Theater Review: “Jesus Christ Superstar” – Kansas City

 

  • JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
  • The Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • March 29, 2022

 

I have a very special place in my heart for the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.”  I’ve had it since I was 13 years old when, while visiting my grandfather – who I called Bapa, which is now how my grandchildren refer to me – in Florida, I asked to go see the movie, which was playing at a nearby theatre.  A quick phone call to my parents to make sure it was ok with them, and off I went.  For those of you who may not have seen the film, I won’t let on how it ends.  Let’s just say the ending haunted me on the way home and evolved into a long conversation with my Bapa.  Years later I had the opportunity to see the show a couple of times with both Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson, who played Jesus and Judas, respectively, in the film.  I was a guest backstage when I met both of them.  I told Ted Neeley about my conversation with Bapa and his thoughts and kindness will remain with me for the rest of my life.

 

Rolling into Kansas City this week is the 50th Anniversary Tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and it is a fine addition to the show’s great history.  A totally sung dramatization of the last week of Christ’s life, this production is very barebones, with an almost empty stage.  Also, while normally presented in two acts, there is no intermission here.  It’s a quick 80 minutes or so, but if you like to stretch your legs you’re out of luck.

 

The cast was excellent, both vocally and physically.  There is a lot of dance and movement here and nobody missed a beat.  Vocal standouts include Omar Lopez-Cepero (Judas), Jenna Rubaii (Mary) and Alvin Crawford (Caiaphas), whose amazing baritone shook the house.  The score is one of the best ever written and the orchestra, perched high above the stage, was outstanding.  Even the guys in the sound/light area could be seen grooving to the music.

 

The show continues in Kansas City at the beautiful Kauffman Center through Sunday, April 3rd.  If you’ve never seen the show, I urge you to take a chance.  If you have, see it again.  You won’t be disappointed.

Theater Review – Mean Girls: The Broadway Musical” – Kansas City

 

  • MEAN GIRLS
  • The Music Hall
  • Kansas City, Missouri

 

“Mean Girls” captures the pitfalls of trying to fit in
Since its release as a feature film in 2004, “Mean Girls” – starring Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan – has achieved and maintained a cult following during the years since its moderately successful theatrical run. Nowhere was this more evident than on Tuesday night at the Music Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri where an abundance of teen to twentysomething women were dressed like characters from the Tina Fey-written comedy.
Based partly on the 2002 book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, “Mean Girls – The Broadway Musical,” also written by Fey with music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, begins with North Shore High School students Janis Sarkisian (Mary Kate Morrissey) and Damian Hubbard (Eric Huffman) breaking the fourth wall with powerful voices to invite us on a “cautionary tale.”
As in the original film version, young Cady Heron (Danielle Wade) moves from Kenya to Chicago with her parents when her mother gets a new job. Being the new girl in a large high school, Cady has a hard time fitting in, something anyone who was a teenager can identify with. She is helped, though, by Janis and Damian, a pair of loners who take her under their wing. The song “Where Do You Belong?” punctuates the process of finding out which clique she belongs to and is a poignant reminder about what those days were like.
As belted in “APEX Predator” by Morrissey, the one group they don’t want Cady to join is a trio of girls known as “the Plastics.” Consisting of the most feared girl in school Regina George (Nadina Hassan), her keeper of secrets Gretchen Weiners (Megan Masako Haley), and the stereotypical dumb blonde Karen Smith (Jonalyn Saxer). They are intrigued by Cady and she is invited to join them for lunch, something that never happens to anyone else in school.
Janis sees this set of circumstances as a means to get revenge on Regina for a past transgression. So, she convinces a reluctant Cady to spy on Regina for her. Mix in competing affections for a dreamy boy named Aaron Samuels (Adante Carter) and the stage is set for a chaotic series of events that cause nothing but heartache and ruined friendships. However, can simple, heartfelt apologies overcome the emotional damage and allow them to accept each other’s differences?
Overall, the production value was what you would expect from a Broadway touring show – nothing but solid. Good performances were sprinkled throughout the well-written show, highlighted by Morrissey who dominated the stage with her power vocals. Additionally, the entertaining Hubbard played off her with ease as the duo shared the best onstage chemistry of the entire cast. The other cast member who often stole the show was Saxer who absolutely nailed the role of Karen and generated some of the night’s biggest laughs.
Whether it’s in Kansas City or some other city on its current tour, “Mean Girls” makes for a fun night of entertainment.
“Mean Girls – The Broadway Musical” will run through March 20th at the Music Hall.

