.

Additional stops on the tour:
April 4-9 in Omaha, Nebraska
April 12-16 in Schenactady, New York
April 18-23 in Syracuse, New York
April 21-30 in Richmond, Virginia

Stage Review: “The Phantom of the Opera” – Kansas City

“The Phantom of the Opera”
The Music Hall, Kansas City, Missouri
February 10, 2017

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“The Phantom of the Opera” opened on Broadway on January 26, 1988. Almost 12,100 performances later, it is still running at the Winter Garden Theater, establishing itself as the longest running show in the history of Broadway. I’ve seen the show five times on Broadway, including two weeks after it opened and was very lucky to have seen the great Michael Crawford, who originated the title role and won nearly every award for his performance twice. A “new” version of the show is now touring the country and this week it began a limited run in Kansas City.

The story is a simple one: there’s a “ghost” in the Paris opera house who has taken an interest in the latest young singer on the bill. He gives his heart and soul towards making her the best only to be thwarted by others. But not until he’s wreaked a little havoc.

Knowing that the production had been tweaked a little I went into the show with an open mind. Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to hold a touring show to the Broadway experience. Though I needn’t have worried. The production I saw was brilliantly produced and, though I had a few quibbles with some of the changes, I was thoroughly entertained.

The cast was amazing. As the title character, Derrick Davis embodied the role. Playing an iconic role can sometimes make an actor “cheat” – and borrow from other performances. I can’t tell you how much of the character Moss I stole from Ed Harris when I did “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Here Mr. Davis makes the Phantom both frightening and sympathetic, a hard combination to pull off. And musically, he is in great voice. Joining him are the other main characters. As the Phantom’s love interest, Christine, Katie Travis was perfectly cast. Torn between her feelings for her benefactor and those for the man she loves (a strong Jordan Craig as Raoul), it is easy to see her emotional quandary. Both she and Mr. Craig have a strong chemistry on stage. As the Opera’s resident diva, Carlotta, Trista Moldovan hit all the right notes, both comedic and musical. You can read my interview with Ms. Moldovan here. The supporting cast is equally strong.

If you’ve seen the show on Broadway, or in other touring shows, here are a few things that I noticed in this “new” edition of the show. Firstly, the revealing of the Phantom’s face happens twice for some reason. The show does journey to the roof of the Opera house here and the changes did nothing to effect my enjoyment of the show. What did bother me was the opening of the 2nd act with the musical number “Masquerade.” In previous shows the cast came down a huge, sprawling staircase and, even though half of the “guests” were smartly disguised mannequins, the effect was breath-taking. Here it is a ballroom lined with mirrors that, I’m guessing were supposed to multiply in the viewers eyes the number of people. I was in the center of the theatre and it just looked like 24 people dancing. Also, the Phantom used to crash the party in a striking costume reminiscent of the Masque of the Red Death. Here he looks like a cross between Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Not as menacing as a giant red skeleton. Again, if you’ve never seen the show you won’t be disappointed by the changes but if you have you might.

“The Phantom of the Opera” runs in Kansas City through February 19. Other upcoming tour dates:

Feb. 22-March 5, Atlanta, GA
March 8-19, Little Rock, AR
March 23-April 1, West Palm Beach, FL
April 5-16, Birmingham, AL

Talking “The Phantom of the Opera” with Trista Moldovan

Most actors dream about the day they will finally appear on Broadway. Even if you don’t have any lines, just to be able to stand in the background for a brief moment gives you bragging rights with your friends that you appeared ON BROADWAY. Apparently nobody told Trista Moldovan that you were supposed to take it slow. The first time she hit the boards of the Great White Way she did it as Christine, the love interest of the title character in the longest running musical in Broadway history, “The Phantom of the Opera,” which just concluded it’s 12,080th consecutive performance.

Born in Cleveland, Ms. Moldovan has tackled many of the most popular roles in musical history, including Betty Haynes in “White Christmas,” Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls,” Sally Bowles in “Cabaret” and Carla in “Nine.” She has also flexed her dramatic and comedic charms by starring as Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Billie Dawn in “Born Yesterday.” In November 2012 she concluded a year-long run as Christine at the Winter Garden Theater in “Phantom of the Opera.” She’s now returned to the touring company of the show as Carlotta, the prima donna of the Opera company. Recently Ms. Moldovan took some time out to talk about this next phase in her career.

Mike Smith: You literally JUST finished understudying the role of Francesca in the touring production of “The Bridges of Madison County.” Two weeks later you’re in “Phantom.” How hard is it to have to basically be able to perform two different shows at any given time?

Trista Moldovan: To go from being an understudy, where you have to be able to perform at a moments notice to this (“Phantom”), where you’re doing eight shows a week, requires using two different sets of muscles. As an understudy you have to have a peripheral process as you’re learning the role because you’re also doing an ensemble track. For “Phantom” I’m very grateful to call the role my own and to be able to really make it my own as well.

MS: You played Christine on Broadway for a year and now you’re playing Carlotta. To me that seems like it would require an almost different type of singing, to go from what people would call “Broadway” singing – really belting it out – to a more operatic style. Was that transition difficult?

