Fynsworth Alley: Interview with Emily Skinner

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

emily skinnerEmily Skinner needs no introduction. Currently wowing audiences nightly in The Full Monty on Broadway and with her eponymous solo album, Emily is an entertainment powerhouse. Of course, she’s also known for her Tony-nominated performance in Side Show, her memorable roles in A Christmas Carol and James Joyce’s The Dead, and her two CDs with Side Show pal Alice Ripley, Duets and Unsuspecting Hearts.

DL: I’m sure everyone’s curious to hear about the new album, so let’s start there and work backwards through your career. Why is this one an “Emily Skinner” album instead of a Duets album?

ES: You’d have to ask Bruce about that. He approached me back in the spring about a solo album. I think the original concept was to do my album and Alice’s album, and have each of us sing on the other’s solo album. And I don’t know if Alice is eventually going to do one – I know she’s sort of insane right now, working on her own pop album. But I think that’s the plan. My schedule just allowed the time to do it this summer, so I thought, “let’s go ahead.”

DL: Did you let Alice help pick the duets?

ES: Actually, Bruce picked a lot of the duets. He picked “You’ll Never Get Away From Me,” and he suggested that we should do something from The Dead, so we picked “Ballyshannon.” Alice and I picked the one from Personals because we had actually done that one before.   Continue reading

Fynsworth Alley: Michelle Nicastro: Still Toonful After All These Years

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Michelle Nicastro

Michelle Nicastro has a wide array of credits that span television, film, Broadway, recording, and beyond. Michelle made her Broadway debut in the not-so-magical Merlin. She was there When Harry Met Sally. She made soap bubbles in Santa Barbara. She won audience and critical acclaim for her year and a half as Eponine in the Los Angeles company of Les Miserables, and she even dubbed the singing voice of “Callisto” for the memoralbe “Bitter Suite” episode of Xena. All the while, she was recording four albums with Bruce Kimmel: Toonful, Reel Imagination, Toonful, Too, and On My Own.

DL: Let’s start talking about how you got into show business. You do so many different things – television, movies, music… When you started, did you have an idea that you wanted to do any one specific thing?

MN: To be honest with you, I was kind of confused. I didn’t know quite which way to go, and I remember I was looking at colleges and I thought about maybe going into the music department. However, even though I had studied some opera, I really didn’t want to become an opera singer, and that was really all they offered at these schools. And I remember talking to a person at Northwestern University, where I eventually ended up going, and they said, “Well, you really have to think. Do you want to be a singer who acts or an actor who sings?” That just brought it into focus for me, and I thought I’d rather be an actor who sings. That way it could help me in a lot of different directions.

So, I wound up going to Northwestern and getting a theatre degree there – not a musical theatre degree, just a regular theatre degree. I studied a lot of acting and really studied no singing at all there, to be honest with you. But I think what has always been good for me is trying to dabble in a lot of little things. That has kept me afloat because, you know, when you can’t sing, I’ll do a little movie here or tv, and then some singing here. The path life can lead you on is very strange, and you can just allow it to take you to different places. Continue reading