 

Brit Floyd Creates Magic For the Crowd in Hershey, PA

HERSHEY, March 14, 2022 — Brit Floyd vocalist Eva Avila earned a standing ovation for her thrilling performance of “The Great Gig in The Sky” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album last night to a sell-out crowd in Hershey, PA.

The energy kept climbing from the start, leading to more standing ovations as Brit Floyd performed the Pink Floyd classics and dug deep in the Pink Floyd playlist to thrill the crowd with their flawless musical talent. Beginning with “Cluster One,” the band treated the audience to “High Hopes,” “Welcome to the Machine,” “Another Brick in the Wall” and more for the first set.

After a 20-minute intermission, the show regained its intensity with “Echoes” featuring organ riffs and Damian Darlington’s magical guitar. Ian Cattell showed his masterful guitar solos and Ryan Saranich’s dramatic saxophone added to the richness of Brit Floyd’s renditions of the Pink Floyd masterpieces.

Images of co-founder Syd Barret beamed on the screen as the band performed “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Darlington ‘s steely acoustic rendition of “Wish You Were Here” delivered another ovation. The second set ended with a skillful guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb.”

The sound was flawless. Video projections on the immense circular screen and choreographed dancing lights added to the experience. Everyone had a good seat in this small, but impressive theatre built by Milton Hershey in the early twentieth century. From its inception, the theatre was designed to be a beautiful place for Central Pennsylvanians to gather and enjoy a wide assortment of entertainment and Britt Floyd added to Hershey’s vision.

The crowd roared for more and Brit Floyd answered with an encore of “One Slip” and “Run Like Hell.” Many in the crowd asked about Brit Floyd’s performance schedule, as they wanted more.

Walter Zapotoczny is an author, historian, and local Pink Floyd aficionado. He can be reached at mail@wzaponline.com.

Theater Review: Disney’s “Frozen” at The Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando Presents: 

Disney Frozen The Hit Broadway Musical

February 24 – March 6, 2022

Walt Disney Theater

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ice and cold? In Orlando? And people are enjoying it? That can mean only one thing! Disney’s Hit Broadway Musical Frozen is in town. With 14 performances, of which most of them are sold out, Frozen breaks a record with more performances than any other show in The Walt Disney Theater’s history. 

Based on the 2013 wildly popular animated movie of the same name, Frozen has found a way to capture all the splendor and magic that one expects from Disney for a live audience. Seeing a real-life Olaf and Sven would be a treat in itself, but watching a real-life Elsa summon snow and ice from the palm of her hand or having your heart break as Anna freezes before your eyes, brings a sense of wonderment and excitement that only Disney can bring. 

Caroline Bowman shines as Elsa, emoting beautifully the struggle between wanting to protect your family while also wanting to be yourself.   Alongside her, Caroline Innerbichler mastered the quirky, fun Anna in such a way that made you to be your best friend while also capturing the hearts of all the children (and adults in the theater). Even my 9-year-old bonus daughter left the theater saying she wanted to be just like Anna when she was older. 

You can’t talk about Anna and Elsa, however, without talking about the amazing child stars who captured the youthful excitement and sisterly love of young Anna and Elsa perfectly – Oliva Jones (Anna) and Arwen Monzon-Sanders (Elsa). Their bond on stage, partnered with their ability to bring you in to their world and the emotions they are experience, is far beyond their age. Although Disney did not expand upon their childhood story which was told in the animated film, they did find a way to bring the characters of their childhood to life in a way that kept the spirit of the story alive. 

While it is sad that after its 2018 opening Frozen did not reopen on Broadway after the pandemic, its first national tour is a swirling snowstorm around the nation and a show that is not to be missed. You’ll be singing along to the classic songs from the film like “Let it Go,” while also feeling inspired by new songs like “Monster” which give depth to the storyline. So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on, what does Oaken call it?, Hygge and slide over to the Dr. Phillips Center for your tickets now. 

Theater Review: WICKED – Kansas City

 

  • WICKED
  • The Music Hall
  • Kansas City, Missouri

 

Here’s some musical theater trivia that a lot of people are stunned by.  Did you know that “West Side Story” did NOT win the Tony Award for Best Musical?  That’s right.  One of the most beloved musicals of all time did not take home the big prize.  That honor went to “The Music Man,” also one of the most beloved musicals of all time – and currently running on Broadway starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.

 

I mention this to not only promote the new film version of “West Side Story,” but to point out that another show whose title begins with the letter W, “Wicked,” also did not win the Best Musical Tony Award.  That year the Best Musical was “Avenue Q.”  The more you know.

