Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Interview with Kate Pazakis

Belting songstress Kate Pazakis was recently named executive producer of Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood. In our chat she talks about her past successes and gives us a glimpse of her big plans for Rockwell's immediate future.

Kate, you have an amazing voice and have become known as one of the theatre's best kept secrets. How do you react to that? Tell me a few of the shows you have been involved with.

I'd rather be nine people's favorite thing than a hundred people's ninth favorite thing.' Wow, I just proved that I am a true theater nerd. My most recent show was South Pacfic directed by the incredible Bartlett Sher. I was a replacement for Head Nurse, Lt. Genevieve Marshall. Other favorite shows include: Jerry Springer the Opera at Carnegie hall starring Harvey Keitel as Jerry and Best Little Whorehouse at the August Wilson starring Jennifer Hudson. I have done a ton of commercials and voice over work...South Park with Bobby Lopez being one of my favorite jobs ever. Mostly I am know for hosting/producing late night cabaret shows in NYC. For 7 years I hosted Mostly Sondheim at the Duplex in Greenwich Village from 11pm - 4am. Brandon Cutrell and I started that back in 2003. Good times. Good people.

Cabaret is daunting, but is one of the few places where a good singer can hone his (her) craft. There are only so many stage roles to go around, so what can a singer do? I feel tremendous sorrow for singers today considering the state that the music business is in. Talk about that if you would.

I found being a young character actress in NYC there were not a lot of roles out there for me. Accidentally I ended up in a piano bar one night and fell in love with it. Cabaret allowed me to create pieces and develop shows and characters. It should be a place where people work on new material, comic timing, acting and confidence. I highly encourage people to create, create, create. Write yourself a vehicle. Don't sit back and wait to fit into somebody else's vision.

How did you become involved at Rockwell? What brought about the position of executive producer?

I had heard about Rockwell when I was still living in NYC. When I arrived in Los Angeles three years ago I found myself at a show. Immediately I was overtaken with joy. I knew that I had found my place. It is a venue where NYC transplants, The Bway Community and colorful artists gather to do shows or have drinks after hours. Shortly after arriving I was asked to produce a monthly series called Broadway Barre. Soon I found myself in a couple of shows and producing more shows like Rocky Horror. When the position opened and was offered to me, I was thrilled. It is without a doubt: my dream job.

What is your specific vision for the club?

First and Foremost: Community. Every time someone walks into Rockwell Table & Stage I want them to have a unique theatrical experience. Every night of the week we are doing something different. We are currently creating new works that will go up in the fall and even added late night programming. On Monday nights we have Broadway themed evenings followed by Open Mic Piano Bar, Tuesdays we have a show called Harbor Party where the band dresses up like Sailors and sings your favorite Yacht Rock. Every Wednesday we have a residency with Jeff Goldblum! Thursdays - Comedy, Friday and Saturday right now we are doing a concert version of Jagged Little Pill with a cast of 16 incredible singers.

What kinds of performers will be singing at Rockwell in the near future?

Jeff Goldblum every Wednesday, Molly Ringwald, Maria Bamford. Other exciting people that I can announce in just a couple of weeks!

I heard your plans involve musical theatre as well as cabaret for the space. (Is this an expansion) On the idea of the recent Baz Luhrman staging? Tell us more!

I am VERY interested in doing fully produced musicals at Rockwell. I am currently securing the rights for a show that I am VERY passionate about to start in January.

Will you also be performing at Rockwell? Let's hope this position will not take you away from your career as singer/actress.

I do emcee a lot of the shows still. Luckily, I work a lot commercially. My passion is leaning more towards producing now. However: No matter how many times I have attempted to retire from performing, somehow it always comes back.

Who are your musical idols in show business? Young or old. Dead or alive. Who influenced you the most?

Musical Idols: how much time do you have?? Sophie Tucker and Cyndi Lauper. Most of all: Bette Midler. I love her fire and sass. Her journey is inspiring and unique. I love smart, passionate people that make things happen!

Anything else you care to add?

My goal is to help people see that cabaret is no longer a woman sitting on a stool in a gilttery top talking about moving to NYC. It is fresh, new, cutting edge and hip. Beat boxers, Rock albums uniquely molded to tell a story, musical improvisation. There are no limits.

This very prolific gal has some exciting plans for this popular Hollywood nightspot. Stay tuned!

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