Penny Templeton Studio Acting Lions

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
International
Artists

 

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
International
Artists

 

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INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
International
Artists

 

Julie Budd

 

Hirschfeld on line

 

 

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

 

 

 

 

“The healing power of the theatre consists in its bring the place where we can finally recognize and remember, often through laughter, our own dreams and desires on stage.  It seems that by acknowledging the wild cut-off parts of ourselves, we remove their power to commit uncontrolled violence, we become more integrated, and somehow more compassionate.”
- Jean-Claude van Itallie

 

 

“Deep at the center of my being there is an infinite well of gratitude. I now allow this gratitude to fill my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being. This gratitude radiates out from me in all directions, touching everything in my world, and returns to me as more to be grateful for. The more gratitude I feel, the more I am aware that the supply is endless.”
- Louise L. Hay

 

 

 

“The meaning of life is to see.”
- Hui Neng

“Deep at the center of my being there is an infinite well of gratitude. I now allow this gratitude to fill my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being. This gratitude radiates out from me in all directions, touching everything in my world, and returns to me as more to be grateful for. The more gratitude I feel, the more I am aware that the supply is endless.”
- Louise L. Hay

“Love is stronger than differences. We all live on the same planet. We walk on the same earth. We breathe the same air. No matter where I was born, no matter what color skin I have or what religion I was raised to believe in, everything and everyone is connected to this one life. I no longer choose to prejudge others, to feel either superior or inferior. I choose equality – to have warm, loving, open communication with every member of my Earthly family. I am a member of the earth community.”
- Louise L. Hay

“Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive – that you can touch the miracle of being alive – then that is a kind of enlightenment.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Many people are alive but don't touch the miracle of being alive.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“A frequent change of role, and of the lighter sort – especially such as one does not like forcing one's self to use the very utmost of his ability in the performance of – is the training requisite for a mastery of the actor’s art.”
- Edwin Booth

“But Nature cast me for the part she found me best fitted for, and I have had to play it, and must play it till the curtain falls.”
- Edwin Booth

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
- Eleanora Duse

Oh Eagle, come with wings
Outspread in sunny skies.
Oh Eagle, come and bring us peace,
thy gentle peace.
Oh Eagle, come and give new life
to us who pray.
Remember the circle of the sky, the
stars, and the brown eagle.
the great life of the Sun,
the young within the nest,
Remember the sacredness of things.”
- Pawnee prayer

“And above all,
watch with glittering eyes
the whole world
around you
because the greatest secrets
are always are hidden
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe
in magic
will never find it.”
- Roald Dahl

 

 

Interviews with Artists

Phylicia Rashad

Recipient of the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as “Shelah” in Tarell Alvin Mcraney's “Head of Passes” at the Public Theater. Ms. Rashad has had an enduring career on stage, in television, and film. The first African-American actress to win a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress as 'Lena Younger' in Lorraine Hansberry's “A Raisin in the Sun,” receiving a Drama Desk award on Broadway. Other notable Broadway appearances include “August: Osage County,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” opposite James Earl Jones, 'Aunt Ester' in “Gem of the Ocean” receiving a Tony Award nomination, “Blue,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” “Into the Woods,” and “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death.” She has also appeared Off-Broadway in “Everybody’s Ruby” at New York’s Public Theatre, “Cymbeline,” “The Duplex,” and “Bernarda Alba”at Lincoln Center Theatre, “Helen,” “Puppet Play,” “Zooman and the Sign,” “Sons and Fathers of Sons,” “In an Upstate Motel,” “Weep Not for Me,” “The Great Mac Daddy” at the Negro Ensemble Company,” and “The Sirens” at MTC. Ms. Rashad’s regional work includes “Medea” and “Blues for an Alabama Sky” at the Alliance Theatre, “Every Tongue Confesses” at Arena Stage, and “Gem of the Ocean” at Huntington Stage. Ms. Rashad's best known television roles as 'Claire Huxtable' on “The Cosby Show” and 'Ruth Lucas' on “Cosby” receiving many awards and honors including NAACP Image Awards, People's Choice Awards, and Emmy nominations. Among her film appearances include “Creed,” Tyler Perry's “Good Deeds,” and Perry's film of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.” As a director, she made her directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theater with “Gem of the Ocean” and has helmed productions at prestigious theaters throughout the United States including The Goodman Theater, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, the  McCarter Theatre, and the Long Wharf Theatre.

