James “Murr” Murray talks about his new book, You Better Watch Out & Season 11 of Impractical Jokers

James Murray or better known as “Murr” is from the hit long running TV series, Impractical Jokers, which is premiering it’s 11th season TODAY (7/11/24) on TBS!! James also has a new book called “You Better Watch Out” coming out this October. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with James about his new book and season of Impractical Jokers and what we can expect.

Lisa Downs talks about her latest behind-the-scenes documentary – Life After The Goonies!

Lisa Downs is driving force behind the series of recent documentaries made under Life After Movies. The first being Life After Flash, then Life After The Navigator (which focuses on Flight of the Navigator) and most recently Life After The NeverEnding Story. Their upcoming project is focusing around The Goonies. Behind the Marquee has a chance to chat with Lisa about her films and what we can expect for Life After The Goonies and most importantly how fans can help get it made!

Eric Bana talks about his new film “A Sacrifice” with Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink

Eric Bana is well known for his roles in 2003’s Hulk, Troy and Black Hawk Down – just to name a few. He has a new flick coming out called A SACRIFICE with Stranger Things’s Sadie Sink opening June 28th! Behind the Marquee had a chance to chat with Eric about his new film and what we can expect.

Ira Heiden chats about being killed by Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Ira Heiden may be known best for his role of Will in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. He also appeared in “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark” and even voiced the Mini-Puffs in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ira about getting killed by Freddy Krueger and more!

Kevin McDonald talks about touring solo and future plans for The Kids in the Hall

Kevin McDonald is one of the members of the Canadian comedy troupe, The Kids in the Hall. Recently the gang returned to TV with a new series on Amazon, which only lasted one season sadly. Kevin is hitting the road this year with his comedy routine. One of his stops is at Laugh Out Lounge in Winter Haven, FL, June 14-15, 2024. Media Mikes had the chance to chat with Kevin about his tour and future plans for The Kids in the Hall.

Lewis Santer talks about playing Tigger in the horror sequel “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey II”

When I first saw the horror film “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey”, I left the theater freaking out with how awesome it was but I said one thing to my wife that the sequel needs to have Tigger in it…well my prayers were answered because I had the chance to chat with Lewis Santer, who played Tigger in the sequel “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey II”. We discussed him getting into the role, his biggest challenges and his future in “Poohniverse: Monsters Assemble”.

Lisa Downs talks about her documentary “Life After The NeverEnding Story”

“Life After The NeverEnding Story” is a documentary celebrating The NeverEnding Story (1984) via cast and crew interviews, whilst exploring the lives of stars Noah Hathaway and Tami Stronach since those breakthrough roles. Lisa Downs is the person behind the documentary. She has also made other films in the “Life After” series including Flight of the Navigator and Flash Gordon. Media Mikes caught up with Lisa to discuss the documentary as well as what she has planned coming in the near future.

Award Winning Composer, Bear McCreary talks about new concept album “The Singularity”

The Singularity is an epic rock concept album, graphic novel, and concert experience from the mind of Grammy-nominated, and Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning composer Bear McCreary. The Singularity arrives on CD, vinyl, and digital formats via Shadows & Sparks Records and Mutant on Friday, May 10.

Two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated, Emmy, and BAFTA Award-winning composer Bear McCreary began his career working with legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein, before bursting onto the scene scoring the influential and revered series Battlestar Galactica in 2004. Since then, McCreary has been a four-time Emmy Award nominee and Emmy winner for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme for Da Vinci’s Demons.

Interview with Singer/Songwriter A.J. Croce

Thursday, September 20, 1973 found me in 8th grade at Chardon Middle School in Chardon, Ohio.  Walking home my group of friends would often sing the songs we heard on the radio at the top of our voices.  A favorite was “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”  The next day the word was all over school.  The night before the man who wrote and sung the song, Jim Croce, had been killed in a plane crash.  18-months after he had burst onto the scene, he was gone.  But in that time he gave the world some of the most memorable songs of all time.  Jim Croce is gone, but thankfully another talented songwriter is keeping his work alive.  His son, A.J.


With ten albums of his own to his credit, A.J. Croce (Adrian James for the curious) didn’t need to sing his father’s songs to establish his long career.  Feeling the time is right, he has recently embarked on a tour called, simply, “Croce Sings Croce.”  In preparation for his upcoming appearance at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City on Saturday, April 13th, Mr. Croce took the time so speak with me about the tour, his career and the continued legacy of his fater.


MIKE SMITH:  I’m going to get weird here for a second and I apologize.  I’m aa63 years old.  I had two musical heroes growing up…people whose music not only inspired me but their passion for others.  One was Harry Chapin.  The other was your dad.  I interviewed Harry’s son, Jason, a couple of years ago and it is a true honor and privilege to speak with you.   


