Exclusive Photo Feature

PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day With Chicago Star Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Good Morning! Here we are in my kitchen, looking out the window, drinking coffee before a long two-show day at the Ambassador Theatre. I’m a major coffee addict and need at least two cups before I’m out the door! The Ambassador Theatre, where <i>Chicago</i> plays eight shows a week! Let’s take a tour, shall we? Here’s the wardrobe room. That’s Kevin’s chair- he’s our Wardrobe Master. A lot of storage for a lot of black tights! Next we head into the wig area. Can you spot my wig? Mama’s wig gets some love before a long day at the office. Hair inspiration collage up on the mirror.  I never get tired of looking at it. The fabulous Brian O’Brien! Time to sign in! Jenn Dunne gives me a pose by the callboard. Our callboard full of announcements, schedules, reminders and… what’s that? A poster that I’ve asked everyone to sign.  See, Mom? I got it done for you! Upstairs to my room! Here it is! I’ve brought a few things from home for inspiration. We had a runing cat theme during my rehearsal process, so I channeled my love of vintage fashion and reminders to be cat-like. The old Lanvin ad is my favorite. The cat mask is from New Orleans! A Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS special Christmas ornament of Chita Rivera hangs in my dressing room- reminding me of the legacy of <i>Chicago</i>. My messy station! No matter how I try to organize it, it is always crazy! Photobooth strips of my wonderful boyfriend, Dan. That little girl making the face is me in 1st grade!  A showgirl then, a showgirl now. A gift from my parents. Dancer Who Speaks! Costumes! Sometimes I still don’t believe I actually get to wear these iconic clothes. Breakfast of Champions.  I told you I was a coffee addict! "Before" picture. I think people are starting to arrive.  I’d better warm up before they get annoyed at my hollering. Vocal warm-ups. Incredibly important! Time for makeup! It takes a lot of colors to make a Velma. Almost done with makeup. What do you think? I bring my laptop on two-show days.  Follow me on Twitter @nikkalanz! Brian Spitulnik arrives! He usually sits on my couch before half hour… …just like that. Peter Nelson stops in to say hello. Rina Saltzman, our fearless Company Manager, passing out paychecks and tracking down people. She’s amazing! Jason Patrick Sands and Ryan Worsing, looking adorable (as always). Michael Cusumano! David Kent, our dance captain, stops in to show off his abs to the boys. Needless to say, I thought Playbill needed to see that! The boys settle in my room, while Jeff comes in with wigs. Here we go! Oh no, Mikey, what are you doing?!! Showtime! The beautiful Dylis Croman runs up the stairs after “All I Care About.” Chris Sullivan prepares for an entrance. Cleo and Charlotte have a moment. Mikey does some stretching on the bannister. Ouch! Intermission time! Our intrepid publicist Jeremy Shaffer strikes a pose in the Stage Management office. "Mama" Carol Woods and the brilliant Leslie Stifelman ham it up. They’re always silly during intermission. Nicole Bridgewater runs to drop her tea off before places and takes a moment with her phone. James Harkness checks his messages. Places! Mikey grabs his whistle and we are on to Act II. My wonderful friend Chad Riter came to the matinee! He visits in my dressing room after the show. A quick moment for some lunch in the wardrobe room. Time to sign back in for the second show. My mother always taught me to brush my teeth before half hour. The things that stay with you, right? Extra-Strength Tiger Balm, champion of two-show-days and sore muscles. Charlotte and Chris Sieber swap stories. I love it! Intermission: Peter Nelson works on Sieber’s sore muscles… …then treats himself to some watermelon! Thanks for bringing it in, Mama Carol! Sharon Moore, one of our masterful Swings, and Steve Singer, her drummer husband, pose for me. They’re the cutest. Right before "Razzle Dazzle." Mikey, in character as Olga (don’t ask), tells us a sad story, while Melissa and Dylis listen. Melissa and Dylis can’t believe what they’re hearing! Or is that just… …Christopher Sieber, practical joker?! Yep. Mama Carol finds all these antics HILARIOUS! Charlotte takes a minute before going onstage to the courtroom scene. Second show is over! All the shoes in a row. A quick in-the-mirror goodbye shot. I make sure everyone has signed the poster. Then home to bed. Thanks for joining me, Playbill!  Come see me in <i>Chicago</i> through Sept. 4.
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