Billy Crudup

Appeared on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” (Tony nom.), “Three Sisters,” “Arcadia,” “The Pillowman” (Tony nom.), the first two parts of “The Coast of Utopia” (Tony Award), “Waiting for Godot” with Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart, and “Bus Stop.” Off-Broadway, he was seen in “The Metal Children” and “America Dreaming” (Vineyard Theater) “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” (National Actors Theatre), “Measure for Measure” (NY Shakespeare Public Theatre), and “Oedipus” (Blue Light Theatre Company). Mr. Crudup’s film and television includes Eric MacLeish in  “Spotlight,” “Jackie,” “20th Century Women,” “Gypsy” with Noami Watts, “Glass Chin,” “Youth in Oregon,” Russell Hammond in “Almost Famous” (SAG Award nom., MTV Movie Award nom., OFCS Award), “Jesus’ Son” (Paris Film Festival Award), Will Bloom in “Big Fish,” “Ant-Man,” “Charlotte Gray,” “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” “Sleepers” J. Edgar Hoover in “Public Enemies,” “The Hi-Lo Country” (Western Heritage and NBR Awards), “Dedication,” “Watchman,” “Without Limits,” “Inventing the Abbotts,” “The Good Shepard,” “Mission Impossible III,” “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” “Rudderless,” Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” “Too Big to Fail,” “Gypsy,” and the voice of Ashitka in “Princess Mononoke.”

Carol Lawrence

An actress, singer and dancer of the first magnitude,  Ms. Lawrence created the role of Maria in the Leonard Bernstein/Jerome Robbins Broadway classic, “West Side Story,” receiving a Tony Award nomination. Miss Lawrence went on to star in several other Broadway productions including “Saratoga,” “Subways Are For Sleeping,” “Nightlife,” “I Do, I Do,” and “Kiss of the Spiderwoman.” She appeared in the television movie of Jason Miller's “That Championship Season,” Off-Broadway in Jason Odell Williams's play, “Handle with Care.” Ms. Lawrence has also starred in national tours of “Funny Girl,” “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” “The Sound of Music,” “Sweet Charity,” “No, No Nanette,” “Woman of the Year,” and “Sugar Babies.” Carol appeared in Los Angeles productions of “Do I Hear A Waltz?,” “Follies,” “Mame,” and “Amy’s View,” receiving the LA Drama Critics Award.  Her many television appearances include “General Hospital,” “Touched by an Angel,” “The Commish,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Sex And The City,” “Lois and Clark,” “Simon & Simon,” “Flipper.” For three years, Carol hosted her TV talk show, “The Carol Lawrence Show, ” hosted five shows on “Chef du Jour.” She created her own cookbook, I Remember Pasta, and an aerobic, dancercise video, “Broadway Body Workout.” Ms. Lawrence has received Grammy Award nominations and numerous humanitarian awards including City of Hope’s “Woman of the Year” Award, and “The Spirit of Life Award.” Her autobiography, with Phyllis Hobe, is entitled Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story.” She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her proudest achievements will always be her sons, Christopher and Michael Goulet.

Andrus Nichols

Producing Director and Co-Founder of Bedlam Theatre Company, her performances includes in “Hamlet” and “Saint Joan” at the McCarter Theatre (Lucille Lortel Award nom.), “The Seagull,” as Elinor Dashwood in “Sense & Sensibility,” “Hello From Bertha” at Pook’s Hill, “Hamlet” at Shakespeare Forum, “The Libertine” at Fools’ Theatre. She has also performed across America in “Hamlet” and “Saint Joan” (Helen Hayes Award nom.), in the title role of “Hamlet,” “Iphigenia & Other Daughters” at We Players on Alcatraz Island, “Twelfth Night,” “Julius Caesar,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and as Lizzie in “The Rainmaker.”

Marty Raybon

An acclaimed American country music artist, Mr. Raybon is the lead singer of the band, “Shenandoah.” Co-founder of the band in 1985, he was with “Shenandoah” until 1997. He rejoined the band in 2014, along with Mike McGuire, Stan Munsey and Chris Lucas. The band  released a recent album: “Good News Travels Fast” Mr. Raybon is the voice of such classic country hits as "The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Next to You Next to Me,” “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” “Two Dozen Roses”, “I Want to be Loved Like That,” Ghost in This House,” “I Want to Be Loved Like That”, “Rock My Baby,” “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)”, written by Mr. Raybon and Mr. McGuire, “Her Leavin’s Been a Long Time Comin,” and the Grammy-winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss. “Shenandoah” recorded nine studio albums and had twenty-six singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. He recorded his first solo album, “Marty Raybon,” in 1995. Before leaving Shenandoah in 1997, he and his brother Tim formed a duo known as the Raybon Brothers, which had culminated that year with the hit single, “Butterfly Kisses.” Mr. Raybon’s second self-titled album was released in 2000, followed by “Full Circle,” “When the Sand Runs Out.”  Mr. Raybon is an ordained minister and serves as guest speaker at churches around the country. Mr. Raybon released the Country Christian album, “Hand to the Plow,” with the celebrated single, “I’ve Seen What He Can Do” produced by Mark Carman.