TM: Oh, yes. It’s definitely a different “sing” than Christine. Christine has more of a musical theater flavor whereas Carlotta is 100% operatic. She has a much more heavier sound…a much more legit sound, of course. And I had not sung like that for years, so that was very fun and very challenging to work up my chops and to work on the material. It was an amazing challenge and it’s so much fun to be able to sing like this every night because I don’t do opera. I can’t think of another role where I’d be able to sing like this. And I love it. It’s great. It’s so much fun.

MS: You have played so many iconic roles in musical theater. Is there a role you haven’t played yet that you would love to take on?

TM: (laughs) As I’m moving into a different part of my career it’s opened up a world of character roles. More comedic roles. So now my sights are set on roles like Madame Morrible in “Wicked” and, maybe in a few years, Madame Thenardier in “Les Miz.” More of the supporting, secondary roles. A couple of years ago I never thought they would be in the realm of possibility but now I’m sort of at the beginning of that part of my career.

MS: How long will you be with “Phantom?”

TM: As of right now I’m staying until the fall then after that…I don’t know, it seems like it’s an eternity away. After that we’ll re-evaluate when the time comes. But as of right now I’ll be here until October 2017.

We talked for a few more minutes and I learned that she had met her husband, actor Stephen Tewksbury, while both were doing “Phantom.” (She was Christine, he was the Phantom’s understudy). She laughed when I told her how cool that was, because finally the Phantom got the girl! “The Phantom of the Opera” plays through February 19th at the Music Hall in Kansas City. For more information or to purchase tickets, you can go here.

For a Fifth Straight Year, Panic Fest Gets Bigger and Better

The folks behind Panic Fest have a deep passion for horror and it showed all weekend long. Just like the past four years, the event was an absolute blast. While there’s always room for improvements, such as the amount of room there is at the Screenland Armour, it genuinely feels like the movies, the Q&A’s, the vendors, and everything else, were passionately combed over and whittled to near perfection. The efforts behind the creators and sponsors didn’t go unnoticed by those in attendance

The highlight from my first day was the sampling of local horror. Attendees were treated to movies with a local connection. I caught “Tonight She Comes” which was filmed in Missouri, just south of St. Louis, and was not for the faint of heart, squeamish, or those with a working moral compass. The other movie I caught was “Arbor Demon,” which was directed by KU alum, Patrick Rea. Despite his desire to film in his stomping grounds, he filmed his camping trip turned nightmare in South Carolina.

The second day, since I wasn’t hungover, began with an 11 a.m. selection of Saturday morning cartoons. Forever Bogus hosted the screening of late 80’s and early 90’s cartoons. As for the rest of the day, it was an eccentric collection of B-movie horror, nostalgic throwbacks, and psychological horror. The highlight of my night though was “The Last Podcast on the Left.” The trio of hosts, Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski, tickled the funny bone throughout with taboo topics like Charles Manson, and absolutely bizarre topics like Batsquatch.

The final day was a rehash of some movies folks may have missed along with some new movies mixed in for flavoring. I feel like I caught the two best films of the festival that day though. Despite my well belief that the “Walking Dead” has ruined the zombie genre, “Train to Busan” and “The Girl with All the Gifts” is evidence to the contrary. And I’d be crazy not to mention “The Void.” Imagine if the creature effects people behind “The Thing” stumbled into a Clive Barker fever dream. That’s what watching “The Void” was like.

For those who attended, I bet you had a blast like I did. For those who didn’t, I hope to see you next year. You can check out the Screenland Armour here since they will be sprinkling some of the films from Panic Fest throughout the year. You can also go to the Panic Fest website here to keep an eye out for next 2018 and check out the movies I mentioned and didn’t mention.

Event Review: Monster Jam @ Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

I cannot even remember the last time I went to Monster Jam. I would think it has to be nearly 20 years by now at least. I have always been yearning to go back though and this year was the year! I have always been a huge Grave Digger fan and I remember cars like Big Foot that are no longer around. So I think it was about time for me to revisit this action packed event. This year Monster Jam headed back to the Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL on January 13th and it was one hell of a time! This definitely just became a yearly event for me again! Let’s just say that!

The event featured more than 12 trucks and drivers including: Grave Digger driven by Dennis Anderson; Son-uva Digger driven by Ryan Anderson; Team Hot Wheels driven by Scott Buetow; Monster Energy driven by Coty Saucier; Jester driven by Matt Pagliarulo; Xtermigator driven by JR McNeal; Rage driven by Cory Rummel; Barbarian driven by Devin Jones; OVER Bored, Bounty Hunter, Knucklehead, Madusa and Wrecking Crew.

Like I mentioned I have always loved Grave Digger (I mean seriously who doesn’t). He is just bad-ass. I mean the guy loses a damn wheel on his first go-around and still managed to come back and get second place at the end. During this event there were a few spotlight trucks who really just nailed every run! Monster Energy ended up winning the night, hands down! Their freestyle had me on my feet screaming! Wrecking Crew also tore up the stadium for sure! The audience was literally on their feet the entire event!

The part just wasn’t at the Stadium though! We arrived hours in advance and had an awesome time tailgating and enjoying the big open field. They also had the “Party in the Pits”, which was an additional $10.00 but gives a good opportunity for fans to get up close and personal to the Monster Jam trucks and drivers. They also had ramps setup with bikers doing tricks hourly. So very cool event for sure! Family fun! Plenty of families gathered at this event to show this wonderful event together and I will be one of those families for sure moving forward!

