(Click on picture to enlarge program)
For more on the trip to DC, see my blog at http://www.maggiwun.blogspot.com/
Photos below from:
Congratulations to Eric and the whole cast and crew of Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities for winning the L.A. Ovation award for Best Musical, Large Theater! Kudos!
These rehearsal photos are from the Muny "Miss Saigon" in July:
(Taken by Billy Bustamante Photography)
We are happy to congratulate Eric on his nomination for a 2008 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for his portrayal of Chris in Miss Saigon at the Civic Light Opera in Redondo Beach!
"L.A.'s most coveted theater honor." -- Los Angeles Times
Nominations for the 2008 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards have been announced. The ceremony will be held at 7:30pm on November 17 at the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A. and will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
The Civic Light Opera of Bay Cities' production of Miss Saigon led the pack with 11 nominations, including nods for actors Kevin Bailey, Jennifer Paz, Misty Cotton, and Eric Kunze, followed by 10 nominations for Musical Theatre West's production of All Shook Up, including nominations for actors Danny Calvert, Bets Malone, Barry Pearl, and Gwen Stewart. The Cabrillo Musical Theatre's productions of Jekyll & Hyde and Singin' in the Rain, received nine nominations each.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
As busy as he was with the shows, promotion and visitors in Sacramento, Eric still made time to stop in at our fanclub meeting on Sunday at the Sheraton Grand. What a guy! I have posted a full report of my visit to Sacramento with my niece and our visit to see Eric in "Evita" for four performances on my blog:
It's been quite a summer for our Eric, in my opinion the hardest working and most versatile actor in the business. He's been on the road for a year, starting last August when he began touring with "Whistle Down the Wind". When "Whistle" wrapped he headed for New York and shortly afterward began rehearsing in Redondo Beach in for "Miss Saigon". That was followed in June by "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in Waltham, Mass, which was followed in July by "Miss Saigon" at the Muny in St. Louis, which was followed by the current production of "Evita" here in Sacramento. All leading roles, every one garnering admiration and rave reviews for his performances. In "Evita" he's on the stage 90% of the time. Some days there are two performances and after each show the actors have obligations to perform promotion, publicity and autograph signing. Few of us can understand the intensity of this business. He has three more performances of "Evita" here in Sacramento, after which he deserves a nice break and a rest for those golden vocal chords. I have been privileged to see five of those performances, each one endlessly entertaining. It's sad that my wonderful summer of Kunze musicals is coming to an end, but I am hopeful that we have many more roles to look forward to in the future. Thank you, Eric, for your dedication to your craft and all the fun you've blessed me with!
He's played Jesus, Joseph, Che and The Man. That's Jesus as in "… Christ Superstar"; Joseph as in "… and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"; Che in "Evita" and the mysterious stranger The Man in "Whistle Down the Wind" – all Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.
"He's given me a lot of work," said Eric Kunze, who, beginning Tuesday, will once again portray the revolutionary Che Guevara, narrator of the story of Eva Perón that is told in "Evita."
Read more at:
Review by Jim Carnes:
Kunze, with his expressive tenor voice and authoritative prowling around the stage, propels the piece.
Eric singing "High Flying Adored":
(Photos from California Music Theater's Facebook page)
August 12 - August 17, 2008
Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion
From Playbill, 6-10-08
As previously announced, Saved's Julia Murney, whose Broadway credits include Wicked and Lennon, will play the title role in the Music Circus production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. Eric Kunze, seen in the national tour of Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, will play Che with Scott Blanks as Peron. Glenn Casale will direct the Tony-winning musical with choreography by John MacInnis and musical direction by Dennis Castellano. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/118510.html
From California Musical Theater:
Julia Murney, who starred on Broadway as Elphaba in "Wicked," will make her Music Circus debut as Eva Peron in "EVITA" August 12-17, 2008. She will be joined by Eric Kunze as Ché. Kunze, reprising his role at Music Circus from eight years ago, recently starred as The Man in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Whistle Down the Wind." A favorite with Music Circus audiences, his other credits include Joe Hardy in "Damn Yankees," Jesus in "Jesus Christ Superstar," Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and Joe Cable in "South Pacific." Juan Peron will be played by Scott Blanks, who performed the role in two different national tours. "Evita" will be directed by Glenn Casale with choreography by John MacInnis.
