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Pride Tea w/ Sandra Bernhard

An actress, author, a fabulous singer and a straight up comedy legend, there isn’t a person in this world who doesn’t know the name…Sandra Bernhard.

First gaining fast attention in the late 1970s with her stand-up comedy routines, Ms. Bernhard would truly skyrocket to fame thanks to her iconic portrayal as kidnapper Masha in Martin Scorcese’s, The King of Comedy. The critically acclaimed role would not only begin to cement Bernhard’s place in Hollywood comedy history, but it would lead her to the recurring role of Nancy on Roseanne (sigh..), for which Bernhard would go on to play the first openly gay character on network television. 

A true LGBTQ icon in her own right, Sandra hasn’t stopped in her crusade to ensure that we are all treated equally, but most importantly that we respect our damn selves along the way. And just in time for Philly Pride Week, Ms, Bernhard will be taking to the TLA stage tomorrow night for a fun stop on her Sandemonium tour, which has been garnering some truly fabulous reviews thanks to the always on point–and certainly on time–comedy stylings of this truly legendary comedy diva. 

But before she lets loose for Philly(get those tickets right here), Ms. Bernhard stopped by Philly Mixtape for a delectable spot of Pride tea where she broke mugs about, well, it all because you show she is, kids and we love it. 

Take a sip alongside the incredible Sandra Bernhard below. 

Kicking off our little spill, how are you these days? Everything’s great! Very, very busy. Very productive. Lot of good things happening and sort of working around the times we’re living in……which can tend to be a little bit–ya know–draining and exhausting politically. I’m always trying to lift up the work I do with good entertainment. [I’ve been doing] a lot on my radio show, Sandyland on Sirius XM on radio Andy(Andy Cohen’s network) interviewing people and having really smart conversations. [That’s] also been a great platform for me to talk about whatever’s going on in my life day-to-day. It’s been a really good incubator to come up with new material for my live shows. So, it’s all happening! And of course, I’m very excited to come back to Philadelphia, I haven’t been back in a while. It’s a great classic American city! 

You’ve also been getting back to acting quite a bit as well. Break some mugs for everyone about your latest venture….I’m [in] Ryan Murphy’s new show Pose. It’s more of a dramatic role, I’m playing a nurse in the AIDS ward in the ’80s, which is the time frame [the show] takes place in. I’m really excited about this. It’s a time I can really relate to. I lost a lot of friends back during the AIDS crisis. It’s supposed to be a recurring role, so hopefully I’ll be back! 

Taking a serious sip for a moment, there’s so much sensitivity these days when it comes ro crossing lines with politics and comedy. How do you personally find the ways to balance it all out? I think there’s a happy medium in a way to balance it all out, which is what I’ve been able to do. It helps you stay fresh and imaginative so you’re not just falling back on the same thing you always fall back on. It kind of forces you to go into new areas of your imagination. It’s a good thing because you have to keep recreating your work as the years go by. 

It’s true what they say…reinvention is the key to life. Absolutely. It keeps it interesting. 

So, here we are, right in the kick off of Pride month! What words of wisdom would you say to all of those fabulous kids out there who are just finding their true selves and are ready to celebrate? I think the most important thing is to stay educated and go to college and experience everything that anybody would experience and not limit and define yourself to your sexuality. I think that’s what’s kept my life interesting is that I stayed open and got to spend time and meet people from all different walks of life and cultures. I think that when everything’s defined by your religion, gender or sexual preference, you sometimes cut off a lot of experiences that can really enrich you and help [you] become a more complete person. That’s always my best advice is to just keep things very open and throw yourself into a lot of conversations and different ways of seeing the world. 

Moving on to your fabulous stage show. How would you personally best describe it? My work is always very personal so [the show] is like taking a little road trip with Sandy through my day-to-day life! Some things are sort of fictionalized and I just kind of bounce all over the place. It’s kind of hard to describe because my shows are never like one idea. It’s very stream of consciousness–I go from one kind of thought and woven insights [mixed in with] music and songs that are very eclectic. It’s fast paced and at times its introspective. You get to know me and see the world through my lens. 

