BWW Blog: SCANDALOUS' Elizabeth Ward Land - Opening Night
What a wonderful night we had on Thursday, when SCANDALOUS opened on Broadway. There is nothing more magical than when all the hard work comes together and all the creative forces collide in one place!
The sequence of events on opening nights may vary a bit from production to production, but generally, the curtain is early (6:30 pm…..not really sure why, but it allows for more PARTY time?). So, the cast and creatives usually gather late afternoon, around 4pm. That is when any last fixes and notes are given, and the thank you speeches start. We had a mix of all of those things. Our wonderful director, David Armstrong, led the meeting by congratulating us all on such a positive weekend of critics performances, and told us how proud and pleased they all were with all the many things we had accomplished in the past three months. Then he turned the meeting over to our beloved conductor, Joel Fram, and we SANG. (Boy, can this group sing). Every single voice in the cast is so special, and it was a wonderful way to calm our jitters and join our spirits in song. Lorin Latarro, our beautiful choreographer, gave a couple of notes, reminding us of some thoughts and intentions in a couple of the numbers. David Friedman, one of our composers, spoke to the group and thanked everyone, Carolee spoke, etc - you get the idea. It is the ending of one phase of the process (rehearsals and previews) and the beginning of the next phase, the running of the show; and it is always bittersweet to say farewell to those who won't be around during the actual day to day operation of the show.
We then went back to our dressing rooms, which by this time were nearly overflowing with flowers, cards, gifts, food, booze and party clothes. I was completely overwhelmed by my particular haul - I have such unbelievable family and friends, and to everyone who sent good wishes- THANK YOU! (It was also my birthday the next day, so I felt doubly celebrated this year. I highly recommend having a Broadway opening and a birthday within 12 hours of each other - AMAZING!)
Then, at 5:40pm, the whole company gather on stage for the presentation of the Gypsy Robe. This is a tradition dating back generations. The Gypsy Robe began in 1950, when Bill Bradley, in the chorus of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, borrowed a dressing gown from Chorus member Florence Baum and sent it to a friend in CALL ME MADAM on opening night Oct 12, 1950 saying it was worn by all the Ziegfeld beauties and would "bless" the show. A cabbage rose from Ethel Merman's gown was added and the robe was passed along to next Broadway musical on opening night. The tradition evolved so that the robe is now presented to the "gypsy" who has performed the most Broadway musicals on a chorus contract. Along the way, the robe is decorated, painted, patched, stitched, and signed by everyone in the show, becoming a fanciful patchwork for an entire Broadway season. Our lucky recipient was Carlos Encinias! We also had three cast members making their Broadway debuts - Billie Wildrick, Matt Wolfe, and Hannah Florence. Congratulations!
Then the show began, and it was, indeed magical. The amount of good energy passing from the stage to the audience and back on to those of us on stage was truly palpable. During the curtain call, Carolee singled out our creative team of Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman, David Pomeranz and David Armstrong, who were all making their Broadway debuts. Congratulations!
We finished the show, and then the party prep began. The goal is to look as good as you can in as little time as possible, since you want to get the partying started! My darling husband, Ken Land, made the trek down from his HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS tech and looked dashing!
Usually, there is a day off after opening night (to help ease the hangovers?) but we had our regular schedule following this one, and a nice weekend of crowds with lots of friendly faces.
You really should come see SCANDALOUS…..it is a fascinating story, told entertainingly thru great performances, superb singing, and a Tony-worthy turn by Carolee Carmello.
Next blog? Spotlight on the Sound Department, who makes you hear us in such a glorious way every night, (and who I inadvertently left out of my list of contributors in my blog last week- so sorry!.)
Gypsy Robe recipient for SCANDALOUS, Carlos L. Encinias (photo courtesy of Struxness Photography)
All the flowers and gifts