The Award of Distinction
Why I’ll Never Make It was recently recognized by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts in the category of Featured Episode for the Tribute to Alvin Ailey. With over 5,000 entries received from across the US and around the world, the Communicator Awards are the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals.
5 days ago
5 days ago
In the last episode, I spoke with composer Matt Vinson and writer Matte O'Brien about their new musical Anne of Green Gables. It was the first time I’ve spoken with a musical writing team here on Why I’ll Never Make It, and so for the two of them I thought I would bring back a bonus episode I haven’t done in a while: The Final Five. After that main interview they answered five final questions about what “making it” means to them, lessons they’ve learned both as individuals and as a writing team, as well as useful advice that has helped them creatively and personally. Learn more about WINMI Podcast at whyillnevermakeit.com Subscribe to WINMI and get access to Bonus Episodes on Supercast Donate to the production of making this podcast Follow Why I’ll Never Make It on Instagram or Twitter Get a free copy of WINMI’s collection of Creative Wisdom
Monday Aug 01, 2022
Monday Aug 01, 2022
Writing a musical is a long process, and once the writers are have finished that last page…that’s really only the beginning of their journey. By the time an actor comes along to audition for it, there’s usually been years of drafts, workshops, and revisions. Listeners of this podcast know that this summer has been a welcome return to the stage for me in a new theatrical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, my first musical since the covid shutdown. And it all started with a self-tape audition back in February of this year that then culminated in several callbacks with the creative team a few weeks later. Well today, I’m joined by two of the people who were in that audition room: composer Matt Vinson and writer Matte O'Brien. While there have been individual writers and composers on previous episodes, this is the first time welcoming a musical writing team to the show. Matt and Matte have done several musicals together, but for this conversation we focus on the many years it has taken for Anne of Green Gables to get to Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut, and how they are preparing for its potential future. Matt and Matte share three stories of its humble beginnings, learning to take (and not take) feedback from others, and how actors influence the rewriting and editing process. Learn more about Why I’ll Never Make It at whyillnevermakeit.com Subscribe to WINMI and get access to Bonus Episodes on Supercast Donate to the production efforts in making this podcast Follow Why I’ll Never Make It on Instagram or Twitter Get a free copy of WINMI’s collection of Creative Wisdom Anne of Green Gables Concept Album As this musical has gone through various readings and workshops, there have been a number of people taking on this characters and singing these songs. And throughout this episode you’ll hear samples of music from Anne of Green Gables, taken from a Concept Album and subsequent recordings. Those featured in this episode include: Oh, My Diana - Chris McCarrell Different Kind of Girl - Michelle Veintimilla The Asylum - Jenna Rubaii I Wanna Know You - Chris McCarrell Make a Move - Aurelia Williams Different Kind of Girl (Reprise) - Juliette Redden The Queer Life of L.M. Montgomery Her 1908 novel about a red-headed orphan girl has sold more than 50 million copies and made her known throughout the world with generations of fans. But what is really known about L.M. Montgomery, who was called ‘Maud’ by close friends and family. She started out as a single schoolteacher, but went on to marry a minister, gave birth to two sons, and wrote many more books. But in 1985, publication began of a journal Montgomery had been keeping for fifty-three years. It was quite a shocking exposé of a woman who was often depressed, dealt with a horrible marriage, yet found her greatest happiness from deep, intimate and meaningful relationships with female friends. And so for decades an undercurrent of Lesbianism has been debated not only for the central character of Anne Shirley but also the author herself. This came to a head in 2000 when professor Laura Robinson published a paper named “Bosom Friends: Lesbian Desire in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne Books,” where she argued that Anne had more passionate relationships with her female friends than her male love interest. This has not sat well with those who view Anne’s female friendships as both innocent and platonic. Read more about this ongoing debate… Bosom Friends Affair Professor suggests Anne of Green Gables was Lesbian The Gay Anne of Green Gables Scandal Netflix is at It Again…Homosexuality in Anne of Green Gables The Queer Life of L.M. Montgomery ---------- Why I’ll Never Make It is hosted and produced by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones in association with WINMI Media, LLC. It received the Communicator Award of Distinction in 2022 and is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot. WINMI is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance. The songs clips in this episode from the musical Anne of Green Gables are written by Matt Vinson and Matte O'Brien and used with their express permission. Outro Music is by Blue Dot Sessions and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Monday Jul 25, 2022
Monday Jul 25, 2022
Just like actors show off their skills in the audition room, other artists and creatives have their own ways of showcasing talents to prospective theaters, directors, or employers. And these interviews can be just as anxious and nerve-racking as what we actors face, especially if you aren’t as prepared as you could be. Adam Stocker is a Broadway costumer and returns for this bonus episode to share a story from his junior year at Western Michigan University. He recounts an interview he had for what would’ve been his first internship. However, from the moment the phone interview began, Adam was caught off-guard and just trying to keep up… Follow Adam: Website | Instagram Follow WINMI: Website | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube A transcript of this interview can be found on the WINMI Blog and is available thanks to financial supporters of this podcast. You'll also find Adam's Final Five questions on the blog as well. Welcome back to Why I’ll Never Make It and this special episode which is very different from the usual Audition Stories that are normally reserved for monthly supporters of this podcast. But I wanted to offer this conversation with Adam to all listeners like you as an invitation to subscribe to bonus content on Supercast, the Patreon alternative for podcasters. With your subscription, you’ll be helping this podcast continue to produce important and insightful interviews with a wide range of creative artists and actors. So become a supporter of WINMI today, and you’ll have my utmost appreciation and a lot of bonus episodes to listen to.
