Chazz Palmenteri talks about his one-man play of “A Bronx Tale”

Chazz Palmenteri is known best for his roles in films like “The Usual Suspects”, “A Bronx Tale”, “Bullets Over Broadway”, in which he received an Oscar nomination. Chazz brought his one-man play “A Bronx Tale” back to Broadway in 2007 and since then he has been continuing to tour each year with this show. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with him about the show and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: “A Bronx Tale” hit Broadway in 2007 and hasn’t stopped since; tell us about your journey you are taking with this one-man show?
Chazz Palmenteri: I originally did this back in 1989 and I brought it back to Broadway in 2007 since there was a whole generation of people that didn’t get to see it. It was just going to be Broadway for six months and that’s it. It was such a huge success, they wanted to do a National Tour and I thought I would finish in Vegas. So I did it again in Las Vegas in 2009 after the tour and then it became show of the year and they just keep calling me back. Now I do the like two or three dates a month traveling it around. I want to keep doing it. I can’t stop because people keep wanting to see it.

MG: The show is a real physical workout; how do you prepare for it each night?
CP: I just stay in really good shape. I work out a lot. I am on the treadmill a lot. I watch my weight. I just take care of myself and that is the only way that you can prepare for this. You really just have to be in really great physical condition.

MG: How long do you see yourself touring with this show?
CP: I still am doing plenty of film and TV but I am going this in between gigs. I love doing it. I don’t know, I will continue to do it until I can’t physically or people don’t want to see it.

MG: Ever considered filming it and releasing it on Blu-ray/DVD?
CP: I have thought about that but I haven’t decided what I wanted to do with the show yet. But we will see.

MG: What else you got in the cards next?
CP: I do have a big film that I wanted to talk about. I will be in London this month shooting, “The Kray Brothers” with Tom Hardy. I am really looking forward to that.

Here are the rest of the upcoming show dates for the tour of “A Bronx Tale”:

July 12th – Atlantic City – The Golden Nugget
Oct 4th – Buffalo NY – Kleinhans Music Hall
Oct 10th & 11th – Huntington LI – The Paramount Theater
Oct 17th – Morristown NJ – Mayo Performing Arts Center

LEGO Systems Blends Physical and Digital Play with New LEGO® FUSION


-New Play Experience Moves Children Seamlessly Back and Forth Between Physical and Virtual LEGO® Worlds Via Hands-On Brick Building and App Gaming to Delight LEGO Builders and Casual Gamers Alike-

NEW YORK (June 19, 2014) – LEGO Systems, Inc., makers of the world’s leading construction toys, today introduced LEGO® FUSION, a play experience that combines traditional LEGO brick play with familiar app-based game themes. LEGO FUSION leverages new technologies—and children’s fascination with them—to create an entirely new way to engage in LEGO brick building and app game play for children ages 7 and up. Available later this summer, the LEGO FUSION collection will include four distinct titles: LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, LEGO FUSION Create & Race and LEGO FUSION Resort Designer.

Each LEGO FUSION experience consists of a distinct set of LEGO bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app and the new FUSION capture plate, a small brick building plate with a printed design that enables a smart phone or tablet’s camera to identify the size and colors of the LEGO bricks built onto it. In response to game prompts, children build vertically in 2-D on the FUSION capture plate, enabling the app to ‘see,’ import and transform the creation into 3-D in the digital world.

“Children have always imagined their LEGO creations as immersive worlds which come to life for hours of role-play and adventure,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen, senior design manager, LEGO Future Lab. “Recently, smart phones and tablets have become a popular platform for empowering game mechanisms that kids love. LEGO FUSION brings these two favorite play patterns together in an experience where real-life LEGO builds come to life in a virtual game, inspiring creativity, strategy, and the pride of creation.”

To Win, Step Away from the Screen
Once a child’s creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions requires that players turn away from the device and return to the real world to use their LEGO bricks to build new solutions in order to move game play forward. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual, keeping children engaged in both worlds.
“In our research, we heard repeatedly from parents that they are constantly battling ‘zombie gaze,’ the experience when their children are immersed in their device screens for large blocks of time,” said Pedersen. “We developed LEGO FUSION with this challenge in mind, creating a play experience that keeps children entertained with the kind of app gameplay they love while giving real reasons to return to the brick pile to creatively build.”

Each LEGO FUSION product offers a distinct play experience. The four products launching this year are:

LEGO FUSION Town Master
In this simulation game, players create and rule their own LEGO town, first by building it with LEGO bricks, then by capturing it and importing it to the game. Children build everything from houses to a pizzeria, fire station and bike shop while completing errands and missions like catching robbers, fighting fires and skateboarding. To keep the minifigure citizens happy, players solve problems through physical building and earn points to gain access to more structures, and even run additional towns.

LEGO FUSION Battle Towers
Players build a tower and defend it against attack so they can rule the kingdom. First, players design the Battle Towers with real LEGO pieces, then capture them and import them to the game. Next, players choose tower defenders like wizards and archers and battle against evil warriors, skeleton armies, and more. If a tower is damaged in battle, players can repair the damage with a timed build with the game’s real LEGO bricks.

