All About Election Eve
November 4th & 5th – Two nights only!
Fasten your seatbelts! It’s going to be an awesome night as Boston’s first ladies of song – Leigh Barrett, Mary Callanan, Kerry A. Dowling, and Kathy St. George – salute America’s top song-creators in a special concert to benefit SpeakEasy Stage.
$60 – Proud Supporter
$50 – SpeakEasy Subscribers and their Guests
$25 – Age 25 and Under
$25 – Gallery Row K
All proceeds trickle down to SpeakEasy Stage.
A portion of your ticket is tax-deductible.
LEIGH BARRETT*got most of her political education from School House Rock on Saturday mornings (that counts right?). Her long list of SpeakEasy credits include: The Drowsy Chaperone; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; Adding Machine: A Musical; Passion; A Class Act; Elegies; Songs for a New World; and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Boston area credits include: Big River, Animal Crackers, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Grey Gardens, Follies, Souvenir, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George (Lyric Stage); The World Goes ‘Round, Indulgences, Dessa Rose, Side By Side By Sondheim, Into the Woods, Ragtime, The Threepenny Opera, Sweeney Todd (New Repertory Theatre); Gypsy, Pal Joey, You Never Know, Picnic, A Christmas Carol (Stoneham Theatre); Marry Me a Little, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well (Gloucester Stage); Car Talk: The Musical (Central Square Theatre). Leigh is the proud recipient of two Elliot Norton Awards and two IRNE Awards. Upcoming performances include A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre.
MARY CALLANAN* can currently be seen in the SpeakEasy production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Other SpeakEasy credits include The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Violet, Bat Boy: The Musical, and numerous Sorry, Wrong Numbers. Mary recently played Rosie in the North American tour of Mamma Mia! and is relieved to be out of spandex and platforms. National Tours: The Sound of Music, Damn Yankees,and big in New England, Mary has also worked at the Lyric Stage, Stoneham, Stuart Street Playhouse, Gloucester Stage and the Ogunquit Playhouse. A Cabaret Fellow of the O'Neill Symposium, she has done cabaret work in NY, Boston, Provincetown, and yes, cruise ships. www.marycallanan.com
KERRY A. DOWLING* SpeakEasy performances: Next to Normal; The Drowsy Chaperone; Nine; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; Reckless; Jerry Springer - the Opera; The New Century; The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Parade; The Women; Bat Boy: The Musical; Company (IRNE Award); Elegies: A Song Cycle; A New Brain; Triumph of Love; Floyd Collins; A Class Act; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Putting it Together; and Songs for a New World. Other Boston credits: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Follies (Lyric Stage); Into the Woods (New Rep); A Man of No Importance (Súgán/SpeakEasy); Steel Magnolias, Pal Joey (Stoneham Theatre); The Most Happy Fella (Gloucester Stage); Gypsy, Anything Goes, She Loves Me (Fiddlehead Theatre). Kerry has performed with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and is featured on their recordings Oz and Beyond, and Razzle Dazzle. She was also the recipient of the 2010 SpeakEasy Stage Outstanding Artist Award.
KATHY ST. GEORGE* SpeakEasy: Xanadu; The Divine Sister; Ruthless!; and Johnny Guitar. Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof. Off-Broadway: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Westside Theatre). Off-Off-Broadway: Aphrodite (Theatre for The New City). Recent credits: Steel Magnolias, 42nd Street (Stoneham Theatre); and The Producers (Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach, FL). Regional/Local: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Barter Theatre, Kansas City Starlight, Long Wharf, Hanover Theatre, Lyric Stage, Charles Playhouse, Merrimack Rep. Kathy is a two-time IRNE Award recipient for Das Barbecu (New Rep) and And Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Judy Garland. www.kathystgeorge.com
Kerry A. Dowling & Kathy St. George: Two for the Show
What's better than a talented performer with a stunning voice and steadfast commitment to local theatre?
How about two?
Kerry A. Dowling and Kathy St. George are appearing together in SpeakEasy's benefit concert All About Election Eve, November 4th and 5th. Along with Leigh Barrett and Mary Callanan, they will perform songs to sooth the electorate, debuting material they have never performed before.