So, let’s talk music. Who’s rockin’ your world these days? A lot of the stuff that I’m listening to was recommended to me by my daughter who’s a sophomore in college. I don’t really listen to albums anymore because the way of listening to music is so different–I just pick up a song here and there–Childish Gambino, Fleet Foxes. I certainly try to stay on top of it! There’s a thousand new performers and so many great songs out there. 

I guess it certainly helps having a teenage daughter around! It is good because otherwise I end up listening to a lot of stuff I’ve been listening to for years. It’s kinda cool because she likes a lot of that stuff too, so we go back-and-forth. It’s a nice bonding experience. 

One last sip…what does the word “pride” mean to you? It’s having your own identity and being clear who you are as an individual. I think it’s always great to have the support of the crowd behind you and be part of a group. But I also think that you also have to break away and walk through life and navigate your way around wherever you are. Be able to stand on your own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘The Sound of Music’ Tea w/Jill-Christine Wiley

If there’s one thing that remains true in today’s rapidly changing (and a tad bit crazy) world, it’s that The Sound of Music will remain as timeless as they come. 

A huge Broadway smash thanks to the talents of the incredible Mary Martin and the legendary production prowess of playwrights Rodgers & Hammerstein, the show would also go on to find phenomenal success on the big screen as well (hey there, Ms. Julie Andrews), raking in $158 million in 1965, which adjusts to a whopping $1.3 billion in today’s dollars.

Let that pop culture fact just blow your mind for a moment….

Based on matriarch Maria von Trapp‘s autobiography, The Sound of Music, tells the tale of a rather sugary sweet story involving nuns, Nazis, seven ridiculously cute children, and of course, lots and lots of fabulous hills. However, there’s just something about that dear sweet music when it comes to this ever lasting show, and with such classic tunes as “Climb Every Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” you know you’re going to be more than ready when all of these numbers come alive inside the Merriam Theater beginning tomorrow night through this Sunday, April 29th. 

But perhaps even more grand than all of the Music magic that will be taking over the City of Brotherly Love this week, are the many, many talents of leading actress Jill-Christine Wiley–dancing! singing! acting!–and she was gracious enough to stop by the Philly Mixtape entertainment tea table to spill about it all before she dazzles the city with her take on the iconic role of Maria. 

Of course, it may come pretty easy for Jill being that she’s already has a portrayal of another cherished character on her impressive resume–that of Belle in the national tour of Beauty of the Beast. So, now that you’re completely convinced to take the whole entire family to go see The Sound of Music while it’s in Philly this week, get those tickets right here……

…………but first get to know the lovely Jill Christine-Wiley below as she breaks mugs about, well, it all

Hey, Jill, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape! Kicking off our little spill, how does it feel to be playing the iconic role of Maria in ‘The Sound of Music?” It’s truly been the most wonderful experience! Getting to step into Maria’s shoes each night is such a privilege. Of course there have been so many talented women who have portrayed this role, such as Mary Martin, having originated the role on Broadway, to Julie Andrews in the film, not to mention the two other incredibly talented women who have led this tour before me. I think it’s also important to remember that Maria was a real person – the first thing I did was go right to her autobiography. I wanted to “get to know her” as best I could. I’m not only storytelling on stage each night, I’m “truth-telling.”

How many times have you seen the original? I think, having grown up watching the film it’s safe to say that I’ve lost count. It’s been a few months (dare I say even more) since I last saw the film….when you’re “living” it each night, it isn’t the first film you go to watch while out on the road…maybe this summer I’ll watch it again for fun!

Moving onto the stage for a moment, what are some personal rituals you do to relax and dive into each show before every curtain call?  I have a pack of Daily Affirmation cards – each card as one word to serve as an “intention card.” Before each show, I will draw a card and use that word as my intention for that performance. Last night, I drew the word, “truth” so I use that performance to really focus in on being truthful. Having that word intention set each night really helps keep me grounded and focused in my show.

