ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Adam Pascal, Prop Drops and Stokes

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08 Oct 2007

Adam Pascal & Brian Stokes Mitchell
Adam Pascal & Brian Stokes Mitchell

I dropped my prop. That's not a euphemism. I have a feature in Act Two of The Ritz, and as I exited, I dropped my prop.

For the rest of the show, I couldn't stop obsessing about it. Especially, because I knew critics were in the house. Nowadays, critics come during the last couple of show before Opening Night. I wasn't sure that there would be critics there that night, until I was talking to someone on the creative staff who flat out told me...without me asking! Note to staff member: Keep your trap shut about things like that. Although, note to myself: Keep my trap shut as well. I told my friend David Turner that our mutual friend Paul Castree was in the audience and he told me that in the future, I should zip it. He said that he spent the whole show thinking: "Hmm…I wonder if Paul will like the way I always read this line. Well, I guess we'll never know since I can't re-create what I normally do because I'm thinking about Paul's reaction."

Well, I had the same problem after I dropped my prop. The next scene is where I have my signature line "Careful, Googie." I was onstage obsessing about why I dropped my prop, if I broke it, if the audience now hated me, if the critic would mention that the show would have been a hit were it not for the butterfingers of a one "Seth Rudetsky" etc…when I heard silence onstage. Oh, no! That's me! I quickly spat out "Careful, Googie!" but was now obsessing that the review headline would be "Quick paced farce becomes slow paced dirge due to Rudetsky's slowness on the uptake." My friend Jack Plotnick says that actors are like Jacob Marley after they make a mistake. Instead of letting it go and moving on, they add it to the chain of shame they wear. True 'dat.

My friend Aaron, who's hilarious, came to The Ritz over the weekend. He sassed me with a text message right before the show.

ME: Watch for me in the opening scene. I'm the old, hunched over biddy in black with a walker.

HIM: So, you won't be wearing a costume?

Brava! Oh, yeah…speaking of which: In the last scene in the show, there's a bunch of us onstage in a crowd, and at one point we're supposed to be happy about something Kevin Chamberlin does. Well, usually we all applaud and I ad lib a word or two. Cut to last week when, for some reason, no one in the crowd audibly applauded, so all you heard was my exposed vocal ad lib. In the middle of the scene, in total silence, the audience heard me shout out a loud, nasal, Brava! to Kevin Chamberlin. I was mortified.

My boyfriend and I watched Audra on her new show, "Private Practice." First of all, she looks gorgeous! Secondly, we decided she loves acting with props. Spot the first scene of the show: She has a conversation while peeling, separating and eating an orange. Keep watching future episodes to see if she is the prop queen. FYI, if she drops her prop, she can always do another take, as opposed to me — I had to bend down, pick it up and slink offstage.

I got to interview Adam Pascal on Sirius this week. I asked him about what Broadway shows he saw growing up, and he told me that he saw Les Miz but didn't remember much of it…because he was such a little kid. He was mortified when I told him that it opened on Broadway in 1986 when he was a teenager. Hmm…maybe he saw the original French production. Quelqu'on? Personne.

He said he's been annoyed for years because when he was eight he went to Stage Door Manor musical theatre summer camp, and they've never acknowledged him as an alum. He also admitted that he was phenomenally homesick and spent the whole summer crying daily, so maybe that's why they blocked him out. No one likes a cry baby (but hopefully we'll like the new musical!).

He got Rent because Idina was in it and recommended him for the audition. The first crazy part is that he's known Idina since he was ten but he calls her I-dina. She pronounces it Ih-dina. So did she grow up pronouncing it differently, or did she correct him numerous times in her tweenhood and finally give up? I know what that's like. I did a show with a famous Broadway composer who called me Zeth for a year and half, and I never quite had the energy to correct him. My question is: I know that Seth is not the most common name, but Zeth is? Where? At that bar in "Star Wars"?

I asked Adam if my favorite song in Rent was his: "La Vie Boheme." He said a decided "no." I was shocked, outraged and more than a little put off (not really, I just wanted to see what it was like writing that). Anyhoo, he said that "La Vie Boheme" has always made no sense to him from an acting perspective. He asked me how come his character, who hasn't left his apartment in months, is suddenly laughing, singing and shaking his butt in a restaurant. Hmm…I guess that is the definition of zero to 60: from house-bound to on-table butt-shaking. He said he's finally given up trying to justify it and just does it. As an audience member I say, yes, it makes no sense, but it sure is fun to watch. So dance, monkey, dance!


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