Exclusive Photo Feature

PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day With Jesus Christ Superstar's "King Herod," Bruce Dow

Every morning begins with making sure my iPod and iPhone are fully charged.  Then I charge myself with a big cup of coffee and the daily news - then, I check out what's on playbill.com for the day! Last winter, my sister, who lives on the west coast and whom I see all too infrequently, took me to an Ottawa Senator's home game - it was a freak occurrence that we just happened to be in the same city at the same time. The DREADED GLOVES.  Once these are on, I am ready to face the world! (to be explained later) Leaving home.  The 5-story walk-up.  I'd better have all I need for the day, 'cause I ain't going back up there again until I absolutely have to!  I.E. Not till tonight! Spring in Greenwich Village!  Foliage and flowers are welcome treats! Every morning I pass a pet store window full of puppies. It takes all my strength not to go in and buy them all. They are so danged adorable.  And I so miss my two feline girls back home so much - Lily and Alice. The descent! High Ho, High Ho!  It's off to a two-show day I go! ... only to get off the subway in Wonderland!  50th and Broadway! Arriving at work on "Des McAnuff Way" - better known as 52nd Street. Des, of course, directed both our show at the Neil Simon, and <i>Jersey Boys</i>, which plays across the street at the August Wilson Theatre. This is the amazing cast I get to work with every day.  It's an incredibly strong company of actor/singer/dancers and, I believe, as diverse a cast as you will find on Broadway.  You should hear the gales of laughter coming from the ladies dressing room. The brilliant and very pliable Jason Sermonia.  I hardly recognize him here, as during the show he is very rarely vertical - nor is he often on the ground.  Jason's a great dancer.  He's also a lovely actor and has the sweetest lyric tenor voice. Our brave and brilliant choreographer, Lisa Shriver and her beautiful daughter, dropping by the theatre just to say "Hi!" So much of what is wonderful in our production is thanks to Lisa. The company begins to arrive in the theatre to start vocal warm up.  On the left, you'll notice Tom Hewitt (Pilate).  He looks like he's waiting for the show to start... Poor dear.  He worries me so. Matt Stokes -  trying to dislocate his own jaw.  Matt is one of our amazing swings.  He just joined the company in Feb. and has had to learn 3 major understudies as well as all the male ensemble tracks. One of the "cameo" mosaics on the wall of our theatre.  It reminds me of the history of this great theatre - the Neil Simon/formerly the Alvin.  So many great original productions of plays and musicals happened in this house. Meet Meredith Benson, one of our crackerjack team of dressers.  What you see in the background is one-half of our stage left quick-change booth.  Every hook you see will be layered with clothing pieces. I have a 23 second quick-change in curtain call. The Mens' Changing Room, upstairs stage right.  The calm before the storm! Clothes on the rack.  Ready to be moved downstairs, whipped on and ripped off!  Don't mix up a garment, or someone will miss their next entrance!  It can happen and has - and will happen again. Carrie Rohm puts the "Mary Magdalene Wig" on Chilina Kennedy.  Look at those eyes.  What beauty.  Both Chilina and Carrie!  I've seen Chilina play everything from Maria to Philia to Eva Peron to Lois Lane. Ain't nothing this girl can't do.  Fur reals. Tom Hewitt.  Greet him with a simple "You're looking lovely today, Tom," and he will reply gently and sweetly, "I know."  But I still worry... he stayed in this pose for a good 20 minutes after this shot was taken. My dressing room door.  3rd Floor. We have an elevator.  I TRY to walk up. Sometimes. Just to maintain my figure. "I have flying monkeys and I'm not afraid to use them" As of yet, I have not been given reason to summon them... but, don't push me. Before the damage begins! The reason for the DREADED GLOVES.  I wanted "Herod Antipas" to have talons.  Since I can neither afford, nor have I the time to do "press-on nails" everyday, I have resorted to growing out my own nails and shellacking the heck out of them. An actor's toolkit! Put on the paste and smudge it!  Broadway IS Glamour! In addition to lots of smudged cream eye-liner is the heroine-chic redness on the inner eye-lid that is then dragged below the lash line. We've gone from a sort-of “Vegas performer gone-to-seed look” to more of a "glam-rocker gone to seed look.” Is this <i>Les Miz</i> all over again?  