September 2014 in New York City was as you would expect…..warm days, crisp nights and streets filled with Pumpkins. Actually, I made up the part about the pumpkins…..but I wanted to make sure that there was a Cinderella reference at the start of this blog.
I was in the Big Pumpkin (sorry, Big Apple) in support of The National Ballet of Canada’s appearance at Lincoln Centre. The company was performing Christopher Wheeldon’s ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND and I was so proud of the fact that my wife Karen, former prima ballerina and now Artistic Director of the National Ballet, had brought the company back to NYC’s mecca of dance after an absence of 27 years.
It was a brilliant opening night for ALICE with an immediate standing ovation for an extraordinary performance. From that point forward, while Karen would attend every performance of her company, I haunted the theatre district as a prelude to Halloween.
It was amazing to see all the Canadians who were starring on Broadway…..most of them having appeared in at least one of my productions at the Elgin Theatre. I had dinner with Jake Epstein at Joe Allen’s, the actors’ hangout on 46th Street. The last time I saw Jake about 18 months prior, he was performing as the one and only SPIDER MAN on Broadway. He left that show before incurring any flying injuries, and stepped into the lead role of Carole King’s husband in the acclaimed new Broadway musical BEAUTIFUL. Jake had first appeared with me as the Prince in Cinderella, and then was the Beast in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
Speaking of BEAUTY, the one and only Melissa O’Neil played opposite Jake in that production, as well as starring in SNOW WHITE, and she was one of the Canadians in the brand new revival of LES MISERABLES on Broadway headlined by the brilliant Ramin Karimloo.
Melissa was joined by Cliff Saunders as the evil inn-keeper Thenardier in LES MIZ….and Cliff had played Buttons in an earlier production of CINDERELLA.
Across 45th St. from LES MIZ, was the 2012 Best Musical Tony Award winner ONCE. Paul Nolan, who played Jesus in Stratford’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, was the male lead. In Paul’s early career, he appeared in the ensemble of two of my productions at the Elgin.
So, as we prepare to enjoy the delights of Halloween, and with the Pumpkin-centric family treat CINDERELLA right around the corner…start looking at your world through our orange-coloured glasses!