DAY 12 - The Big Day
Today was the culmination of all things beautiful for JCS.
It's 6:30AM PST. I've been home roughly two hours - but needed to do some things
and clear some e-mail to make sure this post would go. I am also TOTALLY shot,
so I'm hoping that there won't be too many typos.
So here goes.
We got to the theatre about noon and crawled up 3 or 4 flights (depending upon your cast status) to the dressing rooms. When we got to the 4th (top) floor, I was huffing and puffing and said: "You won't have any breath to SING after you climb up here!" :-) Once the stuff we brought was stowed, we met in the theatre.
Clint Holmes arrived from Vegas, and the rest of Simon Zealotes was staged, as well as Superstar with Ben and the Soul Sisters. Then the Agape Choir (along with Lesley and me - the two extra added voices) was placed onstage. Those of you who came tonight may not have seen us - but we were there. Because the Orchestra had taken up almost every spot of room in back of the stage, the only place to put us was down right on the scaffold - under the steps to the second level. Actually, it was a good place. We could see most of the stage, and we could be seen by most of the audience. However, we were right on top of a light strip, so we kidded that we wouldn't need to go to a tanning booth for the next ten years! :-) However, it was also a great spot to play "spot the celebrities" once the house came in - but more on that later.
So once we got placed we were told to go get dressed for the lone run-through. While backstage, I was trying to figure out how to get around to the lobby without going outside or crossing the stage, and checked the lone path. I turned around to tell the techie I talked to that the gate was shut - and there was Ted coming up the stairs with his wardrobe. He said: "Hi Sweetheart, I'm hardly even seeing you this week because things are so busy." And gave me a big hug. I said I understood - and he said: "Well just as long as you're all right." We'd both agreed that it had been a tough few days for all of us, and then he went to get dressed.
The run-through went better than we could ever have expected. After the run-though, Gary (Director) gave notes in the house, and we ran around getting our posters signed (cast and crew got a free JCS poster, program and T-Shirt. And all three are GORGEOUS!!!) Don't worry - I'll post them, I'll post them. :-) After notes, Gary said to get out of costume and that dinner was being served on the dock. However, I almost didn't get to dinner - and you know who didn't get there at all - right? :-)
I found Ted onstage signing a HUGE stack of JCS posters for the headliners and the designers. I kidded the poor guy doing the job of delivering the posters that he should have charged these guys $30 a pop for doing their dirty work. :-) Once done, I gave Ted the three e-mails I said I would bring with me - Alessandra, Laura and and anyone else who gave me e-mails (sorry, it's SO LATE - I can't even think of names right now - but you know who you are - right?), he has them. And I gave him another Jiminy Cricket to go with his pin. By the time all of that got done, dinner (which was chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots, spinach salad and rolls) was gone with the wind! The caterer said he'd made enough for 130 people - but over 135 showed up, and the food disappeared like wildfire! He said he'd never seen anything like it! (What is that line from "The Producers" about actors? "Ever eat with one?!" :-) ) Fortunately, one of the theatre folks saved Ted some chicken and salad. Ted told me he wouldn't be going to dinner, because with everything going on the way it was - and Carl not being there, I think he won't mind my telling you that he said he felt a little off-center, and needed to find his center to do the show. It's an actor's phrase. It means you need to get yourself settled in the right place for everything to work the way it needs to. Ted said that doesn't usually happen to him, but considering what was happening here, it's perfectly understandable. I left him to his peace - said break-a-leg, and went to the dock. I had salad and a roll (all that was left, but eating light before a show is always a good thing anyway). Then it was time to go get re-dressed and made up for the show.
In between, I went to get my ticket at Will call - which I sold. If the lovely lady who bought it from me is reading this, I got your message from Bob, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the show! I wanted to look for those of you who came (from the list), but the house wasn't open yet, so I couldn't find Veth or Kathleen, or anyone by seat numbers - and I had to get my costume on, because the show was due to start in a half hour. I'm really so sorry. Oh, BTW - it didn't. The show didn't go up until after 8:30PM. Too many celebs and traffic, I suppose.
