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It's been 42 years since the original cast and crew of the 1973 film Jesus Chris Superstar have all been in the same room together, and tonight (April 27), Director Norman Jewison, Ted Neeley (Jesus,) Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene,) Barry Dennen (Pontius Pilate,) and Josh Mostel (King Herod); to name a few, will reunite for a special screening at the Beekman theater in New York City.
Getting the band back together so to speak would've happened much sooner for Ted whose boundless enthusiasm for what he calls his life-changing role has never left. He tells host Robin Milling, “I've been trying to get this reunion to happen since the film came out. I've been trying to get all of us together to do another production; if nothing else just to hang out for a few days. It's never happened until now. And the fact that we'll all be in the same place at the same time with Norman is a miracle!”
Miracles have been known to happen in the life of Jesus Christ, but it almost didn't happen for Ted who reveals he almost missed out on being cast in the iconic role. He also tells Robin how he met his wife of over 40 years, Leeyan Granger on the set and how their two children have been happily following dad's adventures as a superstar.
Most actors run from one role defining their legacy but Ted has embraced Jesus, still performing the role wherever and whenever he can; most recently touring Italy for a year. He says joyfully, “It completely changed my life, spiritually, personally. So why slap that in the face? And I still love it; every performance is like the first time all over again. That music starts to play and I just lift off the ground, 'ok take me wherever you want me to go!”
Kevin Pollak joins host Robin Milling at the Tribeca Film Festival, now in it's 14th year to discuss his film Misery Loves Comedy. Kevin wrote and directed this insightful documentary about what goes on behind the laughter and what drives today's hottest comedians to get up in front of a roomful of strangers to be the center of attention and tell jokes. Kevin was ultimately curious about the type of person who suffers from 'hey look at me syndrome devoted to acceptance and appreciation.'
He tells Robin he began with a very strict shooting schedule which allowed for a commitment from comedians; most of them his friends such as Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, Christopher Guest, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Saget, Lisa Kudrow, Tom Hanks, Kevin Nealon, and Larry David; to name a few. By the end he had over 60 but one that was sorely missed is the late Robin Williams, a mentor and close friend to Kevin, who unfortunately was not available during the locked-in time. Kevin says they had hour-long conversations which made up for his absence, and when he passed while he was editing the film it was a 'no brainer' to dedicate the film to him in his memory. “It was frustrating for both of us. He wanted me to know how much he wanted to be in the film, how much it meant to him that I was doing this and spoke a great deal about his own journey and misery and happiness and life. All of those things that long-time friends talk about.”
Kevin keeps very busy with his own podcast, Kevin Pollak Chat Show, and has no immediate plans to join his friend Larry David on the Broadway stage in A Fish In the Dark. He tells Robin, “I'm happy for Larry's now historical Broadway success but that is the last thing I want to do!”
Milling About visits The Big Bungalow in Nashville, Tennessee. Located in historic Edgefield, it's a homey three bedroom B&B, owned and operated by Ellen Warshaw. A native New Yorker, Ellen tells host Robin Milling how she came to Music City with the dream of continuing her career as a singer/songwriter when 'the 80s and MTV killed my careeer'! As John Lennon says, 'life is what happens while you are busy making other plans;' Ellen made a go of it but found her style wasn't in harmony with everyone else's so she set her sights on something new. She says, 'It wasn't my heart. Rock 'n roll was my thing and here it's a different language. It wasn't fun anymore, so you have to move onto the next thing. I write feel songs and country music is story songs and that wasn't my story.'
That next chapter of her story was the hospitality business, specifically a B&B which came to her in a eureka moment one morning. Her philosophy was, 'if you build it they will come and that's what happened!' Her love of music is infused in The Big Bungalow with The Music City Room; covered with her own memorabilia and a country music decor. The other rooms are The Grandiose Suite and The Cozy Room. She also hosts house concerts in her living room where all the local musicians gather to jam.
The other kind of jam is served with the delicious breakfasts such as French Toast Casserole and Spinach and Feta Frittata with homemade fruit and nut bread. Ellen admits it was a learning curve to turn down the fancy. 'In the beginning I was making things like smoked oyster and proscuitto quiche with provolone cheese but nobody ate it!' Now her motto is simple but tasty.
