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PHOTO RECAP: A Two-Show Day at Broadway's Mystery of Edwin Drood With Robert Creighton

This two show day started by catching the bus from my home in NJ.  Notice two busses arriving. I took NJ TRANSIT.  The other is a jitney on which you often risk your life. I take that one too sometimes. Best view of NYC, period! And it never gets old. Took moment on the bus to shout out to my fellow #Drood tweeters. (Sure…go ahead and follow all of those!) I would bet big bucks that on my walk from Port Authority up 8th Ave toward Studio 54 I will bump into someone I know from our Broadway community.  Today it was my old friend Garrett Elise Long! As I turned for my gym I passed them “loading-out” <i>The Performers</i>. It closed prematurely a few days before. When any show closes quickly it always feels like the death of a distant cousin.  You’re not directly connected, but it’s a loss. I like to hit the gym to get the blood going before the show.  Dude took way too long taking the picture.  I was exhausted just trying to stay flexed. Yes… I was flexed. We have great stage door dudes. Always friendly!! Hi Justin. Had to go check on tix. Fun box office folk with a little sideline: @EdwinDrood54 Walking back through the house and there’s Shannon Lewis warming up and representing her Canadian “Roots.” Josh and Craig. “Test 1-2.” Getting ready to make us sound good. Swung in to see the boys. Kyle Coffman and Justin Greer hangin’ loose. Nick Corley, Eric Sciotto, and Spencer Plachy eat, tweet and inspect livestock, respectively. In the girls room dresser Sam (mine from <i>Anything Goes</i>, so nice to have him around!) tests Kiira Schmidt’s bustle as Janine Divita hydrates. Oh…and they were both in my last show <i>Anything Goes</i>, too! We came together! Hey Company Manager James…it’s Wednesday…shouldn’t you be preparing something for “actor appreciation day” tomorrow! Stage Managers Scott and Zach remind me to keep it moving! Jess and Dorian try and find something in the Green Room fridge to bolster them for the matinee. Nicholas Barasch plays my son Nick Cricker II and is pretty much the smartest guy in the room at any moment. He has worked out all the possible variations of the ending, as voted by the audience, and he has all 326 variations posted on his wall. King Paul Gemignani in “his” chair in the Green Room! Headed up to my dressing room and found some fun things on the way, starting with our full-page color NY Times ad that ran on the wall.  It’s a little vague, but I think they’re saying the show’s FUN! I found Andy Karl doing a little house cleaning before the show. Odd… but conscientious. Stopped by to say hi to Macaco, who kindly shares his dressing room with my friend, the lovely Stephanie J. Block. Hi Chita! Oh hey! Betsy Wolfe arrived. Dave Solomon, our associate director, tries to give her some notes. Oh hey Will Chase. Excellent makeup application, Dude. A gift for you all. Dave’s notes are so well received by our company. Peter Benson is all for it! Young Nicholas thought a lot of his note too. Way to keep trying, Dave. I arrive at my dressing room that I share with four time Tony nominee Gregg Edelman. My dressing room has tidbits of all the things that I love and enjoy the most. In this photo: Toronto Maple Leafs (remember when there was professional hockey?) and a success card with a thought for the week. A pic of my amazing wife Whitney.  And those who know me well know that one of my mottos is: “Smell good-Feel good” so a little of the sweet stuff there. One of the best actors and greatest movie stars of all time James Cagney. A pic of Cagney has been with me in every one of my dressing rooms for the last 15 years. Someone once asked me “What show were you in when they took that picture?” There’s my off-spring RJ! Best opening night gifts ever! (See Playbill Yearbook 2012 for full story) A Dickens Novel from Rupert Holmes (published 1892) and a crystal mouse from director Scott Ellis. Great stories of their significance. Too long to tell here! Gregg Edelman regularly brings fresh flowers into the Dressing Room. That’s my kind of roommate. Uh oh! My dresser Joe Hickey is here. Better get to work! I thought I had snuck by Dave, but I guess he got some notes for me too. So this is pre-Durdles. Just to be clear for when you see the show…I wear a fat suit, ok. It’s a fat suit!! Here’s Nick Cricker makeup for top of the show.  Gregg gets “Gator-fied,” as he calls it, for the top of the show. Oh hi to you too, Jessie Mueller! Our Chairman and actor extraordinaire Jim Norton chills out before blasting off in the show. Actors are creatures of habit. Routine. I love that element of it all. Every single day you would find Jim in this exact position at this exact time. If only this were a video segment. From another dressing room, the Bee Gees tune "Stayin’ Alive" is pumpin’! Sure enough, there’s Andy and Peter doing their disco finest.  THIS WAS NOT A SET UP SHOT. This type of thing is the norm in that room! Andy sees the camera and lets it rip. Peter says “Matinee Tony!” Huh? “Saturday Night Fever...Matinee Tony!” And so he was. Don’t be jealous of the smoking jacket! Fine, right?! William Ivey Long told me in my fitting that it was built for Nathan Lane, but he fell in love with the rehearsal one he was using. Sorry Nathan… mine now! At “PLACES” many of us head through the basement of the theatre, and go up the stairs to the back of the Orchestra section where the bar is! Zach is always there waiting! Betsy’s right behind me! Wow, right?! Andy and Jessie get their invitation to head up. I have four rituals I do at the back of the house each show, that never change: shake my man Mikey’s hand; kiss Chita on both cheeks; hug Jessie; and then… …I visit Jake at the bar, who may or may not have filled the very bottom of that glass with Johnny Walker Black.  I may or may not then swish and drink that so people can smell it I when we go kibitz with the audience. Lori Doyle drives the ship from stage right and I say hello as I run from in the audience on to the stage for “THERE YOU ARE” the opening number. John Jasper (Will) gets us going with A MAN COULD GO QUITE MAD.  