Backstage:

BY Advocate Contributors

October 20 2010 2:35 PM ET

JOHN CARROLL X390 | ADVOCATE.COM

In said bag, I have my lunch, my street clothes, my dance clothes, my dance shoes, my script, my score, my dance captain book, and whatever else I feel I'll need during my long day’s journey. Basically, it's Mary Poppins's carpetbag. Why just the other day, when I was rummaging through it, I found a floor lamp, a shark's tooth, and, if I'm not mistaken, Jimmy Hoffa. I think the weight of this bag is messing with the alignment of my spine. If I don't get a massage soon, by the end of rehearsals I'm going to look like Zelda from the movie Pet Semetary.

On a lighter note, today I was sitting in the audience watching tech rehearsal as they were working on a scene with Patti LuPone, or P.Lu, as I like to call her. There I was, minding my own business as usual when P.Lu spots me in the audience. She then proceeds to yell out to me from the stage for all the world to hear, "John, I read the blog. That was so sweet. Thank you so much."

I remember a tunnel and a bright light. Oh, my gay hell. Can you believe it? This living legend read my words and she liked them! Thoughts going through my head:



1. I'm going to pee myself like June Allyson.
2. It's not a blog, it's a "column."
3. Why am I sweating?
4. Patti LuPone just said my name — my inner gay child has just been healed!


I know I have an odd way of seeing things. I'm OK with it. It keeps me entertained and makes me laugh. For instance, at the end of act 1, some of the women are literally hanging by the end of their ropes. During the number they are strapped into harnesses, and off they go — up, up, and away.

For one of the versions the amazing director Bart Sher tried, the leading ladies (Patti, Sherie, etc.) were all being strapped in by other cast members. Now, I'm not quite sure it's the best idea to have your understudy strap you into a "safety harness." I've seen All About Eve. I know how these things play out. The last thing you want to hear from "Eve" as she straps you in onstage before you are hoisted 50 feet into the air is, "Psst .. Patti ... Patti, my carpal tunnel is flaring up." Suddenly the ropes fly up, P.Lu goes down, the next thing you know a new star is born. You've heard of "Rose's Turn" — well, now its Eve's turn!

We start previews in a few days. I'm not sure what to think. Part of me is terrified that the outside world is ready to come a-knockin' at our door. We have been huddled together in our very protected creative cocoon for several weeks. Now every preteen blogger with two left feet and a pitch problem (you know who you are) is poised and ready to send their unsolicited opinions out into cyberspace. To be honest, the other part of me is just so happy to not be spending 10 hours a day in a dark theater. I think I've come down with rickets.



For more information on Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, click here.

Tags: Theater

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