Archive for July, 2010

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ON THE SCENE Interviews With Those Who Touch Millions

July 23, 2010

I am thinking how cool it is, this show ON THE SCENE, and how time and again we’ve landed amazing artists for me to interview.

So this weekend’s show it’s David Bryan of Bon Jovi and a multiple Tony Award winner for the Broadway musical “Memphis”, Oscar winning director Roger Ross Williams of “Music By Prudence,” and architect and designer, Michael Graves.

Collectively, these three individuals have touched hundreds of millions of lives…through the iconic  music of Bon Jovi that  forever rocks; through a film that awakened a nation (Zimbabwe) to its despicable treatment of the disabled; through the hundreds of offices, hotels and museums designed by Michael Graves not to mention his housewares sold at Target.

I can’t believe I have gotten to know each of these artists, at least a little. And I hope the day comes I interview every one of them again, they are that fascinating.

Now, I’m off for a three day weekend. Got a show I should see (besides my own, yes, it’s on this weekend 7 AM, Noon, and 4:30 PM).  A movie?

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David Bryan, Music By Prudence and Michael Graves This Weekend

July 20, 2010

We are deep, deep into editing this weekend’s ON THE SCENE.  This day is intense, so much to finish,  and so I have just a minute. But I love the segments we’re bringing to tv.

This weekend ON THE SCENE will have the David Bryan interview…he, of course, is the Bon Jovi keyboardist who just snagged three Tony Awards for writing the music for the Broadway musical “Memphis.” We also have Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams who directed the documentary “Music By Prudence” and architect and designer, Michael Graves.

Ok, this show has been a lot of work. It’ll be more than worth it, can’t wait to see it on the air…but if I don’t get back into that edit suite now my editor will kill me and this will never get done!

If you’re local, July 24th and 25th, 7 AM, 12 PM and 4:30 PM each day for the show.

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Interviewing David Bryan of Bon Jovi and “Memphis”

July 9, 2010

Today I got one of those unique, wonderful surprises that being an interviewer brings: meeting a performer from my favorite…and one of the world’s most famous..rock bands. Ok, the interview was not a surprise. I knew I would be taping a conversation with David Bryan, the keyboardist of Bon Jovi, at his New Jersey beach house, it had been in the works for a couple of weeks.

The surprise came in the impression he made on me. For more than a quarter century he’s been in the shadow of larger than life frontman Jon Bon Jovi, and to some extent guitarist Richie Sambora in particular his headline grabbing marriage to and divorce from  Heather Locklear. I’ve seldom heard David say a word, so his personality was a mystery to me.

But suddenly he is stepping into the spotlight in his own right, winning three Tony Awards last month for writing lyrics,  orchestrating and producing the Broadway musical, “Memphis.” At age 48, he has a new aspect to his career that is clearly rejuvinating  him. “I could talk about this show all day” was one of the first things he said to me.  He was effusive about it.

We spent the better part of two hours at his home in a wide ranging conversation about “Memphis,” and Bon Jovi. He showed me how he’s been using a champagne tote purchased at Harrods in London to carry his Tony Awards from country to country while Bon Jovi is on a world tour.  The “Tony tote.”

But what I noticed most was his passion in how he talked about “Memphis.” When I interview someone I can tell the difference between when the artist is simply “selling” the show or pushing tickets, and when they believe what they’ve done has real quality.  He talks about “Memphis” in personal terms, a nearly nine year journey from script to stage. I also noticed his broad based knowledge about musicians and the industry (every performer I happened to mention in conversation, from Tony Bennett to Duncan Sheik to Keb’ Mo’,  he had an opinion about their work). I also have personal admiration for anyone willing to  take professional risks, in his case,  to go outside his comfortable rock genre and take on musical theatre. It all points to a creative intelligence and musicality that I have to believe has been a glue holding Bon Jovi together all these years. And I don’t think the public or critics have always noticed that.

We also discussed criticism of “Memphis” that the music is too pop, some of the songs too “light” for Broadway and you’ll hear what he has to say about that many more things in two weeks when the next ON THE SCENE episode airs, times to be announced next week.

I love days like this.

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“Memphis” The Musical

July 3, 2010

A friend and I headed to Broadway the other night to see “Memphis” the musical, which won the Tony Award  for Best Musical.  Part pleasure, part research.  I’m scheduled to do an ON THE SCENE interview next week with a powerhouse talent behind this show and I’ll be writing more about that after the interview.

It’s an enjoyable, song and dance packed show, but  with the simmering undercurrent of race relations and discrimination in 1950s America. Putting one of the most divisive periods in our country’s history to a good beat that you can dance to, well, that’s tricky. “Memphis” does not make the mistake some musicals of late have…to0 much dialogue, too few decent songs.  There’s debate whether “Memphis” was a strong enough show to beat “Fela” for Best Musical, but there’s always going to be complaints over who wins and why. Everybody has their favorites.

Check back in a week, I’ll be writing much more about the show, the interview and the next ON THE SCENE episode hitting the air in just a couple weeks.