In the midst or preparing for the concert, Kerry and Kathy took a moment to ask each other about favorite roles, least favorite jobs, and what lies ahead.
Round 1: Kathy Interviews Kerry
Kathy St. George: Where were you born and raised?
Kerry A. Dowling: I was born in Rego Park, NY. I grew up in NY, NJ, and MA. We moved to Marlboro, MA when I was going into my Junior year in High School.
KSG: Did you study acting/singing in college?
KD: I went to Boston College and eventually did study some acting - I was a double major – English and Theater. I didn’t study music at BC
KSG: Do you recall a breakthrough moment...or watching a particular performance...that made you want to be an actress?
KD: I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actor. Seriously.
KSG: Are there any particular actors/actresses that inspire you?
KD: I am particularly inspired by the actors and actresses I see on local stages – both large and small. I love being part of this prolific community.
KSG: You've done many shows here in the Boston area. Are there any roles on your bucket list?
KD: I have had the privilege of playing some really diverse characters, and I have to admit I don’t really have a bucket list – I love working on all sorts of roles and if I have any goal, it’s probably to continue to work on my range.
Kerry A. Dowling in SpeakEasy'sNext to Normal (2012), Photo by Craig Bailey / Perspective Photo
KSG: You were so wonderful as Diana in Next to Normal at SpeakEasy. What did you draw upon to achieve those emotional depths?
KD: Thank you! That show was a wonderful experience – I’d say the depths we reached in that show were directly related to the emotional availability of everyone on that stage – in rehearsal and in performance, every person really gave their all. There was so much support, it was never an issue – never a question but that we would all bring all that we had.
KSG: I am such a fan of yours! I loved your tap-dancing in Follies at the Lyric Stage. Where did you learn to tap like that?!
KD: I am such a fan of YOURS!!! I LOVED working with you on Follies, Kathy, and I have to give kudos to Ilyse Robbins for that particular number! However, David Connolly deserves credit for teaching me to tap – he is the BEST!!
KSG: Will you share something about yourself that might surprise your friends/fans?
KD: I am very shy. Stop laughing.
KSG: Can you tell us a little about your song selections for All About Election Eve?
KD: My song choices are reflective of the politics we find in relationships…sexual politics you might say…
KSG: What qualities do you particularly admire about your fellow performer, Kathy St. George?
KD: I admire her beauty, both inside and out. She is particularly generous, and kind. And she sells a song like nobody’s business!!
KSG: Which show would you like to do next season with Kathy St. George?
KD: Any show she’ll have me for. Really.
KSG: What's up next for you after All About Election Eve?
KD: I’ll be seen in Distracted at Central Square Theater, produced by Underground Railway Theater.
Round 2: Kerry Interviews Kathy
Kerry A. Dowling: Do you remember when you first got up and performed for people? (And were you wearing sequins?)
Kathy St. George: I played the piano for an event for my brother's Boy Scout Troup. I was 7 years old, wasn't wearing sequins yet. My first performance as an actress was in Wait Until Dark at Salem State College. Still no sequins.
KD: Were you the class clown as a kid?
KSG: Not at all. I was shy, like you.
KD: Did you play an instrument when you were a child? If so, do you still?
KSG: Yes, I started taking piano lessons when I was in second grade. Still playing and still love it. By the way, I'm available for upcoming Christmas parties and drunken sing-a-longs. I can play just about anything in the Key of C.
KD: What sort of music were you exposed to growing up?
KSG: Mostly Irish music. My Dad, Brendan Emmett St. George, was born in Dublin, and my Mom's name is Theresa Marie Maloney. There you have it.
KD: If you had to pick a different profession, what would you like to be doing?
KSG: Teaching elementary school again -- I used to be a second-grade teacher. In fact, several of my former students regularly come to my shows in the Boston area. They are now in their fifties. (Kidding). Or I would be working with seniors, entertaining them, and singing with them. It brings me so much joy to share "their" music with them.
KD: Can you name all the states where you've performed?
KSG: Hmm....I've done so many tours, I think I've performed in most of the states except Hawaii, Alaska, Utah and the Dakotas. It's easier for me to name the countries: USA, Canada, Japan, and the Soviet Union.
