I’m on horrific Spirit Airlines, heading for St. Maarten. Why horrific? This is the airline that feigns it has low prices, but then adds tons of trickster charges. You’re allowed one (1) carry-on. I don’t mean one (1) carry-on in addition to your backpack. I mean literally just your backpack! You have to pay for the “space above your seat.” Do you want a little water on your flight? Great! $3. And the trays in front of your seat are juuuust small enough that they don’t fit a regular laptop.
I’m using my laptop in the most literal use of its name as possible: on top of my lap. Anyhoo, it’s all good because I’m about to go on the latest Playbill Cruise, Broadway on the High Seas 8!
I had a show on Friday at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale with the adorable Matt Morrison, so I’m joining the cruise a day later. And thus my problems at the airport began. You see, when you travel internationally, you now have to prove you’re coming back. So, I got to the airport, told them I was flying to St. Maarten, and they asked me to show how and when I was coming back.
James had warned me, so I had a printout ready with the details of my return flight. Well, turns out, the cruise started in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then goes to various islands, and ends back in San Juan. So my return ticket to New York was from San Juan, even though I initially flew into St. Maarten. They asked me how I was getting to San Juan from St. Maarten at the end of my trip. I told them I was on the Playbill Cruise, which would take me back to San Juan. Silence. Thus followed the kind of thing where every answer you give sounds like you’re lying:
GATE AGENT: Can we see your cruise ticket?
ME: Um…I don’t have one. They’re picking me up from the airport.
(“They’re?” Even I didn’t buy it.)
Then I showed my luggage tag. It had my name and cabin number. (That should do it!)
GATE AGENT: Why does this say you’re getting on the cruise in San Juan? You’re flying to St. Maarten.
ME: Oh. Well, I was supposed to. But I’m starting a day late.
Everything I said sounded like I was a sweating witness being interrogated by Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin on Homeland. I tried to think of how I could show proof I was doing the cruise, so I started babbling about how I’m an entertainer, then I showed her the website with my photo. Silence. She was decidedly not impressed with my headshot. Finally, I had to call the cruise and ask for an official looking email saying that I was indeed getting on the cruise in St. Maarten, sailing to many different islands, and ending in San Juan. It worked, and I was sent on my way with a hefty dose of PTSD.
Before I left NYC, I had Ed Dixon, writer and star of Georgie, on Seth Speaks. The show is about his close relationship with Tony Award winner George Rose—how it began so positive and ended so horrifyingly. Ed does such a brilliant recreation of George Rose that it seems as if he’s onstage with him throughout the show. Not since Christine Ebersole as Little Edie have I seen someone so clearly come to life.
Ed said that Patti Cohenour came to see the show last week. She had starred as Rosa Bud opposite George Rose in Drood, and Ed didn’t know how she’d react. After the show, Patti ran up to him, and even though they had never met, she hugged him and buried her face in his chest saying, “I miss him so much.” Isn’t that sweet? There are lots of great showbiz stories, bizarre details about George (he lived with two actual mountain lions), and then some tragic details about him that take the show from a romp into an exploration of, “What would you have done?” See it for yourself!
I also recently had Todrick Hall on Seth Speaks. He’s finishing his run in Kinky Boots on Broadway, and then starting a concert tour. He talked about growing up in Texas and, instead of going to college, getting a job at Disney World as a performer. He then got a job on a cruise line, which he didn’t enjoy. (It definitely wasn’t the Playbill Cruise!) While he was there, he read that Fantasia was joining The Color Purple on Broadway. He was a big fan of hers, and he also happened to see they were replacing a role in the cast that he felt he could do.
Perfect! He quit the cruise (Quit! Just for an audition!), and traveled to New York City. He auditioned all day long and that night went to see Legally Blonde. He was hoping to hear whether he got the show or not, but was upset to see his phone battery had died. He found an outlet in the back of the theatre and plugged in his phone. During Act 1 he had a feeling that he should check his phone, so he snuck to the back of the house, and there was indeed a message from the casting person! He fled Legally Blonde (before Elle got to the long-held note in “So Much Better” for you LB fans), ran to the street, and found out he got the show!
Talk about going with your instinct! Same thing with American Idol. He saw how much that show helped Fantasia, so he decided to audition. He went back to Texas, and told the producers he had written his own song for the judges. The producers encouraged him not to sing his own song, but he just knew he should do it. Of course, he was totally right and, after he sang, he was asked to come to Hollywood!
Right after Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas 8 cruise ends February 24, we do the second Concert For America! February 25 at Town Hall.
Besides Ingrid Michaelson, Will Chase, Keala Settle, Rema Webb, Ramin Karimloo, Juwan Crawley, Nora Schell, and Emily Skinner, we just booked Orfeh, and Martha Wash! Martha is one half of The Weather Girls, and the lead singer on “Everybody Dance Now.” She has one of my absolute favorite voices, and I’m so excited she said yes to doing the concert. Of course, her signature song is “It’s Raining Men,” so you know I asked her to do it.
GET TIX (ONLY $32-$57) HERE: CONCERTSFORAMERICA.COM.
Speaking to Broadway and charity, our foundation has great things up for auction on Charitybuzz! You can bid on four VIP tix to Concert for America and meet the cast backstage; or see one of Jessie Mueller's final performances in Waitress and meet her backstage afterwards! Click here to bid!
And now, greetings from our second cruise stop: St. Kitts! So many people I’m friends with are here, including my co-writer and director of Disaster!, Jack Plotnick!
I’m on board the Silver Wind, sailing around various islands, and so far it’s been wonderful. Today, James, Elizabeth (his mom), Jack, Andrea Martin, and I went to a rain forest, which was beautiful. On the way there, we asked if we could go hike up to a fort we had read about. The driver said there was indeed a hike, but we couldn’t do it because we weren’t “physically fit” enough. Well, we were all highly insulted, but none more so than Andrea Martin. We started defending ourselves to him about how in shape we were but then, weirdly, it became a fight between me and Andrea about who is more fit.
ME: Well, Andrea, you know I work out six days a week.
ANDREA: Really? I work out seven days a week!
Regardless, the driver didn’t buy Andrea as fit until James literally got out his phone, went onto YouTube and showed Andrea’s amazing number from Pippin, where she hung upside down from a trapeze. The driver watched it, looked at Andrea and said, “You win!”
Here's the video:
And here's Andrea Martin swinging through the rain forest moments later!
And on that note, peace out!