ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: On the Playbill Cruise With Roger Bart and Ana Gasteyer

By Seth Rudetsky
07 Apr 2014



Roger Bart

Regardless, Roger wound up getting along great with Des, who then cast him as Tom Sawyer. (Roger took the blocking he was given without comment.) Roger has a very impish sense of humor and hauled it out when he was doing Big River. One night he was offstage talking to a fellow cast member and Roger suddenly feigned a panicked look on his face and told the guy that while they were talking, the guy had missed his cue. The other actor ran out for the scene he thought he was late for... but instead he had entered a scene early... the scene that featured two actors on a raft. So when the guy ran out and stood in the middle of the stage, it also meant he was standing in the middle of the Mississippi River. I'm sure he now thinks it's funny... 30 years later.

Roger also talked about his friendship with Jonathan Larson. They were very close and, apparently, that's why Adam Pascal's character was named Roger! Roger actually remembers Jonathan running up to him one day and, because they were both struggling financially, he complained to Roger that they were constantly just trying to pay Rent. He literally said "everything is #rent." When Jonathan was writing Rent, Roger did demo tapes of some of the songs and he remembers being in the recording studio with a bunch of friends and they didn't really know how to end the title song, so they did their version of rock singing and slid off the end of the last phrase ("Cause everything is…re-e-e-e-ent!"). It was just a lark to do that slide but when Roger went to see the Broadway show, suddenly it was in the score and the whole cast did it!

After Triumph Of Love, he got cast as Snoopy in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. As most of you know, Kristin Chenoweth became a huge star from that production and, boy, was it apparent backstage. Roger said that he would arrive at the theatre and there would be an enormous pile of TV and film scripts sitting near the stage door for her. He'd ask, "Anything for me?" Silence. Roger wound up winning the Tony Award for that show and afterwards he was listed on theatre sites as as "Tony Award winner Roger Bart." Then he did The Producers where he was nominated for his role as Carmen Ghia, but Gary Beach won. Suddenly, Roger started being listed as "Tony nominee Roger Bart." He doesn't understand why he was demoted. Doesn't his Tony win still count?! Roger mentioned that he wasn't even nominated for his role in Young Frankenstein, so I told him from now on I'm going one step further down and simply listing him as "Equity member Roger Bart."

After Roger's show was Ana Gasteyer's big concert. She was, of course, so funny and also sang really great songs. I'm now officially obsessed with her version of "One Mint Julep". Watch her do it in concert... she goes up to sassy F's! 

Speaking of her sass, there was one day when both James and I wore khaki shorts and Disaster! t-shirts. We totally didn't know we were wearing the same thing until Juli pointed it out at breakfast. Ana commented that she was happy to see we're on the slow slide towards dressing alike and on the even quicker slide towards putting comfort over fashion. Brava! During her show, Ana told the audience that her mother recently commented that Ana was "developing into a very handsome woman." Ana immediately called her friend and told him the story. He told her that when he was in high school, his English class was reading "Pride and Prejudice" and someone in the book was referred to as a handsome woman. They asked the teacher what that meant and she paused and finally said, "Barbra Streisand is a handsome woman."

 Continued...