Monday, July 26, 2010

At the stage door, upstairs in the bar

I'll be posting reviews of the shows I saw in New York City but first, I have some memorable stage door experiences to share. Well okay, one of them was an upstairs in the bar experience.

First, I introduced myself to Saycon Sengbloh, whom I've written about before, after seeing her in the vibrant and powerful Fela! To my surprise, she recognized my blog!

Saycon occupies a treasured place in my theatergoing experience. She went on in the role of Celie, as the understudy for Fantasia, when I saw The Color Purple. It was the first show my dear friend and brother Steve On Broadway and I saw together, on the day we finally met in person.

After signing my Playbill, and sending regards to Steve, she graciously took me onto the stage at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, which was thrilling. After years of being an understudy, I'm so happy that she's had a chance to create a role on Broadway.

I saw La Cage aux Folles Saturday afternoon and it won my heart completely. But neither Douglas Hodge nor Chris Hoch, who was filling in for Kelsey Grammer, came out after the matinee. (Although lots of other actors and the fabulous Cagelles did.)

On Saturday night, I went to the hilarious Lend Me a Tenor a few blocks away at the Music Box. That stage door was quite an experience.

Did you know that teenage girls go wild for Justin Bartha? Neither did I. But about 25 of them swarmed him for a group photo. It was incredible. (Well, he is cute.)

Since La Cage is a little bit longer than Tenor, I raced back up to the Longacre but everyone had left. Then a woman standing in front of the theatre told me that the cast was in the restaurant next door.

Now, I don't normally run after actors in restaurants. Really, I don't. But I was so taken with La Cage aux Folles. Plus, after writing about Kelsey Grammer's absence, I felt that I owed Chris Hoch a mea culpa.

A waitress told me everyone was upstairs in the bar. One of the Cagelles (Sean Patrick Doyle, I think) recognized me. He said Chris wasn't there but Douglas was, and introduced me. (I asked him to please pass along my compliments to Chris on a terrific performance.)

Well, Douglas Hodge could not have been nicer - incredibly generous with his time after a two-show day.

He signed my Playbill, apologized for not coming to the stage door after the matinee and spent a few minutes chatting with me.

Stupidly, I forgot to congratulate him on winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. So, congratulations!


Dale said...

How thrilling Esther! It's nice to know there are such gracious people treading the boards. So in this situation, are you the diva? :-)

Esther said...

Not sure if I'm the diva but I hope I'm not turning into a stalker! I did feel bad tracking down poor Douglas Hodge in the bar but at least he wasn't eating. And he was so nice about it.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

It's Club La Cage - every Saturday and Sunday at Hurley's.

Bob said...

You star f*cker, you. :)

Esther said...

Thanks, Sarah! And here I thought I was so intrepid, tracking them down. ;-)

Esther said...

Please, I haven't gone that far! And I prefer the term fangirl. ;-)