DONNABLOG #30 – PRE-TONY AWARDS

So this is the day, everyone. Just off to our dress rehearsal of the Tonys. We a had a camera rehearsal the other day and I wanted to share some shots of us backstage.

Here is our dance captain, Eric, in a couple of “relaxed” costume moments that are almost completely unstaged, in his Gumnut costume.

This is perhaps my favourite.  I call it Kyle “The T-EMU-nator” Brown.

 

And here is a candid shot of how early we had to be there.  Steve and Jeff trying to wake up. “Stretching?  No, coffee!”

A little catch up chat for Nick Adams and our swing, Ellyn.

This shot makes me laugh. I was trying to get Jackie and Eric but Mike happened to walk into frame.  Jackie caught me taking it as Mike walked up but  the way Mike is looking down and Eric is bent over, it looks like they are examining something of interest in Mike’s nether regions. Considering what a big strapping man Mike is, that could be any number of things.


Our wonderful Tad Wilson lounging in the costume that I also wear at the end of the show.  I won’t lie.  It’s not my favourite but seeing him sitting here drinking coffee and texting makes me laugh my ass off.

So here’s the scoop, y’all.  I think the number is going to be really great.  We are the last number of the show, though not the last event.  There are a few awards after us.  So we’ll be on around 10:40ish. I am in this above costume (same as Tad) – it’s a Bottle Brush.  It also had a huge headpiece that has big green leaves coming out of it.  You’ll see me coming downstage in it right after the “Divas” sing their first bit.  I’m on your left, second from center.

I will absolutely give you a check in after . . . in the next few days.  Enjoy everyone.

Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm  Comments (1)  

DONNABLOG #29 -GENIUS

“A letter came to me a few years ago from a long-retired actress who had, as a youngster, been taken to see Edwin Booth play King Lear. It seems that towards the end of the play, when the mad Lear was brought face to face with his daughter Cordelia, there was a sharp pause, then – for a second that couldn’t quite be caught or measured – a startled, desperate, longing flicker of near-recognition stirred somewhere behind the old man’s eyes, and then – nothing. The entire audience rose, without thinking, to its feet. It didn’t cheer. It simply stood up. It was as though a single electrical discharge had passed from one body on the stage, instantaneously, through a thousand bodies in the auditorium. Something had been plugged into a socket; two forces had met.

This meeting is what the theater is all about; it is its greatest power . . . The theater gains its natural – and unique – effect not from the mere presence of live actors, or the happy accident of an occasional lively audience, but from existence of a live relationship between these two indispensible conspirators, signaling to one another through space.”

–Walter Kerr (1913-1996) Author and Theater Critic
From his book THE THEATER IN SPITE OF ITSELF

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 5:08 am  Leave a Comment  

DONNABLOG #28 – A TRUE NEW YORKER

So what a fun day I just had yesterday.  I went to my second baseball game ever BUT my 1st game at Yankee Stadium. It was the first day without rain we’ve had and it was about 26/27 degrees (80 for my American friends)

It’s pretty gorgous.  All greco-roman.  I went with my friends Mike (in the cast of Priscilla), Brian (Costume supervisor for Priscilla) and Glynn (one of our stage managers on Priscilla).  We had a great time.  Here are two shots of either end of the inside.

That’s Glynn in the lower left hand corner above.  What was even cooler is that the Yankees were playing the Toronto Blue Jays.  So my old home team was playing my new home team.  The Yankees kicked the Blue Jays’ asses.  I’m torn about that.  But we had such a fun time.   Lots of laughs, lots of food, several servings of alcohol.  Not for me as I’m not a beer drinker.

That’s me and Mike.  Luckily the guy behind us who had the kid who was right behind me, left with the kid after about the 4th inning.  Awwww.  I do have to say, I found it ironic that a big chunk of the fans of this athletic game are well . . . . rather unathletic themselves.  Okay many people were downright obese.  But  I have to say, there is such a wonderful sense of community in the stadium.  This beautiful day, people getting together and cheering on their personal heroes.  It’s really quite touching.

That’s Brian and Mike.  This is also me being clever and playing with my phone (oooo, black and white . . . soooo artistic).  So much to discover with technology.  And one more shot, me and Brian and Mike.  I will hopefully have a shot of the 4 of us soon but I couldn’t find the way to get all of us in.  The other boys took some shots.

Anyway, it was a great day.  We did head over to a sports bar that Brian knew of afterwards.  Note to self, Bourbon on the rocks is a nice follow up to a baseball game. My God, when you only get one day off a week, it’s nice to do something completely different.

