Friday, October 03, 2008

Theatre Stories

It's the closing week for Johnny On A Spot and everyone's been very sentimental. A lot of Broadway shows are closing or have closed as well (Xanadu, Legally Blonde) and I imagine those casts are feeling just as sentimental.

Last night, some of our cast members were talking about their first Broadway experiences, whether they were shows they had seen or participated in, and I just marvelled at the universal experience theatre inspires in others - that sense of joy and awe.

Dale Carman told me about seeing Funny Girl at the Winter Garden, and how he and his partner arrived late, so they made their way through the dark, feeling along the walls of the theatre until they found their seats, and then they were absolutely dazzled by the rich red lights when the show started. I imagined how Dale must've felt seeing Barbra Streisand on the stage, a young woman ready to take the world by storm.

Margery Beddow (pictured above with Dale) remembered seeing Barbra sing at at a club. I think she said it was called "Bon Soir." And she said that even then Barbra spoke of herself as an actress who sang. "And when she sang... wow!"

Margery herself has an incredible history of performing on many a Broadway stage, and her list of credits is a mile long! I loved hearing about when she came to Manhattan as a ballerina and had a nice career in that field before joining Bob Fosse as one of his dancers and assistants. To hear her talk about her audition with Bob is just so darned cool! She wrote a book about it, called Bob Fosse's Broadway, and Wayne Henry, who is hilarious as Pepi Pisano in "Johnny" brought the book in for Margery to sign. We all goggled over the pictures of her and Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Just incredible! Margie said Gwen taught her the role of Lola for a regional production of Damn Yankees, and Margie also understudied Gwen on Broadway in Redhead. Truly, they look like sisters!

I'm just beyond thrilled that I've been able to work with these incredible people, and of course it makes me think of my first Broadway experience. I was a kid when my parents took me to see CATS and then The Phantom of The Opera. And now I'm working with all these Broadway people! So cool!

Things are coming together in such a fascinating way... I feel like how I felt when I was waiting in the wings with Christopher Fitzgerald (who's now playing Igor in Young Frankenstein). We were at the NY Musical Theatre Festival gala and were both award recipients of the NYMF Award of Excellence. It was such a magical moment, getting ready to take the stage...

All these moments seem to be building up to something. They're all incredible pieces of the puzzle!

Next up:
I'm doing a staged reading with F. Murray Abraham whose work I've admired since I saw his Academy Award winning performance for Amadeus. I'm reprising my role in this 2nd staged reading Mark Altman's play, Sin, sharing the stage with Marilyn Chris, Alvin Epstein, Paul Hecht and Mary Rose Synek. Robert Kalfin directs. has the scoop. :)

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