Spotlight Series: Meet Kalinda Gray, An Actor and Fantasy Party Organizer Who Moonlights as a Salem Witch Trials Researcher and Historian

This Spotlight focuses on Kalinda Gray, an actor I first encountered onstage playing Marilyn Monroe all the way to Magenta in the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Maverick Theatre, a place close to her heart. Away from the stage, but still very much a part of the world of theatre magic, Kalinda’s company Wishing Well Entertainment and Parties creates high-quality, professional character and artist event entertainment with a wide array of genres and themes for both adults and children, and she moonlights as an independent Salem "witch" trials researcher and historian. So how is she dealing with the shutdown of The Crucible in which she was featured as Elizabeth Proctor?

Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Kalinda Gray (Kalinda): I've been in the SoCal theatre scene for about 15 years, performing on local stages such as the Hollywood Bowl, Sacred Fools, SCR, Segerstrom, the Dorie, STAGES, the MET, the Whitefire Theater, and the Maverick Theater. I've been lucky to be a part of several West Coast regional premieres (including Kate Monster in Avenue Q) and some fantastically fun world premieres (including Cunegonde in Candide at Sacred Fools, Ann Darrow in King Kong: Eighth Wonder Of The World and the Storyteller in a new stage version of The Hobbit at the Maverick), as well as a few tours here and there. I'm also an original member of the All Puppet Players (now based in Arizona), which is innovative puppetry theatre best described as Monty Python meets the Muppets meets Ozzy Osbourne with a healthy dollop of improv thrown in for good measure.

In addition to theatre, I also have done face character work for Universal Studios and currently work in film, television, commercials, and voiceover; my other source of joy is my company, Wishing Well Entertainment and Parties. I wanted to create high-quality, professional character and artist event entertainment with a wide array of genres and themes for both adults and children. Along with a talented group of longtime friends and past coworkers from theatre and theme park entertainment, I've managed and/or performed at over 5600 events since we opened in 2012, and our work has been featured in publications and news media around the world. I've been very lucky to meet some amazing people and performers along the way, and it's been a pretty cool journey so far!

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show? 

Kalinda: On Thursday, March 12th, we had just wrapped up our first-run thru of The Crucible, which was scheduled to open March 20th at the Maverick Theater in which I was cast as Elizabeth Proctor. Press photos were scheduled to be taken a few days after the shutdown happened. The Crucible has become an integral part of my life since when I'm not onstage or filming or running my company, I actually moonlight as an independent Salem "witch" trials researcher and historian. I've been studying the trials since I was a kid, and venture out to Salem about twice a year for research in the surrounding areas. I love the period because there is always something new to uncover or theorize about from this terrible moment in American history. This past Halloween week, I even stayed in John Proctor's old home in nearby Peabody, Massachusetts and am attempting to help its owner with dendrochronology research - I have always felt very close to this piece, and to the real lives of the characters portrayed in Arthur Miller's work, and with the writer himself.

This was a dream show and project of mine, with a truly wonderful cast, mixed with actors from film, SCR, New York stages, etc; definitely one of the absolute best ensembles with whom I have ever worked. Some of us thought we might still be okay to open as of that Thursday evening, but over the weekend, it quickly became evident that we were not going to open in a few days’ time.

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team?

Kalinda: Our director, Brian Newell emailed the entire team on Sunday evening (March 15th) and we gathered once more the following evening for our final costume fittings. For that last cast meeting, Brian spoke with our cast to let us know that we were indefinitely postponed, and communicated the options we have for the future. As a cast, each of us are on board to continue with the show, and keeping ourselves ready for when it eventually goes up. There's a peaceful and kind solidarity with our cast and team, made up of longtime friends and people I've just met. It's very special, and it made it especially poignant to be there that evening taking in all of this news with the rest of them, each in our own way. Life was actually bigger than, well, life. I have a feeling we'll all remember where we were when the reality of all of this first hit us. We are living in a truly historic time.

