Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Meet Gadzooks! Actress Lesley Mendenhall

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I found myself at the ripe old age of 5 sitting on the stage at The MUNY in St. Louis ........blindfolded........with thousands of people watching......with the American and Japanese flags in my hands, pondering the meaning of life... while my "Mother", Cho-Cho-San, (Madama Butterfly), sang an amazingly stunning aria and then...killed herself ..theatrically of course......would be great if there was some fabulous segue to my now many .....ahem...years later...voice acting career, but alas...let's just say I danced, then sang (I did stop to get a degree in Opera performance along the way...) across the US, and now, after life experiences a wee bit too colorful to detail here, much prefer the peace and quiet of the recording studio.  (Lesley is represented by TGMD in Los Angeles, STARS in San Francisco, and Talent Management Group in Salt Lake City).

A Note From Adele
It was an honor for me to work with Lesley again. She is funny, professional and offers a wide range of accents – many of them very difficult to master. As an example, Lesley took on the challenging role of Suki, an Asian snitch, in Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book. In Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book, Lesley gives voice to Nancy Neptune, a hard scrabble shock jock from Hackensack, New Jersey. The ability to hire people who can give voice to all my wacky characters is truly a boon for me!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review of The Ghost of Dibble Hollow

The story takes place during a family trip to Dibble Hollow, a setting where young Miles Dibble had mysteriously disappeared many years ago. Pug Dibble, still a boy himself, engages on a spooky adventure to find out what really happened to his long, lost cousin.

Oftentimes, books that I read many times as a child and then re-read as an adult, don't hold their value. I found The Ghost of Dibble Hollow to be just as delightful and adventurous as it was so many years ago. What was so intriguing? I suppose it was the combination of an interesting ghost, a secret hide-out and a wild treasure hunt.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how well The Ghost of Dibble Hollow held up, I'm now interested in reading other books penned by May Nickerson Wallace http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=May+Nickerson+Wallace&search-alias=books&text=May+Nickerson+Wallace&sort=relevancerank.

I would highly recommend The Ghost of Dibble Hollow to young and old readers alike. It's the perfect the book to read while sitting around a campfire with family and friends. I rated The Ghost of Dibble Hollow four stars on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4673038.Adele_Park

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meet Gadzooks! Actress Andra Harbold

I grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, studied theatre at Middlebury College in Vermont, and earned my masters at the University of London Goldsmiths College. 

Over the past year, I collaborated with Robert Scott Smith to create three original projects at the Leonardo for the POPUP@LEO series: SENSES 5, LOVE, and MIND OVER MATTER. The projects led us to found a new company, Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory, based in Salt Lake City.  Additionally, I work as a freelance director, Equity actor, dramaturg, and teacher.

A Note from Adele

Andra Harbold returns to Straight to Audio Productions to resume her role as Moon McKenna. Listeners first met Moon in Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book. Fans of the series will be happy to hear Andra continue on in that role in Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book set to release on September 22, 2014.

On a personal note, Andra is not only a talented actress, she's a joy to work with! I appreciate the high level of professionalism and enthusiasm that Andra brings to Straight to Audio Productions.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review of With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

Rarely ever have I experienced such mixed feelings about a book as I've had reading Domenica Ruta's memoir, With or Without You http://www.domenicaruta.com. This tome provides the world with a horrifying peak at Domenica's life with her abusive, drug addled mother, Kathi.

I was drawn to reading this book after hearing Domenica's “Here and Now” interview on NPR, one in which she came across as a very wise and strangely sweet person clinically describing a childhood where she lived in a house filled with garbage and was fed a steady diet of drugs by her mother http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/11/domenica-ruta-book.

At times, I felt like Domenica was tattling on some of Kathi's relatives, describing their struggles with money and healthy relationships, sometimes in a very petty tone. On the flip side, Domenica exposes her Uncle Vic as a child molester and a family who knew of this abuse and chose to ignore it. It's hard to feel empathy for a group who would knowing allow this to happen to a child and do nothing to stop it.

I was hardly surprised when Domenica turned to alcohol as a means of coping with the dysfunction. We are all ultimately responsible for our own actions, and Domenica appears to give homage to that idea. I appreciated Domenica's honest assessment of her behavior by not glossing over any of the cringing details. Domenica's eventual journey to sobriety is hardly unique, but it is one in which I can feel a great deal of empathy. I would venture to guess this memoir is related to Domenica's struggles to overcome alcoholism. If writing is good therapy, then Domenica wrote herself a book's worth!

