EPISODE 322: Pride on Broadway with Tony Award Winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and Barrett Foa (Avenue Q, Godspell)

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Show Notes

On this week’s On the Rocks with Alexander: Where Celebrities & Cocktails Mix pride month continues with Pride on Broadway with two-time Tony Award Winner Jerry Mitchell as we chat about his work on Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Hedwig, Kinky Boots, La Cage, Full Monty, Broadway Bares, Pretty Woman and more with guest co-host Barrett Foa from Avenue Q, Godspell, & The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with a chat about this year’s Tonys, being woke on Broadway, the evolution of the musical, and lessons learned in the biz.

Transcript


Hello on the walkers, hello on
the rockers. Pride month continues on Broadway

with two time Tony Award winner director
and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Of course,

kinky boots, legally blonde EDWIG.
Broadway bears so many more. With my

guest co host, Barrett Foa from
Avenue Q Gatsbo, annual Putnam County Spelling

Bee. Can they pick a longer
title? And he's literally driving right now

from San Francisco, so he's gonna
slip in shortly. And me, not

on Broadway, but your favorite host
with the Sassy most. Raise a glass

and let the drinks begin. It's
on the rocks. Life is a banquet

and most poor suckers are starving to
death. I'd like to propose a total

this is on the rocks here,
Alexander. Right, drink with your favorite

celebrities as you talk about fashion,
entertainment, pop culture, reality TV and

well, that's about it. So
pop a corn, lean back and raise

the glass to on the rocks.
Yes, listen to that applause, buttons

and bows and Panty Hoos. On
the rocks podcast the place where we're too

Glam to give a damn. Everyone
is crapping their pants because the new hocus

pocus trailer came out. For hocus
pocus too, of course we love bet,

Sarah and Cathy, but let's hope
it's a good movie. We know

how sometimes reboots and sequels can go. I'm gonna Start The rumor that Jerry

Mitchell's next movie to stage project will
be Hocus pocus. Let's start that rumor

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Hello East Coast. All right,
let's get this show on the road.

Um At this is the point of
the show. I would be introducing my

guest co House, but, like
I said, he's on the five freeway

somewhere. Uh, so he's gonna
slip in, Mr Barrett follow up.

Um. So let's introduce our guest
of honor, Mr Jerry Mitchell, director

and choreographer, made his Broadway and
west end debuts as both director choreographer.

We're at that same title for Legally
Blonde, which won the Olivier Award for

best musical. He was also nominated
for both the Tony and drama desk awards

for his choreography for legally blonde,
as well as a drama desk award for

his direction. A Tony winner for
his dazzing choreography created for the first revival

of Lakaje. Jerry was also nominated
for that award for choreographing dirty rotten scoundrels

hair spray never gonna dance. On
the full monty and for Broadway he also

choreographed catch me if you can and
revivals of Charlie Brown, Rocky Horror Show

and Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters, and
for off Broadway and Phil Him Hedwig and

the angry inch and Jeffrey. Other
filmwork includes in and out camp, drop

dead gorgeous cent of a woman,
so many more and thirty years ago.

I cannot believe it's been thirty years. He conceived and created Broadway bears,

a comedy burlesque show performed annually for
the charity Broadway cares, equity fights AIDS.

Their fundraising efforts have resulted in more
than twenty four million dollars raised for

the charity. Um also, Jerry's
production of pretty woman is currently touring southern

California and Kinky boots fans, kinky
boots is making a limited appearance with an

all star cast including Jake Shears,
Wayne Brady Kelly, Marie Tran and Marissa

Jarrett Winlker, at the Hollywood bowl
early July. Check out our chat with

Jake Shears, by the way,
a couple of weeks ago, who spilled

the tea about returning to his character
post covid but please welcome Mr Jerry Mitchell

on the rocks, on the rocks, cheers. I have to tell you,

revisiting some of the earlier pictures from
Broadway bears, you bear it all,

Mr Mitchell. Now that's how it
all started. I was in the

will rogers follies, dancing naked on
a drum eight times a week and I

was receiving diamonds and sapphires backstage.
No, lie, truth Cardi eight clocks

and boxes from Madison Avenue and UH, my addressing roommates, uh Jason Kopsl

Jungannon, Troy, Britain Johnson and
Jack Doyle, said you should go do

that at the bar splash, and
a light bulb went off over my head.

I put on a show and we
made some money. I said,

I can do this better. I'll
add girls, I can do this better,

I'll add of theme. And after
thirty years I was actually in New

York. I got back to L
A. I'm in L A now.

I got back to l a last
night. I was in New York Sunday

for the thirtieth anniversary show and we
made one point nine million dollars Um doing

a burlesque show on gay pride,
happy pride, every everything that came together

like Domino's. What? What,
what a beautiful moment that must have been?

I'm gonna have to tell you,
will rogers follies. I saw you

in that. It was my first
ever Broadway show I had ever seen in

my entire life. Um, and
do you know what I remember most?

Uh, it was, of course, the tight pants that they made you

guys, where I was like hey, maybe I might be a little different

than the other boys. I remember
I remember Willi Kim in my fitting with

literally pulling that up my crack and
putting a pin in there, and I

was like wow, this is gonna
be lag up Um. Jerry, we

have all this info, alcolades,
credits, Tony Awards, etcetera, for

your time on Broadway, but before
we get to talking about that, I

want to know about early. Jerry. I have a photo of you and

the music man from your hometown,
Papa, Michigan, Um and I can

see that the theater bug kind of
beat you early. What was your first

exposure to theater and what was theater
life growing up in Papa? It was

that it was the music man.
I was ten years old and my next

door neighbor was doing the show and
they needed boys for the boys band and

she came home and said come,
come with me to rehearsal, and so

I grabbed the clarinet I had downstairs
in the basement. That was an old

broken clarinet, and I got on
stage, marched around with it and Charlie

Burke Burkett, who was directing it
and playing the music man. It's a

village of production. Um Put me
in the show and his wife was the

musical director and playing Marian Uh and, and maybe they were friends for life.

Charlie actually sent me my first telegram, a real telegram, on my

first Broadway show backstage and uh I
was ten and I knew then, after

that production, that this is what
I wanted to do the rest of my

life. Um. You know,
there's a certain destiny to your life.

Everything has just seemed to like come
into place. Um. Did you after

doing music man, did you go
out and start listening to all the different

cast recordings and then really start to
get into theater, or how did that

evolve? I didn't really know about
Broadway and I didn't really know about the

scope of Broadway in theater. Um. It's sort of I grew up in

a very, very small town,
um so um. We, like I

said, we had the village playhouse
and we had a dance studio which I

later attended at fifteen and started studying
and but there were other theaters in the

community. In Kalamazoo there was a
youth theater which I got involved in.

I apprenticed at the hope Summer Repertory
Theater in Holland, Michigan, which I'm

going to go back to this summer
for their fiftieth anniversary, and that really

was I met a lot of people
who were professional and on the way to

being professional, and a lot of
a lot of seniors and juniors in college

programs, which is where I met
people from Webster College, where then I

applied and got a scholarship and went
to Webster University, to the Conservatory Program

and Um in St Louis Missouri.
So there were you know, like you

say, destiny. You know,
it's it's funny sometimes I think about the

luck I've had, but it's not
the luck it's about. It's about the

people I met and the opportunities that
were put before me and how I always

said Yes to those opportunities and that
led to the next and to the next

into the next. And so I
was how good as a kid who grows

up in cornfields in Michigan end up
on Broadway? I mean it's Um now,

being part of a small, small
town. was there any pushback,

such as you know, boys don't
study theater, fifteen year old boys don't

study dance. You know I was
gay. Obviously I knew that at a

very young age, but a lot
of my I don't know if a lot

of other people did my I had
two older brothers and I loved my I

loved my older brothers and they're still
around and we're the best of friends.

