Posts Tagged ‘Broadway’

6 minutes with … kristin chenoweth

June 14, 2011

Really though, “it must be love.” (Photo by Benjamin Snyder)

If you’re not a New Yorker then chances are you aren’t familiar with the brilliance that is New York magazine. Yes, it has a good national presence, so perhaps you’ve at least heard of these folks. But they have a running feature in their mag that is called “Encounter.” For each “Encounter,” the interviewer documents how many minutes they spend time with their subject, which is then the lead-in to the story itself. So, it could be “86 minutes with” (Gavin Newsom). Or “59 minutes with” (Elizabeth Berkley). You get it.

Yesterday I got the chance to hop over to Times Square on one of those gorgeous, sunny, unobtrusive New York days. The sky was bluer than blue and people were just walking about, as if summer was this sort of trance that made everything else in the world OK. People didn’t to seem to know it was Monday. And — perhaps I was in a little bit of my own tennis geek world — I forgot for a minute that I was in Times Square, that godforsaken place that oozes grossness and I avoid at all costs 99 percent of my time in New York.

But, I was there to meet Kristin Chenoweth – you know, the Broadway name of Wicked slash Glee slash dating Aaron Sorkin slash Promises, Promises fame. Sure, John McEnroe would be there too, and Judah Friedlander even made a sort of surprise appearance (at least in my book). But it was Kristin I was after and I was determined to have my “__ minutes with” … Kristin Chenoweth. How many did I get? Well, six to be exact, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The USTA was putting on this event to kick off its sales of tickets for the 2011 tournament. It was a great gathering on an already-mentioned gorgeous day. There were living legend statues (that’s Francesca Schiavone, right?), as well as tennis players on stilts, the USO trophy to pose with and a 10 & Under tennis court for thrill seekers to hit as many targets in 30 seconds as possible. | Buy: US Open tickets

Johnny Mac was there first (more on that in a second, too!) and he hit for a bit before he was joined by Kristin, who was half his size (while wearing Polo Ralph Lauren heels) and the two chatted and posed and hugged and hit and chatted and posed. It was just what the tennis gods (does Don Budge hold the lightning rod these days?) ordered.

But then it was time for Q&A and I finally got my chance with KC. She’s tiny and cute and stood there in front of the “It must be love” tag line for almost an hour, going through interview after interview, weathering the tennis questions with class and sometimes absent-mindedly playing with the USO trophy lid — you know, the one that fell on Maria Sharapova’s head. But it was Sharapova that we would eventually talk about, because I had overheard that Kristin had had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on her way to Times Square (hence Mac getting there first), and it was the perfect way to open my TSF-esque line of questions in…

Six minutes with … Kristin Chenoweth

TSF: Wardrobe malfunction on your way here. Tell me about it.
Kristin Chenoweth:  
Well Ralph Lauren sent me this shirt and it was down to my knees. So I cut it off.

TSF: In the car?
KC: Actually my assistant cut it. Her name is Julie Trussell. She cut it.

TSF: You trust her with scissors?
KC: Well, not anymore because she cut it too short. [Motioning toward a sliver of exposed belly.]

TSF: No, I think it looks great.
KC:
Is it OK? And Ralph Lauren sent me these shoes [showing me her white heels], but I had to play tennis in them. That was hard.

TSF: But I think Serena would approve.
KC:
Serena would approve!

TSF: Who would you go for fashion advice from? Serena or Maria Sharapova?
KC:
I would go for Maria.

TSF: You would? Have you seen her Cole Haan ballet flats? They’re best sellers.
KC: Which, by the way, makes me want to get them. But, I only wear size four and a half or five. So…

TSF: We’ll send her a memo.
KC: Please!

TSF: If a tennis player or fan came to you for restaurant advice in NYC, where would you send them?
KC: Well there are plenty of well-known restaurants in the theatre community. And then I would want them to come and see shows.

TSF: So John’s Pizza?
KC: Yes! John’s Pizza. I like Joe Allen’s or Cafe Luxembourg on the Upper West Side. Very classy, but not overdone.

TSF: Say you get to go to the US Open for one day and do anything you want — I mean be a player or a line judge or a ball person or be selling beer. What would you want to do?
KC: Oh definitely a ball kid. First of I would never judge. I would be like: ‘Oh my god! You did good! Oh my god I love that shirt!’ [She makes flirty eyes.] I would be the worst judge ever.

