Mommies, Games and Vomit

The Unexpected Game Show episode091 Bianca Jamotte “The Unexpected Game Show a.k.a. Vomit of This Magnitude” John has become paparazzi stalking Prince William and Kate Middleton and he talks of following them to India and of butt tattoos. After discussing the massive snowfall and without an agenda for the show Marc and John decide to play several improv comedy games. “The Meh News” covers breaking news of a remote control malfunction and peanut butter jar in the street. The celebrity impression game “Impress me” finds action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger irritating neighbors as he washes his Hummer and Sylvester Stallone going to prison. Elsie’s suggestion of the game “A Twisted Tale” takes the spotting of stones in the road to the discovery of geese flight and a massive kidney stone. Marc and John make the most of the hilarious classic games “The Alphabet Game” and “Questions, Questions”! Elsie presents a near-perfect End of Show Food. Plus an interview with creator of the attention-getting and hilarious web series Real Mommy Confessions” Bianca Jamotte reveals production secrets, how she turned her real-life experiences into a creative opportunity, the most inappropriate audition ever, what it was like to film scenes in the nude, she reveals a HUGE announcement about the show, and a round of “The Meh News” finds mall-vomit has become an international incident! (Premieres March 16th, 2015) Hear more Monkey Radio with Marc episodes !

Christopher Walken, Leather and an Alligator

Coming 10/20/14 a new episode of the podcast “Monkey Radio with Marc”, featuring an interview with veteran character actor Spencer Garrett (Mad Men, House of Cards, Star Trek, Air Force One, Satisfaction, NCIS, Aquarius).

Spencer Garrett with Kevin Spacey

There’s much to hear in the episode–weapons juggling, a movie review, how to spend your lottery winnings, a fun improvisational  game inserting overly dramatic pauses and music  into others mundane moments, and more. But it is the interview with Garrett that creates then highlight of the episode. The actor (whose mother Kathleen Nolan starred in The Real McCoys and was Wendy Darling in the original Broadway production of Peter Pan, as well as the first female president of the Screen Actor’s Guild) talks  movies, TV, widgets, why he enjoys character acting, Gene Hackman’s nuanced acting, the importance of theater, how his dad knew Marilyn Monrore, acting choices, business advice to actors, who makes him star-struck, and more.

The must-listen moment comes when Garrett shares an hilarious story about Christopher Walken, Italy and an alligator—plus he searches for Walken in a film-noir styled round of “Dramatic Pause”!

Here’s a promo for the episode:

How to Succeed on Broadway While Really Trying

can-i-help-youI will be starring on Broadway soon, with co-star Michael McKeon, directed by Robin Williams. This according to Tony-Award winning producer Ken Davenport. Really!

Well, probably not really.

At least not this show with those people, at least not right away. To understand what this all means, you’ll have to listen to Ken Davenport’s interview on “Monkey Radio with Marc”.

What Davenport actually did say  is more immediately useable to anyone in theater: finding the balance of art and business is part of the trick. A producer MUST love, and believe in, the show he/she is producing. Here are a few tidbits the interview revealed:

1. If you don’t love the show you’re doing, then what are you doing with your life? Few people say at 10 years old “I want to be a giant Theater mogul”. But they might say “I want to be an actor or “I want to be a director” or “I want to be Annie.”

2. Being in business as an actor is important—-your performance frequency and fan-base, even how many Twitter followers you have—might be the scale-tipper. It isn’t just about being the best actor. It’s about being the best in the business of acting.

3. Star-power is not actually the way to success on The Great White Way. 9 out of 10 of the most successful Broadway shows were not “star vehicles”. And the one that was had actually been previously done on Broadway without a celebrity. The secret is in the engaging story or production itself.

Davenport pointed out that many successful concepts come from simply paying attention to the ideas, stories and projects that show themselves in one’s day—from the bookstore to colleagues to videos, and even the simplest of ideas. This was true for “Somewhere in Time” (he noticed this in a video store) or “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” ( a new show that started with an idea which was engineered into a prject). Even the currently running “Kinky Boots” came from paying attention to a colleague’s experience and overcoming his own doubts based on the intensity of the ideas recommendation.

The “Kinky Boots” producer is a true entrepreneur, who has immersed himself in the theater world and made a business out of teaching others what he’s learned. Currently he’s offering a new idea—a quite affordable Producing 101 teleseminar aimed at new producers to give them the foundation to move in the right direction.

Swapping absurd pitches while playing an improvisational game with Davenport at the tail end of the interview revealed something meaningful. Iniphone fun, he says “Keep Robin Williams, scrap everything else”, which ultimately means focus on what has value, lose the dead weight, and be willing to embrace something new. His company boasts a 50% success rate (productions returning a profit). And that’s gangbusters in the Broadway world! If winning less than half the time is normal, it’s crucial to embrace what works, and learn from those doing it right.

The balance is the answer. Art and business. Where the balance is—only people like Davenport have the map.

The interview with Davenport is worth a listen for anyone in theater. To ignore those who have succeeded is foolish. One thing is for sure—you cannot succeed without some effort, without really trying, playing smart, paying attention.

Davenport isn’t his real last name. He changed it to fit in with what is successful. We all have to learn to mold to what works, and not constantly reinvent the wheel. Balance that with attention to what audiences want, which is always changing. Except one thing: They want to be entertained. Yet his name is now Davenport. A davenport is something on while we rely to support us, make us comfortable, often while others entertain us. It’s good to have a sturdy Davenport on which to rely, and know Broadway is in good hands.

Maybe I’ll work with McKeon someday. Maybe Williams.  My real wish is to work with Davenport. Hey–I’m no novice–having appeared in more than 40 staged productions including 9 months starring Off-Broadway, some 25 films and several TV pilots and network TV roles—hey, it could happen!

For now, let’s all bask in the glow of success and experience of a man who lights a path on a street named Broadway, and see what we can glean from his willingness to share how we can each  claim a footlight.

ROCHESTER, NY NATIVE PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN DIES

Stupid, stupid drugs.

Rochester, NY native and popular Academy Award winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman robbed the world of his talent and future works when he was found dead today in his apartment in Greenwich, reportedly of an apparent drug overdose.

I met Hoffman briefly while was on a break outside a building in New York City a few years ago. He was friendly and courteous.

He and I also shared the same stage and knew some of the same people in Rochester, NY, but not at the same time. He was an actor I wanted to emulate, and one with immense range.

From “The Talented Mr. Ripley” to “Synecdoche, NY” to “Love Liza” to “The Master”, the actor had an iron fisted grip on the material and undeniable chops as a performer in both film and theater. For me, my most memorable line he ever said was in “Twister” :  “Food. Food. Food! Red meat! We crave sustenance” because I refer to it often.

This is a massive loss to the entertainment world, to Rochester, and to me.

Good bye Phillip. We loved ya while you were here. Even with drugs.

Now you’re not. You left us with a needle in your arm and a stabbing pain in our hearts. Because of drugs.

Brilliant man. Stupid man. Stupid, stupid drugs.

The Corner of Park and Broadway

Michael Park“The Corner of Park and Broadway” Marc and Ben catch up on a Superbowl party near-disaster and a pyrotechnic portrait and masked priest make appearances in a new feature improvising stories told by both a devil and an angel. Marc pulls back the show curtain and scolds the listeners. End of Show Food: Did we eat buffalo or did we eat chicken? And special celebrity guest: 2-time Emmy winner for his work on “As the World Turns“, a Broadway and film star and from Marc’s hometownMichael Park shares secrets from the soap opera set, why winning his Emmys meant more to others than to him, what he’s up to now, and critical advice all actors should hear.