Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year blog readers. This is one New Years Eves I chose not to sell out and go for big money and perform. Instead this New Years Eve was a special evening with a very exclusive group, my best friend Harry, his wife Elizabeth and my best girl Sandi.

I rarely get to laugh as much as tonight. I rarely find the conversation so stimulating nor eat and drink so well. To think, out of all the places I have been Asheville, North Carolina would be the center of the entertainment universe for me.

I have spent many New Years Eves with my friend Harry Anderson, and probably performed on stage with him more than any other person.

With our wives we enjoyed a great dinner at the four star restaurant Horizons, and got back to the Anderson house in time to watch Anderson Cooper declare the beginning of 2008. After popping another bottle of bubbly we decid on alternative entertainment. In our pajamas we watch a vintage 1979 Halloween network variety special starring Paul Lind. The comedy special is not funny nor special, unless viewed with this audience.

Harry makes me laugh and it is of little importance where we are or what we are doing, we have a creative synergy that is unique. I wish everyone had a friend like mine. If they did the world would be a better place.

As we turned in, exhausted from an evening of laugh cramps, I made one last toast,

"To my BFF." To which he replied "BFD".

Make it a Great 08.

As you were,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is a strange feeling, being on the road in town. Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa is about an hour drive from my front door. However, with unpredictable Los Angeles traffic patterns it can take two or three hours to make the trip. Rather than spend hours and hours in a dressing room before the show, or risk being late for a performance, the Pacific Symphony put me up in a lovely hotel literally fifty yards from the stage entrance.

I packed like I was going away for a month, forgetting that I would have all day to make a two hour trip if I forgot something of major importance.

I am looking forward to performing this piece again. I had great fun with it in Dallas.

The second half of the Symphony is the Von Trap children singers. I think they are the grandchildren of the kids made famous in the Sound of Music. They seem very nice if rather intensely focused, enjoying a rather odd celebrity. I was not one who saw the movie multiple times and I was never a performer in any production of the musical. (I suspect this makes my Tony win all the more unique) The person walking by my dressing room whistling "How do you solve a problem like Maria" probably did. I suspect I could be a hero if I let it be known I was Julie Andrews opening act for several seasons.
More from the bowels of the symphony world later.

As you were,


Sunday, December 09, 2007

After closing the "Two and Only" at the Dallas Majestic Theater, I stayed around to perform the Christmas concert with the Dallas Pops Orchestra at Meyerson Symphony Hall. My friend and conductor Richard Kaufman asked me to narrate the orchestration of "Twas the Night Before Christmas". Bob and I recite the poem together after a quick routine. Later I come back on stage, alone, to conduct the orchestration of "Sleigh Ride".

To compensate for my conducting skills Richard and I turned this section into a routine. We get a couple of kids on stage to shake sleigh bells with the orchestra. Since Bob is not on stage at this time, I pick one of the kids to help me. They "audition" by opening their mouth when I tap them on the back as I make them talk like Bob.

The first night we pick a little girl who becomes terrified and stands like a statue on stage. There were no laughs to be mined with her that night.

Richard and I decide we need to pick a more precocious child the next night. There is an energetic six year old boy down front who looks like Opie and can't wait to get on stage. He is right out of central casting for a Norman Rockwell painting.

I am sure he will be perfect until I ask him to open his mouth when I tap. He looks me in the eye and says, "I am not going to be your dummy. " That was that, he would have nothing to do with me from then on.

This is what I love about live theatre, you just never know.

As you were,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Any good paranormal will tell you that there are many levels to a haunting. The ghost I saw at the Helen Hayes was your garden variety specter. That is a visual manifestation which doesn't do much more than appear and disappear. They can be startling or even scary but not destructive.

However, I would classify the presence at the Majestic Theater in Dallas as a poltregeist. I haven't had many dealings with poltregeists. It was an interesting experience. Having had it, I think I prefer to deal with the much more benign sectors.

I'm not sure one can assign logic to a phenomenon nor give it a personality but that seems to be a very human thing to do

The stage hands call it Hobbetsell, named after the millionaire who originally built the Majestic. I'm not sure why he would want to disrupt the theater but he may be ticked off because the theater came very close to being turned into a parking garage a few years ago.

Hobbetsell messes mainly with electrical devises. Stage lights come on when there was no one at the dimmer board. Bulbs would burn out almost daily. Lamps would move out of focus more than any other time we have done this show.
Cameras wouldn't work in the theater and work fine out in the street. Several times when I would pose for pictures with fans their cameras would malfunction.

My blackberry would re boot every time I came into the dressing room until I started greeting Hobbetsell as I arrived for the evening.

And we had more microphone trouble in this one week than in the entire run so far.

The thing is, poltregeists are difficult to prove. Unlike a specter that you can see and sometimes photograph, the poltregeist can be explained by random chance. Lights burn out and electronics drain batteries. Shit happens as they say.

But I would say that the sheer number of occurrences happening this week to the Two and Only was odd and notable.

It is why this run of the show will be even more unforgettable. Thank you DSM, Michael Jenkins, the local crew, Lori, John, Sandi and Murphy everyone who came to the show, all my friends, especially those who have written to this blog, and good night to Mr. Hobbetsell.
As you were,