Jane and Beatrice have always wanted to be a part of a book club. After Oprah discontinued her book club, they were grateful that Ryan Seacrest took up the reigns.
as most book clubs go
very few members show.
And about the book,
very little they know.
Watch here, at Funny or Die or on YouTube…
RYAN SEACREST’S BOOK CLUB- THE ALCHEMIST
A young boy travels to find his destiny. Led by Balki Bartokomous, he discovers that Mypos is a lovely planet where the “dance of joy” created a race of beautiful people. http://www.nothingsgonnastopmenow.com
There are many things I wish I had been told as a theatre student. Most of them, I might not have understood until I had experiences of my own, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts with those who are graduating from theatre programs this month.
“Welcome to the theatre- you fool! You’ll love it so.” -Applause.
Cutting through the Cliché’s: Advice to Theatre Students.
By Ashley Fox Linton
As a theatre student, I was never surprised by the repetitive advice professional actors would give to those pursuing a career in the arts. “If you could be happy doing anything else, do that,” followed by a collective groan. I would sit there and think, “We’re actors. We can do anything! We want to do so many things in our short lives that we’re choosing a career that taps into an endless amount of human experiences. We’ve been told a million times how difficult this business is, yet we’re still here studying and moving forward. Don’t you have anything useful to tell us? Sheesh!” They would go on, feeling pressured to list their accolades, and my mind would drift to selected scenes from “Funny Girl.”
We must be capable of finding joy and humility in other pursuits in order to be effective actors. Our experiences and imagination are all we have to draw from. In a creative, freelance lifestyle, it seems senseless not to fill our time with meaningful work that enhances our gift for theatrics. Only a very shallow actor believes they can’t do anything else. And, unless one is a wizard at false sincerity, a shallow actor is not an effective actor. People love to tell you that the ‘secret’ to having a great audition is just to “be yourself.” I’ll let you in on a little ‘secret’; if you’re a wildly neurotic a**hole, DON’T be yourself. Learn to be compassionate, kind, prepared and excitable. Then, being yourself might be a viable option.
“Success” is a relative term, and we create our own definition. While one actor feels like a failure because his film only made 3 million in it’s opening weekend, another actor is just thrilled to have a role in an Off-Broadway play. Your life and career will change monthly, even daily. It is important to set up a budget and learn to live frugally. We gypsies rarely lead a life of luxury. (Cue music for Stephen Sondheim’s “A Glamorous Life.”)
Acting coach, Rob McCaskill, gives his students a wonderful exercise. If there’s a flaw you spend time concealing, spend a day with that flaw exposed and celebrated. Let it all hang out! Now, that’s vulnerability. Learn to be confident and take pride in what makes you undeniably unique, even if it’s a quality or physical feature you’ve been trying to hide.
You will consistently be told that you are too old, too young, too fat and too thin, over and over, until you feel like you’ve been living in a Fun House full of distorted mirrors. It’s like dating. At some point, someone won’t care about the surface qualities. Your essence will be just right for a role, the stars will align, and what you’ve been dying to express will be scattered between the lines of some brilliant piece. What is for you will not pass you by. There is nothing that you can do to get the role if it isn’t yours, and nothing you can do to keep from getting it if it is. You know what belongs to you, and you know it before you walk into the room.
The truth is that you’re going to get your heart broken… over and over. It is going to be painful. There will be times when you will want to give up. You will be sitting in the lobby of Anonymous + Co Casting, next to Meryl Streep’s daughter, an Olsen twin and the film producers’ niece, wondering why you spent twelve hours of expensive coaching fees on the material. Don’t let this keep you from wanting it. Don’t let it keep you from enjoying the steps you took to prepare.
Actors love to say, “I always get the jobs I don’t care about.” Who would want to create art with a person who doesn’t care about the job or take pride in the work? The person that is best for the role is not the person who doesn’t care. It is the person who cares more about the character than what the casting director thinks of them playing the character. You must care! Becoming passive or complacent is boring. No one will care if you don’t.
It’s so easy to be a critic. Don’t be deceived into thinking it’s sophisticated to cut down those that are creating. There’s a difference between a discerning artist offering their expertise and an envious cynic. We are each responsible for our own participation and how we improve life on this planet. If we claim to be creators, why would we participate in destruction?
For the sake of pursuing your art, you will probably spend some time in a day-job that you are overqualified for. These are relevant experiences that make for some great material! An actor is always at work. You will use it. Trust me on this. Write it down. Nothing is wasted.