And you know, they were very
athletic and I wanted to be like them.

So I was a great athlete.
I was, you know, I

I senior. I got a senior
medal or pin or letter or whatever my

freshman year in basketball, football and
track. I mean I was that much

of an athlete. So and I
think the athletics actually helped my coordination for

dancing and vice versa. And I
continued to play sports, in basketball and

and in track, especially all through
my senior year. Um and UH.

So I knew that I had girlfriends
in high school. There was no will

and grace. I didn't know another
person who was gay. So I didn't

have a gay role model and and
I was very much closeted because I was

trying to be liked right. Basically, I think I think coming out is

for for me anyways, and I
think for a lot of people it's the

moment you realize that I am going
to let the world know exactly who I

am and if they don't love me
for who I am, I'll be all

right, right, and I think
that was what it was for me.

And I came out at a much
later date, but Um, but you

know, that was it was tough
growing up in Papa. I was because

I was popular and because I was
athletic. I didn't get a lot of

bullying like I know young people do
nowadays and and have in the past.

Um, I was fortunate and plus
I had two older brothers and if anybody

even mentioned the word gay or anything
like that, my brothers were pretty much

standing up for me always. So
I was I felt like I had some

protection. Did you kind of come
into your sexuality? I mean you went

from Papa to to St Louis and
then of course he went to New York,

you know. So you were kind
of exposed to like a bigger culture.

was there ever like a little culture
shock with that transition? No,

I was ready for that training.
I actually earlier to that. I my

senior year in high school I toured
the United States in a production of west

side story with young Americans, young
Americans yes, when I joined the young

Americans, I had a lot of
other young gay people like myself and UH.

And then I got to Webster College
and the campus the H Webster University.

I was on campus for two weeks
and Um, a beautiful, incredible

costume designer, Jeff Struckman, approached
me and asked me out and we started

dating. We dated for two years
and he was my college sweetheart. M

Jeff no longer here. He died
of AIDS and Um as did many of

my college friends, and that's why
I started Broadway bears. So I got

to New York City in nineteen eighty
and my first I came to New York

for spring break. I had got
my equity card at the Muni Opera in

St Louis between my freshman and sophomore
year. Came to New York to spring

break to visit some friends. They
were going to an audition. I went

with them because I had an equity
card. They got cut and I got

the musical. Went Back to school
and I said I got a Broadway show.

It's called Brigadune and I'm gonna be
dancing for Agnes de mill and they

will give you credit to go to
New York for your junior year to be

in the show and that was the
start of it all. That's that's amazing.

I mean when you talk about an
iconic show with an iconic choreographer.

Um, yeah, what did you
learn most about out the business from doing

that first big Broadway show, brigadude? Oh, everything, I learned so

much. I mean, first of
all, I'm and I'm not. I

don't feel old. I'm not old. Right. When I did Brigg a

Dune, there were no there were
no microphones, microphones. It was it

was theater singing out Louise and there
were floor mics. There were two head

mics and they were warned by Marty
Vandevik and Meg Bustard, who were the

leads. Maybe a couple of the
other semi principles or Mikes, but there

were no head mics for the ensemble. I don't think I had a microphone

until I was in my fifth Broadway
show. Talk about the evolution of Broadway.

Um, a question I got from
you from a dancer is how did

you make that transition to dancer on
Broadway to choreographer for some of those early

works, like Jeffrey Headwick, Charlie
Brown. Um, I wanted to be

a Broadway choreographer right and I sort
of knew that by the time I was

twenty three. I wanted to corey
graph on Broadway. I had choreographed everything

in the Papa village players. I
choreographed in college. I choreographed the pom

Pom Girls, the flag team,
I choreographed everybody. So I knew I

could do that and I wanted to
do that. But I also wanted to

dance. So I was in my
fourth Broadway show, on your toes,

and I was doing balanching ballets and
Donald Sadler's tap choreography and I realized that

I could be a choreographer during that
shows twenty three and so I pulled myself

out of auditioning to be a dancer
and I raised my hand to be the

assistant to every choreographer I knew and
I'd already I'd already been doing that.

So from twenty three until I was
forty, when I got my first Broadway

show, I was an assistant to
everyone in anyone who needed an assistant and

I was. I was doing all
the workshops in New York City. I

went back to the stage when I
was thirty to be in the will rogers

because Jeff Calhoun was a dear friend
of mine. We had done the whole

house movie together out here and he
asked me to come join him. He

was going to choreograph it for Tommy
and he needed me to be the Indian

of the dawn and I said absolutely, and so I did that show.

I went back to that show,
but I was assisting and assisting and assisting,

and while I was doing I had
done a couple of plays. I

didn't Terence's play lips together teeth,
a part at the Manhattan Theater Club.

I had done Jeffrey off Broadway.
I had done headwig off Broadway. As

a choreographer that I didn't have a
Broadway show yet. And I was in

the will rogerers follies and I got
a call to go meet some producers on

Seventh Avenue at eleven o'clock at night
after the show to talk about some choreography

for a movie. And I went
and met them and they said come meet

the star tomorrow. He's in dance
class. I walked in and who was

it? Al Pacino. He's taking
a tangle lesson and he had to do

this tango in a film called scent
of a woman, and I said,

well, he's just doing authentic tango
and you need to Choreograph it for him.

So I started choreographing that afternoon.
I taught him half of the dance

that afternoon. It was finished that
by the next day and I did that

film and that film and that Tango. Suddenly I did in and out meet

Joe Black. The Mirror has two
faces, uh, one truth. I

did all of these films back and
still waiting to get a Broadway show.

But it was my production of follies
at the paper mill playhouse that I choreographed

and Michael Mayor happened to come out
to see it and then met with me

because Andrew Lippa hooked us up and
Andrew was doing the music for Charlie Brown

and I met Michael and Michael said
hired me, and I was that was

my first Broadway show as a choreographer
and Michael is now lives two doors down

from me in the same building.
I love stories like that. Um,

and I really want to talk about
Charlie Brown because it was your first Broadway

a solo, uh choreographing show.
Um, we know multi multicultural cast team.

They did multi cultural casting before it
was quote unquote cool like it is

now, or it's it's on topic. I did the show for a year,

UM, and I've been but I've
been collecting snoopy stuff and peanut stuff

hardcore since I was a kid,
like hardcore peanuts collector. Um. So

there was this smashup of seeing my
beloved comic book characters presented so differently that

for me, even as liberal as
I am, it was it was a

jarring experience. We weren't as woke
yet and audiences weren't allowed to feel like,

Hey, this is okay to have
our characters kind of change. And

there was a very fine line with
with that project, because we've literally seen

these characters inked out on paper,
but we were reflecting this whole diversity of

the theater and of audiences. Um. So in your approaching that project,

Um, what is your take on
how much should we be honoring the original

material and can theater become sometimes too
woke? What is that fine line there?

Are you talking about Charlie Brown?
Yeah, I never thought Charlie Brown

was woke for one minute. I
mean, we had, we had,

we had shrouder. Yeah, it's
interesting that you're saying that now, because

you know, because if you're comparing
it just to a black and white sketch,

I can see what you're saying.
Look, I don't even like the

word woke. I think it's a
difficult word. I think it's a bogus

word and I think it's a word
for people who don't want to move forward.

I think the world everything changes,
nothing stays the same, right.

