I am sure that all of you have been waiting for this interview with Lennie Watts!
For the benefit of those who don't know Lennie Watts, I want to start by including a little bio! Lennie Watts is a 13 time MAC, 5 time Backstage Bistro, 3 time Nightlife, and a 2014 Broadway World Award Winner. He is the only person to receive awards as an outstanding vocalist, director, producer, and booking manager. He has been active in the New York cabaret scene for over 25 years. In addition to directing in small cabaret venues, he has directed events at Symphony Space, Town Hall, and BB King Blues Club. He has toured nationally and internationally with productions of "The Music Man" (Marcellus) and "The Wizard Of Oz" (Lion). He has performed at Town Hall in several concerts, including "Broadway Unplugged" and "Broadway By The Year, 1949," and can be heard on the cast recordings of both shows. As a theater director, he has directed productions of "How To Succeed In Business...", "Godspell," "Dames at Sea," "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and "Phantom." Watts is the creator of "cablab", "Summer In The City, and The Arrangement Experience and Boot Camp, all critically acclaimed professional cabaret performance workshops. He has been teaching and conducting workshops in NYC and around the country for over 20 years. He is on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College, and has been a Master Teacher at The Eugene O'Neill Cabaret Conference for the last 2 years, and will be returning in August. He created and produced the award winning "Under The Covers" series."The Village Voice" calls him "A one man cabaret army!" He is the 2013 MAC Award Winner for Outstanding Major Artist for his critically acclaimed show, "Bloody Bloody Lennie Watts". Lennie was recently named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Cabaret, and is currently the President of MAC.
2011 when I met Lennie Watts at the Singers Forum was my first step into the cabaret world. Three full shows and countless classes (cablabs, arrangement experiences and bootcamps) later, I wouldn't change a thing!
His bio is an understatement! It only speaks to a small aspect of who Lennie is.
Not only is Lennie an amazing performer who can move you to laugh and cry with his performances, he is a wonderful teacher, mentor and friend for each and every one of us working with him as well as the circle of cabaret family. As a director, Lennie has an eerie ability to pinpoint and identify the heart of every story being told. I can't tell you how many times, I went to him thoroughly confused with a jumble of songs and stories for a show and voila! The "wizard" performs his magic and pieces it all together perfectly! Lennie has a way of bringing out the best in each and every individual he works with. When you see a show directed by Lennie, you are seeing a magical moment of honesty and vulnerability for the performer!
For the interview, I asked Lennie the following interesting questions:
1) Can you share with us an interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?
I'm the youngest of 5, I have 5 nieces and nephews and 5 grand nieces and nephews.
2) You are amazing as a performer, teacher and director and so much more. How did you discover music and realize that it was what you wanted to do? How did you end up teaching/directing? Do you have a particularly interesting story that you'd like to share with the readers?
I loved to sing and put shows together, but never actually did anything until college. I moved to NYC having never been here, to go to AMDA. I did a lot of theater, but discovered cabaret in 1988. I loved that I could put my own shows together and sing what I wanted. Someone saw my show and asked if I would direct her. The rest is history:) I was cast in my first National tour when the director heard me sing in the piano bar at Don't Tell Mama.
3) What motivates your creativity and passion for life? Name three things that never fail to put a smile on your face!
I am motivated by the people that I am lucky enough to work with.
1. Anything Disney
2. Kids laughing
3. Georga Osborne doing her Mrs.Miller impersonation.
4) Share with us what you have in the pipeline for us to be on the lookout for!
I'm just starting to rehearse a duo show with the amazing Brad Simmons, called Blue Eyed Soul. I'm in the process of starting a nonprofit called Singnasium.
How exciting! I can't wait to see Lennie's new show. I will be on the look out for updates and share it with you all!
From what I know, Singnasium is the perfect place to be for all of you who loves music! Come and find out more about Singnasium next Friday! In the meantime, check out the Singnasium website by clicking HERE!
It is my greatest honor to present to you, Lennie Watts, our September Spotlight On YOU featured performer of the month! You don't want to miss this opportunity for an amazing performance! See you on September 15th!