What a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary season at Two River Theater in Red Bank with world premiere of Pamela’s First Musical. There’s a combined total of more than 25 Tony Award nominations and 7 wins between the amazing cast and creative team.
One of the stars of the show is three-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello. Carmello, who has appeared in 14 Broadway musicals, gets to sing and have fun in the role of Aunt Louise. WBGO News Director Doug Doyle spoke with Carmello about the show and her amazing Broadway career.
"It's funny I knew the book before they actually wrote the musical because I had a copy of the book. I had little children at the time. My two kids were young and I read the book to them because of course I was in the business and their dad was in the business and we thought what a great children's book to read them to to sort of expose them to what our jobs are when we leave the house cause they didn't know much about it."
The book Pamela's First Musical was written by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, the late Wendy Wasserstein. Eventually the music came from the late great Cy Coleman with lyrics by Tony Award winner David Zippel. This world premiere production is directed and choreographed by the legendary Graciela Daniele, a 10-time Tony nominee.
Carmello has waited a long time to see the musical become a reality.
"I did a reading of the show about 20 years ago which was when they first wrote the musical. We did a reading at Lincoln Center. I just fell in love with the music. Of course, Cy Coleman had such a classic Broadway sound. He was so talented. I had worked with David Zippel on City of Angels and I knew he was brilliant. So I was excited about working on it then. And then the show kind of, because Cy passed away unfortunately and Wendy did the show sort of got put on a shelf. When it came back around I was really excited about the possibility cause I think it's just a fun way to introduce kids to the world of musical theater."
Carmello is enjoying her first time on the Two River Theater stage and bringing audiences "her" Aunt Louise.
"It's exciting to get to sing songs that no one has ever done before and especially Cy Coleman shows because unfortunately he'll never write another musical. The idea of debuting music that's brand new from a composer that's so well known and well loved is pretty exciting."
When Julie Andrews came to see Carolee Carmello in Finding Neverland, the Broadway veteran burst into tears because it meant so much to her.
"The thing about being in a Broadway show is sometimes you get to meet wonderful people who come to the performance and they'll come backstage afterwards and say hello. Julie Andrews is just such an icon. I think that watching her, when I was kid, on television in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins and all those wonderful musical movies that they made back then, I think that's part of the reason why I ended up in the business because I was just so inspired by her performances."
Carmello says Pamela's First Musical is great fun and you'll enjoy the music but she thinks there's also a strong message that people of all ages can take away from show.
"Let your kids find their own way. Part of the struggle of Pamela is the fact that she loves theater but no one in her family really understands it. There are a lot of kids of that age, 11-12, who are kind of finding their way, exploring things that maybe their parents don't understand. So, hopefully it's a little jumping off point to talk to your kids about what do you like to do? Let your kids find their passions and they'll be much happier."
Click above to hear the entire interview with Carolee Carmello.