And why shouldn't linus be black?
I mean Linus, yes, Linus could

be black. Our lineus was Asian, but our shroulder was black. Why

not? Why couldn't Lucy be black? What's the big deal? You know,

I know a lot of black Lucy's
right so, so well, I

can't Lucy do that? What's the
problem? If the actor comes in and

the actor can actually deliver the material
in the way it is intended, I

really don't care too much what they
look like. I don't care if they're

skinny, I don't care if they're
fat, I don't care if they're black,

I don't care if they're white,
I don't care what race they are,

if they can deliver the story and
the material the way it's intended,

unless there is a specific instance in
which the race is part of the story.

Like hairspray, right, see weed, you know, the motor mouth

gang, and see what? They
have to be black characters, uh,

and and the nicest kids in town
have to be white characters in order to

in order to tell the story of
integration in the early sixties. Right.

So, so that's important to the
story. But you know, King Kinky

boots is a is a perfect example. I chose to have Lola played by

a black actor because it's the way
I saw the show and I think I

think Lola being black and Charlie being
white, without saying anything, puts another

layer on top of the material.
And you know, when we do the

show in Korea or we do it
in Japan, there are no black actors

playing those roles. Those are all
Korean actors and all Japanese actors. The

story still works, it comes across
absolutely authentic, but I prefer that interracial

mix in the show and in the
story. I think you said that so

wonderful and what I do love about
your good manager, Charlie round. It

was kind of that beginning where we
were questioning you know what's normal, who

who can play what? And it
kind of started, you know, a

lot of discussion. Um, it's
every everything's normal. What's what's? What's

UN normal? Is the way people
see the world. Right, right.

I'm so excited to announce that my
guest, Co host, uh, he

has literally driven from San Francisco and
wants it to be here. Please welcome.

I won't read his whole bio,
but we know have the most important

role he's ever played is starring in
Broadway bears. There we got, in

fact, we have a picture of
it. Please welcome, Barrett Foa.

Have a new queue. Um,
Tony, there's a picture of an older

picture, a bunch of sexy guys
and UNITARDS, and then there's a puppet.

Sexy. There we got. Look
at Barreto was Oh my God,

what year was that, Barrett?
That was New York Strips. That New

York. No, that was the
one before that, which was Um,

the one before that, strips,
films, trips. Think they all run

together. I was. It was
it was so cool being rod from Avenue

Q and being but like the dirty, super dirty rod Um, like all

these dull parts and we were.
It was really hot and sexy. And

then the next year was I was
New York Strip with Andrew Reynolds and we

were like when we were like the
star of that one, because you guys

were on a journey through New York
City going on tour. And then Jones,

my dear friend Dennis Jones, who
was one of my dancers, who

became one of my assistants, who
became a choreographer and was nominated for a

Tony Award. Dennis Um directed that
year. That's right, it was at

the first that was the first year
he did right. Is that? I

think it was. Yeah, it
was, and he was so great.

And Andrew and I we were chip
and chip and we were from Iowa,

or is it Ohio? I can't
remember, but we're here visiting New York

and what's it like? And Sarah
Gettlefinger will tell you. Oh my God,

it was so fun. The crazy
thing about Broadway bears is that until

I went to it, I always
thought that it was like like just sort

of like a strip show or someone. Have you guys gotten into Bobby Baris

yet a little bit briefly, and
I can I just go back because it's

just my favorite and it just happened
and I just watched that real um that

on on Youtube is just outstanding.
That sizzle real well, Um uh that

I just thought it was like like
a sexy Broadway person being like burn downrown

and it was like okay, like
put some dollar bills in that person's like

g string and like I'm sure,
like yeah, great bodies and like they'll

be like one or two sort of
sexy. And then I went and just

my mind was I was like of
course Broadway is doing strip shows like this,

like the most amazing costumes, the
most amazing makeup, the most amazing

choreography and visuals and just thousands of
people. The most important element to burlesque

is comedy. Yes, thank you. See, people forget that burlesque was

built on comics. It was Vaudeville
and comic and strippers. So the comedy

was such an important part of it
and I've always said that the tongue must

be firmly planted in the cheek if
you're going to work on Broadway bears.

The comedy is this important. Is
the Strip that? Because it does give

you that like that release, that
like sexiness, and then that's sort of

like comic release and relief. Um, from that I just it's it was.

It's so old school and it translates
so well to the new school and

Um and how amazing thirty years,
like, just thirty years. In the

last Sunday we made like almost one
point nine million dollars. We've made million

dollars in thirty years doing Broadway bears. I mean, Bravo, Jerry Mitchell.

How did you did? You guys
started with eight guys on a bar.

If somebody would have told me the
first year, well, we're gonna

be doing this in thirty years and
you're gonna net two mill I'd say you

are crazy, Jerry. When was
that kind of shift where you realized it

wasn't just like a fun yearly gathering, that the shift was like, well,

now it's become like the event of
the year and it's becomes such an

important part of the Broadway community and
the audience as well. There were several

shifts. I mean right after the
first one I knew that this could be

better and that's when I added girls, and then right after the second one

I said I knew this could be
better and I added a theme. But

by the time we got to the
seventh Broadway bears we were gonna. We

were performing at Webster Hall. Andrew
LIPPA had seen the sixth one and he

had sent me a letter and said, Jerry, I really loved the show

and I wrote this song for Cinderella
to do a strip. Would you put

it in next year's show? And
I wrote back and said, Andrew,

the next year's show is going to
be a circus theme, so I have

to and I didn't know who Andrew
was, and I said I have to

do a circus themed Broadway bears.
Would you be interested in writing an opening

number? And he wrote the bears
show on earth and everything changed about Broadway

bears because now we had an opening
theme song, which we had from that

day forward to every Broadway bears.
and New Hodges, who who owned the

company's spot co and created all the
ad campaigns for many Broadway shows, most

importantly Chicago, the revival twenties.
Five years ago I saw those posters in

Times Square, and this was during
Broadway bears six seven, and I called

him up and I went into his
office and I said I want you to

create a Broadway bears poster for me
for my benefit, and he said what

are you talking about, and I
told him about it. He created the

poster for for the bears show on
earth. He got Max Bedougal, the

photographer, to shoot the dancers and
that poster is legendary. And Dennis Jones

is hanging from a rope naked.
And and then, and then, since

then, since seven, spot co
has done every ad campaign and Andrew Eccles,

who is another spectacular high end photographer
for free, has shot campaign after

camp some of the most gorgeous campaigns
you could ever imagine. I mean this

is like, this is like.
You know, he shoots celebrity stars on

at the Oscars. This you know
Andrew Eckels. Go look up his work.

His work is stunning and he does
it for us because he loves doing

it. And those kinds of things
are some of those steps you were talking

about, those those elevations, like
it just grew. Boom, boom boom.

I mean we had Ariana, Arianna
debose, came by Brobbie bears on

Sunday and all she was gonna do
is come out and walk. She walked

down the runway and she spun and
dropped into a split and the audience lost

their ship. Remaining Caram, who
take us, took his clothes off,

Leslie, Marguerite and and Nathanly Graham
and malick. Where the hosts, the

girls from scout is, Julianna Huff
UH Julie White. They came out and

they tore the audience up with comedy. It was just it was like,

what in the heck is happening people? I love it. And it also

celebrates, like, you know,
there's always been this like, especially now

with like the conservative struggle. It's
like we're celebrating sexuality too. We're celebrating

sexuality as an Lgbtq community. We're
celebrating the sexuality no matter what you look

like, who you are whatever.
We're celebrating that as well as a great

cause. And the younger generation is
seeing the bigger picture of HIV and AIDS

and the whole history of that.
It's such an exciting and body positivity trying

to raise the stigma that comes along
with HIV. You know, when when

it first first started, I had
no money to go to any AIDS fundraising

dinners. I was dancing in a
Broadway show, so I put on the

show so people like myself could feel
like they were doing something, giving back,

giving money. So that was why
I did it and then I also

was dating at the time and I
felt like, you know, people were

afraid to touch and I wanted to
tell people it's okay to touch, it's

okay to be sexy in the time
of age. You just have to be

smart and be safe. And that
were those were the messages that the show

was promoting and they still promote to
this day. All right, back to

career here. I want to talk
about HEDWIG. You know, we now

HEDWIG has become iconic in terms of
music, as theater, as as an

art pieces, as a film,
but at the time that you took it

you probably were like what fresh hell
is this like? What what is this?

