We had another showcase the following evening, with another day to ourselves. Julie was tired and wanted to rest, so Diane and Heather took in another Broadway show (for research purposes, of course). Today it was “If / Then”, the show written for the Tony-winning musical theatre phenom Adele Nazeem … er, sorry …. Idina Menzel. Being a bit of a fan of her work, Heather was more than a little excited to see this show – not only to be able to see this Musical Theatre powerhouse (Menzel), but also to perhaps find some lesser-known modern Broadway tunes to add to the Broads’ repertoire. The show didn’t disappoint, mainly because we were front row, with Menzel, Tony-winner LaChanze, and theatre favourite Anthony Rapp (Rent) – as well as the other cast members – all within 2 feet of us. (Did we mention we were front row centre?)
Particularly sweet for Diane was the fact that the pit orchestra and conductor were right in front of us, as well, which made for a neat “inside look” at what the musicians were doing during the show, (which included – unfortunately – making distracting noises during a particularly poignant romantic scene … something for which said musicians were quickly chastised). However, the highlight was DEFINITELY experiencing Idina Menzel live. As Diane put it: “She truly is at the height of Musical Theatre right now – the best there is.” AND, there were, indeed, one or two songs from this show that were appealing. Stay tuned to see if they make their way into a future Broadsway show!
From here, it was back to the hotel to prep for the first of our “open mic” appearances this weekend. We’d been told by more than one person that the best way to get yourself in front of New York audiences is to do just that: get yourself out there. So, we connected with Richard Skipper, a well-heeled Cabaret performer who was hosting a weekly open mic called “The Salon”, happening at a great Italian restaurant called Etcetera Etcetera. They have an upstairs space, complete with stage, lighting, and a grand piano – plus plenty of seating – where cabaret artists gather each week to try out their stuff. Each show also features a “headliner”, if you will, who does their own 15-minute set. This week, Broadsway was the headliner. The crowd was lovely – very warm and supportive and we hoped there might be one or two who would join us the following week for our return to the Metropolitan Room.
While we were sitting in the back of the room, enjoying some appetizers and a cocktail and waiting to perform, we were joined at our table by a couple who clearly knew the host and had been to previous Salons. Both of them seemed rather familiar, and we joked, made wise-cracks, and generally enjoyed some light conversation with them, all the while wondering why it felt like we knew them. Eventually, Heather said to one of them: “I’m sure I know you, but I can’t place it”, to which the woman simply replied “Orange Is The New Black”. It was Lin Tucci, who plays Anita DeMarco in the show!!
She was an absolute doll, and took the time to chat with us about our performance, which she really seemed to enjoy. AND the neat thing was that she actually knows her stuff. She studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and has worked quite a bit as a stage actress and in musicals. Plus, she also told us she’d spent more than a few years doing just what we were doing: working in the world of Cabaret, attending open mics, and truly just trying to sell herself as an artist to various audiences. She had some encouraging words for us and wished us luck. When she found out we knew Leah DeLaria from her work in Toronto, she told us she’d pass on the good word to Leah. It was great to be able to chat with someone who had spent so much time doing just what we are doing now … and to get encouragement from her. What a sweetheart!
What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 3 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway.