Kansas City Stage Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – the Musical

  • “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
  • The Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • January 21, 2020 

Oh, how sweet it is! Filled with colorful costumes, magical set designs, and wonderful songs that will put a smile on your face, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” now performing at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, Missouri, is a terrific musical the whole family can enjoy. Based upon the 1964 children’s novel of the same name by British novelist Roald Dahl (1916-90), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was first adapted for the silver screen in 1971 and then again in 2005 before premiering as a musical in 2013 in London.

 The musical version takes us to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory where, after being shut up for 40 years, the legendary chocolatier (Cody Garcia) decides to venture out into the real world to find an heir. Disguised as a chocolate shop owner, Willy ends up befriending, in a small way, a local boy named Charlie Bucket (Ryan Umbarila). Charlie lives an impoverished life just down the block with two sets of grandparents, who never leave their bed, and his widowed, overworked mother. 

Charlie is a dreamer to the tenth degree and so, it’s only natural that he becomes enamored with the idea of getting a Wonka chocolate bar in order to get a golden ticket. The five lucky recipients of which will get to go on a tour of Willy’s factory with the chance to win a lifetime supply of chocolate. Of course, the whimsical and quirky Willy has other plans. Charlie ultimately proves himself to be a good-hearted lad, especially when compared to the other four children who reveal themselves to be brats, each meeting their own unique, laughable fate during the tour. 

The first half of the show contained a couple of heartfelt moments between Charlie and his Grandpa Joe (Steve McCoy) that pulled at the heartstrings. Umbarila had an overall nice stage presence but was overshadowed a bit by McCoy’s charismatic delivery of his comedic lines. Despite Charlie’s underdog nature, the most fascinating character remained Wonka himself. However, his portrayal during the first act was a little flat, which was accompanied by a sluggish pace even with a few entertaining dance sequences. 

The true highlight of the night’s show was the second act. It was fun, lively, colorful and thoroughly entertaining. Garcia delivered a superb performance down the stretch run with a portrayal that was reminiscent of a blend between Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. Supported by a solid orchestral performance, the musical’s second act was punctuated by well-choreographed Oompa Loompas who generated the biggest laughs of the night. 

In the end, don’t wait for a golden ticket in a candy bar to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” because it will be gone before you know it. 

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” runs in Kansas City at the beautiful Kauffman Center through January 26th. For tickets in KC or for the rest of the tour, click HERE.

Anthrax’s Charlie Benante Talks About The Filming Of The Bands Upcoming DVD, “Kings Aming Scotland”.


Photo Credit: Jimmy Hubbard

Multi-Grammy nominated thrash icons Anthrax will see the band’s long-awaited live-in-concert DVD, “Kings Among Scotland,” released on April 27 (Megaforce). But before that, the band’s Charlie Benante has just posted a video clip where he talks about the filming of the live set, the decision to film in Scotland, and the challenge of playing some of the songs live for the first time ever. Check out the clip here: https://youtu.be/nHW5_f6jBWE
“Kings Among Scotland” will be available in CD (audio only), DVD and digital formats (both video), and can be pre-ordered at www.anthrax.com. When ordered digitally, the purchaser will receive “Breathing Lightning (live)” instantly.

The two-hour “Kings of Scotland” was filmed February 15, 2017 at the band’s sold-out concert at Barrowland Ballroom, the historic venue in Glasgow. The disc incorporates the band’s entire live show, and includes gems like “Madhouse,” “I Am the Law,” “Breathing Lightning” and “Indians.” The disc also features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other B-roll shot on the band’s tour bus, backstage, in hotels and elsewhere, plus a “gear rundown” from each of the band members.

“Kings Among Scotland” was produced, directed, filmed and edited for Film24Productions by Paul M. Green (Opeth, The Damned, The Levellers), with the sound mixed by Anthrax studio producer Jay Ruston. “Kings Among Scotland” can be pre-ordered now by going to www.anthrax.com.

Anthrax is set to hit the road this summer with fellow Big Four cohort SLAYER who kick off their final world tour on May 10 in San Diego, CA On the Slayer Leg One “off days,” Anthrax will join up with Testament for a handful of shows. All dates are below.