And was HEDWIG one of the first
projects that you took from stage to

film? Well, HEDWIG, headwig. Okay, so Hedwig was a fluke

for me as a choreographer. So
they were working on the show downtown at

the West Bath and I get a
phone call from David binder and he says

I'm working on this show with John
Kemeron Mitchell and we need some choreography.

This is again before I have a
Broadway show. Will you come down and

help us out? So I go
to the West Bath and I'm I'm watching

it, I'm going and then I
start helping stage it and you know,

I was there for like two nights, two days, three days, I

don't know. I was still dancing
in the show, probably the will rogers

follies when I did it. And
Uh and you know, he paid me

with a cordless telephone. Brought me
chordless tell and the show didn't do well

at the West Bath and then they
closed it down and then they retooled it

and they took away all the scenery
and did the version at the James Street

and called me back down there and
I had him do the car wash on

some people in the audience and a
few other tricks and the show just took

off. I mean it took off
and we did that production for many years,

lots of people, and then came
out here and did one, did

one out here and Um, and
then when the movie happened, I was

actually doing another show and John called
me and said can I do the choreography

that we did? I never went
to the set. I said, John,

you know the choreography, just do
the choreography. So he gave me

a credit for the film choreography,
but he just did. It was a

solo act. He was doing the
choreography from the from the show. That

was such a special thing to see. I saw that original cast. Um.

I mean I was born and raised
in New York, so I sort

of got a little more New York
and Broadway even in my middle school and

teen years. So I mean I
saw you dance, um, in will

rogers. I was telling that that
was the first part of my show I

ever saw. So I saw him
in that production. Huge, I mean

huge, and then I mean was
it was. Yeah, I want to

like, yeah, what? It's
funny. We're talking about EDWIG. The

second show I saw with secret garden, with with the whole original cast.

So night one was will rogers of
the night to scre this is Broadway.

Um, jared, you've had such
a great opportunity to work on such beloved

material that we've all known love,
like rocky, horror, Gypsy leakage,

Um to movie to stage, material
like legally blonde, felamonte air spray,

dirty roun scoundrels and now pretty woman. Let's just say adaptation is probably the

first word in your dictionary that pops
up. What are the most important elements

to consider or honor when you are
taking a piece that is well known to

either theater audiences or movie audiences and
translating them to a new presentation, a

whole new style. Well, first
of all, I have to love I

have to love the originalterial right.
So, Um, especially now, I

have to really love the original material. When I saw a pretty woman I

thirty years ago, I knew that
it was I thought, I thought at

the time it was the most fantastic
Cinderella story ever and would make a fantastic

musical, and I still think it
is. It is a great musical.

I think the version that's out here
in London, in the version, I

mean here in L A, and
the version that's playing in London, is

superior to the Broadway version, because
I made quite a few changes after Broadway,

Um, and I just loved the
show and I think Gary Marshall is

a genius and it's and it's a
it's a great it's a great musical and

Brian Adams songs are great and Uh
Adam sings the ship out of the score.

Yeah, and in Olivia, to
Olivia Valley, who's playing WHO's playing

Vivian? Frankie Valley? Granddaughter.
I mean the girl sinks right. So

it's it's and Katie. Uh.
Kyle Taylor Parker, I call him KTP

because that was my name for him, and he was one of my original

angels and Kiki boots and then he
became Lola on the road and then he

came Lola on Broadway and then he
was in another show starting for me,

and so when I was looking for
somebody to play Mr Thompson Slash happy man,

he auditioned. I said, if
you want to play this part,

you've got the role, and he
came in and did the part and he

is killing it. Jessica crouches kit
to Luca is killing it, Matt Stokey

is killing it, they're all,
they're all, they're all incredible. Well,

what I look for is is material
that I fall in love with,

because you're gonna spend three years,
two, three, four or five years

transforming that material from a movie to
a musical and you're gonna go through several

stages and you're gonna be surrounded by
the same people for three five years.

So you better surround yourself with a
group of people you really want to spend

some time because you're going to spend
a lot of time together to make musicals,

don't? You don't when you see
a musical, you think oh this,

this is great. Yeah, you
don't realize it took him five years

to make that musical. Yeah,
well, it's such a collaborative art form

and making the transition from choreographer to
director choreographer, that sort of takes one

less voice, one voice away,
sort of, which is probably can be

helpful because you're like, okay,
I have a unifying vision, but also

is it like one less person to
like bounce stuff off. You got it.

It's helpful and it's lowly. So, so so the job. First

of all, when I think of
musicals that I've loved and I think are

spectacular, they've usually been directed in
choreographed by one person, or they've been

directed in choreographed by a teen that
was so tight you don't know where the

direction stopped in the choreography took over
right, because they work seamlessly together and

that's the trick. I always say
that the success of a musical is in

the transitions because because we we view
entertainment today without pause, right, we

don't have to black out, we
don't have to bring in a piece of

scenery and change what's behind it and
lift a piece of scenery. We just

watch films that are seamless and so
we've gotten used to watching that kind of

entertainment and we expect to see it
when we walk into a theater. Michael

Bennett was one of the first that
I worked with directors and choreographers who actually

used, uh, the musical dream
girls. I'm I'm quoting dream girls,

but also a chorus line as if
it were as if you were watching a

film. It just didn't stop,
it just rolled on into the next segment

so that transitions were seamless and uh, I think that's really the key to

a musical. I love that.
That insnight. But I do want to

talk about that transition from choreographer to
director. We know legally blonde was your

first big project where you had both
roles. That must have been nerve racking.

And then let's add a reality show
on top of that. was there

any part of you that was a
little nervous? I'm like, okay,

like to your point now that I
was not nervous for one moment and I

the reality show is after we opened, but I just Um, you know,

I don't. I don't usually get
nervous and I don't have a lot

of anxiety, although the past month
I've had so much anxiety because I'm testing

every day, you know, because
I fought. I was in Korea three

weeks ago for Kinky boots, then
I was here for Kinky boots and pretty

woman, then I was in New
York for Kinky boots and Broadway bears and

then I was back here. And
every time I take that test I go

please, God, please, I
don't have an understudy. Hell. So

you know, uh, it's just
a strange time for us to create shows

in this in this pandemic world we're
living in. But you're certainly yeah,

but you're you're doing the damn thing. You know, we are. We

are, we're moving forward and we're
putting our best foot forward and we're seizing

the day. To quote another musical. Now, I never did, um,

but, but Um. But the
challenge really that I didn't get nervous.

I didn't, I just was.
I was excited every day of legally

blonde. It was a gift.
Larry and Nell and Heather's work inspired me

every day. Their collaboration inspired me
and I think we created a brilliant musical

that was Pooh pooed by one person
in New York City and went on to

prove itself to be a massive hit
on the road, which took us to

London to win the Olivier and best
actress and best featured actors, which took

us to Australia to win best musical, best actress, best featured actress,

best direction, best choreography. I
mean and and now it's done by every

high school in the world. I
mean, and you know I'm I'm going

to be working on a well,
I can't tell you, but anyway,

almost slipped. Almost slipped. It's
a musical that people still love. People

come up to me all the time, all the time about that musical.

