Exclusive Interview With Lea Michele! ‘Intimate Evening’ Tour Kicks Off In Philly!

By: Debra Wallace

(PCM) Songstress Lea Michele has made an indelible mark on Broadway, on the hit television show “Glee” and she is now celebrating her new music and much-anticipated upcoming tour.

The remarkable 30-year-old singer and actress, best known for portrayal of Rachel Berry on the award-winning show “Glee,” kicks off her limited Intimate Evening with Lea Michele’s North American Tour on May 1 at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia.

Subsequent stops on the tour include: Boston, Ledyard, Connecticut, Toronto, Seattle, and San Francisco, which is something her fans around the globe are thrilled to partake in. There is something about her voice, her presence, and the way she conveys emotion in her music that speaks to her scores of admirers far and wide.

Her new single, “Love Is Alive,” was released on March 3, and her second album, “Places” will be released by Columbia Records on April 28. She first performed the new music during three intimate sold out shows in January, and this tour is a result of the demand from her many devoted fans, who have followed her rich career of music, television and Broadway.

No stranger to live audiences, Michele, who grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, made her Broadway debut at age 8, after tagging along with a friend to an open casting call. After she spontaneously decided to audition, she was offered the role, and two weeks later she was starring on Broadway.

In 1995, she made her Broadway debut as a replacement for the role of young Cosette in “Les Miserables.” This was followed by roles in “Ragtime,” and in 2004, she portrayed Shprintze, and understudied the role of Chava, in the Broadway revival of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

She was nominated for several awards for creating the role of Wendla Bergman in the original company of the musical of “Spring Awakening,” which debuted on Broadway in December 2006.

In late 2008, she received the role of Rachel Berry on “Glee’ and has received many awards for her performance, including the 2009 Satellite Award for best actress in a series, comedy or musical, and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations. She is also starring on the new Fox TV’s series, “Scream Queens.”

If all of this was not enough, Michele is the author of a charming book called “Brunette Ambition,” that explores her life and career, including fitness, fashion, the spotlight and more.

PCM: I am here in Philadelphia and everyone I know who loved you on “Glee” and on Broadway, is thrilled you are sharing your music with us on May 1.

LEA MICHELE: It’s so funny because I have so many friends in Philly and I’m literally as I’m talking to you, I’m getting texts like, ‘can you get my mom’s friend from Philly four tickets,’ and ‘can we get nine more tickets for your show?’ So I’m like negotiating all my Philly tickets as we speak.

PCM: That’s pretty funny. I am sure these tickets are in demand.

LM: I think it’s because it’s the closest concert to the New York City, and I have a lot of friends there, so it’s very exciting for me to share it with all of them.

PCM: What are you excited about accomplishing with this tour?

LM: I think it was really important for me with this second record to immediately start performing. I’ve already done a couple of performances of this show that I put together back in January, but my goal is to get out there and show everyone that I’m a performer. I grew up on the stage. I grew up performing. I’m a live singer and I think that’s what sort of makes me different from, a lot of other entertainers.

PCM: Please tell me more about this.

LM: Well, even before this album comes out, I wanted to get up on the stage and perform. We’ve put together what I think, is a really great concert with some songs from my first record, [“Louder” released in March 2014], songs from this new album, “Places,” and then some really fun songs also from “Glee,” which I love singing. During the show, I tell stories along the way about “Glee” and about recording my first album and about the meaning of these songs from my second record.

PCM: So what should your fans look forward to during your intimate concert?

LM: They should expect a fun little night and it’s just sort of the beginning of this little leg of all these tours for me. I’m sort of learning as I go. But I’ve really loved it so far, and I can’t wait to travel to different places. Every city has like a different energy, and every audience is unique. I tell different stories each night, and sometimes I get a little too personal when I start giving everyone all of my deepest and darkest secrets; but I’ve really loved it.

PCM: Since your early days on Broadway you have really shined under the spotlight.

LM: Thank you. For sure; I feel the most comfortable on stage.

PCM: Tell me about the new album and the feedback from the first songs you released?

LM: People are really loving the single. We’ve released “Love Is Alive” as well as “Anything’s Possible,” and I think that people really just wanted to hear this type of music from me for a really long time. My first album was a little pop heavy and this album is a little bit more classical and it’s just about my voice.

PCM: What do you mean?