10 Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA SOLD OUT
11 Five Point Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA SOLD OUT
12 Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV – Anthrax + Testament
13 Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA SOLD OUT
16 Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC SOLD OUT
17 South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton, BC
18 Western Finance Place, Cranbrook, BC – Anthrax + Testament
19 Big Four, Calgary, AB SOLD OUT
20 Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, AB SOLD OUT
22 Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB
23 Sanctuary Events Center, Fargo, ND – Anthrax + Testament
24 The Armory, Minneapolis, MN SOLD OUT
25 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Tinley Park, IL
26 Clyde theatre, Ft. Wayne, IN – Anthrax + Testament
27 Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Detroit, MI SOLD OUT
29 Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON SOLD OUT
30 Place Bell, Montreal, PQ SOLD OUT

1 Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT SOLD OUT
2 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
4 Santander Arena, Reading, PA SOLD OUT
6 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
8 International, Knoxville, TN- Anthrax + Testament
7 Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH
9 KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA
10 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
12 Veteran’s United Home Loans Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA
13 The Stage on the Bay, Savannah, GA – Anthrax + Testament
14 PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
15 Orlando Amphitheater, Orlando, FL
17 Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, Houston, TX SOLD OUT
18 House of Blues, New Orleans, LA – Anthrax + Testament
19 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX SOLD OUT
20 Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX SOLD OUT

26 Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Gilford, NH
27 Impact Music Festival, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, ME
29 Northwell Health at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY
31 The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA

1 Times Union Center, Albany, NY
3 Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Lake, NY
4 Lakeview Amphitheater, Syracuse, NY
6 Budweiser Gardens, London, ON
7 Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
9 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis, MO
10 Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
12 Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN
13 Walmart AMP, Rogers, AR
15 Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, TX
16 The Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK
18 Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Denver, CO
19 USANA Amphitheatre, Salt Lake City, UT
21 Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater, Boise, ID
23 Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, Portland, OR
26 SAP Center, San Jose, CA

Giveaway Opp: “9/11” Film Charlie Sheen Autographed Poster and Gift Pack

Media Mikes would like to introduce you to an awe-inspiring film starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg titled 9/11, based on the original play, The Elevator, that centers on the events of September 11, 2001.

No matter who you are or where you were, that moment and the aftermath is indelibly etched in everyone’s mind. The film 9/11 is based on a true story and chronicles the lives of five average, everyday people who find themselves trapped in an elevator during the events of 9/11 in the World Trade Center.

Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win an autographed poster by Charlie Sheen and a #Remember911 Gift Pack. Please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your 9/11 story. This giveaway will remain open until September 18th. This is open to our readers in Florida only unless you want to travel. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The Prize Pack Contains:
1 – 9/11 poster Hand Signed Autographed by star Charlie Sheen
1 – “Hope” Pendant with necklace
1 – Guide to Talking To Your Children About 9/11 thanks to Tuesday’s Children

9/11 opens in theaters on September 8 and features an all star cast including Luis Guzman (The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (X-Men).

In the World Trade Center, a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses his 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a tenant with his lock. In an upper east side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded World Trade Center elevator.

Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later … their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.

With no understanding of what has happened and is happening around them, these fives are forced to band together and fight against all odds to escape from the impending horrific collapse. During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith, and the will to live unfolds.

Christmas at Gaylord Palms wins the holidays with ICE! featuring “A Charlie Brown Christmas”!

Every Christmas season one of the staple events that we must attend is always Christmas at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL. This has been one of my favorite attractions during the holidays since I moved to Florida back in 2010. This year ICE! is featuring “A Charlie Brown Christmas” presented by Pepsi. Let me just say that I have been coming to ICE! for years now and THIS IS THE BEST YEAR EVER! Wow, I cannot say enough good things about this Christmas at Gaylord Palms in general this year. All I can say is that everyone NEEDS to take a trip this year and not to miss this wonderful attraction.

If you have never heard of ICE! Well, then you are missing out. The story of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is showcase through several rooms of interactive ice sculptures and displays. Get ready for this…there are two million pounds of ice that were hand-carved to create these iconic scenes with the Peanuts gang. And I saved the best part for last this all takes place inside a frosty 9-degree environment! That’s right 9-degrees, so make sure to dress VERY warm cause it is a bit chilly to say the least!

Christmas at Gaylord Palms doesn’t just consist of ICE! though. They also have an amazing light show called “A Christmas Wish”, which is an amazing all-new six-minute light show. It features narration, classic holiday music and dazzling visual effects topped with an outstanding 60-foot LED-lit Christmas tree in the center of above Emerald Plaza. This is free to everyone visiting the resort, so it is must see for sure. Also in the Emerald Plaza there is a stage show “Cirque Dreams Unwrapped”, which is a breathtaking performance with some amazingly talented performers. My daughters mouth was literally to the ground in awe this entire performance. Also not to be missed!