There’s simply no denying that we’re in some really truly tough times right now, so we need those future entertainers more than ever!! What words of wisdom would you give to any aspiring actor or actress who decided right this very second to step onto that stage for the very first time? Embrace the mistakes. As performers/artists, we are always evolving, and no work is ever a finished product. Try not to self-edit or judge your work too harshly. We are in an industry where we are always looking to better ourselves – keep working, keep learning, keep growing.

Okay, let’s spill about the show! What can Philly fans expect from this production of ‘The Sound of Music?’ This is a classic and, at the end of the night, you’re going to leave the theatre humming the tunes you all know and love. This story has so much depth, it’s a story for all ages. It’s about the love of family, love of music, finding new love, the political aspects and fighting for what’s right and what you believe in.

How would you sum up it all up in one word? CAPTIVATING!

One last sip…..who are some of your favorite music artists that you simply can’t live without?  I can’t seem to get enough of The Civil Wars, Sara Bareilles or Damien Rice. Pre-show tunes, I can always go for some Barbra Streisand, Nat “King” Cole, Whitney and of course my personal favorite, Celine Dion!

For much more tea with the fabulous Jill-Christine Wiley, check this out…..

……and to get your tickets to relive and revel in ‘The Sound of Music‘ while it’s here in town until this Sunday, follow those hills to the box office right here.

Cover photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center






 

 

 

 

 

CAPTIVATING!

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Forgot About Friday/Jesse McCartney

When it comes to spilling about the nearly two-decade long career of “Beautiful Soul” crooner Jesse McCartney, it can be broken down in many, many ways.

You know…just in case you forgot. 

For one, we could break mugs about his accomplished acting skills, which have seen him take over the Broadway stages, as well as T.V. and movie screens across the globe.

We could also talk about his swooning vocal abilities, which have been laced across four studio albums and many, many, many songs for Disney. Or, we could most definitely spill about his incredible songwriting skills, in which he’s penned hits for the likes of Toni Braxton J.R. Rotem and Ms. Leona Lewis for a little/big breakup anthem called “Bleeding Love.” 

Or, we could spill about it all because Mr. McCartney is actually going to be taking over the Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Atlantic City this weekend, so a reminisce sesh on everything he’s given us over the years in certainly a must. 

After the “Shake” singer got his start on the Great White Way stages, he landed his first recurring acting gig on the long-running daytime opera, All My Children. This would lead McCartney to joining the ridiculously young boy band, Dream Street, all by the time he was just twelve years old.

Remember? Of course you do. 

But since, you know, boy bands certainly don’t last forever, McCartney got the smarts to branch out on his own and linked up a special songwriting contract with Disney. In fact, in the early ’00s, there wasn’t a Disney soundtrack that you could find that didn’t have the credits “written and performed by Jesse McCartney.” On his list of Mickey Mouse-d tunes are “Get Your Shine On” from Kim Possible, “The Best Day of My Life” from A Cinderella Story, and we just can’t leave out his rewiring of Elton John’s ’70s classic, “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” from Ella Enchanted, which also co-starred Ms. Ella herself, Anne Hathaway

Oh, and that moment he co-starred on the short-lived WB (and Aaron Spelling produced!) drama, Summerland, alongside Lori Loughlin, Zac Efron and True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten? F@#king priceless. 

Of course, McCartney’s own hits for all of us are the reasons why he’s still going strong, and with such Billboard charting hits like “Shake,” “Leavin,” “Body Language,” “How Do You Sleep?” and of course, “Beautiful Soul” all under his accomplished career belt, it’s no wonder we’re still kind of obsessed with him today. He’s even just released his latest romp, “Better With You,” which is set to serve as the lead single to his as-yet-untitled fifth studio album, which is due for your streaming pleasure later this year. 

So, there you have it….an A to Z stroll down memory lane with Jesse McCartney. Which means it’s the perfect time to get those tickets to see him in Atlantic City this weekend, because, let’s face it, this dude’s got talent…..

…..and because “Bleeding Love” is still your break up jam. 

Happy Forgot About Friday! 

Cover photo courtesy of Billboard