We are happy to welcome guest celebrity blogger Jason Danieley, who is currently starring opposite wife Marin Mazzie in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Next to Normal. The singing actor, who has also appeared on Broadway in Curtains, Candide and The Full Monty, will blog for Playbill.com all week; his first entry follows.
A Labor (day) of Love
Howdy! Hope you all had a great weekend. I'll be your celebrity blogger for the week. Please sit back, put all your own thoughts out of your mind and let me blog your brain with my own benign bent on things.
As a rule, entertainers are exempt from any and all holidays, "weekends" and most familial affairs. That is one of the occupational hazards of being an actor. You are there to provide entertainment on those days of the year that are on either side of Monday and Friday and that are highlighted in red on our calendars. It's a pleasure and an honor to do so, but it also makes you feel slightly like an outsider. Occasionally we do break out and do something daring like going out to be entertained ourselves. So, late after our own Sunday evening performance on Labor Day weekend, Marin and I scurried down to the Blue Note jazz club to revel in the romantic notes of another husband and wife team.
Any of you out there who love music, which is all of you, I'm sure, or why would you be on Playbill.com in the first place, can directly link a song to an emotional, important event monumental moment in your life. And, Tuck & Patti's "Heaven Down Here" is that song for us.
Not to be repetitive on this website, since it's been written about many times before, but Marin and I met doing a play Off-Broadway called The Trojan Women: A Love Story, written by Charles Mee Jr. and directed by Tina Landau. Tina, ever the fearless and inspiring director, works in a directing style called The Viewpoints. It's a wonderful way to create theatre and I'd encourage you to check out her book "The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition," co-written with Anne Bogart, on the subject. A part of the rehearsal process sometimes includes bringing in music that you personally listen to that reflects a moment or overall feeling of the piece. For Trojan Women Marin brought in an album of the husband and wife jazz duo known as Tuck & Patti and played the cut "Heaven Down Here."
Long, long story short… the song was put in the show and used at the crucial moment that Dido (Marin) and Aeneas (me) realize their attraction for one another, and it culminated in the kiss, the kiss that launched, up to this point, a 14-year love affair and partnership. Our real life relationship was igniting even as Dido and Aeneas were fanning the flames of their desires right there on the stage of the East River Park Amphitheatre.
Over the years we've played that album and that song on our home stereo or in the car on a long cross-country drive to recapture or remember that moment in our life. But being on a show schedule (read: 6 day work weeks), we've never had the opportunity to see Tuck & Patti live. We're always working the same schedule as they are, and it's been impossible to manage… until this Labor Day weekend.
Tuck Andress, a virtuoso on a 1949 Gibson arch-top, and Patti Cathcart, a vocalist who is a hybrid of Sarah Vaughn and a Caribbean beat-box, started their eighth show in four nights with the class and panache of a team that has worked together for 32 years. They were inspiring as artists and as a married couple/team. Their chemistry was effortless and second nature as was their artistry.
Through the typical showbizian channels of our collective publicists, our story of how their music had played an integral part of our life was relayed to them. They kindly offered up a beautiful rendition of "Heaven Down Here" for us, and we were able to witness first-hand the joy and beauty of their love and artistry as directed to and for us, something that we will cherish forever.
On that Labor Day weekend, although we had to labor ourselves, we were the happy recipients of the labors of Tuck & Patti, again.