Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hanging out backstage

Pictured:  Director Jerry Zaks, Katey Sagal, Randy Newman. 

Last night the Levine brood went to see HARPS AND ANGELS, a new musical revue of Randy Newman songs at the Taper Forum in Los Angeles. For you LA readers, check it out. It’s quite great. One of the stars is Katey Sagal (a slight departure from SONS OF ANARCHY) so after the show we all went backstage to say hello. Even though I always feel like the ultimate groupie, I love going backstage.

One of my great thrills was meeting Barry Humphries (Dame Edna) last year thanks to his/her BFF, Tallulah Morehead.

I did have one very awkward backstage experience, though. There was a new Herb Gardner play starring Judd Hirsch I really wanted to see. At the time I think I was doing ALMOST PERFECT. Our casting director arranged for my wife and I to get Judd Hirsch’s house seats.

We arrive, settle in, and Judd’s assistant comes over and says Mr. Hirsch would like us to come backstage after the performance. We were delighted. We didn’t know Judd Hirsch but it was a chance to thank him for the tickets.

After the show we go backstage. The way this usually works is you wait and the actors eventually come out and greet you. The assistant spots us and tells us to follow her. She then leads us into Judd Hirsch’s dressing room. He sees us, and you could tell has no idea who we were. I think he was expecting someone else. But he didn’t want to be rude so he invites us in and acts as if he knew us.

Likewise, we didn’t want to offend him, so we pretend that we know him, too. For fifteen minutes we all chat as if we are long-long friends. I can’t begin to tell you how WEIRD it was. Finally, we say goodnight, and of course we all vow to get together again real soon. I owe him a call.

Fortunately, I do know Katey, and again, see this show if you get a chance. Everyone is wonderful in it. And boy, can that motorcycle chick sing!


Max Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Max Clarke said...

Katey looks great.

Hard to believe the first time I heard of Katey was an episode of Columbo way back in the 1970s. She played the assistant to a senator who murders a member of his staff to get a sympathy vote.

Sally creeping down the alley said...

All those years backing up Tina Turner, who woulda thunk Katy Sagal could sing?

ttv said...

That's a perfect shot guys.

Simon H. said...

Given the amount of talent both behind in front of the scenes that was shared between "Taxi" and "Cheers", I'm not surprised a mix-up like that occurred.

Maybe this would be a good Friday question. Were you and your writing partner ever approached to work on "Taxi"? I always thought it was one of the greatest shows in Television history, and certainly one of the most under-appreciated. Given that you worked on "Cheers" while "Taxi" was still on the air, I'm surprised you and David Isaacs never had a chance to write for it.

Simon H. said...

That would be behind AND in front of the scenes. Grrrrrrr....

te said...

Didn't she get her "start" in show biz as a waitress at one of those joints where they'd stand by your table and sing at you?

I think there was eventually an album; perhaps as "The Group with No Name" (and this would have been lone before America's horse).

Tallulah Morehead said...

And I'm sure Barry was thrilled to meet you also. He gets so bored by the Queen and that boring Royal Family all the time, hanging on him, asking him for favors.

(These days, BBC America has Barry judging on "I'd Do Anything," which it ballyhoos with "This week an ALL-NEW episode of "I'd Do Anything". By "All-New" they mean shot just over a year before you met Barry, which was itself a year and a half ago.)

Katey looks to be holding up better than Jerry or Randy. (Around Katey, all men are "Randy".)

An old acting mentor and teacher of mine (now passed away) knew Katey also, and just loved the hell out of her.

Do they do Randy's "Let's Drop the Big One and See What Happens"? That was always my favorite song of his.

lucifervandross said...

Taxi was in no way "under appreciated" it was a major hit that launched many careers in front of and behind the camera. According to wikipedia it won 18 emmy awards during it's run, 3 of which were for outstanding comedy. It was a staple on Nick at night for a decade if not more, and was seen in other forms of syndication for just as long. Things start to fade I guess. A more "to the heart" example,MASH used to air locally here about 4 or 5 times a day (sometime in the last 15 years), and now i am pretty sure it is not aired at all locally, and I don't know when or where it is aired on cable.

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