May 07, 2006

The Worst Pies in London

Other people can be so noisy. And by "other" I mean everybody else except me. The ushers at the theater I worked at this week couldn't stop talking and yapping to the exclusion of everything else going on around them.

For example, the other night, the cast all came out on stage before walk-in to rehearse with Benjamin Eakely - who is filling in as Anthony for Benjamin Magnuson who sprained his ankle.

The cast came out pre-makeup including Patti Lupone in a warmup suit with her hair tucked into her snood.

This is one of the plum bonuses of doing this job. It doesn't take that long to set up so between 7 and 7:30 there's a lot of downtime. Several times I've seen the cast warming up, but usually it's only 3 or 4 cast members - never Patti Luapone. Michael Cerveris (see right) was also warming up. He plays Sweeney - quite well.
They were all out and singing intimately to each other helping to get the understudy ready for the show - to work out the kinks. They were rehearsing the duets between Anthony and Johanna and Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd.

And the whole time they were giving me this private performance, every usher in the theater was running his or her yap, making sure to increase their volume as the singers on stage got louder. They weren't even discussing anything interesting.

Here are snippets of conversations overheard during one particular rehearsal from a different night.

Usher 1: Rumor has it Elizabeth Taylor is on her deathbead.
Usher 2: Oh. That's too bad.
Usher 1: Yeah. Heart failure.

This lead to a fascinating discussion about who's still hot and who's not from old Hollywood.

Usher 1: Paul Newman still looks soooo good.
Usher 2: Now he's also got Oreo cookies ...
Usher 3: Without the cream inside.
Usher 1: Yeah. His cookies are good.
Usher 2: Debbie Reynolds still looks like a kid.

(pregnant pause)
Usher 1: Betty White is still beautiful.
Usher 2: Of the Golden Girls, she always looked the best.
Usher 3: Bea Arthur was never really fly.
Usher 2: What was she? Like 6'2".
Usher 1: She always looked a little bit like a man.

Yes. I was sitting near them with my notepad writing down some observational notes based on what was going on in the theater. Yes. This was a conversation from Friday night and not from Thursday night's impromptu full cast preshow rehearsal.

I've got other notes too but they are mostly bitter observations about the not-so-friendly ushers at this theater. So... I'll keep them to myself. There's no need to be mean.

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