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!!!
Fresh of his Off Broadway debut, Max sat down with us to chat about his experience in MAD LIBS LIVE at New World Stages. Being no stranger to children shows, Max also talks about one of the toughest experiences in his life being cast in Theatreworks USA’s CURIOUS GEORGE. We really do have a lot of laughs chatting about car totaling wrecks, rendezvous in St. Louis, and of all people: John Cena, an idol of his. Listen in to find out Max’s dream roles, why he no longer thinks he’s bad at improv, and how at heart he’s just a “family man.”
Composer, arranger, orchestrator and pianist, Miho Hazama joined us in the studio to talk about her path to finding her mix between classical and jazz music. Currently, she is a New York City based jazz composer traveling the world performing her music. Starting as a pianist, her early studies in electronic organ later helped her with orchestration. From the age of 7 she started to study composition and later her interest in jazz started from listening to all types of music and in college hearing a big-band in rehearsal. She shared how she learned to improvise and find a balance between classical and jazz. Her life as a performer-conductor, arranger and composer is a balance that keeps her active and always busy. Recently released, she describes her second album with her jazz chamber orchestra, which includes new instrumentation for jazz music.
This week we chat with Joshua Gonzales who happens to be a cast mate of our very own Ryan Michael Hartman. They both join us in the studio to discuss their experience touring the country in the Theatreworks USA tour Teacher From The Black Lagoon. Listen in as Joshua discusses the unique challenges of being a replacement with very little time to prepare. We also share some good laughs as they recall the ups and downs of traveling the country in a work van and Prius, to entertain kids in a wide range of spaces from beautiful historic theaters, to school room cafeterias.
This weeks guest, violinist, Joyce Hammann, sits down to discuss her own journey from being young and broke to playing on Broadway. Paying rent by playing music on street corners, to eventually playing Phantom of the Opera for 25 years and becoming the Concertmaster. Joyce lets us in on the duties of being a concertmaster: knowing when to step in, and when to let problems solve themselves. She also opens up about how crossword puzzles and the quite support of her colleagues helped her through her own rough patch dealing with “the pressure of perfectionism.”
Flutist, Martha Cargo trained as a classical flutist as well as a contemporary flutist. Her abilities also expand to the non-profit world as a consultant and administrator. She talks about; her exposure to contemporary flute music, the switch back and forth from contemporary to baroque, her current job as Assistant to the Music Director at the Americas Society, how she prepared herself in college for her current day job, how to find your brand and identity and her future performance plans.
Contemporary Pianist, Anthony de Mare shares his journey to his current career. He talks about his influences that formed his path to studying classical piano, leading him to find an affinity to the repertoire of contemporary composers. At the University of Buffalo he found his way to new music exploring late Liszt to the present and hosting a radio program about new music. He examines the skills that a pianist needs to be successful at learning contemporary music and the importance of including contemporary music within standard repertoire curriculum. We discuss the difficulties that arise from learning and teaching contemporary music, how competitions fit into creating a career, and defining what is included in contemporary piano music. Reinventing himself every five years or so, he shares his current project “Liaisons”, commissioning 36 of the world’s foremost contemporary composers from across the musical spectrum to “re-imagine” one of Sondheim’s songs as a solo piano piece.