Everyone thinks they know what it’s like to be an actor. The human nature of assumption will become irritating. Their perception of you is not your business. People will never stop asking “Have I seen you in anything?” They will never stop referring to you as an “aspiring actor” even though you’re a “working actor.” Aunt Lucinda, will call with advice she learned from “Smash.” They won’t think twice about inquiring publicly how much you get paid. They will take an unhealthy interest in your sex life. These things never change. Don’t mind the Muggles. Do not be prideful. Learn to set boundaries, be gracious and move on.
You’ll have that teacher that scoffs when you tell him you’ve never seen “Little House on the Prairie,” as if you have time to sit at home watching every TV show ever made. Don’t worry about it. You’re never going to be familiar with every story ever created. Just watch what you enjoy because you will naturally pursue the things you like.
Do your research when it comes to agents and managers. Some industry folk will throw around big names and glitter like the perfume spritzers at Macy’s, constantly checking for your reaction and sneaking the periodic glance at thy bosom. The Hollywood manager that only takes appointments on Friday and Saturday nights is not trying to help you. Just run.
Do not let a photographer persuade you to change your look for your headshots. The point is to look like you. Also, be wary of anyone who uses the terms “fierce” or “boo” with too much ease. Not really… but really.
When moving to a big city like NYC or Los Angeles, find out where the major studios are. Map out your travels so that you’re not overwhelmed on the day of an important appointment.
Stop by the makeup counter at Bloomingdales for a quick consultation. Guys, this means you too! Take responsibility for the things you can control because most of the business is out of your control.
Keep in mind that universities and conservatories only advertise their success stories. Most people don’t think you can do anything until you’ve already done it. Don’t do it to impress them. Do it because you have something to express. Success may be the best revenge, but if revenge is your motivation for creating art, you’re going to run out of steam. Love lives longer. Period.
‘Tis a far, far better thing to be a part of a life-changing event than to worry about the opinions of strangers. Who won the Tony for Best Play in 2008? Tough to remember, huh? Name a piece in the past five years that deeply affected you. Much easier.
My Dad always said “Take your work seriously. Don’t take yourself seriously.” Of course, that’s different than taking things personally. If you’re proud of your work, it’s personal. Be gentle with yourself if you are feeling sensitive. You must stay sensitive to be an artist. All this talk of “building a thick skin” is rubbish. When it’s your job to feel things, that brick wall is only an occupational hazard. In order to stay an artist, one can never grow numb to the emotions felt when under critical attack. It is ammunition to add to our emotional palette, which can take some time to acquire.
Learn to be wary of your expectations. Allow yourself to have as much fun in an audition room as you would onstage after weeks of rehearsal. The business is never going to be fair. Like any business, there is always the guy who got the promotion because his father owns the company. Most people are working hard and truly doing the best they can. How can it be fair that some people are born with exceptional gifts and some are not?
Keep studying. Appreciate and nurture your talents. With care, they can only grow and multiply. The average person has 7-10 jobs in their lifetime. As an artist, you can create a career suited to your specific skills. There will always be the need for art. Art is our primary source of healing. If you have something to say, a creative medium will find you. You are never just an actor. You are a poet, singer, dancer, storyteller and communicator. Technology is constantly creating new forms for expression for us to embrace.
Why do we subject ourselves time and again to constant scrutiny? Because fulfilling that inherent need to create is worth the pain. Remember that you are a trained and educated professional. Appreciate the tools you have been given and be patient.
As a fellow artist, take this with a grain of salt and a slab of perspective, since it is only the view from my little corner of the universe. Consider it a tithe of my time, from one actors’ heart to another. We are made to grow, improve, connect, listen and give life its’ due reverence. All of life is about human relationships. That’s all we really have, and it is our privilege to explore, share and communicate with joy and respect.
Featuring music composed by 4 time Emmy Winnner Randy Klein with lyricists Ron Miller (For Once in My Life), Doug Frank (Warner Brothers: Batman, Harry Potter, Matrix, Animaniacs and the stage musical Marilyn: An American Fable), Jeanne Napoli (Air Supply’s Never Get Enough of You), Bruce Fischel (Love Will Bring You Back to Me) and Isidore Elias.
I’m honored to have Randy at the keys, Larry Saltzman (Bette Midler, Carole King, Jewel, Peter Allen, Celine Dion, Saturday Night Live) on the guitar and Tony Conniff (Marc Shaiman, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, Sam Harris, Patty Griffin) on bass.
