name drop wednesday

so i’m in another show called Atomic, a rock musical about the first atom bomb at New Line Theatre.

and again, we’re taking a lesser known show and infusing it with humanistic storytelling.

and again, we’re going to meet the show’s writers.

Australian writers/composers Danny Ginges and Philip Foxman will be in town to see our interpretation of their work. it’s exciting with a tinge of nerve-racking. another cool aspect is that our show is the second regional premiere, but the first regional premiere was in Michigan (my home state, and yes, i mention it all the time) where my friend and colleague Tobin Hissong played their General Groves.

this is my 5th show with New Line, but the 3rd time i’ll be meeting writers.

when i did Hands on a Hardbody, librettist Amanda Green (of pretty much Broadway royalty) flew in to see us. she even handed another patron a soon-to-be Harriet Tubman when that patron quipped she wished she had another $20 to see the show again. Amanda hung out with us at the opening night after party, and she gave me insights to where she thought theatre could go. she even turned me on to Here Lies Love – a musical about the former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. (Kevin Corpuz, i see you!) it was pretty cool.

i then did Bonnie & Clyde, and on one unannounced night, the show’s writer, Ivan Menchell, and separately, the show’s orchestator, John McDaniel (a native St. Louisan), were both in attendance. they enjoyed it, gave some feedback, and complimented the storytelling, focusing on the aspect of fame, as opposed to violence. again, very surreal.

this show garnered St. Louis Theater Circle Award nominations for Larissa White (Best Actress Musical), Sarah Porter (Best Supporting Actress Musical and Costumes), Rob Lippert (Set Design and Lighting), and wins for Jeffrey Carter (Musical Directing) and Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy (Directing – Musical).

all of these talent individuals have been called back for our current show.i also get to work with StL stalwarts Ryan Foizey, Jeff Wright, and Zak Farmer, whom i originally met in the aforementioned Hands on a Hardbody. i might add that in the 5 shows i’ve done with New Line, Zak Farmer has also done – suggesting that i can’t do a show in StL without him. i guess i’m the Affleck to his Damon…wait a minute…or is it…whatever…i’m the worse one to the better one. i also get to work with The Scene Shop’s Sean Michael, whose process i thoroughly enjoy, as well as Victoria Valentine, whom i first met at an Alamo commercial audition, which i booked. i then saw her at a Mercy Healthcare commercial, which we both booked. we also have the same agent, Gail Lasater, West Model Management. i’ll also again work with Ben Rosemann (Sound), D. Mike Bauer (Guitar),Clancy Newell (Percussion), and Adam Rugo (Guitar and Keys), so i feel a lot of good karma for this show.

we have a Thursay preview at 8pm and open on Friday, June 3 at 8pm with an after party.

*names and mic dropped*




ATOMIC runs June 2-25, 2016, Thursday through Saturday evenings, all performances at 8:00 p.m., at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. June 2 is a preview.

Tickets are on sale now through Metrotix outlets, including the Fox Theatre box office. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays. To charge tickets by phone, call Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or visit the Fox Theatre box office or the Metrotix website.

HIGH SCHOOL DISCOUNT: Any high school student with a valid school ID can get a $10 ticket for any performance all season long, with the code word for each show, which will posted only on New Line’s Facebook page. This offer is available only at the door.

EDUCATORS DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with ID or other proof of active duty status. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

This show contains adult language and content. All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from theRegional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council.


back in the m_+#@f_%1n’ saddle…

…my six shooter strapped, and i’m lookin’ for a battle.

embarrassingly, those are the lyrics to a really old Kid Rock song called Desperate-Rado, and for whatever reason, they’re what i sing to myself when i begin a new project. i sang those lyrics to myself about a month ago on the way to rehearsals for Atomic, a new rock musical, with New Line Theatre. ostensibly, it’s a show about the Manhattan Project and the demonstration of atomic power, but it’s also a show about rivalry, love, and sacrifice set to power chords and smart writing.

i’m playing Enrico Fermi, a Nobel Prize winning, Italian physicist known as the Architect of the Atom Bomb. when director, Scott Miller, asked me to play him, i jumped at the chance because 1) i enjoy playing historical figures. 2) i love the subject matter. and 3) i eagerly awaited working with this cast and crew.

we tend to glorify the lives of those that altered the course of history. that they somehow lived these amazing lives that superseded the day to day bullshit we all put up with – like office politics, job satisfaction, or how a fight about household chores is really about something else. i enjoy uncovering those bits to add human qualities to the historical figure, i.e. to make the character relatable to the audience. i just like giving my take on what this person would be like.

i enjoy physics. i’m fascinated with movement, action and reaction, and their underlying principles. and learning about nuclear physics as a byproduct of character research has been gravy. i’m from Michigan (hence the Kid Rock), where we had the Fermi Nuclear Generation Station off the coast of Lake Erie. there were 2 reactors (think the power plant in The Simpsons) affectionately called Fermi 1 and 2. they went offline in the early 80s, but that’s where i first became familiar with the name Enrico Fermi. at the cost of stroking my own ego and proving my nerdery, i won’t bore you with details of what i’ve studied, but i have enjoyed the character research, as have my cast mates.

i say and mean this for every show, so this one’s no different. this is a really talented cast, and i was eager to start. i like small casts. this one’s 8 – which is a Fibonacci number, so we’re at one with nature. i had the pleasure of working with all but 2 previously, but i have become a quick fan of both of their work and processes. it’s fun being fans of your friends then getting to work with them. it always feel like a home game. i appreciate the pride that each takes in their* storytelling. while it’s easy to think the show is driven by the story, it is very much character driven. we’re crafting strong characters. i’ve been enjoying the process.

rehearsals move into the theatre today, and this is where things start to get more interesting. we get more acclimated to our environment, so we feel more comfortable and can explore more. it also gets easier to get caught watching. more to come.

*this is now being grammatically accepted for his/her, his or her, etc.