Artist Spotlight

Our Community of Writers & Performers

Chelsea Williams & Rachel Dean, Artist VIDEO Spotlight #4

Join us for a "candid" conversation...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tB9lle6vxM&t=4s


 ...between B'way actor Chelsea Williams (In Transit, Mamma Mia!) and composer Rachel Dean (Hamilton) as they discuss the lack of female musical directors and composers on B'way and as Chelsea puts it "...female roles that don't have to fall in love by the end of their stories for their lives to be complete." 


--PLUS a musical moment as the pair rehearse an original piece by Ms. Dean for our upcoming concert!--


Rachel Dean: @rachmakesmusic

Chelsea Williams: @chelseawillyums

Georgia Kate Haege, Artist VIDEO Spotlight #3

Rock out! As Ms. Haege and I discuss ageism in the music-theatre, balancing a performance career while also raising a young family and a special musical surprise! Guest starring her beautiful daughter Bronte! 


Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msoLg1E217w&t=2s


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Jessie & Jared Field, Artist VIDEO Spotlight #2

Adventure, intrigue, excitement...and a dog! 


Watch our swashbuckling interview with brother and sister writing team Jessie and Jared Field...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm4BT-HHmnU&feature=youtu.be


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Sophie Moshofsky, Artist VIDEO Spotlight #1

Watch our high-stakes interview with Sophie: https://youtu.be/eSVQcNDx5-g


Credits include: Disney Cruise Lines, Wolfbane Productions, co-founder of the female led theatre company, "Fight the Good Fight Pro." and currently starring as SOPHIE in the Broadway Rose Theatre Company's production of Mamma Mia!


Ms. Moshofsky is an NYC based actor and singer.

Artist Q&A

Daisy Hobbs, Performer/Composer Q & A

GABRIELLE: Thank you for taking time from your busy performance/writing schedule to answer a few questions! You have just opened an Off-Broadway run of “On a Clear Day…” at the Irish Repertory Theatre (which runs until August 12th). Congratulations and first question: How many comps can you swing me? 


DAISY: HAHA! I probably shouldn't say this, but they give us a pretty decent amount of comps-of course now everyone will ask for one, but don't worry, I got you, girl!!!  


GABRIELLE: You are a writer/composer, legit-singer, comedian and Broadway performer. Which came first, which has been the most challenging and how do you find balance between these roles? 


DAISY: Thankfully, I think everything fell into place naturally and pretty organically in my life. I started as a performer, acting, singing and dancing first, as so many little kids do. As for songwriting, I had always written songs, even as a kid, but I thought everyone did! Honestly, I just assumed most people wrote down their feelings and turned them into tunes LOL. I have notebooks full of songs I've written in middle school (over boys of course, a la Taylor Swift lol), and all growing up. I never did anything with those songs, mostly because I dont know how to play any instruments or transcribe the music, so it's just a bunch of lyrics and melodies on tape. But mostly, the songs were just an outlet for me. At one point during my time at Aladdin, I wrote 14 songs, got together with some actors in the cast to play guitar and drums and had a sold out show of original music. Seeing how impressed and in awe people were of my ability to write so many songs so quickly made me realize for the first time that maybe there's something there and it's not a skill everyone can do well. Soon after, I began writing parodies for songs. I realized I also have the ability to change an existing song and make it funnier. My first parody, "Drippin in Depends" was extremely popular and people love it. My next one coming out is a parody of the Rihanna song, "Sex with me is amazing", called "Sex with me is mediocre". To me, writing lyrics and coming up with melodies is fun and relaxing, and never feels like work. And the parodies are a great way to combine my comedy with my songwriting abilities. And since I'm also a singer, I get to sing the tracks as well! About 2 years ago, I began dabbling in stand-up comedy and doing a lot of Improv and sketch writing and realizing I had gift in those areas as well. Now, I combine all of those elements into projects like my web series.   


GABRIELLE: You are the first African-American woman to create, write and compose their own musical web series, “OUTCAST”. Tell us about the series and how it came about.  (Check it out at www.OutcastWebSeries.com)  


DAISY: Thanks for asking! Well, like I was alluding to before, I felt like I was at a point in my life where I recognized I had a lot of different talents (writing, comedy, singing, etc.) And had been wanting to write a show of some kind for a while, but hadn't been able to think of subject matter. Then, it hit me. Why not write about myself and all of the real life, crazy experiences I've had being a woman of color who sings soprano and does comedy. I swear, walking through life I've had so many times I've thought, "This could literally be a sitcom." So, now it is LOL. Aside from being incredibly rewarding and a great showcase of my creative and performance abilities, it gives people a glimpse into my comedic aesthetic and has been one of the greatest experiences for me as an artist and creator.  


GABRIELLE: As a very funny lady yourself, who makes you laugh? Any comedic influences? 


