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It's Showtime with Rikki Lee


It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is an entertaining and educational half hour radio show profiling the entertainment industry including stage, television, film, music, and literature. From platinum selling musicians, to Hollywood heartthrobs, to Broadway stars, to local artists, host Rikki Lee Travolta puts listeners in touch with the world of showbiz. In addition to headlining film, TV, and stage projects, Travolta has a unique brand of radio delivery that is seasoned by tenure as a journalist for the world’s leading publishers and complimented by improv technique studied at Second City.


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It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is an entertaining and educational half hour radio show profiling the entertainment industry including stage, television, film, music, and literature. From platinum selling musicians, to Hollywood heartthrobs, to Broadway stars, to local artists, host Rikki Lee Travolta puts listeners in touch with the world of showbiz. In addition to headlining film, TV, and stage projects, Travolta has a unique brand of radio delivery that is seasoned by tenure as a journalist for the world’s leading publishers and complimented by improv technique studied at Second City.




An interview with Broadway & TV Star Andy Mientus playing in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta is joined by Broadway and television star Andy Mientus. Andy is starring in “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas” produced by The Jim Henson Company and iTheatrics at the historic Studebaker Theatre in the heart of Chicago. Andy has starred on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and “Les Misérables” and the national tour of “Wicked.” He was seen in key roles in the television hit “Smash” with Jeremy Jordan and Katherine McPhee and as supervillain The Pied Piper in the CW’s “The Flash.” In this interview, Andy discusses what it’s like starring in a Jim Henson entertainment production and the tremendous respect he has for working with the talented puppeteers. He also lavishes praise on his other talented costars and what it was like working with director and choreographer Christopher Gattelli who won a Tony Award for “Newsies”. Another topic of discussion is the incredible score by Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Paul Williams – who was intimately involved in the rehearsal process for this production. “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas” is an absolute treasure that children and adults will love. To make plans to see this wonderful holiday musical at the historic Studebaker Theatre through December 31`, 2023, call the Fine Arts Building Box Office at (312) 753-3210 extension 102 or go online to


Steel Beam Theatre - Light Parade Viewing Party & Open House

It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee serves as a backstage pass to an array of fascinating avenues within the entertainment universe. One of the areas of focus is the world theatre. Chicago is known for its great theatre. There are phenomenal theatrical options both in the city and in the suburbs. One wonderful little gem of a theatre in Chicago’s western suburbs is Steel Beam Theatre in lovely St. Charles Illinois. Steel Beam has been providing top-rate professional entertainment for over two decades. Steel Beam Theatre is among a number of organizations that have been hindered in receiving grants due to a document processing error. Although it is expected to be rectified, it leaves the affected organizations like Steel Beam Theatre without the funding they need to survive. It would be so tragic for theatre companies like Steel Beam to claw and scratch to successfully survive COVID, only to be taken down by a clerical error or computer glitch. Let’s not let the happen. This weekend, St. Charles celebrates the famous Electric Christmas Parade also known as the St. Charles Light Parade down Main Street on Saturday. It just so happens that Steel Beam Theatre offers a fantastic view of Main Street – so Steel Beam is opening its doors as a free venue for all to watch the festivities in a safe and warm environment. In fact, it’s going to be an event all unto itself. This Saturday, November 25 from 3 PM to 9 PM members of the Board of Directors will be on hand to discuss the theatre company and its 2023-2024 season. There will be refreshments and live entertainment throughout the day. You’ll be able to enjoy the parade and also find out how you can show your support for the arts ranging from making donations to buying season ticket subscriptions to getting your company to sponsor a show. On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta and Steel Beam Theatre’s managing director Catie Early discuss the upcoming Open House and Light Parade Viewing Party and all the fantastic reasons to show up and show your support. Steel Beam Theatre is located at 111 W. Main Street in downtown St. Charles. For more details on the Light Parade Open House and the exciting 2023-2024 Steel Beam Theatre season visit


An Interview with Jessica Fisch, Director of Marriott Theatre’s Hit “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”

On a new episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta welcomes theatrical director Jessica Fisch to discuss Marriott Theatre’s smash hit production of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. “Beautiful” marks the Marriott Theatre debut for Fisch, who has wowed audiences with her work at Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Royal George, Northwestern University, Writer’s Theatre, Northlight Theatre, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Windy City Playhouse. During the interview, Travolta guides Fisch through a discussion of her background as a director and her general approach to the art. Special attention is given to the year of pre-production work with her design partners that went into creating the look and feel of "Beautiful". People interested in how things work behind the scenes will be fascinated by Fisch’s search for the perfect leading lady to play Carole King. The actress not only has to look the part, act the part, and sing the part, she also has to be a skilled pianist. Fisch found the ideal star in Kaitlyn Davis, who previously played the title role in the First National Tour. The Jessica Fisch-helmed crowd-pleaser “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is captivating audiences at Marriott Theatre through December 31, 2023. For ticket information to “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” visit or call the box office at (847) 634-0200. It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is your backstage pass to the world of entertainment.


