‘The Patriot Tour’ Tea w/Taya Kyle

While most of us will never know what it’s like to fight for our country like so many brave men and women from all walks of life have done before us, what we can do is never forget to respect, obey and honor them completely. 

But most of all, when an opportunity arises where we can listen to their stories and how they truly define the word “freedom” for all of us, we should take heed and join them. Tomorrow night we’ll all be able to do just that when The Patriot Tour stops by the Merriam Theater at the Kimmel Center for a one-night only engagement that you simply do not want to miss. 

An emotional and engaging live stage experience, The Patriot Tour not only highlights incredible stories from some truly incredible men and women who’ve had their landscapes profoundly changed by their service and sacrifice for our country, but its a story that will resonate with all of us, especially in today’s seemingly crazy and almost desperate times. 

Among the list of esteemed patriots speaking at tomorrow night’s show are retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell; Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, retired U.S. Army Capt. Chad Fleming, as well as retired Navy SEAL David Goggins.

Also moving the Philly stages tomorrow night will be Taya Kyle, who’s the wife of late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, American Wife. Some of you may also recognize those above names as part of the blockbuster film, American Sniper, which was loosely based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by the late Mr. Kyle, with Bradley Cooper playing the fallen hero and Sienna Miller taking on the role of Taya. 

But before Taya shares her story with all of Philadelphia, she was gracious and kind enough to stop by Philly Mixtape for an exclusive chat where she talked, well, about it all in one incredible chat below.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot Tour, check this out

First up, Taya, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape. How are things with you these days?
Things are always interesting in my world. My children and I have great leaps in healing and we continue to take some hits. I am really focusing on how to find calm in the eye of the tornado swirling around. I want to learn how to sit in the eye of the storm and find peace there.

I want to talk to talk about your book, American Wife, for a moment. As someone who aspires to be a book author one day, tell me a little bit about the process from start to finish and what kinds of emotions you went through while writing it. And how did it feel the day it got published?  I am working on some other books right now. When I finish them, I think I will have a better answer for you from the standpoint of an author realizing a dream or accomplishing a goal. American Wife was a book I wasn’t ready to write. There was interest from the public and the publisher felt it was important to get it done in a timely manner. Fortunately, Chris and I worked with Jim DeFelice on American Sniper and already established a friendship based in trust. Essentially, Jim worked with the publisher and agreed to put my words to paper in a time where I wasn’t able to pull the intensity of the emotions together to write it myself. I somewhat jokingly refer to the writing of American Wife as me emotionally vomiting on Jim DeFelice for months. The truth is, he loved Chris too and we grieved together as we worked on the book. He is the genius behind the organization and presentation of what we talked about during those months reflecting on my life with Chris and my kids and the toll of grief.

Moving on to The Patriot Tour, what is the thing that you hope the audience will take away from the story?  In years past, we have been humbled to hear how individuals have unique experiences with Patriot Tour. People typically see some parts of their own life in our varying stories. As speakers, we bare our souls, and share not just the end results, but the journey riddled with ups and downs. We laugh at ourselves too. Audience members express comfort in the reminder we all struggle. We all need to dig deep to find the strength to persevere. Sharing an evening of truth and determination to fight the good fight even when it seems impossible, tends to leave audience members and speakers grateful to live in a country where we have the freedom to fight our battles with friends, faith and whatever else we muster up in our darkest hours.

What’s it like for you personally to be a part of this journey?  It takes a lot of people working really hard to make Patriot Tour something audience members don’t just attend, but experience. I love the sense of family and teamwork unique to touring with a shared passion and desire to serve.

It’s been such a hard year for all of us. What words of inspiration would you give to anyone trying to make it through hard times this year, whether losing a loved one or dealing with the aftermath of such horrible natural disasters. With Patriot Tour, we see how real change happens in the hearts of individuals as opposed to group mentality which tends to work only in the short term. When we dig deep and get involved on a personal level we change this generation and the next. When extreme views and crises are the focal point of our world view we run the risk of becoming hopeless. I encourage people to bring hope back to their own lives by filtering through the extremes and looking at their own community. Resist the urge to yell and scream about a problem we can’t fix from afar. Instead, lets roll up our sleeves and use peaceful direct communication and hands on experiences to change what we don’t like. Let’s look for solutions. Seek to understand more than to be heard.  More than any words of wisdom, the best help I am able to give is encouragement for a relationship with God where people will find lifelong help and more wisdom than I can ever provide. It starts with a conversation. It’s that simple. Talk to God; the answers are there.

Just to lighten the mood a bit, any favorite or fall T.V. shows that you’re totally obsessed with right now?  (Laughs) I ended up getting so frustrated with social agendas and bickering presented as entertainment, I turned off the television for a while. My kids and I are getting great family time, more time to read and my hope is I will also translate the lack of TV time into more sleep.

Lastly, describe ‘The Patriot’ in 1 word. Inspiring.

For much more with Taya and how you can get your tickets to The Patriot, check this out

To become part of The Patriot Tour Team, volunteer opportunities and sponsorships are available at 



Dirty Dancing Tea w/ Alyssa Brizzi

Whether you still live for the soundtrack, you’re a certified master of the infamous “Lift,” belt out all of the words to the dearly departed Patrick Swayze‘s “She’s Like the Wind” in the shower or because nobody puts Baby or you in the corner, for that matter, the classic movie, Dirty Dancing, certainly has something for everybody.