LEGO FUSION Create & Race
In this racing game, players get behind the wheel and virtually drive the cars that they create with real LEGO bricks. Once a custom vehicle is digitally designed, physically built, and imported to the game, it can be optimized for success in racing, demolition or stunts. Players learn that every brick shape and color on the vehicle matters for performance. Three themed courses offer endless challenges unlocked by physical LEGO builds, and children can even ghost race against friends to top the leaderboard.

LEGO FUSION Resort Designer
Players help the LEGO Friends design new vacation houses, shops and activities for Ambersands Beach. After building 2-D facades, capturing them and importing them to the game, players can design the interiors of 3-D digital structures, such as an aquarium, surf shop and beach houses. Children can unlock new levels and build more resorts by completing missions like rescuing dolphins, riding horses, surfing and other resort activities.

Beginning in September, LEGO FUSION will incorporate the ability for players to access their digital LEGO creations and game play anywhere. Using their LEGO ID, players can sign in on any compatible device and access their gallery and game play from within the LEGO FUSION app.
The LEGO FUSION app uses the Qualcomm® Vuforia™ mobile vision platform, enabling the games to ‘see’ the LEGO bricks and making possible the transition from physical to digital. Developed by TT Games, makers of the best-selling LEGO video game franchise, the LEGO FUSION Town Master, Battle Towers, Create & Race, and Resort Designer app games are free for download from the Apple, Google or Samsung App Store for Apple iOS and Android.

LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, and LEGO FUSION Create & Race will launch in August 2014; LEGO FUSION Resort Designer will launch in September 2014. Each will be available for $34.99 in LEGO Stores and Toys”R”Us stores in the U.S., as well as online at shop.LEGO.com and at toysrus.com.

About LEGO Systems, Inc.
LEGO Systems, Inc. is the North American division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of creatively educational play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: “Only the best is good enough.” Visit the virtual LEGO world at www.LEGO.com

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure and brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2014 The LEGO Group. ]

About the Qualcomm® Vuforia™ Platform
Vuforia is a mobile vision platform that enables apps to see and connect the physical world with digital experiences that demand attention, drive engagement, and deliver value. Vuforia is supported by a global ecosystem of more than 100,000 registered developers in 130 countries and has powered more than 10,000 apps for iOS and Android devices. Additional information is available at www.vuforia.com.

Qualcomm Vuforia is a product of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm and Vuforia are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries, used with permission.

 

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Marvel’s Spider-Man Play Set Swings Into Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes

With the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo beginning today, Disney Interactive is officially announcing the latest Play Set to appear in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition) – Marvel’s Spider-Man Play Set. Please check out the new gameplay trailer for a first look at new characters coming to the Play Set and Toy Box 2.0.

The Spider-Man Play Set will feature a storyline which follows the Green Goblin as he tries to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. once and for all. After capturing Venom to extract and clone symbiotes from him, he hires Mysterio to be his second in command and wreak havoc on the Marvel universe. Players will fight the spreading symbiotes and face Mysterio and Green Goblin in in the sewers, labs and skies above Manhattan.

Key highlights for the Spider-Man Play Set include:

  • Play Set: Playable characters include Spider-Man, Nick Fury, Iron Fist, Nova and Venom with additional appearances by White Tiger, Black Cat and Luke Cage. Players will be tasked to destroy the cloned symbiotes and advance to fight Mysterio.
  • Toy Box: Spider-Man, Nick Fury, Iron Fist, Nova and Venom will be playable in the all-new Toy Box 2.0 mode of the game, along with all characters previously released for Disney Infinity. Players will be able to use these characters, plus hundreds of Marvel and Disney-themed items, locations, props and vehicles, to create new adventures in customized worlds. Once players complete the Spider-Man Play Set, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hover Car, S.H.I.E.L.D. Sky Cycle, Daily Bugle Building and more will be unlocked and can be used in Toy Box.

The Spider-Man Play Set will be available in retail stores this fall. Additional Play Sets and characters will be announced in the coming months.

About Disney Infinity
Disney Infinity is an interactive gaming platform where players have unprecedented freedom and endless opportunity to create stories and play experiences starring the beloved characters from across the worlds of Disney. Building on the success of last year’s initial launch, Disney Interactive announced that Disney Infinity’s next chapter, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, will hit stores this fall. In the all new game, players use real-world interactive figures to activate original storylines (Play Sets) in the virtual game worlds of popular Marvel franchises and create new adventures with other Disney Infinity characters in the Toy Box mode. For more information, visit Disney.com/Infinity.

“Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes” Avengers Play Set Trailer Released

Disney Interactive today released additional details and a new trailer for Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set which will be available for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition). Slated for release this fall, gamers will be invited to take part in a brand new true-to-property storyline crafted with the help of award-winning Marvel comic writer Brian Michael Bendis and featuring The Avengers Super Heroes Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Hawkeye.

Play Set: The Avengers Play Set is the first play set to be announced for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and features Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, with Captain America, Hawkeye and Hulk sold separately. Players will take the role of earth’s mightiest heroes as they try to put an end to Loki’s cold-hearted plans to invade New York City. Along the way, they will learn that Loki isn’t working alone and that this is but the first step in a villainous plot that threatens the entire planet. The Avengers will need not only their strength and wits, but also the technology and insight of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have any chance of saving the world.

