Ari Afsar. Ari is about to add HAMILTON to her list of credits that is already pretty impressive with American Idol contestant, and Miss California 2010 winner. This week, she will begin her performances as Eliza Hamilton in the Chicago HAMILTON cast. We got to sit down with her during the rehearsal process to discuss this amazing opportunity, and the steps that led to it. We talk about the ups and downs of getting fame at an early age, and why American Idol was both the best and worst experience for her. Also, listen in to this fun interview to find out how she still attended UCLA, even after the university turned her down; it’s a great lesson in tenacity!!!
Matous Michal one the newest members of the Chicago Symphony’s Second Violin section joined us in the studio to share his journey to getting his first job. We talked about his audition and preparation process and his experience during the first few months with the Chicago Symphony.
Courter Simmons dazzles the stage playing many characters ranging from Frankie Valli (Jersey Boys) to Le Fou (Beauty and the Beast) to a character of his own invention who goes by the name of “Cacophony Daniels.”
In our interview we learn how Courter went from the Broadway stage to mastering heels in his own drag character and how both personas get work.
Ali Ewoldt joined us in the studio just four weeks after taking over the role of Christine in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Being cast as Christine, in addition to being a lifelong dream, marks a groundbreaking shift for the PHANOM family as Ali is “the first woman of color, and Asian American” to take on the role. Listen in as Ali tells us about her audition process, including the notes Hal Prince had for her during her final audition on the stage at the Majestic Theatre. Ali was a wonderfully fun guest, and she has some pretty funny stories about stage mishaps.
Trombonist, Actress, Poet; Abbie Conant joined us in the studio to share stories of success, challenges, and perseverance. Currently, she finds artistic fulfillment in teaching and performing new theatrical works for Trombone with her husband William Osborne. We discussed her journey to Europe and experience with sexism in Italy as well as the Munich Philharmonic.
Patrick is currently the First Horn chair for THE LION KING on Broadway. When he’s not playing for the pride, Patrick can heard in various gigs not only throughout the country, but throughout the world. A graduate of Manhattan School of Music, he has been playing on Broadway for a few decades, and has also managed to rack up a few participation Grammy’s for his involvement in works produced by the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to being a wonderful french horn player, Patrick finds continued creativity through his exploration of conducting as well as composing. We were fortunate enough to have him provide an expert of his haunting composition, Meditations on Manhattan. A longer cut off his music is generously supplied at the the very end of the podcast. Listen in to hear some great stories from this fantastic individual.
During our conversation with Jack Schatz, Trombonist, we learn just how networking was done in the 80s which still holds true today, playing your best and saying yes. Jack started as a piano student and tells the store of how he became a monster of the the low brass world of jingles, studio work, broadway and orchestra gigs. In his “spare” time Jack managed to beat cancer, teach at the college level and have a family in the big apple. In the Fall, Jack is taking on new adventures on the faculty at SUNY Purchase.
Kristy Cates, singer, dancer, actor, creative director, mentor and mother tells Ryan and Kevin how a small town girl from Northern California can through hard work and focus hit the musical theatre scene in New York and find success and artistic satisfaction.
Kristy tells great stories about her journey and how she meets fellow broadway stage performers all along the way.
Countertenor Jeffrey Palmer, originally from Virginia, now lives and works in NYC after studying music in Bath, England. During the interview Jeffrey shares how he discovered his vocal specialty and explains how it is a differentiator, but does not let it put him “in a box” musically. As an artist, Jeffrey likes to use his voice to tell stories and entertain audiences by exploring his extensive vocal range and genres of music.