Theatre Review: Wicked @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando FL

“Wicked” opened on Broadway in New York back in 2003 and has since com “a cultural phenomenon” according to Variety and called “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. “Wicked” has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world being translated into six languages and is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards. And this month it is in Orlando, FL at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017.

If you have never seen or heard of “Wicked” here is a quick premise: The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

This show was simply outstanding. Simply outstanding! I grew up in New York and visit the theatre district many many many times and have seen hundreds of plays. I loved the grand scale of it all. The sets, the cast, the music! It was all so amazing to me. When I moved to Florida in 2010, I thought I wasn’t going to be  able to see that scale of amazing again in the theatre…and that was true until I found the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater. These people put on shows like I have never seen. “Wicked” was so just epic and breathtaking that I feel like I have to see it twice to soak in all the magic that it was!

I am sure that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were amazing in their original roles on Broadway. No doubt. But these two leads in Orlando were absolutely breathtaking! Their voices really pick you up and take your through this amazing story behind “The Wizard of Oz”. The talent on this production overall is just A+. With all the shows I’ve seen I have to admit this was in no question of the best in recent year! Must see this show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or at least during its North American tour.

Orlando Monster Jam Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets start at $15 for Monster Jam at Camping World Stadium

ORLANDO, FL (November 28, 2016) – Feld Entertainment announced today that tickets for Monster Jam®, the most adrenaline-charged motorsports experience for families on the planet, are now on sale. Monster Jam events are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $15.

Monster Jam will be performing at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Gates open at 5 PM, opening ceremonies are at 6:30 PM, and racing starts at 7 PM.

The event will feature more than 12 trucks and drivers vying to be the Orlando champion, including: Grave Digger driven by Dennis Anderson; Son-uva Digger driven by Ryan Anderson; Team Hot Wheels driven by Scott Buetow; Monster Energy driven by Coty Saucier; Jester driven by Matt Pagliarulo; Xtermigator driven by JR McNeal; Rage driven by Cory Rummel; Barbarian driven by Devin Jones; plus OVER Bored, Bounty Hunter, Knucklehead, Madusa and Wrecking Crew. (Trucks/drivers subject to change without notice.)

Approximately 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide, Monster Jam trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, Monster Jam trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly up to125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet in the air.

The Party in the Pits on Saturday, January 21, from 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM gives fans the opportunity to get up close and personal to the Monster Jam trucks and drivers. Pit Passes are available for $10.00 at the Amway Center Box office in advance, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Same day event ticket and pit pass required for entry to pit party.

Tickets to Monster Jam are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.com. All seats reserved. Subject to facility fee, plus convenience and handling charges. Camping World Stadium is located at 1610 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32805.

For more information on a Monster Jam, please log onto www.MonsterJam.com (click on “Tickets” and search for Orlando) or follow us via our social channels below:

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.

Theatre Review: “The Book of Mormon”

Music Hall
Kansas City, Missouri

Our Score: 5 out of 5 Stars

If you are a listener to our “Behind the Mikes” podcast (and if not, why aren’t you) you’ll recall that a few weeks ago we were talking about the most recent great original film musical. Not something like “Dreamgirls” or “Les Miserables,” which were translated from the Broadway stage, but a musical written just for the movies. The first one that popped into my mind was 1999’s “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.” From it’s opening song to it’s grand finale’, the film tells it’s story through virtually every style of music known to man. To say that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are talented would be an understatement. 12 years later, Parker and Stone teamed up with “Avenue Q” co-composer/co-lyricist Robert Lopez and have created one of the most entertaining and inspirational shows in Broadway history. “The Book of Mormon.”

In Utah a group of young men wait patiently. They have all spent months studying to go abroad to spread the word of God through their ministry, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Or, as they are more commonly referred to, the Mormons. As each pair of boys is named they learn their destinations. Japan. Norway. France. Exotic places all. Finally, only Elder Price (Gabe Gibbs), the highest regarded person in the group, and Elder Cunningham (Chad Burris), who is pretty much the opposite of Elder Price, are left. They soon find themselves teamed up and heading for beautiful….Africa. Two years in the jungles fighting aids and poverty. Woo hoo!

There isn’t a lot you can say for a musical that contains four letter words, Darth Vader and an image of a Hell that contains both Hitler AND Johnnie Cochran except this: IT’S BRILLIANT! The songs are both clever and catchy and the cast spectacular. Even the story, which many reading this may think mocks the Mormon faith, is uplifting. That’s a trifecta that very few shows ever hit.

As Elder Price, Gibbs brings a wide-eyed youthful joy to the role. He KNOWS that Heavenly Father is on his side. I was surprised to learn that Mr. Burris was actually the understudy for the actor scheduled to play Elder Cunningham. He was both funny and touching in his performance. And, if anyone ever decides to do a bio-pic on the late Chris Farley, I would hope that Burris would get an audition. He brings the kind of energy and innocence to the role as well as Farley ever did in his film performances. Other cast standouts include Bryce Charles (another stand-in) as Nabulungi and Sterling Jarvis as Mafala. The ensemble cast was also spot on, a tribute to the kind of shows that the Broadway Across America consistently bring to Kansas City.

