Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who is the nytheatre i?

nytheatremike has tagged me on a meme running through the blogosphere. He says, "The point is to list seven strange things about oneself." I will keep my list as theatrical as possible, in accordance with the stated mission of this blog!

1. I starred as Snoopy in my elementary school's holiday pageant when I was in 6th grade. I wore a pair of blue flannel pajamas that we tried to bleach white, and didn't wear the gigantic cumbersome papier-mache Snoopy head that had been made for me by the art class. My big number was "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" (yes, the coke commercial song). This was my last stage appearance until...

2. I starred on Broadway with David Shiner and Bill Irwin at the Ambassador Theatre. Yes, I know my world is indie theater, but the fact is that my New York City stage debut was in Fool Moon. Maybe "starred" is too strong a word, however. Actually, I appeared as the projectionist in the silent movie skit that was Shiner's big centerpiece in Act II. The most fun I have ever had in a Broadway theatre.

3. I have Rudy Vallee's autograph. I'm not really much of an autograph hound, but I do have a small, choice collection from my childhood. My family used to go to Shady Grove Music Fair, a summer stock tent theatre in Gaithersburg, Maryland (long since departed), and my sister and I used to get the stars of the shows we saw to sign our programs. Mr. Vallee was appearing as J.B. Biggley in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Robert Morse was also in the show, but he didn't sign autographs). Vallee was, in my memory, exactly the same offstage as on. I also have autographs from Jayne Mansfield and Martha Raye. I must be quite old.

4. Eartha Kitt thinks I'm handsome. Well, she did, in 1968; she told me so when I was getting her autograph after seeing her in Peg, a musical version of Peg o' My Heart (see #3). My sister and I went to see Miss Kitt in a cabaret show some years later and my sister wangled her way backstage. We reminded Miss Kitt of our previous acquaintance and she very graciously said she remembered. (Not sure if she still thought I was handsome, however.)

5. I have a couple of plays in my trunk that--who knows--may someday see the light of day. But don't count on it. The last original play I wrote was when I was a senior in high school. It was called "1789," and it told the story of the Constitutional Convention--ripped off (as the Spamalot people might say) from a famous musical about the Declaration of Independence. I also have some MAD Magazine-style musical parodies of Candide and A Streetcar Named Desire from the same period that I thought were pretty funny.

6. I produced, wrote, and starred in two awards shows in the 1990s. This was in my Marriott period. The folks in charge of Corporate Finance at Company HQ found out that I had a slight theatrical bent (my day job was running our company's disbursement systems), and they let me put on their annual awards shindig. I had a five-figure budget that would make every off-off-Broadway company salivate and access to the company's video production department, including a director/cameraman assigned to me for the project. There's a video of me doing the second a tux, no less. Letterman and Carson were worried about me for a while there.

And finally...

7. I once tried out for Jeopardy. I know that's a strange TV thing rather than a strange theatre thing, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I passed the exam, but I flunked the live audition -- the scouts said I wasn't lively enough to be a good contestant on television. Never did get to meet Alex Trebeck...

Michael, thanks for tagging me, this was fun. I guess I'm supposed to keep this meme alive by tagging some more people, so I hereby tag all the folks at No. 11 Productions.


Bitter Lemons said...

Hey Martin - was referred to your site by Matt Wells. I write for a site in Los Angeles called Bitter Lemons. Check it out here at

I know we're not in the old NY region, but come check us out - we're still in our infancy and trying to create some new things over here.

Also would love it if you put us on your blog roll. Understand if you don't - but can't hurt to ask. Yours has been officially added to ours.

Colin Mitchell said...

Thanks for writing. I think the nytheatre i needs to stay nytheatre-focused so I don't think I can add the site to the blogroll -- but hopefully our readers will check it out! Stay in touch.

Kim said...

Hi Martin,

(your sister's Kim here) Snoopy, eh, well I was SaraLinda in The Thirteen Clocks in 8th grade...singing "I wish you well" over and over and over again....GREAT looking website.