Fast Forward Friday with Mike Evariste

CourtneyLindbergPhotography_072414_0984For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed singer-actor-Tony Award nominated producer Mike Evariste. His latest project is a concert series/show Broadway at the W, which originated in Los Angeles and launched in New York City in July. To learn more about Broadway at the W, click here.

Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.

I’m currently working on a series I produced and created with my best friends called Broadway at the W. The concert series/show takes place in the W Hollywood in Los Angeles and W NY Times Square in New York City, and features Broadway’s hottest touring and New York Broadway shows, along with the incredible cast. We started the series in Los Angeles a year ago and recently launched it here in New York City on July 10. It truly is an authentic Broadway experience. A raw, acoustic, up close and personal evening with Broadway’s brightest talents. Daniel J. Watts of Tony Award winning Hamilton and HBO’s Vinyl hosts the series featuring cast members straight from Broadway and special guest stars from Broadway, TV  and film.

Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?

Well, I’ve always thought that Los Angeles could have more of Broadway in the city. I’ve been to LA many times while on tour with shows and I noticed LA folks really loved Broadway, and I could feel there was a yearning and craving for more than just the touring shows that came through the touring houses. Broadway at the W was the perfect vehicle. So, the idea came about when one of my best friends from college – now one of my producing partners –  wanted to do a one night concert version of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World in Los Angeles. I told her I’d help and produce the concert with her. When it came time to look for a venue we wanted something cool and different – not your typical proscenium. And it was at that point the idea went from a one night concert of Songs for a New World to Broadway at the W. I pitched the idea to the W Hollywood of doing a concert series featuring singers; dancers; live band; special guest singers from TV, film and Broadway; and using the catalog of Broadway and pop songs. They loved the idea!

Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?

My artistic heroes are honestly my peers who I see and witness doing incredible things on and off the stage. Not only are they acting, singing and dancing eight times a week on Broadway, but they’re writing, directing, choreographing, producing, recording albums, doing commercials, starring in TV shows, starring in films. It really inspires me. If I had to name a few individuals they would be Casey Nicholaw, Broadway director for The Book of Mormon, Aladdin and Something Rotten; Chris Gatelli, Broadway choreographer for South Pacific, Newsies and The King and I;  and Josh Bergasse, Broadway choreographer for On the Town and NBC’s Smash for paving the way for Broadway performers to not having to limit ourselves to only performing eight times a week on Broadway. What they all have in common is they were all once Broadway performers and are now very successful Tony and Emmy Award winners.

Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?

One of the things that keeps me motivated is my loving family. My mother, father  and grandparents have been so supportive in everything I’ve done and have sacrificed so much for me and my career. The second thing that keeps me motivated and inspired is the genuine love I have for creativity. I love seeing what begins as an idea in my head, turn into something tangible and comes into fruition. It’s so much work but so rewarding and creatively fulfilling.

Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?

I’m very excited about two independent films I’m a producer on that are coming out in 2016/17 – Pass the Light and Construction. Both great films with great messages. I also optioned an incredible book based on a true story that I’m working on adapting for television called To Vegas and Back written by an amazing person and author, Suzanne Krauss. Lastly, developing a new Broadway show called Beauty and the Bulldog.

Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?

When celebrities you watched on TV as a child are now acting across from you. When Broadway stars you would mimic and sing along to on Broadway cast albums are now singing and acting alongside of you in New York City on a Broadway stage. When you’re taking phone calls and pitch meetings with Tony Award winning producers, production companies and TV execs. I have to take a step back sometimes and remember to take it all in.

Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?

Producing TV and film.

Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?

Money.

Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?

I see live theater, live entertainment, watch TV and film, and listen to music. Have conversations with every and anyone. I get a lot of my inspiration when I’m by water. I find water to be very calming and rejuvenating for my mind.

Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?

Not being prepared for unforeseen opportunities. Always be prepared because you never know what will be presented to you.

Q: What is your favorite piece of art?

The ocean and palm trees.

Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?

My mother. She embodies strength, determination, intelligence, will power, beauty and kindness.

Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?

My kindness.

Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?

Genuine.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

Cakes and cupcakes.

Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?

Don’t be so trusting.

Q: Where would you most like to live?

On the beach.

Q: What is your idea of success?

Happiness, financial stability, love, stable career that I love, good health and a loving family.

Q: What is your idea of happiness?

Being surrounded by those you love – family and friends. Having a job and career you love and being in good health.

Q: Final Thoughts?

Thank you for having me as one of your guests.

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