LM: Obviously on “Glee” I did a lot of pop songs, but I also did these really big, belting sort of show stopping numbers and I wanted to branch off of that and create an album that was timeless and that really just reflects a lot of the singers that I grew up listening to, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, and for me I think this album is just a great representation of who I am as a singer. Not like you listen to it and you go, well that sounds like this person or it sounds like that person. You listen to it and it sounds like me, and I think that it’s something that people could also listen to in 10 years and it could still be relevant.

PCM: What does it feel like when fans say ‘I love Celine Dion, Adele and Barbra Streisand, and in my view you are up there with them?’

LM: Honestly, it feels weird. I think for me, I love singing, but it’s like, it’s difficult and it’s hard. I look at those singers who are still performing, and I feel like I am part of this new generation of singers. I think of what they do as being so effortless, but I imagine it’s the same thing for them as it is for me – a lot of hard work and unwavering dedication. I think they’re incredible, and to even just be in the same sentence as those amazing women is unbelievable.

PCM: Will you go back to Broadway?

LM: I would love to. But right now I really just want to focus on touring. I didn’t have that opportunity with my first record. So it is very important to me to do these shows now, to be on the stage and sing the songs from my album at my concerts. I also love singing the songs from “Glee,” which was such a big part of my life. So I’ve put together the concert and we have this lovely section about “Glee” and so I feel like I need to do this first before I can go back to Broadway, which takes a lot of time and effort. So this is where I need to be right now.

PCM: Is there any other advice that you would give a teenager or young woman who wants a career in TV, or music, or Broadway, or any of these things which are very big goals?

LM: I’ve gotten asked that question for such a long time, and I think for me I worked so hard. I never slacked off. I never was the girl that went to the party or anything like that, because I was working and I had to take care of myself. So being a performer, and being in the industry, it comes with a lot of sacrifices and you have to be willing to make those sacrifices so you have to work really hard. You have to take care of yourself. You have to go to school, and learn your craft. There’s a lot of different elements that sort of lead to success, and for me, I just never really stopped. I never gave up, and I worked really hard.

PCM: I look forward to your Philadelphia show on May 1. Good luck with the tour. It was been a pleasure talking to you today.

LM: Thank you!

For more information about Lea Michele, go to: www.leamichelemusic.com

For tickets to the Intimate Evening with Lea Michele Tour at the Merriam Theater, go to: www.KimmelCenter.org. Or call: 215-893-1999.

This post came fromExclusive Interview With Lea Michele! ‘Intimate Evening’ Tour Kicks Off In Philly! - unSkinny Pop

Everclear’s Art Alexakis Talks Industry, Touring, And Celebrating ‘So Much For The Afterglow’s” 20th Anniversary!

(TRR) We recently had a chance to catch up for a quick chat with iconic Everclear frontman Art Alexakis to discuss the band’s upcoming summer tour, changes in the music industry, his work on a solo acoustic record and more! Also, it is hard to believe that one of Everclears’ most popular albums “So Much For The Afterglow” will be turning 20 years old this year and the band is headed out on a summer trek to celebrate for which we can’t wait!

Q: “So Much For The Afterglow” is one of our personal favorites from the band and it is hard to believe it turns 20 years old this year. We know you are headed out for a massive summer tour this year to celebrate, how does it feel looking back on that particular album?

ART ALEXAKIS: Thanks! It’s definitely one of my personal favorites too! It was a big deal making that record, just the same way that “Sparkle and Fade” was a big deal and the success from that was amazing. I wasn’t super surprised when it happened because I knew it was a great record … that we made a really good record and I wanted to make a really good second record. Back in the day there was all this talk about one-hit wonders and sophomore slumps and stuff like that and I was just driven to not let that happen. It took awhile to make that record happen, but when we did I was really pleased with it. It’s the kind of record I can listen to from beginning to end, even now, without that cringe factor and I’m really excited to get out there and play these songs this summer. Some of them we have never even played live ever, so it’s going to be fun.

Q: We thinking that is what is lacking now with so many album releases. We are missing the whole aspect of being able to pop on the entire album and listen to it from start to finish.

AA: It makes sense because it’s an album. There’s something about it that ties all the songs together and while it doesn’t necessarily have to be a concept record, it just feels like an album, if that makes sense. People aren’t making those anymore because the technology is not really set up for it right now. Services like Spotify exist now and everyone wants to hear, or rather stream, what ever their favorites songs are and it’s not a thing where you start a CD or a record at the beginning or even a tape and listen through. It’s a whole different mindset.