TSF: But Johnny Mac would love you.
KC: Right? If I had on my cute heels. And [being a ball kid is] great cardio.

TSF: And you have the size down.
KC: You think I do?

TSF: But at the US Open they’re not ball kids, they’re ball persons.
KC: Well I’m a person of a certain age.

TSF: Who would you rather play mixed doubles with: Johnny Mac or Judah?
KC: John.

TSF: What about Judah’s beard?
KC: I don’t care. John would carry me through it. I just died a thousand deaths [playing with McEnroe]. I was like, ‘You can make a fool of yourself, A. Or you can make a fool of yourself, B.’ But he gave me great tips. I was holding my racquet too far up and he showed me how to hold it correctly. I think that [oversized racquet] is bigger than me.

TSF: Really? If you took your heels off, could you see over the net?
KC: I’d say there’s half of me that could see over the net. I’m 4 foot 11! That whole court [the 10 & Under court] was built for me. Glorified ping pong.

TSF: It’s a 10 & under court.
KC: Shut up.

TSF: OK. We’ll just call it the 4’11 and under court. If you could pick one Broadway star to play doubles with, who would it be?
KC: I’m going to go with Donna Murphy. Here’s why: she’s competitive and she’s usually really good at stuff. I’m going with a woman. We don’t whine and we get shit done.

TSF: What are your plans for the Open? Are you going to go out?
KC: I’m going to go out. I have to bring my mom. She’s a huge tennis fan. Playing with [John McEnroe] is her Barbara Streisand moment. I’m a huge fan of [Patty Smyth].

TSF: How many people can say they got to play tennis with John McEnroe?
KC: That poor man.

TSF: You let him though, right?
KC: Yes, I let him win.

TSF: I’ll see you out at the Open.
KC: I’ll be there!

(Secondary images by TSF)

short balls: finals weekend awaits

June 3, 2011

Two to go.
Before we turn the corner to the weekend, there’s plenty happening outside of Paris that has caught our eye the last few days. The June/July issue of Tennis View has Andre Agassi on its cover (full disclosure: I wrote one of the articles in the mag), talking about the American’s upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame. Agassi made his own headlines just yesterday, announcing that he  has teamed up with investors to form a fund for independent schools to use for building new or improving old facilities. Agassi is famous for his charter school in Las Vegas, and will join forces to form the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, which has some $750 million in the bank to fund projects it pre-approves.

Summer cinema.
To our readers who are in the Northeast, perhaps you might like this social activity from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Newport-based org is hosting a preview screen of the HBO Sports documentary McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice. The screening is happening this coming Thursday, the 9th, at the Casino Theatre on the ground of the HOF. More about the movie: “Thirty-one years after the stirring Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final that earned Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg a place among history’s great sports battles, HBO Sports looks back at their unforgettable rivalry of the ’70s and ’80s.” How do you get in? The 7 PM screening is free for ITHF Members, and included with Museum admission of $11 for Non-Members. Seating is limited and reservations may be made by emailing programs@tennisfame.com. The documentary will premiere on HBO on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Boxing on Broadway.
Love the Rocky theme music? How about Rocky the musical? It’s actually in the works. The production, which went through a New York reading this spring and is in the beginning stages of production, hopes to land on Broadway by spring of 2013. Sylvester Stallone is no doubt involved in the project, which will first debut in Germany before coming to Manhattan.

Not enough Nike.
Think the Swoosh dominates the world? They don’t. Nike looks to move into sports it hasn’t penetrated much yet, like skate boarding and surfing. | TSF Vault: Nike

Inspire us.
Sometimes sports stories can just change the way you think about life, period. Strong stuff on Yahoo’s high school site, RivalsHigh.

Want.
Nothing better than a little Friday retail therapy. We’re loving these locally-made mini wallets from Seattle. These Laura Bee Designs ditties are made by hand with lace and leather (no, really) and just $14 + shipping.
(Agassi image via robtee7 on Flickr; Laura Bee Designs screen grabs)

now opening on (tsf’s) broadway: tennis, the musical

August 30, 2010
We found a picture of a tennis net on a stage. No, don’t get too excited. It’s just visual enhancement. (Photo by alliancetheatre via flickr.)

