ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Planning a Disastrous New Year's Eve and Building Bridges With Jason Robert Brown

By Seth Rudetsky
30 Dec 2013

How creative is that?! And, because she told her cast that story, the stage manager had the nameplate for her dressing room at Beautiful altered.

Brava! Speaking of dressing rooms, the last show Anika did in New York was Unbroken Circle, which is playing at St. Luke's on 46th Street (where Disaster! now is). The dressing rooms are basically as small as my role was in The Ritz... and that's pretty small. Anika gave us a tour of her Beautiful dressing room and the fact that I would love her bathroom stall as my actual dressing room shows how amazing it is. 

Anika's luxurious bathroom at Beautiful (me, Juli, Anika, James and Robb Sapp)

On New Year's Day, we went to Julia Murney's annual pancake all-day breakfast. Every Jan 1 (for more than 20 years) Julia stands in the parents' kitchen and makes pancakes and bacon, along with orange juice and coffee, starting at noon. This year, we were the first to arrive! But we were also the first to leave, because we wanted to go to Christine Ebersole's party at her house in New Jersey. We knew we'd have to catch the 1 PM train if we wanted to get there with enough time to enjoy ourselves. Julia told us that instead of taking the train, we could borrow her car. So nice! Since she does the pancake breakfasts at her parents' apartment, I needed to go to her apartment to get the keys. She told me it was in the next building over so I hightailed it there. The front door to the building was unlocked, but it was taking me forever to get her apartment door open. I thought I had the wrong apartment number, but I double-checked and it was correct.

Julia and her pancakes

I finally called Julia after much frustration, and she explained that she meant the next building to the left of her parents, not the right. So, first of all, I spent 15 minutes aggressively trying to unlock a stranger's apartment. That would have been fun if the door had opened or the police had been called. And when I was asked by everyone why I simply didn't check the name listed downstairs, I told them that I had, and when I saw a completely different name attached to Julia's apartment number, I assumed it's because she's a Broadway actress and hoped to discourage people from stalking her by confusing them with the name "Peter Fong."

Part Two of the pancake debacle is that a few days into Juli's winter vacation I commented about how amazing it is that she gets two full weeks off. When I was growing up on Long Island we only got 10 days. James told me that he always got two weeks off when he was a kid and he was happy Juli was getting to enjoy two weeks as well. But, truth be told, she wasn't entirely enjoying it. We kept promising her we were going to do exciting and special family things: Go to a movie in a theatre we haven't been, ice skating etc. We put it off for the first week and a half, but decided that we'd begin all of our fun stuff the day after New Year's Day.

So... at the New Year's Day party, James asked Julia where he should park her car on the way back. She told him that anywhere was fine, but not in front of the local school because it would have to be moved since school was about to start back up. Huh? James told her that school actually started back up on Monday. She told him it began Thursday. He looked it up online... and then had to break the news to Juli. That's right — not only were there no fun family adventures in the future, but all the homework she had been saving for the last few nights was suddenly due the next day. Yay?