15 episodes

An entertaining weekly interview series with nationally known theatrical and television actors and directors with only three goals in mind: to listen to entertainers. to laugh. to be entertained. :)

ACT: a new podcast series with host Dawn A. Westbrook about the craft of acting, the art of directing and embracing the proce Dawn A. Westbrook

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

An entertaining weekly interview series with nationally known theatrical and television actors and directors with only three goals in mind: to listen to entertainers. to laugh. to be entertained. :)

    WEEK FIFTEEN Tony award-winning actor, Frank Wood "Acting gets me out of myself."

    WEEK FIFTEEN Tony award-winning actor, Frank Wood "Acting gets me out of myself."

    Frank Wood was raised in Boston, MA and he comes from a family of politicians. His father was a political scientist who served under the Lyndon Johnson administration and his sister, Maggie Hassan was the 81st Governor of New Hampshire from 2013-2017.  She was elected to the senate in 2016 and is a junior US Senator.
    His passion for theatre was ignited during his college days at Wesleyan University when he got to act in the Canterbury Tale Shepherd’s plays.  It was the challenge of the actor was not only the fun part, but it got me out of myself, in a kind of extravagant, self-parody, satire, falling down comedy, that made us reach out to the audience.  And that is the reason he is in theatre.
    “When my character says things that I can’t say in real life is not only why I love acting, but why I need it.”
    He’s a Tony award winning actor for his work as Gene in Warren Leight’s SIDEMAN which also won the Tony in 1999 for Best Play.  On Broadway he has appeared as Bill in AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY; Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner’s Pulizer Prize-winning play ANGELS IN AMERICA; the Night Clerk in O’Neill’s HUGHIE opposite Forest Whitaker.  He has appeared in numerous television shows such as: Mozart in the Jungle, Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order SVU, Medium, and Modern Family; and films such as: JOKER, POLLACK, & MICHAEL CLAYTON.
     
    I loved talking about the acting process with the very talented and lovely man.  Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 13 min
    WEEK FOURTEEN Steven Skybell's Yiddish Tevye - a miracle of miracles!

    WEEK FOURTEEN Steven Skybell's Yiddish Tevye - a miracle of miracles!

    Born in the small town of Lubbock, Texas, Steven Skybell knew at the age of 10 as Pavel the peasant boy in the local theatre version of Fiddler on the Roof that the stage was where he belonged.  A graduate of both Yale University's undergraduate and graduate theatre studies programs, in 1988 Steven stepped right off the stage at Yale Repertory and onto the boards at the Neil Simon Theatre for his broadway debut in Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!

    Classically trained in Shakespeare, ironically Steven does not think of himself as a musical theatre performer. But to everyone else? His performance as Tevye in the Yiddish version of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF directed by Joel Grey is a tour de force and the performance of a lifetime.  The show was sold out and seen by celebrities and politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Hugh Jackman, Baryshnikov, Lin-Manuel Miranda (to name a few).

    The production won the 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Revival, the 2019 Critics Circle Special Citation Award and Steven won the 2019 Lucille Lortel for Best Lead Actor in a Musical.  The show was the brain child of both Joel Gray and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's (NYTF) Artistic Director, Zalmen Mlotek. 

    Steven has appeared on broadway in shows such as, Love! Valour! Compassion!, WICKED, and The Full Monty.  He and his husband, Michael Cole (who is Stephen Schwartz's personal assistant), live a couple of hours north outside the city in a little town known as Mahopac, NY.  They have 2 children "fur babies" named MacKenzie and Caleb both are Blue Merle Australian Shepherds.  If you ever find yourself on the lake in this lovely little hamlet, you might even see Tevye slaloming across the wakes and doing some tricks.

    I will tell you that that Steven is as lovely to converse with as he is on stage.  Honest.  Charming.  Kind.  Funny.  Interesting.  He says the trick to acting is If the thought is clear then the actor's message will get across.  Steven Skybell is truly a very rich man!

    • 1 hr 13 min
    WEEK THIRTEEN Brian Scolaro "If you are truly in the moment...acting is ZEN!"

    WEEK THIRTEEN Brian Scolaro "If you are truly in the moment...acting is ZEN!"

    If you are like me, you've seen this week's guest more than you can even remember.  He's a face that has appeared on so many tv sitcoms, dramas and comedy specials it's impossible to name them all.  Born in Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY,  Brian is a true New Yorker.  He was an absolute delight to interview.  So funny.  So open.  So raunchy.  Did I mention raunchy? 

    As a stand-up comic, Brian has appeared on numerous television show to almost every comedy club to name a few, Dangerfield's, Caroline's Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, Comic Strip Live, Boston Comedy Club, Catch a Rising Star and the list goes on and on.  He has been on shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Dexter, Mad Men, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Conan, Bones, A Million Little Things, Castle and played Gordon in Three Sisters, Stuart Miller on Stacked with Pamela Anderson, and THAT list goes on and on.  His raspy, sexy voice has been used for commercials and video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Need for Speed. 