Q: We feel like everyone gets trapped in the singles market.

AA: Even back in the day there were still albums that would come out and it just seemed like they would have the hit and there would be one other really great song and the rest just sounded like filler. If you’re going to make an album, you gotta throw down and put your whole heart and mind and body and soul into it. It’s not easy to make a good record … a whole record that does different things but still sounds like your voice. Not just the singing, but lyrically and musically and all that stuff. The bands that pull it off like The Pixies, they had two or three records like that, Led Zeppelin was great at that and everything sounded like Zeppelin for the first four or five records. Those records are just unbelievable and Stevie Wonder went through that period with about four or five records and it’s just amazing.

It’s inspiring to know that I think there’s a lot of acts out there now that are getting frustrated with how the music industry is now and that’s how it always is, you know? Someone’s going to get pissed off and somethings going to come out of it like punk or hip-hop did or alternative did and it’s going to blow over the top. I think with what’s going on politically in this country, it’s going to add a little extra dissension to the mix. I’m kind of excited to see what’s going to happen in the next couple of years musically.

Q: Music has always been something that people have turned to, especially in times like these and we love that so many artists have a voice. Hopefully they will not be afraid to use it.

AA: Yeah, with the way things are now there is this tendency where they want to squelch the press and confuse everyone with “fake news” and all that stuff to create smoke and mirrors, but it’s nothing new. People have been doing it for years. Even back before Hitler, it goes back to the Roman Empire, they did that crap then and the church did it for years. It’s nothing new and people just need to know that and with the advent of social media there’s always a venue and a platform to get what you want to say out there, so that’s a good thing.

Q: We’ve seen so many changes in the music industry over the years with one of the biggest ones being the up rise of social media. Have any of those changes had an effect on the way that you approach recording, new music and promotion? 

AA: (laughs) Well, we’re not recording on tape anymore! You record on Pro Tools and you can either use it to tune it and make it something it’s not or you can use it as just a recording device. I think it’s opened up a lot for a lot of people and it’s just made it more accessible and to me that’s a good thing. Having the ability to make music and film and taking the stigma of this huge dollar amount and having to go through this major label structure, now you can just buy a computer and do it yourself. If you’ve got the goods … you’ve got the songs … then it all comes down to the songs. It comes down to the content whether it’s film or whatever. “Moonlight” recently won the Oscar for Best Picture and it’s such as simple and easy film to make, no special effects, nothing crazy. It was all about the story and the content and that to me was huge. It inspired me.

The same thing with the music. I want to make a solo acoustic record this year sometime and I’m writing songs, just me and the guitar, if there’s any other instrument I’m going to play it, it’s going to be very minimal. Very stripped down.

Q: We did hear that you were planning work on a solo release. How far along in the process are you?

AA: I’ve got about two of three songs recorded and we’re working on it. It’s a slow process. I had to deal with some health stuff early in the year and I just got some back surgery that I need to get and I’m still recuperating from that, so I probably won’t be jumping off speakers anytime soon (laughs)

Q: That’s good! You have to take care of yourself! 

AA: I’m getting too old for that anyway (laughs) But, no, I’m in good shape and just very happy with my life and my family and working … doing different things and just being grateful. I think that’s going to come out in songs and they are starting to come together. They are a little more militant than I thought they were going to be (laughs)

Q: How therapeutic is the creative process for you? It has to be a release even if you are not expecting it to come out that way! 

AA: Well, you can take the boy out of the punk rock, but it’s hard to take the punk rock out of the boy! Even with acoustic guitar … the fire’s there! I still have the fire in my belly.

Q: Is there any Everclear material in the vault? Anything you would think about going back to and revisiting?

AA: Not right now. We made a record a couple of years ago called “Black is the New Black” which I believe was released in 2015 or 2014 (laughs),  and it was just a lot of fun to make and just one of my favorite records. It is one of my favorite Everclear records ever, as it’s a really hard rock record. It was dark and it just sounded good and I think I just want to do some different stuff for a while. We are going to do this 20th anniversary tour and “The Noise” turns 25 in 2018, so we might do something for that, so we might do something somewhere, but for right now just concentrating on doing my solo record and I’m working on a book which is kind of a memoir of my childhood.

I’m also doing this thing with artist development where I’m going online and running classes just talking about the things I’ve learned. You know, the things I did right and the things I did wrong (laughs). Just trying to be a mentor for people who want to be in this business.

