I had the great pleasure to perform this weekend with a very talented line up of David Carl, Coco Cohn, Carl Andress, Kevin R. Free, and Frank Vlastnik in a reading of Peter Michael Marino‘s Desperately Seeking the Exit this weekend in the Unofficial Upper East Side EdFest.
This piece holds a special meaning to me. It was the first show Aimee and I saw at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012. We got to meet Pete after the show and he has becomes one of my closest friends. He is a truly talented and caring artist and person.
I went on to see this show four more times back here in NYC. More than any show in which I was not directly working. Why? Because it is a tremendous story of almost making it on London’s West End with a musical adaptation of the film Desperately Seeking Susan and the music of Blondie. What happens is really heartbreaking but ultimately is the story of turning a big loss into something positive. It is a reminder to keep going.
Funnily enough, while I am a big fan of ’80s pop culture, I have never seen that movie. I didn’t think I needed to back in the day. The video for Madonna’s “Into the Groove” was on permanent rotation on MTV.
We had a packed crowd at Ryan’s Daughter. It felt like being in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where only maybe three of 300+ venues are actual theater spaces. I like doing theater in non-traditional spaces. Peter performed the opening and closing bits of the piece. I was the last of the other actors to perform in the roster that night, which was a little nerve-wracking. Also, I had the more emotional section of the piece. It was sort of like when bands plays covers of bands being inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. You want to honor the music but bring your own style to it.
I got some solid laughs and I think I was successful at painting the images of what happened with Pete’s words. I did try to infuse a line reading I thought would get a laugh and it didn’t. Fortunately, Pete was there to make an ad lib. “Oh, that was the joke you added?” In the course of the night, that worked out even better.
Gotta say, it’s nice to be called a “star.” (I think I am least in terms of being a star in this list.) And it’s nice to do something that’s SOLD OUT! It takes the stress out of doing it because you know what you’ll have in terms of audience and prep for that.