DAISY: Well, nobody makes me laugh like my husband. He's not a comedian or actor, but he just makes me guffaw like none other. In terms of inspiration, a huge influence for me is Lucille Ball. When I have an office (which i'm getting very soon!), I'm gonna have a huge picture of Lucille behind my desk as my focal point. To me, she is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Her physicality is unparalleled. She could tell an entire story just by moving her eyebrow or one muscle in her face. Every gesture she made was deliberate and impactful. I'm gonna sound crazy, but I went through a phase a few months ago where I woke up at 5am just to watch like 4 episodes of "I Love Lucy" back to back and start my day. Whenever i'm in a pickle, I think, "What would Lucy do?" HAHA!!  


GABRIELLE: Are there any musical-theatre stereotypes you wish to break through your original work?   


DAISY: O gosh. Of course. I think my web series, "OUTCAST" tackles this a lot,but you know, the basics. I'm not interested in being the "sassy", 2 dimensional token black girl only there to fill your shows quota. And ya know, I'd just like to have the same opportunities as everyone else. You know, just simple things! LOL  


GABRIELLE: Why do you think writing musical leading-roles, specifically for women, is important in 2018? 


DAISY: Well, it's Important to tell stories from all different vantagepoints. We are not a country or world full of one type of people. We are a country with all different colors, statuses, religions, beliefs and experiences, and no one persons experience is more valid than anothers. The only way we can start to come together as a country is to start a conversation with and about the person most unlike you. The person you disagree with most and understand least? Those are also the stories we need to be watching and telling. And that's what's so magical and incredible about theater. There are an infinite number of stories to tell, because no one person has the exact same life experience. Let's expand and tell specific yet universal stories that bind us all in the fabric of humanity. So yea, write stories about and starring women.  


GABRIELLE: What do you hope people will take away from this concert; your piece, co-written by Kevin Quill, in particular? 


DAISY: I had an idea a few years back about an actress being obsessed with a guy who's in her show, and how funny that story could be. So, I contacted my friend Kevin to write it with me. Right now, its called, "Typical Showmance". I just want it to be light and fun and give a glimpse into a show romance gone terribly wrong. It definitely won't be your typical love song lol. I'm always looking for fun, out of the box comedic soprano songs, so instead of searching for a new one this audition season, I figure I'd write my own!  


GABRIELLE: Last Question: Is there an original, full-length, Daisy Hobbs musical in the works? 


DAISY: You know, right now my focus is on this web series, and creating really fun comedic content. But I won't say I haven't ever thought about it! But, like with everything I do in my life, I have to be inspired to do it. While I definitely could write a show, I wouldn't do it unless I was 150% excited and invested in it. When I do a project of any kind, I put every bit of myself and my energy into it, so if the right opportunity presents itself and I feel the urge in my gut to tell a certain story , then it's happening!!

For more info on Daisy and her work: https://www.daisyhobbs.com/  

Scott Joiner, Composer Q & A

GABRIELLE: First off, where did you grow up and what should we know about your hometown? 


SCOTT: I grew up in Boulder CO.  It's a place of extraordinary natural beauty right at the feet of the Rocky Mountains - for me, connection to nature and to something bigger than ourselves is also the same thing we aspire to achieve in music.


GABRIELLE: How long have you been writing music and what style(s) interest you the most? 


SCOTT:  I started working as a cocktail (jazz) pianist when I was 14, and while I've had ideas for written music along the way, and I've written exercises for theory class (a piano sonata in the style of Mozart, etc), I didn't REALLY start writing anything intentionally as a composer until about 3 years ago.   


GABRIELLE: As well as a composer, you are also a professional classical vocalist, how do the two disciplines complement each other?


SCOTT: I think all the years I've spent as a singer have really given me an edge as a composer, especially of vocal music.  A long, long time ago, all composers were singers (Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Machaut) - I think a strong grounding in singing forced them to think carefully about what they were asking the performer to do because as singers, everything we create, we create out of thin air using only our bodies.  Also, in a more modern sense, it gets you thinking about the "theater" of the piece.  Nearly all musical performance has a theatrical element because, even if you're a string quartet, the audience is experiencing the event visually in a theatrical space.


GABRIELLE: Is there a musical composer, outside of the classical-genre, you'd like to collaborate with?


SCOTT: Hmm.... I think collaborating with Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé or Lady Gaga would UNDOUBTEDLY lead to something amazing. 


GABRIELLE: Why do you think writing musical leading-roles, specifically for women, is important in 2018?


SCOTT: Women give us everything.  They give us life.  They live COMPLICATED lives, more physically complicated than those of their male counterparts.  Women have SO much to tell us about living and about the human experience - it's time that the theater starts to create more vehicles for women to show us what's inside of them and, consequently, what's inside of us.  Maybe men have difficulty really LISTENING to women, because we are afraid of the profound and possibly uncomfortable things we might have to reckon with...


GABRIELLE: As an opera-lover myself, how do we keep the genre going for future generations?