Monday Jul 18, 2022
Monday Jul 18, 2022
This past week as Anne of Green Gables went into tech rehearsal and we finally had our first public performance, I was reminded that there is a very particular important step that happens as you leave the rehearsal studio and finally start working on stage and that is the introduction of costumes. For me as an actor the adding of costumes is a big step forward in the development of my character. It informs how I move, how I stand or sit, and gives a sense of class or position, even the confidence my character has. And so today I’m talking with someone who does costumes for a living and shares with us the true artistry that goes into this element of theater making. Since moving to NYC from Michigan, Adam Stocker has made costumes for Broadway, Off-Broadway, cruise ships, and even Disney. Lately, he's also been advocating for workers rights and focusing on inequalities in theater that affect the costume industry. And this was actually how we connected on Instagram, as he was creating posts and messages to find solutions for a more equitable future. Learn more about Why I’ll Never Make It at whyillnevermakeit.com Donate to the production efforts in making this podcast Subscribe to WINMI and get access to Bonus Episodes on Supercast Get a copy of Patrick Oliver Jones' free collection of Creative Wisdom Follow Why I’ll Never Make It on Instagram or Twitter. ---------- Why I’ll Never Make It is hosted and by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones and is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance. Background music in the episode by John Bartmann and Blue Dot Sessions is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. ICONIC BROADWAY MUSICAL COSTUMES Clothes make the man — and the woman — as the old adage proclaims. And that is doubly so in the case of theater. Those who act on the stage will tell you that the costumes are the final piece in their transformation into their characters. The work of a great costume designer is to establish personality, time, place, and attitude through the right clothing. And the work of stitchers, pattern makers, and technicians like Adam Stocker is to bring the designer's vision to life (and make it last 8 shows a week for months, even years, on end). Over the many decades of the Broadway musical there have been some amazing costumes on the stage, but there are a few standouts that have achieved legendary status. Back in 2020, Broadway Direct took a look at 14 of Broadway's most iconic musical costumes. Final Five Questions with Adam Stocker After our lengthy interview on the ins and outs of costume-making, Adam answered five final questions on the inspirations and advice he's received throughout his time in theater. You'll find his answers and more on the WINMI Blog. Follow Adam: Website | Instagram Follow WINMI: Website | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
Monday Jul 11, 2022
Monday Jul 11, 2022
For the past four weeks I’ve been in rehearsals for a new musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. During that time I even got Covid for the second time and had to miss several days of rehearsal while I was recovering. In fact, I wasn’t the only one who got Covid during the rehearsal process, so it’s been quite a journey for the creators and the cast as a whole and putting the show together. But we’ve now done all the blocking and scene work and are headed into tech rehearsals this week. With that in mind I wanted to revisit a conversation from June 2020 with a playwright who is still just getting started in his own journey as a writer, an actor, a director and producer. Cris Eli Blak has remained one of my favorite guests and was someone who actually found me and requested to be a guest on the podcast. I’m so grateful for him reaching out and for the very personal, honest, and at times uncomfortable conversation we had. We talk about the writing process of bringing a show from the page to the stage as well as what it means to him to be a Black writer in theater today. He was only 21 when we sat down for this interview, but his insights and life experiences show maturity and wisdom far beyond his years. Topics covered in this episode: - Do The Right Thing 30 Years Later - Spike Lee on HuffPost Live - The Brother's Survivor short film - The World Changes Through Art - Our Duty to Confront Racism in Theater Industry - "Like Father, Like Son" on the Logue Lounge - All-White Production Of HAIRSPRAY In Texas Raises Eyebrows - Should There Be All-White Productions