Toy Box: In the all-new Toy Box 2.0, players will be able to use Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and all of The Avengers characters, plus hundreds of Marvel-themed items, locations, props and vehicles, to create new and exciting adventures in customized worlds.

The Avengers Play Set and new Toy Box mode will be included in the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack. Additional Play Sets and characters will be announced in the coming months.

 

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Book Review “Disney Frozen: Royal Sisters – A Dress-Up Book and Magnetic Play Set”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Book and Magnetic Play Set
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the coolest things of having an 18 month old kid is that I am able to play with things that I haven’t been able to since I was a kid. I grew up in the 80’s and I used to LOVE playing with Colorforms! All you 80’s babies out there know that I am talking about! When I saw this book, I had a flash back of being a kid and playing with those. On top of that, “Frozen” is no question my favorite film to date of 2013 and our family cannot get enough of this film. The characters, the colors, the music, the design…it is absolutely perfect. As is this book, which is a not only a book but also a magnetic play set and a dress-up book as well.

Inside this book you literally get transported into the wonderful the magical world from Walt Disney Animation Studio’s “Frozen”. Included inside this great handy plastic carrying case are two storybooks, two magnetic dolls, six play scenes, and over 60 magnets. The play scenes are really sharp and quite colorful. The magnets are spot and represent the film very well. There is a ton of fun to have with this set and is also a great way to get kids imaginations going. Seeing my daughter play with this set, I knew that she was having a real blast and she is still technically too young for this. I can only imagine how much she will enjoy as she gets older. Highly recommended, very reasonably priced and will make a great holiday gift this year! If your kids are fans of “Sofia the First”, there is also a great set for that show as well.

Stuart Ward talks about touring with Broadway hit play “Once”

Stuart Ward is currently touring North America with the touring company of the hit Broadway show “Once”. Stuart is no stranger to the show “Once” as he was in fact the understudy for the role of “Guy” in the West End production of the show. Media Mikes got a chance to chat with Stuart about “Once” and him role during their stop in Philly in their 29 city tour which runs until October 2014.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come on board with “Once” for its North American tour?
Stuart Ward: I actually was a part of the London cast of the show. I was a cover for the role of Guy. I missed out on the casting since I was on another job in Australia touring with the singer Cliff Richard. No one knows him in the US but in England he is a bit of a rock pop legend. 73 years old and he is still rocking out! So I was in Australia playing the Syndey Opera House and other great venues with him, so when I got back the show was all cast. I got a call asking if I would be interested in the understudy part and to be quite honest I really wasn’t. But they kept asking and I thought even if I get to do think just once – [laughs] there you go “Once” – it would be worth it and I would be happy. So I took it and then the day after I went on for the very first time, I got a call asking if I would be interested to play the lead in the US tour. My jaw hit the ground and I screamed a resounding “Yes”!

MG: So you are currently in Philly, tell us how the tour has been going so far?
SW: It is going great. We are just kind of settling down now. To be honest, when we were in Providence we were still working on the show and cleaning it up a bit. Then we got to Chicago and we were filming b-roll and doing recordings, so it was busy. So now in Philly it is settling down. I have had some time to explore the city and I ran up the Rocky steps [laughs]. The video is actually on my Twitter. I couldn’t help myself [laughs].

MG: What are some of the other cities that you are looking forward to hitting?
SW: I was actually looking forward to visiting Chicago. When we got there it didn’t let down at all. It had such an incredible vibe about the place. It was a bit like New York but a bit more laid back and chill. I am looking forward San Francisco as well, since it has a similar laid back vibe. I am looking forward to Florida since my mom and dad are coming down for that. I miss them hugely, so I am looking forward to getting them down. Honestly though, I am excited for all of them since I have never been to these cities before in America. So I am taking it a city at a time and having a blast!

MG: What do you use for inspiration to get you into the role each night?
SW: There is a remarkable amount of similarities between me and the character, so it doesn’t really take that much. Sometimes when you are playing a role, I think it is important to bring a part of yourself to it otherwise you are just lying. You have to have some truth in there. Usually it is 30% you and 70% your character that you built. But for this role it is actually like 90% is already there for me. I am a songwriter myself and I can relate to this character. I feel like I am actually playing my own songs out there. They all sit perfectly in my voice. It is quite easy for me to get into it.

MG: Tell us about the chemistry you have with co-star Dani de Waal?
SW: It is massive. I was so worried when I came over here because I didn’t meet her until the first day of rehearsals. I thought that 98% of my stage time is with this girl and I was thinking “God, what if she is terrible?” [laughs] I have been so lucky because she is really wonderful. She has this fantastic quality about her that fits the role of Girl so well. It is like a non-descriptive energy that is so great to play off. I feel quite blessed to have her as my Girl. It would be a horrible experience if she didn’t have all these amazing qualities but she is just fantastic.