1. Dream That Got Away
2. Sometimes Lovers, Always Friends
3. There’s a Full Moon Out Tonight
4. You’re My Coming Home
6. First Real Love
7. Nobody Else
8. Out of Control
9. In the Twilight Hours
10. Somewhere Inside
11. Fly Free
Produced by Randy Klein
Arrangements by Randy Klein
Vocal Arrangements by Ashley Fox Linton
Basic Tracks and Vocals: Hot Lips Studios
Bass and Guitar: Tony Conniff Studios
Mixed by Rob Harari at Harariville
Mastering by Gene Paul & Jamie Polaski at G&J Audio
Deepest gratitude to Randy Klein, for generously sharing your music with me, having faith in my voice and guiding me on this wonderful journey. This collaboration has been a joy!
Tony Conniff and Larry Saltzman, I’m thrilled to have such fine musicians on this album.
Rob Harari, for your ears, enthusiasm and extensive input.
Gene Paul and Jamie Polaski for making this record shine.
My dear and supportive friends.
And of course, Mom & Dad, for your unconditional love, inspiration, and for raising me on great tunes.
A NOTE FROM RANDY KLEIN
The Singer and the Song
The musical journey that Ashley and I took to record this CD started with the day she auditioned for a musical that I was presenting. I loved her voice then and even more now. We began working together with the idea of recording one or two songs from my extensive catalog, but once we started, we were having so much fun that it resulted in this eleven song package of highly romantic songs. We rehearsed at my piano and then slowly began to develop the tracks. We then recorded a complete set of lead vocals and, because we are both perfectionists, recorded them again. By this second set of lead vocals, Ashley’s interpretations had grown and the songs became part of her, a personal statement.
When a vocalist chooses a song to sing, they are emotionally connected to it for some reason. The reason could either be the melody touches them in a certain way or there is a lyrical sentiment that they want to express. Although a vocalist may feel a connection to the song, it may just not fit for some reason. So they have to choose another. As you will hear, all of these songs fit Ashley to a tee.
The songs that are in this collection have been written during my long career in music in collaboration with many great lyricists. They are about romance, falling in and out of love and remembering the loves of our life. Good songs all have a common trait – one never tires of them. You will find that you don’t tire of listening to Ashley singing this collection of songs.
After all this time working with Holiday Magic, this was the first year I was in town to visit Rady’s Children’s Hospital to deliver CD’s in person. It was obviously a very moving experience and confirmed that what we’re doing is not only worthwhile, but a vital part of bringing Christmas to these precious little ones. Kevin Lare and his team put together this beautiful video of our experience, featuring “Just Can’t Sleep.” Please enjoy!
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS: After a road-trip to visit my grandparents in Arizona, I spent the holidays with family in San Diego… sunset jogs on the beach, reminiscing with friends in Balboa Park (our old stomping ground), catching new shows at The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse, soaking in the sun while reading a good book and devouring lots of delicious Mexican food! Yup, people like to feel sorry for Californians at Christmastime, but don’t pity us, really. heehee! My family threw a New Year’s shindig to set the tone for 2012!
HAPPY NEW YEAR: I was excited to start the new year of by returning to 98 Bottles for a concert with extraordinary jazz pianist, Kiefer Shackelford. Look out for this guy. He’s an inspiration- Click here for proof. We put together our set in only three rehearsals and performed to a packed house. Mostly jazz tunes with a few pop songs in the mix. We even convinced the owner, Steve Anthony, to do an impromptu performance. Thanks to everyone who came out. Such a blast!
…and (drumroll pleeeease) my debut album “FIRST REAL LOVE” will finally be available on itunes through King Kobra Records the second week of February! I’m really excited to share it with you all!
I’m in the midst of developing new projects for Cheshire Fox Productions and have been inspired to do quite a bit of writing. Composer, Adam Block, and I wrote and recorded a demo of our tune “Something Good.” More on that later.
My friends and I at Moxie Street Picture Shows started the year in NYC with a reading followed by a brainstorm session for our next production. There will be an official announcement made soon.
Needless to say, 2012 is going to be a great year! Even numbered years are always the best and this year has already started off pretty darn splendid!
Wishing you all that is “too marvelous for words”,
BMI: “Everything You Long For” by Matthew Hardy and Randy Klein, was chosen as one of the new songs to be presented at this years Tony-Honored BMI Theatre Workshop Showcase. The song is from the musical “Flambe Dreams,” previously titled “The Thing About Joe.”