Some new offerings include Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions and Santa’s Snow Throw. I have to just say that Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions was probably a highlight of the whole Christmas at Gaylord Palms. It is a half-hour interactive show where guests can get to spend some time with Mrs Claus as she reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas” along with a very funny silly Elf at her side. If that isn’t enough you are also treated with fresh warm chocolate chip cookies and a some cold milk. I didn’t get a chance to try out Santa’s Snow Throw but it also looked like a lot of fun. You can toss real snowballs at a variety of targets in this carnival-style game.

One of my daughters favorite attractions is getting to visit the Build-A-Bear Workshop. This year we had the pleasure to make a Poppy bear from the new movie “Trolls”. Alpine Rush Snow Tubing has always been a favorite as well. They changed the queuing process a little this year that made it a little harder to ride over and over due to queue backing up but we still took at least 5 trips up and down this year. To top off the night, my daughter was able to meet the Peanuts gang as well in person as Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy were there to meet the guests and take pictures!

So like I said this year is the year to spend the holidays at Christmas at Gaylord Palms. I have no idea how they are planning on topping this for next year but I honestly cannot wait to find out what they have planned! Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays this year…and don’t forget to make a trip to Gaylord Palms!


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Blu-ray Review “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: 10th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor
Directors: Tim Burton
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Run Time: 115 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I can’t believe that it has already been 1o years since Tim Burton rebooted the 1971 cult classic hit “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” with his film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Despite most of the critics and public, I did enjoy this film. Johnny Depp is a looney in it and nails the role. Of course he is no Gene Wilder but it is also a completely different movie, so give and that there. This is a film that only Tim Burton could have remade. So even though I love this film, this 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray doesn’t really impress at all.

Official Premise: An eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka (Depp), long isolated from his own family, launches a worldwide contest to select an heir to his candy empire. Five lucky children, including Charlie (Highmore), a good-hearted boy from a poor family who lives in the shadow of Wonka’s extraordinary factory, draw golden tickets from Wonka chocolate bars and win a guided tour of the legendary candy-making facility that no outsider has seen in 15 years. Dazzled by one amazing sight after another, Charlie is drawn into Wonka’s fantastic world in this astonishing and enduring story.

The only real selling point of this release is for a snazzy new case and an exclusive 30 page photo book with photos and stills from the production and also a personal message from Tim Burton. That is all. There is no additional improved video or audio presentations here. We get the same special features as the previous 2011 release as well. Not that either of those were bad originally but in terms of upgrade to this release, there really isn’t any reason to purchase this unless you are a die-hard fan or if you have never owned this Blu-ray before.

Charlie Daniels talks about latest album “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan”

Charlie Daniels is best know for delivering the world with the hit song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and numerous others. Today on April 1st, 2014, The Charlie Daniels Band is releasing their first album in 7 years called “Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan”, which is a tribute of songs to the great Bob Dylan. Charlie has been in the business since the early 1950s and shows no signs of slowing down.I know it is April 1st but no this is not an April Fool’s Joke, Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the legendary singer/songwriter about the new album and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: This is your first album since 2007, tell us about how “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan” came about?
Charlie Daniels: Actually, it came about in an rather offhand way due to a TV show called “Hell on Wheels” that takes place back in the 1800’s. We were asked to do some music for this show and we had these instruments that were around the 1800’s, which were acoustical instruments. We had never done any acoustic work before. We always used electric instruments in one degree or another. We were so impressed with the different sounds that came out of the band that we decided that we should do a whole album of acoustics. Well, we taught what better well to draw on than the Bob Dylan catalog since you can never run out of material that way. I am a big Bob Dylan fan and I just wanted to pay homage to Bob and some of his music in our way. We tried to pick songs that we could put our mark on. We didn’t want to copy anyone else’s arrangement or something. As a result we get “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan”.

MG: How did you end up choosing these specific ten songs (and only ten songs) from Dylan’s library to cover?
CD: Well, we went through the common process of trying to do songs that we felt we could do totally different than they have been done before. We didn’t want to copy “Mr. Tambourine Man” like The Byrds did it or other people’s recordings of his songs. We were looking at his songs and seeing if we could make a CDB song out of it. We simply approached it like it was new music like we were doing for these songs for the first time. We came across one that we felt that we couldn’t get far enough away, which was “Lay Lady Lay”. I really wanted to do that song but we could not find a way to do it that would take us away from the version on “Nashville Skyline”, so we decided to leave it alone. The great thing about it though like I said is that with Dylan, you can never run out of material.

