The Philly native turned bass-baritone opera great has performed in concert halls the world over. This month he returns to star in Don Carlo at the Academy of Music. Opens April 24th.
Give us your Philly bio.
Born and raised in Mount Airy. Went to Central, then Temple and the Curtis Institute of Music. And Settlement Music School. So my connection is not at all tangential.
I started out with piano and oboe, but I had been a fan of opera for quite some time, since I was eight or nine—just listening to it on LPs. I saw Tosca at the Met at 16, and opera won the battle.
I know you’ve performed at the Met, Carnegie Hall, throughout Europe. Any favorite houses?
Well, actually, the Academy of Music. It’s the oldest continuously operating opera house in the country. It’s just beautiful.
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Michael Urie had just graduated Juilliard when he was offered a starring role in Brian Sloan‘s new play, WTC View, which chronicled the life of a young gay man named Eric living in New York City in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. It was 2003, only two years after the towers fell. To say the play was a risk is an understatement. Yet, Urie not only took on the part in the play, but also in the 2005 movie adaptation of Sloan’s work.
“It was interesting,” Urie told me as we chatted about his role in the play-turned-film. “It was a beautiful way to revisit those weeks after 9/11 because the play is a microcosm of New York in late-September 2001. The city became very much a city of familiarity. Normally, in New York, people don’t talk to strangers, and, if you have to, you deal with people, but people aren’t outgoing or friendly without a need to be. But in those weeks after 9/11, people became protective of each other. In New York specifically, everyone was talking about the same thing. We became a closer-knit group.” Read more »
Andy Cohen, host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens: Live and maestro of the “Real Housewives” franchises, releases his second book today, cheekily titled The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year. We rang him up to chat about his latest literary effort, his emotional bond with soon-to-be-jailed Teresa Giudice, dealing with big egos and rumors of a possible “Housewives” series set in Philadelphia.
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Writer/Director Richard Linklater has released a steady stream of critically adored indie films since 1988’s It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, but it’s taken the Texan much longer to connect with larger audiences. He doesn’t move in grand plot schemes or subversive genre machinations, his films are content to spend their time exploring lengthy, engrossing philosophical discussions between protagonists—be they young, yet-to-be-lovers in Before Sunrise, an animated character exploring a dream world in Waking Life, or an undercover cop in the near future who tries a new drug and begins to unravel in A Scanner Darkly.
His new film, Boyhood, takes the idea of time passing (another frequent obsession in his work) and actually builds it into the fabric of the film. The result, shot over 12 years, begins with a 6-year-old protagonist and follows him through the day he leaves home for college. It is easily one of the best films of the year. He spoke with us about his body of work, his life outside filmmaking, and the female protagonist with whom he most identifies.
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I had a quick chat with television personality Ross Mathews yesterday afternoon while he was in a car driving from New York City to the airport. He’s currently making the media rounds to chat about his involvement with Pennsylvania-based company OraQuick, the oral, in-home HIV-test that’s changed the way we know our status by giving results in 20 minutes—in the privacy of our homes.
I’ve always admired Mathews as an out-and-proud gay man who really seems to be living his dream—and he seems so grateful. As you probably know, he got his start as “Ross the Intern” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. From there he moved on to become a regular correspondent on the show before getting in good with Chelsea Handler, who put him on Chelsea Lately as a regular—amazingly quick-witted—roundtable guest. Today he’s the host of his own talk show, Hello Ross, on E!, and the best-selling author of Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.
During our conversation, I asked him about all that, if the rumors about his talk show getting axed are true, and if he’ll be following Chelsea to her new gig on Netflix.
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Philly performance artist George Alley (left) interviews original Club Kid Michael Alig (right), who recently finished a 17-year prison term for the murder of Andre “Angel” Melendez.
Original Club Kid Michael Alig made a name for himself in the ’90s for his outrageous parties at the Limelight (that era’s answer to Studio 54) and in precarious, site-specific spaces, like subway trains and Burger King. He and his friends created a rebellious and self-expressive style and attitude that informed global nightlife in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His personal story was immortalized in the book Disco Bloodbath, which was later turned into the successful 2003 movie Party Monster, written by Club Kid co-founder and Alig’s best friend James St. James. Alig was recently released from prison after serving 17 years for manslaughter for the death and dismemberment of Andre “Angel” Melendez, Alig’s friend and drug dealer.
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David Bardeen and Jered McLeniga in “Ritu Comes Home.” Photos by Plate 3/Kathryn Raines.
Last night, InterAct Theatre Company world-premiered its latest show, Ritu Comes Home, at the Adrienne Theater. The story follows Brendan and David, an affluent gay couple who live happy, carefree lives in Bryn Mawr, well, until their Bangladeshi “adopt a day” daughter Ritu shows up.
I had a chance to sit down with Brooklyn-via-New Jersey playwright Peter Gil-Sheridan over the weekend to chat about the show, why he set in Philly, where the inspiration comes from, and then we make some funnies about Venture Inn.
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Fashion designer and Project Runway judge Zac Posen is in town this week to present his fall/winter collection at Saks’ annual Daisy Day Luncheon at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The 58th annual see-and-be-seen fundraiser raises money for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
I was able to pop into the hotel this morning to chat with him before the show. I found him to be very kind, humble, and every bit as dashing as he is on TV. An adonis, that one. He kind of reminds me of a young, more-polished Marlon Brando. Be still my heart.
Check out our five-minute chit-chat below.
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Philly fans — and even non-fans — of X-Men will have extra incentive to stand in line for the next iteration of the long-running franchise, Days of Future Past, when it opens on May 23rd. It stars Philly-bred actor Evan Jonigkeit as the quick-tongued, sure-footed Toad. He’s reprising the role played by Ray Park in the original X-Men trilogy.
I had a chance to catch up with the burgeoning star, who, full disclosure, I attended Neshaminy High School with back in the day. He opened up about his local beginnings with Mauckingbird Theatre Company, chumming around with Jennifer Lawrence on the set of X-Men, and what it was like having Kathleen Turner see him in his birthday suit on Broadway.
Our chat with Jonigkeit after the jump
When you hear the name Kristin Chenoweth, there are a multitude of things that could come to mind: her recognizable petite figure and golden voice; her Emmy-winning turn as Olive Snook in ABC’s Pushing Daisies; her role as Glinda in the mega Broadway musical Wicked, where she sang the ever-rousing “Popular” (a song she says, “I will probably be singing until the day I die”); or, if you’re a real theater dork, her Tony Award-winning performance as Sally in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
What you may not realize is that she’s taken on the unlikely role as spokesperson for Know Your Count, a campaign sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Teva Respiratory. She took on the duty after her recent revelation that she is a sufferer of asthma.
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