November 22, 2013
Come Fly With Me
I am thrilled to share that I will be playing "Gabriella", the Italian airline hostess, in the classic farce Boeing Boeing! It’s the 1960s, and swinging bachelor Bernard couldn't be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to stay and a new and speedier Boeing jet throws off all of his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in town simultaneously, timid Robert is forgetting which lies to tell to whom, and catastrophe looms.
I haven't done a play in what feels like forever and I am so excited to be a part of this production! It will be nice to not have to worry about my voice. (Singers, you know what I'm saying.) Plus, I finally get to work with my friend, Jake Holliday Purcell. I'm thinking this one will be a blast! Hope you can come!
October 7, 2013
A Dream That You Wish . . .
We opened The Last Five Years this past Saturday and for the first time in my acting career, I’m not entirely sure what to say. Mostly because this has been one of my ultimate dream shows since the CD was handed to me ten years ago. The fact that I am actually playing Cathy and doing this show is amazing and thrilling.
To many, including myself, this two person show is one of the best written musicals of all time. It is scored brilliantly with two fully realized characters and told in such a unique way that it simultaneously rips your heart out and has you rolling on the floor with laughter. During tech last week, our guitar player looked at our musical director and said, “He wrote an impossible chord!” to which my co-star, Carl Del Buono said, “He wrote and impossible show!” It’s true. The show is emotionally and vocally demanding to say the least. It has been the ultimate and most gratifying challenge.
We run for two more weeks and I can’t wait to get back onstage and to continue to share this story of love and loss with new audiences. I am overwhelmed by the response we have received so far and filled with gratitude and joy for the chance to bring this show to life.
I tend to be proud of most of the productions I am a part of. However, this one is truly special. Not just because I’m doing it with one of my best friends who is straight up brilliant and who challenges me as an artist to consistently rise to his level of truth, but because I have truly been dreaming of doing this show for over ten years. I am relishing every moment.
I hope you will join us for this phenomenal piece. I couldn’t be prouder!
The Last Five Years:
From the Tony Award-winning composer of Parade, comes the recent off-Broadway hit musical that looks at love forward, backward and inside out. Emotionally powerful and hysterically funny, this inventive musical follows a couple during five years of their relationship. “His” story is told from beginning to end, while “Her” story is told from end to beginning, allowing the audience to see their past, present and future simultaneously.
Tickets: JCC CenterStage Hart Theatre
September 17, 2013
Fringe and Master Class Fun
We are only 4 days away from opening Waiting at the Crossroads Café at the Rochester Fringe Festival! We have been working our tails off to craft this original show and we are so excited to share it with everyone beginning this weekend. This has been an a nerve-wracking yet incredible experience. It's a conclusively different process creating something from scratch and having complete creative freedom to craft the production in its entirety. I couldn't be prouder of what we have come up with. Developing this with my best friend has made the entire adventure that much more rewarding. We set our minds to putting this together and it's all coming to fruition. I really love my art. I am so thankful for this chance. I am just thrilled we actually making this happen and not just talking about it!
Yesterday, we to taught a master class to the voice students at SUNY Brockport College. We sang several songs from the show and had a talk back about the show and singing and performing in general. It was an awesome and rewarding experience! Thank you Brian Clickner for asking us to come in and work with your students!
Waiting at the Crossroads Café has 3 performances; Saturday, September 21st at 6PM, Sunday, September 22nd at 2PM and Thursday, September 26th at 8PM. For tickets to the show please visit our page on the fringe site here or my events page! We look forward to seeing you there!
July 23, 2013
A Smash Hit
RENT is a runaway smash hit! We sold out four shows in eight hours on Monday so I am pleased to share that we will be extending! We've added three performances - August 1, 2 and 3. Don't miss this groundbreaking production. Get your tickets today!
Photos by Dan Howell and Nic Minetor
June 25, 2013
Get Into the Groove
"Tango Maureen" rehearsal for RENT.
With Jimmy Boorum.
