TONYS 2008 Q&A: Cubby Bernstein
There's a dynamo taking over this Tony season, and No, I'm not talking about Patti LuPone's Mama Rose, I'm talking about that most influential of theatre folk, teenage Tony Campaign manager Cubby Bernstein! With 63 Tony wins under his belt there is no denying the kid knows his stuff, but far from flaunting it, this mysterious theatrical phenom doesn't like the spotlight, but he knows what he likes, and what he likes is Xanadu. Every Tony season he turns his considerable might towards the show he believes he can lead to Tony victory, did I mention he has 63 wins to his name? So with Xanadu as his chosen production the tiny titan of Tony 2008 has come out of the shadows, or at least pulled himself away long enough from the Go Diego Go aisle at Toy "R" Us to answer a few questions for us here at BroadwayWorld.com.
Eddie Varley: Cubby, you've burst on the theater scene with a bang, it's obvious you know the history of the biz, who would you say has been the biggest influence on you so far? Diamond Jim Brady, David Merrick or Hannah Montana.
Cubby Bernstein: Liz McCann says that I'm the illegitimate son of David
Merrick and Carol Channing.
EV: Your track record in picking Tony winners is second to none, what's the Cubby secret?
everyone else in the theater I rely on Instincts. Instincts. I find someone
with instincts and I follow
EV: What's your favorite theater district hang out, Angus McIndoe, Bar Centrale or Ben & Jerry's?
CB: Sardi's, baby, all the way. That cannelloni
is the stuff that made Alex Cohen go go go.
EV:Xanadu is the show you've given your impressive nod to, give your emotions on your first time seeing it, and how that inspired you to give it the "Bernstein Blessing".
CB: The whole gonza mashpucha over that at the
'du. They dragged me kicking and screaming. Did I know it was going to bowl me
over? A score by John Farrar and Jeff Lynne? A book by Douglas Carter Beane
that doesn't have gay men or glamorous women in it -- hey wait a minute.
Direction by Christopher Ashley? The most intimate Broadway theater of them
all? Come on, I'm not made of stone, unless Mary Testa looks at me in that snaky
EV: Those suits, that style. Who dresses you?
CB: Dyllun my assistant assists me. But whenever the tailor asks if I"
dress right "or" dress left?", Dyllun blushes, and leaves the
room giggling. It's enough already.
EV: Tony night is fast approaching, what's your plan for attending and how will you beat your bedtime curfew to stay the whole night?
CB: Very simply -- I stay up -- then I call in sick the next morning for
school. I get a note from a doctor -- he's the same doctor that wrote the note
for Raquel Welch to get out of "Woman of the Year". Still alive and licensed,
I found him.
EV: Any truth to the rumor you're looking into bringing "Can't Stop The Music" to the Broadway stage?
CB: What is with these questions? I'm not a
producer, I'm a Tony Campaign manager. I did branch out and started
representing regional theaters for that special Tony, this year however, and I
must say Chicago Shakespeare is very grateful.
EV: Your between matinee Yu-Gi-Oh! games are legendary, is it true Michael Riedel's been know to cheat?
CB: Michael is a pussycat and when Xanadu
opened and was a hit, he kind of sort of in a roundabout way took back the bad
things he said about it before it opened. I like the guy. Hey, he makes theater
interesting, doesn't he?
EV: What's your post Tony plans?
CB: The price of gas is completely out of hand. I think we're gonna work to
put OPEC on tkts.
EV: And finally, Carol Channing, set the record straight.
CB: Not my mother. Love her performance in "Skidoo" -- AND in the original cast recording of "Hello, Dolly", which is as close as mankind gets to perfection, Carol comes in a half beat early in "Sunday clothes" with the Line "Ermingarde stop sniveling" and repeats herself. Whenever it happens I smile cause it reminds me that even when we toil towards greatness our very humanness can't help but be a part of it all. Kind of like Sonny in "Xanadu".
You can catch Tony Campaign Manager Cubby Bernstein when he makes a rare public appearance to deliver a much anticipated speech outside the Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street, Today, Wednesday, May 28th. From 4 pm to 6 pm, Cubby along with the cast of XANADU will be on site to sell "Cub-cakes" to the public, as he instructed Julie White to do before her Tony Award win last year. The producers of XANADU, Robert Ahrens, Brian Swibel,Tara Smith, Cari Smulyan Dale Smith and Dan Vickery have chosen that all proceeds will go directly to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.