MG: What is your favorite song to perform with the show?
SW: It is torn between two songs but think it has to be “When Your Minds Made Up”. I just think that that moment is when everything comes together and completes what they have worked for in the play. He just nails it in the studio the first time around. I always feel like he has that performance in his mind for three or four years and he is just waiting to be unleashed. I just love that moment. Not just performing that song, even when watching it, I just love the moment when he has become a songwriter – a rock star if you like.

MG: How has the show changed for you having watched it and now being the lead of it?
SW: What is great about this show and the whole creative team, is that they never wanted a copy of what has been done before. I have never had this happen before when going into a role that someone else has done. Usually you stand at the mark, turn right and say your lines. With the creative team here, they didn’t want any of that and they wanted us to make our own production of it. They approached the show like it was never done before. Half of the blocking is different and all the costumes are different. So the bare-bones of the show is the same but it is our completely own version. You will notice the differences when you come see it and if have seen the show before.

Here is the rest of the tour schedule! Check it out when it comes to a city near you!

Cleveland, OH (Playhouse Square)
Nov. 12 – 24, 2013

Toronto, ON (Royal Alexandra Theatre)
Nov. 26, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014

Boston, MA (Boston Opera House)
Jan. 7 – 19, 2014

Durham, NC (Durham Performing Arts Center)
Jan. 21 – 26, 2014

Orlando, FL (Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre)
Jan. 28 – Feb. 2, 2014

Miami, FL (The Adrienne Arsht Center)
Feb. 4 – 9, 2014

Tampa, FL (Straz Center)
Feb. 11 – 16, 201

Fort Myers, FL (Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall)
Feb. 18 – 23, 2014

New Haven, CT (Shubert Theater)
Feb. 26 – March 2, 2014

Atlanta, GA (Fox Theatre)
March 4 – 9, 2014

Pittsburgh, PA (Benedum Center)
March 11 – 16, 2014

Rochester, NY (Auditorium Theatre)
March 18 – 23, 2014

Buffalo, NY (Shea’s Performing Arts Center)
March 25 – 30, 2014

Minneapolis, MN (Orpheum Theatre)
April 1 – 6, 2014

St. Louis, MO (The Fox Theatre)
April 8 – 20, 2014

Des Moines, IA (Civic Center of Greater Des Moines)
April 22 – 27, 2014

Tempe, AZ (ASU Gammage)
April 29 – May 4, 2014

Denver, CO (Buell Theatre)
May 6 – 18, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (Smith Center for the Performing Arts)
May 20 – 25, 2014

Seattle, WA (The Paramount Theatre)
May 27 – June 8, 2014

Portland, OR (Keller Auditorium)
June 10 – 15, 2014

San Francisco, CA (Curran Theatre)
June 17 – July 13, 2014

Los Angeles, CA (Pantages Theatre)
July 15 – Aug. 10, 2014

San Diego, CA (Civic Center)
Aug. 12 – 17, 2014

Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Hall)
Aug. 19 – 31, 2014

Charlotte, NC (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center)
Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, 2014

Orlando Shakespeare Theater Turns up the Holiday Cheer with “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”


Theater captures the spirit of Frank Capra’s cinematic classic

Orlando, FL – Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF warms Central Florida audiences with the holiday cheer of Joe Landry’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast and directed by Florida Rep’s founding Producing Artistic Director, Robert Cacioppo, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play begins December 4 and runs through December 29, 2013 at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. Tickets ($17-$40) may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (407) 447-1700 or online at http://orlandoshakes.org.

Inspired by Frank Capra’s beloved American film, Orlando Shakes’ It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play includes a five-member ensemble that brings to life a dozen familiar characters performed in the style of a 1940s live radio broadcast. Complete with commercial jingles and man-made sound effects, audiences will fall in love all over again with the selfless George Bailey and the gentle angel who saves his life on Christmas Eve. A holiday classic suitable for the entire family!

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a joy for audiences young and old,” said Director Robert Cacioppo. “I am thrilled that Orlando Shakes’ Artistic Director Jim Helsinger offered me the opportunity to revisit this play with a truly wonderful cast.”

Cacioppo, who previously directed the production at Florida Rep in 2011, will be recreating his elaborate pre-show prologue in Orlando. Prior to the performance, theatergoers will take part in a holiday sing-along amongst busy telegram boys, popcorn girls, and 1940’s paparazzi. ”I urge Orlando audiences to show up early, because that’s when the fun begins!”Cacioppo said.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play features actors Brad DePlanche, David Edwards, Duke Lafoon, Suzanne O’Donnell, and Piper Rae Patterson. Secondary performers include Anachebe Asomugha, Sophie Bell, Bridgette Hoover, Chris Metz, Alexander Ross Neal, Jeffrey Todd Parrott, and Seth Wallen. The creative team includes Scenic Designer Richard Crowell, Costume Designer Mel Barger, Lighting Designer Mary Heffernan, and Sound Designer Britt Sandusky.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION AND RELATED EVENTS

PRE-SHOW CHAT
Join us in the Patron’s Room on December 6 at 6:45 p.m. for a brief, informative discussion with the director and members of the artistic team about the creative process.

OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Directly following the show on December 6, audience members are invited to celebrate with the cast, crew, designers, and Orlando Shakes staff at the Opening Night Party. The party begins after the show (approx. 10 p.m.) and everyone is invited. No RSVP necessary.

PLAYSHOP
School-age children can participate in a fun and creative camp during select Orlando Shakespeare Theater performances. Led by Orlando Shakes Actor/Educators, theatergoers’ children ages 5 to 12 will enjoy supervised arts and crafts, play educational games, and maybe even learn a song or dance. For It’s a Wonderful Life, the service is available to all ticket buyers on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2 p.m. for just $15 per child. Advance registration is required. Call the Box Office at (407) 447-1700 for tickets and information.

THURSDAY TALK BACK
Stay after the performance on Thursday, December 19 for an informal Q & A with the cast and members of the design team.

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE INFORMATION
Preview Dates: December 4 & 5 at 7:30 p.m. ($18)
Opening Date: December 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Matinees: December 11 & 18 at 2 p.m. ($17)
$20 Under 30: December 13 at 7:30 p.m. ($20)

TICKET INFORMATION

DATES AND PRICES
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. – all seats $35, $30, $20
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. – all seats $40, $35, $30

DISCOUNTS
Group Sales: 20% off groups of 10+
Student Rush: $12 – 30 minutes prior to show w/ valid student ID
Military/Student Price: $10 off single ticket prices
Single and Season Tickets are available by calling (407) 447-1700, online at http://www.orlandoshakes.org, or in person at the Box Office located inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 East Rollins Street in Orlando’s Loch Haven Cultural Park.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is made possible through the generous support of Holland & Knight, LLP, Raymond James Financial, and Florida Hospital. Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF is supported by United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts collaborative campaign and by State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council.

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PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT

Publicity photos feature actors Brad DePlanche, Suzanne O’Donnell, and Piper Rae Patterson. Photos by Landon St. Gordon.

ABOUT ORLANDO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF has grown into one of the region’s most acclaimed Equity theaters producing classic, contemporary, and children’s plays. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert, Orlando Shakespeare Theater continues to provide an innovative world-class theatrical experience to its patrons, while showcasing William Shakespeare’s legacy as the cornerstone of the company. Through PlayFest and Harriett’s New Play Series, Orlando Shakespeare Theater has garnered national recognition for the development of over 100 new works within the past 10 years. Orlando Shakes also provides immersive educational programming serving Central Florida schools and the local community at large.

Twitter: @orlandoshakes or http://www.twitter.com/orlandoshakes
Instagram: @orlandoshakes or http://www.instagram.com/orlandoshakes
Facebook: “Orlando Shakes” or http://www.facebook.com/orlandoshakes

Stuart Gordon talks about turning hit play “Nevermore” into a film with Jeffrey Combs

Stuart Gordon has directed and be behind some of my favorite horror films to date including “Re-Animator”. He teamed up with “Re-Animator” star Jeffrey Combs in 2009 for a stage play called “Nevermore”, which focused on a night with Edgar Allen Poe. The show was only suppose to run for a month but ended up become a huge hit and held over many times and even toured. Gordon and Combs are now trying to get the play turned into a feature film…with the help of YOU! They have started a Kickstarter campaign, which will end on November 1st, 2013. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Stuart about this campaign and about what we can expect.

Click here to support and back this campaign and tell them that Media Mikes sent you!

Mike Gencarelli: “Nevermore” opened for a one month run in California in 2009, which ended up being extended four times. What made you decide now to make a feature film version of this stage play?
Stuart Gordon: Jeffrey Combs’ performance as Poe has been called “A landmark performance” by the LA Times, and we have toured the show to great acclaim throughout the US bringing it to audiences from Los Angeles to Poe’s gravesite in Baltimore to New York’s Lincoln Center. Filming it will allow it to reach an even larger audience.

MG: Tell us your decision to turn to crowd funding with Kickstarter for this project?
SG: Kickstarter seems the ideal way to fund this project as historical films can be a hard sell at the studios. Even Spielberg had a difficult time finding financing for LINCOLN.

MG: The stage play worked so well since it was Combs captivating the audience solo; how do you plan to expand the scope of the play?
SG: We will be able to show the characters that are referred to in the play beginning with Poe’s shocked fiance’ Sarah Helen Whitman, as well as his doomed young first wife and actress mother. We will also be able to dramatize THE TELL-TALE HEART, THE RAVEN and many of his other poems.

MG: What fascinates you most about Edgar Allan Poe that you want to tell this story?
SG: Poe’s life is even more tragic and disturbing than his macabre stories. NEVERMORE gives us the opportunity to bring this troubled genius to life, warts and all.

MG: As hard as it is to say, in the case you don’t meet your pledge of $375,000 is there a plan B?
SG: There really is no plan B, which is why it is so important that we reach our goal. And with the help of our friends, old and new, we will.

MG: Besides as an incentive on the Kickstarter, do you play to do a wide release of the stage play on DVD?
SG: We have no plans to release the stage play on DVD.

MG: After the film is funded, what is the timeline to get the film to the fans?
SG: We plan on shooting the film next summer with a release in early 2015.

