Monday, January 07, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Loo

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Loo

So there I was yesterday, watching the very first McLaughlin Group of 2008 when the panel began discussing Mike Huckabee's victory in Thursday's Iowa caucuses.

An image came on the screen of the Huckster's victory speech where he was framed, not by his family, but by Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Norris (Gena O'Kelley). The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page remarked that it demonstrated how pop culture was attracted to Huckabee's presidential candidacy.


Ironically, back in September 2006 when I last revisited Wicked on Broadway, Norris and his spouse were seated directly across the aisle from me. I remember thinking to myself how interesting it was to see someone like the politically-conservative Norris -- who's most recently been relegated to sharing fitness tips with Christie Brinkley on infomercials -- taking in one of pop culture's true theatrical sensations. Even more interesting was that Norris clearly didn't like what he was seeing (I surmised it was due to the show's sly references to the current White House occupant). In fact, at intermission, Norris and O'Kelley walked out on the performance.

Another Sunday morning pundit, Chris Matthews, turned up in my audience for Cyrano de Bergerac. At least he appeared to enjoy himself -- I could hear his ... how shall I say this politely ... distinguished laugh from a mile away. (Another celebrity sighting at that October performance was Jennifer Garner's former castmate from "Alias," Ron Rifkin).

Speaking of "distinguished" laughs, when I took in a Steppenwolf opening performance of The Unmentionables back in July 2006, I remember hearing this rather obnoxious laugh coming from behind me. Don't get me wrong. The play itself was a hoot. But this cackle was almost too much. When I turned around, who did I see but a "Friends"-less David Schwimmer.

Which brings me full circle back to yesterday.

One actor who clearly has a friend is Bob Saget, whom I saw yesterday afternoon at the performance of The Homecoming -- the former Man in Chair was in tow with Danny Burstein, one of his co-stars from The Drowsy Chaperone. I first spotted Saget as we were among the dozen or so men standing in line for the men's loo, waiting for a female to finish her business inside (seems the women's line was just too long for her). To his credit, the former "Full House" star was quite affable, making a funny quip and kept his fellow liners entertained.

Call me crazy, but for some reason it made me wonder what Chuck Norris would do.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 07 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Post Script: I was surprised at yesterday's intermission to see none other than Spring Awakening's Jonathan B. Wright standing at the entrance of the Cort Theatre. Made me wonder why he wasn't over at the Eugene O'Neill for the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.

At 07 January, 2008, Anonymous richard said...

is it me or does Chuck Norris look like he's had some work done on his face? Bad work too. He's beginning to look like Joan Rivers. I wonder what Chuck would think of Mamet's NOVEMBER!!??

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

Oh I do love celebrity sightings! Political ones are interesting too. When I took my mom to see Gem of the Ocean, she spotted Al and Tipper Gore before I did. She actually got out of her seat and walked further down the aisle so she could turn around and see their faces. Oh Mom. They had good tastes though - one of the best plays ever written.

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Great stories, especially the David Schwimmer part!

I was shocked to turn around at Grey Gardens and see the actor who played Hesh on The Sopranos. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember his name. At the risk of totally embarrassing myself, I asked him if he played Hesh, told him how much I loved the series, and apologized for not remembering his name. He was very gracious, and said "It's Jerry." Later, I remembered it was Jerry Adler. And I'd completely forgotten that he was in Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery! If only I had an iPhone with built-in Internet access, I could have looked him up!

I know it probably violates all rules of Broadway theatergoing to actually approach a famous person you see in the audience. What can I say!

I can totally imagine Bob Saget keeping everyone amused in the line for the men's room. He seems like a nice person, and I'm kind of sorry I won't get to see him in Drowsy.

And who would walk out of Wicked? I mean, it's not like the show constantly beats you over the head with the Bush references. It's not a political screed! Yikes!

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, If Norris thought Wicked was hard on the Prez, to Richard's point, I wonder what he'd think of that Mamet show, or how about Avenue Q. The funny thing is, even Laura Bush went to Wicked and reportedly enjoyed herself.

By the way, I don't know of any rule that you'd be violating by talking to a celebrity. If the spirit moves me, I'll talk to anybody I see, celebrity or not!

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, Talk about a great celebrity sighting. Wow!

I remember looking behind me at Frost/Nixon and was surprised to see Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas. I had the lovely Joyce Rudolph sitting next to me at Deuce. And when I took in Rock 'N' Roll, I saw everyone from Wicked producer David Stone to The Village Voice's Michael Musto to a guy who at least looked like Trevor Nunn.

Celebrity sightings certainly make you feel like you're seeing a show that everybody's just got to see.

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Richard, Say what you will about Joan Rivers, but her face looks 1000 times better than that of CN!

At 07 January, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

If you go often enough, you'll definitely see celebs. I've only approached one once. It was Angela. I had to approach her or I probably would have expired right there. As it was, I nearly expired after I met her! She was lovely, of course. I guess I should amend the previous statement slightly. If I see Marian Seldes at the theatre, then I always make a point of it to say hello. If I see a couple of different opera divas when I'm at the Met, then I say hello. But these last three are different since I've met them in various settings.

At 08 January, 2008, Blogger Mondschein said...

I never really have the courage to speak to a known actor when I see one in the audience. This is particularly since the time I watched a woman speak to Billy Crystal during intermission at Spamalot, during Crystal's 700 Sundays run. The way his face glazed over with polite disinterest made it clear that such was not the time or place to address him.

Peter Coyote, on the other hand, was charming and affable when our paths crossed one evening at Angus McIndoe.

At 08 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, From all that I've heard and seen, Marian Seldes is infinitely approachable.

At 08 January, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Marian Seldes is definitely approachable! I felt a little guilty because people were coming up to her all through intermission at Gypsy. Two people especially seemed to be monopolizing her time. I figured if I kept it short, it would be fine. And it was. She's such a kind and gentle woman. But I'll definitely keep my distance if I ever see Billy Crystal!


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