ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Catching Up With Jane Krakowski and Picturing a Disaster!

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08 Oct 2013

Norbert Leo Butz
Photo by Paul Kolnik

On Friday night I went to see Big Fish with Jack, James and Andrea Martin. During intermission a woman walked over to Andrea and asked for her autograph. Then she asked, "Do people approaching you bother you? Because I recently saw (insert famous TV star) at a Broadway show and he spent all of intermission with his head completely blocked by his hands." Andrea smiled understandingly and said, "I'm sure that's because he's recognized by everyone wherever he goes. You're the first person to recognize me in 2013."

Big Fish has a score by Andrew Lippa and there's no CD yet, but I deconstructed his Wild Party, which I'm totally obsessed with. Watch! After the show, we all couldn't stop talking about Norbert Leo Butz. I thought of Patti LuPone and how she's often told me that she wanted to be a rock and roll singer but she knew she was "born to the boards." That's what I thought while I was watching Norbert do everything he does in the show (and it's a lot). He is born to the boards. He's such a fantastic actor and singer and simply belongs onstage in front of people. I deconstructed him singing The Last Five Years here

Speaking of Andrea Martin, Jack and I asked her to do one of our celebrity videos to promote Disaster. We went to her apartment to film it and, of course, wound up chatting instead. I then realized I was late to pick up Juli from a Girl Scout trip so we filmed it in about 10 minutes. We put Andrea against a wall in her bedroom and turned on one (1) light. Turns out, it came out soooo funny and after Andrea watched it, she emailed Jack later that night and wrote she'd never had better lighting in her life.

Jane and I doing our show at an arts high school called NOCCA and Jane did a Q & A session with the kids before our tech. It was so great! She talked about taking dance class starting when she was 3 and going in to audition for something called the Milliken Breakfast Show when she was 9. If you don't know, the Milliken Breakfast Show was a big industrial, written by Broadway greats like Larry Gelbart and directed for many years by Michael Bennett. Jane wound up getting cast (as a so-called Millikiddie) and the first year she did it, she performed with the entire original company of A Chorus Line! There were ten "legends" every year so Jane wound up doing a tap dance with Donald O'Connor and a bathtub scene with Gloria Swanson! She was the most impressed with Ginger Rogers, who would come in two hours before the show (which began at 8 AM) to do a full barre.

When Jane auditioned, it was a big open call and her number was in the 250's. There was a girl who was next to her on line and they auditioned together and wound up getting the gig. Jane's mom snuck into the theatre and took a photo of Jane auditioning which also had the other girl in the shot. Twenty years later, Jane was on Broadway and gave the photo to the other girl who was now her leading lady: None other than Sarah Jessica Parker!



Continued...

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