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Catching Up With James Dalton: Off Broadway Debut

By Gary Wien had the opportunity to talk with singer-songwriter James Dalton (aka JPAT) hours before he made his long-awaited New York City theatre debut in a production called "Mirror, Mirror".

Congrats on your first New York City play! While most people probably know you best as a singer-songwriter, you're also a published poet, and accomplished actor. What's it like for an actor to finally do a show on Off Broadway?
Thanks, Gary! You know, it's very validating, to actually be doing any theatre in NYC, whether it's Broadway or some experimental squat production.

Tell me about this production. What's it called? What's it about? And what's your role like?
Well, this show, "Mirror, Mirror" is an Off Broadway that is just getting its start really. It's had a semi-staged reading this past Spring and for this 2.0 version, it's at the Jan Hus Playhouse on E 74th Street in Manhattan, which I have been told, has long been a home for newer shows getting off the ground. It's an interesting idea, tracing the residents in one apartment in seven times spanning about 140 years in NYC. I think we find that as the times change, the nature of people don't. Not to see that individuals can't change, but I guess what I am trying to say that we find the similarities and connections that makes us all a part of humanity. I play Trent, an obnoxious stock broker from the 80s.

Have you been actively auditioning for shows? Or was this your return to the game?
To be honest, I haven't been auditioning. I'd wanted to somehow return to the game, but I've always been distracted by all the things i want to try and do. It was just serendipitous that a friend was co-writing this one and had imagined me in this role and bugged me about auditioning. So, after having no faith in my abilities anymore, since it had been so long, I went in anyway and for some reason, I guess I fooled them enough to cast me :)

When does the show run? And what happens afterwards? Is the crew hoping to bring it to another theater?
We've got two shows. We open tonight, August 9th and we also run on August 16th. Collectively, we are having a great time as a cast and I think the "bosses" feel the same so its a good thing that we are, in fact, looking to put the show up in the Fall at another theatre.

You're first bout of recognition might have been with a production of "Hair" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival many years ago. That production had a bit of controversy behind it. Can you retell the story around the controversy?
Yikes, you remember that? The quick story is this. NENA Productions cast of HAIR took two promo photos to be included in what's know as the Fringe Guide, the big magazine that lists the literally 1000 plus performances that go on throughout the month of August across the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Being comprised of snarky, American college kids, we took one pic that was the real one, in our costumes, big "hairy" smiles etc. But we ALSO took a scandalous picture playing up the idea of HAIR's infamous nude scene where in this photo, everyone is topless, men standing behind women cupping their breasts, with even "hairier" smiles. Nothing was revealed but it was still racey. That shot gets sent off and rejected, as we expected it to be, which is why we took the "real" one. We thought nothing off it, until our partners in Edinburgh informed us that in the Guide's 50-60 year history, it had NEVER rejected a photo...ever, and it became a huge news story, literally, and we were the talk of the town before we even got there. Sell out run on my first gig overseas.

What other theatrical roles have you had over the years? Have you focused mostly on musical theatre? What have been your favorite roles?
I've really enjoy Claude from HAIR the most, but I have played a tribal leader named Goro in DREAMTIME, Little Abner, and I've been really lucky to play a handful of different instruments on and offstage for The Tempest, Midway, and even Sondheim's Assassins.

Tell me about your own production that you and Chris Rockwell put together: Offseason: Winter Words From the Jersey Shore. You're planning to bring that show back aren't you? Where would you like to run it?
Rockwell is a great spoken word artist, or a Slam Poet, as the kids call them, and we both have very differing styles in how we reach an audience so we decided that we wanted to focus on life in the offseason of all the Jersey beach towns where we both grew up, where things are less exciting and a little more melancholy. We mixed up poems, songs and stories and did a limited run in Asbury Park with a great response. We even got some TV producers from NYC down to see us. We opened the same week the MTV's Jersey Shore debuted, so there was a lot going on...Anyway, Chris and I just agreed to put it up this Winter and we are currently looking at venues.

You've also mentioned bringing back your Shanghia to Memphis show. What was that show like?
Ah, SHANGHAI TO MEMPHIS. I don't want to say too much about it now, because I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but suffice it to say, that show's life is in Edinburgh, almost got over to Los Angeles, and now may find a new home in NYC. If it does get itself back off the ground, it will retain it's heart, but it will be newer and more diverse. I am a different man now, and a different performer. That show had no rules and it won't get any :)

In addition to acting, you're still moving forward with your musical career as well. Tell me about the new live CD. Where was it recorded? When and where will it be available?
Ah yes! the supposed music career! I am hoping to release a live album called "Frankonia" produced by Joe Cotis, which includes tracks recorded in Schwabach and Immeldorf over in Germany, two towns that have such wonderful music fans, that I wanted to do a special release for them. People can just check in to or or if they are on FB, to click over to where i am constantly updating things.

Finally, if you could only do one thing: act, sing, or write -- which would be your dream?
Hmmmmmmmm. Gary, all I really want to do everyday, is wake up late, have a nice walk somewhere new, have some nice lunch with a few interesting people, perform somewhere and then take the night off. If I could engage in that lifestyle all over the world, I'd be happy and whatever is going to give me that, I will do.
But I guess, if I had to choose, I'd be a singer :)

For more by this author, click here

The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.  The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.  The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company, with The Henry Sawyer Inn and Twin Gables Inn, present Murder Mystery Weekends on February 15-16, March 8-9, March 22-23, March 29-30, and April 5-6. Participants can test their crime-solving skills while staying in one of these lovely Bed & Breakfasts. East Lynne Theater Company's Murder Mystery Weekends were cited among one of the top five in the country by "AM NY."  

It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

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