MG: Did you have a plan upfront to add your unique style of music to Dylan’s songs or did it just happen in the studio?
CD: Yeah, we had a plan. We knew that they were Dylan songs but we wanted them to come out as CDB songs, if you will. It’s not that they still weren’t Dylan songs after but we wanted to have people to realize that it was a Dylan song but it was Charlie Daniels Band re-doing it.

MG: You previously recorded “Country Pie” on Dylan’s album “Nashville Skyline” in 1969; how was it getting to record this song again?
CD: Yeah I recorded “Country” Pie” with Dylan back on “Nashville Skyline”. I was also worked on his albums” Self Portrait” and “New Mornings” as well. I had fun recording that song both times though [laughs]. It is such a great song.

MG: Why do you think that these songs are still so relevant in today’s times?
CD: Well, they are classics and a classic is a classic. Half the time we don’t know what Dylan is talking about anyway [laughs]. We all can draw our own conclusions for some of them. “Time They Are a Changin'” and songs like that are very clear. But there are some that he leaves up to us to find out what they are about…and that is a beautiful thing. Everyone in this generation can find their own meanings.

MG: Was there any order to the composition of these songs?
CD: No, we didn’t anything chronological or genre-wise for this album like let’s pick one from the 60’s and then from the 70’s, nothing like that. We just went through his catalog and picked the songs that we were capable of doing that, like I said, we could put our mark on. Our main criteria was to make them CDB songs.

MG: Did you find that any of these songs were more difficult to cover than another?
CD: Well some of them were to an extent. Dylan writes his songs in his own way. Some of his songs have longer verses than others. I tried to make them basically the same length. I actually cut out some stanzas in order to make that work. I did it though without violating what the song was about. It didn’t affect the tune at all. But I also did it so that the song sounded our way, which was the goal.

MG: Having been in the business for 50+ years; what inspires you to continue making music?
CD: I love what I do. I am in LOVE with playing music and entertaining people. I just love it. It is just a blessing from God that I have been able to make a living doing something that I love so very much. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

MG: Do you have any plans to tour for this album this year?
CD: Oh yeah, I am on tour right now. As I speak with now, I am in Pennsylvania. So stay tuned because we have a lot of dates scheduled in the upcoming months.


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Blu-ray Review “Charlie Chan Collection”

Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: August 6, 2013
Run Time: 262 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I am a real sucker for a good detective story with mystery, twists and turns.  Thanks to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment they are bringing us four great films from the Charlie Chan Collection. The films included are “Shadows Over Chinatown”, “Docks of New Orleans”, “Shanghai Chest”, and “The Golden Eye” dating from 1946-1948″.  The character of Charlie Chan was created by writer Earl Derr Biggers dating back to 1923 and over 50 films featuring the character. If you are into classic sleuth films then this release is definitely for you.

These films have never-been-released and are making their DVD debut. They come in a large slipcase with four individual DVD case inside for each film. They are newly remastered for this release.  They are not perfect but especially for films nearing over 60 years old, they look stunning. Warner really gave these some love and it shows on the screen. I hope that Warner is planning to continue this collection because I would like to see further releases with these great films.

Official Premise: The most popular American films in 1930s China, the Chan movies were based on a fictional Chinese-American detective originally created by Earl Derr Biggers in 1923. Over four dozen films featuring Charlie Chan have been made since 1926. In 1931, the Fox Film Corporation cast Swedish actor Warner Oland as Chan in Charlie Chan Carries On; the film was a success, and Fox went on to produce 15 more Chan films with Oland in the title role.

Following Oland’s death, Scottish American actor Sidney Toler was cast as Chan; Toler made 22 Chan films, first for Fox and then for Monogram Studios. After Toler’s death, six more films were made, starring Roland Winters. The character has also been featured in several radio programs, two television shows and a number of comics.

Charlie Chan Collection is available on DVD August 6 at the WB Shop http://bit.ly/111XNp4

Anthrax’s Charlie Benante talks about new EP "Anthems"

Charlie Benante is the drummer for the legendary thrash metal band Anthrax. The band is set to release a new EP titled “Anthems” in March. The EP will consist of six cover songs and one special remix of the Anthrax song “Crawl” and the album version also, which was originally released on the bands 2011 full-length release “Worship Music”. Media Mikes caught up with Charlie prior to the bands appearance on this year’s Metal Alliance tour to discuss the new EP.

