Joseph Leo Bwarie, who played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway and all over the country, reminisces with Rory about the old days while seated in the very theater where they met many years ago. Joe is talking over as co-Artistic Director for the Garry Marshall Theatre where both he and Rory got their start in Happy Days the Musical working for their mentor, Garry Marshall. Joe walks us through his journey to getting the role of Frankie Valli, his 9 years playing the part and his recent decision to take on his biggest role yet- Artistic Director at a theater he loves dearly.
Meet Hamiltour’s Eliza! The super talented Solea talks about booking this dream job just six weeks after graduating from college. Solea is an incredibly sweet and humble young woman who initially had a hard time believing it when they asked her to play Eliza, but has learned to embrace it and remember that she worked hard for it. Her boyfriend Ryan Vasquez is also a cast member on the tour and recently went on for the first time as the understudy for Hamilton. Solea describes what it feels like to have an onstage kiss with the person you love and how they deal with working together. She also shares her harrowing story about a health scare that she feared would end her career before it started. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious and her wonderful career is only getting started.
Rubèn Carbajal (Hamiltour's John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) is ecstatic to be back in his hometown of Los Angeles performing at the Pantages where he grew up seeing plays that inspired him to get into acting including In The Heights starring Lin Manuel Miranada. His story of getting into Hamilton involves an open call, Mandy Gonzalez, and a hilarious tricked played on him by his agents. Rory and Rubén talk about their Jesuit education, handling rejection, and the moment that Rory tries to make Rubén smile on stage every show.
Jordan Donica takes us on his journey from Indiana Hoosier to becoming the Hamilton tour's Jefferson/Lafayette. Last year he made his Broadway debut in The Phantom of the Opera (a show he was destined to be in) which is a reflection of his abundance of talent. From rap to opera, this guy can do it all. Jordan has an incredibly unique perspective on the business and a laser beam focus on what he wants. In the few years since her got out of college, Jordan has already made his mark in the business. He also explains why he doesn't use social media.
Rory celebrates his homecoming to LA after a year and a half away with Hamilton and talks to fellow castmate Raymond Baynard. Ray is a part of the ensemble and plays the infamous George Eaker in the Hamiltour! This isn't his first time on the road. Ray traveled with The Lion King for over three years so he knows all the secrets to make it through the ups and downs. Raymond has a very focused physical and spiritual practice that he is inspired to maintain by the strength and example of his mother. His story about her is one of the most beautful to ever be told on "Living the Dream."
Danny Bernardy has thrived as an actor in regional theaters across the country and as member of the One Year Lease Theater Company. Danny’s career has spanned from New York City to Greece and all the way to Moscow. Danny and Rory have been friends since their freshman year of college and have weathered the twists and turns of this business by sticking together. Danny tells us why he gave Rory the nickname “Grandma", about his first NYC apartment that was "wall free", and how his theater company has given him a creative home.
Lauren Kias is an extremely talented dancer and member of the Hamilton ensemble. She also happens to be Rory's scene partner in the pivotal moment when KG3 learns that John Adams will be replacing George Washington! Lauren comes from Indianapolis where she studied dance early on as a child and even began splitting her time in high school between regular classes and the prestigious Butler University Dance Department. Lauren spent 8 years in a dance company in Chicago and never expected to be in the musical theater world but she explains how she got to Hamilton and how her journey included a "boot camp". Lauren has a lot of gratitude and credits her success to her family, especially her mother who drove her to every dance class and her husband who was completely supportive when she got the tour of Hamilton even though it meant doing long distance. Rory and Lauren talk about how they plan on approaching the next phase of life as they contemplate raising kids while "living the dream"!
Isaiah (Hamilton, The Color Purple) plays George Washington on our tour and was a part of the show during its infancy stages when it was The Hamilton Mixtape. He comes a long way from Broadway (Anchorage, Alaska) and his route to get to where he is makes for quite the tale. Isaiah has a passionate stance on the role of the actor in society and a wonderful sense of humor. Rory and Isaiah also solve the mystery of the shaking stool. You'll have to listen to understand that one!
Seth Rudetsky (Siruis Xm Broadway, Disaster The Musical) and his husband James Wesley talk to Rory about their Concert for America this Saturday June 24th in San Francisco! They started producing these Broadway events all across the country to raise money and awareness for causes that will go neglected under our current government. Seth tells Rory how he went from playing piano in the pit of a Broadway show, to being a writer on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, to hosting his own show on Sirius Xm Broadway. He is an author, activist, and recently performed on Broadway in his show DISASTER last season which he also co-wrote. The man is non-stop and a perfect person to talk to about "living the dream."
Rory talks about the previous night's Tony Awards and gushes over his friend Gavin Creel's win. Then Rory talks to Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day, Honeymoon in Vegas) about his experience on Broadway, being a family man, and how he juggles both. He also tells the story of how the Groundhog Day cast overcame the set breaking and the star getting injured. Raymond and Rory have a lot in common including being gay married men and having been in a Broadway show that fell apart during rehearsals, something that will bond them forever. They talk about the challenges of being type cast and how far the industry has come in casting Asian American actors like Raymond.