[caption id="attachment_9534" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Stephanie D'Abruzzo"][/caption]
We are happy to welcome guest celebrity blogger Stephanie D'Abruzzo, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning musical Avenue Q. The singing actress, who will be seen in the Off-Broadway premiere of the new comedy with music, It Must Be Him, will blog for Playbill.com all week; her second entry follows.
GOOD MORNING. I am chagrined, as I failed to mention in my last post how happy I am to be in a show. It feels good to be working on a show, and not just because employment is such a handy thing. Even shows with high ratios of blood, sweat and tears are fond to me, because if there are high-quality people involved, so many sins are forgiven.
It’s a wonderful thing, how we come to gather people in our lives. I was reminded of that a week ago, when I walked into the room for the It Must Be Him meet-and-greet and saw this beautiful mosaic of people I already knew and/or loved, and was about to know and/or love.
I worked with director Dan Kutner and lyricist Ryan Cunningham on I Love You Because way back in 2006 and hadn’t seen them in a long time. Now Dan’s a daddy and Ryan’s engaged, and it’s wonderful to see them so happy.
Larry Grossman, our composer, is a fellow Northwestern alum whom I’d met at various NU events, and along with his many other credits he’s well known among my fellow Muppet performers as the music supervisor on “The Muppet Show,” but I’ve never had the chance to work with him before.
Many moons ago, I met Harris Doran through Jeff Marx, and I met Ryan Duncan through Altar Boyz, which was sort of Avenue Q’s sister show because Gary Adler, our Q conductor and Michael Patrick Walker, one of our regular subs, were its composers. I’d see Harris and Ryan a lot during my Q days, but that was longer ago than I care to admit.
I first met the amazing Alice Playten at a benefit in 2004, and though we’ve never worked together until now, we’ve often exchanged emails about how proud we are of Chandra Wilson, who shared Alice’s dressing room at Caroline, Or Change and was a vacation swing at Avenue Q for two weeks.
And then there’s Jonathan C. Kaplan, my Plaisir D'Amour costar in Summer Shorts 2. Sometimes you work with someone whom you instantly know you simply must work with again and again, if the fates allow. For me, that’s Jonathan, and I’m so glad that the universe could accommodate with this show.
I hadn’t seen John Treacy Egan since we first met at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland a couple of years back, and though we only chatted for one hour, it was a fabulous conversation about Lego, TV, and Don Rickles. How fun to finally work with him.
So that was the greeting, and now it was on to the meeting.
I could instantly tell upon meeting our PSM Tom Taylor and our SM Vanessa Poggioli that our show is in excellent hands. What a good sport Tom was when our Day One lunch break turned into the Last Supper, with cast members and much of the creative team crowding around a table added to another table added to another table. Needless to say, we were more than a little late returning to rehearsal. Here’s a tip: you’re probably safe if you’re lunching with everyone who is due back in the rehearsal hall after lunch... but not as safe as you’d be if you were also lunching with the PSM!
I’d seen playwright Kenny Solms briefly at my audition, and of course I’m a fan of “The Carol Burnett Show,” but I had no previous sense at all of what a character he is. I’m married to a comedy writer, and I have known many other comedy writers, but Kenny is sort of all comedy writers wrapped into one, and yet not like any I have ever encountered. That’s a fascinating thing to witness.
It is here that I sheepishly admit that I had never seen the work of Edward Staudenmayer, Jessica Tyler Wright, Patrick Cummings or Bob Ari until our table read. Clearly, I’ve missed out on great performers and great people. I’m glad to have this chance to remedy that.
Being a fan of Liz Torres and Peter Scolari, I was more than a tad shy. I get that way around people whose work I’ve greatly admired for so long. Thankfully they are both warm and open and kind, and upon meeting them, I instantly admired them as human beings as well. Ms. Liz lights up the room, and Peter, our fearless leader, is a sweet ball of fire.
There is so much more I could say about our fabulous cast, but such gushing will just get Playbill.com all wet. Suffice it to say that I am lucky to work with our creatives and share a stage with these performers, but I am even luckier to add a few more choice people to my life.
Of course, eventually we’re all going to be crammed into that one dressing room. And I haven’t even met the understudies yet.
Have a swell day, kids.