OPENING NIGHT. Aahhhh!!!
Wow, everyone. It was a bit surreal. So much buzzing. It was a crazy night, y’all. It started with a really cool tradition called The Gyspy Robe. Before every opening of a musical on Broadway, a robe that is adorned with some sort of art representing the shows that have gone before (all the way back to when the tradition was started and I’m not sure when that was), is presented to the chorus person who has done the most Broadway shows in that company. It is presented by the last person who got the robe. Our person receiving was our amazing dance captain, Eric Sciotto. We were so proud and so was he. It’s a real honour in the community. This is a shot of Eric with Gavin and I after the ceremony.
Our dressing rooms and backstage areas were crammed with stuff – gifts, flowers, people. I had so many cards and presents. Our producers gave us each a bottle of Veuve, plus posters and little thank yous. Our dressers (I mean the two guys – Herb and Tom – who dress our room) gave us Champagne as well to have after the show and expensive chocolate. It was gorgeous. Everyone was so excited. The show went really well, actually. Smooth. The cast was so pumped but it didn’t go overboard.
The party was crazy. There were so many people there. And so many celebs. I didn’t even get to meet most of them, the room was so huge and full. The party was at Chelsea Piers so it was basically a huge pier that was all decorated. There were ping-pong tables (and for those of you who know the show, you know why) and a shoe chandelier made by Manolo Blahnik who is one of our sponsors. Oh I guess I should show you what I was wearing. There is no shot of my shoes which were these amazing red John Fluevog’s as my nod to Canada. The shot below is when I just walked in the door and the gentlemen are all but one of my dressing room mates. From left to right – Jeff Metzler, me, Gavin Lodge and Mike McGowan. I love these boys.
Here is another shot of my fellow cast members. The ladies are Esther on the left and Ellyn on the right.
And here are our leading “men”
And our leading divas
I had a rather cool moment. The last “story-telling” song in our show is We Belong, the iconic Pat Benatar hit that is a really moving, thematic, story-wrapping up, last message moment in our show. I got to meet Dan Navarro who was one of the co-writers of the song. He was so sweet and so genuinely happy about the show and about his song being used . . . and not just because he was getting some kick-ass royalties for it.
And, of course, I had to get a picture with my new best friend, Joan Rivers. Love her.
This is our wig designer, Richard Mawby, who became a buddy on the show. I don’t know why I always seem to become pals with hair and makeup people but I love them. And Richard is hilarious. He’s from England and is really quite a superstar. He did La Cage here in New York and in London, the revival of Evita that started in London and is now coming to New York with Ricky Martin, Hairspray in London, on and on. Great guy.
Our wonderful makeup designer, Ben Moir, who’s an Aussie who’s been in London for years, came back for opening. Where do I begin? Ben is the most incredible makeup genius. To illustrate that, let me show you his own before and after. This is what Ben looks like in life.
And this is Ben’s alter-ego, Vanity Fair, at the opening night party.
And Ben wasn’t the only “Lady with a little xtra” on the Pink Carpet. Miss Flotilla DeBarge
Bianca Del Rio (who looks a bit like Nick Adams in drag, I have to admit – but it’s not)
And last but not least, Miss Sherry Vine
And then we had the celeb-celebs. Renee Zellweger, Barbara Walters (who, apparently raved about the show on the View the next day – Thank you Miss Walters), Miriam Margolyes (played the nurse in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet). And what was very cool, especially since he has never seen the musical, Guy Pierce – the original Adam, was at the show and loved it.
Okay, here go on the Priscilla Opening Night Celebrity Photo Tour.
Bette Midler, of course.
Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, writers of score of Hairspray among many other things.
The beautiful Audra McDonald, who also happens to be dating our leading “man”, Will Swenson.
Lee Daniels, director of Precious
Kathleen Turner and her beautiful daughter, Rachel Weiss
Jerry Mitchell, choreographer of Hairspray, the Musical and director/choreographer of Legally Blonde, the Musical
Roger Rees, who has taken over for Nathan Lane in The Addams Family
The hilarious and brilliant Bruce Vilanch (love the T-shirt)
And finally, and I love that she was there but I would have loved to have met her, Charlotte Rae. Yes, that’s right, Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life.
My people, it was a crazy, fun, night. I was so thrilled to have my dear pal, Micah, and my best friend of 27 years, Krista, there to share it with me. And, I guess vicariously, all of you who are sweet enough to keep reading about this grateful Canadian’s journey South of the border. Now we enter a new phase of the experience – life after opening. So much to explore.