A.J. CROCE:  Wow.  Thank you.


MS:  You were reluctant to perform your father’s music early in your career.  Why are you highlighting it now?


AJC:  There were a lot of reasons.  One was that I had had success in my own right.  I had done well as a songwriter and sideman and musician.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  The other part was that I didn’t feel there was any integrity in just jumping in and performing my father’s music.  I was a piano player, so I was playing the guitar parts on piano long before I picked up a guitar twenty years ago.  It was a challenge.  I played jazz and old blues and rock and roll New Orleans music so I was trying to find and conquer the most challenging music out there.  That’s what I was looking for.  That being said, I love my father’s music.  There was never a time when I didn’t respect what he had done.  I loved his song writing nd guitar playing.  I have always been working behind the scenes to try and preserve and promote his legacy of music.  I felt that the integrity of my music needed to be intact.  I felt it was a little cheap and a little cheesy just to make a few bucks off of playing my dad’s music when I was young.  As I got older and picked up the guitar, I found there were times and places in my show where I could throw in a song of his as a surprise.  As soon as no one expected me to perform my father’s music it became a lot easier and more fun to throw something in.  Having worked with Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and James Brown…all those iconic R&B artists…I wanted to make a name for myself.  It was really important that there be integrity in it.


MS:  When you first started out, was the last name “Croce” a blessing or a hinderance?


AJC:  Both.  It was both.  The blessing was, in some ways, smaller then the hinderance at times.  It’s hard to have your own identity when you have a name that’s recognizable.  You don’t really have the privilege of being heard for yourself.  You are heard as the relative of someone who is well-known, maybe for something completely different from what you do.  Having the identity of someone else is a challenge.  Most people get to succeed and fail on their own merits.  I was only able to succeed from the outside perspective on the merits of my father and I was only able to fail on my own merit.  I was not concerned with fame and celebrity.  I was determined to be the best piano player and songwriter and entertainer that I could possibly be.  That was my goal.  I probably shot myself in the foot more than a few times because I was more interested in the music than I was in the fame that music brought.  I probably turned down many opportunities early in my career that would have been really helpful.  I think early on, in the first twenty, twenty-five years of my touring and recording career…of course I wanted people to hear my music.  I think I was a little uncompromising.  I was a little afraid of what fame might do.  I saw what it did to my father.  I saw the remnants of it because of his success.  There’s a certain part of life you no longer get to experience once you’re no longer anonymous.


MS:  Talking about fame, a lot of people can tell you that Jim Croce died in a plane crash but they don’t know why he was on that plane.  He was keeping a promise that he really didn’t have to.  He didn’t have to go and do that show, but he did.  And that is one of the things I’ve always admired about him.


AJC:  Yes.  I mean, every artist has that happen.  When you sign a deal to do a concert and miss it, you do your best to make it up.  I got snowed out of a concert in Connecticut in February and will go back and play at the end of April.  That’s the nature of this business.  There are circumstances sometimes that keep you from being where you want to be.  Or play where you want to play.


MS:  Certainly.  My comparison is that between the time he missed the concert and when he went down to do it he became JIM CROCE.


(QUICK NOTE:  Before he became a household name, Jim Croce had to cancel a concert he had scheduled at Northwestern State University in Louisiana due to illness.  He promised the promoters that he would make up the show as soon as possible.  A year later, now a big star, he had an open date on his current tour, called the school and said he’d be there.  Even with two successful albums and a fistful of hit songs, Croce did the show for his originally agreed on fee, $750.  Remember when I talked about having passion for others?  Jim Croce is a true example. )


AJC:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  His career was so brief.  His career was eighteen months.  I mean he had played semi-professionally for a period of time but his professional career was eighteen months.  All of the songs you know were written, finished and recorded and toured in that eighteen-month period of time.  It’s kind of an astounding thing that so much was accomplished in such a short amount of time. 

A.J. Croce (Photo credit: Jim Shea)

MS:  You’ve endured a lot of tragedy in your life. (NOTE:  Jim Croce died when A.J. was two.  When he was four, his mother’s boyfriend beat him so badly he lost sight in both eyes.  He regained the sight in his left eye at age 10).  Have you ever drawn on that, even subconsciously, for your own music? 


AJC:  Oh, of course.  If I don’t draw on life experience, I’m not doing my job.  If I’m not using it in my music then I’m not paying attention or growing.  It can’t be a superficial exploration when it comes to writing.  There needs to be depth and you need to draw from those things and hopefully gain wisdom and a sense of humor.  If you can’t gain a sense of humor from the tragedies of life then you’re missing out on half of what a tragedy can give you. 


MS:   Do you have a favorite song of your fathers?