 

“Wicked” comes to Kansas City in top form.  The previous engagement for this company was in Cleveland and, due to COVID, seven understudies were given their chance to shine.  At tonight’s performance, everyone was where they should be and the show was fantastic.

 

I’ve seen the show before, and what I like about this production is that not a lot has changed.  I’ve seen some shows where lines and songs have been altered over the years but here the show was presented just as it was when it debuted on Broadway 18 years ago.

 

The cast was in great form as the story of witches Glinda (Allison Bailey) and Elphaba (Talia Suskauer) unfolded.  With  well known songs such as “Popular” and “Defying Gravity,” the audience tapped their toes to every note.  Another standout was Cleavant Derricks as the Wizard.  Mr. Derricks created the role of James “Thunder” Early in the original production of “Dreamgirls” and deservedly won a Tony for his performance. 

 

If you haven’t seen “Wicked,” what are you waiting for?  If you have seen it, see it again.  It is definitely a show that shouldn’t be missed. 

GWAR To Release “The New Dark Ages” June 3rd on CD and Digital / September 16th on Vinyl and Cassette

Partners With Z2 Comics For Graphic Novel “GWAR In the Duoverse of Absurdity”

GWAR is set to release their ambitious new album “The New Dark Ages” June 3rd on CD and Digital, and on September 16th on Vinyl and Cassette via GWAR’s own label Pit Records. Pre-orders are available at: https://gwar.net/collections/the-new-dark-ages

The album concept is tied to a companion graphic novel, “GWAR In the Duoverse of Absurdity,” which will be released by Z2 Comics on June 3rd. In the graphic novel the band are sucked off into an alternate universe to do battle with their evil twins and the specter of rogue technology. On “The New Dark Ages” our heroes floorboard it through a kaleidoscope of hard driving heavy metal, and rock-n-fucking roll, building on their hilarious mythos, introducing cool new characters, and cataloging mankind’s hapless abandonment of their passions, rituals, and beliefs.

The Berserker Blóthar says: “This is the greatest rock record of all time. These are the songs for a new age, a New Dark Age, when men live by the dimming light of a technology destined to betray them. Listen, as we have a rock and roll orgy in the ruins of the world to celebrate humanity’s descent into an age of darkness, disease, ignorance, and death.”

“The New Dark Ages” is available for pre-order on cassette, CD, and multiple different colors of vinyl (whiskey, sunbolt and black/gold marble) and the graphic novel as both soft and hard cover. Bundles are available including ones with Blóthar bobbleheads, and a one of a kind Beefcake helmet. See them all at https://gwar.net/collections/the-new-dark-ages.

You’ve read the album, now hear the book!

“GWAR in the Duoverse of Absurdity” chronicles the epic battle between GWAR and their doppelgangers from an alternate universe the band discovers behind their treasured Magic Mirror. The book uses an innovative storytelling technique that combines words and pictures printed on paper (made from real trees!) in a seamless format we are calling a “graphic novel.” The tale is illustrated by the masterful talents of Andy MacDonald (Wolverine, Dr Strange, Wonder Woman), Shane White (Things Undone, Braun, Endless Summer), Matt Maguire (GWAR) and Bob Gorman (GWAR). Z2 Comics (Judas Priest, Dio, Anthrax) have teamed up with GWAR to produce what will surely be known as the ultimate illustrated saga of the beloved Scumdogs of the Duoverse.

“This was the most utterly engrossing book I’ve ever read! I couldn’t wait until I’d read what was on the page before I was compelled to turn it! This novel has the one element that is missing in so many so-called literary masterpieces: It’s about me!”
-Bälsäc The Jaws ‘o Death

“GWAR has made sure that this story is a full throttle hysterical ride into tipping every sacred cow possible and I consider it an honor to help bring this chapter of the band’s legacy to fetid, pulsing, life.”
-RANTZ HOSELEY, editor Z2

Produced by Ronan Murphy
Album Artwork by Alex Horley

Stay tuned for more news and music from the forthcoming album “The New Dark

Theatre Review “Tootsie: The Comedy Musical”@ Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando Presents:
Tootsie
November 2–7, 2021
Walt Disney Theater

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

November 2nd was a big day in Orlando, FL at the Walt Disney Theater at Dr. Phillips Center. It was the return of Broadway to the stage. “Tootsie” is the first Broadway in Orlando production since the pandemic shut everything down. It was a glorious return to the stage at the Walt Disney Theater. The place was packed and the audiences were ready to enjoy some fun Broadway theater. Let’s just say that “Tootsie” did not disappoint its audience.