Alonzo King

Director of the international touring Company, Mr. King’s LINES Ballet is located in San Francisco, with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California, and Dance Center. Mr. King’s works are in the repertories of the Swedish Royal Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Bejart, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Hong Kong Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. He has worked extensively in opera, television, and film. Among his noted works include Shostakovich, The Steady Heart, Concerto for Two Violins, Figures of Thought, Writing Ground, Wheel in the Middle of the Field, Scheherazade, Refraction, Dust and Light, The Steady Articulation of Perseverance, Rasa, High Sky, Migration, The Moroccan Project, Satoh, Before the Blues, Resin, Rite of Spring, The Patience of Aridity, Heart Song, Syzmanski's Vibraphone Quartet, The Heart's Natural Inclination, Klang, Sacred Text, Handel Pas de Deux, Rock, String, Fallen Angel, Awake in the Dream, Ligeti Variations, Reoccurrence, Prayer, Stealing Light, and Ictus. His collaborations and seminal works include People of the Forest in 2001, choreographed with Baka artists from Central African Republic, and Long River High Sky in 2007, Chinas Shaolin Monks, with actor, Danny Glover, legendary jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders, Hamza al Din, Pawel Szymanski, Jason Moran, Charles Lloyd and tabla master, Zakir Hussain. Mr. King is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, Mr. King has been guest ballet master for dance companies around the globe. In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference, and many prestigious awards, including the first ever Barney Choreographic Prize from White Bird Dance, Jacob's Pillow Creativity Award, U.S. Artists award, Bessie Award, the Doris Duke Artist Award, and the Los Angeles Lehman Award. He was named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center, and the Dance Heritage Coalition named Alonzo King an “Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.”

Jake Landers

Recognized worldwide as one of Bluegrass music’s finest songwriters, he penned such classics as “Secret of the Waterfall,” “The Girl I Love,” “The Last Request,” and a classic song, with the father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, “Walk Softly On My Heart” and “Beyond the Gate.” During the 1960’s, with Herschel Sizemore and Rual Yarbrough, he played for several years as a member of the Dixie Gentlemen. During this time they recorded five albums which contained almost 20 songs either wrote or co-wrote by Landers including “Soldier’s Return,” and “Your Heart Tells The Truth’,” In the early 1970’s, Mr. Landers and Mr. Yarborough formed the Dixiemen. During the 1980’s, Mr. Landers formed a group with his daughters becoming the Jake Landers Family Band and recorded for Old Homestead. Mr. Landers has presented an annual Festival of Bluegrass music and more recently, with Mary Settle Cooney and The Ritz Theater, “Bluegrass at the Ritz with Jake Landers and Friends.”

Kerry Gilbert

Influenced by the nearby Muscle Shoals music scene, Kerry Gilbert formed the KGB (Kerry Gilbert Band) in 1992, performing across northern Alabama from benefits to festivals, even at nursing homes.The KGB consists of Kerry Gilbert, Alyssa Ashley, Hugh Banks, Shane Goodson, Mitchell Curtis and Randy Kimbrough. Mr. Gilbert is the recipient of the first Star Player of Alabama honor at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and received the 2014 Franklin County Citizen of the Year Award. (Alyssa Ashley joined us for the interview.)

 

 

Yi-Min Cai

Yi-Min Cai began playing the piano at age five. By the age of ten, she was recognized as a child prodigy, and was chosen to perform in a live telecast from the Great Hall in Beijing. She studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Dr. Cai made numerous radio and television ap- pearances in China and won the first prize in the Chinese Piano Music Performance Competition and the Piano Etudes Performance Competition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She was a scholarship student of Edith Kraft at the New School of Music in Philadelphia, and a student of Solomon Mikowsky and Donn-Alexandre Feder at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. She received the Elva van Gelder Memorial Scholarship. In 1987, she won the first prize in the Abraham and Phyllis Katz Young Musician Competition. Dr. Cai has performed in La Laguna University Music Festival in Tenerife, the International Piano Festival in Spain, Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Hall in New York, and Mozart on the Square Festival in Philadelphia. She was on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division and the Conser- vatory of Concordia College in New York. She is also frequently invited to give lectures, master classes, and workshops at many colleges and universities in the United States, Taiwan, and Chi- na, including visits at the prestigious Xiamen University and China Conservatory in Beijing where she was named a permanent Guest Professor for the conservatory. Currently, Dr. Cai is Professor of Piano at the University of North Alabama, where she was the 2007-2008 recipient of the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Michael Shane Neal