I am back in the performance groove! RENT rehearsal is in full swing, we have started planning for our Fringe show this summer, I am singing a little bit for a benefit in August and this past weekend, we had our first sing-thru for The Last Five Years! In the spirit of The Last Five Years, let's start with the last thing first and work our way back, shall we?
This past Sunday, we had our first sing-thru and OH MY GOODNESS! I am still buzzing from the experience. Although we don't open until October, we wanted to see where we were at with the material as we are learning most of it on our own so we can hit the ground running when we start rehearsing in August. This production is going to be very very very special. Jason Robert brown is a MASTER. His music, lyrics and writing are in a league all their own. This is a dream to be a part of.
In September, my super-talented and bestie, Robyn Fazio, and I will be doing our own show as a part of the Rochester Fringe Festival. Groups from all over the country submit to participate in the festival so it's an eclectic and fun couple weeks of theatre. Last year was the first year they did this and it was a huge success so I'm looking forward to being a part of it this year. Our show, Waiting at the Crossroads Café, features an exciting and electrifying mix of contemporary music, standards and show tunes!
In August, I will be singing in Give To Live: A Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS Benefit. I did one of these a few years back during my "Summer In Ohio" (heh) and it was a great experience. Because I'm a little cray cray this summer, I will only be singing two songs for this event but I am excited to have been asked to be a part of it and looking forward to participating in this great cause with a cast of amazing and talented people. Should be an awesome evening!
"Tango Maureen" rehearsal for RENT.
With Jimmy Boorum.
Which brings me to the present. RENT! As I type this now, I am sore from my rectus abdominis - down from two hours of Tango rehearsal last night. Our choreographer, Kapil Dass, is amazing! I am literally dancing my butt off. This Tango is no joke. Perhaps the coolest thing about this show, other than the fact that it's RENT, is that we are doing it in the round. The audience will literally be enveloped and a part of the production. It's exciting. The sound that this cast makes is ridiculous. I can't believe the voices. We open July 19th. I hope you can make it.
Extra details about everything I've talked about here is on the Events page of this site. I hope to see you in the theatre . . . a lot!
June 5, 2013
SPECIAL SALE! One Day Only
April 16, 2013
The Last Five Years
I am beyond ecstatic to share that I will be playing "Cathy" in Jason Robert Brown's gorgeous musical, The Last Five Years. This contemporary musical tells the emotionally powerful story of a five year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hyatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy's story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie's is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle as their timelines intersect. You can read a more thorough synopsis here.
This role has been in the top three on my "Janine's Dream Roles" list for about 10 years now. The clock was ticking with it as the part requires an actress to play mid to late twenties and in a couple of years, I think I wouldn't be age appropriate anymore. So the fact that I was able to book this now is a true joy to me! I will be playing opposite the exquisite Carl Del Buono. This is a magical, heartbreaking, moving and powerful musical. Do not miss this exceptional piece of musical theatre! You can purchase your tickets directly from the JCC website or visit my events page for more information. Joy!
March 22, 2013
I am happy to share that I will be playing "Joanne" in RENT this summer. I have wanted to do this show since I was 16. Should be a blast! The production is being re-imagined to be done in the round. It will be very "in your face" and intimate. Seating is limited because of the way the show is being staged. We don't open until July but people are already buying their tickets. You can purchase your tickets here. For more information, please visit my events page.
Also, I will be performing in the Rochester Fringe Festival this year. More on that soon!
February 17, 2013
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our production of Encore! Broadway Favorites of the American Songbook. We closed today to a sold out house! My cast mates were a joy to work with and singing "Defying Gravity" night after night was a dream. We have received a lot of wonderful feedback from our audiences. Several letters, emails and phone calls have come in throughout the run of the show. The one below was sent to our director from a patron and I thought it was sweet. Take a look . . .
I think it says a lot nowadays when someone takes the time to write a letter and drop it in the mail. Thank you to the lady that wrote it!
I am officially on vacation but will be announcing my next gig(s) when I return. Stay tuned and stay warm!
