“Wicked” Returns to Nashville with Four Week Engagement

Wicked, Music City’s most popular musical, returns to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall with a four week engagement March 28 through April 22, 2018. Tickets for the return engagement go on sale on Friday, Jan. 19, at TPAC.org, by phone at 615-782-4040 and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick St., in downtown Nashville. For groups of 10…

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Q&A with the Jersey Girls From “Jersey Boys”

While the show may be called Jersey Boys, the three “Jersey Girls” who play all the female roles in the show know how to steal the spotlight! Dianna Barger, Tristen Buettel, and Michelle Rombola work together to play between four and 20 characters while on tour. In this Q&A, we chat with them about everything from auditions and quick changes to what excites them most about bringing Jersey Boys to Nashville.

 

From left, Dianna Barger, Tristen Buettel and Michelle Rombola. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Q: How many different characters do you portray throughout the show?

Dianna: I portray four different characters in the show. A French hip-hop dancer in the opening scene, one of the backup singers of the girl group The Angels in “My Boyfriend’s Back,” Francine Valli, and a dancer in the closing number.

Tristen: I play about 20 different roles, from “party girls” to girlfriends, from French singers to The Angels!

Michelle: I portray 18 different characters throughout the show. Mind you they don’t all speak, but 18 characters nonetheless!

 

 

Q: With having so many quick character changes, what is your pre-show and mid-show preparation like to get into the mindset of each character?

D: My track actually doesn’t have any quick changes so I have the luxury of having time before my scenes to get into character!

T: Having a solid clearing of the mind and vocal and physical warm-ups. I do about 15 minutes of vocal exercises, and I try to go to the gym almost everyday. It helps me put the day behind me and clear my mind for what is to come.

M: Well, we’re shot out of the cannon right at the top of the show. I hardly stop moving at all in Act 1. So honestly, getting into character all comes from the rehearsal process. I know how they walk and talk and their relationships with everybody on stage. As soon as the costume goes on and I go out on stage, it’s easy to become the character because of all the detailed work we put in during the rehearsal process. I also happen to work with the most talented group of actors. They make it easy.

 

Michelle Rombola and Jonny Wexler. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Q: Do you have a favorite character?

D: I could never choose!  There are things that I love about all of the people I portray.

T: My favorite character is Lorraine. She is so smart and carries herself with such class. She knows how to articulate herself and isn’t afraid to listen to her gut. She puts herself and her career first and doesn’t let men in the way.

M: My favorite character that I play is Mary Delgado. I absolutely love getting to portray her on stage. Strong Italian woman? I’m in.

 

 

 

 

Q: What was the “Jersey Girl” audition process like?

D: Intense!  This is a fun and supportive team to audition for, but challenging at the same time!  It was about three days of dancing, singing, and reading scenes from the show.

T: I went in for Jersey Boys about seven times throughout this audition process. I had gone to the open call in July and then I kept getting called back in. I was originally in for a different role, and they had me read all the girls’ sides until they pinned me on the Lorraine track. It was so fun, and I had no idea I was truly being considered. Jersey Boys has always been one of my favorite Broadway shows so the fact that I was even being considered for the show was enough for me, in addition to getting to learn all the choreography at the dance call! I was in Spain when I received the offer and the next day was my birthday — it was truly the highlight of 2017 for me. My mom and I were literally jumping up and down in the streets of Spain!

M: I actually went in to the chorus call in NYC. After that it was a few appointments doing scenes, singing, and learning the choreography. I actually met the other “Jersey Girls” at one of the final auditions! We spent the whole day together harmonizing and dancing among a group of girls. It’s so funny thinking about how we didn’t know each other then. Now, a mere four months later, we’re like family!

 

Tristen Buettel and Jonny Wexler. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Q: How is portraying a real person onstage different than a fictional character? Does it add more pressure to the performance?

D: It’s an honor to be able to portray a real person and take on the challenge of doing justice to their life and their story.

T: With playing a real character there are more facts and guidelines that can pave the way in how a certain actor portrays them. Personally, I feel that it’s easier because now with YouTube and books, you have a clear example of what this person was like. With fictional characters, the sky’s the limit!

M: I’d say it’s different because you have real back story to the character as opposed to something fictional you created on your own. After that though, it’s pretty much the same process as any other character. The Jersey Boys team is incredible because they encourage us to be actors and not imitators. Because of that I’ve never felt any additional pressure to be a certain way!