It's yeah, I do want to
talk about kinky boots. Um, it's

it's it's coming to the Hollywood bowl. It's had so many reincarnations and and

different versions like around around the globe. We talked to Jake Shear's a couple

of weeks ago, who really talked
about what it was like returning to the

character after covid after his breakup,
after his absolute nerves, he said,

and taking the role originally with you
because he's like, you know, I'm

not this kind of performer, eight
shows a week and all of that.

He was so candid about his experience
and wanting to please you, wanting to

please the cast and wanting to please, you know, audiences. Um,

it was a real turning point for
him as a solo performer as well as

his experience in the Broadway world.
And so we talked about when it's like

coming back to it, where he
can relax into it and he's come back

to the character um different because of
his experiences. I want to know what

it's like for you working the show
at the Hollywood bowl, how you've kind

of changed personally. Well, let
me first talk about Jake and and and

Wayne Brady. So Jake and Wayne
both played the role together on Broadway and

I don't put the replacements into the
show. That job is done by my

associate director and associate choreographer, DB
bonds and rusty Maory. Then I come

and see the show and I give
notes to them on their performance. I

meet the stars, because there were
several, and I sometimes work with them,

but I didn't really have any big
work sessions with the guys because they

were sensational the first day of Rehearsal
at the Hollywood bowl. Both of those

gentle and showed up off book.
They had already re re worked on every

line and Rusty was out here a
week early to work with Wayne on all

the dances in the heels because he
wanted to go over it. So that's

number one. These boys are serious
and they are in it to win it.

Jake is I the reason I thought
Jake would make a fantastic charlie was

because cindy does a benefit every Christmas
and she invites other recording artists to perform

in her benefit and jake did the
benefit the year. I saw him in

the benefit and I thought well,
he would make a fantastic charlie. His

energy, his pop energy, was
what I always saw in the role and

what I why I wanted stark so
bad when I first hired stark uh and

sure enough he said yes and came
into the show and he delivered and he

was fantastic and I just think he's
grown so much. And you know,

just just to finish out, Jake, we have spent the past couple of

years working together on a new musical
that I won't tell you because Jake hasn't

said anything, but we're working on
an original, new musical that I'm very,

very excited about Jake Shears, Steven
Remis, myself and Troy Britton Johnson,

and it will it's gonna be it's
gonna blow some people away. Um,

maybe, maybe a whole bunch of
people. Is it based on something?

Is it based on a movie?
No, it's based on a book,

an original, a book that we
bought the rights to, uh,

and you all know who wrote it. I'm not gonna say anything else.

And hundred questions you won't get it
out of me. But we're writing a

new it's really, really great and
and working with Jake. I just love

him to death. Rady, I
do want to go with just to jake

one just for one second. I
went on a date. Oh, spill

the T, spill the t.
He was talking about dating and he's not

very good. I went on a
date with Jake, but his name was

Jason at the time time, don't
tell anyone. Um, and we went.

Do you remember when Um Garth Brooks
had a ego? Yes, UM,

well, he for some reason was
invited to a vh one taping of

this alter ego of Garth Brooks.
We didn't know his music or who he

was or what was actually happening and
uh, neither of us were particularly fans

of whoever this alter ego was.
But we we, uh, we had

a date and we sat through some
rock songs and then we said that was

so wonderful to meet you and then
we went on. But every time we,

you know, every time I see
jake, we sort of like come

in and out and we tell the
story of like remember that date that sort

of didn't go anywhere, but that's
that's the guy. I can't remember his

name. Chris Da Gaines. Chris
Gaines, God, so edgy. But

Jake is such a sweetheart and we, uh, we laugh about that that

horrible first day every time. I
can't wait to see him do kicky boots.

He's he's fantastic in the role brady, Wayne Brady, the funniest,

the funniest man, I think,
maybe one of the funniest people I've ever

had the opportunity to work with.
Spontaneous, brilliant Um. So I was

doing a ABC musical called Gheppetto for
Drew Carey, drew carry I quarrey grabbed

an episode of the drew Carey Show
and drew was doing Japetto when he asked

me if I'd be interested in Quarey
grabbing and I said of course, and

so I came out here to do
it. Tom Moore directed it, Julie

Louis Dreyfuss was in it as the
blue fairy, Um and and and Wayne

had a part in it and I
wasn't. I had nothing to do with

Wayne, but I went to the
set and watched him work and I kept

thinking God, he's so good,
he's so so special, so funny.

And sure enough billy was going to
leave and I said or go on vacation.

I don't remember. I think the
reporter and I said I said we

should get Jake shears. I mean
we should get a Wayne Brady to play

this part. And we reached out
to Wayne and he said yes, and

he came in an auditioned and saying
all the stuff and I said hire that,

hire that man. He can do
this part. He will knock get

out of the park. He's really
killing him all this stage work, covers

and and took. You know,
by by then the show had been playing

for about a year and billy was, you know, the show was tight.

It was an original company, it
was an original Tony Award winning company.

Everyone had relationships. So the person
who was going to come in and

replace billy needed to fit into that
family. Not only did he fit into

it and fit into the role,
but he led that family to an even

more happy place, not just the
people on stage, the people backstage.

If you don't like Wayne Brady,
you have a problem. Everybody, go

to a doctor and get get get
get checked, because the man is brilliant

and generous and kind and wonderful and
I would do anything with Wayne Brady.

And when you have somebody in the
star of the show and leading the company

that way, boy, it sure
makes it fun to go to work.

Jerry, I received this question from
one of your fans. What do you

think the biggest challenge? What has
been your biggest challenge in your career?

I have in parentheses. Love never
dies, but that's just my never drives.

Oh God, what has been the
biggest challenge in my career? I

think I think early in my career, learning to say no to a pro

check. You know, when I
talked earlier about about, you know,

wanting wanting to work on things,
that I really love and feel passionate about.

When you're super young and starting out, you say yes to everything because

you think I have to take the
next job, but you realize soon that

if you trust your instincts, the
next job will come and you need you

need to make sure you're doing something
that you can bring all of yourself to

the project. So I think that
has probably been the biggest thing for me

in the learning curve Um. This
comes from a dancer from Broadway. Uh.

What do you think the biggest challenges
facing new dancers on Broadway are?

I think one of the biggest challenges
for dancers is not to compare themselves to

the dancers standing next to them any
part of you, and to figure out

who they are individually, because I
hire individuals. I'm always looking for somebody's

individual personality. If you look at
the musicals I've done, rarely have they

all been standing in a row looking
identical, wearing the same costume right.

It's just not where I go.
I'm looking for the individual and what the

individual brings to the whole picture.
I think it's much a much prettier tapestry.

This is another question from a fan. You've gone from you've gone for

working with some of the biggest Broadway
grades to becoming one. Do you ever

get star struck anymore? Do I? Oh, yeah, I get I

get numbs sometimes when I meet celebrities
or stars who are super huge and Oh

God, you know. Yeah,
that's funny too, because, like,

you've directed them, you've choreographed with
them, you've gone, they've gone to

your benefits. That is so funny
that you still get starstruck. Is there

anyone lately that or that you've that
you've met, that you're like? That

one made me a little week recently. No, not recently, but but

I'm back in the day. You
know, if I, if I I'm

working on a movie that I can't
they talk about either yet, but it's

an original movie musical, and some
of the names that are on it,

I go, if I get that
person, how am I going to direct

that person? They're big star right. That's so cute. They're looking at

you, they need you. That
will last for about a week. It's

like you missed that step. Um, I have to know your first Tony

Nomination. I don't know if you
remember where you were when you found out

about it. It was for full
moon team, but knowing. You know

that kid in music man from pop
up where I was. I want to

hear this. I love these behind
the scene stories. I was on the

set of a brilliant film called Marci
X. Do you know the film went?