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop held its biannual showcase November 3 in New York. Pictured at the event are (first row, kneeling) Goldberg, Mary Liz McNamara, Jill Abramovitz, Raissa Katona Bennett, Gwen Hollander; (middle row) Jeannine Frumess, Ashley Fox Linton, Aron Accurso; (back row) Sara Wordsworth, Kellen Blair,Andy Monroe, Dina Pruzhansky, Steve Sislen, Tracy Higgins, Michael Ogborn, Charlie Soehne, Matthew Hardy, Leo Ash Evens, Christine Bokhour, Beth Falcone, Frank Evans, Raymond Bokhour, Randy Klein, Michele Foor, Trey Compton and Matt Van Brink. (Photo by Joshua Sarner)
HOLIDAY MAGIC 2011: For this years Holiday Magic CD, I wanted to write something from a child’s perspective. I collaborated with Denver Casado once again to record “I Just Can’t Sleep,” about a little boy/girl filled with anticipation on Christmas Eve. The entire album can be heard on the website.
We’ll be visiting San Diego’s Children’s Hospital on December 15th to distribute CD’s personally. The project takes donations year round to contribute to the cause. For more information, visit HolidayMagicCD.com.
MOXIE MADNESS: Moxie Street Picture Shows held a spectacular Holiday Fiesta to celebrate another year of creative collaboration. Many thanks to Patron for providing a fantastic venue and Yogaworks, Bodyshop and Sephora for their generous contributions.
98 BOTTLES: I’m excited to perform in a Christmas concert for San Diego’s new downtown hot spot, 98 Bottles (recently featured on the cover of San Diego magazine)! The club owners have been dear friends of mine since childhood and I’m thrilled for their success. If you live in SoCal, add it to your list of favorite night spots. Hope to see you there!
BOOK: “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. A beautiful book that melts all over New York City.
THE JOURNEY OF THE NOBLE GNARBLE: On Saturday, we celebrated the book of launch for “The Journey of the Noble Gnarble” by Daniel Errico, with illustrations by Tiffany Turrill, at Books of Wonder on West 18th in NYC. Books of Wonder is the oldest children’s bookstore in the city, with scores of old and rare treasures. Such a magical place! Jose Sepulveda and I sang a song from the musical adaptation of the “Noble Gnarble,” which is currently being spun by Denver Casado. It’s an adorable and uplifting tail tale of a little fish who longs to swim to the top of the ocean. Visit www.noblegnarble.com for more info.
BED FELLAS: I’ll be playing Amy Parker in a workshop of the new musical “Bedfellas,” by James Olmstead, Omri Schein & Andrew Smith. Also starring Ben Nordstrom, Mark Emerson Smith, Kristen Mengelkoch and Omri Schein.
Pearl Studios: 519 Eighth Ave. NYC. October 17th. 7:00pm.
New Jersey the Song: Check out “All You Long For,” written by Matthew Hardy & Randy Klein, and sung by yours truly. Soon to be posted at www.NewJerseyTheSong.com. It’s the eleven o’clock number for the show we’ve been working on for a few years now. I think even West-coast folks’ll dig it!
About the show: Flambé Dreams tells the story of a young man from Preston, Idaho who comes to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a great Maitre D like his father who was killed in a freak flaming bananas foster accident.
First Real Love: We recently received the promo copies of “First Real Love.” It’s exciting to have a final product in hand after all of our hard work. So, now we’re taking the next step to find the project a home. I’m beyond thrilled to debut these original tunes.
Les Paul’s 96th Birthday (Global) – Jun 09, 2011
Les Paul, the creator of the legendary Gibson guitar that bears his name, would have been 96 years old on June 09th, 2011. Les’ son Gene Paul did the mastering for my album. I ate up all his stories of Barbra, Bette and Aretha in the studio. I mean, the guy recorded Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Such a treat!
FUN FAMILY HISTORY: A very dear and thoughtful friend spotted this gem at the Strand Bookstore and kindly passed it along. My grandfather, John Marion Fox, is in the book along with my Aunt Ditty and others in the family tree of the Bennett sisters. The book is out of print. John Fox wrote an autobiography before he died that was never published. On my mom’s last trip to the city, we scoured out spots he used to frequent. Turns out, he lived only a few blocks from me! Funny how things come full circle.
The CHELSEA MUSIC FESTIVAL this year was a great success! Quite the celebration of visual, audible and edible art. I had the pleasure of coordinating receptions for each of the concerts, combining my passion for producing and event planning with my love for music. We had an impressive list of sponsors including Steinway & Sons, Fujifilm and BMW, providing five cars for us to use during the festival. Not too shabby.