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm  Comments (3)  

DONNABLOG #27 – FULL DAY OFF

My word, people.  (“My word”?  What am I 93?) I had such a great day off on Wednesday.  My friend, Michael, was in New York visiting me and it was his last day.  He insisted on treating me to a day out.  So after a morning of relaxing and chatting, we went for lunch at this amazing French restaurant called Bar Boulud.

barboulud.html

A-freakin’-mazing.  It’s right across from Lincoln Center.  The address is 1900 Broadway.   I had this potato and garlic soup that was so velvety, so smooth; then had small cubes of potatoes and little bits of fried potatoes and some sort of herb oil drizzled on top. SHUT UP!!!!  So good.  Then I had a Croque Madame.  Wow.  Basically two slices of egg bread,  in between is this beautiful lean ham  and some cheese.  Then on top, bechamel and more cheese  – not sure what kind – gruyere? – then it’s baked and a soft fried egg is put on top.  Served with a fresh acidic, slightly sweet little salad.  It was ri-donk-ulous.

After lunch Michael took me to see the play War Horse. Okay, if you have not heard of this show, you should.  It’s one of the most gorgeously theatrical shows of the Broadway season, if not of many seasons.

www.warhorseonbroadway.com

It’s the story of a boy who “acquires” a horse who he rears up (in England) and when World War 1 occurs, the horse is taken by the army.  The boy then joins the army to find his horse.  The horse is actually played by a  . . .well, they call it a puppet but that doesn’t describe it.  That’s like saying Ronnie Burkett plays with dolls.  The horse is played by three people at once.  One is the back and back legs, one is the front legs, and one is the head.  What these three people do is nothing short of a miracle. They have studied horses and all of their ticks and breathing and how they listen, etc.  It’s amazing. There are moments you forget that the horse isn’t real.   And the stage craft – – – WHAT??!!  So simple and so gorgeously affective.  Three guys would come out with one long stick each and they became the corral.  Seriously, it was amazing. The one thing that wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be was this.  A show that is as big as this show is emotionally becomes so operatic in scope.  That is not the problem, opera-lovers, so just settle down.  The problem is living up to the scale of it in the acting. The moments would lend themselves to a song but it was dialogue and so some of the acting became rather over-wrought.  It was a really interesting lesson.  You’ve got to stay so true to the emotion but amp it up so high to not make it overplayed or pushed. Especially in a space like the large space in the Lincoln Center.  (I forget the name of the theater at this moment)  It’s very much like the Festival Theatre at Stratford but it doesn’t feel as intimate so there is even more of an impulse to push to get it out to the people .  It’s a good example of a show where you have to allow and expect the audience to work a little bit too.  But having said that, it’s a beautiful production.

Then dinner.  Whew.  Michael had asked me to find a place that was interesting and unique and asian-y/fusion-y.   Now Michael has been around for a while and is incredibly well travelled and has eaten cuisine all over Asia.  No problem.  (cue me pooping my pants)  I have no idea so I ask my castmate Mike (a lot of Mike’s in my life) and he suggests a restaurant called Spice Market.  (cue angels singing).  It’s at 403 W. 13th Street. I had called in the morning and managed to get a reservation for 5:45.  Perfect.  People!!  Holy Shit!!!  First of all, it’s gorgeous.  All Vietnam/India/Burma/China/Japan Chic.    The food is out of this freakin’ world.  Wow.  We did the tasting menu.    Here, I’ll let this be interactive and you guys can check it out yourself.

spicemarketnewyork.com

Go to the tasting menu.   We also started off with Ginger Martinis.  Come on.  Sweet, spicy, yummy.  The chicken samosas where so good, we ordered two more before they brought the dessert.   The rice was amazing.  The cod – so succulent and sweet and spicy.  The chicken – shocking; blackened but not a hint of charcoal in the taste, the kumquats adding just the perfect citrus note. And our waiter, Paul, from St. Louis.  He was hilarious and amazing.  On top of everything.  He moved to New York with his wife and was a professional waiter. He was saying it can be a tough profession but having people like us come in (we were very lively) makes it worth it. We loved him and he clearly loves the restaurant.

