The great Hollis Resnik is considered Chicago theatre royalty for good reason. In the last few seasons she has tackled Edie in Grey Gardens, Margret in The Light In The Piazza, Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray and last month she brought down the house with her rendition of “I’m Still Here” in Gary Griffin’s mega-hit Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. To the delight of her fans, the Lampkin Music Group will be presenting Ms. Resnik in concert for a New Year’s Eve celebration at Stage 773, with musical direction by Douglas Peck. In this interview, Ms. Resnik discusses her influences and how the Chicago theatre has changed since she began her illustrious career. Read more
Despite landing into the axis of the public eye at the age of 24, Portia de Rossi has long been as adept at personal concealment as she has her unique inclination for irreverent comedy. Boasting starring roles in lauded sitcoms such as “Ally McBeal”, “Better Off Ted”, and the cultural phenomenon “Arrested Development”, de Rossi quickly rose to fame following both her refreshingly intrepid performances as well as what the media deemed to be an unearthly physical appeal. Dissembling her sexual identity for fear of a public relations downfall- a trend that had been cemented with Ellen DeGeneres’ then televised outing- de Rossi became at once defined by those traits with which she felt least connected: glamour, allure, and confidence. The public eventually came to regard her as the celebrity ideal personified. Coveted by men and envied by women, few knew that the crux of de Rossi’s reality rested in a very personal, and ultimately life-threatening struggle. Read more
Wanda Sykes wants you to know that she still has a mind and a mouth. And she’s not afraid to use either. Read more
Legendary comedienne Lily Tomlin has made a career on her ability to hear voices. Whether in the form of the pestilential operator Ernestine, the aristocratic Madame Lupe, or precocious 6-year-old Edith Ann, Tomlin has engrossed audiences with her unique approach to character humor for nearly four decades. Despite nearing 71, the acerbic performer shows no signs of stopping.
ShowBiz Chicago sat down with Grammy-nominated insult comic Lisa Lampanelli following her double-decked evening at the historic Chicago Theatre. Adoringly hailed by fans as the ultimate “Queen of Mean”, Lampanelli’s ramped-up, take-no-prisoners raunchy approach to comedy has earned her a barrel of accolades and production specials, including the Comedy Central special “Dirty Girl” and the HBO special, “Lisa Lampanelli: Long Live the Queen”. Lampanelli adoringly aimed her quick-fire wit and acidic tongue toward each of Chicago’s ethnic and religious minority communities at Saturday night’s TBS ‘Just For Laughs’ segment. No one was hurt. But no one was safe from the comedienne’s biting whiplash either– and that’s just how we like it.
ShowbizQ: What do you think people of our generation lost out on, and gained, in this particular moment in social history?
Lisa Lampanelli: “Jesus. Oh I just want to murder you in your fucking sleep. I think you just missed out on the death penalty because that’s what I would give you for that fucking question. [Smiling innocently] But I like you.
[Pauses] But we’re not of the same generation. Remember I’m a year younger.
Well, I want to be like the Real Housewives of New Jersey. [Adapts New Jersey dialect, does impression] ‘Pay attention! Oh really?’ Did you see that? ‘Pay attention!’ I’ll pay attention. [Looks back at me] Wait, twat. [Discussing Jimmy Fallon] You know, he’s my muse. [Begins singing to an absent Fallon] “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?”
ShowBizQ: So how did you transition from journalism to standup and who were your influences that helped in that process?
Lisa Lampanelli: “Well I have to tell you when you’re doing journalism it’s really hard and you earn about 12,00 dollars a year. So I said to myself, listen, how about I earn something more by saying the word ‘cunt’?”
Lisa Lampanelli: “So comedy was the only thing to do. Transitionally, that’s what happened. And I was a DJ in between.”
Lisa Lampanelli: “I don’t like to brag, but I did weddings. And karaoke. I led karaoke, so fucking step off, because I will sing the fucking rings around you. Paradise By The Dashboard Light. [Gestures toward self] Best karaoke singer in the world!”
ShowBizQ: I won’t challenge it.
Lisa Lampanelli: “Yeah, don’t.”
ShowBizQ: Any parting words of wisdom?
Lisa Lampanelli: “[You can] eat my box.”
For more information on TBS Presents ‘Just For Laughs’, please visit www.justforlaughschicago.com. For more information and touring dates for Lisa Lampanelli, please visit www.insultcomic.com.
Jason Mills slips behind the mask as the elusive Phantom who lurks beneath the stage of the Paris Opera, exercising a reign of terror over all its occupants in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The U.S. National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s international award-winning musical, directed by Harold Prince, is currently playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through January 5, 2008.
Jason Mills returns to the National tour directly from the Broadway cast of Phantom where he was seen as both the Phantom and Raoul. He was in the original cast of Forbidden Broadway: SVU and can be heard on the cast recording.
New York credits include the Carnegie Hall South Pacific (also the PBS broadcast), Pardon My English and The New Moon(recording) at City Center Encores!, and the new musicals Lonely Rhymes, Illyria,and The Taxi Cabaret for the Prospect Theater Company.
Regional credits include Chris in Miss Saigon at Gateway Playhouse, both men in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Phantom (The Phantom, Yeston/Kopit); Godspell; Camelot(King Arthur); and Fiddler on the Roof.
He has a degree in biology from Harvard University where he was vice president of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.