Our pre-festival “friendraiser” was catered by Great Performances in The Tiffany Room at the majestic Armory on Park Avenue, with a few preview performances.
An excerpt from thearmoryonpark.org: The Armory was built by New York State’s prestigious Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861. Members of what was known as the “Silk Stocking” Regiment included New York’s most prominent Gilded Age Families including the Vanderbilts, Van Rensselaers, Roosevelts, Stewarts, Livingstons and Harrimans. Built as both a military facility and a social club, the reception rooms on the first floor and the Company Rooms on the second floor were designed by the most prominent designers and artists of the day including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Herter Brothers and Pottier & Stymus. The Armory’s 55,000 square foot drill hall, reminiscent of the original Grand Central Depot and the great train sheds of Europe, remains one of the largest unobstructed spaces of its kind in New York. A marvel of engineering in its time, it was designed by Regiment veteran and architect Charles W. Clinton, later a partner of Clinton & Russell, architects of the Apthorp Apartments and the famed, now demolished, Astor Hotel.
Opening night, “Liszt I: The Protagonist” at the Chelsea Art Museumfeatured Liszt, Beethoven, Balliet, Bach and Schubert. Chef Danielle Rehfeld prepared an assortment of Hungarian Hors d’oevres de pelerinage.
The Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, hosted “Mahler and Radical Departures,” a night of Mahler, Schoenberg,Kagel and Korngold. Between the Bread catered the event.
Excerpt from LBI.org: The Leo Baeck Institute is devoted to studying the history of German-speaking Jewry from its origins to its tragic destruction by the Nazis and to preserving its culture. Dating back almost 2000 years, when Jews first settled along the Rhine, the Jewish communities of Germany, Austria, and other German-speaking areas of Europe had a history marked by individual as well as collective accomplishments in communal organization and welfare, commerce, industry and politics, the arts and sciences, and in literature, philosophy and theology. To appreciate the impact of German-speaking Jewry in modern times, one need only recall such names as Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, and Franz Kafka.
“Liszt II: The Organist” took place at St. Paul’s Church, where they house a beautiful organ to play Liszt and Balliett.
“Liszt III: The Melodist” and “Liszt Remix” (World Premiere) were both at The Chelsea Art Museum, where we also held the closing concert “Voyager,” catered by Seasonal Restaurant.
The month of May jumping into June has been mighty musical! (Cue Leslie Uggams’ version of “June is Bustin’ Out all Over…”) This year, I’m taking Spring cleaning seriously!! That’s right, it’s time to ditch old clothes, habits and gear, to make room for new possibilities. For example, I’ve been opting to ride my bike over taking public transit and it has allowed me to see so much more of the city. That trip down the Hudson amongst the bloomin’ buds is just glorious! Here’s what’s been brewing the past few weeks:
Broadway in South Africa: With a mission to “develop a cross cultural exchange between youth in need and artists who seek to use their talents for change,” BSA recently asked children to list their favorite things and dreams for the future. One African girl listed “Dad, Mom & Grandma, heroes, teachers, rooms, windows, songs by Rihanna and good rice and chicken” as some of her favorite blessings. She stated that she just wants “a seat at the table.” Will Van Dyke and Rick Ellis adapted her thoughts into a song, which I was so happy to sing.
Will and I toured together on the 1st National of “Wicked.” He’s a killer pianist, wonderful composer and adorable fellow. Check out his tunes at www.WillVanDyke.com.
Japan: The Fundraising Concert for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan was held at West-Park Presbyterian Church on Friday night with the Japanese Ambassador in attendance. I played Maria in selections from “The Disappearing Act” composed by John T. Prestianni. John and I previously worked together on the recording of the musical “The Black Dahlia.” His music is superb! The evening was presented by the Harmonia Opera Company.
Chelsea Music Festival: I’m serving on the Operations Committee as an event planner for this year’s Chelsea Music Festival. Classical musicians from all over the world will be congregating at four locations in Chelsea to celebrate live music. Visit www.chelseamusicfestival.org for event listings and more about the festival and the musicians involved. We have a lot of exciting performances and receptions planned. It’s going to be fantastic!
First Real Love: I’m very excited that Randy Klein and I have completed our album “First Real Love.” We’re now shopping the record to labels. We’ve spent over two years working on these this set and we’re extremely excited to share the finished product! Many thanks to my supportive friends who have been a constant source of inspiration throughout this process. Stay tuned for more details…