MG: Speaking of the fans, at the time of this question there are over 400 backers; why do you think the horror fans are so loyal to the genre?
SG: There are no fans more loyal than horror fans. God bless them! The more you scare them, the more they love you.

Dani de Waal talks about touring with Broadway hit play “Once”

Dani de Waal is an English actress, who recently joined the touring cast of the Broadway hit “Once”, playing the role of ‘Girl’. Her previous achievements on stage include “Picnic” on Broadway and “Mamma Mia!” for the role of Sophie Sheridan on West End. Media Mikes got a chance to chat with Dani about “Once” and her role as she was kicking off the 29 city tour which runs until October 2014.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made you want to be a part of “Once: A New Musical” for its North American tour?
Dani de Waal: I saw the movie years ago when it came out, I was England at the time then. I loved it and the music and thought it was a beautiful story. I ended up seeing the show on Broadway also when I came to New York on a holiday. I remember saying to myself and secreting it to the universe that I would love to be in this show [laughs]. As it turns out, I ended up moving to New York the following year. I got an audition and it sort of happened from there. It really has been a dream come true. It is one of those shows that I wouldn’t [laughing] mind being in it for free every night. It is so incredible and doesn’t feel like a job at all.

MG: What made you connect with the character, ‘Girl’?
DDW: She is very interesting. She has this sort of cold exterior, I guess you can say. She’s hard to read. She has these walls up to protect herself. She also has a very warm and inquisitive side about the world and about people. She really believes that music can save us and change us. I share that as well in fact. Music is a universal language that can touch anyone no matter what we speak. I love how she expresses herself through the music and playing the piano. I have played piano most of my life but never have done it in a job. So that was an amazing thing for me to explore. Also singing with everyone on the stage as a band, I have never done that before either. It all has this kind of magical quality to it in playing her for this show.

MG: What is your most challenging aspect of the role?
DDW: When I first came to the part it was the piano. It was getting over the nerves of playing in front of people. So that was it initially, but now being that we are on stage pretty much the whole show once you are in it you are in it. I quite enjoy that. Stamina wise that was quite a challenge to get going but now it is something that I really love about it. You step up on stage in the beginning and sort of don’t breathe until curtain call. In a way it is a challenge but it is a great thing as well.

MG: The music is so amazing, which song is your favorite to hear and/or sing?
DDW: I have to say my favorite is “Falling Slowly” but the reprise version, which is at the very end. The song is beautiful anyway but the reprise in particular has everyone joining in and singing. It has that swell moment that is just incredible. So that one to listen to and also play, it is just such a highlight for me. Also since it comes at the end of the show, there is this great build up and then you have that moment.

MG: How you had a chance to meet Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová?
DDW: No, we haven’t met that yet. I know they were very involved with the show’s process when it first started. I am pretty sure at some point within the show’s run we are going to get to meet them. But we only recently just started touring, so hopefully soon.

MG: Is there a city that you are looking forward to visit most on the tour?
DDW: I haven’t been around America at all, so I just very excited to see all of it really. I have never been to the West Coast and we hit there next summer, so I am really looking forward that. We are currently in Chicago and it has been amazing so far, so I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Here is the rest of the tour schedule! Check it out when it comes to a city near you!

Chicago, IL (Oriental Theatre)
Oct. 9 – 27, 2013

Philadelphia, PA (Academy of Music)
Oct. 29 – Nov. 10, 2013

Cleveland, OH (Playhouse Square)
Nov. 12 – 24, 2013

Toronto, ON (Royal Alexandra Theatre)
Nov. 26, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014

Boston, MA (Boston Opera House)
Jan. 7 – 19, 2014

Durham, NC (Durham Performing Arts Center)
Jan. 21 – 26, 2014

Orlando, FL (Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre)
Jan. 28 – Feb. 2, 2014

Miami, FL (The Adrienne Arsht Center)
Feb. 4 – 9, 2014

Tampa, FL (Straz Center)
Feb. 11 – 16, 201

Fort Myers, FL (Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall)
Feb. 18 – 23, 2014

New Haven, CT (Shubert Theater)
Feb. 26 – March 2, 2014

Atlanta, GA (Fox Theatre)
March 4 – 9, 2014

Pittsburgh, PA (Benedum Center)
March 11 – 16, 2014

Rochester, NY (Auditorium Theatre)
March 18 – 23, 2014

Buffalo, NY (Shea’s Performing Arts Center)
March 25 – 30, 2014

Minneapolis, MN (Orpheum Theatre)
April 1 – 6, 2014

St. Louis, MO (The Fox Theatre)
April 8 – 20, 2014

Des Moines, IA (Civic Center of Greater Des Moines)
April 22 – 27, 2014

Tempe, AZ (ASU Gammage)
April 29 – May 4, 2014

Denver, CO (Buell Theatre)
May 6 – 18, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (Smith Center for the Performing Arts)
May 20 – 25, 2014