KD: What was your favorite role to date?
KSG: Peter Pan (at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, FL)
KD: What was the worst "day job" you ever had?
Kathy St. George in SpeakEasy's Ruthless (2003)
KSG: I did trade shows with Shari Lewis, dressed up as a life-size "Lamb Chop." I wore a ridiculously heavy sheep suit, hooves, gloves and a giant sheep head. The head was extremely heavy and very hot. I had to stand there, waving at potential customers, sweating profusely and trying not to faint. The money was great, but I mean, really... I also worked at a meat packing plant, putting sausages in those little styrofoam trays. But I've tried to block that out.
KD: What's your favorite SpeakEasy role?
KSG: Oh no, how can I choose? I'm a Libra! I loved them all. Okay, if I have to choose one, I would say Judy Denmark in Ruthless.
KD: Do you remember the first time you sang with Kerry and Mary and Leigh?
KSG: Oh dear. Do you? Was it at a benefit for SpeakEasy?
KD: If a kid said to you, "I want to grow up to be Kathy St. George" what would you tell them?
KSG: Are you sure you want to spend your life being 4'11"?
KD: What's your favorite way to kick back when you're not on stage?
KSG: Hanging out with my husband at our cabin in Lake Tahoe...hiking, biking, and taking in all the magnificent beauty at the lake. I also love going to see my friends in shows. I also spend a lot of time watching Jon Hamm in Mad Men.
KD: How/when did you get the name “Kathy Saint-Gorgeous” – well – I know WHY you’d be called that – just want to know who coined the phrase and when!
KSG: Oh gosh, I think it was either Bob Saoud or Spiro Veloudos.
KD: Any clues/hints about your selections for Election Eve?
KSG: I have a feeling I'll be wearing sequins.
Leigh Barrett: Just "Be"
Leigh Barrett has been thrilling Boston audiences for over 20 years now, with a roster of indelible performances that includes Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir, Little Edie in Grey Gardens, and Fosca in SpeakEasy’s production of Passion. This November, she is returning to SpeakEasy for a special concert event in which she will share the stage for the first time ever with three of her very best friends – Mary Callanan, Kerry A. Dowling, and Kathy St. George. The event is All About Election Eve, running for two nights only, November 4th and 5th. Leigh took some time while preparing for the show to answer questions submitted online to SpeakEasy by some of her fans.
The show has the whole cast performing new material. How did you go about finding the songs for your set in All About Election Eve?
I worked with my super fabulous amazingly talented friend Kami Rushell Smith, a well-loved SpeakEasy favorite, who has a terrific musical sense and ideas. It was really great to work with her in this way.
Do you remember how you first met Mary, Kerry & Kathy?
Mary and I met about 20+ years ago-we did a show at the theatre lobby in the North End. Kerry and I - well it was definitely through SpeakEasy and probably when we did my first benefit concert for them, Songs for a New World. And Kathy, I think we've been friends forever but I honestly can't remember how we met!
Aside from benefit performances, have you appeared onstage with each of them in a show before?
I've done several shows with Mary and Kerry but I think, only one with Ms. St. George! I’ve been dying to find a project we can do together.
Leigh Barrett holding on for dear life in SpeakEasy's The Great American Trailer Park Musical (2010)
Photo by Mark Saperstein
Of the four of you, you are the only one with kids. How difficult has it been to manage your career and family?
Yup I have two amazing sons. It can be difficult at times. Mostly the logistics - getting kids to school, picking them up when I've got a rehearsal, staying up late to help with homework (everything except math and physics, my talents lie elsewhere), and occasionally missing something they're doing at school like a concert -that's really hard. But I have an amazing support system with my family-my sister, my mom, my husband. That's super important.
Would you recommend acting as a career to your boys?
NO…my youngest son just got cast in his first official musical - he's playing the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz - and my oldest as an amazing gift for Shakespeare, though he's a really good singer as well. But this life, this business is too hard, honestly. They're really really smart and I do honestly think that their true passions lie elsewhere. But we'll see. I've never pushed them one way or the other, just support them and guide them as best as I can. Plus, they have to support me in my dotage.
