Besides “Girls in white dress with blue satin sashes” some of my favorite things are Broadway and travel. I have had the good fortune to appear in many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, hit TV series and films, as well and traveled far and wide. I thought I knew the score. I thought cruises were not for me—not my thing. I wasn’t a Love Boat fan. I have never been more wrong IN MY LIFE!
One Playbill cruise and I was hooked! The Playbill cruise combines everything I love in one week on a glamerous enchanting ship...and with a valet!!! Being a native New Orleanian, I’m a foodie too. The daily meals are simply divine, whether one breakfasts in their suite or indulges in the buffet. I confess I am a breakfast buffet addict and this one beats the Waldorf’s! Plus, there are numerous gourmet restaurants to choose from for dinner. But, the best part is that if you like theatre, this is Broadway HEAVEN.
Besides chatting with and getting to know Broadway actors, award winners and legendary talents by the pool, during dining , at the bar, in the halls, on the tender, on the dock , at the port, on the deck (stop me, I’m starting to sound like a Sondheim patter “list song”) every day there is a smart Broadway lecture or Chatterbox hosted by Seth Rudetsky with impromptu songs (usually show-stoppers) and never-heard wild personal tales of the wonders and woes of the Great White Way.
This last trip, Seth Rudetsky, Virginia Woodruff (Smokey Joe’s Café), and Tony winner Lillias White decided to perform the fight scene from Dreamgirls—just for fun. Seth knew all the boys’ parts, Virginia did all the girls and, of course, Lillias reprised her Effie. Not only was it great, rather than end with that, Seth continued to play the piano and Lillias blew the roof off that ship with “And I am Telling You.” Instant standing ovation. As far as incomparable moments from this trip, I think that tied with Brian Stokes Mitchell singing either “Man of La Mancha”—a surprise reunion with his Sancho Panza, Ernie Sabella—or “America the Beautiful.” (It’s still a toss up between the two mind-blowing performances and the memory will never fade!)
Besides singing a little ditty here and there, my job this trip was that of Master of Cermonies. It was a blast each evening to introduce my friends and cohorts, for every night there as a first rate, first class solo cabaret show by the Broadway powerhouses aboard the ship. I have never felt energy and love like that in a room, so up close and personal! My fellow actors are just as thrilled to see their comrades perform as they are to take the stage.
The Caribbean ports were beautiful, too, but to be honest, I have so much fun on the boat and with the passengers and actors, I really don’t want to disembark! It’s the onboard joy and comaraderie that is infectious. Come on, when was the last time you bellied up to the piano bar and joined in a singalong of your favorite show tunes with the likes of Howard McGillin, Alice Ripley, Judy Kuhn, Ernie Sabella, and Karen Mason? With Kevin Chamberlain tickling the ivories—no less—as two-time Tony winner Andrea Martin sang her song from Pippin, “Oh, It’s Time to Start Living.”
I’ll be clamoring to join Playbill’s travels as long as I can walk up the gang plank. Hope to see you on the next adventure!
Don’t miss your chance to hop on the next cruise! Playbill Travel’s Rhine River cruise sets sail in August 2017. The luxury cruise—complete with performances by top Broadway talent such as Faith Prince, Andréa Burns, Terrence Mann, Santino Fontana, and more—tours the stunning and culture-filled cities of Basel, Cologne, Amsterdam, and more. And, recently announced, Playbill cruises the Danube River in November 2017 and Iceland in summer 2018. For more information about Playbill Travel and to book your next Broadway getaway click here.