February 4, 2013
We got a great review for Encore! Broadway Favorites of the American Songbook. Yes, there are some criticisms of the show but overall, it's a fabulous write-up. Lord knows that any review is only one person's opinion but it's nice when it goes your way. Check it out!
Review: Good performances, but JCC revue tries to pack in too much
By: Debbie Waltzer
Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper
Too much of a good thing simply can be too much.
Such is the case with Encore: Broadway Favorites of the American Songbook, currently playing at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester as part of the CenterStage series.
The show, nearly two hours in length, features more than 50 musical numbers by Jewish-American composers, ranging from Jerome Kern and George Gershwin to Marvin Hamlisch and Marc Shaiman. In solos, pairs, trios and full ensembles, six vocalists sing pieces such as “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Seasons of Love,” “There is Nothing Like a Dame” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
It is the 10th anniversary of this revue created by Linda and Sandy Foster, but the volume of work presented is excessive; program editing was insufficient.
That said, compliments must be paid to individual performers for their work as vocalists and actors. A huge shout-out goes to Janine Mercandetti, who nailed “Bali Ha’i” from South Pacific and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. The woman has a solid, strong voice and confident stage presence.
Kudos also goes to Linda Foster and Laura Jean Smillie-Diekmann. Foster’s rendition of “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret, and Smillie-Diekmann’s performance of “All That Jazz” from Chicago were particularly strong.
The male performers seemed to take a little longer to warm up. Early on, Jason Alexander Holmes lacked confidence during his duet of “I’ve Got a Crush on You” with Mercandetti. However, his Act Two solo of “Ol’ Man River” was powerful.
Matt Tappon’s energy level also seemed to fluctuate, likely due to the sheer volume of music he was performing. Still, he brought his all to “Isn’t It Romantic” and “If I Were a Rich Man.”
Carl Del Buono could be dubbed the show’s Energizer Bunny. A graduate of the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan, Del Buono knows how to sell a song, and most notably demonstrated that while singing “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story.
Full-ensemble pieces also were the high point of the program. The six-part harmonies employed during “This Nearly Was Mine” from South Pacific made for a dramatic capstone to Act One. Also, “Coffee Break”—recently featured on Broadway from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying—was energetic and fun.
Hats off to the hard-working crew that created this show. But next time, don’t pack as much in. Leave us wanting more.
January 31, 2013
We have our first preview tonight for Encore! Broadway Favorites of the American Songbook! What a show this has turned out to be. The people performing in this have been a part of it on and off for the last 10 years. Some of them every year! I am the newbie of the group. (Actually, one of the other guys in the show is brand new too.) Everyone is amazing! I get to sing awesome songs like "Defying Gravity", "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "At The Ballet" to name a very few. There are only six of us in the show so we all sing about 25 songs each. No joke. It's a vocal marathon but I am loving it. You can learn more about the production on my events page or at the CenterStage website.
Switching gears, I wanted to share that I am taking a mini me-cation and will not be performing after I close Encore! for a couple of months. Fret not, the me-cation will be short. But it's quite necessary. I need it. I will be announcing my next gig when I return. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!
Hope to see you at the theatre!
January 12, 2013
I booked a voice over gig for RIT. (RIT stands for Rochester Institute of Technology). I love this type of work and am thankful for the opportunity. It's great money and great fun! To check out my demo or other voice over's I have done, you can visit the voice-over page on this site! That's all for now!
January 1, 2013
Happy New Year
Happy New Year to all! I hope everyone had a wonderful close to 2012. I was blessed to finish out the year doing what I love to do most . . . performing! We had a sold out run for An Evening of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was a great time. Most importantly, we accomplished what we set out to do. . . raise a lot of money for the theatre and make a difference through our art. Below is a picture from our production. It was a joy!
I am now in rehearsals for Encore! Broadway Favorites from the American Songbook right. We open in February. You can learn more about that here. It promises to be a fun night at the theatre. I hope to see you there!
May you all be happy, healthy and creative in the New Year. Cheers!