It went straight to video. Lisa
coudreau, Jane Krakowski, Vian Cox,

Sherry, Renee Scott Um. She
Her dad is a record executive.

He has a heart attack and she
has to take over the label and Damon

Waynes is the hip hop. Anyway
it was. It went straight to video.

Uh, and Mark Shaman was working
on the music and this was early,

early computer days, and he's watching
the the nominations on New York one

on his computer. We're up at
Reverend Ike's filming, Um, filming one

of the numbers and power in the
purse and and mark and and uh,

Jules and Peggy were lighting at Jules
Fisher and Peggy now we were lighting it

and I think they got nominated and
I got nominated and didn't market nominated that

year for something I've anyways, that
was the first mark said. You got

a nomination for it and I wasn't
even expecting it. I didn't even think

about it. And it was the
full monty and I was like, Oh

my God, Oh my God,
Oh my God, and uh, and

then I got nominated like every year
following that for the next five years and

twice when I won my first Tony, for I was nominated for dirty rotten

and Lakaja was against myself and Jules
Fish. You said, well, you're

not gonna win because when you're now
your boat gets split and you're never gonna

win. So yeah, are you
do you ever? Are you ever scared

that you're going to be like,
Oh, I'm the guy that only does

movie musicals, that movies into musicals
and I want to go away from that.

Is that ever a thing? It's
material. I don't I don't worry

about that. I don't worry about
doing gay musicals. I'll do all the

game musicals. I don't care.
I basically the projects that I'm working on.

I have three. I have four
musicals that are in different stages of

development. One is a film to
our books. No, I have five,

sorry. One is the film to
our books and to our completely original,

amazing, completely completely original, original, original scores, original books and

original stories. Um, and so
you know, I'm doing those five musicals

because I'm passionate about each of those
stories for different reasons. So it doesn't

matter if it's been you don't want
to be, you don't think you're like

pegged as like the musical or I
don't want to get out of that corner

now because if you good stuff,
I think a lot of producers hand a

lot of us who are directors and
choreographers films and they want to develop films

just because I don't think a lot
of people read anymore. That is very

true, because we're in the scrolling
generation whereverybody just scrobably, they watch a

video and they think, well,
this would be a great you know,

like legally blonde, for instance.
Nobody went back and read the original book

that the movie was but there was. There was. Amanda Brown wrote a

book that became the movie, that
became the musical. Right. So you

know, uh, the source material. Yeah, I don't care where it

comes from. If it's good and
I'm passionate about the story, let's go.

and Are you directing and choreographing all
those, all five of those?

That's the way you want it?
Right? There's no there's no like.

But I what I'm actual really doing
is I'm trying to increase expand my teens.

So I'm looking for a lot of
young choreographer. I'm not looking for

you. I know a lot of
young choreographers and many of them have done

Broadway bears. You know what's interesting
about Broadway bears is Broadway bears I did

a thirteen Broadway bears and before I
got a Broadway show, and by the

time I got my second Broadway show
or third, hairspray, which suddenly was

pulling me all over because we were
doing a national tour, we were doing

international companies, we were doing a
London production and I didn't have time to

do Broadway bears anymore as the choreographer
director. I said I'm going to pass

this on to jody, onto Dennis, onto other people who I think want

to move into what I'm doing and
let them be at the lead, because

Broadway bears offers you the opportunity,
as a director choreographer, to conceive and

create with the best in the business, and I learned so much by doing

Broadway bears. How many chorea verse
Have Come Out of Broadway bears? Rob

Ashford choreographed in Broadway bears to Sergior
tree, heell choregraphed and Broadway. There's

three, four or five, six, Um, Um, Dennis Jones,

Lauren Lttaro, Josh Rhodes, Lee
Wilkinson, I mean Dante keene. Um.

So many of these Broadway choreographers first
did did Broadway bears before they got

a Broadway show. So this,
this benefit has given opportunity to young choreographers

to work in the industry with the
very best people in their industry as they

continue to hone their own craft.
I think it's sensational. So are you

going to hire one of those people
to be here? Dennis? Dennis well,

well, Uh Nick Kinkle has been
my co choreographer on halftime and my

assistant on other shows. So yeah, a lot of them. If the

style, each of them have their
own style and their own sort of way

of choreographing, if it fits the
material or atches it. There's certainly in

my you know, rolodex in my
mind. Mr I'm want to talk about

Um, old school Broadway, and
we had did you just call me Mr

What? Did Peo polite for once
in my life, Jerry, I know,

I know, Um, I have
to know. You know, there's

this old school thought. It's like, oh, Broadway is becoming so corporate,

it's becoming, Um, so commercial. What do you say to that?

And so it's especially towards because what
I say to that you say,

what a strange loop. There's nothing, there's nothing, not one thing.

Brilliant, brilliant musical. You have
to see it. I just listened to

it, I did, I did
see it. It was it's great on

Broadway and I just listened to it
again on the on the drive down and

tried to sing along. But it's
funny because I remember when Jukebox musicals first

started coming, I was like,
oh, that's in the Broadway, broadways

dead, whatever, and then we
had movies now as musicals, and so

you know, there's always this kind
of resistance from an older generation of what

Broadway is. But you know,
did they did they really hate? Did

they really Hate Jersey boys that much? It's I mean it's so you box

musical. Yeah, yeah, in
years. How about the movie is coming

up? Did they hate Mamma Mia
that much? It's a jukebox musical,

original cast. Yeah, the cats, movies, Jerry. On a personal

note, I want to know how
you balance your personal life with your career.

You're always jutting around like you just
told us. You're working on how

many projects? Um, rehearsing the
show, opening a show, in the

limelight. How do you do all
that maintain your mental health? Um,

and a relationship? Well, Um, I have a great hardner. That's

the first. That's the first who
allows me to do it all. And

and and he's a he's a performer, actually in a Ricky Ricky Schroder,

not bat ricky shrow, thank God, Schroeder, who actually was in Kinky

boots in the national he actually was
in Kinky boots my pre production period.

We met right after I cast the
Broadway show. He probably would end up

being in the Broadway show because I
saw him in a drag show just before

we met and then we started dating. And and he was in the national

tour and he's going to be in
the off Broadway production. He, Ian

Fitzgerald and uh Um Tommy Martinez,
who were all in the first national tour,

have have been cast in the off
Broadway production. So they'll be together

with a couple of other originals from
Broadway. But most of the CAST is

new. And first of all,
we have a great, great relationship and

just super supportive of each other and
what we each need separately as well as

together, and that that takes care
of that mental health. You know,

I've been I've been lucky because I've
always been pretty, uh, centered in

in the way I think and I
was raised. I was raised really,

uh, I think, very generously
by parents and grandparents who taught me the

difference between right and wrong and good
and bad and yes and no and polite

and not being polite and how to
make a dollar and taught me a lot

of important lessons that I still carry
to this day with myself and try to

teach to my nieces and nephews,
because I got fifteen and them. Family

is a big part of my life
and although I haven't seen them for two

years because of this damn covid ship. and Uh yeah, beach and go

to the beach. I go to
the beach to recharge. Sample House at

the beach and I go there.
A lot sent to you like centering techniques

or Um. I sit, I
sit, meditate, Journal, Meditate.

