ActorQuest - Kristin Huffman Goes Inside 'Company' 17
In November, Kristin Huffman made her Broadway debut as Sarah (flute, piccolo and sax) in John Doyle's production of Company. The actress, with a new series of tales that go inside the making of Company from an actor's perspective, starting at the Cincinnati Playhouse and on to New York, continues her stories about a 15-year career that has led her to the door of the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
This is the seventeenth story about the "Making of Company." If you haven't read the others, go back and do so and then rejoin us here!
SCENE SEVENTEEN: MEET AND GREET
We had our Meet and Greet on the second day of rehearsal and everyone who's anyone was there. That included Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Furth…you know, the composer and writer of the book? There were press cameras and writers and a bunch of producers and PR types and ...the cast.
Cincinnati Playhouse should be proud that the spread of food they laid out was as good as the Broadway spread. A few more melons and strawberries, but on the whole, just as tasty. And despite my fear of dropping things on my nice Meet and Greet outfit, I still ate the stuff they laid out for us. And every time I had my mouth stuffed with something, the photographer took my picture. Appropriate for my character I guess, but it wasn't intentional.
Then we did the obligatory thing I hate at a Meet and Greet. We all went around the room and introduced ourselves and told what role we were playing or in what capacity we were involved with the show. My position happened to be right after the two big guns in the room. Mr. Sondheim said "Hi, I'm Stephen Sondheim and I am a friend of George Furth" and Mr. Furth said, "Hi, I'm George Furth and I'm an alcoholic." It got a big laugh but I could see the PR folks cringe because the cameras were rolling. I was so engrossed in watching the action that it took me a few seconds to remember who I was and the role I was playing. Somehow, I felt closer to George Furth in not only his own self admitted "therapeutic writing" i.e. our show, but also in his ability to piss off PR people.
After the introductions we all continued to mingle around and during this time it wasn't the PR folks who I offended, it was the set designer. He got there late, and so his little miniature set, that all set designers put together as a model of what we will be using, was all jumbled together. They had it laid out on the piano so folks could come around and see what it would look like. We had all seen it in Cinci, but, I guess you can never see that phallic column enough times. And there were new big blocks. The model stayed all jumbled up until one of the understudies decided to help set it up. She had never seen the show, but it is a pretty simple set. No one else was bothering to fix it up, so I saw nothing wrong in helping her. But as I got closer to the model I noticed with glee that there were little mini cutout versions of the cast mixed among the set pieces! They had taken our full length pictures and made us into tiny little stand up pieces!! So of course, we played with those. Putting them in different spots on the mini set. Then there were a bunch of the white phallic columns too, not just one. I guess in case one of them wilted. So I started putting them up around the mini set. Lots of them. If they followed my "set design" they would have a completely different show. There were some other set pieces that really didn't go in our set, but they were there, so we included them in the set as well.
No one in the entire room seemed to care about this mini set because they were all busy trying to talk with Mr. Furth and Mr. Sondheim. So we had a ball. Until, the set designer came over and got a little upset with us for "doing that to his set". I actually slid away from the mini set before he really got upset but the understudy didn't catch the vibe and she stayed to "play" a bit too long.