(SB): Absolutely we are living in historic times, much as John Proctor did. Do you know if plans are in place to present The Crucible at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

Kalinda: Our director has been fantastically optimistic, believes in us, and has been a true champion behind getting this show up at some point. I feel that it's an important piece in any given day or time period, but - once we come back from this - I think that it will be especially potent and meaningful for an audience to experience. We are learning to not take things for granted. We are experiencing separation from those we love, and the inner turmoil of shedding guilt and finding strength and peace on one's own. We're already seeing the effects of discrimination against certain people in our world due to this terrible pandemic. I feel that all are lessons important to share with an audience, and The Crucible touches on all of those things.

Since we were just about to open, everything is set at the theater waiting for us. It'll be like coming back to Sleeping Beauty's castle to see everything waiting patiently, frozen in time! Our costumes, wigs, props, stage, set, lights - they're all sitting there right where we left them. In the meantime, we have been conducting weekly rehearsals over Zoom so that we can SEE our cast and stay fresh on lines. We thankfully have the space clear through July, before another production will need it. If the theater isn't back up and running in some capacity before then, I'm not sure what will happen after that.

(SB):  What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

Kalinda: I did have some Fringe shows I was currently in callbacks for that have all, of course, postponed/canceled. For my business, I also had over fifty events scheduled through May that have all canceled in the past few weeks, with no future events coming in. It was overwhelming on March 12th, when things really started picking up speed and people were realizing how bad this was; I received 14 event cancellations in a matter of a few hours, and saw theaters in SoCal already canceling their own productions. It was all quite surreal.

My old group, All Puppet Players, were also planning their 10th anniversary production with a reunion show with former cast members this fall; as of right now, we're still hoping that happens. I also had a comedy web series planning to shoot this spring that is rescheduling to the fall. Just have to wait and see. And since all of the studios are shut down as well, I've had no auditions come in (except for a few voiceover roles).

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Kalinda: About a week into staying at home in self-isolation, I started seeing others in the theater world arrange groups together for staged readings via Zoom and Skype. The first one I did was Steel Magnolias which I haven't read in years. I loved the experience. This has been a perfect opportunity to study films, revisit favorite pieces, discover new works of art, take virtual trips of museums around the world, etc. I'm also starting to see agency and casting director calls for projects on television/theatre be virtually open to all online. That is a fantastic idea, and I will be eager to see if this changes the course of casting processes for the future.

I'm also in the process of putting together stories each day for the Maverick Theater's Facebook page to post in correlation with The Crucible (which we hope still opens), connecting the characters of the play with the real-life locations and people and on-site history that I've researched throughout the years. I wouldn't have had time to do it before, so I'm happy for a chance to put all of my work online now.

And for my business, I recently introduced some virtual options to keep kids and adults entertained during this time period. We're sending out online character greetings and doing virtual parties and events, and I'm especially excited about our "Character Comfort Chats" in which our performers converse one-on-one with kids (and adults, if they need it!) about the current happenings in the world and take care of the hard questions and answers so that parents/other adults can take a break. I'm currently working on even more virtual character entertainment options for "bigger kids" too (like Marilyn Monroe suddenly dialing in to a Zoom business meeting to liven things up, etc.).

(SB): You certainly know how to make lemonade out of lemons! What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

Kalinda: I feel that we artists feel, process, and exhibit emotions genuinely and intensely, and that leads us to subconsciously absorb so much of the world around us. I've spoken with many friends over phone or messaging the past few weeks, and a lot of them have echoed the same sentiments, "I am so used to being busy, and would usually have so much energy to start a new project that I'm excited about. Now is my chance to do it, and I'm SO TIRED!" This sudden change of life really takes a toll on one's psyche as well as physically. So, don't feel pressured to create that next big masterpiece, or feel guilty for seemingly doing nothing. You ARE - you're enduring a historical time. Take care of yourself and treasure the time with your loved ones at home. Be kind to yourself and take each day at a time, so that your soul is rested and rejuvenated for the future. We'll need you here to tell your story in the best way possible when our world blooms back to life.

This article first appeared on Broadway World.

JOAN OF ART - Chills & Scares, An Iconic Singer, Songwriter and Poet, A Rock Group That's Still Rocking & More Halloween Fun For The Whole Family

For the past five years, every Halloween, I find myself having the intense need to be scared and the place that fulfills that desire is found on the Queen Mary where they put on one of the most creative and terrifying Halloween event entitled DARK HARBOR.