When were were finally finished gorging on amazing food, Michael asked what we should do now.  It was almost 8:00 so we were too late for a show.  But I remembered that Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway were doing their new cabaret show, Boom, at Birdland this week.  I asked him if he had heard of them and he hadn’t but was into it so I called Birdland and there were 5 more tickets left.  So I reserved us tickets and we high-tailed it over there.

www.birdlandjazz.com

Oh, Liz and Ann are sister who are well-known separately who occasionally perform together.  Ann Hampton wrote and sang the theme song for the TV show, The Nanny, with Fran Drescher (sp?).  They were great. Two very different but amazing voices.    They sang songs of their youth so the 60’s and 70’s.  Funny, charming, entertainin, and kick ass vocals.  Plus I wanted to see the space for when I start doing cabaret.

My people, it was a great day all over.  If you can, or if you come to New York, treat yourself to Bar Boulud and Spice Market.  You won’t regret it.  I sure don’t.

Published in: on May 8, 2011 at 4:29 am  Leave a Comment  

DONNABLOG #26 – NOMINATIONS AND GENEROSITY

This blog is going to be covering a few things.  First of all, we are in award season and two Broadway organizations have announced their nominations and Priscilla has, indeed been in the mix.  The first was the Drama League nominations:  DISTINGUISHED PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL; DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE: Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson.  Awards to be given out on May 20. I’ll keep you posted.

The second organization is the Outer Critic’s Circle.  The nominations included: OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICAL; OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER: Ross Coleman; OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN: Tim Chappel and Lizzie Gardiner; and OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Tony Sheldon. 

I feel I have to say here that Andy, our choreographer, has been the most generous of human beings and allowed Ross Coleman (who was his mentor)’s name to stay at the forefront as the choreographer.  Even though  Mr. Coleman passed away before we even started rehearsals and because of how much of the music changed in the show, Andy had to re-choreograph most of the show himself.  I could not have more respect for him for that but I still feel he is being robbed of, at the very least, a co-nomination. So since it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, I am saying here that we have a nomination for OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER: Ross Coleman and Andy Hallsworth. Winners will be announced on May 16.  Very exciting.

There are several others to be heard yet.  Not the least of which will be the Tony nominations which will be announced on May 3 – only 6 days away.  Woohoo.

Now speaking of generosity, I went to see the Easter Bonnet competition at the Theater that the Lion King is in, on Sunday. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a charity event that started 25 years ago by the original La Cage Aux Folles company in ’87 to support Equity fights AIDS.  It was when everyone was getting sick and dying and the company decided it needed an event to spread awareness instead of fear and to raise money to help the many men and women who we were losing to this horrible disease.   It was such a fun show.  Any Broadway show that wants to  creates a bonnet that represents their show and then a number that introduces their bonnet.

What it made me realize is the power of the theatre community and of generosity.  Generosity of money, time, energy,  and love.  And how much we take that for granted.   It has also made me realize how frustrated and angry I become when a performing artist – actor, singer, dancer – is ungenerous with the “holy” trinity of time, energy and love.    We have the ability to change the world with what we do.  When we perform and share the live experience with an audience, they leave enlightened, enlivened, inspired, happy, giddy, mentally healthier.  Not every person and not every time but most of the people and most of the time.  And they carry that energy with them. And pay it forward.

So when a performer or performers are ungenerous, either because of personality or youth , it makes me crazy.  We have a gift that can literally keep on giving but when performers make it just about being ‘seen’ and/or adored and/or worshipped for their looks, it’s cheap and ugly and gross and it makes me sad and a little pissed off. So many people would love to do what we’re doing and would be so grateful.  There is always someone who sings louder, higher, prettier, sweeter; who dances better, kicks higher, is a better, stronger, simpler actor.  But humanity lifts all talent to a magical place.  Being wonderful to work with and talented and generous becomes legendary (for the good reasons).  So whoever is reading this, whether you’re a performer or not, please, please, PLEASE . . . reach higher.

P.S. ADDENDUM TO THIS POST:

Since I wrote this post – but before I had the chance to post it, The Drama Desk nominations and the Tony nominations came out.  For the Drama Desk, the show was nominated for Best Musical, Tony Sheldon was nominated for BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL and Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner for BEST COSTUMES.  We didn’t get a nod for Best Musical but we did get a nod for Tony Sheldon as BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL and for Tim and Lizzy for BEST COSTUMES IN A MUSICAL.  Woohoo. 

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

DONNABLOG #25 NUMBER 1 AND DREAMS

Okay so first of all, get this:

149834-Broadway-Cast-Recording-of-Priscilla-Lands-in-Top-Spot-On-Billboard-Chart

That’s right, we are in the number one spot on the Billboard Broadway Album chart.  What??!!!  So fantastic.  The show shot out of the gate and now it seems to just be building momentum.  That bodes well for all of us.