Just in time for the US Open, TSF presents our interview with tennis/Broadway expert, Bob Kim. This interview is about the two worlds of tennis and Broadway colliding and the fun to be had when imagining what it would be like if stars from their respective worlds tried to make the jump onto the unknown stage or unknown court. Not an expert on both worlds like Bob? Don’t worry, you’ll still love his quippy answers. And his perfect Broadway-meets-tennis-day is one to be emulated, or at least attempted. -NM

The bio: Bob lives and works near the ATP Legg Mason tennis tournament.  That would be Washington DC, where the regional theater is charming and often surprisingly good and the big theater is mostly lowest-common denominator Broadway.   This is Bob’s first big blog opportunity.  He has performed in off-blog venues, such as in letters to the editor and in nonprofit newsletters.  He thanks his parents, all of his friends and Muffy for all of their love and support (xoxo hugs!!!!!), and Amtrak.

TSF: What current tennis star would make the best leading Broadway man? Woman?
Bob Kim: Where to start?  First of all, it really depends on the show.  Tennis is an international sport so there’s a natural fit with certain shows.  For Evita, you could go with Juan Martin del Potro, the Argentinian and reigning US Open champion.  But you’d have to resurrect Gabriela Sabatini as Evita because I can’t think of a top, current Argentinian in the WTA at the moment.  For Miss Saigon, you could go with Ai Sugiyama or Na Li or Tamarine Tanasugarn.  None of them are Vietnamese, but since when has ethnic verisimilitude mattered on Broadway?

If I had to pick one man and one woman, I think you have to go with Serena on the women’s side.  She already has acting experience and an extensive IMDB page.  Judging from her last USO performance, she can definitely emote.  She would have been perfect delivering a profanity-laced diatribe in last year’s Reasons to be Pretty.

For the men, I’d pick Novak Djokovic.  His on-court imitations of other tennis players like Roddick, Federer and especially Maria Sharapova suggest real underlying acting talent.  He’s a ham.  He likes being in front of people.  Too bad these days he’s complaining of nausea and dizziness on the big (tennis) stage.  I think he’s a bit of a drama queen.  We’ve never seen those on Broadway before!  He’d be perfect.

TSF: OK got it. Enough with the drama queens though, who on the ATP tour would make the best chorus boy? Why?
BK: I’m going to say two people — the Bryan brothers, Mike and Bob.  They’re twins so they almost count as one.  They already sing (in a band), and they are clean-scrubbed, extremely boring white boys who look exactly alike — and they play pro doubles, which is like the tennis equivalent of off-off-Broadway.  They are used to being in the background rather than in the lead.

TSF: Speaking of the lead, if Roger Federer, a quintessential leading man, could belt one show tune about his career, which would he choose and why?
BK: Uh, hello! Everything’s Coming Up Roses from Gypsy.  Federer has 16 freaking Slam titles. This song holds true even before he won the French last year — he was the crazy maniacal Mama Rose trying to pretend he was happy and that Nadal wasn’t in fact his eternal nemesis thwarting his goal to win all four majors and sail into tennis immortality.

TSF: Quite rosy, indeed. OK, let’s switch gears a little bit. Which current Broadway star would have the best chance of becoming a tennis star?
BK: I would say any of the Billy Elliotts.  Everyone else is too old to have a chance.  Well, then again you have Kimiko Date Krumm on the women’s tour, who retired last millennium and is now back in the top 100.  She’s like 83 years old now. Didn’t she play against Margaret Court?  Maybe there’s hope yet to see Angela Lansbury at Wimbledon.

TSF: Well, Angela does have “Duece” under her belt. Even if it didn’t get rave reivew. What show currently on Broadway mirrors the tennis tours the most?
BK: God of Carnage.  No one can survive the brutality of the year-long pro tennis circuit.  They’re all walking wounded.  Between that and the vicious gossip (not to mention Andre Agassi‘s tell-all book), everyone is getting ripped a new one.

(more…)

tennis gets nod on stage in ‘pool boy’

July 18, 2010

A new musical in previews, Pool Boy, gives a nod to the sport of tennis in this shot from its run in Pittsfield, Mass. Broadway’s Jay Armstrong Johnson and Sarah Gettelfinger star in the show about a pool attendant trying to make it big in show biz. Johnson, at right, is pictured with John Hickok.

(screen grab via facebook)


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