An assistant wearing a "Don't Panic" button was looking panicked. In Triumph of Love producer Margo Lion's office on West 44th Street, she had just dropped one of the many Cupid-emblazoned items that were part of the producer's trove of gifts for the musical's opening night.
The crew is getting cognac, the actors champagne in ribboned foil bags.
On Lion's desk, next to her Tony Award medallions and her "Imagine Life Without Drama" paperweight, a wrapped gift from Triumph co-star Susan Egan bears the note: "To the true Princess Leonide. I thank you with all of my heart! You have given me a dream. Here's to love and its TRIUMPH."
Meanwhile, over at the Royale Theatre, where Triumph opens in just four and a half hours, stage doorman Bill Margaretten ("that's 'production coordinator'!") is admitting yet another deliveryperson with flowers, cookies, ribboned boxes, fruit baskets, wine bottles and oddly-shaped mystery gifts.
F. Murray Abraham has placed a huge pumpkin on a stairway landing and crew members, as they begin to arrive, are filling out a "guess its weight" sheet, posted by Abraham. Below the stage, on a long table next to the entrance to the orchestra pit, gifts for the technical crew and writers are beginning to pile up. "Great opening!" "May it be a Triumph tonight," etc. Are scrawled on the packages. Even though the official call is not until 4 PM, several of the actors are darting from room to room, sneaking presents onto one another's makeup tables.
Zak Berkman of co-producer 101 Productions compared the afternoon of opening night to Christmas, then compared it more to a wedding.
But not everyone was playing. Even as the pile of gifts, and especially candy, began to pile up, Wardrobe Assistant June Kushner was rushing downstairs with a armful of shirts to iron.
On the door of the second floor wardrobe room is a markerboard on which the actors are supposed to list things they need mended. The night before, Christopher Sieber lost a button from his vest. Berkman, who has been through seven Broadway opening nights, and many more at the Off-Broadway New York Shakespeare Festival, said she spotted that one herself.
She put down her ironing and took up a needle, "Openings are very busy days," she observed with patient understatement as she began stitching the button, as innumerable wardrobe mistresses have been doing for centuries of opening nights. "Help yourself to some candy."