    A few years ago, during a stand up routine one of Brian's eyes started to go blurry and not soon after he was diagnosed with MS.  Needless to say with COVID, the lack of work for all entertainers as well as SAG's new health insurance minimum annual income being raised from $16,000/yr to $25,000/yr (in the year of a pandemic) Brian has had to find other means for making money.  He has started a fund me page on www.patreon.com/brianscolaro where those interested can enjoy his quick wit weekly for only $5.00 a MONTH!  And the clips are hysterical.  His new book How to Punch a Monkey can be purchased on Amazon for $12.99 and on Kindle for $9.99 and his new recording Then/Now can be purchased on iTunes.  All worth it. I know. I bought them all.  Donate if you can because Mr. Scolaro is worth every penny and much, much more!  I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did doing it.  (EXPLICIT LANGUAGE and CONTENT)

    • 1 hr 12 min
    WEEK TWELVE Dan Ruth and his Life Behind Bars, literally and figuratively

    WEEK TWELVE Dan Ruth and his Life Behind Bars, literally and figuratively

    One of the most talented actors I have ever seen on stage, Dan Ruth is a true showman, a writer, a musician, an actor, a director and a friend.  A studied actor, the alcoholism that  trapped and spun him into a downward spiral was the one thing that miraculously turned his life around.  He singing voice is as powerful and passionate as Mandy Patinkin, his unrelenting comic timing will make your face hurt from laughing so hard, and his gut-wrenching personal tragic story about how he turned his life around are all a part of what make this man such an inspiration.  His show "A Life Behind Bars" has won numerous awards such as:  2018 Bistro Award for "Outstanding Solo Play," 2018 MAC Award for "Best Spoken Word Artist," 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival Producer's Encore Award, the 2016 Best Autobiographical Show award at United Solo Festival and last but not least the 2018 Martha Hill Newell Playwright's Fund Award.  Dan's have a bar towel will travel attitude will put this ball-of-energy actor back on the road again with his tour de force as soon as this COVID-19 thing is over. "A Life Behind Bars" is the perfect show for any producer looking to get audiences running back into their theatre seats and experience just why live theatre is an electric, and enjoyable way to spend one's evening.   You can also find Dan on Instagram @danruthbkny ;  FB @danruthbkny ; OR Twitter @ danruthbkny.  His website is www.danruthbkny.com

    • 1 hr 11 min
    WEEK ELEVEN Jeff Caldwell "The Standup Guy" on late night tv, sitcoms and political correctness today's climate

    WEEK ELEVEN Jeff Caldwell "The Standup Guy" on late night tv, sitcoms and political correctness today's climate

    I'll let these famous people give comedian, Jeff Caldwell's intro:
    Dennis Miller - "This guy is incredible!"Craig Ferguson - "Very funny!"George Carlin - "Funny and Smart!"David Letterman - "Very, very funny!"Jeff is such an approachable person.  Kind to everyone, this comedian believes that humor is best when commonalities are found and that the stage is not a preferred platform for exclusions or bullying.  Known to other comedians as "The Stand Up Guy" - Jeff is JUST that.  

    During the podcast, we discuss the similarities of both stand up and comic acting.  In this career we all have to deal with disappointment, but when the Paramount and CBS sitcom that centers around you as the main character (and Bob Newhart as your dad) falls through, getting back up on the horse again is more than difficult.  His wife, Kathy who worked for Lorne Michaels grounds him and proves to be an excellent sounding board for jokes before he ever says them in front of an audience.  He has toured with Jon Stewart, and worked with Rosie O'Donnell and Lewis Black (to name a few and believe me ther are many more!)  When we stopped recording the episode, I asked what was for dinner.  Well, Jeff had eaten a tomato (from his garden) sandwich with Hellman's  before he logged on and I quickly challenged him that his next sandwich MUST be made with Duke's or he wasn't really living. I promised to send him a jar and Jeff, it's in the mail!

    I hope you enjoy Jeff's down-to-earth humor and the rapport he quickly establishes to anyone who is lucky enough to chat with him!  Keep up with this Jeff on FB, Twitter and Instagram so when this crazy quarantine is over...you can see him on the stage where he very definitely belongs!  

    • 1 hr 12 min
    WEEK TEN "It's All About Commitment" an interview with Brad Greenquist (film, tv and horror aficionado)

    WEEK TEN "It's All About Commitment" an interview with Brad Greenquist (film, tv and horror aficionado)

    I met Brad in 1981.  He was already a star in the theatre department at Virginia Commonwealth University and his commitment to the craft of acting was inspiring and unwavering even back then.  He is funny, kind and has become a master (and I don't use that word lightly) on how to manipulate the camera in your favor.  His studio in Santa Monica is called Brad's Class and I would give anything to be a student on a regular basis so much so that - I am "committed" to taking his on-line class.  (See the ACT FB page for more information and his reduced rates.)  He has worked with such greats as George C. Scott, Jack Lemmon, Elizabeth McGovern, Isabella Rossellini and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Turn on any tv show and you'll see his face, whether it's on Star Trek, Medium, Bones, Grimm or Cold Case, Brad is sure to creep you out.  LOL.  For actors in the business today, Brad reinforces during the interview, that it's all about submitting that perfect self-tape, and in order to do that the actor must be willing to draw the viewer in.  Because, he believes that film and tv is about personality with a touch of sensuality and very little movement, whereas the stage requires expressive skills such as big voices and loud gestures. (You'll hear his skill during the podcast when he gives us a sneak peak into his audition for the serial killer in CSI Miami.)  Its ridiculously creepy as his one simple movement towards the microphone transforms his voice into a vibratory resonance that stimulates both excitement and terror within seconds.  Brad is a thrill-seeker both in life and on the screen.  I loved catching up with Brad and I hope you enjoy your hour with "Mr. Horror" - the master of creating the movie monster!

    • 1 hr 6 min

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