If you had told me that McGruff the Crime Dog would have been largely responsible for one of the more special stage door experiences I've had, I would seriously have questioned your understanding of "stage door." But it just goes to show that sometimes meeting the actor(s) is not the most memorable part of going to the stage door.
After seeing, and loving, Holland Taylor's performance in "Ann" ("an affectionate portrait of Ann Richards") at The Kennedy Center last Tuesday, my bemused, but very game, companion agreed to stroll by the stage door, despite the frigid temps, on our way to the car after the show. As is common at The Kennedy Center, the stage door was deserted but for a security guard, who poked his head out to survey the area. We waited a few minutes and the next time he made an appearance, he told us we'd have to clear the area and go stand farther away with a small group of people we hadn't noticed at first. We obediently moved away and saw several other security officers roaming about, and a black car waiting at the curb. "Aha!"we said to each other; someone of importance must be backstage visiting Holland Taylor! And sure enough, soon an animated group led by Hillary Clinton came out of the stage door and went to the car; a particularly fun bonus, as we hadn't seen her in the theater during the show, so would never have known she was there otherwise.
The other folks took off after seeing her (she's who they wanted to see) and we were allowed back to the stage door area accompanied by Curtis, the stage door security guy who introduced himself, expressed sympathy for the cold and said he wanted to try and get us inside but had to wait for an ok. While we waited (and shivered ) he told us how wonderful Holland Taylor is, how much he admired her and how he was looking forward to bringing his young daughter to the show. He also shared some stories from his career history (he'd been a DC police officer for many years), and that's how we found out that he had been "McGruff, the Crime Dog" for a few years. Curtis was so kind to us and we had a great time talking and passing the time. Finally, just as I'm fairly sure my friend had become a human popsicle and was ready to give up the ghost, Curtis was able to invite us to step just inside the stage door to his desk area and that's how we came to have a private meeting with Holland Taylor when she came out with her group. She was so taken with the idea that we had waited an hour to meet her that, without hesitation, she dropped her bag and came running over to give us each a huge hug, and then wrote a personal note to me on my Playbill.
So this fantastic stage door experience was brought to me care of Curtis, "Ann" and my very accommodating companion....thanks M!!
Stage Door Tales
Every stage door has a story.