I went back down and got my costume back on and my make-up done, then went to get into place for the show. It's always an amazing thing to see a completely sold out house fill up, and for this it was even more special. Here's another good thing about our placement: great for celebrity spotting. So ... Harrison Ford - 4th row center, Gina Davis 5th row center, Wayne Grady about 10th row house left. And we heard that Steven Spielberg was there, but no one saw him. Also, we heard that Tim Rice had bought tickets, but might have sent a representative. And Rob Iscov (I think that's how you spell it) - the man who choreographed the film Superstar - was there as well. I'm sure there were a LOT more, but we didn't see them. Showtime. Forbes Candlish (Producer) asked me not to tell anyone on the web about the show until it was done, and I gladly assured him I wouldn't say a thing until it was over - but now I can finally let loose! - THANK GOD! First, let me say that we had two screens on either side of the stage up high - which showed clips from the movie while parts of the show were on. Like the lepers shots, the bus coming down to unload, the end of the film (more on that later too). And the show began with speeches from the Ricardo Montalban rep (I don't remember his name), and Jack Nakano (whose YouTHeatre - America! was one of the things this event would help support.), and then it was time to start the show.
Guys, I cannot tell you what it felt like to be on that stage when the orchestra struck up that overture. The electricity in that room was amazing. I think we could feel all of you listening, and we could definitely feel Carl there (his wife, Veronica, came to the show). Now, I've been on the "giving side" of the applause and standing ovations at JCS (like a lot of you, and more of you will experience this with the upcoming tour - right?), but I'd never been on the "receiving side". We did the opening during the run-through - which is a light show - and then at the end at the same time, Ben comes out on the scaffolding stage right, Yvonne comes out on the scaffolding stage center, and Barry comes out on the scaffolding stage left. Then Ted walks in from upstage center - and all four are there. They all freeze, then all exit at the same time as the last line over the overture is "sung" (the one that corresponds to "On Thursday night you'll find him where you want him - musically). But tonight was different. When Ben, Yvonne and Barry came in, the entire place started to scream - from onstage it's like thunder. Then, when Ted walked in, everyone stood up IMMEDiATELY (which I'm told later is a virtual non-happening in Hollywood when you have the kind of house that would come to one of these charity events - celebs, but also big-name execs. But this one was a FABULOUSLY SUPPORTIVE crowd. Everyone stood up and screamed - and the whole place shook. I think it went on for about 5 minutes. We were standing under the steps going: "OH MY GOD!!!" How Craig Barna (Music Director) started the end of the overture was a mystery I won't solve. No one could hear over the screaming! But we did it.
Then the beginning of "Heaven On Their Minds" started, and Ben came out and just tore the place up. It's hard to imagine that he was ever worried about doing this role again. The man is a MARVEL! Then the Priests came out and started "This Jesus Must Die", and from there, everything just flowed. Yvonne got a standing ovation for "I Don't Know How To Love Him", Barry electrified everyone with his "Pilate's Dream", and "Damned For All Time" (Ben fabulous again), and there was no intermission - so "Damned" flowed right into "The Last Supper". One great idea that Gary had - when the apostles came out, they all got in line and then posed like the "Last Supper" DaVinci painting. And the audience GOT it and applauded!!! Then Ted and Ben just tore the place up. Watching that exchange and the ending with Ben crying on Ted's chest was just heartbreaking (unfortunately, for us, the steps blocked part of it - but I had moved during the run-through to get a good look. Amazing.
And then, there was Ted's "Gethsemane". We had not heard that song all week. Every time we would get to it, Craig would start it, then Gary would come up and say - okay - let's go to the next song. In the afternoon run-through, when Ted finally did it - he walked around - and, to us on the stage, - looked like he was blessing every apostle. I thought he'd only sung the last part of the song (from 'Then I was inspired' on), but he may have done more. What he had maybe done once was the money note from "The Temple" - but never "Gethsemane". Well when Ted finished the song - as would be expected -, he got a standing ovation - BUT they brought the houselights up for it! I think that went on for a few minutes as well. Then came "The Arrest" - and the heartbreaking look on Ted's face after Ben gave him "the kiss" as the betrayal - we had a birdseye view of that! There were stars on a backdrop which came down for "Could We Start Again Please", and then were was "Herod's Song".
Jack Black - everyone thought - was the original draw for Hollywood. (Of course, none of the YTA YouTHeatre folks really understood about Ted's appeal). But when Jack came up through the grate (Herod entered in a puff of fog through the center stage trap door grate), the place went nuts again. It was a simply choreographed number - but funny as hell. They used the bench slats like a jail for "I'm a captive fan", they picked Jack up, there was a kick line near the end. Here's a funny aside: Jenean's (Bugiada) husband Bob told us later at home that he had a hard time seeing Jack Black from 4th row down front - because Ted was in the way when he was kneeling! Next time I see Teddie, I will tell him that - and he ought to get a kick out of it for sure! ;-) Ted tells people when we're meeting after shows that I make him feel like a giant man (I think he's like 5'3 - or 5'5 and I'm only 4-10-1/2. ). Tonight I said to him: "You're always a tall man. It's not the height, it's the heart."