 

Q: Have you been to Nashville before? What are you most looking forward to doing while in Music City?

D: This is my first time in Nashville!  I’m most looking forward to taking in as much live music as I can!!

T: I’ve never been to Nashville!  I am SO EXCITED!  I’ve rented an Air B&B in a house where each room is music icon themed (Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash etc.)! I’m so excited to be there for a week and to explore the town!

M: This is my first time in Nashville! I can’t wait to explore the city. It’s so hard to say what I’m most excited for, but I think it’d have to be experiencing the live music scene! I’m also dying to try some Nashville hot chicken. Music and chicken, is there anything better?

Tickets for Jersey Boys (Jan. 9-14, 2018, at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall) are on sale now at TPAC.org and by phone at 615-782-4040. Jersey Boys is presented by Monell’s Dining & Catering.

Life is a Cabaret, old chum! Cabaret Premieres in Nashville Feb. 24 – Mar. 4

Welcome to the infamous Kit Kat Klub, where the Emcee, Sally Bowles and a raucous ensemble take the stage nightly to tantalize the crowd – and to leave their troubles outside. But as life in pre-WWII Germany grows more and more uncertain, will the decadent allure of Berlin nightlife be enough to get them through their dangerous times?   Come…

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‘The Illusionists – Live from Broadway’ bring their dazzling theatrical magic show to Nashville

On the heels of a highly successful multi-city tour and run on Broadway, the world’s best-selling touring magic show, The Illusionists – Live from Broadway comes to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall for a limited three-day engagement Feb. 16 – 18, 2018. Tickets go on sale Friday, November 17 at 10 a.m. at TPAC.org, by phone at…

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Lincoln Theater Production of Rogers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King & I’ premieres in Nashville Jan. 30 – Feb. 4

Winner of four 2015 Tony Awards®, including Best Revival of a Musical, the Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I makes its Nashville premiere at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall with a one-week engagement Jan. 30 – Feb. 4, 2018. Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. at TPAC.org,…

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Five Questions With Daniel David Stewart from ‘Part of the Plan’

We sat down with the incredibly talented Daniel David Stewart a couple weeks ago to discuss his involvement with ‘Part of the Plan’ and what he hopes audiences will take away once seeing the show.

Q: How did you get involved with ‘Part of the Plan’?

Daniel: I got involved with POTP two years ago, I was asked to do a reading in LA which is where I’m from. The reading turned into a workshop and I never really thought I’d hear anything again. Two years later the writers did all this work to get the show to TPAC and they very graciously asked me to be part of the show. I’m happy to be here!

 

Q: What attracted you to ‘Part of the Plan’?

Daniel: I think the first thing that attracted me was that I grew up listening to Dan Fogelberg’s music. My parents raised me on singer-songwriters so I instantly loved it. I also thought it was awesome to see what is essentially a jukebox musical of a person’s work that was not based around the person’s life. It’s a new musical with that person’s music. I thought that it’s not done enough as a well done story. Hirsh is a character that gives me an excuse to go to the gym everyday and look like a soldier, the cast is also such a great group to work with.

 

Q: What can people expect from the show?

Daniel: People can expect really great music that makes them feel at home wherever they are. There’s something about the folk music of that era that gives you a sense of inner peace and light. You can expect to see a very thoughtful loving story told with loving songs. We go to musical theatre to have a grand emotion that comes from grand emotional music.

 

Q: Who would you recommend to see ‘Part of the Plan’?

Daniel: Everyone. I think that you can relate to these characters because you can see a little bit of all of us in them. Whether it’s my character Hirsh who’s a young whippersnapper trying to figure things out or someone like Sean who’s trying to do the best for his country. You get to see two couples experience being young into their older selves and you can relate to every part along the way.

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to once the show premieres?

Daniel: I’m excited to see this seven years of work pay off in a big space. To see it happen in front of a large audience is going to be a beautiful experience. I’m excited to share this music, more people should know about Dan Fogelberg that do. I’m excited to watch people hear his music for the first time.

You can also check out Daniel’s interview with ‘Out and About Nashville”:

 

If You Go:
Part of the Plan
Sept. 8-24, 2017
TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater
505 Deaderick St.

Tickets:
TPAC.org
615-782-4040

Performance schedule, prices, and cast are subject to change without notice. Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is a nonprofit arts organization funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission. TPAC reminds ticket buyers that the only official place to buy tickets online is TPAC.org.