Award-winning director Regina Belt-Daniels discusses It’s a Wonderful Life at Elgin Theatre Company

In 2022, noted director Regina Belt-Daniels won the Life and Times Heartstrings Award for her brilliant direction of I Hate Hamlet at Elgin Theatre Company in the far suburbs of Chicago. That production starred Rikki Lee Travolta. Returning to Elgin to direct the company’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Gina joins It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee to discuss her new production that runs November 10 through November 19, 2023 at Elgin Art Showcase. On this episode soaked in seasonal cheer, host Rikki Lee and his guest Gina discuss the history and virtues of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life film and the special differences that make this live radio play production so worth seeing. The cast of local stars includes John Mayhall, Jim Pierce, William Athow, Gordy Whiting, Audrey Gniech, Brian Rabinowitz, Paul Lockwood, Dwight Brown, Jami Johnson, Devon Ortiz, Shirley May Byrnes, Sebastian Rus, Teagan Nauman, and Rhys Read. Sign language interpretation by Andrew Ross. For ticket information to Elgin Theatre Company’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life from producer Richard Greiger go to or call Elgin Theatre Company at (847) 741-0532.


An interview with Jesse Borrego of Fame and Blood In Blood Out

On a classic episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta gets nostalgic about one of his childhood heroes – the great actor, singer, and dancer Jesse Borrego. Jesse burst to fame as the fiery Jesse Velasquez on the hit television series FAME in the 1980s. A young Rikki Lee Travolta was fascinated by how Jesse combined classic dance skills with inherent masculinity and sexuality. In fact, those who saw Rikki Lee in Grease and Bye Bye Birdie might recognize the Jesse Borrego influence in the way he would lower his center of gravity to his pelvis to achieve an inherent seductive sensuality, In their discussion, Rikki Lee and Jesse run through the star’s historic career starring not only on FAME but also in the groundbreaking cult classic film Blood In Blood Out. It probably comes as no surprise, it’s one of Rikki Lee’s favorites. Sit back, relax and take a trip back to Rikki Lee Travolta Land circa 2021 as he gets the chance to talk to one of the biggest influences in the development his own trademark musical theater style of emotional vocals and sensual hips.


An interview with Singer/Songwriter Susannah B - Vienna

Singer/songwriter Susannah B has music in her blood. She is the daughter of the late Broadway composer and lyricist Carol Hall, whose credits include the 1978 classic The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and its 1994 Broadway sequel The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. As a Broadway Baby, Susannah B grew up immersed in the arts. She excelled in many areas, but music is the one focus that truly resonated with her as an artist. After experimenting with different music styles, Susannah B eventually found her own sound – a sultry jazz-inspired approach to pop with a contemporary edge. The recording artist has just released her newest single, a tempo-adjusted cover of the Billy Joel hit “Vienna.” On a new episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, Susannah B joins host Rikki Lee Travolta to discuss the new single “Vienna” which will also be featured on a new album from the artist – POV – coming in 2024. Arrangements for the Susannah B cover of “Vienna” are by Michael Farrell, who is known for his work with Alanis Morrisette, Macy Gray, and Morrissey. He is also the associate music director for American Idol, with past credits including America’s Got Talent. He collaborated with Alanis Morrisette on music for the Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill – which earned 15 Tony Award nominations. Susannah B also serves as executive producer for the film Gonzo Girl starring Willem Dafoe and Camilla Morrone. It marks the directorial debut for revered actress Patricia Arquette who also appears in the film. For additional information on Susannah B and the single “Vienna”, visit


An interview with Kaity Paschetto

Kaity Paschetto earned rave reviews for her performance as Morticia Addams in the big-budget musical comedy The Addams Family at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre - one of Chicago's top theatrical institutions. Susan Lillis of Splash Magazine called Paschetto “stunning” and “mesmerizing”. Alan Bresloff of Around the Town echoes the sentiment saying, “the sultry and sexy Morticia is played to perfection by Kaity Paschetto (WOW!)” On a new episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta sits down with Paschetto to discuss her recent role in The Addams Family, her next project choreographing A Christmas Carol, and her background as an actress moving from a small town to New York where she couldn’t get a break, and then to Chicago where her career has blossomed. Sometimes it’s about being in the right place. Be sure to read Travolta’s own review of The Addams Family in It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee’s sister publication Life and Times – your guilty pleasure for entertainment news, views, and reviews. (


