The gifted artist will bring her wonderful concert act to Playbill Travel’s Rhine River cruise in August, a star-studded adventure that will also feature the talents of Seth Rudetsky, Faith Prince, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Santino Fontana. (Playbill Travel is now also booking Broadway on the Danube River for November 2017, with celebrity guests to be announced.) Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.
I recently asked Burns to pen a list of her most memorable nights in the theatre; her responses follow.
Beauty and the Broken Foot
Sunday in the Museum with Seurat
This moment wasn’t necessarily on a formal stage, but during my run as Dot in Gary Griffin’s landmark production of Sunday in the Park With George at Chicago Shakespeare, Robert Petkoff (George) and I were asked to sing “Color and Light” at a private event at the Chicago Art Institute. It was evening. The museum was closed to the public, and a special reception for donors took place in the room where Seurat’s masterpiece, “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” hangs in all its resplendent glory. We sang “Color and Light,” and then I sang “Children and Art,” in front of the actual painting! The spirit of Seurat and all of the muses of his canvas seemed to be present. Actors and audience were in a communal state of awe while it was happening, knowing the moment was larger than any of us.
The Nance: A Burlesque
Acting in a play for Lincoln Center with Nathan Lane felt exciting and right. However, performing the burlesque stripteases required of my character was definitely outside of the box for me. The brilliant Ann Hould-Ward was wonderful in helping me bring my sense of humor to these with her costume design. Regardless, the first time I “stripped” in a Broadway house, I was terrified, even though I could hear the audience was enjoying the number. When I came offstage, though, I was still shaking (this time not my booty, just internally shaking). And, then I got that feeling a kid has after going on a scary rollercoaster. My heart said, “That was crazy! Can we do it again?” By the end what was scary had become liberating, and I had a ball!
In the Heights Closing Night
The Old Red Hills of Home
We opened the national tour of Parade in Atlanta. Alfred Uhry, an Atlanta native, took us to see Mary Phagan’s grave (still adorned with fresh flowers and stuffed animals in remembrance). David Pittu (our Leo Frank) had been affectionately referred to as a “Yankee Jew“ in this old-timey restaurant we’d attended the day before. The Mary Phagan murder still seemed so personal to the town that David not so humorously joked, “I hope someone doesn’t shoot us during the curtain call.” When the performance was over, the audience was silent for a moment, David and I squeezed hands, a bit terrified. The audience rose to its feet and burst into applause. We just stood there, stunned and relieved.
Senior editor Andrew Gans is also the author of the monthly Their Favorite Things column.