If you are saying to yourself, “Tootsie”, isn’t that the 1982 movie with Dustin Hoffman…and the answer is yes. They made a musical about it. The show premiered on Broadway in New York back in 2018 and I have to admit it really worked as a musical. The songs were funny and laugh out loud at parts.  In case you are not familiar with the movie the play features a 40-year-old failed actor Michael Dorsey (played by Drew Becker) who plays decides to cross-dress as “Dorothy Michaels” to land a role in a an upcoming musical sequel of “Romeo and Juliet”.

Drew Becker was phenomenal playing both roles with ease and nailing every second of it. In “Tootsie”, the director is played by Adam Du Plessis and he also steals the show with his fantastic dance skills. Props also go to Ashley Alexandra for winning our hearts as Dorsey’s love interest. Payton Reilly honestly, annoyed the hell out of me playing Dorsey’s ex-girlfriend but definitely saving the day was Jared David Michael Grant, playing Dorsey’s best friend. Him and Drew Becker has great chemistry and it really connected on the stage.

The play does have a solid score by 2018 Tony-winner David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). The song were really fun like I mentioned and definitely had the lady sitting behind me belly-laughing. The show is playing at the Walt Disney Theater from November 2-7, 2021 and if you can get tickets, I would highly recommend. In a time when everyone is worrying about the news, work and struggles of life…it is good to get out and laugh once in a while and “Tootsie” definitely helped in that department!

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party Brings the Magic to Orlando September 3-5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party Brings the Magic to Fans Through Innovative Technology and Transformative PerformancesTickets for the September 3-5 Orlando show will go on sale on August 3, 2021

Orlando, FL – June 25, 2021 – Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is bringing the magic to guests through dynamic moments that take place on the ice and in the air. This adventure delivers compelling storytelling through multi-leveled production numbers visits Orlando from September 3-5, 2021 at Amway Center. Tickets will go on sale on August 3, 2021 at www.ticketmaster.com.

While delivering the same magical experiences guests expect from Disney On Ice, Feld Entertainment is continuing Guest Wellness Enhancements to help keep families safe at its live events. Feld Entertainment is working closely with venue partners to establish and follow COVID-19 health and safety standards in accordance with all federal, state and local guidelines. Face coverings are strongly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC recommends face coverings if you are not fully vaccinated. Full details on Feld Entertainment Guest Wellness Enhancements can be found here.

Additional Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party Show Details:  Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and pals as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic. Journey across the Marigold Bridge with Miguel from Disney●Pixar’s Coco into the magnificent and mystical Land of the Dead and discover a vibrantly colorful performance with skeletons atop sway poles dancing over the audience in a beautiful cultural celebration of family. Travel to the wintry world of Arendelle and sing along with Elsa as video projection creates a kaleidoscope of crystals to help build her ice palace. Witness Belle lift into the sky as the enchanted chandelier comes to life high over the ice. Demonstrate the power of teamwork when Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie recruit the Green Army Men for a daring rescue in Andy’s room. Laugh hysterically as the hilarious pirates flip, tumble, and twist on tumble tracks, stilts and more in an effort to showcase their talents for Captain Hook. Sail away with Moana on her daring voyage across the ocean and bravely encounter the fiery wrath of Te Ka. And make memories with your whole family during Aladdin and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out celebration.

Join this magical search and help unlock an epic journey when Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party delivers an unforgettable experience in your hometown!

Event Location:  Amway Center, 400 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Disney On Ice Preferred Customers can purchase advance tickets starting on July 27, 2021, to get the best seats available before tickets go on-sale to the general public on August 3, 2021. Fans can still sign up to become a Disney On Ice Preferred Customer and get exclusive access to the pre-sale offer code.

Dates and Times of Performances:
Friday, September 3:  7:30pm
Saturday, September 4:  11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Sunday, September 5:  1:00pm, 5:00pm

To purchase tickets:
Online:  www.disneyonice.com / www.Ticketmaster.com
Phone:  800-298-4200
Box Office:  Amway Center Box Office
*Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand.

For more info about Disney On Ice, follow Disney On Ice social media channels: FacebookTwitter & Instagram. Subscribe to the Disney On Ice YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce.

###
About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On IceDisney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour. Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit feldentertainment.com for more information.

Theater Review: “Godspell” – Kansas City

  • GODSPELL
  • Starlight Theater
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • June 22, 2021

45 years ago tonight, the musical “Godspell” opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theater.  It had been performed in workshops and on the road since 1971 so this year actually marks the show’s 50th Anniversary.  What a great show to celebrate the return of live musical theater to Kansas City.