Adam Lawton: Where did the idea to do a covers EP come from?
Charlie Benante: We have been doing cover songs here and there going back as far as our second record. We have always been open to do those things. Some of the covers we have done in the past sort of became hits for us. Originally there was talk of re-releasing our last album “Worship Music” with this covers disc as a bonus. We didn’t want to make our fans have to buy the album again so we decided to release it as its own EP. We were able to keep it inexpensive and to the core of what we are. That’s just 5 guys in the studio just having fun.

AL: Was it hard choosing which six songs to put on the release?
CB: There were a few songs that we didn’t quite get to as we were really concentrating on the six which are featured on the EP. These 5 were the ones that really hit us all so we spent the majority of our time working on those. We all had ideas of songs that we wanted to do. Rush has always been one of those bands that we all love. To tackle one of their songs was not an easy task. I was totally up for the challenge and it worked out good.

AL: Can you tell us about the re-mastering of the song “Crawl”?
CB: When we were working on “Worship Music” with Jay Ruston he and I had a talk about doing something similar a few remixes that were done to the song “Black Lodge” off the album “Sound of White Noise”. There were some really cool orchestral things that were done on those mixes so Jay took some time and found someone to do it. The song I think came out really good.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
CB: The Metal Alliance tour is mixture of bands that have been around for awhile and some that are a little newer. For us it gives us a chance to go out and play some songs that we haven’t played in forever. We will be doing songs mostly off the “Among the Living” album so that’s going to be the special thing about this tour.

AL: Can you tell us how things are going with Jon Donais of Shadows Fall filling in on guitar and how he was brought in to the lineup?
CB: Rob Caggiano I guess had talked with Jon about filling in for him. We had gotten wind of that and were like “ok”. (Laughs) I have known Jon for a long time and he is a great guitar player. Scott has been jamming with him out in Los Angeles and from what I hear everything is going great. It will probably take Jon a few shows for him to feel comfortable with everything.

AL: Has there been any talks of starting work on a new album after this tour wraps and how do you generally go about working together with member scattered across the U.S.?
CB: Yes. I am sure we will tackle that at some point. We have two or three songs left over from the last recording sessions that we want to work on again. We hope to work on stuff during the summer before hitting the festival circuit which starts in August. Usually when we start working on a new record we will meet up in Chicago. If not there I go out to either Los Angeles or New York. The last album was written in Chicago which was pretty helpful.

DVD Review “The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show: The Complete Series”

Created by Charles M. Shultz
Starring: Bill Melendez, Jeremy Schoenberg, Brad Kesten, Angela Lee, Victoria Vargas, Jeremy Miller, Brett Johnson, Heather Stoneman, Gini Holtzman
Studio: Warner Archive
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 402 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love Peanuts?! “The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show” originally aired on CBS from September 1983 to October of 1985 for only two seasons. This DVD contains the complete series with all 18 episodes. A few of the episodes started to be released last year on various Peanuts DVDs but this is the first time that they have been released fully and complete on DVD, thanks to Warner Archive.  The episodes are presented in 4X3 full frame and their original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.  The audio included is a decent mono track, which works for the show. This is a nice flashback to the ‘ole Saturday morning cartoon days that I had growing up.

Season 1 consists of the following episodes: “Snoopy’s Cat Fight”; “Snoopy: Team Manager”; “Linus and Lucy”; “Lucy vs. the World”; “Linus’ Security Blanket”; “Snoopy: Man’s Best Friend”; “Snoopy the Psychiatrist”; “You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown”; “The Lost Ballpark”; “Snoopy’s Football Career”; “Chaos in the Classroom”; “It’s That Team Spirit, Charlie Brown”; “Lucy Loves Schroeder”. Season 2 consists of the following episodes: “Snoopy and the Giant”; “Snoopy’s Brother Spike”; “Snoopy’s Robot”; “Peppermint Patty’s School Days” and “Sally’s Sweet Babboo”.  Inside each episode there are numerous shorts, so you get quite of bit of Peanuts goodness throughout the series.  If you are a fan of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew then this release is a no-brainer.