of HAIRSPRAY? "I want to give a shoutout to the people who push me, drive me, motivate me and hold me accountable. So, this goes out to my mother. This goes out to my grandfather. This goes out to my grandmother. This goes out to my sister. This goes out to my aunt. This goes out to everyone who came before me. This goes out to the late great August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry who are on my personal Mt. Rushmore. And this is to everyone who wakes up and turns their dreams into goals and their goals into realities, for everyone who struggles and keeps going anyway." Follow Cris: Instagram / YouTube / Medium Follow WINMI: Instagram / Twitter / Website / Blog Cris Eli Blak Answers the Final Five After our conversation, Cris answers the Final Five. He shares why he'd love to teach and his dream to be in CATS as well as what he learned from Tyler Perry. A transcript of this interview can be found at the WINMI Blog and is available thanks to those who support this podcast. ---------- Producing a podcast isn’t cheap and it needs support from followers and listeners like you. With your help WINMI can continue to share these important stories in audio format but also using tools like video production and transcription options, which would greatly increase WINMI’s accessibility to more artists. So please consider a one-time donation (via PayPal) or a monthly subscription to bonus episodes (via Supercast), which will help further podcast production. Whichever way you choose to contribute, your help is so very much appreciated!
Monday Jul 04, 2022
Monday Jul 04, 2022
Among the many repercussions of the Covid pandemic, it caused actors, including myself, to question our purpose, our abilities, and our own belief in what it means to be an artist. Well, today’s guest had many of these same doubts and questions well before there was any pandemic affecting our industry. He felt an internal struggle between what he wanted to do and what he thought he should to be doing. Brian Patacca is a life coach and podcaster as well as a non-denominational minister, but he started out as an actor, grinding it out, going to auditions, looking for representation. And he shares three stories of how he let go of expectations and allowed himself to find his purpose, to find his true calling. In the process he had to let go of plans and the very clear path he had laid out for himself. But in doing so he found a joy and fulfillment beyond anything he had anticipated. Get a copy of WINMI’s free ebook Creative Wisdom. Subscribe to WINMI and get bonus episodes with Brian on Supercast Check out Artist Resources and follow WINMI on Instagram or Twitter. ---------- Why I’ll Never Make It is hosted and by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones and is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance. Music in the episode by Kai Engel and Blue Dot Sessions is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Artist Spotlight - BRIAN BREAKS CHARACTER No more romanticizing the starving artist – let’s leave that to Moulin Rouge and Rent. The Brian Breaks Character podcast takes you behind the scenes with people who proudly walk the path LEAST taken. Inspiring industry insiders, working actors, and solopreneurs offer down-and-dirty advice (and lotsa laughs), all while spilling the tea on how to bring home the bacon (or seitan) in a creative field. Brian proves that when actors and artists follow their purpose instead of playing by a tired set of industry rules (i.e. limiting beliefs), they can skip the drama, generate momentum, and build excitement around who they are and what they love to do the mostest. FINAL FIVE with Brian Patacca Brian helps actors get what they want without all the struggle. He’s helped actors as “The Representation Whisperer” and through his wildly popular online courses, coaching program, and entertaining podcast, Brian teaches actors how to market themselves authentically, use gratitude to open doors, and ultimately make more money. Brian is a graduate of Northwestern University, CTI’s Co-Active Coach Training Program, Marianne Williamson’s Teaching the Teachers – and on top of the education you’d expect a coach to have, Brian brings a spiritual and grounding approach to the biz that is rooted in his training as a non-denominational Reverend. And on the WINMI Blog he answers five final questions we didn't get to in this podcast episode, sharing the importance of making an impact as an artists rather than just making it in this industry. Follow Brian - Life Coach / Instagram / Podcast / YouTube
