Monday, June 25, 2007

In my show I reference the “big time personal manager” I was briefly signed with when I moved to Los Angeles. Before the end of the first season of SOAP we parted ways. I guess you could say I fired him, but how can you fire someone who is not working for you in the first place. The day I went into the office to say I was leaving, he said, in a very condescending and arrogant way - “No client who ever left me did any better than when we were together.” That was literally decades ago and I had forgotten all about that until this morning.

Two days ago when Sandi and I returned home we got to actually watch the Tony Awards Show via Tivo. It wasn’t a dream and I didn’t imagine it… Eddie Izzard really did hand me a TONY on national television. I have to say, that is definitely something “better” than ever happened to me while I was with the ex-manager. “Nah, Nah, Nah…” reverberates in my mind right now. I wouldn’t know how to reach that ex-manager, nor would I try and I don’t think he was watching the Tony’s… it is just one of the unforeseen emotions that Antoinette Perry’s trophy kindles. There are many more just as unexpected.

Yesterday my friend Sherry mentioned the word validation. That really is it. With a Tony award I feel validated. Paul, Murphy and I did not set out to produce a Tony winning show. We just wanted to do a theatrical production, for the love of doing it. We only wanted to do the best job we could. It was not easy and it took many turns, which could have been reason to give up. Now to be one of the elite shows awarded a Tony is validation of the journey indeed.

Why artists need validation is another subject. The work should be the reward itself, but that is a lonely proposition. If actors did not care about outside opinions why do they allow an audience to see them? I guess we all need a pat on the back for a job done well even if we loved the work. Maybe sometimes it is just to prove to the doubter we could do it.

The manager’s name is Richard O. Linke. Nah, Nah Nah.
As you were,

Monday, June 18, 2007

I am at sea with Sandi. I have not been home since the TONY Awards. My son Taylor who is holding down the house says the message machine is on over load from congrats. This is all a Cinderella tale for me.

I will want to reflect on this in great detail later, but here is what the TONY means to me. It is one of the nationally recognised awards along with Emmys, Grammys, Oscars of course, but it is a performers award. Unlike the awards that are given for performing in a recorded media, a TONY is an award for stage actors. A TONY means that you did a show eight times a week, live in front of an audience.

I like to work in film and television, and I am sure recording a song would be great, but I love to work on a stage. There is nothing like the thrill of making it happen in real time every night. That is why I cherish this TONY. It is given by people who know what it takes to get out there every night. It is an honor to be accepted into that circle of special performers.

Thank you to everyone who came to see the Two and Only, and Thank you to all who have sent congratulations. I could likely be the most blessed person in the world.
As you were,

Monday, June 11, 2007

As I worked the red carpet last night at the TONY’s one reporter asked me, “Who is it you most want to meet here tonight?” I hadn’t given that much thought, everyone around me was someone I respected and admired, but as I looked to my left Eddie Izzard was talking to a reporter about 10 yards from me.

I have worn out a DVD of Eddie’s “Dressed to Kill” and my family and I can quote his material word for word. He is truly a comic genius. I love his new series the Riches, I have seen “The Cat’s Meow” where he plays Charlie Chaplin 10 times. He is a master class in comedy and acting. I told the reporter, “There is my idol Eddie Izzard it would be great to meet him.”

Now I have never been to a TONY awards show before. I have been a faithful television viewer for many years. Both my sister in law’s on Sandi’s side of the family have danced on the TONY’s, but being there is much different. There I am seven rows from the stage, sitting on the isle of Radio City Music Hall waiting for them to get to “my category”. Two rows in front of me is Eddie, my idol, but he is up and down and I can’t seem to find the chance to introduce myself. Each time a presenter comes on stage my heart races and my stomach leaps into my throat. Above the stage, a screen would announce the category, every time is was not “Best Special Theatrical Event” my stomach would fall.

Then Eddie Izzard comes on stage, suddenly above him on the screen is “Special Theatrical Event”, Sandi and I look at each other in shock and amusement with the realization that not only is this the moment, but Eddie Izzard will deliver it.

He is extremely funny with the introduction and I am enjoying him work from seven rows away, but my heart is in my sinuses trying to get out. For one quick moment my dark side threatens the joy of the moment. Sitting behind me is my competition, Kenny and Justin, better known as Kiki and Herb. Justin is dressed in a backless gown and makeup, not quite Kiki, and not quite Justin. My dark side says, Eddie Izzard known for being a transvestite and Justin, transvestite, my competition is behind me. At this point Eddie has announced the nominees for the competition and Kiki and Herb get a much bigger round of applause from the Radio City Audience than me. Here comes the dark side to say, “Wait a minute…. Did the telecast specifically ask Eddie Izzard to present this award because they knew Kiki would win? “ Now my heart is beating too fast to register. I am squeezing Sandi’s hand so hard she can only grip mine harder to save her digits.

I don’t really remember much after Eddie Izzard says, “Jay Johnson” it is a whirl wind of activity being whisked backstage with my producers. I am trying to tell Eddie how much it means to me to get a TONY from him, but I am stuttering in the moment. He pats me on the back and disappears. My friend and television director Bruce Burmester is back stage and is the first one to yell congratulations. They take the official photo and I am taken next door to 30 Rock for the press interviews. I am gripping my TONY like it is a life line.

The down side is that I suddenly have to go to work and miss all the other categories. However, I look up as I am making my way to the next interview and see Julie White, she has just won a TONY for best Actress. She was my buddy at the luncheon. I have calmed down enough to say, “Hey… is that a TONY… oh look I have one too.” We giggle like kids on a merry go round. There is a frenzy of photos as we pose with our awards. Then Julie says, “Well you may be ‘special’, but I am ‘the best’.

I haven’t been a TONY AWARD winner for more than a few hours yet, but Julie is right, I feel very special. . All I can say is it will be an evening I will never forget. I can finally breath again. Paul, Murphy and I did not set out to win a TONY. We just wanted to do the best show we could. What a trip. I am headed for a cruise tomorrow, there will be more
As you were,