The other thing I wanted to chat about tonight (it’s about 3 in the morning) is the nature of dreams.  Not the ones you have at night while your sleeping but the ones you have for your life.  Dreams, goals, ambitions. And I would actually really like to hear from people on this one so please feel free to comment and start a bit of a dialogue about this.  (Just click on the comments below)  What is the nature of our dreams, our desires?  What do they require of us?  I find myself in that wonderful/terrifying position of living three of my many dreams.  I’m living in New York, I’m doing a show on Broadway and I’m on the cast recording.   And now, a part I didn’t even dream of – the recording is #1 on the Billboard charts.  What does that mean to me?  What happens now?

It makes me realize how possible our dreams are if we work toward them but how fluid they are.   They change and expand and mutate.  What’s to want next?  Well, truly, anything.  Is it about clarity?  (Be specific about the dream) Is it about expansiveness?  (Dream big and see what parts of it come true)  There is a song I love from a musical called Flora, The Red Menace (which starred Liza Minnelli) called A Quiet Thing.  And the lyric goes,

“When it all comes true,

Just the way you planned,

It’s funny but the bells don’t ring,

It’s a quiet thing”  Etc.

I so get that more and more.  (Wow, that was a terribly crafted sentence. Ah well, it’s my blog.) I find when these wonderful things happen, they are not earth-shattering when you’re inside them.  They’re just the thing you’re doing at the time.  You’re just in it trying to make everything work.  But what is really comforting about that is that it makes you realize how much is possible when you stop thinking that it’s impossible.

Now I find myself with the idea of “if I can pull this off, how many other things can I pull off as well?” That is THRILLING AND HORRIFYING!!!!    To think of having no ceiling means you can just keep rising.  Yes, it’s work; yes, it’s planning; yes, it’s diligence.  But as you refine what you think you are meant to do and and realize the path you are supposed do be on, it’s not actually hard.  It just demands your love and attention.

The other thought I have about this is that the people who are successful are willing to go the extra mile.  To give up the dead weight that is holding them back, whatever it is.  It’s not really about sacrifice, it’s more about dedication to the cleanest running version of yourself.  I read a quote recently that roughly goes, “Everyone is giving ‘enough’. It’s those that give the extra that achieve the success.”  That doesn’t really put it as well as the quote did (don’t judge me.) but the idea is that mediocrity is the minimum effort; go the extra inch and gain a mile.

There is also the idea of commitment.  I’ve come to realize that so few people, comparatively, are willing to commit to their own worth.  Does that make sense?  I mean to truly believe you are worth that extra inch/mile.  How many people actually pursue an opportunity – period?  Let alone pursue it believing they have goods to back it up?

I challenge everyone reading this to make that phone call or send that e-mail that commits you to having to step up to a task for which you feel you may not be up to.  Then trust that when, not if, but when asked to produce, you can deliver.  Give yourself the chance to come through. I’m about to do that very thing with an issue I can’t talk about right now.  Perhaps in the future, if it happens.

And then let me (and my readers – bless you all) know how it turns out – if you can.  Let us hear (read) your story. Click on “Comments” below.  Even just a a quick paragraph.

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in general.

Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 7:35 am  Comments (8)  

DONNABLOG #24

I just had to share with you all.  I haven’t laugh that hard in . . . minutes.  Okay maybe hours.  But FUN-NY

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  

DONNABLOG # 23 – WHAT THE HELL??!!!! X2

Okay so there is so much to talk about.  There are two things to discuss today.  And all I can say is WOW!!  So the first event actually happened on Tuesday night, our last day of our work week.  We’re already tired and so happy to come the last day of the week.   We had an understudy rehearsal at 1:00 but that’s okay, those are fun.   But just as we were starting the rehearsal, our stage manager, David, was on the phone.  It turned out he was on the phone with Nick Adams who plays Adam/Felicia in Priscilla.  Nick had food poisoning and may not be able to go on that night.  Now let me start by pointing out that Bryan, who is the understudy for Nick who has had the majority of rehearsal, was in Toronto that day doing a publicity event for Priscilla.  Steve Schepis who has only had a minimal amount of rehearsal was stepping in that afternoon so we could go through the second act.  Needless to say the day quickly turned into “let’s get Steve ready to go on in case Nick can’t do it.”  So we went through the show for him and then off he went to be fitted for costumes.  Oh, did I mention that Steve hadn’t really been fitted for costumes yet since he wasn’t expected to go on before Bryan.  Ah, well there it is. So they had to see what would fit him and what wouldn’t.