An interview with Quiet Riot guitar virtuoso Alex Grossi

On a new, enticing episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, Quiet Riot axe man Alex Grossi joins host Rikki Lee Travolta to discuss his time playing alongside Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali with the first heavy metal band to score a Billboard #1 Album. Grossi has been hammering out the notes of Quiet Riot’s biggest hits for 20 years, thrilling audiences with his dizzying display of guitar wizardry. His licks and riffs are the stuff of legends, as displayed on such albums as Rehab, Quiet Riot 10, Road Rage, and Hollywood Cowboys. He can currently be heard alongside DuBrow, Banali, and Rudy Sarzo on the single "I Can’t Hold On." In this half-hour discussion of all things music and heavy metal, Grossi and Travolta enjoy a thought-provoking discussion on the modern trend of bands playing to recorded tracks during “live” appearances. It’s a topic that causes Grossi to joke that in today’s age, Milli Vanilli wouldn’t have had to give their Grammy Award back – as they did in 1990 when it was discovered they didn’t sing on their award-winning album Girl You Know It’s True. Also included in the interview, Grossi and Travolta talk all things Hookers & Blow – the supergroup the guitar virtuoso founded with Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses. The revolving band lineup has also included members of Type O-Negative, W.A.S.P., Enuff Z Nuff, and LA Guns. It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is a top-rated weekly interview program that provides a behind-the-scenes look into the world of entertainment featuring platinum-selling recording artists, Hollywood A-Listers, Broadway headliners, and notable up-and-comers. In addition to hosting the popular radio show and podcast, Travolta is a celebrity publicist for such stars as Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses fame. He previously worked on campaigns for such artists as Janet Jackson, Sting, Bryan Adams, Extreme, Diamond Rexx, The Zeros, and Crowbar. For more information on Alex Grossi and Quiet Riot visit


An interview with Quiet Riot's iconic bassist Rudy Sarzo

On a new episode of radio show and podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, legendary Quiet Riot bass player Rudy Sarzo shares about his experiences playing with late guitar master Randy Rhoads and what it's like being back in the fold with the iconic band again. During the interview, Sarzo relates what it is about heavy metal and rock n’ roll that has seen him embrace a career that includes playing with Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Oyster Cult, Geoff Tate, Yngwie Malmsteen, Devil City Angels, and the Guess Who. Sarzo was the man on the bass throughout the peak of Quiet Riot’s fame. He was named 1983 Top Bassist by readers of Circus Magazine for his mastery of the instrument and for putting on phenomenal stage shows. Quiet Riot’s album Metal Health was the first heavy metal album to reach number one on the Billboard charts. It spawned the hits “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” and “Cum on Feel the Noize” and opened the door for the worldwide popularity of hair metal. Hosted by showbiz personality and celebrity publicist Rikki Lee Travolta, the weekly interview program provides a behind-the scenes look into the world of entertainment.


An interview with Costume Designer Patty Halajian

The world of theater involves people with many diverse talents coming together to create art. One of the most important things about a stage production or a film, or a television show is the costuming. What the characters wear is part of the story, part of the characterization. How those costumes are brought to fruition – either by sewing them, or buying them, or renting them – is the job of the costume designer. On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta sits down with acclaimed theatrical costume designer Patty Halajian. Patty has worked as a costume designer and in other wardrobe capacities for such renowned institutions as Marriott Theatre, Skokie Theatre, Music Theater Works, Citadel Theatre, and College of Lake County. Some of the famous stars she has helped make magnificent include Diana Ross, Penn and Teller, Natalie Cole, Meat Loaf, Smokey Robinson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, and The Chippendales Dancers. It's a fun and interesting interview that will give you new insight into what happens behind the scenes to make stars look beautiful on stage.