Q: That is a wonderful thing because so many artists get lost in all the confusion that can be the music industry. They can lose their purpose sometimes without some type of guidance. 

AA: Right, exactly! Also, I’m a DJ on Sirius XM Lithium and I have my own a show on Sunday nights that begins at 6pm EST.


The post Everclear’s Art Alexakis Talks Industry, Touring, And Celebrating ‘So Much For The Afterglow’s” 20th Anniversary! appeared first on The Rock Revival.

Bon Jovi Provides Philadelphia With A Solid Show

(TRR) At times being a concert reviewer can be quite difficult, as we always want to provide our network audience with an honest and straight-forward recap of the events we have the privilege to attend and while we are huge fans of many of the artists we cover, there are certain times when a show just isn’t up to speed. Such is the case with Bon Jovi’s recent performance in Philadelphia, PA, while it wasn’t necessarily a bad show, there just seemed to be something off with the performance right out of the gate.

Let us stress that we are huge Bon Jovi fans and we without a doubt give the band a ton of credit for giving it their all each and every night, but there are times when even the best of the best can have an off night and that appears to be exactly what happened with this particular show. While the Wells Fargo Center was darn near close to a sell-out crowd for the band’s “The House Is Not For Sale” tour there was some element that was missing from the band’s nearly two and half hour performance. It very well may have just been the vocals, as front-man Jon Bon Jovi was at times very hard to comprehend. We would later find out that he was beginning his battle with a nasty cold that eventually caused him to cut his concert in Pittsburgh, PA short by about an hour, so perhaps this cold played a bit of a part in Philadelphia’s strained performance as well. The life of a musician is not always easy and spending so much time and energy out on the road, playing shows each and every night can really take its’ toll on ones’ body and overall health in general.

Looking back we definitely feel that Bon Jovi’s cold played a huge factor in his Philadelphia performance and we certainly give him all the credit in the world for chugging on and providing us with solid show, just not extraordinary. We also have to give the members of Bon Jovi a ton of credit for keeping up the energy on-stage. The band’s banter with the crowd was on-point and their stories are always fascinating to hear. The band opened up their performance playing the title track off “This House Is Not For Sale” and then immediately launched into another new track title “Knockout”.

The crowd became more amped when they began playing more of their older hits such as “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Runaway” and “Lost Highway” to name a few. The show definitely began to pick up more steam as the night wore on and despite his vocals being a bit strained, Bon Jovi reminded us why he is one of the greats during his acoustic rendition “Whole Lotta Leavin'” and the amazing “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “It’s My Life”. Bon Jovi made sure the audience gave plenty of “brotherly love” to new guitarist Phil X and we have to admit that he did indeed to a pretty phenomenal job.

Bon Jovi knows how to read their audience and they definitely have an amazing stage presence. How at 55-years old Jon Bon Jovi can still move around the stage in the ways that he is does is just incredible and trust us, the ladies are still very much delighted! Fans wanted to rock out to the hits and Bon Jovi provided them with the hits. The audience did not seem to really mind one way or another about any type of vocal issues, as they were still hanging on to Bon Jovi’s every word. For us, hearing songs like “Bad Medicine” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive” will never get old and so long as Bon Jovi is still out there giving it their all, we as fans will continue to show our support, even if they do have a bad night or two along the way!

Photography credit: Tom Newforge

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Exclusive Interview With Author Jack Ketchum

(PCM) “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.” – Stephen King

I had the honor of recently interviewing writer Jack Ketchum. Ketchum is a masterful storyteller and has written over twenty novels & novellas. Five of his books have been turned into films The Girl Next Door, The Lost, Red, Offspring, and The Woman.

The Woman and I’m Not Sam were both written with director Lucky Mckee. Be sure to check out www.jackketchum.net for a full listing of his terrifying body of work.

Q: Are writers born or made due to their upbringing or social surroundings?

JACK KETCHUM: I’m no scientist, so I can’t speak for nature. But I do know about nurture. Were it not for my mother teaching me to read pre-kindergarten, encouraging my interest in and love of all kinds of reading — including comic books — I wouldn’t be here today. Then I had some great teachers along the way in high school and college, most notably my sophomore English teacher, Dorothy Senner, who assigned the class to write to a writer and see if they responded. Robert Bloch did, wrote back to me and subsequently encouraged my writing every step of the way until the day he died. A lot of doors opened for me. I owe a lot of good people big time.

