As Tony and Maria sang: Tonight!
Tonight is Concert For America in Atlanta. If you can’t come to the Ferst Center, watch the livestream at 7:30 PM ET on the Facebook Page or at ConcertsForAmerica.com. I’m so excited I have Jessie Mueller, Lillias White, and Keala Settle singing a trio! And I’m excited to hear Melissa Manchester sing a song that most people don’t know she wrote: “Whenever I Call You Friend.” I love it so much! She wrote it with Kenny Loggins but her manager didn’t want her to record it because he felt it wouldn’t be a hit. So Stevie Nicks was the female singer. Watch!
Plus, I’ll be gabbing with Kim Fields about the Actors Fund and I’ve added moronic jokes to our patter. I’m going to tell everyone that she doesn’t like to “Tootie her own horn.” Anybody? Mrs. Garret? Edna?
Hal Sparks is also appearing, and leading up to the concert we wound up talking about acting unions and, though I knew you couldn’t be in the union if you had the same name as another actor, he told me you also can’t be in the union if you have a similar name. First of all, I’m not worried about another Seth Rudetsky. Believe me, if anyone else in the union has that (headache-y) last name, they’re welcome to keep it and I’ll change mine to something WASPY and pithy in a minute. However, Hal said that when he joined SAG there was a Hale Sparks. He thought it wouldn’t be a problem for the guy to let Hal use his name because the guy retired in 1971. Well, Hal was able to use his own name, but only after he bought it from the guy! And if was for an Afterschool Special that Hal was starring in and got paid $2,700. And buying his name cost $2,700. I guess it was a “win-win.” For Hale.
So, I said I’d finish writing about the amazing Playbill Cruise down the Rhine River because I had left off (in last week’s column) on the Wednesday of the cruise. Santino Fontana did his act and his voice is so delicious. Plus, he dueted with his wife and they blend together amazingly. Look how cute they are:
Santino also did one of our Disaster! promos when we were Off-Broadway. I love it!
Santino told a hilarious story about when he read stage directions at a read through of a new film with Ryan Reynolds. So much of this film was action/subtext that Santino said it was almost all like this:
SANTINO: He pulls up in the car and parks aggressively with tires screeching. He gets out, slams the door, reaches into his back pocket and finds a pack of cigarettes. Angle on apartment door opening. He walks through, smoking a cigarette and kicks the door closed with his boot, takes the cigarette out of his mouth, picks up a half-empty glass of scotch and swigs it while walking into the bathroom. He turns on the light, takes one more swig then spills the remaining scotch into the sink. He looks up and sees himself in the mirror.
Speaking of movies, he talked about his audition for Frozen. They told him the character was very handsome, seemed nice but was overly cocky. Since they didn’t give him a song from the film to sing, he tried to find one that summed up that characterization. He gave us his version of Maria’s joyous song from West Side Story which, instead of being “I Feel Pretty” he changed to “I Am Pretty.”
To book a spot an one of Playbill’s upcoming star-studded extravaganzas, or for more information, visit PlaybillTravel.com.
Santino was a fabulous newcomer to Playbill’s cruise, but what was so fun on this Rhine River cruise is three performers on the boat had all done Jerome Robbins Broadway: Charlotte d’Amboise played Anita, Peter Pan, etc., Faith Prince played Ma opposite Jason Alexander, Tessie Tura, etc., and Terrence Mann later took over for Jason Alexander. However, there were other people who had not been in the show. One in particular who auditioned and did not make it. At all. Watch!
I performed with Faith Prince in Ptown last week and I’m psyched to do out show again in New Orleans and San Francisco.
Speaking of the West Coast, during a play she was doing out there, she had an audition for the original Little Shop Of Horrors. It was during tech so it was basically impossible to fly to New York and audition. However, the stage manager took pity and asked Faith if she had a grandfather. Faith said she did but, sadly, he passed away. The stage manager said “Good. He passed away today!” and Faith flew east for the funeral...that happened to be in an audition room.
Before she left, a psychic she knew told her she was going to get it and he had a vision of himself seeing her in the show. Well, she did get it, but it was the New York company and the psychic was on the West Coast.
However, Ellen Greene got sick doing the out-of-town run and they asked Faith to finish previews. It wasn’t announced to the press because the producers didn’t want people to know. There would be an announcement before the show that Faith was going to play the role in that performance. Well, she played Audrey in L.A., with no one knowing she was going to go on and guess who was in the audience? The psychic! His vision had come true!!!
On Wednesday, I went to see Bandstand with my mom and, boy, was I impressed, especially with the direction/choreography and the cast. So many multi-talented people. The lead actors all play their own instruments onstage…and they’re so good!
However, on the way to the show, my mom realized she left her phone at Penn Station. I knew she could pick it up after the show but she was panicked someone was going to steal it. I explained to her that
a. It’s severely old.
b. It’s literally a flip phone which is as useful for contacting someone as a pen and paper.
Regardless, I decided to call it to see if you someone had it in Lost and Found. I called and it rang and rang. Then I called again and it rang and rang. This happened at least four times. Finally, on the fifth time, someone from Lost and Found picked it up. I assumed she had just gotten the phone and that’s why she didn’t answer the first few times I called. No. She told me that she had tried to answer but she couldn’t figure out how because the phone was so old! So, suffice it to say, thieves were not clamoring to pick up the latest in technology. From 1997.
I’ll leave you with a preview of tonight’s concert; We had a get together last night in the stunning room James, Juli, and I are staying in at the Loews Hotel. Keala is singing a solo in “Let The Sunshine In” and was practicing with Lillias White. It was basically two people with amazing voices not knowing any lyrics. Enjoy and tune in tonight on the Facebook page or at ConcertsForAmerica.com.
P.S. Speaking of Lillias, here's my latest deconstruction. My first one where I deconstruct a video!!!