Of course since, according to the show, the Garden of Eden IS located in Jackson County, Missouri, maybe the show got a little nudge from Heavenly Father!

The tour continues on through August 2017. Here are a list of it’s next few destinations:

December 13 – 18, 2016 Fayetteville
December 20 – 31, 2016 Dallas
January 3 – 15, 2017 Houston
January 17 – 22, 2017 Jacksonville
January 24 – 29, 2017 Ft. Meyers
January 31 – February 5, 2017 Greenville

Tickets Online Now for “Wicked” for the 2016-2017 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando season!

2016-2017 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando season 

WICKED

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

“If every musical had the brains, heart and courage of Wicked, Broadway really would be a magical place.” (Time Magazine) 

Orlando, FL – Broadway’s biggest blockbuster returns to Orlando this winter.Wicked will fly into Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017. Tickets are on sale to the general public NOW!.Tickets start at $42.75 and may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Academy Award®-winner for “Pocahontas” and “The Prince of Egypt”) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once and Again” and “thirtysomething”), Wicked is directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed…).

 

Wicked has been declared “a cultural phenomenon” by Variety and “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world (U.S. Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, Mexico and Brazil) and has thus far been translated into six languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Portugese.

For more information, visit www.WickedTheMusical.com.

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FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando is presented in partnership with Broadway Across America and Florida Theatrical Association. FTA is a non-profit civic organization with a volunteer board of trustees established to ensure the continued presentation of quality touring Broadway productions and the promotion of arts education throughout the state of Florida. For more information, visit FloridaTheatrical.org .

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and The Broadway Channel.  Led by 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 41 markets with over 270,000 subscribers. Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding NeverlandMillion Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The Producers. Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. For more information please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com andBroadway.com.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.

 

Save Ferris front-woman Monique Powell talks about the bands reformation and upcoming EP “New Sound”

    (photo by Piper Ferguson)

Monique Powell is the lead singer of the Orange County ska-punk band Save Ferris. After a 15 year break the band is set to release a new EP in February titled “New Sound” and embark on a US tour also starting in February. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Monique recently about the bands return, their pledge music campaign and about working with producer John Avila.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the reformation of the group in 2013 and leading up to where the group is now in 2016?

Monique Powell: In 2012, I was diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition that had caused irreparable spinal cord damage in my neck. I was told by doctors that, without emergency surgery I could eventually lose my ability to walk. The catch was that, the surgery I needed was typically performed from the front of the neck, an issue that would have prevented me from ever singing again. I had one doctor say to me “Do you want to sing or do you want to walk?”. At that point, I became determined to find a doctor that could perform the surgery I needed through the back of my neck, a procedure considered far more dangerous, painful, and with far more required rehabilitation. The minute before I went under anesthesia for the difficult surgery, I decided I was going to bring Save Ferris back if I woke up from the procedure with my ability to walk and my voice intact. This is what led to the reincarnation of Save Ferris in 2013. I had to relearn how to hold my head up, how to do simple tasks with my arms, and through it all, I had Save Ferris and the fans to aim for. The response to the shows in 2013 was so positive, I decided to bring us back for good!

AL: What was it like heading back into the studio after being away from that process for so long?

MP: At first, scary. I didn’t eat for days prior due to nerves but then something happened and the magic of John Avila filled the studio, and, I settled in beautifully. It was as if a day hadn’t gone by.

AL: How did the relationship with producer John Avila come together?

MP: John produced the first Reel Big Fish album which was the first album I ever sang on when I was about 19 years old. We had a great time recording “She Has a Girlfriend Now” for Reel Big Fish and I never forget John’s kindness and calm demeanor. When I was shopping for producers for my new stuff, John’s name came up, and I thought, “how crazy would it be if this all came around full circle”. So I scheduled a meeting and here we are.

AL: Can you tell us about the pledge music campaign that is happening around the new EP?

MP: Well, being a band that was virtually inactive for so long, I had no idea how I would finance a new album. Thanks to Pledge and our fans, this new album has been made possible. It has been really fun, we had a studio party with our fans that donated to be on the record it was an epic night for all of us.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming tour and what other plans you and the band have for 2017?

MP: The band and I are all so excited to be finally touring together. It really is a dream come true for us, and I cannot believe it is actually happening. I’ve worked so hard for 3 years to make this possible. As for 2017, after we release the EP early in the year, and the 6 week Fall tour of North America, we will continue working on a full length album. If all goes as planned, we will release the full length prior to our 2017 summer tour so fingers crossed!

For more info on Save Ferris and a complete list of tour dates visit http://www.saveferrisofficial.com/

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is Bringing XTREME to Orlando!


Orlando, FL – (November 11, 2016) Prepare to be astonished and amazed by artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining these elements with never-before-seen spectacles, original, fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments.

Children Of All Ages can let their imaginations go wild in an exhilarating adventure with extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience. Join us at Amway Center from January 12-16, 2017 as we explore a world of extreme beauty, flexibility, strength and dexterity in ways you’ve never seen before. Purchase tickets for your family to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME® when tickets go on sale to the public on Monday, November 14 at 10:00 AM.