Q: You have inspired a lot of writer’s including myself. What advice can you give someone who has a story they want to tell?

JK: Apply ass to chair. Make sure that before you do that you’ve read like a demon, all kinds of stuff. Then, when you think you’re ready, trust yourself and trust the story. And remember to have fun!

Q: Are there any upcoming horror movies that are coming out that you are looking forward to seeing?

JK: I usually don’t know what’s coming until it’s out. I rarely watch previews and never read the trades. Horror movies have always been pretty hit or miss — you wade through a lot of uninspired drek to get to a gem. Fine. I’m good with that. But it also means I don’t get my hopes up prematurely.

Q: You and Lucky Mckee have been quite the successful pairing. How did that relationship come to be?

JK: Lucky wanted to option Red for himself to direct and The Lost for his buddy Chris Sivertson. Once I saw May I was immediately on board. Then we got to know one another, and found that we’re so like-minded in so many ways about movies, books, and life in general that collaboration seemed a natural way to go. Damn glad we did.

Q: Any upcoming projects on the horizon?

JK: I’ve got a new story collection coming out soon called Gorilla In My Room, and the 35th Anniversary edition of Off Season, illustrated, and complete with bells and whistles. After that, I suspect Lucky and I will start a new project before too long.

Q: The first book of yours I read was The Girl Next Door I was both fascinated and horrified. Do you ever go back and read a scene and get goosebumps?

JK: Not goosebumps exactly. But last year I did the audio version of The Girl Next Door, and prior to that I’d never read it out loud. So, there were places where I had to stop myself and say, good grief, I wrote that? Really? That’s really harsh!

Q: You grew up in New Jersey and worked various jobs before writing full time. Do you ever run into childhood friends or coworkers that have read your work?

JK: Happily, there have been a few who’ve found me along the way, including a woman last year who I was absolutely nuts about in college. She went and read everything I wrote in a matter of a few months. And I gotta say, I loved it.

Q: Favorite place to get inspiration?

JK: Lying in bed with my nose in a book.

Q: Do you write every day?

JK: Perish the thought! I’m not driven to write. I take time off for actual life in between projects. Though when I’m doing a longer piece, a book or a screenplay, then I do write something each day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs, just to keep it flowing and hold onto the continuity. Otherwise I’ll lay back for a while and do a short story, essay or poem every now and then. It’s got to be fun for me, the way it was when I first started, or else it becomes a job…and I’m allergic to jobs.

Q: I’ve read that you loved Elvis Presley growing up. If you could have one conversation with him what would you talk about and would you give him any advice?

JK: Well, he’s dead, and I imagine that’s pretty boring, so that might limit our conversation. If I could have talked to him while he was still alive I’d have told him to dump that goddamn pissant manager of his, Colonel Tom Parker — or Uncle Tom to some of us — and strike out on his own. But if I’m talking to his spirit or something? I’d say thank you, for giving a thirteen-year-old who was just plain different a shot of courage.

The post Exclusive Interview With Author Jack Ketchum also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Spend the Afternoon with ‘Wilson’ Screenwriter Daniel Clowes

(PCM) When Daniel Clowes was sitting at his father’s bedside as he was losing his battle with cancer, the graphic novelist and screenwriter he started drawing comic strips about the hospital.

The film, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, opened on Friday, March 24, to the delight of movie goers who were looking for something with more meat on its bones. This story, about a cantankerous middle-age eccentric man, with few filters, was directed by Craig Johnson, best known for his indie film, “The Skeleton Twins.”

“Wilson,” as a result of stellar performances, is endearing, often charming, and offers a few life lessons along the way, such as: don’t wait until your life amounts to nothing but a storage locker filled with old junk to take stock of your situation. In other words, if Wilson, the misfit, can persevere, there is a great deal of hope for the rest of us.

Clowes, a Chicago native, lives in Oakland with his wife, Erika, son, Charles, and beagle, Ella. He published the first issue of his seminal comic-book, “Eightball.”

His graphic novels include: “Ghost World,” “David Boring,” “Caricature,” “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “ Ice Haven,” “The Death-Ray,” “Mr. Wonderful,” and “Wilson.” His screenplay for the film adaptation of “Ghost World,” starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, was nominated for an Oscar. His most recent graphic novel is the highly-acclaimed “Patience,” which he is working to adapt for next film.

PCM: I heard that you had been thinking about this when your own father had gotten ill. Had you actually met Wilson or seen composites?

