Broadway Boy Toy

BY John Carroll

January 16 2012 5:00 AM ET

JOHN CARROLL B&W X560 (MCDERMOTT) | ADVOCATE.COMUm, excuse me...what?

Now, in theater when you see someone whose performance you really did not care for, there are a couple of things you could say. "I saw you up there!" and, "You were on that stage!" are a few good things to tell them when what you really want to say is, "I thought you really sucked," or "It would have been better if the theater had caught on fire."

"You all look like you're having a lot of fun" is probably the worst of the worst. The proverbial kiss of death from S.S. himself. Needles to say he had some notes, we made some changes, and I do believe, the great and powerful Oz is now a very happy man.

There have been so many highlights to this experience. Whether it’s opening the stage door after every show and seeing the crowd of fan’s faces fall as they realize I am not Bernadette Peters, or when I mistakenly thought Elaine Paige was forgetting a lyric to “I’m Still Here,” so I shouted out “Bebe’s Bathysphere!” which in my defense is a line from the song, however a line that wasn’t for yet another three verses. Live theater folks!

However, I’d have to say one of the biggest highlights was the cast recording. I am a Juilliard trained dancer. I am very aware of the talents I bring to the table and a voice that Sondheim would fall in love with is probably not one of them. Being in the recording studio with a 28-piece orchestra, this amazing cast and Stephen Sondheim on the other side of the glass was a “pinch me” moment. Of all the amazing singers I know, the irony that I am the one on a Sondheim recoding is not lost on me. However, I will brag about it to anyone who will listen.

I love my job. God knows I do. However, I wasn’t too overjoyed to find out we had to work on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Years Eve and New Years day. I really don’t know who wants to celebrate the birth of Christ or ring in the New Year with Follies, the show about old ladies, dead showgirls, and philandering couples, but apparently, you’re out there.

At first I was pissed that I wouldn’t get to see my loved ones for Christmas, but then I came into work and found that coveted blue box from Tiffany’s at my dressing room station with a beautiful ornament in it from Bernadette Peters. I sat with Elaine Paige in her dressing room as we exchanged the gifts we bought each other and she sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to me with childlike joy. I walked out the stage door after the performance and the endless amount of tourists who seem to occupy Times Square had all but disappeared, leaving the streets empty and quiet. I looked down the streets of the Theater District with all the marquises lit up giving off their own Christmas-like glow and realized I am on Broadway and there really isn’t any other place I’d rather be.

Follies is performed at New York’s Marquise Theatre through January 22. It will be transferred to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles beginning May 3. For more information on John Carroll, visit his website here.

 















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