BWW Blog: Sherz Aletaha of Off-Broadway's DISASTER! - Mothers And Phantoms And Disaster! Oh My!
The last few performances of Disaster! were very special for me; my mama was in town from California and in the audience! My parents were great about taking me and my big sister to the theatre as kids. When I was five, I saw my first show, The Phantom Of The Opera, at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. My parents knew this was a big hit musical from New York and wanted to take the family, but they didn't want us to be confused or overwhelmed because we were so young. They bought us the amazing two disc cast album to familiarize ourselves with the story and my sister and I were OBSESSED; we listened to it constantly. They went an unfortunate step further to prepare us for the show and decided to rent the movie to really make sure we knew what was up. You guys, that movie is a horror film. I was five. I nearly pooped my pants when they showed the Phantom's face, but my parents comforted me and said that the musical was not going to be scary. "The Phantom keeps his mask on the whole time!" my mother reassured her terrified daughter. Oh, mom...so sweet, so misinformed. The day of the show arrived. I wore a fancy dress. We had incredible orchestra seats and I remember peaking into the pit and seeing all the musicians before we sat down. Act 1: amazing! Couldn't get enough. Raoul is the dreamiest. Act 2: a little nervous when the Phantom appeared in his skeleton costume after "Masquerade" but whatevs, I was cool! Then it happened. Christine and The Phantom are singing "The Point Of No Return" then BOOM, hood down, mask off, petrified child. I jumped into my mother's lap and spent the remainder of the show staring at the exit sign, dreaming of the moment we would head it's way. For about a year, I genuinely feared that because I liked music, the Phantom would come through my mirror at night and take me away. How I ended up an actor pursuing theatre after my traumatic introduction to musicals, is a hilarious mystery to me!
Anyway, back to our show. I've been lucky enough to be in every version of Disaster! **ps. I'm not overly excited and adding exclamation points everywhere. Seth Rudetsky publicly shamed me on Facebook because I called it Disaster The Musical which sent him over The Edge. Like I just mentioned, I've been with the show forever so I should really know the name which includes punctuation but no "The Musical." To honor our writer/producer/fellow actor, I've been making a point to address the show with it's correct title, Disaster!** It started with a reading in Seth's living room with Jack Plotnick Skyping in to watch, then we did a one night benefit for Only Make Believe at the Box (if you aren't familiar with the Box, it's a trendy nightclub in the Lower East Side with the naughtiest bathroom in the world. Check out the picture below). After that, we had an industry reading, and then a limited (and sold out) run at The Triad. My mom made the cross country trip just to see the show not only last week but also two years ago when we played The Triad. For that production, we entered and exited through the house for the majority of the show. Since we grew up going to the theatre, I assumed my mother knew how to behave as an audience member. Stupid Sherz...Adorably/sadly, she got super excited to see me onstage which led her to wave to me during the show, tug at my hand while I was exiting, and maybe, just maybe, she stood up and took a picture during the curtain call. I know it's because she couldn't be prouder of her little girl which makes me want to burst into tears and love my mommy even more, but it did not stop me from giving her a stern lecture about what was and was not acceptable when she attended the show this time around. I'm happy to report that she totally behaved herself! Yay mom! She loved the show (again) and had a great time meeting the cast. We all went out on Friday night because it was Mary Testa's last show. All of the tears!!! But Annie Golden had her first show as Shirley last night, and she is so freaking adorable, I can't even deal. She's only in the show for three weeks so make sure to come check her out. Head to www.disastermusical.com and get those tickets, boo!