Thursday, April 1, 2010

A "Puppet" of a Good Time

Okay, so last night was another one of those moments in NYC that I love so much. An opening night party. As Cole Porter wrote, "Another Op'nin', Another Show." Last night's party celebrated the opening of John Tartaglia's IMAGINOCEAN.

IMAGINOCEAN is a one-of-a-kind live black-light puppet show. It's a magical undersea adventure for kids of all ages. Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel are three best friends who just happen to be fish, and they're on a remarkable journey of discovery. It all starts with a treasure map. As they swim off in search of clues, they sing, they dance, and they make new friends, including everyone in the audience. Ultimately they discover the greatest treasure of all: friendship.

John Tartaglia who created the show is an old friend of mine. Our friendship dates back to 1998 when we were both cast in a reading of the musical CELESTINA. Celestina was a witch, and she conjured demons from hell to help her wreak havoc. There were four demons creating a quartet of very talented men. John and I were part of that very talented, handsome, sexy quartet. John went on to star on Broadway in AVENUE Q and SHREK, and I began a career as a ticket seller. We've remained friends all these years. NYC is smaller than you think. There are many chance run ins. We've never been "hang out" buds, but buds nonetheless. It made me very proud of and for him last night when his baby, IMAGINOCEAN opened at New World Stages. It was his idea fully realized on a New York stage. How exciting!

The opening night party was held at Carmine's on 44th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues. I've only been there once in my nearly 13 years of city life. It's a great family-style Italian restaurant. Legendary according to their website. And a family-style sit-down dinner is exactly what we had. Stuffed mushrooms, followed by salad, then eggplant lasagna, pasta with marinara, and lemon chicken, finished with tiramisu. Who's fat tonight? I'm not the only one! The meal was complemented with bottles of red and white wine, along with pitchers of beer and soda on the table. It was a lovely place to relax with friends. And that's just what I did. I had several friends there. At my table alone there was Coco, Schingy, Zane, Jamie, and JMM! There was also Coleen Zenk Pinter from "As The World Turns", whom I met many years ago at the opening night of PORTRAITS directed by her husband Mark. There was my friend Ben at the table behind me and his friend Donna Drake who I've come to know. Donna directed IMAGINOCEAN. She also happens to be an original cast member of a little show you may have heard of called A CHORUS LINE. It thrills me to know her. Of course John was there and his boyfriend Michael Shawn. I just love them both. Michael Urie was there. Not only is he on "Ugly Betty", he's starring in THE TEMPERAMENTALS at NWS. We chatted on the walk to Carmine's. There was also a famous puppet celebrity there. Madame. She was once the center square on Hollywood Squares and had her own sitcom in the early 80's called "Madame's Place." I wanted a photograph with her. She was fabulous. She looked gorgeous and she said I smelled nice. You gotta love a "doll" like that. They just don't make 'em like that old broad anymore!

So what can I say. Another opening night, another party, another chance to be my catty, bitchy, funny, sarcastic self in an atmosphere surrounded by friends, strangers, and free wine. What's not to love. Life can be amazing if you let it. I'm trying to remember to buckle the seat belt and enjoy the ride.