Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Hills of Tomorrow

Sophie's Success Stories

Behold, Mike Longo!

Behold the hills of tomorrow!
Behold the limitless sky!
Fling wide the gates
To a world that waits!
As our journey starts,
Behold! Our hearts
Are high!*

I first met Mike Longo at Sophie's first venue, The Cafe at Broadway.  Almost exactly one year ago. I have been hosting the weekly Monday night open mic since Sophie opened.  And I met Mike who was bartending that evening.  He was cute, he was young, he was charming. I was hooked!  


Mike in the Spotlight at Sophie's

One year on and we have had the privilege of enjoying Mike's bartending skills (he makes a great mojito) and hearing him sing almost every week (he missed weeks when he was acting in various great projects:  Tamar of the River, Committed, Grease at Papermill) at Sophie's Open Mic which we have labeled Monday Funday.  I have never looked forward to Mondays.  Now it is my favourite day of the week.

He discovered Sophie's when a music director introduced him to Sophie Yaeger for voice coaching. "I appreciated and respected her as a fellow professional and wanted to support Sophie's grand opening back in the fall of 2013."

Mike singing "What is it about Her" at Sophie's

Mike is leaving us soon and, while we are selfishly devastated, we are thrilled for his great success. He started acting and singing about 10 years ago: started in High School plays and "excelled quickly to my surprise!" Did I mention he was modest? And YOUNG (not jealous or anything).  He credits one of his favourite roles (Percy in the Scarlet Pimpernel)  "back in my senior year of high school. It was so much fun and really broke me out of my shell." 

What struck me about Mike has been how mature and savvy he is for one so young. His talent is obvious, but the other qualities are so important in this crazy business. Often we see someone young gaining great success and not seeing the hard work and long road that has come before. When I arrive at Sophie's on a Monday, Mike and I would catch up on auditions, successes, failures, near misses, frustrations and so on.

Between the hills of tomorrow,
At times the road may seem strange.
The hills are deep,
And the way is steep,
But for those who dare
The world is there
To change!*

Mike has worked and been in some brilliant shows in New York.  I was lucky enough to see him in the brilliant Tamar of the River  at Prospect Theatre. He was also in the hilarious Committed with fellow Sophie regulars, Erica Lustig and composer, Andrew David Sotomayor.

Committed the musical.
Can you spot Erica, Andrew and Mike?
Mike Longo in Tamar of the River at Prospect Theatre

 Mike Longo WORKING IT during the recording of the album for 
Tamar of the River: Album is to be released in September.

Then raise the torch and seize the day!
Behold! Our banners fly to mark the way!
Standards billowing, unsullied, proud!
Visions bright, voices loud!*

So where is Mike going?

 "I am currently in rehearsal for the Kinky Boots 1st National Tour! It is a dream!"

As Mike says, we are a family at Sophie's.  

"The best thing about Sophie's is it's supportive family like nature. Family is always incredibly supportive but also hysterically dysfunctional. You can fall on your face there. What kind of life can you lead without ever laughing at yourself sometimes? Sophie's has built confidence in my presence on stage. Also, has helped me learn how to sing with a microphone which is important in the cabaret scene and/or concert styled performances that many actors will come to face. Being present in a scene with props and a set and direction to follow is a lot less scary than standing and seeing and being the only focus on the stage. This has helped me tremendously in the audition room."

Mike you're an inspiration. Thank you for being part of our family.

Beyond the hills of tomorrow
Are skies more beautiful still!
Behold! Begin!
There are worlds to win!
May we come to trust
The dreams we must

Laughing with Mike at Sophie's Open Mic

I feel like a proud mother!

You can read more about Mike on his website and follow him on instagram and twitter.

Sophie's Open Mic takes place every Monday.  Come and sing and be one of our success stories!

*The Hills of Tomorrow from "Merrily We Roll Along"
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

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