High-wire wizards, powerful strongmen, BMX trick riders, trampoline daredevils, inconceivable contortionists, a high-flying human cannonball, a bungee aerial skydiving display and an international assembly of more than 300 cast and crew provide two and a half hours of thrilling entertainment.

With such an exciting lineup, The Greatest Show On Earth® guarantees to dazzle and astound, and a Ringling Bros.® show wouldn’t be complete without a full menagerie of amazing animals. Circus XTREME features beautiful Bengal tigers and two-humped camels ridden by brave Mongolian women.
The party starts an hour before the show at the All Access Pre-show, which is free with ticket purchase. Families can meet an international cast of performers and get up close to the menagerie of animals. Try on custom costumes, learn circus skills — like juggling — from the famous Ringling Bros. Clown Alley. Together with the show, families receive over three hours of extreme family fun not to be missed.

Prepare to be amazed by the unexpected. Do something extreme today, and get tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME.

Ticketholders can purchase an upgrade and go backstage with a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The backstage experience includes an insider look at props and wardrobe, an up close and personal encounter with the animals and a chance to meet stars from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures and learn educational fun facts.  To take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just log on to ringlingbros.expapp.com from iPhone or Android smartphone, and provide name, e-mail and phone number to become a VIP circus insider.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 14 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 15 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Monday, January 16 at 1:00 p.m. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

 

For more information visit Ringling.com, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

Tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME®  go on sale to the public on Monday, November 14 at 10:00 AM.All seats are reserved. Tickets are available at www.Ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone: 407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.  The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street – Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801.

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.

 

NYCC 2016: Adult Swim’s DREAM CORP LLC

Have you made your appointment with Dream Corp LLC yet? The mind-bending new series from creator Daniel Stessen is currently admitting new patients every Sunday night at 11:45pm on Adult Swim. Starring Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite), Stephen Merchant (“The Office”, “Hello Ladies”), Nick Rutherford (Balls Out, “Drunk History”) and a host of guest stars, the series follows a strip mall clinic that uses advanced technology to invade its patients dreams in order to solve their real life problems. At New York Comic Con this year, the Adult Swim panel was treated to the first two episodes of Dream Corp which blend live action sci-fi and trippy rotoscope animation.

Accompanying the new series to NYCC was creator Stessen with stars Gries, Rutherford and Merchant (who also serves as an executive producer on the show). I sat down with them to talk about this new addition to the Adult Swim lineup.

How did you develop Dream Corp?

Daniel Stessen: I had the concept, been developing it for a while, and created this world and kind of came over to Steve for a little guidance as to how to make it more palatable to a larger audience. Being that he has some–

Stephen Merchant and Daniel Stessen

Stephen Merchant: I think he’s being immodest–or he’s being too modest, I should say, that’s not right. Too modest. I was there as just a friend of Danny’s…to do a voice for this robot [T.E.R.R.Y] that’s in the show and inevitably whenever there’s anything creative going on, I like to start meddling, and just offering thoughts. And we started talking more and more. And it was just for me, it was something I would have done as a friend anyway…but I just thought, you know, let’s try to screw these guys for some money. (Both laugh)

Stessen: And the robot, we love the robot, he was built by Jim Henson Studios…That was one of the more validating moments of my last ten years on Earth, just getting that call that they were on board to build Terry the robot.

Merchant: There’s a really strong visual sense to the whole thing, again largely down to Danny. He’s just got an incredible visual imagination. And so you see that both in the real world–where you see this kind of twisted, eccentric sort of laboratory– and then also when you enter that dream world. And that’s done with the rotoscope animation. When you go on the set, it’s you know, it’s bits of cardboard and people with fake cardboard wings and cardboard jaws and things. All of which is going to eventually going to be animated but which only [Danny] can really see. So a lot of people I think are just stood there and like ‘you want me to what? I’m drowning in spaghetti now?’ And he’s like ‘Trust me.’ So it’s sort of extraordinary, an extraordinary kind of vibe there. Wouldn’t you say people were confused [on set]?

Stessen: It’s just, when people would walk on when we were shooting the dream world stuff, people would walk into an empty room and I would just be like ‘this is going to feel super weird, just trust me, it going to look real cool.’

Can you speak about your characters?

