From Cats to Pippin, Charlotte D’Amboise’s 5 Most Memorable Nights Onstage

Diva Talk   From Cats to Pippin, Charlotte D’Amboise’s 5 Most Memorable Nights Onstage
 
The two-time Tony nominee details several standout moments of her theatrical career, including a hilarious trick on Jasmine Guy.
Charlotte d'Amboise
Charlotte d'Amboise Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Charlotte d'Amboise and Terrence Mann
Charlotte d'Amboise and Terrence Mann Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Charlotte d'Amboise, last on Broadway in Diane Paulus' Tony-winning revival of Pippin, is one of the great triple threats of her generation, earning Tony nominations for her performances in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line. The multi-talented actor has also performed the role of merry murderess Roxie Hart in the Tony-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Chicago on numerous occasions.

D'Amboise, whose Broadway credits also include Cats, Song and Dance, Carrie, Damn Yankees, Company, Contact, and Sweet Charity, will bring her many talents to Playbill Travel's Rhine River cruise August 12–20. She will be joined by Tony winner Faith Prince, Drama Desk winner Andréa Burns, three-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann, Tony nominee Santino Fontana, and music director Seth Rudetsky. Click here for more information.

We asked d'Amboise to pen a list of her most memorable nights in the theatre; her responses follow.

When my wig flew off my head when I was in Pippin:

I was dancing with my five boys in “Spread a Little Sunshine,” playing the powerful, sex-driven Queen, and with one head pop, my long red wig flew across the stage. Not only did I have an ugly wig cap, but the mic pack was also on my head. I remember thinking, ’What would Fastrada do in this moment?’ I ripped off my mic pack and wig cap and threw them offstage without missing a dance step. At the very end I just walked slowly down center stage and bowed like a queen. Once I was backstage, I laughed my face off!

When our dog made his Broadway debut in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway:

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Company Martha Swope

When I was in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, my friend Mary Ann Lamb and I were dog sitting and kept Blue—a huge wire-haired pointer— in our dressing room. Blue managed to walk down four flights of stairs and into the scene of “You Gotta Have a Gimmick” from Gypsy. He stopped the show, and the audience gave him a standing ovation... Needless to say that after that incident, Actors’ Equity made a new rule: “No dogs allowed backstage.”

When Tim Jerome forgot his lyrics in Cats:

I was playing Cassandra in Cats, and we all gathered onstage to listen to Gus the Theatre Cat regale us with his memories of being an actor. This soliloquy goes on for about 10 minutes. As soon as Tim started, he forgot his lyrics. He then proceeded to talk gibberish for 10 minutes. He never got back. He talked and talked without a word of sense. Of course, we all tried to help when we weren't laughing, but to no avail.

Watching Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees:

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Charlotte d'Amboise Carol Rosegg

When I played Lola in Damn Yankees and Jerry Lewis played the Devil, we would all huddle in the wings to watch him perform. He had a bit where he would throw and twirl his cane and then catch it. If he missed the cane, he would proceed to tell a joke and then try again. This would go on until he caught it. One night he dropped it 15 times. We were blessed with 15 Jerry Lewis jokes! Loved every moment.

Playing a joke on Jasmine Guy:

I had the privilege of performing Chicago with Jasmine Guy. I had worked out a plan with the conductor ahead. It was her last performance, and she had just finished that long, strenuous number, “I Can't Do It Alone.” Her next line to me is “Well, what do you think?” And I said, “I didn't quite get it, you're going to have to do it again.” The orchestra started playing, and she had no choice. She reluctantly started the whole dance over again. She was brilliant and hilarious, and she still hasn’t forgiven me.

Senior Editor Andrew Gans is also the author of the monthly Their Favorite Things column.

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