Here is a review from 2000 when Eric played the role of Che:
by Joe Blenkle/Sacramento Stage & Theatre
If you want a real treat, catch the Music Circus' production of EVITA, playing July 10-16 at the "new" Wells Fargo Pavilion. EVITA is the opening show of the 2000 season - the Circus' 50th under the tent downtown.
While Eva Peron (Natalie Toro) - Evita - is the object of this Tim Rice/Andrew lloyd Webber musical, it's Che (Eric Kunze) that stands out in this production. He just gets better and better every time we see him.
As the program says, "Che is at times a narrator, at times an observer, at times simply a device that enables the authors to place Eva in a situation where she is confronted with direct personal criticism." As such, Kunze gets a lot of stage time and has a lot of dialogue and singing - a real treat for the audience. His character is always in the middle of things, as Che does not look upon Eva the way the rest of Argentina does - trusting neither "Evita" or her supposedly kind and caring motives.
Kunze was fabulous in this role and returns to Sacramento after performing in several other notable roles the past few years, including Joseph in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (1998), Joe Hardy in DAMN YANKEES (1997), The Prince/Wolf in INTO THE WOODS (1997) and Jesus in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1996). Kunze has had some meaty Broadway roles, as well, performing as Marius in LES MISERABLES, Chris in MISS SAIGON and as Joe Hardy in DAMN YANKEES. Kunze has a fabulous speaking and singing voice - not to mention good looks - a fact not overlooked by the female audience members in Sacramento each time Kunze sets foot on the stage.
May 3 - May 18 (Preview April 29th) 2008
Redondo Beach Civic Light Opera
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Redondo Beach, CA 90278
From The Beach Reporter 4/23/08:
Check out these photos:
Review by Kent Stoddart:
Coltrin’s actors balance the high emotional peaks of the show with a coolness that tempers; passionate moments do not overstep the modesty of nature. The casting of the show incorporates veterans of Broadway and national touring companies. Jennifer Paz, Eric Kunze, Misty Cotton, Harrison White, Bonifacio Deoso Jr. and Kevin Bailey understand how to marry the emotional and intellectual demands of the book and score. From the principals to the ensemble, this is a top-notch company of players. http://www.tbrnews.com/articles/2008/05/08/stepping_out/step6.txt
Review by Tom Fitt:
Eric Kunze is a believable Chris with a great voice.
Review by Steven Stanley:
Eric Kunze played Chris during the Broadway run, and one cannot imagine a more handsome and charismatic lead. Not only does Kunze have the voice and the looks and the acting chops, his boy next door quality immediately convinces the audience of his sincerity. His emotional “Why, God Why?” is heartbreaking.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
June 12 - June 22, 2008
Reagle Players (Robinson Theater)
617 Lexington Street Waltham, MA 02452
A blogger's take on the show and Eric:
Taunton Gazette, June 13:
The one exception is Eric Kunze, who brings a raft of Broadway and touring experience to the role of Joseph. Not only can you hear every single one of his words, but he sings with real feeling and passion, particularly when he's thrown in Potiphar's jail, and he helps to center the show as the comic wildness spins around him.
So far, I've seen Eric in three shows: Whistle Down the Wind, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar. Each of the characters in these shows were diametrically opposite of the other. Now I can add another character to my growing list of Eric Kunze performances. His versatility amazes me. So complete was his inner transformation I actually didn't recognize him when he first entered the vast Muny stage. This is a difficult role to play on an emotional level. There are layers of anger, passion, tenderness, fear and regret. His every word, every action, every note was perfect. I know I may sound a little (or a lot) prejudiced, but I believe everyone in the the 11,000 seat theater must have realized it too. When he was on stage the hugeness of the area felt as intimate as a living room. My estimation of him increases with each visit.