Even more so this year more than ever as the beloved film is celebrating thirty years (yes, it’s true) of giving us the time of our lives. So to celebrate this momentous occasion (anyone also see the commercials for the upcoming ABC helmed T.V. version? Of course you have), the national tour of the critically acclaimed musical version of the box office busting 1987 film is taking over Philly for a special weeklong engagement at the Merriam Theater beginning tonight through this Sunday, May 21st

So, to get all of you fabulous guys and gals even more excited (as if it were possible) for this week’s Swayze-stravaganza that’s sure to take over the City of Brotherly Love, Philly Mixtape spilled some Dirty Dancing Tea with incredible cast member, Alyssa Brizzi, who’s been getting rave reviews on the tour for her portrayal of mousey over achiever, Lisa Houseman. 

Get to know Ms. Brizzi below as she spilled about her background, those albums she can’t live without (hint…Gavin Degraw everything) and what she hopes all generations of Dirty Dancing fans will take away from the show during its Philly run. 

Hey, Alyssa! Thank you so much for taking the time to spill some Dirty Dancing tea with Philly Mixtape! Kicking things off, tell everyone about your background and maybe include the one moment where you figured out that being on that stage was your true calling…At the age of 2 my mom put me in private tap dance classes. I remember having my first solo, “Me and My Cabbage Patch Doll.” My poor mother spent a couple hundred dollars to get me this doll and I ended up being too scared to get up on the stage. However, I quickly overcame that fear. Growing up, I trained with The National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Banff Ballet. During high school was when I realized that the ballet world wasn’t for me and Broadway was my true calling. I ended up as a finalist on the CBC reality television show called Triple Sensation, Season Two. Aside from the television show, I performed in numerous Equity shows in Canada such as Gypsy, Big- The Musical, West Side Story, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. After graduating high school I ended up packing my things and moving to the Big Apple to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After leaving AMDA in NYC I performed down in Hilton Head, SC in Hairspray as Shelley/ understudy Amber. Immediately following Hairspray I moved to Japan to perform as the lead aerialist in Mystic Rhythms for Tokyo DisneySea. Since returning to the USA in 2012, I have toured with Beauty and the Beast as their dance captain/swing for two years, performed in numerous Vegas shows, and was in the original cast of Idaho! The Comedy Musical at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. Now, here I am back to touring North America with the wonderful Broadway national tour of Dirty Dancing as the quirky, over-achieving Lisa Houseman! There isn’t a moment where I can look back and think that I ever wanted to do anything other than this. It is an absolute dream come true! I couldn’t be more thankful!!

Moving onto the show, what do you hope all generations will take away once they see the beloved Dirty Dancing live on stage this week?  I hope that each member in the audience gets to experience the love that each and every one of us have on that stage for this wonderful show and for each other. The story is phenomenal and the cast is equally as incredible! This is not a show you’re going to want to miss!

What is your all-time favorite moment from the film? My favorite moment in the film has always been the wacky, crazy Hula, which is totally ironic now that I get to perform the Hula 8 or 9 times a week!

Shout out for me three albums you simply can’t live without…The Essential by Van Morrison……Little Voice by Sara Bareilles……Sweeter by Gavin DeGraw…really anything he sings! 

What’s maybe been the most challenging part of this show for not just you, but maybe the whole cast during the national tour? Stage left has a pre-show choreographed dance that we add-on one count of 8 every show. We are now on our 6th version and are currently struggling trying to remember it.

One last sip, what words of advice would you give to someone who just started out in this crazy business? Work hard, train as much as you can, and always be your biggest fan. This business is full of rejections and you’ve got to have your own back when it seems like no one else does. It’s an industry that is extremely challenging but it is so worth it when you receive that phone call offering you that show! Dreams do come true, don’t give up!

To grab those tickets for this week’s run of Dirty Dancing:The Musical at the Merriam Theater, go right here, right now and get ready to have the true time of your life…because you most certainly will. 

Are you an entertainer, promoter or event planner who’s lifting up everybody’s spirits with your talents in the city of Philadelphia? Then Philly Mixtape wants to hear from you! For questions, comments and everything else in beat-tween (everyone’s welcome here, so don’t ever be shy), become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and/or email Patrick DeMarco at and let’s promote it ALL up proper!


Groove of the Day/Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes/”I’ve Had the Time of My Life”

Dirty Dancing…

The title of the 1987 box office busting film not only sparks nostalgia in all of us (you know it does), but its also blessed with an incredible soundtrack that’s seemingly intertwined with oh, so fond memories of its male lead, the dearly departed, Patrick Swayze

And of course, Ms. Jennifer Grey you still betta werk. 

Luckily for the city of Philadelphia, all of that Dirty nostalgia is about to come rushing back and then some all week long (tonight-May 21st) when the national tour of the Broadway musical based from the film takes over the Merriam Theater at the Kimmel Center for a show that’s guaranteed to give you the time of your Mr. Swayze lovin’ life. 

To make things even more fabulous, the tour is coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary of the movie, as well is the ABC helmed rewiring, which will be dancing into television sets on Wednesday, May 24th. 

But really, what it all comes down to is, you can try to escape the Dirty Dancing fever that’s about take over our lives again, or you can just get those tickets and prepare your “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” lift right about…now. 

Let’s dance. 

Oh, and that time Blanche took the gals to a Dirty Dancing class on a very special episode of the Golden Girls? Priceless. 

Are you an entertainer, promoter or event planner who’s doing delicious things in Philadelphia? Then Philly Mixtape wants to hear from you! For questions, comments and everything else in beat-tween (everyone’s welcome here, so don’t ever be shy), become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and/or email Patrick DeMarco at and let’s promote it ALL up proper!

Cover photo courtesy of Ticket Philadelphia