Nick Rutherford and Jon Gries

Nick Rutherford: I play patient 88–
Jon Gries: Nick!
Rutherford: Yeah, Nick as well, who comes to the office to work on erectile dysfunction and pretty quickly realizes that the office itself is kind of dysfunctional.
Gries: What happens is that he has to work for us because he can’t pay for his procedure
Rutherford: Yeah I can’t pay for the procedure and you think that it’s a confidence issue and I don’t have a job so you say–
Gries: A job?
Rutherford: Why don’t you work here? And I’m like this is a terrible place, but I kind of go along with the flow.
Gries: So he’s really the eyes of the audience. Because obviously he’s come into this place that is so–well from some perspectives, would be ridiculous and crazy. It’s not from my perspective.
Rutherford: It’s your life’s work.
Gries: It’s my life’s work. Dr. Roberts has this vision that this is the most transforming and necessary procedure but he’s lost his funding. So now he’s working out of a strip mall because he believes and he knows that it’s working. He knows that he’s changing people’s lives. There’s a little problem here and there but–
(Both laugh)
Rutherford: There’s a lot of problems.
Gries: There’s a couple of bugs that get worked out of the system. But it could be because the system’s really old and we haven’t had the money to update it.
Rutherford: And I think Nick, Patient 88, comes into it and kind of sees a family forming. Because everybody trusts and loves each other. Like there’s, Stephanie Allen plays Joey, his protégé–
Gries: My intern for nine years. No pay!
Rutherford: (laughs) Yeah, Nine year intern. Who loves him and obviously thinks he’s the most brilliant guy ever and he just does not give her the time of day. And Mark Proksch plays kind of the navigator of sorts, I don’t know if you know his work–
Gries: He’s amazing. And he doesn’t ever leave the building. For fifteen years he doesn’t leave the building.
Rutherford: So he’s incredible. And then [Ahmed Bharoocha] plays kind of the nurse and he’s just this big stoner who doesn’t even really care. So Everybody relies on each other in a nice way. So the meat of the story is us working together and growing together and me being thrown into this world. And it being very dangerous, but also fun. And then bringing in these amazing guest stars and throwing them into that.
Gries: He gets attacked by June Squibb at one point. She stabs him.
Rutherford: Yeah she stabs me in the neck with a a screw driver. I’m kind of like the Kenny, I get hurt a lot. (both laugh)

Have you ever had a weird celebrity dream like with [episode one guest star] Dave Coulier?

Rutherford: Yeah that was really surreal.
Gries: I did, I had a weird celebrity dream. I was very nervous, I was about to do a movie years ago and I dreamt that I was in a barbershop. And I was sitting and the man sitting in the next chair was Fred Astaire.
Rutherford: Really?
Gries: True story. And he looks at me and he goes, “Are you worried about something?” And I said “I’m just a little uncomfortable” And he said “Have fun. Just have fun.” I swear to god! And that was like two days before I started shooting Fright Night Part 2.
Rutherford: Have fun out there.

What was it like working with the rotoscope animation?

Dream Corp LLC/Adult Swim

Rutherford: It’s really fun because everything is so grand. You know it’s like now you’re falling off of a hot air balloon, or now you’re running away from your bullies in high school. So you’re playing these large characters, so you just kind of jump into it. Like, I remember thinking when I was very young and being an actor, how it must be really hard to shoot like Jurassic Park when you’re in front of a green screen and then they’re like “and THAT’S a velociraptor” and you’re like “ahhh!” I didn’t feel that at all during the production that that those scenes were difficult thing to do. Because they’re just so silly and fun and you’re wearing kind of a half costume so they can animate it later. Like I’m dressed up like Legolas–
Gries: And literally it was sometimes it was pieces of cardboard, you have cardboard on you almost like a really bad–
Rutherford: Like a play
Gries: Like a kid’s play. But you know it’s all for reference and they’re gonna draw on top of it. And the thing is, knowing how beautiful the animation is also gives you the impetus that when you’re in it, you understand what it’s going to look like, so it helps, it augments. Whatever decision or choice you’re going to make, you can go further with it because you just have that confidence behind that animation. It’s almost like ‘pay no attention to me, it wont be the real me, it will be a better me.’

Stessen: The inspiration came from working with his name’s Michael Garza [of Artbelly Productions] out of Austin, Texas. He worked on A Scanner Darkly, and then a couple other guys on the crew are Scanner Darkly. And one of the woman who was an animator on Waking Life. Which I’m a huge fan of. I saw Waking Life a while back and watched it over and over and over again. Huge inspiration. And we made a short film together that did well in festivals and kind of, we started developing that style in trying to evolve it and I think we’re pushing it forward a little bit and figuring out that we can build things out of cardboard. And make a dragon face. Because all he has to do is draw what’s there. Not that’s all he has to do–his job is to draw what’s there. So we could draw you [all] here and now you’re on a volcano, you know what I mean? So it gives us a lot of flexibility and the fact that with where we are, with little funds, we could do a ton.

What can viewers expect for the rest of the series?

Gries: Surprise after surprise after surprise. I’m not kidding you, it’s different every time!
Rutherford: Yeah it really is. I mean there’s this kind of thread of these different guest stars coming in and getting their therapy as our relationship progresses and as the interrelationships between Joey and Ahmed and…Randy–Randy’s arm gets cut off (laughs)–
Gries: There are things that happen, there’s a continuity within the core group and yet at the same time it’s absolutely ridiculous what happens–but it still stays, it still answers that continuity. And yet the people that come, the patients that come, their stories individually are so different from week to week that it just gives us a whole other area to run through.
Rutherford: yeah There’s like a couples therapy–a gay couple comes in to get like couples therapy. June squibb comes in to quit smoking but then finds out that really just she just wants to have sex.
Gries: And have a baby–and she’s never had sex in her life.
Rutherford: So Roberts appeases that in the dream world–
Gries: You know he says, it’s been a while!

Dream Corp LLC is on tonight and every Sunday on Adult Swim at 11:45pm, with the premiere episode currently streaming at AdultSwim.com

For photos from Adult Swim and many more NYCC panels, make sure to check out our Facebook page!