Daniel Clowes: Wilson was deep in here. Yeah, when my dad was in the hospital on his last legs, just sort of like in the movie where I was hoping for that kind of final reckoning where he’s going to look at me and you know, here’s the advice I’ve always wanted to give you, and I realized sitting there that that was not going to happen.

PCM: Yet, something positive came out of that experience for you?

DC: Yes. At the very same time, I had just finished reading a biography of Peanuts author Charles Schulz, and he said in there, ‘I believe that every cartoonist worth his salt can come up with a serviceable comic strip in five minutes that would be good enough for the newspaper’

PCM: Please tell me more.

DC: So I thought, ‘wow, maybe I’m not as good as I thought,’ and so I sat there next to my dad with a notebook that I bought at the gift shop and just tried to, without any thought at all, draw four-panel cartoons, and that character just was there. It was like my filtered angry version of being in the hospital at first. Then it was about the airport shuttle getting there. Then I kept expanding what I was writing about. That was in 2008, and by the time I left, went back home, I had this whole notebook full of these comics that I felt…they felt more real than anything else I was doing at the time, so I got rid of everything else I was doing and tried to make that work.
PCM: Is there anything, putting yourself in your dad’s place, that you would say to somebody to give them closure?

DC: No. I certainly have no advice to impart to anybody. But, actually my goal would be to talk to my son enough throughout his life that he wouldn’t be waiting for that moment, because that was my dad’s problem. He was so closed off, and Midwestern, and this World War II guy who didn’t share his emotions. So, if we had a normal relationship, I wouldn’t have needed that last-minute Hail Mary.

PCM: I know that people record their loved ones voices, make a video or do other things to capture the memories before a parent dies, but it can be a little creepy if the person is sick.
DC: No, I couldn’t do it. Yeah, my dad would’ve been just like, ‘I don’t want it.’ But the thing about when people die is if you know them well, you hear them. You hear their voice, and I can talk to my dad today just as easily as if he were alive, because he said the same 10 things pretty much all the time, and told the same jokes, and so it’s very much like writing a character like Wilson; they become alive, and you hear their voice, and they talk to you in a very similar way.

PCM: I think Woody Harrelson, and the rest of the cast, are perfect for their roles. Why did you want Woody, and how did that happen?

DC: I turned in my script, and it was all, the director’s ideas. I can’t take any credit for it. Craig called me one day, and he goes, ‘what do you think of Woody Harrelson?’ And it had never occurred to me. It had just never even popped into my head, and I really didn’t have a good idea for the actor. It was driving me crazy, and then, all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, why didn’t I think of that?’ I guess I felt like Woody had moved to this phase in his career where he wasn’t doing comedy as much. I was of him on “True Detective,” and he was being more like a serious guy.

PCM: What else was involved?

DC: Well, I was only thinking of comedians, but then I remembered that Woody was like the funniest guy in “Kingpin,” and I thought of all these movies, and I remember early on somebody said, who do you want to be in the movie? And I said, you know, I just want somebody who’s exactly my age, because you know how you have the same connections with people who are born in the same year as you because you watch the same TV and all that? And so I said, I want him to be born in 1961, and I look up Woody on IMDB that day, and he was born in 1961.

PCM: So it felt like kismet?

DC: Yeah, I have to say that except he’s in a lot better shape than I am in.

PCM: Now, you handed in a script. You knew there was going to be a movie, or you hoped there would be a movie. How does that compare with the finished product?

DC: Oh, it’s completely different than the way I imagined it, but also like in the realm of possibility of the way I thought it could turn out.

PCM: Please explain this to me.

DC: When you’re writing it, especially somebody like me, who’s used to writing things and then drawing their own comics, I have a really clear vision of how it would look, and since I drew this as a comic, I had a clear vision, and the movie is an interpretation. It’s somebody else’s vision of my thing, but it felt comfortable with it. This feels like it gets across what I was going for. It wasn’t far out from that vision. It’s another way of seeing it, but you realize, you give the material to 500 directors, and you’d have 500 totally different films; and this is true even if they couldn’t change a word of dialogue.

PCM: Were you on the set of Wilson?

DC: Yes. My wife and I came to the set. I wanted that experience of like, turning in a script and buying a ticket to the film like everybody else in it and having that, because with the other films I worked on, I was so involved. I still can’t watch them to this day without being taken out of it, and so we just went to the set for two days and got to see maybe two minutes of film being shot and meet everybody and everything. It was a great time.