Nope - the "company" clothes for JCS are too hip for that! Who this poor peasant woman is, I don’t know.  She keeps muttering something about her mother losing the cherry orchard. People always ask what I do during Act One.  I spend my time reading the works of Shakespeare and O'Neill.  I also do some Alexander Technique to keep my body in proper alignment. One must live in the character every moment of the play. Every show, at the same moment in Act Two, this tiny creature (my wonderful dresser, Julienne Schubert-Blechman) comes into my dressing room and forces me into this giant be-dazzled jacket and toga/cape/thingy... Ready to go yell at... "you know who." After the matinee, Matt, our super-sweet Sound Dude, has to collect all the mics, change their batteries and double check 'em before the evening show.  This is hardly a flattering picture of a very handsome, charming young man... After the matinee, Lee Siegel (Simon Zealots - What a voice this guy has! He stops Act One every show!) and the company are mobbed at the stage door!  Seems they enjoyed the matinee!  A LOT! Jeremy Kushnier, a brilliant actor and singer who saved the day for us when Josh Young, our Judas, had to take some time-out for an illness. Never sigh when you see an understudy is on - get excited!  Talent and skill like Jeremy's will never disappoint! Lee Siegel told me we should go to dinner... instead, he dragged me to the NBC Store at Rockefeller Center. He wanted to send some souvenirs home to his family. So, after our NBC shopping, ran back to the Cosmic Diner to grab a bite.  On the corner of 52nd and 8th, close to the theatre, the Cosmic is an always enjoyable, reliable choice. Inside the Cosmic Diner between shows!  A busy place!  Great food and fun staff! Back at the theatre, Heather Wright, our Head of Wigs, is overseeing the re-dressing of the 8 bazillion wigs needed for each performance of JCS. Heather, Carrie, and Tim Miller - who is of satan (not really, he's a doll - but he looks rather possessed in this photo!) - are our wig team.  These guys never stop running and pinning once the curtain goes up. Little heads all in a row.  Just waiting for the evening show... so patient.  The rest of the "heads" are already upstairs in dressing rooms or backstage - ready to go! Scott Westervelt and Angela Simpson, our Wardrobe Supervisor and Asst. Wardrobe Supervisor.  They keep us clean and clothed and laughing.  These two are priceless! This is what renowned bass, Marcus Nance, looks like when not all dolled-up as Caiaphas.   Marcus is so much more than just an incredible, incredible voice.  One of the most talented and honorable men I know. The stunningly beautiful Aaron Walpole (Annas) in his dressing room with his inspiration for playing a priest!  His voice is amazing.  Annas is written so high, and yet it sounds like it’s just sitting comfortably in the middle of Aaron’s voice. Do not enter the ladies dressing room without knocking.  Laurin Padolina (Rachel) is the ladies-dressing-room look-out!  Kinda like a gorgeous, gifted Cerberus.  She may attack your ankles. Paul Nolan (Jesus). One of the most gifted actors and singers I will ever know, and a good, good man.  I've watched Paul work this role into his voice, body and mind over the past year.  How he does 8 shows a week, I have no idea. Jeremy Kushnier, looking sultry with his water bottle, getting ready to give his second Judas of the day! Another titan. Although we are all feeling very much embraced by the Broadway community, each of us has photos of our loved ones at their station.  Here are some of my pics.  Faces I just can't live without. A great tradition!  Every Saturday night, at the 5 minute call, all of our company rushes over to the 52nd street side of the theatre to bang on the windows, open them and cheer across the street to the cast of <i>Jersey Boys</i>, who are doing the same. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown... twice in one day. Julienne snapping up the snaps on my "tear-away" pants.  Yes.  I get stripper pants!  Just for the quick change in the curtain call.  (That's a lot of snaps... She's so brave... So beautiful.) Errolynne, one of our wonderful Stage Door Ladies, holding pens for the actors to use to sign autographs.  Our ladies are the best!  And it was another healthy crowd for the evening show!  The fans are wonderfully patient.  We are so lucky! Exit Stage Left!  or  Heading Home.  8 minutes until my next "private car" picks me up.  Ah, the Glamour of Broadway! After a two-show day, I am never sure quite how I make it back up those 5 flights.  G'night y'all!  Tell Mom 'n 'em I said "Hey"!  xo Bruce
 
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