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Holiday Tea w/Philip Huffman of ‘The Grinch’

A story that truly needs no introduction as Dr. Seuss’ famed tale of How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been making hearts grow for over fifty years!

But perhaps it’s told even better when it’s alive on stage and intertwined with incredible music and of course, tons of holiday spirit!

Luckily for the entire tri-state area, we’ll get to experience all of that stage magic and so much more as the traveling production is now calling the grand stage at the Merriam Theater home–make that Whoville–until December 29th! 

While we could spill holiday tea until well past New Year’s about what an enchanting show this is and just how little Cindy Lou Who will tug at your heartstrings (Philly Mixtape got to witness it all on opening night and you may just need a tissue or two, who), it’s best to sip a little tea with the star of it all, Mr. Philip Huffman….

……or as everyone will get to know him as….The Grinch

Mr. Huffman recently took a seat and had some tea at the holiday table where he broke mugs about his background, what it takes to play such an iconic character and what we should all take away from this beloved story.

Get to know him below, and then get those tickets because this is one show that you and the whole family do not want to miss this Philly holiday season!! 

Hey, Philip! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to spill some holiday tea! Kicking things off at the table, spill for everyone a little bit about your acting background. Well, I’ve been living in New York for the past fifteen years. I’ve also been traveling around opening shows on cruise ships and doing guest entertainer jobs. I’ve also studied with cultural theater in Australia, as well as with a lot of regional theater around the country, which includes doing The Grinch for the past three years!

So, cruise ships? That must be a lot of fun.  It is! For one, you get to travel the world and you’re exposed to a lot of different cultures, which is nice.

Any favorite places you’ve ever been to? Spain. I’ve been pretty much anywhere you want to go in the world, but Spain is just full of beautiful culture and incredible people. It’s just a very kind and happy place..it’s just a beautiful country.

Now, on to some Grinch business. What was the audition process like for this truly coveted role? I first auditioned for the show, then I had about five more call backs because [it all] needed to be approved by the artistic team, by the producers and by the creative team. It was a strenuous role to get…a lot of people wanted it! So, there was a lot of competition for it. It’s a fun role because as an actor, you already know you’re going to be beloved by the audience because the character is so beloved, well, by everyone! I don’t think there’s anyone out there who says that they don’t love The Grinch.

What were some of the things they were looking for in finding the perfect Grinch? You go in, and at first you have your own selection of music. They also look at your physical stature and if you’re entertaining in the role. When they call you back, they’ll give you music to learn and you just prepare as much as you can! And of course, give it your all. 

What would you say is the most important part in portraying this character? I would say the most important part is…that you have to love the joy of the holidays! Even though The Grinch is portrayed as someone who detests the Whos and detests Christmas, [he’s someone] who longs to participate in the community and to be accepted in the festivities. So, if you don’t have the desire of enjoying the holidays, you’re probably not going to get the full effect of The Grinch! I also think you have to stay away from the word “angry” when it comes to describing him. It’s more about his loneliness and isolation, which is something we can all relate to at some point in our lives, and I think that’s what makes him so relatable and why this story has transcended through so many generations. 

Truly, there’s so many elements to take away from this story, what do you think the most important one is?  I think it’s the beliefs that are unfounded by facts. The Whos down in Whoville understand without even going to talk to the Grinch, without knowing him and understanding where he’s from that they tell the children to be afraid of him…..to fear the unknown. It’s interesting to see how in society that can happen without even noticing it. I think the biggest message is not falling into the trap of believing something that you’re being told is true. It’s best to invest openly and to draw your own conclusions. If it’s not for Cindy Lou Who, who’s a nice embodiment of innocence in the show that takes on the crusade to go ahead and not believe that the Grinch shouldn’t be included in everything. Sometimes I like to think of him as the crotchety old man down the street that all of the kids are scared to go near his house! But as they get to know him, they realize that he’s not so crotchety! 

Almost like the mean, old neighbor in ‘Home Alone’….. Yes! Absolutely. 

So, any plans while you’re in town? I’m sure The Grinch might have a few…I’ll be popping around as [him] quite a bit. It’s always fun to check out different cities as The Grinch because they truly treat you to nothing but the best! It’s also fun to be here right now because they’ve been trying to get the show [here] for thirteen years, so Philly is going to be a lot of fun to parade through! 

For much, much more with Mr. Huffman and the rest of the talented cast of ‘The Grinch,” guide your sleigh right here

Happy holidays, Philly! 

Cover photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Table Talk w/Lizzie Weber

What happens when you take an oh, so magnetic stage presence, undeniable piano and guitar skills and lay it all underneath a voice that you could get lost in for days? 

You get everything (plus, like, so much more) that the Seattle area’s Lizzie Weber has to offer in all that she dazzles with. Compared to the talented likes of Joan Osbourne and Norah Jones (plus one other bold comparison..keep reading!), Ms. Weber has already taken the West Coast by storm thanks to her debut 2015 freshman E.P., which won everybody over thanks to dreamy ditties like “Falling Like Fools” and her arousing cover of Nirvana’s ’90s rock anthem, “Heart Shaped Box.” 

It also doesn’t hurt that along her path to success, Lizzie has collaborated with Academy Award-winner Marketa Irglova (The Swell Season/Once) and American Idol‘s Crystal Bowersox, which should all make for an interesting journey when Ms. Weber blesses the world with her long-awaited follow-up record later this fall. 