Super Brick

Super Brick is a band that combines multiple influences ranging from Memphis Blues to jazz to create an alternative rock sound that is taking the greater Chicagoland area by storm. Based out of Rockford, IL and thrilling audiences throughout the Midwest, Super Brick consists of guitarist Kyle Roberts, drummer Gabriel Brown, and singer and bass player Bethany Fichthorn. On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee the trio sit down with host Rikki Lee Travolta to talk about their unique sound and their ability to adapt their set list to fit any crowd. Hear about Super Brick’s upcoming shows and get a sneak peek at their song Happy Ending – it could very well be one of the tracks the band lays down when they enter the studio to record their second album. For more details on the killer band Super Brick visit


An interview with Shutter Speed playwright April Noel

Writer and actress April Noel is the featured guest on this exciting episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. She is on hand to promote the September 17th premiere stage reading of Shutter Speed – her newest full-length dramatic play. As host Rikki Lee Travolta points out in the interview, the talented writer has multiple stage plays and film scripts to her credit. Shutter Speed is a heartfelt story that embraces the themes of family, love, passion, and friendship. The story about the complex relationships between a father, his daughter, and his older brother as they relate to the world of photography were inspired by the author’s inheriting her father’s 1972 Cannon 35mm camera and her subsequent embrace of the dark room. The production features a cast of talented performers from throughout the greater Chicagoland area including Paul Lockwood, Travis Greuel, Steve Connell, Abby White, Chelsea Smith, Samuel J Howard, and Katelin Stack. The stage reading of the sizzling new drama takes place at Steel Beam Theatre located at 111 W. Main Street in St. Charles, IL. Curtain is at 2 PM with tickets only $5. For ticket information visit or call the box office at (630) 587-8521. Tickets are also available at the door. There is ample free parking in the area. The goal of the stage reading is to further develop the script and raise the funds for a fully staged run in 2024. Those unable to attend on September 17 at 2 PM at Steel Beam Theatre can still contribute via GoFundMe at


An interview with James Patrick Heatherly - author of Sherlock Holmes: The Coronet Conspiracy

Author James Patrick Heatherly is the guest on this week’s episode of radio show and podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee to promote his new book Sherlock Holmes: The Coronet Conspiracy. The shutdown of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic inspired a lot of people to embark on a lot of new hobbies. In the case of James Patrick Heatherly, he decided to write his first fiction novel. What Heatherly ended up writing is not just any debut novel, Sherlock Holmes: The Coronet Conspiracy is part of a four-book series being released by MX Publishing. It is tagged as Book One in the Sinister House Series. Set in 1888 Sherlock Holmes: The Coronet Conspiracy includes all the classic elements of the most successful novels about the world’s most famous detective. There’s murder, coded messages, and mistaken identity in a case that even Scottland Yard knows only the great Sherlock Holmes and his trusted colleague Dr. John Watson can solve. Heatherly is also known to Chicago audiences for his work in film, television, and stage. He holds a BA in English and an MBA in Marketing and taught at DePaul University for over 35 years.


An interview with Tony Calzaretta - Performer, Director, Choreographer

Tony Calzaretta has been a part of Chicagoland theater for decades. He’s an incredibly talented performer who balances a successful law career with his enjoyment for being on stage. After a start in musical theater as a child, as an adult, Calzaretta became a favorite of Chicago audiences for years as a regular at Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre in St. Charles, IL. Over the ensuing years, he has achieved an impressive resume as a musical theater actor, director, and choreographer. His credits include such musicals as Guys and Dolls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Brigadoon, Forever Plaid, Dracula: The Musical, The Pajama Game, Kiss Me Kate, and 42nd Street. In this half-hour interview, host Rikki Lee Travolta guides Calzaretta through a discussion on his background in theater, including the influences his parents had on getting him involved in the arts at a young age. During the interview, Calzaretta also paints a verbal picture of his approach to theater that listeners will be excited to hear. The discussion also includes talk on Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, a vibrant and growing theater that Calzaretta serves on the board of directors for. Calzaretta and his fellow board members have worked hard to create a new era of excitement and excellence at the Arlington Heights-based theatre.


An Interview with Erica Stephan - Star of Porchlight's 'Cabaret' (original air date February 3, 2023)

Triple threat actress Erica Stephan is the talk of Chicago for her stunning interpretation of the iconic character Sally Bowles in Porchlight Music Theatre’s mounting of Cabaret. On this episode of It's Showtime with Rikki Lee, Erica joins host Rikki Lee Travolta to talk about her starring role in Cabaret, how she developed her character, the background and training that got her to this point, and what the future might hold. Reviews have raved about Stephan’s amazing performance as Sally Bowles under the direction of Michael Weber, the artistic director for Porchlight Music Theatre. Choreography is by Brenda Didier and vocal and musical direction is by Linda Madonia – both instrumental parts of Stephan’s performance. The Chicago Tribune labels Stephan “a knockout”, PickInSix calls Stephan’s performance “breathtaking”, and Talkin’ Broadway endorses her talents as “terrific.” New City Stage raves “Stephan has undoubtedly set the bar for Sally Bowles.”


