Backstage

Cinderella’s Ross Petty
January 29, 2009

Posted By: Ross Petty

I have the January blahs…the inauguration of Barack Obama notwithstanding. I’m mourning the closing of Cinderella at the Elgin Theatre and the absence of having a destination to go to as I did for the past 6 weeks. The comfort of walking into a messy dressing room, after checking out the green room to see if any of the cast had brought goodies. Wandering downstairs, greeting the stage crew who were preparing for the coming performance, and checking my name off the sign-in sheet…wait a minute…I’m the bane of any stage manager’s existence…I never sign in.

Back upstairs, I drop in on my daughters…Dan Chameroy and Adam Brazier. Bertha Von Botox (my character) was a lucky woman…having two of Canada’s most handsome, talented, and funny leading men to joke around with both onstage and off. Eddie Glen, everyone’s favorite red head, pokes his head in and wonders if we’re doing any new adlibs for tonight’s show. I have to explain to Eddie that if they were pre-planned, they wouldn’t be adlibs. Kidding…Eddie’s one of the sharpest guys in the biz.

At the 5 minute call, I throw on my Fairy Godfather costume and head to stage left. Paula Brancati, our Cinderella, greets me in her wonderfully warm way; I chat briefly with Karen LeBlanc ( I can’t believe she doesn’t have a boyfriend…maybe her status has changed by now), and go to the front curtain and listen to the audience. Yes, folks, we actors spy on you before the show starts, so that we’ll get a hint of how much electricity is in the air, and whether we’ll get the energy back from you that we need to soar.

After my brief opening scene with Patty Sullivan as the Fairy Godmother (what a treat to have her in the show), I make a mad dash back to my dressing room…I have 7 minutes to become Bertha Von Botox…Cinderella’s evil stepmother. Listening to the show over the speaker as I race to become “Cougar, hear me roar”, I smile when Jake Epstein lands his big joke about “the artist formerly known as the Prince…TAFKATP”. Moments later, Bertha enters to deafening jeers…I thought I heard something special in the crowd…and the funfest gallops off in all directions.

We had a great run of Cinderella. The critics were all in agreement as to their praise, and your response both in applause and emails was heartwarming. What actor doesn’t love to be in a hit show! All the more reason to feel that empty place in your heart that only recently was filled with camaraderie and adoring audiences. But, we’ve all been here many times before and we know that very soon, a new show will begin and new friends will be made…and if we’re lucky, very lucky…we’ll hear that special buzz from the audience as we listen to you from behind the curtain.

The Elgin Theatre curtain will rise on my next show the last week of November 2009…I look forward to seeing you then! Stay tuned for breaking news.

Ross Petty