It’s been six years since Brad Zimmerman has picked up a ratty dishcloth or taken an order from a customer — well, except for his one-man-show where he re-enacts it all.
Born in Bergen County, N.J., Brad Zimmerman started out in a rather large Jewish population. He is proud of his roots and says that it was “a great place to grow up,” according to an interview with Jweekly.com. In the same interview, Brad says that he and his family followed the Jewish traditions, and that after going through it all, “I [Brad] loves being a Jew.”
Aside from being a proud Jewish young man, Brad was also a very talented athlete throughout his middle school and high school careers. In college, however, he took a turn in the opposite direction when he discovered his love of acting. After graduating, he moved to New York City to chase after this new dream, to which he could only hope would one day become reality.
Little did he know, he had many hard times waiting for him before he would make it big.
Through the repetition of every order taken, every rude customer, and every flick of the wrist as the international sign for “Check, please,” Brad Zimmerman has found some comic relief to it all. He is able to do something that many of us are unable to do — make fun of the long and difficult times that he has been through to get to where he is now.
Brad started his acting career as a waiter, as so many had done before him. On top of memorizing lines for auditions, he was memorizing the daily specials for each night that he was waiting tables.
When Brad realized the intimidatingly long times ahead of him in order to break into Broadway, he stepped back and decided to take a new route — stand up. In the early 1990′s Brad began to work hard at perfecting the craft of stand up comedy, and eventually started landing great jobs, including his role as the opening act for Joan Rivers and the late George Carlin. In addition to this, Brad Zimmerman was finally becoming a regular at New York comedy clubs, and people would file in to see his well-known and hilarious acts.
Everything came full circle when Brad landed an acting role in one of the best shows of all time, “The Sopranos.” In addition to this, he also received roles in soap operas such as “Loving” and “All My Children.” His ultimate dream was finally becoming reality, and to top it off he had achieved a second dream along the way that he had never initially intended.
Just like any true actor, however, Brad Zimmerman could not diverge from his theatrical roots any longer. In his one man show, “My Son, The Waiter; A Jewish Tragedy,” Brad is able to show off how he can combine his comedic and acting skills beautifully into one show that will not only entertain, but will also touch the heart of anyone who knows what it is like to have a dream.
Through every awful experience at the restaurant, to the endless conversations with his disappointed mother, the audience watches Brad with his extraordinarily clever and lighthearted sense of humor as he re-lives some of the worst times he has seen in his life thus far.
According to Jweekly.com, Brad Zimmerman’s favorite quote that got him through these tough times, was, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken,” said by Oscar Wilde. Brad went on to say, “That’s what I do. I’m just being me.”
The summer is only just beginning to heat up at the air-conditioned Kate as we celebrate American music in all of its colors and flavors, from folk-rock to bluegrass, from New Orleans zydeco to crazy jazz, the next three months at the Kate will have programming that appeals to all musical tastes, including those who enjoy Broadway standards delivered by one of the Great White Way’s legendary stars.
This Friday, June 15th, you can kick-start the season with a concert by the New York based folk-rock-roots band, Ollabelle, who are stopping by the Kate on their way to perform on Sunday at Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival. It’s a great treat to see them perform locally. The group started out playing gospel tunes in a Lower East Side bar in the days after 9/11, but together they have grown in style and interests so that their sound now incorporates roots, rock, gospel, jazz, bluegrass and the blues. I can guarantee that you’ll find it hard to just sit without becoming an involved audience member.
In their 10 years together, they’ve attracted the admiration of such esteemed artists as Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, T. Bone Burnett and Allison Krauss. Named after the late Appalachian songwriter Ola Belle Reed, Ollabelle has appeared at the Newport Folk Festival and Austin’s South by Southwest. Together and separately, they have performed with some of the top names in American music today. Band members Singer Amy Helm and bass player Byron Isaacs, for example, have performed with Amy’s dad, Levon Helm, at his Midnight Rambles at Levon’s barn and on the road. Keyboardist Glenn Patscha has worked with Willie Nelson, David Bromberg, Sheryl Crow, Roger Waters, Lizz Wright, Ryan Adams, Laurie Anderson and Loudon Wainwright III, who–be sure to make a note of this–is scheduled to perform at the Kate on Sunday, August 5th.
Of special interest to those who enjoy following the careers of local artists, Ollabelle’s drummer, the very talented Tony Leone, is originally from New Britain and studied at the High School of the Performing Arts in Hartford where he discovered his love for jazz and improvisation. He subsequently studied orchestral percussion at the University of Hartford under the late, great jazz legend Jackie McLean, later working with such artists as West Hartford’s Brad Mehldau, Harold Mabern, Bill McGarvey and the Lowdowners. He’s also married to fellow bandmate, Fiona McBain, who are the proud parents of Georgia Rose McBain Leone.
Ollabelle has toured with such artists as Allison Kraus and Union Station, Diana Krall, and alt. country genius Ryan Adams, as well as making appearances on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” CBS Sunday Morning and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
They’ve recently issued their third CD, “Neon Blue Bird,” which was partially recorded in Levon Helm’s studio. It’s probably their strongest recording to date, as it showcases the vocal talents of each of the five members taking their turns as lead vocalists. It’s a mash-up of new songs, innovative covers and some remarkable takes on more traditional material including a terrific version of Stephen Collins Foster’s “Swanee River.”
Everyone at the Kate is looking forward to spending an evening with this remarkable group. Believe me when I say that their range and scope offers something for almost every musical taste.
Our hats are off to Marco Frucht, a UCONN student, for putting this little video together on the Open House on Memorial Day for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater.
Yes, we are still fundraising and this puts a cute spin on that from Ms. Hepburn herself. Her words of course are from the movie “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”
The old town hall in Old Saybrook, Connecticut that is being readied to house the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater turns 98 years old tomorrow on Memorial Day. The building was first dedicated back in 1911. It took just about one year to build.
The “Day of New London (theday.com)” newspaper just posted this article on the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater and we thank them so much. As you can see from the video in the article, work is now really ratcheted up. The painting of the theater is now underway which is not evident in these shots.
The Day has also posted the interiors of the theater so you can now see the true set up of the 250 seats. You will be able to click on the renderings in the article. The balcony is spectacular for seating.
So when can you tour? May 25th, Memorial Day.
The Open House at “The Kate” is free and we’re even serving light refreshments. There will be Starbuck’s coffee and to go with that Katharine Hepburn’s famous dense fudge-like brownies. Those are actually available all the time down the way from the theater at a darling eatery called “Frankie and Gianni’s Panini Wine Cafe.”
The tours will run from noon until 2 in the afternoon and the board of trustees will serve as docents to tour you and answer all questions.
“The Kate” is located at 300 Main Street, you can’ miss it.