Seattle, WA (The Paramount Theatre)
May 27 – June 8, 2014

Portland, OR (Keller Auditorium)
June 10 – 15, 2014

San Francisco, CA (Curran Theatre)
June 17 – July 13, 2014

Los Angeles, CA (Pantages Theatre)
July 15 – Aug. 10, 2014

San Diego, CA (Civic Center)
Aug. 12 – 17, 2014

Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Hall)
Aug. 19 – 31, 2014

Charlotte, NC (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center)
Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, 2014

Blu-ray Review “Come Out and Play”

Actors: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw
Directors: Makinov
Rated: Unrated
Studio: New Video Group
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Run Time: 86 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I first saw “Come Out and Play”, I was blown away. I thought that it was a slow-burn horror film that really grabbed you. The second viewing of it was still impressive but I feel that the shock and wow factor have passed. Still the third act really packs a solid punch and will leave you mouthing the words “What the f***k, no question. This is directed by Makinov, who we know little about personally except that he is known for wearing a mask. This is based on Juan José Plan’s 1976 Spanish horror classic, “El Juego De Niños”. Think “Children of the Corn”, hold the corn and taking place on an island. I would easily recommend for any horror fan!

Official Premise: Beth (Vinessa Shaw) and Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) decide to take a vacation before the birth of their child. Francis insists on venturing to a more serene island; Beth hesitantly agrees. Soon they discover the island is mysteriously abandoned, populated only by children. Beth and Francis are left to uncover the mystery of the disappearances, as a day in paradise quickly turns into a struggle for survival.

“Come Out and Play” comes with a very sharp presentation, thanks to New Video Group. The 1080p transfer comes with a unique aspect ratio of 2.24:1 but it still works very well. Makinov himself also took on the role of Cinematographer on this film and had a very specific approach to his vision. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sounds great and holds the suspense well as hoped. Again Makinov also scored this film himself, which sounds amazing and I would love to get my hands on a copy. The special features though a a little light with a few short deleted/extended scenes, a short EPK with two interviews, a making of featurette focusing on the kids stunts and finally a trailer is included.

Makinov talks about his film "Come Out and Play"

Makinov is the director, writer, producer, cinematographer and editor on the new film “Come Out and Play”. The film is about a couple that find terror on an island inhabited by a community of killer children. Makinov always wears a mask and his identity is not known but that doesn’t change anything, this film is a must-see for sure. I can’t wait to see what he has planned next. Media Mikes had the chance to ask him a few questions about the film.

Mike Gencarelli: With this being your reported first directorial debut, what was your biggest challenge?
Makinov: This is not my first film. Is the first film I shoot with actors and that was part of the challenge. Also some people didn’t trust a face they couldn’t see, but I don’t think directors are completely trusted even if they show their faces.

MG: Where was the film shot?
Makinov: The film was shot in the Holbox Island in Mexico. It’s usually a beautiful place, but there was a storm during most of our shoot. We lost communication with the mainland for two weeks, it was like if the end of the world had happened.

MG: Were you ever concerned with showing the extreme violence towards kids?
Makinov:  I didn’t think about it. I think more gruesome violence towards children has been systematized and assimilated into western culture. Family is a violent institution, schools are violent, institutions of oppression and normalizing, preparing children to be unfulfilled, unhappy adults. Passing down to the next generation values that have been proved wrong, that will only lead to death and misery.

MG: Tell us about the score/music in the film, which I felt was very effective in setting the film’s tone.
Makinov:  It’s synthesizer and drum machine music. I composed it as I was editing. I drew inspiration from obscure Mexican band called Tuareg Geeks.

MG: What do you have planned next?
Makinov:  I am not sure, I am living in the wild with animals and they have inspired me a lot, and there is a sad resonance among the animal kingdom that lives at the mercy of humans. That is an interesting subject to me.

Film Review "Come Out and Play"

Starring: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, Daniel Gimenez Cacho
Director: Makinov
Distributed by: New Video
MPAA Rating: Unrated
RUnning Time: 95 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I am not sure what it was that drew me to “Come Out and Play”. Before watching this film, I hadn’t seen any of the teasers or trailers. I think what was the real draw for me, besides that it is a horror flick, was that it was directed by Makinov, who we know little about personally except that he is known for wearing a mask. Nonetheless, Makinov knows how to direct a film.  He delivers some great tension in his directorial debut in “Come Out and Play”. The film itself is a slow-burn but as it developed  throughout, especially in the third act, it grabs you and doesn’t let do. Do not miss this!

This is based on Juan José Plan’s 1976 Spanish horror classic, “El Juego De Niños”. The premise is quite simple yet very effective. It follows a young couple’s attempt to escape to a isolated island during vacation. This vacation represents their last chance to enjoy themselves before they become parents. When they arrive on the island, at first they do not see anyone else around. But they soon find out that they are not alone at all. In fact the island is filled with tons of children, who are ruling the island and have quite the murderous appetite. The couple struggle to survive and make it off this remote island. Think “Children of the Corn”, hold the corn and taking place on an island.

