The Day I Got Schooled by a Tony-Winning Diva Backstage at the Tonys

In 2004, I was fortunate enough to be on the Tonys with the cast of Fiddler on the Roof. It was a moment in my life I’ll never forget, for many reasons. One of those reasons is because I got a smackdown by a Broadway diva and Tony winner.

Randy Graff was playing Golde to Alfred Molina’s Tevye in that production and it just so happened that I was standing next to her backstage at Radio City during a Tony rehearsal. It was the same year that Wicked opened and while we were waiting in the wings, Idina was singing Defying Gravity. I thought she sounded a little rough around the edges and for some reason I felt compelled to share that opinion with Randy. She was having none of me. She turned to me, annoyed, and said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “You have no idea how hard this week is when you’re noninated…” (no…no I don’t…) “…there are these early morning rehearsals and as much press as you can do not to mention doing your show! All told, Idina’s probably doing 13 shows this week.” Then Randy went back to listening and waiting for us to be called onstage.

There’s not much to say to that, so, in a rare moment of self-editing, I didn’t. I turned back to watch what was going on onstage. Silent. And fairly embarrassed for myself.

The moral of the story is this: Until you’ve belted a 13 show week in someone else’s witch’s hat, shut your pie hole. Note taken. This year, as I watch the Tonys from the comfort of my couch, I’ll try to refrain from any kind of vocal shaming. I can not promise the same restraint if someone is wearing an ugly outfit.

Hats off to all the Tony performers and nominees. To the entire Broadway community! You are the best in the world and you are spectacular!

I wish you all as beautiful a Tony performance as I was lucky enough to be a part of…

…and as hilariously funny a Tony opening as I was lucky enough to be a part of ~ Dreamgirls tours the shtetl. Genius…


Posted on Jun 6, 2015 by Ian In: Arts & Entertainment, Inside Voice
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