Monday Jun 20, 2022
Monday Jun 20, 2022
This past week I started rehearsals up in Connecticut at the Goodspeed Opera House doing a new musical version of the beloved Anne of Green Gables. It’s a well-known story around the world but especially in its home country of Canada. So in honor of that I thought I would bring a Canadian onto the podcast. Ashley Victoria Robinson is an actress, writer, producer and podcaster, and though she and I won’t be talking about Anne of Green Gables, we do hit upon some of the themes from that story...dealing with the loss of family and how that can impact our lives, finding our place in this world and where we belong, and learning how to control our emotions and our words so that they don’t get us into trouble. Now, I hadn’t met Ashley until we sat down for this interview, But just like Anne is constantly searching for that kindred spirit, I too found a wonderful connection with Ashley throughout our conversation and thankfully a kindred spirit in this industry. Subscribe to WINMI and get bonus episodes with Ashley on Supercast Ashley answers the Final Five questions on the WINMI Blog Check out the podcast website and follow WINMI on Instagram or Twitter --------------- Why I’ll Never Make It is a top 25 theater podcast hosted by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones and is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. It is a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance. Background music in this episode is by John Bartmann (Public Domain) and Blue Dot Sessions (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License). Ashley Victoria Robinson & Unladylike Theatre present The Bearer of Bad News at the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival Most actors are used to working in a traditional power structure where actors are subservient to directors. There’s a very clear sense of who is in charge and whose opinions matter the most. Ashley met her Unladylike co-founders (Tiana Randall-Quant and Kendell Byrd) under these very circumstances. They found collaboration as the three of them really drew on each other through the creative process. Ashley recognizes a school of thought in contemporary theatre that is Socratic in its approach, where everyone is equal is therefore more “feminine.” Unladylike Theatre was established by 3 femmes, trying to bring feminine sensibilities to every step in the creative process. And so their mission statement is: Reimagining the future through femme-forward theatre. The Bearer of Bad News is their debut production, which they worked on for about 2.5 years total. Bearer of Bad News explores the intersection of identity and purpose set against the backdrop of a world irrevocably altered by climate change. Unladylike looks forward to future projects as well, whether an update of a classic work or creating fresh new pieces of theater. Ashley Victoria Robinson: Canadian Hobbit She's been seen on stages all over the world including: The Wallis Annenberg, Theatre West, Hollywood Fringe Festival, Ottawa Fringe Festival, Youth Infringement Festival, Sock N Buskin, Cupcake Theater, and more. She's also a podcaster like me, hosting the Geek History Lesson podcast (alongside Jason Inman), was even the face of Twitter marketing for podcasters, and is the co-creator of The Red Shirt Diaries. Ashley has been featured in several international commercial campaigns including Intel alongside The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons. On TV Ashley has shown off her acting chops on shows like Good Trouble (Freeform), Snowfall (FX), Pump (Urban Flix TV), and Hotel Secrets & Legends (Discovery Channel). Her comic book writings "Science! The Elements of Dark Energy" and the "Jupiter Jet" series are both award-nominated for Best Graphic Novel.
Monday Jun 13, 2022
Monday Jun 13, 2022
The 75th Annual Tony Awards was a welcome return of Broadway and the diversity of shows and creatives represented. Check out former guests from nominated shows: Carmen Cusack - Nominated for Best Actress in Flying Over Sunset Kathryn Allison - from Company, winner of Best Revival Also, I will be returning to theater as well with new contemporary musical retelling of the classic tale Anne of Green Gables. It runs all summer long at Goodspeed Opera in Connecticut. So I can focus on the show, episodes will be coming out every other Monday, now through September. I've already recorded some great interviews that I can't wait to share with you starting June 20th!
