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Harvey's Broadway Blog: The Calm Before the Storm

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Harvey Returns! Welcome to The Return of special new series on BroadwayWorld.com - four time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein's personal MySpace blog of bringing his brand new musical, A Catered Affair to Broadway. We'll be exclusively picking up Harvey Fierstein's blog as he shares his first hand reports from rehearsals to Opening Night (and beyond). Check back for updates as rehearsals get underway!

It's Saturday, the Ides of March, and we have the day off. We did a full week's rehearsal and managed, in that short time, to get most of the rewrites and restaging incorporated.

I am thrilled with how the new material sounds. But I must say that JOHN DOYLE'S work with the show and the cast continues to astound me. His attention to detail, his knowledge of the stage and the score and the way an actor's mind works is simply unbelievable. For any actor or writer out there I can only wish that you will get a chance to someday work with this man. But selfishly I hope he has never leaves my side and we get to work together on dozens of future projects.

But back to the week that led to this day off:

MEET AND GREET also known as THE DOG AND PONY SHOW

Every Broadway show produces a day where the press gets to meet the cast of the upcoming project and hear about what the show will be like. Most of the time these events take place under flourescent lights in a rehearsal hall. But the producers of A CATERED AFFAIR put together a truly different and fun event. The cast was assembled to meet the press at New York's landmark bridal shop KLEINFELD. There were snacks and beverages galore and dozens of designer bridal gowns to gaze upon. Out front, in keeping with the plot of our show, there was a vintage TAXI CAB for the cast to pose in. And inside there was a stage and piano set up where composer JOHN BUCCHINO played and LESLIE KRITZER sang to MATT CAVENAUGH. All over the web you can see photos of us posing so I will skip those. But for you, something different.

Here is your inside look:

LESLIE KRITZER and I pose for the cameras.

This is what it looks like to the PAPARAZZI as they shoot photos of us.

And this is what the PAPARAZZI looks like to US!!!!!

See? I promised you an inside look and you got it.

REHEARSAL ROOM

From there it was back to work for us. We started out with a music brush-up and continued with a week's worth of reexploration of the story. Being back together with the cast after all of these months was wonderful. Anyway, here's the gang around the piano learning the new harmonies of the final song. And that's the newest member of our company front and center - MARK ZIMMERMAN who will understudy us guys. Ain't he a sweetie?

ABC'S BROADWAY PREVIEW

On Thursday I ran from rehearsal over to the Times Square studio of ABC News to tape a TV special that will air on March 29th. It's a preview of all the shows opening this spring as well as a few of the shows that opened earlier this year.

I was co-host with the fabulous MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH. She was a real doll and lots of fun to play with. Here's a photo of us posing together and another as we got ready to shoot in front of the cameras.

So make sure, if you live in the local ABC TV area, you tune in on March 29th at 7 PM Daylight Savings Time and watch us.

THE THEATER

On Friday, after we finished our last rehearsal in the studio, I wandered over to the WALTER KERR THEATER to watch our sets and lights being erected. It's always a thrill to see something you've dreamed about become real. I know that this photo hardly looks like a dream, but it is a picture of the CREW at work bringing a dream to life. It ain't magic yet, but what you're looking at will SOON be magic. That's what theater is to me.

And speaking of THEATER... the WALTER KERR is one of the most beautiful on Broadway. I'm sorry that I don't have more shots to share right now, but here is just one of the Art Deco wall murals that adorn the auditorium. Ain't it swell?

DRESSING ROOMS

As beautiful as many of the historic theaters are, the backstage spaces somehow do not boast the same glamor. In fact, Broadway dressing rooms are, for the most part, tiny airless cubicles that are more like ancient walk-in closets than the homes of Broadway's starry actors.

The New York Times is doing a story on how different actors decorate their dressing rooms and they sent a photographer to shoot me in mine. Unfortunately I am very superstitious and will not decorate my room until AFTER the reviews are out. It was CHITA RIVERA who taught this tradition to me. I guess it has something to do with "not counting your chickens before they hatch". Anyway, here is a photo of the New York Times photographer shooting me in my bare empty room which I shoot him right back!

But since this dressing room afforded no glamor, the photographer and I wandered over to my old dressing room at THE NEIL SIMON THEATER where I spent two years performing in HAIRSPRAY and shot me there as well.

One of the things I did during that show was to shoot photographs backstage, print them out, cut them up, and then glue them to a wall creating a room sized collage that documented the history of the show from the POV of my backstage camera.

I carried that tradition to THE MINSKOFF when starring in FIDDLER.

But here is a tiny piece of the collage from HAIRSPRAY that I found amusing. In the center you can see me pinching the cheeks of my A CATERED AFFAIR co-star MATT CAVENAUGH on the night we first met back in 2003. And all the way on the right you can see me hamming it up with the fabulous CHESTER GREGORY who is now starring in CRY BABY. Also featured in this photo is KAMILA MARTIN who is performing with BETTE MIDLER in Vegas as I type.

And speaking of CRY BABY.. Tonight is their first preview and I am keeping my fingers crossed for them. I have no less than SIX FRIENDS in the company and many more on the creative and producing team. So to all of you guys... BREAK A LEG!!!

Here is a photo of me checking out the artwork in front of their theater. Impressive by any standards, I always did have a weak spot for tall men.

SHOPPING

And what did I actually do with my day off???? I WENT SHOPPING, of course. This weekend is THE PIER SHOW on 55th Street and 12th Avenue where anything from kitsch to coronas can be found. Don't have photos to share, but it was a fun time for all. And everywhere I walked there were folks telling me that they were coming to see A CATERED AFFAIR so it really made me feel on top of the world.

And tomorrow... Tomorrow I am going to lie down and rest because next week is tech rehearsal, orchestra rehearsal, dress rehearsal and... whatever else comes with the days before first preview. So if you want to know how it's all going...

STAY TUNED!


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