 

Paradiso Chapter 1 “NYC’s Most Interactive Escape Room”

In a New York Comic Con weekend filled with virtual reality experiences, nothing entertained my imagination more than Michael Counts’s escape room, PARADISO: CHAPTER 1. Billed as “part immersive theater, part escape room, part existential game,” Paradiso satisfies multiple action movie nerd fantasies in one pulse pounding hour.

The Paradiso experience begins, if you choose to provide your smartphone number, before you reach the venue with some ominous video messages ‘exposing’ the Virgil corporation who you are due to meet at your appointed time. Everyone in my party also received different clues to help us but to keep secret from each other.

In midtown we met up with our contact in a functioning karaoke bar to begin our experience. Ostensibly we are being welcomed into the offices of the Virgil Corporation who are on the lookout for genetically gifted escape artists. A wonderfully spacey secretary doled out forms and waivers in Virgil’s reception before the “normal” procedures were quickly overridden and the ‘real’ escape experience begins. Cue the Saw-ready voice changer demands from the heavens. Suddenly the office was revealed to be full of puzzles and my team sprang into action.

Chapter 1 features four more spaces after that reception office, each offering their own distinct look. For my money, the best room was a vintage library where we encountered a frantic handcuffed woman who upped the tension and hastily armed my teammate with a pistol. Other thrills included an air duct for us to feel extra John McClane-y and a massive bomb to be disarmed complete with digital countdown clock. The actors, handcuff lady included, make for an extra level of intrigue as they can help or hinder your progress and to this day none of my team can decide on if we allied ourselves correctly.

Teams who have diversified their skills roster get rewarded as the in-game puzzles range from visual clues to math and physical puzzles. If you’ve ever fantasized who would be in your Oceans-type heist amongst friends, that’s the crew to bring. And going into this Halloween weekend, Paradiso provides an excellent alternate to conventional horror houses by getting your heart-racing without scaring you silly. Ultimately my escape team was done in by some algebra in the final room–who knew that would come in handy?!–but we eagerly look forward to many more chapters to come.

View the Paradiso trailer below, and find ticketing information at its official website.

Tagslyvania in Big Flats, NY returns for its 7th season

Tagsylvania in Big Flats, NY returns for its 7th season

The ghoulish residents who reside in the mysterious fog covering the sprawling grounds of Tag’s in Big Flats, NY came alive for their 7th fright filled season on Friday September 23rd.
Included in Haunted Attraction Magazines top 31 must see haunts Tagsylvania is bigger and better than ever for the 2016 scaring season. Along with the haunts staple attractions “Jerkus Circus” an over the top nightmare inducing 3-D journey through a circus gone terribly wrong, “Lecter’s Lair” a multi floor adventure which put you face to face with some of your deepest and darkest fears and “Psycho Swamp” a twisting and turning maze which holds you captive by your creepy surroundings.

Along with several upgrades to the haunts existing attractions is the newest member of the family “Escape the Precinct”. You and the members of your group are wrongfully accused of multiple murders and are being detained for questioning. In the Precinct are the items you will need to collect to prove your innocence and possibly reveal the actual person who committed the murders. You have 60 minutes to uncover the clues, solve the puzzles and collect enough evidence to gain your freedom. If one of these terrifying adventures isn’t for you haunt manager Jesse Reib says Tagsylvania has plenty of other things to offer including carnival games, concessions, psychic and tarot card readings along with a few other surprises that will keep you on your toes during your visit to Tagsylvania.

Tagsylvania is open at 7pm on Friday’s and Saturdays starting September 23rd and runs through October 29th.

For more info visit http://tagsylvania.com/

Charred Walls of the Damned’s Richard Christy talks about the bands latest album “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”

Richard Christy may be best known for his work on the Howard Stern radio show however long before his antics made him a regular fixture on the long running show Richard was a heavy metal drummer for bands like Death and Iced Earth. In 2009 Richard formed his latest group Charred Walls of the Damned. The group’s current lineup which along with Christy features Jason Suecof, Steve DiGiorgio and former Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens are set to release their fourth studio album titled “Creatures Watching Over the Dead” on September 23rd. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Richard recently about the new album and its creation, possible tour plans and this year’s hot Halloween trends.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?

Richard Christy: The new album is called “Creatures Watching Over the Dead”. It has nine songs on it and it’s been five years since the bands second album. I took quite a bit more time with the writing on this one than the previous two. A lot of that has to do with Brian Slagel from Metal Blade Records who is real cool about letting us take our time when getting an album out. He really understands our schedules and knows how busy we are all. Aside from the schedules I wanted to take the extra time because with song writing there is always a learning process. Just like with anything else the more time you spend doing it the better you start to get at it. I went through each song to make it the best I possibly could. I initially ended up writing 24 songs between the last album and this one. I had always heard about bands writing a bunch of material and then picking the best from that and with this album we were able to do that as well. I always do pre-production for the albums so during that time Jason Suecof and I picked what we thought were the best 9 tracks and those are what took in to record. It took about a year to get everything recorded from there.

AL: What type of process did you have for selecting the 9 songs that make the album?

