Saturday, October 30, 2010

In Which I Meet Bernadette Peters

My friend Anne (with whom I went to Thailand in 2008 and worked at Hoofbeat for many years) came to stay with me in New York for a few days before setting off on an around-the-world journey. We had a marvelous time going on adventures around the city, including attending a steam-punk fashion show (our favorite designer was Kristin Costa), walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (which I have done probably a dozen times now and I'm not even close to being sick of it), and watching the Packers beat the Vikings at Kettle of Fish, New York's local Packer bar.

I regretted having to go to work during the day while she was here (such is the life of a paid-by-the-hour worker with no vacation time), so our weekday adventures were restricted to evening-time. We kept Wednesday night reserved to go to some kind of show -- I told Anne to pick up tickets to whatever she wanted while she was exploring during the day, and I'd meet her wherever after work. So all day, I was wondering what she'd pick and what I had to look forward to.

Around six o'clock, she sent me a text message to say she'd gotten tickets to A Little Night Music. I had heard of the show and knew it was Soundheim, but never seen it before -- but I knew that Bernadette Peters was in it, which was more than enough to make me excited about going to see it. (I'm not particularly well-versed in Broadway actors, so basically, if I know who someone is, they are more likely than not a huge star.)

The show was totally incredible. I could see exactly why Bernadette Peters is such a star -- she is positively magnetic. I couldn't look away. The part of Desiree seemed written for her, and at one point I tried to imagine anyone else in the role, and couldn't. There's something life-affirming about seeing a beautiful, radiant, talented, 62-year-old woman on stage. Elaine Stritch was also great and very, very funny. And while it approaches cliche to say that something made me laugh and made me cry -- it pretty much did. Sometimes I laughed a lot and then unexpectedly, the play reeled me into something so human and heartfelt that I couldn't help tearing up a little (and I'm not a crier when it comes to plays & movies).

After the show, Anne & I started to walk out, and we noticed a bunch of people waiting at the stage door. It occurred to us that Bernadette Peters might come out, so we decided to wait. I'd never waited at stage door before -- I'm not really that into getting things signed in general -- but I really wanted to have a moment with Bernadette Peters where she looked at me and acknowledged my existence.

Ramona Mallory, who played the character of Anne (not to be confused with my friend Anne), came out first. I didn't get her autograph because I was standing with a group of obnoxious actor-teenagers, and I think she was a little afraid of them (I don't really blame her). She seemed in a hurry to get home, though she was gracious and smiley.

I did get signatures from Stephen R. Buntrock (Fredrik), Katherine McNamara (Fredrika), Bradley Dean (Count Carl-Magnus Malcom), and Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (Henrik), who came out next. Stephen R. Buntrock has silver-fox laser-eyes. It occurred to me how crazy it must be for Katherine McNamara, who is 14 or so and already in a Broadway play with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. I mean, where can life go from there?

Then it was quiet for a few minutes. One of the stagehands stepped out and announced, "Elaine Stritch has left the building. I repeat, Elaine Stritch has left the building."

And then we waited. I continued to be annoyed at the obnoxious actor-teenagers, who were talking about how they wanted to call Bernadette Peters "Bernie" when she came out and tell her they wanted to have her babies. Or something like that. Meanwhile, my knees were starting to shake.

Then she came out.

I didn't want to seem too rabid, so I just said thank-you when she signed my Playbill, and then proceeded to grin like a fool. Anne got a picture (thanks to her for taking the photo, and to my brother Zach for editing to reduce my crazy-eyes):

So now my question is, what do I do with the Playbill? Normally I am the type to hold onto them for a few months, then think, "What am I really going to do with this?" and throw it out. I'm not a hoarder. But I can't exactly throw out a playbill signed by Bernadette Peters. I am accepting suggestions on what to do with it. Keep in mind that I live in New York and do not have a ton of space, so a shrine is not a realistic option.

Anyway, I'm headed out to a Halloween party for which Cliff is DJing. (I feel like I consistently switch to talking like I am in Dinosaur Comics when I am writing about him -- but seriously, you guys. He is super rad.) I am currently dressed as a watermelon (sexy watermelon? just kidding), because that is my lazy go-to costume where I don't have to buy anything.

I'm not sure what that says about me.

1 comment:

  1. YESSSS Stephen Buntrock laser eyes - I would fall in love with him even if he IS Gaston...

    Also, I am glad I get to give your visitor feed an international flair.

    Here is the link to my trip blog, in case you want it. Not my best writing but whatevs.