Were your parents supportive of your choice to become a performer?
I originally was a Music Ed. major, so I think they thought that I'd teach and marry someone who would support me. Even when I switched to performing, I still think they thought I'd have someone to support me - old school. But I brought home an actor. Luckily he's super smart and really good at a lot of things so he's in IT now.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Wakefield, MA.
How did you get your start in show business?
I always did "shows" in my living room and made my younger sister participate in them. But I never knew it could be a career. Really, I never knew. I always sang. I thought I'd be a teacher or a nurse. Now I can act like both! [laughs] I got cast in my first professional show right out of college. I was an urchin in Little Shop of Horrors.
What do you think was your breakthrough performance or moment?
I think my "break through" performance was two-fold. I distinctly remember auditioning for Day in Hollywood and saying to myself, "It doesn't matter if you look stupid, just try," and I got it. Another time I was literally onstage doing Closer Than Ever and I said in my head, “Why are you using your hands that way? Why do you sound like that?” And something literally let go and freed me up. Then I was cast as Isabella in an operetta/musical about Isabella Stewart Gardener and I just connected with her on such a visceral level. I had also just had my second son and she lost a child about his age - that was quite a moment for me. And my last moment was as Fosca in Passion right here at SpeakEasy and I will forever be grateful to Paul Daigneault and the SpeakEasy family for giving me that chance. That changed me forever and continues to inform what I do and how I do it.
Leigh Barrett as Fosca in SpeakEasy's Passion (2002)
Photo by LBK Photography
Is there a role you've done that you'd like to take another crack at?
I've been incredibly blessed by some of the roles I've gotten to play. I'd LOVE to play Fosca again, Florence Foster Jenkins at the Lyric in Souvenir was an amazing journey and gift as was working with Will McGarrahan. SpeakEasy folks might know who he is. [laughs] And I'd love to play Little Edie again - I just love that part and that woman and we had such a terrific and powerful time with that show.
What's more awesome - singing the national anthem at Fenway Park or being part of a cabaret in NYC?
They were both awesome - though honestly, singing in a group at Fenway was a thrill but it wasn't scary at all, because I was singing with other people. Singing at the Celtics/Lakers game was scary! NYC was amazing and I've got some ideas about going back there.
You've worked with kids doing vocal coaching and directing. What advice do you give those who want to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to be honest in your performing. Don't "act" just "be." It's much harder than it seems. Do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do. In other words - do your homework, stay in school, be a good person, listen to your parents, take care of yourself (don't scream and yell at a party or a football game if you have a show the next day), and trust yourself. You know less than you think and more than you thought you ever would. Does that make sense?
What was your most memorable moment onstage to date?
Most memorable…I'm lucky there have been a lot of memorable moments. But I distinctly remember in Grey Gardens when "I" was making the decision to leave my mother's house right before “Another Winter”...and someone got up with a big brown bag and climbed across an entire row making all kinds noise and very distracting. I literally just watched that person and didn't start the song until they were finished. Someone tweeted about it, I felt like Patty.
In the Spirit of Halloween, what would you say was your scariest moment onstage?
Scariest? Hmmm…not to be corny but every time I step on stage is scary. I want to tell the story well and communicate something and that's scary. But silly scary? Maybe choking on some fake whiskey that I was drinking in a scene from Nicholas Nickelby with Nigel Gore. But he didn't know that I was actually choking. [laughs] Hilarious, but I'm fine obviously.
Mary Callanan: StoryTeller
Fresh off of two years on the road with the national tour of Mamma Mia!, popular local actress and cabaret artist Mary Callanan is back, Boston, and set to appear in not one but two upcoming SpeakEasy productions.
First, it’s the area premiere of the acclaimed rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a retelling and re-imagining of the life of our 7th Commander-in-Chief running Oct. 19 – Nov. 17.
And later, for two nights only, November 4th and 5th, Mary will join old pals Leigh Barrett, Kerry A. Dowling, and Kathy St. George for a benefit concert called All About Election Eve, a very special evening of song, satire, and surprises that puts all four of these powerhouse performers on the same stage for the first time in their celebrated careers.