Most people know the show thanks to the song “Day by Day,” which was a hit on the radio in the summer of 1972, but may have never seen the show.  The story basically tells the story of Jesus, from beginning to end, in song and with a surprising amount of humor.  Obviously the show has been “punched up” since 1971, and jokes revolving around COVID, Netflix and the Kardashians hit their mark.  There’s even a brief mention of one of the “other” biblical musicals, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” which, along with “Jesus Christ Superstar,” completed the Biblical Musical Trifecta!,

With a musical score by Stephen Schwartz, who also created “Pippin” and “Wicked,” the show is an ensemble extravaganza, with each cast member creating their own identity.  What made the show special was that every actor on stage had Kansas City roots.  The entire cast was brilliant but I’d like to give special mention to Eric Geil (Jesus), Patrick Lewallen (Judas) and Shon Ruffin (Shon), whose amazing voice reminded me of the great Nell Carter. 

As usual, Starlight was most accommodating to the audience, with a beautiful night to go along with a beautiful presentation.  “Godspell” continues its run in Kansas City through Sunday, June 28.  You can buy tickets HERE.

Quite simply, “Godspell” is a blessed return to musical theater!

SUBLIME PARTNERS WITH Z2 COMICS FOR AN ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL CELEBRATING THEIR ICONIC LEGACY


The Legendary SoCal Band Announces Their First-Ever Graphic Novel Available to Preorder 
Now Featuring Special Editions With Covers By Longtime Sublime Artists Opie Ortiz and DJ Product ©1969

Z2 COMICS continues to roll out news of some of their most ambitious projects yet, with today’s announcement of the RYAN CADY-written graphic novel chronicling the misadventures of one of the most defining bands of the last three decades, the Long Beach, reggae-punk institution, SUBLIME!

The laid-back Long Beach trio spawned an entire genre—fusing reggae grooves, punk grittiness, ska energy, back-porch folk introspection, and hip-hop swagger.  

Those disparate sounds first collided back in 1988, when the gregarious Bradley Nowell paired up with a sturdy, simpatico rhythm section—bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh—and quickly amassed a cult following in the SoCal scene.  Sublime found their niche at house parties: uniting Rastas, surfers, skaters, frat boys, cholos and ink-covered outcasts with a free-flowing melting pot approach that, much like the region itself, was impossible to pigeonhole.  The band goes from playing backyard parties and selling cassettes out of the trunks of their cars to creating an entirely new and revolutionary blend of chart topping music. 

Xanadu meets Superbad in this heartfelt anthology of SUBLIME legends brought to life by RYAN CADY (Green Lantern, Poppy’s Inferno), AUDREY MOK (Archie), ALEX DIOTTO (Youth), HAYDEN SHERMAN (Angel & Spike), LOGAN FAERBER (‘Namwolf), rising stars BILL MASUKU,ROBERT AHMAD and more. Featuring brand-new cover artwork by SUBLIME family members OPIE ORTIZ and DJ PRODUCT ©1969! Plus: the one and only LOU-DOG!

SCOTT SEINE, of Sublime’s management company Surfdog/DKM, adds “We knew the band’s iconic music always had the added elements behind it of their history of hijinks, anti-authority attitude and follow-no-rules lifestyle, and this combination would make for an amazing comic book the fans would cherish. So a Z2 Comics collaboration was a no-brainer.”

“When you grow up in SoCal like I did, Sublime’s music is this powerful background radiation, permeating the culture” says writer RYAN CADY“You hear it everywhere. Opie’s sun is everywhere–stickers of it slapped on taco stand walls, sharpie-tagged inside of every high school bathroom, screen-printed in every possible iteration. I saw these guys like neighbors, and as I research the human moments underneath their phenomenon with Bud and Eric, I get to share that feeling with everyone who picks up the book.” 

Publisher JOSH FRANKEL says “The gritty California sounds of Sublime transcended location and musical genres to foster a state of mind in listeners from coast to coast and beyond.  Our book will highlight Sublime’s vast musical influences and behind-the-scenes stories, all centered around the unbreakable bonds of friendship, and continuing in the tradition of essential graphic biopics we established with our GRATEFUL DEAD and CHARLIE PARKER releases last year.” 

Decades after Nowell’s untimely death, they remain an institution: They’ve sold over 20 million albums to date; their music still fills the airwaves and their merchandise, emblazoned with the iconic sun logo, dominates sales at retailers across America. 

