MY TONY MEMORY of 2012 and MY “SHOW WIFE”
As a curtain falls on the Tony Awards I want to share my favorite memory from the night, but first some back story....
It’s been an extremely competitive year on Broadway. When the Tony Award nominations were announced in May of this year, EVERY SINGLE THEATER on Broadway had a tenant. That is a rare occurrence, and it’s a wonderful sign that Broadway is NOT dead – that the American theater is thriving and healthy, even in this questionable economy.
But, it also meant that the competition was stiff for those coveted Tony nomination slots – and Godspell was SHUT OUT of the nominations this year. We didn’t receive a single nod.
But, because the TONY AWARDS is not just an award show, but a CELEBRATION of the season, the powers-that-be at the Tony Awards invited the cast of Godspell to perform a short, 90 second selection from the show.
Now, as many of you know (who follow me on twitter at @tellyleung, or who have previously read this blog), I LOVE my Godspell family. Each person is a unique, standout talent with a giant heart to match the monster talent that’s displayed 8-times-a-week at the Circle in the Square.
But, there is one Godspell cast mate that truly stands out for me – and that’s LINDSAY MENDEZ. Lindsay and I have a long history together. I first met her the summer of 2004, when we both did FOOTLOOSE together at the Sacramento Music Circus. It was her first Equity job, and i remember falling in love with her voice (and her spirit) during that show. Who woulda thunk that 8 years later, we’d be sharing the stage together in one of the most collaborative, theatrical experiences of my life ON BROADWAY, performing in GODSPELL?
Lindsay was not only my cast mate, but she became my “show wife.” She was my rock, and one of those folks that gave me so much artistic and emotional support on AND off the stage – as both a friend and colleague. We had a very special bond, and one moment in Godspell (the top of Act 2, when we do our “After Hours” version of LEARN YOUR LESSONS WELL) is one of my favorite moments in the show. It was a moment that we both created together – and I looked forward to singing with her, night after night – with me behind the piano. It felt so right – to be singing with someone who I consider to be an “onstage soulmate.”
Lindsay left GODSPELL recently to star in the Second Stage production of DOG FIGHT, a brand new musical directed by the amazing Joe Mantello (who I had the pleasure of working with on WICKED) and choreographed by Godspell’s (and Newsies’) Chris Gattelli.. sorry…ahem… TONY AWARD WINNER Christopher Gattelli.
We were at the dress rehearsal of the Tony Awards, the morning of June 10, and I was waiting in the wings to make my entrance for Godspell’s 90-second number when I spotted Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lupone backstage. They were on after Godspell, waiting in the wings to present the Tony for best musical revival (which would end up going to Porgy and Bess). I was immediately star struck, and initially speechless – but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say the following:
“Patti…Mandy…I just wanted to tell you that I LOVED your show on Broadway. My favorite part of the show is when Mandy recounts the story of himself, as a very young (and scared) Che in EVITA, walking into Patti’s dressing room during previews (who was equally as scared to be shouldering the burden of carrying such an epic musical) to say: Patti, no matter what happens, I got you. You have a friend in me.”
I then proceeded to tell them that I had found such a friend in LINDSAY – that she was the Patti to my Mandy. Lindsay and I constantly joked that we are the NEXT “Mandy & Patti” and that we’d be touring the country together doing concerts, just like them. I told Patti, “Lindsay is my heart.”
Patti said, “Keep her there.” Heartfelt advice, from a living legend.
Godspell will close on June 24, and I’m thrilled that I got to meet this incredible cast and company. They’ve all changed my life – especially Lindsay – and I know that I will continue to have an incredible life beyond Godspell with them. They are family to me.
it’s my hope that you will all come and see this magnificent production before it’s gone. It’s a production that has changed my life, and changed me for the better – and i think it will have the same effect on all of you. Come feel the joy with us – only two more weeks left! For tickets, check out www.godspell.com
One door closes, and another opens. I can’t WAIT to dive head first into ALLEGIANCE at the Old Globe this fall.