Multi-talented performer Sam Harris joins host Robin Milling for a backstage chat about his one-man musical, 'Ham: A Musical Memoir,' now playing at Theater 511 at Ars Nova in New York City. Directed by Billy Porter, featuring pianist Todd Schroeder, the show is based on his autobiography, 'Ham: Slices of A Life.'
On stage Sam expertly tells stories, speaking about his life's journey from boyhood to the present; whether in song or candid monologues. He tells Robin he's embraced the term, 'ham,' recalling his earliest performance at three singing The Star Spangled Banner at a football game in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Sam says performing is everything to him. 'It was my coping mechanism being a little bit of a different kind of kid growing up in rural, Baptist South; the buckle of the bible belt! For a burgeoning gay showbusiness kid it was a little freaky especially being born in the early 60s.'
And for those not born in the 60s, Star Search was the American Idol of it's day, where Sam won the 1983 grand champion singer with his rousing rendition of 'Over The Rainbow.' He tells Robin he accepts the legacy, along with his other accomplishments as an actor, a writer, and a recording aritst.
Sam talks about the cathartic experience he feels exorcising his demons on stage, although some things were left in the book such as his alcoholism; celebrating 11 years sober. Even though the show is personal to his life experience, he tells Robin it's universal. 'I don't think there's anybody who doesn't feel outside. I don't think there's anybody who doesn't need to be told 'you're enough.''
For more about Sam visit http://www.samharris.com/
Milling About visits The Sagamore Resort in Lake George, New York, an idyllic property on Green Island in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Everywhere you turn is a view of the lake and the mountains. General Manager Tom Guay who grew up in the area tells host Robin Milling guests can hike the surrounding mountains as well as relax. There's a serenity with the sweet smell of pine permeating from the year-round lobby fireplace. Just outside is the Veranda terrace where brides begin their matrimonial walk down to the lake to say, 'I do.' The 385- room resort in existence since1883 is rumoured to be haunted, especially Room 209. Director of Sales Lori Rehm tells Robin about the resident spirits. There's a 1930s maid whose affair with a guest caused the wife to smother her with a pillow. Lori says some guests have seen someone in a maid's outfit standing in the corner or felt the blankets being tugged down by someone, and when the lights were turned on there was noone there! Visit www.thesagamore.com
Gary Busey wants you to get into The Busey Zone, interactive webisodes where you ask Gary questions and learn from his unique perspective on life, like 'A Moment With The Hobbits.' Gary tells host Robin Milling he's visited Middle Earth in his dreams through body projection. He says, "I time travel in my dreams." These observations come from a Harley Davidson accident when the curb split his head open and he died after brain surgery, seeing the other side. He jokes, "I could tell you more but it's like explaining an orgasm to a 10 year-old; you can't really discover it all!"
There's three books in the works from the mind of Busey including his autobiography, "360 Ways To See An Elephant;" meaning there's more than one way to see something. Plus a two- volume collection of his Buseyisms; Gary takes the letters from a word and creates a definition. His buddy Donald Trump is 'Taking Redirection Understanding Massive Power.' And from the man who played Buddy Holly, will be his book of lyrics 'Song Poetry.'
For Busey's outlook on life visit http://www.buseyzone.com
Thomas Jane brings in the new year with Vice, playing a futuristic cop investigating a resort run by Bruce Willis, where human-like androids (Ambyr Childers) programmed to fulfill a user's fantasy have gone off the grid. Jane tells host Robin Milling he is a Sci-Fi fan so the opportunity to tell the story which might be a cautionary tale of abusing technology in the present, intrigued him.
He admits he is not a fan of social media but got into the game with his own site, http://www.rawstudios.com/ where he can check in occassionally to a supportive forum of like-minded graphic novel enthusiasts. He jokes, 'Nobody has created a fake Thomas Jane account on my forum; at least not that I know of!'
Thomas' plans for 2015 are vast, with a second graphic novel in the works, and a western that he wrote which he hopes to direct. The working title is 'The Magnificent Death From A Shattered Hand.' On the small screen he's got The Expanse for SyFy and the History channel's Texas Rising, which features his daughter making her acting debut alongside her dad. He tells Robin he was amazed by her talent, 'She was kind of uncanny. She must've absorbed it through some mechanism that we're not aware of, yet. There's some kind of morphogenic field out there where you can absorb experience from your parents somehow!'
