ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: No Crying Over Spilled Wine (or Spilled Blood?!) After Lend Me a Tenor

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11 Aug 2014

On the plane!

Those of us obsessed with light coffee know that 2% versus milk versus half and half is vastly different. Suffice it to say, the "milk" was indeed 2% and tasted like white-colored water. Anyhoo, the plane left an hour late because it needed a mechanical fix (always a fun thing to hear before you fly 30,000 feet in the air) but we landed on time. We had planned to go right to Oxford for three days before London, but we found out that our British friends, James Thompson and John Reid, were free for lunch at 1 PM. We thought it would be a headache to travel 90 minutes to Oxford and then 90 minutes back for lunch, so we decided to wait it out in London. Unshowered and carrying our luggage. John and James are staying at the Dorchester Hotel while their home is being renovated so I thought we should ask if the hotel would watch our luggage while we had breakfast. I thought there was a chance they'd smile and say "indubitately" or they'd glare and say, "We're very sorry. We cannot be responsible for watching any of your parcels." Then ending with a "Now go!" a la Patti LuPone in Sunset Boulevard.

We arrived at the Dorchester, which is fancy shmancy, with an extra dose of shmancy and, turns out, they were so nice! They told us we could leave whatever bags we wanted while we went to breakfast and then, when we mentioned we wanted to change our t-shirts because we just flew for seven hours, they offered us use of their full spa and shower services! It was so fantastic! We got showered, dressed, went to breakfast and then met John and James for lunch. They told us that Joan Collins does her show at the same theatre I'm performing at. Naturally. I've always thought of myself and Joan as peers. They also added that at one point in the show, she mentions how she used to do "the splits" and then literally does the splits! Not cool. How can I top that?

After a delightful lunch at Nobu, James and I got on the London to Oxford bus. We got our hotel on Priceline.com but after it chose one for us, we read the reviews on TripAdviser.com. They all talked about how the rooms had no air conditioning (!) and how hot they were. Some of the rooms didn't have windows that opened! We immediately called Priceline and told them that the hotel was listed as having three stars but the recent comments on TripAdvisor made it seem decidedly not three stars. We wanted to get our money back and find another hotel. They emailed us back saying that they spoke to the hotel and were assured that it met the strict Priceline guidelines for three stars. OK. So, we traveled 90 minutes to the hotel in Oxford, walked into our room, and immediately started sweating profusely. We found the fan provided for us in the room that was supposed to help cool it down. The so-called fan was around five inches and couldn't circulate any air from outside because there was no outlet near the window! Since we didn't want to live in a real-live steam room, we got another hotel, checked out and took the 90 minute bus back to London. So, to recap, seven hours flight to London, an hour to the Dorchester Hotel, 90 minutes by bus to Oxford, 30-minute stay in Oxford and 90 minutes back to London. I'm writing a sequel to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and calling it "Planes, Trains, Buses and Buses."

The good news is, because we got to London early, we've been able to schedule lots of shows to see! First we saw the new Miss Saigon. Let me just say I am obsessed with Eva Noblezada. She was performing in NYC at the "Jimmy Awards" which is for excellence in high school theatre. She was seen there by casting director Tara Rubin, who got her an audition for Kim and she got the gig! She's now living in London, starring in the show and she's fantastic. And she's 18! I chatted with her after the show and told her how impressed I was with her high belt but that I felt bad for the little kid playing Tam because she's constantly hugging him while belting a D. She told me that as she's hugging him she also often covers his ears. Brava on preventing his head from exploding! I was the most riveted by her blank-facedness. She plays so much of the beginning of the show completely expressionless which is so real. I asked her about that after the show and she said she's trying to be a young girl who just lost her family and has suddenly been thrust into a totally new and terrifying environment. During the whole opening, she looks like someone who doesn't have the luxury of reacting. She just "is." After the show, I asked her to take a photo with me where we're both in total blank-face. Take a look!


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