The "Trial Before Pilate" and the lashings were incredible. The lashings were staged with Ted being held in place acting the whipping, but there was no whip. Only a tight spotlight on his and Barry's faces, the sound of the whip cracking, and the orchestra. VERY effective. The "less-is-more" syndrome to a Tee! Then came "Superstar" - with Ben and the Soul Sisters dancing all over the stage and all of us singing the refrains in the wings. Tore up the place again - and got yet another standing ovation.
The Crucifixion was not staged. What they did was show the crucifixion scene without sound on the screens and then when "John 1941" was played, while the cast walked out on stage during the music and posed as if they were watching the thing happen. And the end of the film was the sunset shot with the shepherd crossing over with his flock. (Those of you who don't know - or haven't seen the silhouettes in the scene, there are pictures on my JCS page that show this pretty well.).
Well, then came the curtain call. And, of course, everyone went completely NUTS. COMPLETELY!!
Leeyan, Tessa and Zack were there - looking beautiful. I do have pictures. I know Ted hasn't wanted shots of the kids on the web - though now that both are in their 20's it may be different. Kat? Jenn? Judy? Da:S - what do you think? We'll talk. (NOTE: I have since confirmed with Ted that even though Tessa and Zack are on MYSpace and Facebook, it is still an issue, his family's security and safety is always first with him.) I told Zack, when I saw the autograph line (it came from two directions - outside and inside) - that they have the patience of saints - and that I bet they can never go anywhere and know when they will be getting home. He said: "You know, you're right!" Both Tessa and Zack are in college in Texas now, and they have grown up to be two of the sweetest people you could ever want to meet.
Veth, I'm SO SORRY I couldn't find you! Teddie did get what you gave him, though - Judy gave it to him backstage after the show. Kathleen, I'm REALLY GLAD you found me! Sorry I lost you when I went over to get Yvonne's autograph on my poster. I do want you to know, that Teddie told your story to the kids at the party. He was really knocked out by it! And - Laura - I gave Teddie your message. His response? Do you remember the old "Sha-Na-Na" tune? He even sang it: "Tell Laura I love her!" - and miss her too.
party, there was a cast party at Gary's (our Director's) house. We'd been there
picking up slides for the show the week before, and it's a beautiful place,
so we were very glad to go back! ;-). Ted got there - but was
late, because he'd gotten waylaid by a fan (a very tall Indian woman wearing
purple who went way back to the beginning.) But he did make it.
Gary ordered 5-6 extra large pizzas. The cast came over and in the time it took me to get one slice and a plate - VOOOM! All gone. Except for one slice of a pizza that had salmon, sweet onions, cheese and capers on it. I grabbed that piece and went out to Ted by the pool with it and said: "Oh Mr. Superstar who never eats ;-) - have some pizza!" He laughed - and Zack actually got him to EAT it! HALLELUIAH! I guess Ted will never have a weight problem - he never has time to eat! :-)
So we all stood talking and drinking. I finally got some good Ted time - in between 50 other corralling people, so he didn't need to worry anymore about me (since, until tonight, we barely saw each other the 4 days he was here). And I hugged Tessa and Zack. Guys, those of you who've met the kids, you really won't recognize Zack - he's SO TALL, and looks COMPLETELY different than he did in 2000. Tessa looks the same - but she's 22 now - and, as I predicted, a completely flawless beauty.
Then some of the kids jumped in the pool - with their clothes on! From there we knew the party would go right into the gutter, and Jenean was tired (they're moving today), so we said our goodbyes, and left - about 4:30AM to come home.
I started this post about 6:30AM PST - I think - sat down for a minute - and passed out. I woke up an hour ago (11:30PST) - and that's what has taken so long. Sorry guys, it all caught up to me! But I'm posting now. I will post my pictures as soon as I can upload them - and may start another page, since the JCS page is so overloaded now.
Okay. That's the story. It had its' good times, hard times, trying times and wonderful times, but altogether, I am SO HAPPY I came out here. Thank you, Jenean and Bob for helping me do this. You are angels of the HIGHEST caliber! This was an experience that I will never forget. It was truly the experience of a lifetime!
to JCS - YTA Benefit