Milling About visits Bang Candy Company in Nashville, Tennessee where handmade gourmet marshmallows are the bomb! There's all types of confection creations designed by owner Sarah Souther. Sarah came to Nashville by way of Ireland and the idea for her candy company started over dinner with a friend when her dessert contained a handmade marshmallow. She tells host Robin Milling, 'I thought, wow, people make marshmallows! I went home and I messed around in my cupboard and I found some cardamom and some rose. I thought, ooh I'll make a rose cardamom marshmallow! It's very simple; gelatin, some syrup and you whip it up until it gains volume, cools, traps the air bubbles and then you have this lovely spongy substance.'
A big hit at a potluck party, Sarah was convinced she could make a business out of her designer marshmallows and she did. She jokes how she first would 'deal marshmallows' to friends in parking lots but then expanded to a 'shed on wheels' to cart her sweets around town called The Cocoa Van. Their home now is a former car factory for Marathon Motor cars right next door to the Antique Archeology shop where American Pickers began.
There are literally endless ways to flavor a marshmallow and Sarah has tried them all taking full advantage of her neighboring distilleries including black currant absinthe, maple bacon bourbon and spicy margarita, as well as chocolate chili and toasted coconut almond; then dipped one by one on a diagonal in chocolate. Sarah says it's time consuming but well worth it and encourages anyone to try making marshmallows at home. Recipes are at http://www.bangcandycompany.com/
To celebrate the holidays, Milling About joins the cast of Elf, now playing at The Papermill Playhouse. Based on the film, it's a musical about Buddy, an oprhan who was left on Santa's doorstep in the North Pole and raised by elves. All grown up, he returns to earth to discover his true identity; and in the process learns much more about love and family.
Host Robin Milling asks James Moye (Buddy), Heidi Blickenstaff (Emily Hobbs), Robert Cuccioli (Walter Hobbs), Jake Faragalli (Michael), Kate Fahrner (Jovie), Paul C. Vogt (Santa) and Matthew Sklar (Composer) about five things they couldn't live without if they traveled from earth to the North Pole and their fondest Christmas memories.
Gillian Anderson joins host Robin Milling to discuss The Fall, her first lead investigative series since The X Files. Playing a detective superintendent investigating a serial killer in Belfast, she jokes she's had nine years of medical school as Scully. The Fall is shot in Belfast and the tourism board has Gillian to thank as room 203 in the Hilton Hotel, where her character stays in the series, is booked through the winter of 2014.
Gillian tells Robin she's got a bit of an identity crisis, being born in Chicago and moving to London. In grade school she used her English accent to make friends, but kids can be cruel so she adopted an American accent. Now she says she can't escape 'the Britishisms' and calls London home.
You can also see Gillian on the NBC series, Hannibal as Lecter's therapist, and the upcoming series Crisis.
Jim Sturgess joins host Robin Milling to talk about his new film Upside Down. Jim tells Robin he actually had to practice hanging upside down for the role and got to 20 minutes with the aid of gravity boots; but not before nausea got the best of him! He even has an upside down kissing scene with his co-star Kirsten Dunst who had some previous experience with that in Spider-Man.
Jim says he was asked to appear in the Spider-Man musical on Broadway by his Across the Universe director Julie Taymor but opted to help out in the workshop with Bono instead. He prefers playing with a band and writing his own music rather than having back-up dancers behind him on a stage. One band he tells Robin was Saint Faith; a seven-piece outfit he started in Islington which he says never saw the light of day.
Music will always be there for Jim, but these days he prefers acting. He talks about working with the Wachowski brothers as an Asian man in the controversial film, Cloud Atlas, and is excited about his upcoming role as real life bank robber Eddie Dobson in Electric Slide.
Renowned rock 'n roll photographer Kevin Mazur tells the story of the paparazzi and the point of view of the celebrities they hound in $ellebrity. Kevin joins host Robin Milling to talk about issues in the film which include 'are celebrities' children fair game?'
Famous folk such as Jennifer Lopez and her then husband Marc Antony and Sarah Jessica Parker weigh in on the 'stalkerazzi.'
At the start of his career Kevin says a run-in with Robert DeNiro pissed at him for taking his photo without permission gave him the leg up he needed. By simply asking he's earned an exclusive pass to shoot the biggest names in show business.
For more information visit:
Photos courtesy of Kevin Mazur
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