Most importantly, the music remains timeless—a rite of passage for misfit listeners who refuse to color within the lines of conventional genre.  

The SUBLIME: $5 AT THE DOOR graphic novel clocks in at 120 pages and will be released in a standard soft and hardcover editions in comic shops and bookstores alike in June 2021, with a special deluxe edition, and highly limited super deluxe edition available for preorder now exclusively through the Z2 website! Deluxe and super deluxe edition include a special first-time vinyl edition of the Doin’ Time EP, unavailable elsewhere, as well as exclusive prints, Lou-Dog toy and more!

Ben Brainard talks about his sketch comedy series Welcome to the Table

Ben Brainard is a comedian with a natural ability to make any crowd laugh. Originally from Daytona Beach, and now living in Orlando, Ben has toured across the country. He’s also produced several shows for Army Reserve units. During quarantine, Ben found viral success producing “The Table,” a sketch comedy series about how the various states of the US are handling current events.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ben about his sketch comedy and also his upcoming tour dates and secret upcoming project!!!

Patrick Hinds and Ellyn Marie Marsh discuss new podcast “Obsessed With: Disappeared”

Patrick Hinds is known best for co-hosting the hit podcast “True Crime Obsessed”. Well, he is launching a companion podcast to ID’s hit series “Disappeared” called “Obsessed With: Disappeared.” The series will be co-hosted by himself and Broadway star and Patrick’s friend of 20+ years, Ellyn Marie Marsh (“Pretty Woman: The Musical,” “Kinky Boots”.)

“Obsessed With: Disappeared” will recap episodes of Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel’s hit series “Disappeared” in a comedic and witty tone, with perpetrators always the butt of the joke. Starting with Season 1 / Episode 1, the show will cover infamous subjects like Maura Murray, The Springfield Three and Tanya Rider. The series will be similar in format to Hinds’ hit podcast True Crime Obsessed, which now sees 3.5M+ downloads a month. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Patrick and Ellyn and the show and find out what to expect.

Channah Zapotoczny: On May 27th you are launching a new podcast called “Obsessed With: Disappeared” – tell me a little about the new podcast?

Patrick Hinds: Ellyn and I go way back. We have been best friends for twenty years. I make another podcast called True Crime Obsessed, where we recap true crime documentaries. The cases that always fascinated me where the ones with missing people. Ellyn is this incredible creative force. She is this Broadway actress, but she does like a million other things. I have always wanted to make something with her. When I heard of this show “Disappeared”, which focuses around missing people, I thought this could be it. Ellyn is also fascinated with true crime and she’s really funny. I thought maybe we could take formula that we have perfected with True Crime Obsessed, which is recapping documentaries and apply that to the show “Disappeared” and then Ellyn and I can be together, laugh and make a podcast about these missing people.

Channah: Ellyn, what drew you to this series?

Ellyn Marie Marsh: Well, everyone loves to have their opinions and have them be heard. This is pretty much the perfect platforms for two hams like Patrick and myself. We are both creative people. Patrick has published books and has done podcasting. We have always supported each other. He is always front row at one of my shows, but we have never been able to coordinate working together. We are both super ambitious and tend to over commit ourselves. We are always go-go-go and have been for so long and finally Patrick said to me that we need to do something together. It was just a matter of making the time to do it and committing to do it. We both love this medium of podcasting. We already have so much history and banter to our everyday life that we should just put this on a platform. It was just the right time and the right thing. It was always something we wanted to do, to join forces and do this together.

Patrick: Ellyn, I don’t know if this is same for you because you have done so much but I have never done a project with a person that is my exact personality type match. With True Crime Obsessed, Gillian is a little more reserved. She is a little more thoughtful that me. Ellyn and I are like screaming and laughing at each other and it is something to be seen.

Ellyn: I don’t know if that good or bad [laughing]. We definitely have to adjust the decibel levels of all of our podcasts.

Channah: So, is that what we can expect for this podcast, the fun laughter and banter?

Patrick: I will say this, I have been professionally recapping stuff now with True Crime Obsessed for three years. I feel very confident, as I am the one editing the shows also, that I am very good with the structure of the show. A lot of the things are the same. We are very funny and laugh a lot, but we also care very deeply about the cases. We never victim blame or victim shame. One of the things we are trying to do, is that many of these cases have never seen solved. So, we are trying to be another opportunity to see the sun again. You never know who will hear an episode of the podcast, who knows something. That is a real thing that could definitely happen. So, you can definitely expect us to be loud and funny and very Broadway. But also, we take the cases very seriously as well as the medium of podcasting. This is not off the rails three-hour long episode. They are very structured, but they are fun at the same time.