Skokie Theatre Managing Director Wayne Mell

Skokie Theatre is a gem of a performing arts company on Chicago’s North Shore. It has a historic outside façade and a fully renovated, state-of-the-art performance space inside. The theatre puts on great shows. Sometimes they produce internally through MadKap Productions like their recent smash hit production of the rock musical HAIR and other times they bring in works from other companies that they know North Shore audiences are going to love too like the upcoming The Princess Strikes Back starring Victoria Montalbano. On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, Skokie Theatre managing director Wayne Mell joins host Rikki Lee Travolta to discuss the history of Skokie Theatre and MadKap Productions, the theatre's ties to the legend of Charlie Chaplin, and what’s coming up for the exciting performing arts organization including the mainstage musical A Chorus Line.


THE PRODUCERS: A Mel Brooks Musical presented by Music Theater Works

Music Theater Works will be presenting it’s 150th production – THE PRODUCERS: A Mel Brooks Musical – at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts with a press opening on Friday, August 11th. Gearing up for the landmark event, director L. Walter Stearns, choreographer Darryl K. Clark, and Thomas M. Shea who plays the starring role “Max Bialystock” sit down with host Rikki Lee Travolta on this week’s episode of radio show and podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. Sterns is one of Chicago’s most celebrated directors. He has won numerous recognitions for the quality of his work including Jeff Awards, BroadwayWorld Awards, and After Dark Awards. He has directed over 40 musicals and has overseen the cultural and physical revival of Mercury Theater Chicago. Clark has over 30 years of as a dancer and choreographer and is an associate professor of Music Theater Dance at Southern Illinois University. This is a full-circle journey for Clark, who was involved in the first production of Music Theater Works under its original name Light Opera Works. That was H.M.S. Pinafore in 1981. Shae has appeared at Mercury Theater, Porchlight Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, and is a favorite at Music Theater Works having just won rave reviews as “Charlemagne” in their recent smash hit mounting of Pippin. He, too, was on stage in the company’s first production many years ago. However, it is his reverence for the role he is currently playing that will fascinate audiences.


An interview with Ron Onesti of Onesti Entertainment & JCCIA

Ron Onesti is proud of his Italian heritage, as evidenced by his position as President of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. He is also proud of his growing entertainment empire of Chicago-area restaurants and concert venues. On this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, the president of Onesti Entertainment talks to host Rikki Lee Travolta about his many entertainment ventures including the Arcada Theatre and the Des Plaines Theatre, as well as his experiences growing up in a heavily Italian community on Taylor Street in Chicago where he learned the art of Italian cooking. Onesti is also the owner and executive chef of Club Arcada Speakeasy and Restaurant, Bourbon ‘N Brass Speakeasy, Rock ‘N Za Pizza Experience, Rock ‘N Ravioli Italian Restaurant, and Des Pizza. For more information on the life and times of Rikki Lee Travolta visit - your guilty pleasure for entertainment news, views, and reviews.


Tim Paul of Piano Trends Music Co., Raue Center for the Arts, and NAMM Talks Lifting Spirits Through Music

In this episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, host Rikki Lee Travolta visits with one of the treasures of Chicago’s suburban music scene: Tim Paul - musician, businessman, and creator of smiles. Tim is the owner of Piano Trends Music Co., the board president of Raue Center for the Arts, and an annual presenter at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California – one of the premier events of the music industry. In addition, Tim and the staff at Piano Trends Music Co. regularly take to the internet with their message of hope and happiness with “Lifting Spirits Through Music”. Each day they livestream musical performances from the store – often times featuring guest artists. This celebration of the beauty of music is the source of smiles for viewers around the world.


TIME Magazine Next Generation Leader Daria Kolomiec Brings Stories of Ukrainian War to US Listeners

On this episode of the It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee radio show and podcast, host Rikki Lee Travolta sets fun and games aside to focus on real issues. Travolta's guest is 2022 TIME Magazine Next Generation Leader Daria Kolomiec – a Ukrainian DJ, producer, and activist who is using her prominence in the entertainment field to give a voice to life in her country since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. It's a powerful interview about subjects of worldwide importance. Daria gives a vivid description of hearing the air raid sirens and running through the streets trying to find safety from the bombings, eventually huddling with strangers in the basement of a cafe because that was the closest thing to a bomb shelter that she could find access to. From the confines of that dark basement in Kyiv, Daria started the Diary of WAR podcast – giving a first-person voice to how the war has changed the lives of each individual person in Ukraine.