I sit on the beach and meditate. Well, I I have to tell

you, Jerry, and doing research
and watching Um, your interviews, but

other interviews where people talk about you
Um. Everybody just talks so highly about

you and what what struck me is
how you remember everybody's names from from your

days and will rogers, and you
don't just remember their first names, you

remember first and last name and to
me that's always a sign of respect when

somebody remembers I mean I can't remember
like my own name sometimes, but it's

such a sign of respect. And
you had just have this positive energy and

from other people's interviews, when they
talk about you, is how you've touched

their lives, how you've helped them
in their career, whether it's a big

name celebrity or it's somebody that was
in an ensemble that you worked for,

you just have this very positive,
infectious energy and with the good that you

started with Broadway bears. That's just
testament to everything. And in all your

shows, you know it's to Jerry
Mitchell show, because there's this like positivity,

there's this light Um, and so
you know, I, as a

fan, I have to thank you
for for everything that you've put out there.

Thank you. That means a lot. I always look for shows that

that make the audience feel better when
they leave than they felt when they walked

in. Love never dies. But
God, when I heard the first two

songs I thought this, this could
be so spectacular. Um, you know,

love never dies was a wonderful experience
because I was with Jack O'Brien.

Anything I do with Jack we did. We've had a decade of collaboration together.

But the challenge with that musical,
and really with any musical, in

the success of a musical, I
think is directly related to the success of

the collaboration and how the team works
together. And U Love never dies that

there were. There wasn't really a
lot of collaboration because the team wasn't present.

You know, Andrew had written it
and Um Glenn had written the lyrics,

but he wasn't around. I don't
know where he was, and the

book writer wasn't around. They weren't
around. When I'm doing a new musical

I require the composer and the lyricist
and anyone else who is is working,

the book writer, of the composer, of the lyricists, anyone who's writing

the musical, to be in the
room every single day listening to the actors

interpret their material, because the strangest
things come out of listening and repeat you

realize what's working what isn't and what
needs to be changed and what doesn't.

You have to listen to it many, many times, over and over,

and it's kind of like that.
It will clear itself out if you just

sit and listen. Of the job
of a creative artist is listening to the

person interpret the work. MHM,
that was such a gem. That's not

I've never heard that. I mean, I feel like I've heard everything and

that that was something new. Thank
you so much for that. Just listen.

Mr Bat follow, after year seven
hour drive, do you have any

last question for for Jerry, I
was listening on the way in and I

was formulating some questions. You asked
them all. Then I sat down.

I was going to ask everything that
I was about to ask. You were

like, I have that already written
down. I'm like, we I thought

I was the Broadway expert and you
were just the guy and here, but

you've lived it. I've just watched
it from that. You're so good.

You're so good at what you do
and you're so good at what you do,

Jerry, thank you for letting me
just listen in. That was just

this was an honor for having me. It's been it's been a lot of

fun. I'm so excited to see
kinky boots, yes, and I'm excited.

I'm excited to see with seventeen thousand
people right it's gonna be amazing.

It's gonna be amazing watching a jump. The last time, you know,

I did hear spray at the Hollywood
and Harvey and it was so much fun.

It was so much fun doing it
outside. I got my equity card

at the Muni Opera. So it's
eleven thousand. So I know what it's

like to be out there outside.
It's such a joy to perform outside in

the open air and the and the
bowl. I told somebody this story when

I was five, my mom and
dad packed me and my two brothers up

in the car and we came to
California to go to Disneyland and we were

staying with my mom's maid of honor
from her wedding and their family. And

one day we went we went to
Disneyland, we went to Nottsbury farm and

one day we came into Hollywood and
went to the stars, saw the stars

on the sidewalk, but we went
to a tour to the Hollywood bowl.

So I remember standing on the stage
at five years old at the Hollywood bowl.

I would have thought I'd be back
there directing show. That's crazy.

That's awesome. Kinky boots comes to
the Hollywood boll. I believe it's the

second week of July. J I
think it's a three night run. Um

Nine. Yes, and pretty woman
is at the Dolby theater and it's heading

to the circuitstrom in Coasta Mesa.
Um, and I can't wait you can

finally share a name of the new
projects that you're working on. All right,

we're gonna let you get some rest, because you got some busy weeks

ahead of you. reears tomorrow.
Yes, thank you, thank you.

Thank you so much. Happy Pride, happy Broadway, bears, what and

honor? Thank you, thank you. Thank you all right, but just

real fast, before we go,
I have to know what you thought of

the Tony's. All Right, Jerry, are you still on? I'm here,

but I'm yes, yes, yes, you are. Okay, they're

like you have the set time when
we went over and I was like,

Um, are we on air?
Yes, okay, this isn't just like

me. No, no, no, no, I have to know because

I hadn't watched the Tonys, to
be honest. In a few years.

Okay, let me let me talk
about the time. So I've been.

I've been to the Tony's many times. You were backstage twice, twice as

the official CBS social media correspondent and
backstage on error host. Um. And

so I was in as the social
media correspondent. I was in all the

rehearsals and was in radio city and
just as a cast would come in for

the rehearsal, I go go into
the cast would be like I know five

of these people, I know three
of these people, I know and like

I would just and the CBS publicity
ladies were like wait, you what you

know? You know who you know, you know all these people, and

I was like yeah, yeah,
I'm not just you know N C S

L as little little nerd on there. I'm like this was my old life,

these are all my peeps. So
that was so fun, but it

was so exhausting. It was really, really like a like a very hiring

job. And then the second time, the second time I did it,

I was actually also doing eight shows
a week, doing buyer and seller,

which is a one man, one
minute monologue show. Um, it was

absolutely exhausting and so much fun.
I Love New York. It's so charged,

you know, and it's it's my
hometown. So I was just there

for ten days and I made a
plan. I was like, you know

what, I'm gonna be there for
the tonies. I didn't even realize.

Hey Todd, Hey Joe, my
old college buddies from University of Michigan.

What are you doing for the Tony's? I'm just gonna sit on my couch.

That sounds lovely. I've been gonna
I would. I'm gonna sit in

the couch with you and just snuggle
up and we're gonna Watch all our friends

on on screen. The night before, my friend Cody Lassen, he was

the producer of how I learned to
drive on Broadway, starring Um, starring

the original cast, Mary Um.
What's her name? U, three names,

Mary Louis Parker, yes, and
Um, I. I. She's

like, do you want to go
to the Tony's? My my dad got

covid and I was like, I
had a snuggle appointment with my friends from

college. Yes, of course I've
got to go. It's the Tony's.

But you know what, when you're
the tonys is also you gotta get dressed

up. I didn't have a Tux. You know. I was just like

visiting. Everybody has attack. So
I literally he was like what. I'm

like, what do I do?
He's like, go to Zara. I

went to Sarah and got a suit
off I could. Thank God. I

just gotta suit off the right to
left and uh and I I borrowed my

sister in law's Um, like boob
tape for her dress. Um, so

my cuffs could be shorter and this
is not the part that you asked for,

but this is this is a fun
part for me. Um, left

behind the scene side. There you
go. So so I'm sitting with Um,

I'm sitting with the how I learned
to drive crew and the Vineyard Theater

and I know all these people and
it's just I just knew I had to

go because I was like it's all
my old family and I just have to

also remind people that I exist,
because I've been in L A. It's

networking and it was I mean we
were, you know, I think it

was sort of like a between take
me out and how we learn to drive,

and it just happened to go to
take me out, which I had

seen the day before and was so
spectacular and I was so proud of Jesse

Tyler Ferguson, who won the Tony
Um. I replaced Jesse Tyler Ferguson in

the annual Putnam County Spelling B and
not maybe people know this, but even

before that, when we were like
I was a little baby out of college,

I was in a workshop production like
for one month of does anyone remember

the book by Um? Is it
beverly clearly or Um? Beverly cleary was

raised Super Fudge, super fudge,
bloom, Judy Jom, Judy Bloom,

Super Fudge. Jesse tylly Ferguson Played
Super Fudge and I played his older brother,

Peter, and we had the best
time and he was I mean I

just remember being in the room with
him. I mean we were doing a

like a development of a children's show. I was I couldn't stop laugh everything

he did. He didn't have to
be that funny. We were like in

a children like and he was playing
this like five year old and just being

so bizarre and so funny. I'm
like, who is this guy? He's

so special and I was the older
brother. And then all those years later

I took over for him in spelling
bee and then I got to see him

star in his Tony nominated performance.
That turned into a Tony winning performance and

I was in the audience for the
Tony's watching my friend win this Tony and

all the spelling be people were there. We had a little reunion at the

party afterwards with all you're just laughing
and laughing. Had All the old spelling

be stories. Was Jesse's understudy scared
to meet you, like, what are

you doing here? Eve Eve?
Believe so, but you you were there.

