Kevin Chamberlin, who plays Dimas, the comic gardener, in Triumph of Love, is a longtime online fan. He has agreed to post a diary of his opening night experiences as part of Playbill On-Line's "Countdown to Curtain." Look for his logo throughout the day!
October 23, 1997 - 2 PM Phone has been ringing off the hook with well wishers. The theater phoned me to inform me that I could have four extra tickets and it was difficult to decide who to give them to. I realized that my commercial agents hadn't seen the show yet, so I invited them.
I had planned to bake cookies in the shapes of little hearts for the crew, but I've just run out of time. I've decided to pick up some booze and flowers for them instead. Who has time for baking!!!? What was I thinking?
We have one of the best crews on Broadway. Since our show has only one set, we have a small company and we all know each others' names already and have socialized after work many times. Usually, Broadway shows have a very large backstage crew and it takes time to just learn all their names. This show feels very much like a theatrical family and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. We have been gathering on-stage and forming a circle just to center ourselves and focus our energy on "telling the story" - and every night we're amazed at how small a group we are. Someone always says, "Is everyone here? This is it?" John Guare ( Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves) came to the show last Saturday matinee. He is one of my favorite playwrights. I was beside myself as he began showering us with complements. He just adored the show and commented on the fact that when we all came out for the curtain call, he couldn't believe there were just seven in the cast. The show is so intimate, yet it feels like a big Broadway musical.
This evening is special to me for many reasons. First and foremost, its a very young creative team, many of them making their Broadway debuts and the excitement and anticipation surrounding the show is overwhelming. Making their Bway debuts are James Magruder - the librettist, Michael Mayer - the director, Jeff Stock - the composer, Chris Sieber -"Agis", and for Roger Bart, this is his first time originating a role on Broadway. For me, this is my first principal Broadway contract. The shows I appeared in at Lincoln Center were ensemble roles under a Regional Theater contract. A lot of firsts in Triumph of Love.
This evening is also special because of my history with my costar, Roger Bart, who plays Harlequin. He and I have known each other for seventeen years now. We went to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey's Mason Gross School of the Arts, and got our BFA's in acting together. Although we never actually did any shows together at school, we have stayed in close contact over the years and have always gone to see each other in tours and productions from Baltimore to LA. Having the opportunity to actually play opposite each other, and have a great 11 o'clock number together, has been the biggest treat of all for me. We have such mutual respect and admiration for each other, and a comic synergy that, I think, comes across in what we do on-stage. We're so at ease with each other - the work comes easy - it isn't work at all.
Well, I still have cards to write and presents to wrap. I'm getting a lot of opening night wishes via email. That's a first! I'll have to print them out and put them up on my dressing room mirror. I keep everything that people send me. I even dry the flowers and hang them by my dressing room window. It looks out onto 45th Street, and right across the way is Les Miz at the Imperial Theater. I'm getting a sense of the history we will be making tonight. I got old Royale Theatre Playbills from the 1920's and 1930's as opening night presents for the cast, and it's awe-inspiring to see who has performed at The Royale over the years - Bette Davis, James Dean, Mae West, Ethel Barrymore, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud. WOW! It's all seeming so surreal right now.
Well, off to do some shopping and finish up my cards.