Recently, Mary took a breather from rehearsal for Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson to take some questions about both her fall shows, as well as life without Benny and Bjorn.
How does it feel to be back home in Boston after two years on the road with the National Touring company of Mamma Mia!?
I'm still adjusting, but it feels WONDERFUL!!
What did you miss most about Boston while you were on the road?
This might sound strange, but what I missed most was 'every day' things - cooking in a kitchen, sleeping in my own bed, putting clothes in a dresser! Oh, and my husband.
Is there anything about being on tour that you miss?
Being a tourist; seeing other parts of the country, whether it's museums, bands, hiking, etc.
Do you finally have those ABBA lyrics out of your head?
Do they ever REALLY leave?? They've been in MY head since high school!
Mary Callanan, Dancing Queen, in the North American tour of Mamma Mia!
Photo by Melissa Prosser
You are back at SpeakEasy for two big projects this fall. This first is the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, opening this Friday, Oct. 19. Tell us a little bit about the show and your role.
I am the Storyteller. I am 'your gateway into the world of Andrew Jackson's world'; think a modern-day Alistair Cooke. (Google him).
Is this a show for history buffs, musical fans, or both?
This is definitely Andrew Jackson's "highlight reel" - his most important points set to butt-kicking music. It won't help you pass an American History course, but, as it did me, it might send you back to the books to learn more about Jackson's achievements. For musical fans (and especially SpeakEasy fans!), this piece is also filled with absurdity and humor.
Andrew Jackson was of course a controversial figure in American history? Does this show in your opinion paint a fair portrait of the man and his legacy?
I feel that this piece gives more than one side to his story- the good, the bad AND the ugly; it should open discussions about his legacy, which is ALWAYS a good thing.
Why does it take a rock score to tell his story?
As the first president elected by the popular vote, the founder of the Democratic Party, the "people's President" should ONLY be told by "the people's music"!!
What do you like most about the show?
The AMAZING talent of the cast - Gus Curry sets the stage on FIRE as Andrew Jackson and all the actors playing multiple characters and instruments - inspiring.
Your other project for SpeakEasy is called All About Election Eve, a special two-night only concert event happening Nov. 4 & 5. Tell us about this show.
Some of my favorite ladies – Leigh Barrett, Kerry A. Dowling, and Kathy St. George - getting together to raise money for SpeakEasy -while helping to celebrate that most American of contests - the ELECTIONS !!
Is it true that you were asked to prepare all new songs for this show, that you will not be singing any songs from past theater or cabaret shows?
Yes, God help us - we're preparing election-themed material, or (God Bless-) American composers!!
Mary Callanan in Sorry, Wrong Number, SpeakEasy's 2009 benefit concert.
Photo by Mark Saperstein.
How political is this show going to be?
I’m not sure if there will be burning flags or picketers, but I'd like to try to add material about taxes, the presidency, the country.
Is it true that this is the first time all four of you have appeared in the same show at the same time?
Can you believe it? We've been around for so long, and we've all worked together in subsets, but never all on one stage - good thing Kathy's so small (in size only - not stature!)
Tell us one thing that we should know about each of those ladies – some unknown fact that only someone who has known them as long as you have can share.
No WAY am I going to tell secrets about these gals - unless they've told you something about ME !!! I love and respect each of these women. See? Political correctness everywhere.
What else is on your schedule this year? Are there any other shows or cabaret dates set?
Not yet - if anyone wants to produce something - give me a call!
Last summer, you sang at the 4th of July Pops concert and performed the national anthem at Fenway solo. Is there anything left on your Boston bucket list?
I'd really like to work at the Huntington. Really. And see a Patriots game live.
Is Boston in danger of you losing you to New York’s siren call?
I've been auditioning in Boston and NYC for over 20 years - I answer the phone WHENEVER it rings! So CALL!!
High Resolution Production Images
Video / Audio
On Saturday, October 27, Leigh Barrett, Mary Callanan, and Kerry A. Dowling stopped by the WERS studio during their broadcast of Standing Room Only to give a preview of All About Election Eve.