This August '12 article from the PBS/NYC site, MetroFocus tells us that "[i]n the 2010–2011 season, 10.2 million tickets were purchased by people who lived outside New York City." Well, I had the pleasure of being at a stage door with a gentleman from waaay outside NYC who reminded me of what an impact the theatre can have on the human heart.
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" was a rollicking good time! Every cast member hammed it up in all the right ways, and seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves so much that there was little way to avoid having just as much fun if you were sitting in the audience.
There are more than twenty talented actors in this cast (not including the adorable canine who makes a cameo), and meeting them at the stage door after the show was more than just signatures and polite greetings. Fans were still laughing and talking about who they voted for in the "to be determined" ending that makes the denouement of the show different for each audience. Who was the murderer? The pair of lovers that end up together? The mysterious detective investigating the crime? As artistic director Todd Haimes says, in the show guide provided by the Roundabout Theatre:
"At the point where Dickens left the novel, the show will literally stop, and the performers will ask the audience to decide how it should all turn out. It isn’t up to Rupert (writer/composer) to decide what Charles Dickens might have written. Instead, the audience gets to vote on three different questions, and each performance can have a different outcome. With several characters or pairs of characters as options for each vote, Rupert wrote songs for each and every possibility, meaning that the show has hundreds of possible combinations of endings (some of which Rupert himself has yet to see!).
Interestingly, some of the fans at my performance pointed out to one of the actors at the stage door that the combination of Rosa Bud and Helena Landless were not an option for the audience to vote for, and it had seemed a natural. The actor noted that it had been discussed as a possibility, but the director decided against it.
(photo and study guide page courtesy of roundabout.org website)
My performance happened to be on the very first weekend of previews, so the actors were particularly fun to meet, as they lamented the challenge of memorizing myriad endings (some of which may never come to pass!).
Below are Stephanie J. Block (Edwin Drood) and Will Chase (John Jasper) interacting with fans after the show.
Andy Karl (Neville Landless), Peter Benson (Bazzard) and Robert Creighton (Durdles) were all smiles; as were the fans :).
Chita Rivera was wonderful as "Princess Puffer;" oh would that I will have her energy when I reach her age (80!!). She did not come out after the matinee because she had guests visiting; instead she had the stage door manager collect the Playbills and signed them backstage.
But the best part of this stage door experience was the jovial fan standing right behind me who was bubbling over with excitement to be there. He spoke very little English, but each and every time one of the actors would emerge, he would exclaim, with childlike glee, "I came all the way from Spain!." That seemed to be all he could really express in English, but for a few "thank you"s and "wonderful"s. And it wasn't limited to one actor in particular. He had clearly loved everything about the show and was just thrilled with it all! And In doing some checking, I've discovered that broadwayworld.com has a Spain-specific site
The actors were clearly touched (as were all of us around him, I think), and I will always remember his ebullient "I came all the way from Spain!" whenever I express my enthusiasm for what a great experience the stage door can be!
Stage Door Tales
Every stage door has a story.