At about 4:30, we found out Nick was NOT going to make it as he was exploding from . . . . well, everywhere.   By this time, we found out that Kyle Brown was also out with “food poisoning” and so was Ashley Spencer (one of our divas).  At this point, it became obvious that this was not food poisoning but a bug or virus.  How is everyone  else?  Well, Tad was at rehearsal and already not feeling well in his tummy.  Mike McGowan had called out and was told (begged) he had to come in as we were down too many people.  So here is the toll so far, Ashley, Kyle and Nick are out with stomach issues, Bryan is in Toronto and Steve is on for Nick.  So that is essentially 4 people out, one person on for someone else. So that is 4 of our 5 swings on.  OH WAIT!! Just before half hour, Stacy (second of three divas) is puking in her dressing room – she’s out.  That’s all 5 swings on.  Jeff Metzler covers Steve as Farrah (the drag queen at the top of the show) and Young Bernadette (in Les Girls) so someone is going to do some split tracks.   OH WAIT.  Tad is so nauseous, he can not quite stand up.  He will try to do his featured bits – priest in Funeral, Errol in Broken Hill and lead singer in Country Boy but he’s not sure he can do the rest.  So now the male swings are going to have to do split tracks – more than one person in the same number.

I have never in my professional life seen the paragon of organization that is our dance captain, Eric Sciotto.  He was amazing.  He kept having to adjust and re-think as people dropped around him.   Add to all of this the fact that the new male and female swings had not yet been taught some of the tracks they were asked to do that day.  So our amazing assistant dance captain, Josh Buscher, was teaching them tracks right up until showtime as wardrobe was grabbing them to fit them into costumes.

Then poor Mike was having moments of nausea that took him out of a couple of numbers which would just add to the chaos as Eric and Josh had to jump into different roles. But here I have to say, Eric won the award.  In Go West and the Finale, he had to play 3 different people in both numbers.  He worked it out and literally would pick what was essential to keep the show and set moving.  In the Finale, he started as Tad for the entrance, switched to Kyle to unhook the centre diva, switched back to Tad to help me move the giant glittering shoe and had to become someone else after that or before, I forget but literally we all just did our tracks and he seamlessly ducked and weaved his way around the stage cleaning up the messes so no one in the audience would notice.  It was outrageous and so impressive.  A big shout out to him and a BRAVO!!!

But we lived and Steve did an amazing job for having so little rehearsal.  Of course, Tony and Will were so generous with him and loving and helped and guided him.  It was actually fun to have it be so alive because you never knew who you were going to turn around and see.  And there are/were so many reasons for switching, it’s mind-boggling – height, size, etc. One of our “Swedish” gentlemen was black that night – complete with blond wig.  It was awesome.  It would literally change from number to number.  It must be said that our swings are incredible.  Eric, Josh, Amaker who we flying by the seat of his pants, Esther who learned a couple of numbers right before going on as well and the dynamo that is Ellyn – jumping into everyone’s track at the last minute through our whole run and being a rock and a joy and a hoot.  Bravo to all of them.

That was Tuesday, now to last night.  Where do I begin???  Okay, at the top of Act 2, we do Country Boy which is an audience participation number where we each bring someone up and then we dance with them.  So a couple of nights ago, I saw a lovely looking woman who looked like she’d be fun.  She was this lovely black woman with a close-cropped hairdo who looked a little like Judith Jamieson. (sp?) – gorgeous. She looked about 50ish. So I got her up and got to the stairs and realized (damn that great black skin) that clearly, she was well into her sixties/seventies.  Shit!  She was a little slow and uneasy on her feet but all was well.  So I thought, okay, I can’t do that again. I need to make sure they’re a little younger and able-bodied, just because the dancing is a little quick.  So last night I saw this younger lady in a black sweater (remember that part for later), who seemed to be enjoying herself.  Awesome, she’s mine.  She seemed game so I brought her up.  It wasn’t until we got up the stairs to the deck that I realized (sigh) that she only had (big breath)   . . . . one arm . . . . . . . what???!!!  You couldn’t tell in the house because of her BLACK LONGSLEEVE SWEATER.  And not the right arm, which would mean I could still lead her in the dancing, but the left one which meant I had no way to lead her.  Dear God.  I was so shocked I couldn’t even cover it up.  “oh, Oh,. . hey, soo okay umm. . .what’s your name?”  “Now give me that ar. . . uh, and a little step, step.”  But I thought I would lose it when I told her to do the chicken and started flapping my arms.  There is a slight pause and she starts to, rather self-consciously and half-heartedly, flap her one “wing”. ” Oh dear God, don’t laugh at how ludicrous this is.”