 

5 Questions with JT Hodges from ‘Part of the Plan’

We sat down with country singer and actor JT Hodges to discuss what it’s been like to work on a brand new musical. ‘Part of the Plan’ premieres here at TPAC September 8-24.   Q: How did you get involved with ‘Part of the Plan’? JT: I got involved with POTP through a fellow songwriter friend of mine who happened…

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Casting Announced for Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award-Winning ‘Jersey Boys’!

Casting has been announced for the Nashville engagement of the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical JERSEY BOYS, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, playing the TPAC January 9-14. The cast of JERSEY BOYS will be led by Tommaso Antico (Bob Gaudio), Corey Greenan (Tommy DeVito), Chris Stevens (Nick Massi) and Jonny Wexler (Frankie Valli) as The…

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Broadway’s ‘An American in Paris’ plays Nashville Oct. 31- Nov. 5

An American in Paris

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, the most-awarded new musical of 2015 and winner of four Tony Awards®, brings its first national tour to Nashville with a one-week engagement at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall Oct. 31 – Nov. 5.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. at TPAC.org, by phone at 615-782-4040 and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick St., in downtown Nashville. For groups of 10 or more, call 615-782-4060.

Inspired by the Academy Award-winning film, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is the romantic story about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Directed and choreographed by 2015 Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon, the show features the music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and a book by Craig Lucas.

The production opened to widespread critical acclaim at the Palace Theatre on Broadway in April 2015 after its world premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The New York production closed in October 2016 after playing more than 600 performances. A West End production of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS opened in March 2017 at the Dominion Theatre.

The score of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS includes the songs “I Got Rhythm,” “Liza,” ‘’S Wonderful,” “But Not For Me,” “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise,” and orchestral music including “Concerto in F,” “Second Prelude,” “Second Rhapsody/Cuban Overture” and “An American In Paris.”

“A Gershwin classic with beautiful choreography and gorgeous dancing, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is a love letter to musical theatre. This stunning and award-winning production transports the audience to Paris, where the romance and magic of Paris combines with the music of George and Ira Gershwin for an unforgettable experience.” -Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC President and CEO

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS won four 2015 Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Award for Best Musical, three Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, and two Theatre World Awards. The musical was included on the Year’s Best lists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, the Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Masterworks Broadway Original Broadway Cast recording of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS was nominated for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy Award.

The creative team also is comprised of Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (set and costume designer) and Natasha Katz (lighting designer); Jon Weston (sound designer); 59 Productions (projection designer); Rob Fisher (musical score adaption, arrangement and supervision); Todd Ellison (musical supervisor); David Andrews Rogers (musical director/conductor); Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott (orchestrations); Sam Davis (dance arrangements); Telsey + Company/Rachel Hoffman, C.S.A. (casting); Rick Steiger (production supervisor); Dontee Kiehn (associate director and associate choreographer); and Sean Kelly (associate choreographer and resident director).

The producing team includes Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan and Roy Furman by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical, Pittsburgh CLO and Théâtre du Châtelet.

For more information, visit www.AnAmericanInParisBroadway.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

If You Go:

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

Oct. 31 – Nov. 5, 2017

Andrew Jackson Hall

505 Deaderick St.

Tickets:

TPAC.org

615-782-4040

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is the third production featured in the 2017-18 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC season and is presented locally by Bank of America. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. The Broadway season is supported by the HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family of Hospitals, and media sponsors for the season include NewsChannel 5 and The Tennessean. Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.

TPAC is an accessible facility that provides a variety of services including wheelchair accommodations, accessible parking, and assistive listening devices. Open captioning, American Sign Language, audio description, and large print and Braille programs are offered at the Sunday matinee performance of each Broadway series and Broadway special engagement. For more information about accessible services, contact Lori Ward at LWard@TPAC.org or 615-782-4077.

TPAC reminds ticket buyers that the only official place to buy tickets online is TPAC.org.Since 1980, the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center has welcomed more than 12 million audience members and served more than 1.8 million children and adults with performances at TPAC, teacher resources, professional development opportunities, classroom residencies, and enrichment programs. Each year, TPAC serves several hundred thousand audience members with the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series, a variety of special engagements, and the productions of three resident artistic companies – Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre. TPAC’s mission is to lead with excellence in the performing arts and arts education, creating meaningful and relevant experiences to enrich lives, strengthen communities, and support economic vitality. For more information, visit TPAC.org.