The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Friday, April 28, 2017


Rhinebeck Writers Retreat presents reading of BHANGIN’ IT by Mike Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, and Sam Willmott

Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is presenting the first reading of the new musical, BHANGIN’ IT, book by Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew and music and lyrics by Sam Willmott, on May 1 in New York City for an invited industry audience. The reading includes actors Shoba Narayan (Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet), Tony Sheldon (Amelie), Dan Rosales (Spamilton), Angel Desai (Company), and Salena Qureshi. The reading is directed by David Ruttura (School of Rock) and music directed by James Dobinson (The View UpStairs).

BHANGIN’ IT was selected for Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s Triple R program, which gives musical theatre writers 2 readings and a residency to do extensive development in a compressed time frame, culminating in the May 1 staged reading. The program is fully funded by Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and made possible through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and lead support from Cathy Cabrera and Rick Ungar, and Steve Reynolds.

Created in 2011 by Founding Executive Director Kathy Evans, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat provides a sanctuary for musical theatre writers to develop their musicals in the heart of the Hudson Valley. Past Rhinebeck Writers include Kirsten Childs, Michael Friedman, Adam Gwon, Joe Iconis, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, Duncan Sheik, Kyle Jarrow, Nathan Tysen, David Hein and Irene Sankoff, Stew and Heidi Rodewald. Musicals developed in Rhinebeck have been seen at The Public Theater, Barrington Stage, Second Stage Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals, and The Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. All costs are covered by contributions, including The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, The Dramatists Guild Fund, and The Noël Coward Foundation. We thank our major individual supporters: Liz Armstrong; Hal Aronow-Thiel and Pat Henry; Rick Farrar and Jeff Zadroga, Amy Faxon, Peter Risafi and Steven Wheeler, and Alec Stais and Elissa Burke.

BHANGIN’ IT synopsis:

Inspired by the high-stakes world of intercollegiate bhangra (Indian folk dance) competitions, BHANGIN’ IT follows a biracial girl named Mary who gets kicked off her bhangra team, the unstoppable Michigan State Bengal Tigers. Haunted by an accusation of not being "Indian enough," Mary grabs her best friend and cheerleading drop-out Sunita, and together they form a rag-tag multicultural bhangra team of their own. Mary also finds an unlikely mentor in Rekha, a former Bollywood starlet who now runs a restaurant slash cabaret act in East Lansing. As the team prepares for Nationals, they swap restaurant labor for dance lessons and brace for a collision course with Mary's former team. Along the way, BHANGIN' IT wrestles with love, betrayal, and the cultural traditions we inherit versus those we create.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NBC Today

I made my second appearance on the Today Show!! I'm becoming an old hand at this.
The AMELIE cast performed a medley of two numbers and it all actually looked very pretty on-camera.
Even if we did have to be on set at 5.30 in the morning!!!!!!!

Red Scare

The one night benefit for Theater For The New City was everything I hoped it would be and more. Our director Carl Andress and the expert cast of New York's best comics and character actors pulled together a sterling performance after a mere four hours rehearsal.
Author and leading lady Charles Busch is a true star in this town. The ovation that greeted this first entrance lasted a couple of minutes, and original cast members Julie Halston and Andy Halliday also received roars on their first appearance.
Charles and Julie looking over their lines in the dressing room.
Julie Halston, Charles Busch, Alison Fraser and Jonathan Walker.
Charles and Jonathan onstage.
I played two roles: famous film director R.G. Benson and Ralph Barnes, a radio actor who is fired on-air for his communist connections.
Julie Halston as Pat Pilford, a famous radio comedienne known for her rabidly "anti-red" stance, Charles Busch as Mary Dale, a movie star, and Alison Fraser as Marta Towers, a method actress with a shadowy past.
Sheldy with Christopher Borg as corrupt studio chief Bertram Barker, David Pittu as Mitchell Drake, a blackmailing screenwriter and Andy Halliday as Malcolm, Mary's houseboy who meets a tragic end.

It was such a joy to hear waves of laughter rocking the theatre. I am so honored to have been welcomed into Charles's "rep"company and hope to share the stage with them many times in the future.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Into the recording studio today for the Broadway Cast Album of AMELIE!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Opening Week

On the red carpet, opening night.
We had the traditional Gypsy Robe ceremony before the show and the Robe went to my dressing-roomie Manoel Felciano.
I love the whole tradition of the Gypsy Robe so I was over excited.

It was also a week for catching up with mates. My LA MANCHA cohort Ross Chisari was in town on a break from the Aussie production of ALADDIN
As was ALADDIN's Dean Vince who was in the original Australian PRISCILLA cast.
And a very exciting night seeing the Old Vic production of THE HAIRY APE featuring my darling EMPIRE buddy Tommy Bracco. As you can see, we came dressed as tablecloths.
A backstage reunion at AMELIE with Greg Dassonville and Brooke Shapiro from the Goodspeed HELLO, DOLLY!

And with Christian Boy who designed the Kennedy Centre CAMELOT I did with Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Monday, April 3, 2017

We got a "Squigs"!

Justin "Squigs" Robertson has honored AMELIE with one of his trademark caricatures!