This guy:  besides being a blast to work with, is a freakin’ power-house out there! Starts us off on the right foot every time. Now if he could only keep a straight face,  once in a while. Headed back to my dressing room I see Jen and Shannon. It’s a tough job working with unattractive women who have no personalities…but I struggle through. ;-) On this day, for some reason, they are fascinated by my enhanced eyebrows. Jen and Justin “swing” the show. That is the toughest job in the building as they are not on for every performance but must remain at the ready to go on in any of the ensemble tracks. Apparently they stay loose with the shakey weights. The ever-studious Jim Walton. Eric Sciotto gets dramatic in front of the Hand Turkey Contest he organized for Thanksgiving.  Yeah…we have fun! Nick and his “wrangler” Felicia. They laugh 24/7. I don’t know who’s wrangling who? Conserving their energy and solving the world’s problems in our Green Room. Which one is Spence going to wear today? Headed up to my dressing room but the sun just came out on the stairs. Here’s Rosa Bud! SJB and her guard dog! I have time to fuel up before my next entrance.  Taking too many darn pics to have time to eat before the show! On my way to do back up vocals for the end of Chita’s “Wages Of Sin” I see they are set up for the sexy Opium Den scene!  It is smokin’! I just want to say for the record…that I am in a show with Chita Rivera. And there she is. And here I am. And life is good. Finished the sing along and back up to do this makeup and become Durdles.  Dirty dirty Durdles! Now the fun really starts for me. Headed to the stage and there is Kate, SJB’s dresser, always ready with a smile on the way by! Here’s Durdles, baby! I get fired up to do my first scene. It is fun EVERY time!!! I wish you could see all the little fist bumps, high-fives, fanny slaps etc that become part of your track as the run of a show goes on. In this case, if Jessie and Jess (Will’s dresser) weren’t there to high-five me, the world might come to an end. When I head back to the dressing room after my first Durdles chunk of the show, dashing Reverend Chrisparkle is always in that very spot. …and the Landless siblings are causing trouble! Here is an A-B comparison. Durdles’s teeth…Kiira’s perfect teeth! Janine and Alison Cimmet in their Victorian maid outfits. I suggested we help the budget and they all just stay in the Opium Den costumes for the duration. I didn’t get any takers. See the family resemblance. “That’s my boy!” More perfect teeth! So at intermission, I am the last one to clear the stage, and I bump into Nick Corley, the Music Hall Royale’s stage manager, on his way out to sweep up the fake snow.  Look at that excitement!! The top of Act 2 is the only time I get to wear any color in the show, and I am very proud of my coat of many colors! On the way for Act 2 there’s Chita and her dresser Rosie. Can you tell from this picture what a warm and wonderful person Chita is? I hope you can. I’m a little bit in love. It’s ok., my wife knows. Carrie get’s Janine’s angel halo ready for the Act 2 opener! Angel Shannon ready to shed her earthly attire! Act 2. Places stage right. “A Chairman, a Priest and a Cow walk into a bar…” Jim = mad cow! 85.	My quick change in Act 2. Joe adds the feather in my cap! Rosa’s ready for her entrance. There’s always a moment where the Cloisterham Gangstahs hang on the stairs. Everybody has to check the line-ups for the voting. They change every day! Peter and Jessie like to discuss the order of things. The voting has begun. Jessie is nervous. Who’s it gonna be?! Andy can’t take the pressure! Scott tallies the audience’s votes. No…he really does tally the votes. There it is…they have chosen!! Helena better hydrate for her big confession song! Peter is Datchery at the ready! Incidentally… Durdles was picked as Murderer (as evidenced by Nicholas’ chart) one time and one time only. If you have made it this far into the pictures… then you are a dedicated theatre person and I suggest you rally your friends and come vote Durdles!! People are always so kind and excited at the stage door. I personally always find it fun to sign their playbills and posters and share their enthusiasms! So many people want to meet SJB and she is the queen of being gracious at the stage door! Went and grabbed a little food and headed back to the theatre through the front door.  This is what people see when they are entering our world.  Love it! Sure enough. Voting totals were posted. Sorry Neville. Sister power. One of my all time favorite things. And the novelty never wares off.  Is when those moments happen and you are alone in a Broadway theatre. Standing on the stage. Nobody else is there. No ushers, no crew, no nobody! And I’m actually allowed to be there! I Walking into the wings and there’s the voting board re-set for another audience-chosen ending!! On this day I take my food up to dine with Ms. Mueller and she and Ms. Wolfe’s sumptuous dressing room.  Ignore her mug! Then it’s off to the Mezz lobby for some Physical Therapy with Carolyn. She takes care of me! Then Andy and I have a little recording session for a song he wrote that the entire cast just made a two-cameral-full-on-MTV-style video for.  Stay tuned…It’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND!! Will’s awesome daughters are hanging with him before the evening show. They’ll likely be in the audience tonight as they often are! The favorite part of my evening pre-show ritual is to “facetime” for dinner and bath-time with my little guy! (Oh and check out what I found around the corner, my Canadian friends! Timmy’s, baby!!!) Then it’s basically “rinse and repeat.” Another night of fun with my roommate Gregg and our mice and the teeth. Who wouldn’t have fun looking like this!? Two shows done and headed home! I hope you’ll come and see us and pick your Drood ending sometime soon!
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