So now it’s time for the Polka.  Well, it’s clear, this is not going to work as the arm I need to lead her with  . . . well, . . . doesn’t exist.  So I hold her and just do a little hop step with her.  She is looking self-conscious, I don’t know what to say.  Everything in the number is about using that arm and we have to get out of the way. Aaahhh.  So we live through that but now it’s time for everyone to join hands and then in a few moments do-see-do in a circle.  I link her left hand with the person on her left and on the other side, Jessica is trying to link her guy’s hand to my lady. Have to say several times to Jess through gritted teeth – “one arm, one arm, one arm.”  Finally Jess gets it and without flinching, let’s it go and so the circle starts.  I found out the cast was wondering why the circle is broken as we do-see-do around them.  I see each person realize what is  happening and try not to react.  Luckily the cast then do-see-do’s off-stage.  3 of the most uncomfortable minutes of my life.  Only because I put her in such an odd position. . . . well, she agreed to come up and you take your chances. But I couldn’t recover because everything I say and do is about needing her right arm.  HORRIFYING.  She seemed alright ultimately and I hope she was.  She looked so self-conscious and I couldn’t make it better in the moment.  But i have to say, I will never forget that one tentative flapping wing.

Never a dull moment, y’all.

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm  Comments (3)  

DONNABLOG #22 – OPENING NIGHT

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.

The shots make it look like I’m wide in the jacket but let me assure you, I looked all cinched. That’s right, snnnap!

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.

Come on!!

And Ben wasn’t the only “Lady with a little xtra” on the Pink Carpet.  Miss Flotilla DeBarge

Logan Hardcore

Bianca Del Rio (who looks a bit like Nick Adams in drag, I have to admit – but it’s not)

Courtney Act

Gusty Winds

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.

He stayed for the whole party.  Here’s a great shot of he and Nick Adams – the Felicia Chronicles.

Okay, here go on the Priscilla Opening Night Celebrity Photo Tour.

Bette Midler, of course.

Christie Brinkley

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.

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm  Comments (2)  

DONNABLOG #21

Well, here we are.  The day of my Opening Night Debut on Broadway.  It’s all a bit surreal, I have to admit.  I’ve been thinking about this day/moment from the second I was told I got the show.  What would it feel like?  Would I be scared or happy or joyous?  Would the world stop turning for a moment?  Would I be disappointed or surprised?

It’s 9:10 AM and I’m lying in bed getting ready to start the day.  Two of my favourite people are here to experience Opening Night with me and they’re still sleeping.  I want to savour every moment of today.   It still feels like any other day but I know that in 12 hours, I’ll be getting ready to go to one of the most remembered moments of my life, when I got to go to my first Broadway Opening party of a show I’m in.  I feel calmer than I thought I might, which is actually really nice.  I feel at home here in NYC. People have been asking me how it hasn’t happened sooner.  I have to admit, that’s a bit of an odd question to answer. It’s not like I turned down “so  many offers to come before” or something like that.  The timing just wasn’t right.  I had so many other lessons to learn before I got here, I think.  And it was just the right time now.

I love how people are loving our show.  They are out of their minds by the end.  I love my dressing room of boys.  Mike, Gavin, Tad and our token “young’n” Jeff.  They are funny and loving and kooky and mature and immature and supportive.  It makes going in to work a joy for me and I look forward to seeing them every day.  I feel like all of the years of work and sweat and stress and play has lead me to this and I can sit in it and feel like I belong here.  I don’t have any of those “I feel like I’m a faker” feelings I’ve had in years gone by and which many performers can have from time to time.

It’s an amazing thing when you can just allow yourself to be present . . . without planning ahead of the moment or judging.  I saw a friend’s quote today on Facebook,

Remember to never hide who you are. Then you can start to make life better!

Isn’t that the truth?  And what a perfect statement for Priscilla.  Living one’s life with respect for yourself and for others, and filling your life and everyone else’s life you touch with joy.  In my opinion, there is no great legacy.

Chookas!

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm  Comments (3)