While there’s still much to be spilled about the much-anticipated set, what we do know is that Lizzie was groovy and gracious enough to take over by the Philly Mixtape tea table, where she tipped mugs about, well, it all and then some. 

It’s time to take a seat at the table once again, kids….and when it comes to the fabulous Lizzie Weber, you’ll certainly be glad you did.

First up on the table……spill for everyone a little bit about your background…. I was born and raised in St. Louis, but am now a Pacific Northwesterner and moved out this way in 2016. I sort of float the Puget Sound between Anacortes and Seattle. Anacortes is a small, beautiful seaside town about an hour north of Seattle–it’s also where I recorded my new EP! I’ve been writing and recording music for about seven years now. Excited to be releasing new music for the first time since my move out here!

Moving on to the music, break some fine Lennox mugs about the inspiration behind your dreamy acoustic track, “You.” I wrote the song in response to a painful break-up. For the most part, writing it served as a reminder to myself that I knew it was doomed from the beginning. I wanted to bring out a sort of ‘spaghetti western’ dynamic when recording, hence the sweeping lap steel layers and plucked baritone/telecaster that moves throughout the piece.

Okay….out of all of the influences I hear in your undeniable vocal play, Jewel is the first name that comes to mind. Would you say that’s a fair comparison or am I totally off track here?! I take that as a huge compliment! Growing up, Jewel’s debut was one of my first records. I can remember singing “Foolish Games” at the top of my lungs in my room and being totally enamored with her sound. A friend of mine has gone as far to call me “Jewel Jr..” so all in all I think it’s fair!  

Shout out….your go-to album for anything life throws at you….
That’s so tough! If I had to choose one, it would probably Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark.”

Anything you can spill about your future endeavors? Any touring in the near future?
Definitely planning to do some touring! I’m currently preparing my second full-length album and am very excited to share that I’ll be releasing a double-single collaboration with one of my favorite artists this fall. 

One last spill….what words of wisdom would you give to anyone trying to make it in this crazy music and entertainment business? Be kind to one another. Pay it forward, and never succeed at the expense of another person. 
Amen. 
For much more with the fabulous LIzzie Weber, you should absolutely check this and this out. 
For much more with Philly Mixtape, peep this

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5 Ways to Prepare for Britney’s Atlantic City Takeover

Get ready, Atlantic City, because for what’s sure-to-be three spectacular nights…..it’s Britney, bitch.

Yes, that’s right, beginning tonight, July 19th, through this Saturday, July 21st, the legendary Ms. Britney Spears is bringing her Las Vegas owning Piece of Me Vegas spectacle under the spotlights at the Event Center in Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

And while indeed, there are many, many ways to prepare for our beloved Princess of Pop and all that her box office destroying show has to offer (and it’s a whole lot, folks, so grab those last few tickets while you still can), here are 5 sure fire ways to get the entire Jersey Shore and beyond more than ready for all things Brit Brit

Let’s go. 

1.Dance to the fact that “…Baby One More Time” is turning 20 this fall…..     You might want to mark October 23rd down on your calendar because it’s sure to be a national holiday as Ms. Spears legendary debut ditty (that opening keyboard riff, tho…priceless) will be celebrating twenty years of still owning our pom-pom wearin’ lives. While it’s easy to feel old at this coveted news (two decades…seriously??), you should waste no time in squeezing into those Catholic School Gurl digs and practicing that choreo because we need to party ’90s Britney-style, um, one more time and celebrate a track that legitimately changed the face of the pop music landscape forever. Like, seriously. Oh, baby, baby indeed. 

2.Watch this “Toxic” performance on repeat….    While we could spill Godney tea all day and burn our corneas out watching each and every one of her earth shattering live performances, for the sake of our general well beings, let’s just say they’re all legendary….yes, even that one. But if there’s one performance that’s sure to get you all sorts of right prior to her AC takeover, it’s this smokin’ hot take of “Toxic” that will certainly do the trick and will always get us thinking of these seven magical little words…in the zone and up all night. Anyone remember? Of course you do. Now, dance. 

3.Show ‘Glory’ a little love……     Let’s face it, you barely listened to Britney’s ninth studio offering when it was released two years ago, and you most likely haven’t listened to it recently..and no, no that certainly isn’t a question. Although it was well received by critics, Britney’s most recent-and quite excellent-set didn’t fare so well on the charts…and it’s a damn shame. Lead single, “Make Me,” still makes for a credible bedroom banger (despite the video drama), and the oh, so underrated “Slumber Party” and its Tinashe co-starring hot-as-f@#k video simply demand repeat viewings. Then you’ve got the bumpin’ “Clumsy,” then there’s, ah, well, just relive it all below and find your Glory-us moment. But by the way, when is that next album dropping, B?? 

4.Watch these slaying clips from Britney’s Vegas show…..   If there’s one thing that Ms. Britney proved to the world while her Piece of Me show was dominating the Vegas trip (besides, well, everything), it’s that she still knows how to throw down her classic choreography. From “Slave” to “Crazy” to “Oops” to “Me Against the Music,” the yaas-worthy compilation video below shows our Queen B displaying that she still knows how to get it, get it….what. Just watch and you better practice those moves before this weekend, bitch. 

5.Listen to “Work Bitch” every day of your Britney lovin’ life……    Now, you betta werk, bitch, and get those tickets to see Godney own Atlantic City this weekend. 

Cover photo courtesy of Britney Spears