Began his career as an artist at the age of 21, and has completed nearly five hundred portraits on display around the country. His painting of Senator Arthur Vandenberg for the U. S. Capitol, was the first commission of its kind in nearly 50 years. Mr. Neal is among the youngest artists ever commissioned by the U. S. Senate. His recent portraits include Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. Senators Arlen Specter, Robert C. Byrd, Bill Frist, Federal Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun of Luss, Scotland, and Morgan Freeman. A protégé of America’s most celebrated figurative and portrait painter, Everett Raymond Kinstler, his work has been featured in “American Artist,” “International Artist,” “Sketchbook,” “The Artist’s Magazine,” “Art News,” “Fine Art Connoisseur,” “Art Collector Magazine,” and “Nashville Arts Magazine.” He received the Grand Prize in the 2001 Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition, the National Arts Club’s Catherine Lorilland Wolfe Award, the Audubon Artist’s Tara Fredrix Award, and the Artist’s Magazine Award of Excellence at the 2004 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition. An Exhibiting Artist member of the National Arts Club, the Allied Artists of America, the Artist Fellowship, the Cumberland Society of Painters, the Audubon Artists, the Salmagundi Club of New York, the Lotos Club of New York, the Sloane Club of London, Mr. Neal is a member of the Board of Directors of the Portrait Society of America and Cheekwood Museum of Art.

Tonya S. Holly

Director, Producer, Writer — in 2001, Ms. Holly established Cypress Moon Studies in 2001 in Sheffield, Alabama. Located on the beautiful Tennessee River in Sheffield, Alabama, Cypress Moon Studios is a concert venue, recording studio and a film production facility. Formerly, the second Muscle Shoals Sound Studio from 1978 to 2005 where artists including Bob Dylan, Etta James, The Commodores, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Percy Sledge, Melissa Ethridge, Jimmy Buffett and hundreds of others artists recorded. Ms. Holly wrote, directed and produced her feature film, “When I Find the Ocean, starring Lily Matland Holly, Diane Ladd, Lee Majors, Graham Greene, Richard Tyson, Bernie Casey, Amy Redford, George Lindsey, and David Fralick. The film has won many awards, including “Kids First! Best Feature,” Second place at the Reel Women International Film Festival. She completed her second film, “The Mirror,” and she is currently in development on her next feature film, "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde," starring Sean Faris and Lindsay Pulsipher. In 1989, Tonya opened Gem-Star agency to help nurture talent in northwest Alabama. Two years later, she founded the Alabama Filmmakers association to help promote the film industry and develop sound stages throughout the state. Her work as a casting director included the films, ”Toy Soldiers" starring Louis Gossett Jr., and Sean Astin, and the Oscar-winning film, "Blue Sky" starring Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones. She has worked with CBS, HBO, NBC, FOX, Morgan Creek, Universal, Buena Vista, and many other independent productions. Ms. Holly produced and directed numerous plays, commercials, and the music video "This Day" which included over 30 songwriters and nearly 1000 voices, and produced the largest gathering of Muscle Shoals musicians in history on a double CD set called "One Voice.”

Carolyn D. Palmer

An accomplished sculptor, many of her works are displayed in prominent museums and public venues as well as in various private collections across America and the world. Ms. Palmer’s work includes bronze busts of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the main lobby of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. She also created a marble bust of Pope Francis displayed in the entrance of the Papal Residence in New York City for his visit to the U.S. in 2015. The Holy Pontiff performed a special benediction over the sculpture.  Her first bronze edition of Pope Francis is in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. Ms. Palmer also created sculptures of Thomas Jefferson for the prestigious Jefferson Center in Syracuse New York, and sculptures of Orville and Wilbur Wright at the Sanford Orlando Airport in Florida. She also sculpted a life-size bronze figure of Lucille Ball for Lucy's hometown in Jamestown New York. Ms. Palmer's sculptures can also be seen in the television series, Madam Secretary.


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