Official Premise: Your favorite Peanuts stories come to life in this animated television series. Adapted from the popular comic strip created and written by Charles M. Shultz, “The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show” is no longer a cartoon relegated to Saturday mornings of the past — now you can watch the gang anytime! With short sketches featuring these classic and much-loved characters, it’s easy to “have a party with Charlie Brown and Snoopy,” as the theme song says. The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show originally aired in 1983 and 1985 and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1983

Interview with Charlie Saxton

Charlie Saxton is known best for his role of Damon in HBO’s hit show “Hung”, along side Thomas Jane.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Charlie about the shows new season and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background about playing the role of Damon on “Hung”?
Charlie Saxton: It’s been a lot of fun. Like a lot of teenager around American Damon is going through this awkward faze where he is constantly changing himself and his image. He really is just trying to find out who he is. This season Damon has started a band with his sister which is really cool I think. They play a wide genre of music ranging from punk to ballads.

MG: How do you feel your preparation for the character has changed since starting with the show in 2009?
CS: There isn’t too much preparation as I see a little bit of Damon in myself. There are things that I find hard to express much like the character. For the most part I get to throw on some similar clothing from the previous seasons and just be the nice loving son.

MG: What has it been like working with Thomas Jane?
CS: Thomas is unpredictable, intense and fun. There is never a dull moment on set. You can always count on Thomas to bring the energy back up if we are having a slow or dull day.

MG: What else can you tell us about this season of “Hung”?
CS: The theme for this season is the two businesses colliding. There are now two pairs of ho’s and pimps. Basically it’s all about the battle between the two.

MG: Can you tell us about the film “I Am Ben” which you are producing?
CS: That was a film some friends and I shot last year. We are in post production right now and the film has been completely DIY. We raised all the money on our own. It’s come along really well. The film is about a writer trying to come up with a master piece but he just can’t come up with anything which is driving him crazy. I play his roommate who is trying to get him out and meet people. Eventually the guy starts seeing imaginary people which kicks off a love triangle between him an imaginary girl and a real girl. It’s kind of an indie comedy. We hope to have if finished pretty soon.


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Interview with Anthrax’s Charlie Benante

Charlie Benante is the drummer for the legendary thrash metal band Anthrax. The band just released their newest studio album titled “Worship Music” which is the first Anthrax album to feature singer Joey Belladonna since the bands 1990 release “Persistence of Time”. Media Mikes caught up with Charlie after the bands performance at the Big 4 concert held at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Adam Lawton: What was your first response when it was announced you and the band would be playing at Yankee stadium as part of the Big 4?
Charlie Benante: (Laughs) I was like “Oh my god! We are playing Yankee Stadium!” We have a couple really huge Yankee fans in the band so it was just awesome. The anticipation leading up to the show was crazy. It felt like we waited a year to do the show and then all of a sudden it was here. Then it was like “Oh Shit! It just happened”.

AL: Will the set you guys played tonight be the same one you will be playing on your upcoming tour?
CB: The set we played tonight was just something we sort of threw together. We sort of screwed up as we had a little bit more time to play today but didn’t. I think we had about 5 extra minutes.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off the new album “Worship Music”?
CB: It’s hard to pick one of them. Each track brings back different moments and moods so it’s hard to pick just one. However if I had to pick a song based on today I would probably pick “Judas Priest”. Yesterday I was feeling the song “In the End”. Day by day it just depends on what my mood is and what that song represents to me.

AL: Do you have a favorite song that you guys don’t play live but would like to?
CB: Oh Yeah! There is a song off the album “Spreading the Disease” called “Long Justice” that fans just love. It’s seems like every time we try and play that song live it just doesn’t work. It’s a tricky song. There always are songs on a record that people want to hear live but then when you do try it, it just doesn’t seem to work.

AL: I happen to be from the Ithaca, NY area where you guys worked a lot early in your career with producer Alex Perialas. Can you tell us what that was like?
CB: Our experiences there were all great! We built a lot of great relationships there. I haven’t seen Alex in a long time and I wish I have. He is an awesome guy and I learned a lot from him Alex is one of those true real people! Alex is a great guy.

AL: Other than the tour is there anything else planned for you guys?
CB: This week has been a crazy world wind with the album release and the show tonight. We have been just enjoying everything. The tour starts and runs Oct/Nov. and we are just looking for feedback from fans and how they are enjoying this. I am really just enjoying this ride.

For more info on Charlie and Anthrax head over to www.anthrax.com also be sure to check out our review of the band’s latest release “Worship Music” as well as our coverage of the Anthrax from “The Big 4”.