Sandi's bother Cleve was 12 years old when I married into the Asbury family. We sort of grew up together. Cleve was the little brother that I never really wanted, but you can't have a better brother in law.
I was best man at his wedding to Donna Marie Elio, at which time she became my Sister-in-lust. It has been my pet name for her since we met.
After their marriage they lived about 10 minutes from us. They helped us move into our Encino house. We shared box seats at the Hollywood Bowl, we celebrated every holiday and special moment together. Donna was out of town for the Northridge Earthquake, but Cleve huddled with my family at our house, the neighbors house and his house to ride out the frightening aftershocks for a week.
We took their daughter Jacqueline to see Cleve and Donna perform Lumiere and Belle together in the Los Angeles production of "Beauty and the Beast". We eventually adopted their dog Smooch... So you get the picture: Cleve, Donna and Jacq are close close family, but my evaluation of my sister-in-lust as a performer is not blinded by mere love.
Donna is one of the most talented people I know. She acts, dances, sings and compels you, all in a beautiful package to look at. I am delighted to be in her family and in her orbit. She was my tour guide when I was on Broadway. She knows everyone and everyone loves her. We got to meet between shows and talk theatre. In fact a poster for Chicago with Donna's picture prominently and sensually displayed graced the outside the artists entrance to my theatre. Her picture was the last thing I saw every night when I went to work on Broadway. It was a wonderful time.
Her career has spanned decades because she started on stage as a child. Her resumé of shows is staggering, and she has done Chicago on Broadway for 12 years after touring in the show for a couple of years before that. She has played every female lead in the show, the only actress to have ever done so, and she has raised a beautiful daughter with Cleve. To make a living on Broadway, be in a long running hit and have a normal family life with a great marriage and great kid is an unbelievable accomplishment.
And now she is "Broadway's Gypsy of the Month. Donna Marie Asbury: Gypsy of the Month. It is not a surprise to me but it is certainly time that rest of Broadway acknowledged her.
So.....Here is a toast to my sister-in-lust. Congrats on this honor, we could not be prouder, nor love you more. Have one of those Blood Orange Vodka drinks that Cleve makes so well and celebrate. We will do the same together soon.
As you were,