This is the ultimate SCREAM festival. You walk through dark mazes where you will be greeted by monsters, ghouls, super gory scenes and people sneaking up on you in pitch black darkness to tap you on the shoulder. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed at the top of my lungs during this experience all aboard the Queen Mary which has been said to be haunted. What could be better?

There are over two hundred monsters, six terrifying mazes, nightly live entertainment, secret bars and exciting rides. This is Southern California's most authentic haunted attraction. It started in September and runs through November 2nd. There is no better place to experience Halloween.

For tickets and more information go to or call 1-877-600-4313.

If getting terrified isn't you thing then I suggest on October 11th, you take a trip over to UC Irvine-Bren Center to see the one and only BOB DYLAN. There is no need to explain who Bob Dylan is. If you don't know, then you should go to I tunes and download all of his music.


No musician has had such an influence on society as he had. The show starts at 8pm. UC Irvine-Bren Center is located at 100 Mesa Road, Irvine CA. For tickets go to

Speaking of music, there is another group playing in Los Angeles this weekend and perhaps you've heard of them. They're called THE WHO and if Dylan isn't your thing, fo see The Who instead playing at the Hollywood Bowl this coming Friday, October 11th, at 7:30pm.

This is their North American MOVING ON TOUR and they will definitely bring their indelible brand of powerhouse rock to the Hollywood Bowl. For tickets and more information go to

Now kids might find the DARK HARBOR event a little too scary so that's why I suggest you take them to NIGHTS OF THE JACK which is an interactive family friendly Halloween experience at the beautiful King Gillette Ranch in Calabases CA.

You and your family will walk around a half mile trail around the vast grounds that display intricately hand carved and illuminated jack o'lanterns. It also features a live pumpkin carver, gift shop, top LA food trucks and their 'Spookeasy Bar' serving specially crafted Halloween cocktails and tons of other 'Instagramable' moments for all to enjoy.

This year they are in partnership with Nickelodeon so the event will feature a special 'SpongeBob Square Pants' installation which bring to life fan favorite SpongeBob characters and iconic Bikini Bottom places through an illuminated pumpkin display, as well as an "Are You 'Afraid of the Dark?" pre-show tent space to include twisted surprises, along with an interactive augmented reality experience.

For tickets and more information go to The King Gillette Ranch is located at 26800 West Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302.

Whatever you chose to do this weekend, have a great one people.

JOAN OF ART: Luminario Ballet, John Legend, Dinner With Friends and Pop Up Art - Equals Major Fun

This weekend, June 14th, 15th, 16th Luminario Ballet presents: "Choose Your Identity", modern dance legend Bella Lewitzky's TURF, 'LedZAerial and the world choreography award nominated 'Lift Ticket.' by Luminario artistic director Judith FLEX Helle.

I've seen them many times and they are absolutely fantastic. This is ballet like you've never seen it. Their aerial work alone will blow you away.

Special guest stars: Dreya Weber (PINK) will perform and Tawny Ellis and her band will play with Luminario Ballet dancers dancing.

The show will take place at the ultra cool Cafe Club Fais Do-Do located at 5253 West Adams Blvd, in LA. This is a club that offers a gumbo of eclectic music and diverse people coming together to build a stronger community by offering exposure to new cultures, sounds and philosophies.

To purchase tickets for LUMINARIO BALLET go to or call 818-235-6588.

Another great event happening this weekend is the opening of the Hollywood Bowl on June 15h with the great John Legend performing. He'll be accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a sky full of fireworks. Now it doesn't get more romantic than that.

John is an incomparable talent, a charming presence on stage who brings great depth of emotion to his work as a pianist and songwriter. He'll kick off their season with style and a performance you won't forget.

To purchase tickets go to or call (323) 850-2000. John goes on at 8pm.

Now for a different kind of theatre...Dinner With Friends, a play written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Donald Margulies.

Married couple Karen and Gabe live an idyllic life in Connecticut. They regularly have their best friends Beth and Tom over for double-date dinner party But of course dinner is not just about food. At least not in Margulies' play.

As the evening goes on Beth tearfully reveals that she is getting a divorce from Tom who has been unfaithful and from there it only get better and better. I've seen this play twice and it's one not to be missed.