Did I like the book? Yes and no. It was interesting in a very voyeuristic way, but it left me feeling angry, especially the parts about the molestation. On the plus side, Domenica is very fair in the assessment of her mother, carefully pointing out Kathi's rare good qualities. That's what makes this so real. Most people aren't all good or all bad and this book illustrates that very well.

Despite an indescribably maladjusted lifestyle, Kathi made sure Domenica received a high quality education. As a result, Domenica is keenly intellectual and a very skilled writer. That's not to say that things didn't jump around a little in With or Without You. I give Domenica a pass on this because it is the way things tend to go when recounting a story that took place over a long period of time.

With or Without You definitely held my interest, but it left me feeling very unsettled. I awarded With or Without You with three out of five stars on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4673038.Adele_Park

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gadzooks! Actor Kent Hayes Honored for Community Service

Straight to Audio Productions Actor Kent Hayes was recently honored by the Community Foundation of Utah for his efforts to improve the quality of life in our state. Kent was selected as a member of the “Enlightened 50,” which recognizes citizens who promote and educate the community in ways that encourage collaboration, entrepreneurship and creativity http://www.utahcf.org/.

In addition to being an actor, writer, singer, and artist, Kent is also co-artistic director of the Kayenta Arts Foundation. This organization was created in 2011 for the purpose of providing educationally and artistically diverse productions in Southern Utah. Presently, KAF is building a 144-seat Center for the Arts in Kayenta 

Prior to his work at KAF, Kent spent 25 years as president of a post-production facility in Los Angeles. He is also the co-founder of Man of Two Worlds, LLC which is an arts and entertainment development company in Southern Utah http://www.manoftwoworlds.com/

I'm honored to have Kent as one of the cast members for both Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book and Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book www.quirkyaudiobooks.com

Our community is enriched by folks like Kent stepping in to provide us with quality theatre and live entertainment! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Review of The Old Willis Place

The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn is a ghost story aimed at young adult readers

YA is a genre I enjoy, so I thought I'd give this a read. One thing I don't like about some YA authors is they they are often use a smarmy and saccharin narration style. Fortunately, Mary Downing Hahn isn't one of them. While soupy sweet nuances are mercifully absent in The Old Willis Place, the story is not without purpose.

One of the best, and most striking things about The Old Willis Place, is the subtle way Hahn sneaks in the lesson of forgiveness. All to often, ghost stories tend to be about revenge, with things not ending well for the restless spirit. The Old Willis Place dares to explore the healing nature of forgiveness. More importantly, Hahn's main characters in the story, two ghost children murdered many years ago, come to recognize they had a role to play in their own demise. This isn't meant to take away the seriousness of murder, but rather as a means of demonstrating the complex nature of people and their relationships to each other.

Even with stories I like, some YA novels have a tendency to go on long after the plot has exhausted itself. Again, Hahn bucks the trend, keeping the action interesting and intriguing throughout the book.
The Old Willis Place is a good summer read that will appeal to young people as well as adult fans of YA.

To learn more about Mary Downing Hahn, visit http://www.hmhbooks.com/features/mdh/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meet Garry Morris

Garry Morris

I was raised on the Jersey Shore, and as a child I spent idyllic summers on the boardwalk going on rides, playing games and eating lots and lots of pizza and cotton candy. And I still haven’t met Snooki or “The Situation," thank God. I went to college in Rhode Island, Ohio and England and got degrees in acting. Afterward, I backpacked Europe for a few months and then moved to L.A. La La Land – one of my favorite places in the world! I spent many years in the land of sunshine before moving to Utah where I now live with 16 wives and two dogs. Okay, no wives. Okay, no dogs. But I do occasionally see a mouse in my courtyard.

A Note from Adele

Garry Morris has worked on all three of my audio books and two of my three promotional videos. Garry also served as Casting Director for Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book.

In Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book, Garry voices the part of Joseph Stratton, the character who narrates the story. I love working with Garry. In addition to being a skilled actor, Garry has a wonderful, easygoing personality. I'm excited for everyone to hear how Garry pulls off his latest role for Straight to Audio Productions!