Monday Jun 06, 2022
Monday Jun 06, 2022
June is always a busy time for New York City with two major events taking place: one is of course the month-long Gay Pride celebration and the other is the biggest day of the Broadway season -- the Tony Awards. And today’s guest ticks off both of those boxes. Jerry Mitchell is a prolific Broadway Director and choreographer as well as a gay advocate with shows like Broadway Bares and Kinky Boots, just to name a few. He is also an eight-time Tony nominee, but he is quick to point out that he’s lost out on the award six times. In our conversation, he discusses his creative career, full of fascinating anecdotes, and shares the importance of knowing our worth as artists, loving what we do on and off stage, and the value in saying "yes." Subscribe to WINMI and get bonus episodes with Jerry on Supercast Check out the podcast website and follow WINMI on Instagram or Twitter --------------- Why I’ll Never Make It is a top 25 theater podcast hosted by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones and is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. It is a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance. Background music in this episode is by John Bartmann (Public Domain) and Blue Dot Sessions (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License). Everybody Say Yeah! You've heard what Jerry has to say about Kinky Boots. Now listen as the musical force behind this Tony-winning show is interviewed by ABC News in Australia. Cyndi Lauper has been a source of celebration and inspiration for music lovers since the 1980s. Then she turned her talents to theater, writing the music for this international smash hit. This Month's Artist Spotlight: Broadway Bares Broadway Bares’ 30th anniversary celebration, originally set for June 21, 2020, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The in-person event is set to return this month and will more bodacious dancers, fierce queens, and sexy starlets. Broadway Bares was created in 1992 by Mitchell, then a Broadway dancer, as a way to raise awareness and money for those living with HIV/AIDS. In Broadway Bares‘ first year, Mitchell and six of his friends danced on a New York City bar and raised $8,000. Since then, Broadway Bares has raised more than $21 million for Broadway Cares. “Every dollar donated during Broadway Bares helps those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses receive healthy meals, lifesaving medication and more,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said, referring to last year's online presentation. “As we look toward better and brighter days ahead for everyone, I’m so glad that everyone chose to twerk from home with us.” Final Five with Jerry Mitchell Nine years ago, Jerry Mitchell received the Abbott Award, a lifetime achievement award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. The award is named in honor of renowned director George Abbott and is presented to a director or choreographer in recognition of lifetime achievement. That same year he was also nominated for two Tony Awards for choreography and direction in Kinky Boots. Since then he has lived another lifetime of experiences and shows like On Your Feet, Becoming Nancy, Pretty Woman, and the many subsequent incarnations of Kinky Boots. Read more insights and experiences from Mitchell on the WINMI Blog. Follow Jerry - IBDB | Instagram
Monday May 30, 2022
Monday May 30, 2022
The past couple of weeks have been difficult for this country, once again grappling with gun violence caused by madmen with evil intentions. This has unfortunately become an ongoing issue with people, politicians, and pundits saying a whole lot but doing very little. Four years ago this spring, a new play opened off Broadway called Church & State. It dealt with the contentious intersection of God, guns, and politics and featured four actors on a single set. I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of this production as the understudy for the two male actors. It was written and produced by two former guests of this podcast: Jason Odell Williams as the playwright and his wife Charlotte Cohn as lead producer. In this special episode, they share the passion and persistence that goes into creating works like Church & State that can actually make a difference in the hearts and minds of audiences, especially on such an important issue like gun violence. References in this episode: The Power of Political Theater - Brooklyn Rail The Critical Role of Humor in the Grief Process - St. Catherine University Jason Odell Williams (playwright) Charlotte Cohn (director and playwright) Sandy Hook Promise Safer Country Brady Campaign Church & State Origin Story - Jason Odell Williams The seeds for this play date back to 2007. The issue of gun violence in America first became important to me after the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech. I went to UVA (Virginia Tech's “football rival”) and the images on TV of candlelight vigils by Cavaliers for their rival Hokies touched me profoundly. And I realized then, like many Americans, that we had a problem in our country. Guns were a national crisis. Then the shooting in Tucson where Gabby Giffords was shot. And I watched the news, riveted and angry, scared and hopeless. How could this happen? To one of our own politicians? Will this force Congress to finally take action? When it didn't, I wondered, bleakly, if the response would have been different if something like this had happened to a Republican.* And I couldn't get that dark, nagging thought out of my head. Then over the summer of 2012, I was talking to a friend from Raleigh, NC about religion and politics and a new seed was planted for this vague idea I had cooking for a play, somehow combing religion, guns and politics. And then in Dec. 2012, the tragic shooting in Newtown. And I'd had enough. I had to turn my rage and fear into action. So I did what I know how to do. I wrote a play. A month later, in January 2013, I had a first draft of what would eventually become Church & State. I had three friends read the play with me in our living room. We talked about what worked what didn’t. I shared the play with a few director friends who offered some great feedback. And eventually one director, Ralph Meranto from JCC CenterStage in Rochester, read the play saw a lot of potential. He committed to producing it if we could develop it together. So for the next few months, I’d write a draft, he’d ask questions and make comments and suggestions, I’d do a rewrite and we’d repeat the process. I think it was late 2015 when we felt good about the final product. I then shared the play with two friends in DC who loved it and wanted to do a reading for their Actors Salon. And that was the first public reading, January 2016. I knew then the play was basically ready. (BroadwayBox) *Just a week after Church & State's Off-Broadway production closed, a gunman walked onto a baseball field at Eugene Simpson Park in Alexandria, Virginia, opening fire on politicians and wounding Republican U.S. Representative and House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and four others.
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