from the archives of: www.newyorkcool.com
NYC.COM: WAS THAT
PART OF THE GOAL IN PUTTING THIS TOGETHER, TO APPEAL
TO 5 YEAR OLDS AND 95 YEAR OLDS?
don’t know if I had an age range in mind,
I knew that I wanted it to have mass appeal. I
wanted it to be compartmentalized so that there
would be sections in it, so that you could take
out a section that wasn’t strong and put
in a section that was and move things around. That
way you have an evening of very strong individual
numbers that come together to build a show but
those individual numbers would be completely different
from each other, from one moment to the next.
all of our backgrounds are so different. We each
appreciate different styles of music so much that
the show is a wide variety and a real mix of different
styles of music
I DO WANT TO TOUCH ON THAT. IT DOES RANGE FROM
JAZZ TO RAP TO ROCK. WHAT ARE YOUR EDUCATIONAL
BACKGROUNDS? DID YOU ALL STUDY IN THE SAME WAY?
come from all different backgrounds
is a vocal jazz person - scat singing, lots of
Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme. Rene has a theatre
background - largely musical theatre. Paul is
a great mimic! We were introduced to him when
he was a pup singing Doo-Wop. I was one of those
session singer kids and studied music in college
but was primarily a pop and gospel type of singer.
actually got a music scholarship. My grandmother
wouldn’t pay for college unless I got a business
degree! But every chance I got I was in choir and
music classes and doing a play or a show.
not just the level of education, but that we
came at it from a lot of different angles. Music,
performance, theory. There are a lot of different
ways we were approaching our music backgrounds
has a background in directing theatre, even prior
to this show. He directed all of us, except Michele,
in different productions that were book productions.
I had a theatre background, Michelle has a theatre
background, so that helps us a lot in our arranging
NYC.COM: PAUL, I
WANT TO ASK YOU WHERE THE PHYSICAL COMEDY COMES
FROM. YOU MOVE IN A WAY THAT MOST PEOPLE SIMPLY
DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO.
was a martial arts teacher. That’s where
some of the physical aspects, like the back flip
comes from. I was in gymnastics. Basically what
I brought to the table, other than doing a back
flip to close the show, was I was in a break
dancing troupe and was used as a human jump rope.
But singing was always my first love. I can bring
all of the things I love - martial arts, break
dancing, and singing - and put them to use.
think the cool thing about this show is developing
material over six years! Getting to know each
other and getting to know our own strengths,
we fell into these niches in the group so we
built the show around our strengths. The first
year we were together Michelle didn’t scat
at all. Then one day we were playing around and
suddenly out this came and whoah! There it was
and we had to put it in. The same with Paul.
Like the coughing sneezing thing.
we are talking about a show stopping number
that will bring out the 12-year-old boy in
even the most sophisticated of theatre goers.
In short, a base line created with sneezes,
coughs, hiccups and any other phlegm induced
noise they can think of. Masterpiece Theatre
it is not, but when combined with Paul’s
Chaplin-esque gift for physical comedy, it
is theatrical gold!)
NYC.COM: I WANT
TO ASK ABOUT THAT!
people are shocked at where we are willing to
go for our humor. We know you can’t please
everybody but we know what the kids walk away
with and we know that we have to reach them too!
NYC.COM: SO DID
IT COME ABOUT BECAUSE SOMEONE CAME TO REHEARSAL
WITH A COLD?
was one of the first bits we came up with.
are an ever-evolving work in progress..
very first Fringe show, there was a segment we
called “The Doctor Is In.” It was basically
creating a vocal rhythm with those coughing and
sneezing and hiccupping noises.
was originally from the movie Ferris Beuler’s
did it for the first Fringe Festival then we raised
the bar and said “Can we cough on somebody
and then he gets all the symptoms.” Then
we played around to see what Paul could do with
that and then we added a song. It is a work in
NYC.COM: IT LOOKS
time we had to do it for a New York television
station from three different camera angles and
we had to perform it three times in a row. I think
Paul was ready to throw up!
thing that sells that number is the physical comedy,
the physical aspect. I can just sit there and vocally
create the rhythm (he demonstrates ala Michael
gotta fall all over the stage!
you have to be savvy enough to get out of his way.
NYC.COM: I NEVER
THOUGHT OF THAT!
almost take Shalisa out!
NYC.COM: I WANT
TAKE SOME TIME TO DISCUSS THE TECHNICAL ASPECT.
(to John Valines) I CONSIDER YOU TO BE THE SIXTH
Entire cast: So
NYC.COM: DOES IT
FEEL THAT WAY TO YOU? DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S
A PERFORMANCE FOR YOU EVEY NIGHT EVEN THOUGH YOU
ARE BEHIND THE SCENES?
the sense that some of the bits were just ideas
that we had to bring to life. A lot of the spotlight
gags were a result of me just playing with them
(the cast). They were so into it and so receptive
and they said, “Yeah, keep playing with it
is also a gifted director and is a great improv
comedian. So to have him up there as the sixth
performer, on the fly, always doing improv comedy
with lighting and sound cues, is like having an
we discovered bits and punch lines he grew with
us and discovered those things from a technical
us to say we do this show with out musical instruments,
that we just use our voices, the reality of it
is that we are using our microphones in various
ways to capture different sounds that our voices
are doing. We kind of use them as an instrument.
Then John is up there on a board using it as an
instrument because he is fading the sounds, he
is panning them around the room, he’s being
musical in the way he interprets the technology.
The origin is vocal, but it is all being manipulated
like an actor looks for motivation, I look for
motivation for sound. If Rene says he wants a
particular sound, I ask him what the motivation
is for it. We work on it together and ask if
it makes sense. We really explore the origin
and reason for the sound.
Page 1 2 3