The chemistry between Eric and Ma-Anne Dionisio is exquisite. She portrays the heartbreaking anguish of her character perfectly, evidenced by the muffled sobs around us. I loved the use of asian percussion instruments in the pit, as well as the scenic design and liberal use of red as a backdrop. This must be one of the few venues where an actual helicopter can be used for the evacuation scene. I could feel my heartrate increase as it hovered over us and shone spotlights across the stage and the audience.
For a complete trip report with more photos, see my blog at: www.maggiwun.blogspot.com
From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Dionisio and Kunze are terrific as the touching young lovers. His voice is powerful and hers is lyrical. When they first embrace, it’s so tender that it makes you blush to watch. Their duet, "The Last Night of the World," may not make much sense lyrically, but its aching melodic arc speaks for itself.
From Broad Street Review - Philadelphia
"Eric Kunze is a marvelous Broadway leading man with thrilling big notes and, even more impressively, beautiful soft notes that float effortlessly and sometimes swell excitingly from piano to full volume while maintaining the original pitch and timbre–what opera singers call messa di voce."
From Maggie Flecknoe – KTRH NewsRadio 740 – Houston
Eric Kunze (The Man/Convict) is probably the most talented actor I have seen take to the stage. He has such a strong presence. And his vocal range is amazing. Andrew Lloyd Weber could not have found a more fitting actor to give his musical the justice it deserves.
From the Detroit News:
As the mysterious Man, Eric Kunze is a studly Christ figure with a strong presence and terrific voice.
From Theatermania (Sandy McDonald):
As the convict-escapee, all Kunze needs in the way of costuming is a ripped tee baring burnished biceps. And when he nails his anguished high notes, you get some sense of what all the fuss about Enrico Caruso was about. Yes, he's that good.
Kunze is rightly charismatic, and God knows he has a Bible Belt of a voice well suited to the character's big ballads.
The two leads, Eric Kunze and Andrea Ross, are spectacular singers.
From the Patriot Ledger (Boston):
It’s blessed by one world-class performance, that of Eric Kunze, identified in the program as The Man. Kunze is a matinee idol in the old-fashioned mold: tall, dark and handsome with a voice that is breathtaking in its lovely high tenor range, enhanced by a go-for-broke emotive style.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The real redemption comes from the show's star, Eric Kunze, whose beautiful tenor, shifting effortlessly into that signature Webber falsetto, is consistently fine.
The principals for this tour are outstanding: Lawrence Clayton as an R&B hot-throb Judas singing a mocking version of "Superstar"; Eric Kunze as pure rocker Jesus; and Natalie Toro, who was in the earlier production, as the beautiful and touching Mary Magdalene, who confesses "I Don't Know How to Love Him." With their gorgeous performances, these players drew us deeply into the show instead of causing us to wince.
Eric Kunze possesses a ringing tenor that was ideal for the powerful and stirring “I'm Martin Guerre,” and together with Paz, conveyed a passionate rendering of “Last Night of the World” from “Miss Saigon.”
Eric Kunze - I only need five words to describe his performance and vocals, Perfect Broadway Leading Man…PERIOD!
Kunze has a resplendent tenor voice that would have schools of mermaids swimming toward him! The belt is full and rich, while the vibrato is smooth as silk...Kunze wraps his golden voice around both songs like sparkling gift-wrapped presents to give to the audience. He delivers a magical, fascinating performance.
Eric Kunze, known to Music Circus audiences for his roles as Che, Jesus and Joseph (and a good-looking hunk who probably will play 30-somethings for three decades) is perfectly cast as the GI Chris. His impressive vocal chops never cease to amaze. The combination of dead-on pitch, powerfully resonant yet sweet tone, and surprisingly nuanced and natural acting confirm why he made it to Broadway so early in his career, and why the Music Circus should hire him every chance they get.