Ellyn: We are both deeply sensitive people. A lot of these episodes are with parents recapping about their children and that does get us. We are finding laughter and humor in unsuspected places. I think that dichotomy works really well. We are not ignoring that these are sometimes sad situations but mostly wrapped up in detectives that have done things wrong or funny things about the documentary has been made. We are always going to find humor and levity in those moments.

Patrick: Yeah, it is definitely a different take. There are a lot of great missing persons podcasts out there that are very serious and straight forward and I love those podcasts too. But we have found a way to inject humor as a way to make these stories palatable and disgustable and I think we do a good job with that.

Channah: Each episode of ID’s Disappeared is between 40-45 minutes long, should we expect the podcast to be about the same length?

Patrick: We are figuring that out. What we want to be apart of the podcast is our decades of friendship without being that type of podcast that meanders into off the beaten path stories. As the editor it is a little bit of a tricky thing for me to figure out what to keep and what to cut. We will certainly be doing outtakes. Some of the stories told, we will find a way to make them mini or bonus episodes. I would say the episodes length would be 40-50 minutes that is what we are aiming for.

Ellyn: We are both also avid podcast listeners and the 45 minutes mark is a good spot that draws you in enough but doesn’t go on and on. Patrick has doing this way before True Crime Obsessed and has perfected making an arc out of the story.

Patrick: And if there is one thing, we learned from True Crime Obsessed is that people love the bonus material. None of it gets thrown away permanently. We will just find another way for you to hear it.  

Channah: That was going to be one of my questions, will you have a Patreon that you can give the extra material on?

Patrick: “Obsessed: Disappeared” is our second new podcast in the Obsessed Network, which I created with my husband Steve. The whole idea of the network is to produce podcast about things that people are obsessed with. Obviously, this falls under that category because people are obsessed with true crime and people are obsessed with the show “Disappeared”. We definitely will have a way on the network to do bonus episodes. We are trying to figure this all out now.

Channah: For those wanting to follow along at home will you be doing the series in order starting season 1? Or will you be jumping around?

Patrick: No, we are going to go straight through from the beginning. And as soon as the world goes back to normal in the world, we will be going live shows as well for this.

Channah: You two have been friends for over 20 years – what do you think that brings to this podcast that others just can’t compete with?

Ellyn: [laughs] The great thing about it is that Patrick and I are in such different worlds, he is more in the podcasting world and I am more in the Broadway world. We both come with a set of very loyal fans. I am so excited to dish about young Patrick to all of his fans. His fans love him so much and I am just ready with all the drunken stories and embarrassing moments.

Patrick: I think about making True Crime Obsessed with Gillian. We started making that podcast right after we met, and I didn’t know that Gillian was funny [laughs]. There was a bit of a learning curve getting to know her and which buttons to push or not push and with Ellyn I know all of that already. There is a deep level of knowledge and history and experience. It is really very sybiling-esque.  There is just a lot of history there.

Channah: Speaking of Broadway, I like to do a fun question – if each of you could pick your dream role on Broadway, what would it be?

Ellyn: I don’t think my dream role has been written yet. There are so many roles like Evita. You think of those parts and they are equated with such legends. You think of Evita and not think of Patti LuPone. So, I feel like I am fulfilling someone else’s dream. So, it is always a goal in the Broadway community to be involved with an original company of something. I have been in a bunch and I think it is great to make your own work. I think my part will be playing Ellyn Marsh in Ellyn Marsh: The Musical [laughs].

Patrick: I would want to be the standby in Ellyn Marsh: The Musical [laughing]. I don’t have the talent to do this, I wish I had the talent to play any role that Norbert Leo Butz played. He was great in “Catch Me If You Can” and has a great song and tap number, also “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. Anything that Norbert Leo Butz has been in for sure.

Channah: What do you want fans to know coming into this podcast?

Patrick: Just that I am the funny one [laughs].

Ellyn: And the skinnier one [laughs].

Patrick: I am in general hotter, that is all.

Ellyn: I think Patrick and Gillian perfected the comedy true crime podcast. We really break down more of the surrounding factors and by no means laughing at anybody remotely associated with the victim.

Patrick: We take the cases very seriously. We are looking to bring more awareness to it. It is very funny and you are going to laugh a lot but we take the crime seriously.

