Last night, The Drama League hosted its annual star-studded benefit up there at the Pierre Hotel. A year ago, I sat in on all the rehearsals and did some drawings that were sold at auction to raise some money. I guess it went well, because they asked me back again.
This year, I wasn't able to hang around as much as I would have liked, but I did get to spend a good day watching some of Broadway's finest leading men --including Cheyenne Jackson, Chad Kimball, Derrick Baskin, J. Bernard Calloway (among others)--work on a musical tribute to Angela Lansbury and I spent a lovely couple of hours drawing while Donna Murphy worked out her big number.
It's always amazing to me to watch what professional Broadway stars can accomplish in a limited amount of time with good will, fear contained in humor and the knowledge that when the curtain goes up, they'll be in front of people with high expectations so they'd better be as close to ready as they can get.
No one puts up a show on the fly like the good people of Broadway.
As I left the studio, I found myself surrounded by a throng of young men entering a room across the hall for a cattle call casting audition. It was hard to move in the crush of bodies working it for their big break. The hopefuls looked behind me, star-gazing at the room full of former Tony winners and nominees on a break, checking messages, grabbing a quick bite and catching up with old cast mates. One of the hopefuls looked at me, smiled and gestured towards the room they were cramming into. A piano played "There is Nothing Like a Dame" and guys stretched and nervously went over routines.
"Want to come audition for South Pacific?" he asked me.
I put away my drawing pad and laughed. "Not in the slightest," I lied.