So this energy. Um, I
watched it and I I loved it.

There was every award show has its
moment. You're like, that's kind

of a miss. I couldn't believe
the criticism the next day. I thought

everybody's going to be I couldn't wait
to see what the ratings were, which

went up, by the way.
Yeah, but then I saw this criticism.

was like what are the kids saying? People didn't like her as a

host. People thought that the performances
were flat, they thought that the sound

is bad, they thought that she
was nervous and stilted. I thought that

thing, and I'm not just talking
about one review, I'm talking about many

reviews from big sources, and I
was like were they watching a different show

than I was commanded the six thousand
seat House. That was Radio City Music

Hall and the TV. Yeah,
you know, we saw it sort of

on the jumbotron as well, but
we're there live and she was like we

were her best friends, and not
and not only in a manufactured way.

She was easy and charming and and
and and and she was inclusive and she

was off the cuff. It wasn't
Um. You know, I got up,

you know, I gotta do this
and I do that, and this

is what we um, we we
we we, we choregraphed and we and

we wrote. She was like,
you know what, I'm gonna do this

now. I want to throw some
attention to this understudy or this swing that

went on for one of the girls
in six Um last minute. You know,

she just she really was in the
moment and really driving with the audience

and driving with the flow of the
show. I was super impressed. Oh

another Um behind the scenes thing that
you missed was the act one, Um,

which is like the or the part, you know, the part one

where Um, Um Chris Darren,
Chris and Julianna huff Um, they got

some critique to they were they were
great. Now in the room they were

great. They were just they were
she he wrote. He wrote the song

as well, the opening number.
It was. It was, I thought,

really fun and I was I was
a fan of the Tony's. It

made me love the Tony's all over
again. It reminded me of what the

Tony's used to be, what awards
show used to be. I thought I

brought back that magic. I thought
she was great. It reminded me of

like an old school diva that just
commanded left and right. That was so

saemuch. She could sing, she
could I was everything. So I I

couldn't understand the criticism. I've seen
some stinky hosts or so host just didn't

Gel, you know, or or
they were so stuck to what we know

theater, you know. And speaking
speaking of hosts, I want to talk

about this for a second because there
was because billy crystal did a momentum and

it just reminded me and then I
saw him later in Mr Saturday night and

our friends, Trashana being who nominated
for a Tony, and I mean I've

just known her for so long and
we just we had dinner after. It

was wonderful. Billy Crystal. I
mean that guy. However old that man

is? He first of all,
I was like he just puts you at

ease. He's so good at what
he does and you sort of forget because

because he does make you so comfortable
that you're like, Oh, you're just

sort of an old friend of mine. But I'm like the way you command

to stage, the way you're not
only a comedian and a writer but you're

also an actor and Um, and
then, and then just all those like

those Oscar memories came back and hosting
how many times any like he set a

record, like hosting it more than
anyone. I look at that. But

he's a veteran, like he's that
that that sense that I think that we

don't have a fan art. But
I was really excited by the Tony's and

I'm excited where, where the where
Broadway is going? But I agree,

I sat in love with it.
You Know Me, I'm the first one

to be like hey, did it, I was in trance. I mean

I hadn't sat and watched an award
show like that in a while. I

agree, entertaining. How exciting that. You were there too. So I

have to ask spell the tea being
back New York ten days being along with

all your theater friends, being at
the Tony's. Is it time to go

back? I think it's time to
go back, sort of being drawn in

that direction. But you know,
you never know, you never know what's

what's sort of next. But Um, yeah, I think it's. It

definitely reminded me of the Electricity of
that city and your partner, of my

of my apartment, of your part
in it. Like how do you know

about my apartment? Um, yes, and my part in it and that

and like my it's like my original
family, you know. I mean N

C S L A was a twelve
year you know, gorgeous thing, but

you know, we we got a
long lower on set. But like there's

it's just a different thing. Where
you're on Broadway, you break at the

same time and you have to go
to dinner and you have to you know,

there's no like driving home to your
family, Um, because you know

those are long days on set.
But in Um, in a show,

it's just that you're just all in
that little neighborhood and all your friends gather

in between shows and all the girls
have pin curls in their hair and they're

all in their wigs and I just
miss it. I mean, yeah,

everyone's eating Sushi. Gotta Keep It
light, you gotta keep it lighting between

shows. Well, I'd be sad
to see you go back, but I

would be so excited to see what
would bring you back to Broadway. Me

Too, will bring me back to
Jerry Mitchell. I would meet him for

coffee tomorrow, like I was gonna
say. What awkward with the piano,

like sicking, sixtys so hot.
Barrett, please tell everybody where you want

them to find you and follow you. Please find me and follow me at

Barrett Foa, and that's two hours. I was gonna give you my email.

A drive. I'm not going to
do that. Nobody used to say

well anymore anyway. Oh, that's
right. You don't tell them. Do

you know who does use a well, laney, because they I know some

people who use them well, and
I'm like a girl and they're like,

it's just the way it is.
It's going to be like that forever.

I'm like, okay, I'm so
glad you drove straight here, literally from

San Francisco. I didn't wait.
Can I say I did not stop up

to get water or P no,
I can imagine because I wanted to get

here. That's so sweet. I'm
so glad you made it. You.

You brought such uh, such energy, and this inside, this is,

this is this is, of course, my pleasure. I'm sorry, Pete,

on your chair. That just happened. We had a shot sunset.

Do the same thing. Oh Yeah, I think your Shana Bean also has

been on the show. She was
reading a magazine. She's like, is

it my turn? We love you. Shut up. Well, that's all,

folks. It's always a grab bag
of fun here every week on the

rocks. Big thank you to our
fabulous guys. Um, my guest co

host, literally driving in, our
engineer Tony Sweet, our Social Media Clip

editor Alexis Mendez, researcher Mama Rose, Um, theater lovers. Uh,

we've just been on a street lately. We have members of the cast of

the newer twin productions of Dear Evan
Hanson and Mulan Rouge. We also have

choreographer and performer bobby newberry, who
has worked with EMINEM, missy Elliott,

Nicki, Minaj and little Wayne.
Also, we have some other Bravo TV

surprises in store. So please like, share subscribe to continue bringing this fabulous

program and coming your way until Ne
Time. Stay happy, stay healthy,

stay sexy most importantly, stay tipsy. This has been another episode of on

the rocks. tweeting and slide into
my d m on twitter and instagram.

On the rocks on air to find
everything on the rocks Fort Free at on

the rocks radio show dot com.
Subscribe, like, review and share.

Until next week, stay fabulous.
On The Rocks: Where Celebrities & Cocktails Mix
TV & Radio Personality Alexander Rodriguez sips and chats with your favorite celebrities from TV, film, Broadway, music, reality TV and pop culture in this weekly... View More

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