'Dinner With Friends' opens at the Beverly Hills Playhouse 254 South Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills CA 90211. To purchase tickets or for more information go to The play runs Fridays and Saturdays 8m and Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, until June 30th.

If art is what you desire starting Friday June 14th at 7pm the Pop Up Arts & Music Festival will be at the Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

As the name suggest, the festival will feature pop up public performances and activities at a variety of locations throughout Thousand Oaks.

The primary goal of the festival is to provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to actively participate in and enjoy the arts in unexpected and distinctive locations throughout the community.

The festival will feature seven free events over three weekends, June 14 and 15, June 21, 22, 23 and June 28 and 29. In partnership with local arts organizations, the festival will include local and regional artistic talent, in addition to nationally recognized performing artists.

For more information, visit

Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.

MAMMA MIA! Conductor David Holcenberg's A Super Trouper Who Really Knows the Name of the Game

This year's Hollywood Bowl's annual staged Broadway musical - the enduring, ever popular MAMMA MIA! - will be performed on July 28, 29 and 30. First premiered on Broadway in 1991, MAMMA MIA! (chock-full of classic ABBA songs) has been produced countless times, and in countries all over the world.

We were most lucky to get conductor David Holcenberg to spare a few minutes in the midst of his always-too-short rehearsal.

Thank you, David, for taking time off your short, crazy rehearsal schedule for this interview.

So how many sessions do you get to rehearse with your Hollywood Bowl musicians?

I have just one four-hour rehearsal with the band. I also get a Sitzprobe, which is a rehearsal with the cast and the band in a rehearsal hall singing through the show. It is the first time the cast hears the band and is always one of my most favorite days.

Do you bring in any of your own instrumentalists? Or are all your musicians members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra? 

I brought my associate conductor (who will also play keyboards) and my drummer. We just use a rock band for this show, so I don't believe they are regular players with the Bowl Orchestra.

How many times you get to rehearse with the performers?

It is very fast. We started full-cast rehearsals Monday July 17. However, I did some music coachings with our principal actors ahead of time.

Have you worked with any of this Hollywood Bowl cast before?

No, but they are great!

Ever previously played at the Hollywood Bowl?

No. Very excited.

Have you been able to sit out in the audience as a civilian and enjoy any Hollywood Bowl shows?

Yes. I used to go when I lived here in my early 20s, and went back this week.  

You are currently the associate musical supervisor for MAMMA MIA! in North America - one of your original positions in the 2001 Broadway production (in tandem with musical arranger). Could you explain what those responsibilities encompass?

I am responsible for casting the show and making sure we have great musicians as well. Once rehearsals start, my job is to teach the music for the show to the cast and band, and work with the sound department and other departments to be sure the show sounds as exciting and clear as possible.

Has there been any major or minor musical changes from the 2001 show?

We are staying true to the 2001 show. Benny and Bjorn - the ABBA guys – are very specific about how the show sounds. They want the audience to get an exciting recreation of their original arrangements from their recordings.

That 2001 edition celebrated the 10th year anniversary of MAMMA MIA! on Broadway. What do you remember of that October 18th performance and the aftershow in Times Square?

Yes. We closed down Broadway, set up a stage on the street and performed a few numbers from the show. It was really cool.

For those of us uninformed in musical terminology, what are the duties of a 'conductor' vs. a 'musical director,' of which you are both for this production?

The conductor leads the band and cast in the performance. The music director teaches the score to the cast and works with the director, choreographer, and other designers to be sure we are presenting the best, most cohesive show we can.

I'm sure if you knew the exact ingredients of MAMMA MIA!'s success you would bottle it yourself. But what do you see as the basis for its popularity and longevity?

Besides the amazing ABBA score, I think the worldwide success is that it is a good time. Everyone can relate to someone on the stage. Everyone is someone's mother, father, son or daughter; and can relate to some of the relationships in the show. I have been fortunate to put together MAMMA MIA! in many countries, in many languages, and it is always well-received.

What would be the most surprising audience response you ever experienced in a MAMMA MIA! performance?

We had a few post-show wedding proposals, which were very cool. What I have always loved is when audience members dress in glitter and spandex and dance along.

Your Broadway resumé is quite impressive. Aside from some mind-blowing brand-new musical yet-to-be/soon-to-be written, what old/not-so-old chestnut would you love to tackle?