SCOTT: The thing about opera is that nothing will "save" it.  We can only keep making things and giving them to people... As artists, we can keep finding new ways to share what we love, and I believe that people WILL always be interested in that love.  People will see how excited and passionate some of us get, and they will want to know why, and they will want to feel that, too, which might encourage them to explore.  But we CANNOT be afraid of change.  Opera is impractically expensive to produce and requires a big investment of time on the part of the audience.  The more that we explore these practical questions of meeting the audience at the point of shared experience - in the middle, so to speak - then we can pull them in various directions. 


GABRIELLE: What do you hope people will take away from this concert, your piece in particular? 


SCOTT: One shouldn't have to have a deep musical sophistication to enjoy my work... but then I hope to pull the listener into some new places and challenge the status quo.


GABRIELLE: Last question: BSB or NSYNC?  


SCOTT: Backstreet Boys.  That's my era.


To read more about Scott, visit his website: https://www.scottjoinertenor.com/


And don't forget to watch Scott in his viral opera-hookup, "Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imvYwZjJX0Q


Jamie Buxton, Composer Q & A

GABRIELLE: We are over the moon to present one of your original pieces at our “Anything You Can Do” concert! Tell us about the projects you are working on this summer, other than our August 21st concert.


JAMIE: Oh, thank you so much! I am honored to be included and am also excited to hear new works by new writers, which has long been one of my favorite ways to spend a New York evening. Last week my musical short film "For Me & My Gal" was shot by Niko Frank Productions, which marked my film debut as a writer! I'm excited to perform and teach and write all over the country this summer, but the experience of seeing a short story I imagined play out on a film set will be pretty hard to match.


GABRIELLE: You are a musical theatre writer, actor and teacher heading to NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program this fall. What were some of the factors that led you to pursue an MFA in writing and also, congratulations!


JAMIE: Why, thank you, and congrats to you, as well! I've always been interested in writing musicals, so this program seemed like a great way to sharpen that skill and get certified to teach what I've learned as an actor in the process. Also, my younger sister earned her master's degree a few years ago, so I'm sure sibling rivalry was also a driving force.


GABRIELLE: Does your experience as a musical theatre actor and teacher aid in your script and lyric writing?


JAMIE: Yes! As an actor, I visualize from the  point of view of the character, so that informs my writing. As a teacher, whenever everyone's talking in a scene, I visualize the character saying, "If you can hear my voice, clap your hands."


GABRIELLE: What is it that inspires you to write new musical theatre works? People? Places? Ideas? Personal experiences?


JAMIE: Inspiration seems to strike randomly, doesn't it? A few ideas have come from blogs or photos I've stumbled across online; other ideas came from great conversations with people I happened to meet that day; others came from a book or a song or a historical event or something in my life that's bothering me. Maybe the trick to finding new sources of inspiration is to continually immerse oneself in new material and new situations.


GABRIELLE:  Are there any musical-theatre stereotypes that you wish to break through your work?


JAMIE: I'm very inspired by old music theatre archetypes, so I will probably continue to write in that vein but with contemporary twists.


GABRIELLE: Why do you think writing musical leading-roles, specifically for women, is important in 2018?

JAMIE: We used to see the archetype of the fabulous broad a lot in theatre: Annie Oakley, Miss Adelaide, Mona Stanley, Princess Winnifred, Auntie Mame and Vera. Nowadays there seems to be a great pressure on women to be professional, an expectation which is, to me, exorcising the essence of what attracted me to theatre in the first place. So those free spirited women  from our and other eras, are the ones whose stories I'm currently most interested in telling. I'm not sure why it's important to write leading roles for women in 2018, or if it's really even important at all. But that's what interests me.


GABRIELLE: What do you hope people will take away from this concert; your piece, performed by Broadway’s Gina Milo, in particular?


JAMIE: I hope they'll laugh and enjoy themselves! And then I hope their train comes fast so they can continue to enjoy themselves after the show is done.


GABRIELLE: In honor of the 4th of July holiday, which patriotic musical will you be flying your American flag to? Ragtime, Hamilton, 1776, or Assassins…or all of the above?


JAMIE: George M! I grew up tap dancing and was often given choreography to iconic tap tunes like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Give My Regards to Broadway," so I was aware of the work of George M. Cohan early on. As a kid, I dreamed of being a Broadway singer, tap dancer, and songwriter, and Cohan was the first person I had heard of who did all of those things. I think I took a whole roll of film with the George M. Cohan statue in Times Square on my first trip to New York! Nowadays with a country divided, it's hard to know what being an American means, or should mean. I haven't seen Hamilton, despite having played the lottery maybe hundreds of times now, but I am sure it hits the nail on the head. I'm an Oklahoman, so Tracy Letts's August: Osage County also hits the nail on the head for me, and I recently saw Miss You Like Hell at the Public, which does the same. Maybe one day I'll write something important, but this summer I'm revising a second draft of a screenplay about a hippo. Or maybe 1776 - that Betty Buckley is pretty fabulous!


For more information on Jamie and her work, visit her website at: https://www.jamiebuxton.net/


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