The film stars Vinessa Shaw, who I know best from “Hocus Pocus” but more recently in “The Hills Have Eyes” remake and Ebon Moss-Bachrach known for his role on “Damages”. The film really sits on their shoulders and they hold it up well with great performances. The horror is the film is practically yet packs a nice punch, literally. Assisting with the suspense is Makinov’s score, which really takes you along for the ride and does not let you take your eyes off the screen. There is no shortage of gore or even violence to the kids, which I feel is very ballsy but pays off. I hope this little film gets some attention because it should not be missed. I can’t to see what Makinov has planned next for sure.

Book Review “Let’s Play in the Snow”

Author: Sam McBratney
Illustrator: Anita Jeram
Reading level: Ages 1 and up
Board book: 24 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: September 11, 2012

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Just in time for the holiday’s get ready to play in the snow with The Nutbrown Hares.  Now in this new edition, this book is the perfect size to fit right in a stocking! This latest “Guess How Much I Love You” storybook is cute for little ones.  The story is a little slow moving but still very cute.

“The Nutbrown Hares are playing I Spy as they hop through the snow. They spy something that belongs to a tree, a bird, and a spider. They spy something that belongs to Little Nutbrown Hare — something that is only there when the sun comes out. But what does Big Nutbrown Hare spy that belongs to him and is his favorite thing of all?”

Sam McBratney is the author “Guess How Much I Love You” series along with illustrator Anita Jeram. The book is simple yet colorful.  The illustrations are crisp and tell the story well.  I was hoping for a little more winter aspect from the book but it still manages to entertain its reader throughout its 24 pages.  The Nutbrown Hares is still a very cute series and I look forward to future installments.

Tara Reid Signs On To Play Lead/Co-Produce Brickroad Films’ Feature “Disengaged”

Tara Reid Signs On To Play Lead/Co-Produce Brickroad Films’ Feature “Disengaged”

The “American Reunion” actress will star in the film as well as Co-Produce.

October 25th, 2012 (Los Angeles) – Brickroad Films is currently in pre-production on the new crime drama feature “Disengaged” which is set to begin production in early 2013. The motion picture will star Tara Reid (American Reunion) as Brittany Gallo, a film in which she will also earn co-producing credits.

Directed by Tibor Takacs (Spiders 3D) and produced by Kevin Barrett, Anthony Thorne and Tara Reid. The feature will be shot in Los Angeles, California and will star such names alongside Tara as Sticky Fingaz (Flight of the Phoenix), Dylan Sprayberry (Man of Steel) and Ellery Sprayberry (The Butterfly Room).

“Disengaged” follows the story of two police officers in the city of Los Angeles who are forced together in a fight for their lives and their careers after a tragic event drastically changes the lives of both men. Reid will play the wife of one of the officers that is under investigation for the shooting of a 17 year old boy. For more information on Brickroad Films please click the following link: www.brickroadfilms.net

 

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Maggie Wagner talks about play “Right on Target” and “Return of the Killer Shrews”

Maggie Wagner is playing the role of Karen Harrison in the play “Right on Target”, which premieres at this year’s New York International Fringe Festival. She is also co-starring with John Schneider in “Return of the Killer Shrews”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about these projects and what else she has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to audition for the play “Right on Target”
Maggie Wagner: I got a phone call from one of the producers who’s a friend of mine. He was working on a play for the Fringe Festival and he had a part in it that he thought I would be good for. He wanted me to meet Gary Morgenstein who was also going to be working on the play. Gary thought I was the right person for the role also. I then auditioned over Skype for director Noemi De Lapunte. She liked me and everything went from there.

MG: Tell us about your character, Karen Harrison, in the play?
MW: I play a character by the name of Karen Harrison. She is a very liberal, hippy, jewelry maker who is married to a very conservative, right wing African American. We are complete opposites.

MG: The play is premiering at the New York International Fringe Festival, what can we expect next?
MW: I have never been to the festival. I do know that two plays or more have gone on to Broadway. One of those was “Urine Town”. This festival is a starting ground for shows and it’s a mixed bag so you never know what you are going to get.

MG: How would you compare working in theater to working in film or television?
MW: It’s all about truth and reality for me. I try to do everything the same. They are different mediums but I try to be as real as possible. You try to bring in your own reality. There is a lot more projecting when it comes to stage work but I love being on stage and hearing the laughter from the crowds.

MG: Is there a specific genre where you feel most comfortable?
MW: I love everything. I like anything that involves me getting paid and being able to show my strongest points. (Laughs)

MG: How did you get involved with “Return of the Killer Shrews”?
MW: The writer of the sequel Steven Latshaw happens to be a friend of mine. The original actress who was cast became pregnant and they needed someone for the role of Stella. They were looking for someone with a biting wit similar to Fran Drescher. I guess I am the low budget equivalent to what they were looking for. (Laughs) They called and asked me if I wanted to be in the film and I just went and did it. There was really no audition process.

MG: Did you have any problems working with the digital effects in the film?
MW: Not really. They kind of give you the idea of where things are and you just sort of go from there. It was great working with John Schneider. We are sort of like the odd couple.

MG: What other projects do you have coming up?
MW: I just finished a film titled “Hate Crime”. The film was directed by James Cullen Bressack and the film is an experimental horror film. It is a found footage film where a family is attacked by some intruders. There is a lot of special effects things going on. I hear it is pretty gruesome to watch.