Well, I did a new version of CHESS in D.C. that I created a new orchestration for, and was really proud of, I wish that could have a life. I tend to prefer working on new shows. I'm not sure what old chestnut I'd like to tackle. I am sure there are many!

Thank you again for doing this interview, David. And, of course, thank you for your music!

For ticket availability for this infectious toe-tapping, hip-shaking ABBA songfest, log onto

Claybourne Elder Enthuses On His Multiple Collaborations With Stephen Sondheim & Moisés Kaufman

The Hollywood Bowl will be producing a one-night-only event of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM to benefit the LA Phil's flagship program, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), and other LA Phil educational initiatives. Partaking in this Sondheim songfest on July 23rd will be (in alphabetical order): Lewis Cleale, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Phillip Boykin, Carmen Cusack, Claybourne Elder, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jonathan Groff, Ruthie Ann Miles, Solea Pfeiffer and Vanessa Williams. Amongst this Broadway-star-studded cast, we got the chance to nab the always-working Broadway staple, the talented Claybourne Elder to chat on his extensive theatre resumé, which includes three Sondheim shows and multiple opportunities of performing incredible Stephen Sondheim compositions.
Thank you Claybourne for taking a break from your rehearsals for this interview.
Have you worked with anyone in this show before?
I have! The theatre world can be so small sometimes, I've actually worked with almost everyone at some point. Ruthie and I were in a production of TWO BY TWO with Jason Alexander a few years back. Groff and I did a gala for the Public Theatre. Vanessa Williams and I just sang at Lincoln Center together. Plus Carmen, Phillip, Solea, Ruthie and I all worked with our director Sarna Lapine on SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. So it really feels like a reunion!
Which songs would you have on your wish list to sing? Would any be from the three Sondheim shows you've already performed in?
I always love singing "Talent" from ROAD SHOW, though it isn't in this version of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM. They've cut the show down quite a bit from it's over two-hour original version. So things have been moved around and added, I think it's a very concise and dynamic evening. I do get to sing "Finishing the Hat" which holds such a special place in my heart.
Was your role as Hollis Bessemer in the world premiere of ROAD SHOW at the Public Theatre in 2008 your first Sondheim show?
It was, and it was my first professional job! I had just gotten my equity card and moved to NYC. I had no agent or anything, and so I went to the open chorus call for the show. They kept calling me back and I kept thinking, "Oh, this is so nice of them, but they're never going to give me this job." And then, after several call backs, Sondheim was suddenly in the room, and I thought, "Oh, they're serious." John Doyle and Steve really took a chance on me, and I will forever be grateful. So paying tribute to Steve in this show feels wonderful.
There were originally 40-plus Stephen Sondheim songs in SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM. Have you already been given a clue on which songs you're singing? 
Yes! The really great thing about this show is that we all sing in almost all the musical moments. It's not just a review with solo after solo. The arrangements and "medleys" (though I kind of hate that word. Ha, ha!) involve many people of the whole company. Steve is really the star of the show and we get to be his voice for the songs he is talking about in the interview sections.
Do you remember the feelings you had being in a world premiere of a Sondheim musical?
I do not. Ha, ha! I was so overwhelmed. I always compare it to those 15-year-old gymnastics Olympians who are just out there doing back flips in front of the whole world, and then suddenly, a decade later, say to themselves, "Oh, my God! I was in the OLYMPICS!" Everyone was so kind and lovely to me that I never felt like I was out of place. Steve treats everyone the same, whether you're Liza, Barbra, or some kid named Claybourne Elder.
ROAD SHOW's "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened" and, originally "Talent" were included in SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM. Which songs did you sing as Hollis?
Both of those were songs I sang! One funny story about "Talent" - rehearsal for ROAD SHOW was full of exploration. We never just showed up and blocked things and ran things like you do in rehearsal. Every day felt like we were all figuring something out together. And unbeknownst to me - or rather unperceived BY me - Steve was changing the key of "Talent" every day to see where he liked it best in my voice. Just little half steps, so I never really noticed. Then one day, we were going along, doing the show and we got to the end of the song and, as I was singing, I thought, "I'm not going to be able to hit the high note at the end of the song," and I had no idea why. So right before the note, I stopped and said, "Whoa, is this higher?" Everyone laughed and Steve said that we had found the key.
Your working with your INTO THE WOODS director Moisés Kaufman (Kansas City Repertory Theatre 2009 production) must have been most favorable as you teamed up with him again in 2011 in the Tennessee Williams' ONE ARM. What directorial notes did he give you that has stuck with you throughout your performing career?
Moisés has truly been a champion of my career. He is an incredible man and artist, and I owe as much to him as I do to Steve and John Doyle, so it's perfect that you bring him up. I actually met him right after I'd been cast in ROAD SHOW when the Public Theatre asked me to sing at a private fundraising event that Moisés attended. This was long before rehearsals for ROAD SHOW started. After the performance, we ended up chatting, and he complemented me on my performance. He said he would like to work with me some day. I sarcastically thought, "Sure you do." A year later, he cast me in INTO THE WOODS and while we were working together on that, he said that he had been working on a Williams play for a long time and he thought I might be right for the lead character. I read it and fell in love with it and that year we did a workshop which then led to the production.
What I love most about working with Moisés is that he believes deep within his soul that anything is possible. I have heard many times actors or designers say to him, " Well, obviously, we can't do that." To which Moisés responds, "Why not?" It makes you challenge the things you take for granted or decisions you feel like you've made and forces you to really open up. I love it. I find it to be the most free and creative way to process and form plays. 