RC: That’s what the great thing is about having Jason as our guitarist and producer. When he hears these songs fresh for the first time he is able to pick the ones pretty quickly that catch his ear. For me it’s hard to choose as I wrote them and am a little too close to the song to be objective. Jason has a great ear for songs and melody. He is also a really great song writer. I told him the ones that catch his ear right away are the ones we should go with and that is kind of how we did it. When we finally got together for pre-production we started tweaking the nine songs a little further so we had them exactly the way we wanted them on the album. By the time we get in the studio we are pretty much set to go which allows things to flow pretty smoothly.

AL: With you doing a majority of the songwriting where do the other members fit in during the creative process for a new album?

RC: The other guys in the band have total creative freedom. I basically give them the blue print and then have them add to it or make changes if they need/want to. I am not a good bass player or singer. I can do enough to get what I am hearing in my head out but with Steve Digiorgio and Tim “Ripper” Owens those guys are great and can just go crazy. When we go in to record the guitars and drums are already done so I tell those guys just go as nuts as you want to go. I love when Steve matches stuff up to my drum fills. When we do the vocals we are generally all there and we work together with Tim. Jason is great with vocal patterns and melodies so usually what happens is if we can’t come up with something better than what I put down on the demo or everyone really likes what I did on the demo we will go with that but, I like to get Tim and Jason’s ideas for the vocals first and then we just pick the best of those ideas.

AL: The album has sort of a dark title however a majority of the vocals are rather positive. Was this something that happened consciously or did those themes develop more naturally over the course of writing?

RC: I guess it’s sort of a conscious thing. I am a pretty positive person. I have tried to write lyrics about more brutal subjects or what’s going on in the news. When I was in Burning Inside I would write about horror movies and things like that but with getting older these days I like to think about things that make me happy. It’s not that these lyrics are about it being a nice sunny day but I try and make the lyrics about stuff I have experienced and also about things that inspire me. I write about a lot of stuff I see just living in New York City and walking the streets there. I find it’s easier for me to write and things flow better when I am writing about something that means a lot to mean. I do try and write things in a way that doesn’t make them sound too happy or cheerful. I want things to sound cool but at the same mean something to me and to other people.

AL: Can you tell us a little about the album art?

RC: Being a huge fan of Halloween I came across this really great photographer by the name of Pumpkin Rot. He has a website called www.pumpkinrot.com where he showcases his photos of these scenes he sets up where he lives in Pennsylvania. One day I saw a cool picture of his and I decided to just email him and ask if we could use that picture for the album art. He was totally cool about it and with the name of the band and that photo I thought it fit very well together. The title of the album actually comes from me staring at that picture trying to come up with a title for it. I also wanted to come up with something that started with the letters CWOTD to fit in with the theme of our previous album titles. I have been asked if there was some sort of deep meaning to the cover but really it’s just a picture that I liked which I came up with a cool sounding title for. (Laughs)

AL: A lot can happen when a band takes an extended amount of time between albums. Were you ever worry about the effects that it could have not only on the band but also your fans?

RC: I don’t think there was anything that difficult for us as we are all a little bit older as are our fans. I also don’t think the extended time between albums is as much of an issue with metal fans in general. For me once you’re a metal head you are always going to be a metal head. If a band that was around in the early eighties comes out with a new album today I would still be in to checking it out. I am very open minded as a metal head. The culture as well as social media has changed a lot since our last record but we are not really a trendy band. We are a band that has aspects of having a modern metal sound but we also have a very classic metal sound to us as well. We try to blend all that together. Because of all that I don’t think we as affected by changes and trends going on. In fact I think it may have helped us. A lot of people weren’t sure if we were still going to be together but I think people are pleasantly surprised that there is a new album coming out. I think also because all the guys in the band myself included have other projects that keep us busy people may have thought we would do just one album and be done but, we are now on our third album with the same line up and people are seeing this is a legitimate thing. I think those five years as helped us. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

AL: What does touring look like for this release?

RC: It is something that really depends on our schedule. I am excited because have been asking me a lot about if and when we are going to be playing. It shows me people do want to see us and it’s something that I really want to do. Hopefully it is something we will get to do. Festivals would seem to be the best option for us because of all our different schedules. We played Orion Fest with Metallica for our last album and that was amazing! We did a two week tour run for the first album which was awesome as well. We can’t promise anything just yet as we don’t have anything booked but it’s something we definitely want to do. I am really hoping we get to do some stuff. With all of us living in different places we have to make sure all of the logistics will work for everyone so something can happen.

AL: Knowing that you’re a big fan of Halloween and with the day just around the corner what do you think will be some of this year’s hot trends?

RC: Definitely anything having to do with the show “Stranger Things”. I have watched that series twice now all the way through and can’t stop listening to the soundtrack as well. I have been listening to it since August when it first came out. I think anything having to do with that show is going to be big. Also with this being an election year I think there is going to be a lot of Donald’s and Hillary’s. I have heard that the sales of masks determines the election. I want to say that the last few elections have in fact been determined by who sold the most masks. Pumpkin Beers are going to be big again this year as well as haunted houses. I think you will start to see more of the “extreme” haunted houses where you have to sign a waiver to go in because the actors can touch you and stuff. People seem to always be looking to take things to the next level. Me personally I will just stick to the ones where people jump out at you and that’s it. I don’t need people’s hands in my mouth or something like that. (Laughs)

For more info on Richard Christy and Charred Walls of the Damned be sure to check out www.richardchristy.com