PCM: Do you know what you’re doing next?

DC: I’m working on a new graphic novel and writing a screenplay for a book I did last year called “Patience.” It’s a science fiction movie.

PCM: Excellent. Do you know when that’ll come to be?

DC: Well, I have to finish it first.

PCM: You do seem extremely busy. Back to the movie, “Wilson,” would you say that there are there life lessons here? I saw quite a few of them in the film, such as seizing the day, and not looking back on your life and having regrets.

DC: I try not to think in terms of life lessons. I don’t have any lessons to impart, other than what emerges from trying to be truthful with the characters. I feel like there are things that, when I look at my stuff after I’m done, I get stuff out of it, but not necessarily anything…I’m not trying to propagandize anything.

PCM: Yeah, I didn’t mean it in that way. I just meant sometimes you see sometimes like this either a tearjerker, or a comedy, or a quirky type movie, and it says, you know what, I don’t want to be that person sitting in front of that storage unit going, this is all I have to show for my life.

DC: Yeah, I have a storage unit, too, that always depresses me.

PCM: Yeah. Well, because they hope you’re just going to forget about it.

DC: I know that one day I’ll just be like, I’m tired of paying for it, and just all the money will be out the window, and it is just all my parents’ stuff. You know, just it’s very depressing. It’s like putting part of your memories off to the side and repressing them somehow.

PCM: Tell me about the amusement park scene where Woody and Laura’s character take the teen daughter she gave up for adoption as a baby to create the family fun day they never had when the girl was a child.

DC: I have a 12-year-old son. So I’ve been to those kinds of places with kids, little kids, big kids, and first of all, the whole book is set in Oakland, where I live, and we have this wonderful amusement park called Children’s Fairyland that’s for little kids and their families. I think you can’t go if you’re older than eight. It’s for really little kids, and it’s very crude, and weird, and old fashioned, and the parents are all just looking around kind of in awe at how sort of low key it is, and the little kids just love it, so it’s this great old-world thing, and originally, we were going to shoot the movie in Oakland, but it was too expensive. So they basically made that amusement park…I mean, they found an old amusement park, and they set-dressed it to make it look kind of like the one in Oakland. So it has a real poignancy to it.

PCM: What kinds of movies or experiences do you like to share with your 12-year-old son?

DC: He’s just getting to the age where I could take him to see, like, a real movie, not just a Pixar, or a Star Wars, or that kind of thing. We’re having a screening of “Wilson,” and he’s going to see Wilson, which we’re a little nervous about. He’s going to learn a few things, learn a few things about daddy’s comics. He’s never read any of my comics, so it’ll be interesting to have him there.

The post Spend the Afternoon with ‘Wilson’ Screenwriter Daniel Clowes first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Exclusive Interview With Anthony Chan Star Of Philly Broadway Series ‘The King And I’

(PCM) When Anthony Chan thinks of the many children who play his siblings in the Philly Broadway Series production of “The King and I,” he gets a wide smile on his face.

The 24-year-old Chan is playing the part of the King’s eldest son, Prince Chulalongkorn in the current production at the Academy of Music, from March 22-April 2.

This is the national tour of the Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, and the tale of east meets west.

“We are thrilled to welcome a fresh, award-winning take on this classic American musical as we continue our 2016–17 Broadway Philadelphia season,” said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

“We love when theater can become part of a family tradition,” she said, “and this long-running show, with its celebrated songs and unforgettable story, is a must-see for fans of all ages.”

Directed by Tony Award Winner Bartlett Sher, the “King and I,” won four Tony Awards in 2015, including best revival of a musical. This production features choreography by Christopher Gattelli, based on the original work by Jerome Robbins.

As musical theater lovers across the ages already know, “The King and I,” one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, boasts a memorable score, which features such beloved songs as “Getting To Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Some Wonderful.”

Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, who the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. As Anthony Chan knows, life lessons abound from this classic.

Q: When did you join this tour?

ANTHONY CHAN: I auditioned in March and April of 2016, and heard back in May. We started rehearsals at the end of September and opened in Providence, Rhode Island on Nov. 1.

Q: What is the main difference between this and the Broadway production?

AC: Bartlett Sher Ba brought the show from Lincoln Center to a proscenium stage. What is exciting is that half the cast had done the production on Broadway or performed in the show before, so it wasn’t a new story for ever one to tell, yet it was a difference aspect of “The King and I,” to tell around the country.