AJC:  No.  I love a lot of his songs.   Just like all music I have no favorite artist…no favorite song.  Music is dso much about mood and emotion.  One morning you wake up and you want to hear Edith Piaf.  The next morning you wake up and you want to hear Zepplin.  Or you want to hear Ray Charles or Fats Waller or Little Richard.  Music is about emotion and mood and that’s such a beautiful thing. 


MS:  That’s a great answer.


AJC: (laughing) Thanks! 


A.J. Croce is currently on tour.  For more information, please visit his WEBSITE.

Interview with “Clue” actor Teddy Trice

We first introduced you to actor Teddy Trice five years ago when the Kansas City area native was back in his home town and appearing in “The Book of Mormon.”  This week he’s back, appearing in the new comedy “Clue.”  Mr. trice took time out of his day to fill us in on the new challenges he’s taken on on stage.


Mike Smith:  Good morning! 


Teddy Trice:  Good morning.  We’ve chatted before, do you remember?


MS:  Yes sir, for “The Book of Mormon.”


TT:  Well, it’s good to talk with you again.


MS:  How was the show last night?


TT:  It was great…it was great.  Full house.  The audience was having a blast. 


MS:  Tell me about the show.  How did it come to be?


TT:  This is the play adaptation of the classic movie.  And if you’re a fan of the board game you’ll see a lot of connections there.  The show follows the six suspects of Boddy Manor.  It’s a classic who-dun-it, with lots of slapstick comedy.  It has a lot of twists and turns that will keep people guessing. 


MS:  Since you mentioned the movie, when the film was released, it was released with three different endings.  Depending on what version you saw, that was the murderer.  The hope was that if you paid to see the film, you’d pay two more times to see the alternate killers.  Is the show similar to that?  Do you have a different killer every night?


TT:  It’s the same ending every night. But there are a few little twists that are different from what the film was


MS:  What is the audience reaction when the culprit is revealed?  I’m sure many of them have spent the show trying to figure things out for themselves.  Are there gasps of surprise or can you hear someone whisper “I knew it was them?”


TT:  There have been moments when the audience thinks they have it figured out and when the story switches you definitely hear the reaction.  But it happens so fast.  The show is 90-minutes and everyone is trying to piece it together in real time.  Everyone is along for the ride.  And when they do, or don’t, figure it out, it definitely takes them by surprise.


MS:  It’s definitely a show that you have to pay attention too.


TT:  There are quite a few characters and you have to piece together their motivations so you have to be CLUED in (laughs) to figure it out.


MS:  Last we talked, you were appearing in one of the most popular musicals of the 20th Century.  What led you to “Clue?”


TT:  This is my first time touring in a play.  After “Book of Mormon” I did “Come From Away” (NOTE:  “Come From Away” currently touring).  So I did two pretty big musicals so I thought stepping into a play would be a really big challenge.  Especially now when you have people who are massive fans of the movie.  A built-in audience.  It was a joy to work with the playwright and the director from the beginning.  I thought it was a unique opportunity to bring this show across the country. 

Mr. Trice recently released an EP of songs reflecting his life and upbringing.

MS:  is this your first time at the Kaufman Center?


TT:  Yes.  I appeared at the Music Hall but this is my first time at Kauffman.


MS:  What is it like playing in front of the home town audience?


TT:  It’s amazing.  I can remember when I was younger and a show would come to Kauffman.  I would take my parents  and just be in awe of the space and the performers.  It’s definitely a bucket list item for me.  It’s a dream for me.  To be able to work in a place that inspired me is really special.  I can only imagine that aspiring young artists are thinking the same thing.  I want to be able to be a light for the City and help in that way.


To read my 2019 interview with Mr. Trice, click HERE

Dan Allen talks about Bambi: The Reckoning, Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey II and the Poohiverse

Dan Allen is the director of the upcoming Bambi: The Reckoning, the editor of Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey II. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dan about his new films and the upcoming Poohiverse franchise.

A Chat with Brit Floyd’s Harry Waters & Eva Avila discussing Pink Floyd at the Hershey Theatre in PA

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Harry Waters, son of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and vocalist Eva Avila during their 2024 P-U-L-S-E Word Tour at the Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA discussing all things Pink Floyd.

In a monumental celebration of musical history, Brit Floyd will embark on the “2024 P-U-L-S-E Word Tour,” commemorating the 30th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s iconic album, “The Division Bell.” Known for their unwavering dedication to recreating the magic of Pink Floyd’s music, Brit Floyd is the perfect ensemble to honor “The Division Bell.” Audiences can expect a breathtaking audiovisual experience that pays homage to the original band’s unique blend of music and visual effects.