Theatre Review “Mean Girls” @ Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL

“Mean Girls” is a musical based on the 2004 movie that was written by Tina Fey. The musical premiered in Washington, D.C. in October 2017 and opened on Broadway in April 2018. If you are thinking “Seriously they made a musical for Mean Girls?”, this show has no shortage of talent from the award-winning creative team, including Tina Fey (30 Rock), composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon). This show is packed with energy and devilish humor that will leave you howling.

From upbeat anthems like “Apex Predator” and “I See Stars” to the songs that show the difficult side of being a female like “What’s Wrong With Me,” the music never stopped. The female leads in the show, especially Mary Kate Morrissey (Janis), Danielle Wade (Cady), and Mariah Rose Faith (Regina George), all had unique singing voices that were nothing short of impressive. In addition, the show decided to use digital screens for quick set changes which led to seamless transitions when changing from classroom to classroom and location to location in the middle of a song. The comedic timing in the show, especially by Karen – played by Jonalyn Saxer, kept you laughing throughout the entire show. There was even a scene with the Lion mascot that had the audience laughing so hard some were in tears. Overall, the show captured the life of a teenage girl in a way that had you sympathizing, laughing, and swaying along to the amazing music.

Official Premise: Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

The show is playing at the Walt Disney theater from February 25–March 1, 2020. If you are able to get tickets, this is a show that is not to be missed. Overall this musical is just plain fun. You find yourself smiling and laughing till it hurts. Due to the success of the musical production it was recently announced that a film adaptation of the musical was being produced. So expect more of “Mean Girls” in the coming years!

Ron English x Clutter presents; ​Big Poppa Classic Colorway!

Join us on February 28, 2020, at 6 pm in SoHo, NYC to celebrate the amazing artwork of Ron English with some very special exclusive releases! 

English’s most iconic figure, The McSupersize, meets the greatest MC of all time… Introducing the ultimate bootleg Hip-Hop Mashup… The Big Poppa!​

Limited to just 75 pieces worldwide, the much-anticipated release of the Classic colorway will be available exclusively at this pop-up event!

To celebrate this historic drop, we are also releasing a number of amazing crystalized versions of the Big Poppa with crystals from Swarovski!!

Classic Colorway
Swarovski Crystalized Version

Teaming up with I am Retro and Swarovski, we will have a very limited amount of Classic Colorway and Gold & Black Big Poppas in all their crystal glory. The Classic Colorway collaboration is fully crystalized, featuring over 4000 crystals each, hand-embellished by the masterminds at Swarovski’s design lab in Manhattan. There will only be fifteen of these beauties available and are a MUST-HAVE for any serious collector of Ron English’s work. The Gold and Black version is accented with Swarovski crystals for those who just want a taste of bling!

Joker, 1917 and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood Lead Winners for the 9th Annual Media Mikes Awards

Now that the Oscars dust has settled, it’s time to take a look at how we here at Media Mikes, readers and writers alike, voted for our top cinematic achievements of 2019 in our 9th Annual Media Mikes Awards

“Joker,” Todd Phillips’s dark look at the origins of Batman’s greatest enemy, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino’s fable about the summer of 1969 and Sam Mendes’s enthralling WWI drama, “1917”, topped our lists with two awards each.

“Hollywood” took home the big prize as the year’s Best Picture and also nabbed Best Supporting Actor award for Brad Pitt. “Joker” earned wins for Joaquin Phoenix as Best Actor as well as Best Original Score, written and composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir. “1917” earned the award for Best Director for Sam Mendes and was also recognized for its cinematography by the legendary Roger Deakins.

Additional winners included Reneé Zellwegger as Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in “Judy” and Scarlett Johansson as Best Supporting Actress for her work in “JoJo Rabbit.”

“Toy Story 4” was chosen as the year’s Best Animated Feature.

This year saw more than 3,000 readers submit their choices in the seven top categories, check out the complete list of our winners below

Reader Voted Awards Went to…

Best Picture – “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Best Director – Sam Mendes, “1917”
Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Best Actress – Renee Zellweger, “Judy”
Best Supporting Actress – Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Best Supporting Actor – “Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Best Animated Feature – “Toy Story 4”

Awards chosen by our Media Mikes writers went to…

Best Original Screenplay – Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, “Parasite”
Best Adapted Screenplay – Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”
Best Documentary Feature – “David Crosby: Remember my Name”
Best Cinematography – Roger Deakins, “1917”
Best Original Score – Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Joker”

Composer John Williams, who recently earned his 52nd Academy Award nomination, was name the recipient of this years Media Mikes Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who voted!

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