Q: When was your first introduction to “The King and I?”

AC: I saw it at Lincoln Center about a year ago, before my audition for the role. I am a little embarrassed to say I still haven’t seen the [1956] movie musical. I wasn’t a musical theater kid while I was growing up. But when I saw the show last year I could see it was phenomenal.

Q: Please tell me about your character, Prince Chulalongkorn?

AC: I play the prince who is heir to the throne. He is the son of The King and Lady Thiang. He is a 15-year-old boy who is curious and wants to know everything. He wants to be like his father. He is also forced to grow up quickly when Mrs. Anna comes.

Q: What else is going on?

AC: She brings the modernization of 1862 Siam. But the only thing he knows is what he has learned from his father The King. He’s never known that different parts of the country exist. When Mrs. Anna comes this kind of squashes everything that he has believed. There is a beautiful arc of growing into a man, being true to who he is and being able to teach as well so that one day he may possibly rule a country.

Q: Your character has dozens of younger siblings. What is it like working with the youngsters in the show?

AC: I kind of see myself as a Den Brother. I enjoy it because I guess you could say that I grew up having a lot of younger cousins.

Q: What are they like?

AC: These kids are real bundles of energy. They are real rascals. We definitely have to look after them. They can get into a little bit of mischief, but the first thing I think of is that they put a smile on your face. I am smiling and laughing, thinking about what they will do tonight. Being a long side these children make me feel 10 years younger.

Q: What is the more challenging aspect of the show for you – the singing or the acting?

AC: Neither really. Every day brings something new to the table. What I love about this show is that every actor, singer, and dancer brings something new and fresh to the stage. There is so much meat for us to attack; so we are constantly talking about the show, and telling the story. I truly I love telling this story every night.

Q: Where are you from? How did you get to this place in your life?

AC: I grew up 10 minutes from San Francisco. My younger sister is the brains in the family. She is graduating from the University of Oregon in the physical therapy and science fields. My dad is the manager of a company and my mom is an accountant.

Q: Did your parents want you to pursue a career in the theater arts?

AC: My parents are supportive of everything that I do. Before college, I was in school for forensic chemistry.

Q: I didn’t expect to hear that from you.

AC: Well, in high school I performed in theater and loved it. So I started auditioning for musicals in New York City. I thought about science, medicine, and law, but I found my one true love for the arts and performing doing regional gigs. My parents never pushed me to find a back-up plan, or make sure that I had a steady job. Just as long as I am happy, they are happy.

Q: When you are not performing in the show how do you spend your free time?

AC: I love traveling, so doing a tour means seeing different parts of the country, and exploring places I wouldn’t necessarily have gone to otherwise. I also enjoy running, working out, and finding adventures in the cities and towns we visit.

Q: When the weather doesn’t permit a run how do you kick back?

AC: On a cloudy day, I don’t mind being inside reading a book and chilling out at the hotel or the Air B & B.

Q: What do you hope for your future?

AC: To keep performing, and to make sure that I am happy with whatever I am doing. I would like to pursue story-telling, which I feel is such a good form of art and expression. In the future I would like the arts to become more of a priority, especially in the schools. Younger kids are the best story tellers; so when I have my own family I would definitely encourage my kids to perform in the theater. I feel that the arts, especially theater, opens people up and helps them become more human, because they are hiding behind the box.

Q: If someone has seen the movie, or other stage productions, why should he or she come to see this touring production of “The King and I.”

AC: Laura and Jose, as Anna and The King, bring so much of themselves to these roles. I love Laura as Mrs. Anna because she brings so much humor and vitality to the way she plays the character; it is completely different from other actresses in the role. When you see a show like this, with new actors it takes on a whole new meaning; new actors bring new energy.

Q: Are there life lessons that fit modern times in this show?

AC: Oh, yes. I see a bunch of life lessons here. The show is about modernization, society, and a lot of what it means to grow up. Each character goes through a whole arc. There is so much to explore; lovers, kids forced to grow up, and a family that has to stay together. It is about a king who is confused, yet he has to rule a country. I believe there are a lot of lessons in each character and in each story line. East meets west, as well as a classic musical theater story that you can absolutely connect to.

For tickets, please call: 215-893-3333, or visit www.kimmelcenter.org.

The post Exclusive Interview With Anthony Chan Star Of Philly Broadway Series ‘The King And I’ first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

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