Interview with “Mama Mia!” actress Jalynn Steele



If I wasn’t the age I am, I wouldn’t believe that the group ABBA has been around for over five decades.  Their music was a big part of the soundtrack of my youth.  April 1999 saw the creation of “Mama Mia!,” a show that incorporated the group’s music.  Like the band itself, the show became a global phenomenon, currently touring the country in a 25th Anniversary production, opening tonight in Kansas City.


I had the opportunity to speak with actress Jaclynn Steele, who plays Tanya in the show, during a break in her busy schedule.


MICHAEL SMITH:  Good morning.  What city am I catching you in?


JALYNN STEELE:  Good morning.  We’re in Indianapolis through Sunday.  Thankfully the sunshine has followed us. 


MS:  How did you come to be cast as Tanya in the show?


JS:  It’s kind of a full circle moment for me now.  Down the street from where we are is a place called Beef and Boards Dinner Theater.  Several years ago, I want to say 2017, they did a production of “Mama Mia!” and I played Tanya.  Then last year they started holding auditions for the 25th Anniversary Tour.  I auditioned but I didn’t expect anything to come of it.  I went through all of the levels of the audition – singing, dancing – and they liked me! (laughs).  Two months later, here we are.  (NOTE:  For our Indianapolis readers, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” will be playing at Beef and Boards through the end of March).


MS:  Were you an ABBA fan?


JS:  I actually was.  Riding with my dad on car trips, we would listen to “Mama Mia,” “Dancing Queen” and, my favorite as a child, “Fernando.”  It was such a fun song.  My dad used to play it for me all the time. 


MS:  What made you want to pursue acting?


JS:  That started when I was a child.  I loved singing.  I grew up in my dad’s church, singing in the choir.  I loved singing at school.  It wasn’t until high school that I started getting involved with theater.  Doing things after school and really getting serious about it.  When it came time to plan my college career I had no idea what I wanted to do…what I wanted to be at that age. Then, my dad said to me, “If someone came and woke you up at three in the morning what would you have no problem doing?”  And I thought, “well, I can entertain.”  So that was the decision maker.  I ended up going to Sam Houston State University, and auditioned for the musical theater program there, majoring in that with a dance emphasis because my dancing wasn’t so great.  (laughs)  I figured if I emphasized it, it would get a little better.  I did that and then I was a part of the show “Fosse.”  I auditioned for the show “Fosse” in New York and was able to get that.  When I finished the tour I went back to school because my folks spent a lot of money (laughs).  I finished my degree and moved to New York. 


MS:  OK, I have to interrupt here.  I think you’re being modest.  You just said, I couldn’t dance but I got cast in “Fosse.”  That’s like me saying, “I really can’t sing but I’m playing Jean Valjean in “Les Miz.”


JS:  (laughing)  The years of training in school actually helped out.  I really didn’t get official dance training until later in life.  And then when I did, like I said, I emphasized it, because I really wanted to get that.


(L to R) Jalynn Steele (Tanya), Carly Sakolove (Rosie), and Christine Sherrill (Donna Sheridan)
Photo by Joan Marcus


MS:  Is there a role out there you’d like to play someday?


JS:  I don’t really have one.  I don’t have a favorite where I’m thinking, “oh, I’ve gotta play that.”  Whatever role I have, I’m going to do the very best I can to make that role my own and to create that character.  Whatever that character may be…even if it’s “3rd tree on the left.”  (laughs)  You never know what wonderful cast members you might meet and how you might influence each other’s lives.  It’s all in the moment and being a part of the cast.  And the cast I’m a part of now is spectacular.  It’s a really diverse company and everyone is wonderful.  We get along very well.  Which is very rare.  (laughs)  My fellow Dynamos – Christine Sherrill and Carly Sakolove – we really share a special bond.  It’s a lot of fun and it’s a wonderful cast.


MS:  Do you find the audience singing along a lot?


JS:  Oh yes.  That’s one of the reason why we have the Mega-mix at the end.  So that everybody can have fun.


MS:  Do you have anything lined up after this show?


JS:  Right now I’m concentrating on the tour.  We’re spreading that ABBA love. 


“Mama Mia!” continues at the Music Hall in Kansas City through Sunday, March 10.  For tickets to this stop in the tour, or future ones, please click HERE.  

Caitlin Carmichael talks about her role in the new film “Roadkill”

Caitlin Carmichael has been acting since the age of 3 and already has a very impressive resume. Her latest film “Roadkill” was released earlier this year and co-stars scream queen Danielle Harris. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Caitlin to discuss the film and her plans for 2024!

Preston Corbell talks about landing the role of the infamous Bunny Man in the Cabin Fever films

For a scene that lasted around 3 seconds but still has fans discussing it twenty years after its release; Preston Corbell talks about landing the role of the infamous Bunny Man in Cabin Fever films. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Preston about his role and also his stunt work in over 100 movies and TV series, including Daredevil, The Vampire Diaries, and One Tree Hill.

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