What does a Maestro, a Gambler, a Rat, an Evangelist, and a Glass Slipper have in Common? The last year in Theatre for Brandon O’Neill

There’s a reason Rough Congress front man, Brandon O’Neill hasn’t been around to direct the party lately.

Check out Brandon’s recent interview with Aladdin Musical Blog Spot to see what he’s been up to.

a Seven and Seven and 4 years ago

After a very busy hiatus with many changes for all, the boys of Rough Congress decided to get together on January 27th and 28th at Zola to re-live the “Sonic Domination” concert. It was our very first concert on January 26th, 2008 at the now defunct Prago Agentine Cafe. We were knee-deep in snow and elbow-deep in…So Anyway…Can you believe we’ve been  ROUGHIN’ IT that long?? We’re throwing a party to celebrate 4 years of keeping a great band name alive and we’ll play some of RC’s trusted ass-shakin’ favorites as well as forgetting a ton of lyrics, botching musical transitions, and blaming the booze.

If you miss it,  you’ll have missed something that was “not to be missed”. Now that’d suck, wouldn’t it?

Promo for March 19th Concert

Design by Tom Stover, graphic designer for the Pacific NW Inlander.

Update: Watch Chris’ film here!!

Here it is in all of it’s short film glory. Word has it that “Big $ayonara” is headed for a NYC premier this summer. Details to follow.

Bright lights, big city…update on Brandon

2010 is shaping up nicely.

On February 12 & 17th, Brandon shot his scene for a new shoot-em up movie called “Hit List” with Oscar award winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., and TV star, Cole Hauser. O’Neill was cast as #3 (of 5) on the list, Dom Estacado,

Where's my !@#$%ing money?!

a bookie, club owner and crime boss that Hauser’s character owes money. The dark, gritty scene of confrontation ends with Dom’s ultimate demise (killshot to the EYE??!!..We’ll see if the CG makes the budget). Even more surreal than standing toe to toe with Cuba and calling him “a Shaft wannabe” was being flown in to his home town of Spokane and put up in a hotel. With some 30+ family members living in town, it was a scenario he never imagined.

Directly after his 12 hour shoot day and still bloody, Brandon boarded a plane for Seattle to make his 9am meeting on February 18th with Marvin Hamlisch.

February 18th-21st, Brandon was one of 5 featured soloists with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in a Steven Sondheim tribute with conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Joining O’Neill were international singing and recording artist , Liz Callaway and 3 other Broadway veterans who also happen to be Seattle residents: Allen Fitzpatrick, Carol Swarbrick, and Patti Cohenhour.

A mere 2 hours of rehearsal with the orchestra left the cast and Maestro wondering how we could do justice to material as complex as Sondheim’s.  Hamlisch used his vast experience to cut and paste together a working order that could be accomplished with such limited rehearsal time. The final incarnation would involve Hamlisch as accompanist on the grand piano for many of the more complex numbers involving vocalists while the overtures and medleys where accomplished with full orchestration.

“Having Marvin Hamlisch at the piano while I sang a song he considers his mantra (“Being Alive” from the show “Company”) will be one of the great thrills of my career” stated O’Neill.

While admittedly not very familiar with the classical music scene or gigs like the Symphony,  O’Neill said,  “Singing inside Benaroya Hall is like singing inside of a Stradivarius. The notes are almost pulled out of you.”  Home of the Seattle SymphonyHe also enjoyed meeting eyes with Marvin on the song “Franklin Shepard Inc.” (Merrily We Roll Along) , and pulling the Maestro into a world O’Neill is very comfortable with; acting. “If you remember that the person across from you is just that; another human being, then you can find honesty and connection in any situation.” Even in the presence of greatness.

Overall, the Symphony gig was a great success garnering a bit of excellent press for O’Neill.

February 27th- Brandon will fly out to New York City to reprise his role as Desi ArnazVillage Theatre- Festival of New Musicals in a workshop of a new musical called “The Cuban and the Redhead“. Set prior to the debut of  “I Love Lucy”, the play is a revealing look at the couple’s tumultuous love life and attempts to save their wild careers and marriage. The workshop will take place on March 8th in Asbury Park, NJ with a subsequent showcase the following day in New York City.

O’Neill sings “Oh say…” for Seahawks

Get your pitch pipes and take off your hats. Brandon has been asked to sing the National Anthem at the Seattle Seahawks last game of the 09-10 season. You will not be able to see it on tv but we may try to sneak a video camera in for some youtube love.

Review of Reboot

Here’s a chunk of the the review from the 103.1 KCDA live music blog. KCDA is leading the way in the Spokane scene for promoting local music and getting radio airplay for local artists.

full tilt boogie:  http://www.1031kcda.com/pages/livemusicblog.html

Brandon drips with soul and sweat; you won’t forget his stage presence.  Guitarist Jamie Frost (a.k.a. Jamie Maker of The Makers) busted out tasty licks.  Chris White jammed on a vintage 1973 Fender-Rhodes seventy-six electric piano.  Jake Barr laid down the groove on the bass.  Aaron Saye kept a steady funk hammer on the drums.”

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