Some actors when they've been cast in a role, avoid seeing the role previously performed. Unless you're cast in an original musical (as you were in ROAD SHOW); odds are, with any Sondheim material, you would have seen a role performed, or, at least, heard a stand-alone Sondheim song. What school of thought do you adhere to: avoid previous interpretations or seek out performances for learning tips?
I think it's best to know the rules before you break them. So, in that respect, if I get cast in something, I like to watch the videos, go to Lincoln Center archives and watch past performances. But then, once rehearsals are about to start, I put that all away. I essentially try to forget everything I've learned, ha, ha! It seems counter-intuitive, but you won't always forget everything and the things that you absorb will return in some way to your performance. You can't ever "copy" someone's performance, because you are you. Not them.
What Sondheim tunes did you perform at last year's Signature's annual Sondheim Award Gala?
I sang "Beautiful" from SUNDAY and "Worthy of your Love" from ASSASSINS with Karen Ziemba (who I secretly worship).
Did you also perform at the Gala the year before when they honored James Lapine?
I did! And I sang songs from SUNDAY which we had done that year at Signature.
You were the Soldier and Alex in both recent productions of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE with Jake Gyllenhaal. In a 2014 production, you played George and sang "Finishing the Hat," "Sunday," and "Beautiful." What was it like playing different roles in SUNDAY? Different perspective? Easier the second time as you already knew the show?
I had never played a different part in a musical that I had already done. But in the same manner that I try to forget things I've learned previously about a show, this was a whole new production and experience, and so I just put that all away. I did have several moments though the first few weeks of rehearsal where I would hear a music cue and panic a little thinking, "Ah! I should be singing right now!" And realize that it was George's cue.
Which role in a Sondheim musical would you still love to tackle? And what songs would your character would be singing?
I'm dying to play Bobby (in COMPANY). I wish it every day. I've sang "Being Alive" many times before, but getting to sing it in the context of the show would be wonderful.
What words of wisdom has Stephen Sondheim shared with you?
Ha, ha! Well, there are great pieces of advice, and then there are some great stories. "Just sing the words" has always really stuck with me the most. On opening night of SUNDAY IN THE PARK at the Signature in which I was playing George, he sent me a telegram (an actual telegram!) that said "Sing out Louise." Then while working on SUNDAY on Broadway where I was playing the Soldier, I had decided that make the soldier a little to put this..."light in the loafers" than in previous productions. After a run-through in the theatre, he walked past me and patted me on the shoulder, and said, "It's getting a little gay, Clay," and walked away. 
What was your very first audition song and do you still bring it out in a pinch?
I sang "On The Street Where You Live" for one million auditions and I still sing it today. I just love singing the song. Sometimes I get tired of it and I put it away. But it keeps coming back. 
Thank you again, Claybourne! And break a leg at the Hollywood Bowl!
For ticket availability for this one-night benefit performance of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM, log onto