Off to the Helen Hayes last night, bruises and all, in a recycled outfit from Drama Proms, one-nighters and cabarets gone by. It was cold and windy and a bit rainy outside and you just had so say “what the heck” and be okay with looking a bit disheveled after going back and forth between the J.W. Marriott and the Warner Theater. I don’t know how John managed to look so dapper at the end of the evening; I think I was fairly schlubby by 1 a.m.
I didn’t write down any notes in case I won. I’ve always done so in the past, but eight nominations have come and gone since I won on my first nom in 1992. There’s something so distressingly pathetic in the way you tuck those hopeful little notes into your tiny beaded handbag and slip them unobtrusively into your hand as your category approaches. Then when you don’t win, you toss your unsaid thank-yous under your seat (where you’re certain someone on the building cleaning staff will find them later and sneer at your pitiful self) or stuff them back in the tiny beaded bag (to be rediscovered a year or more later when you’re going to some other formal event). So, no notes.
In consequence, when Eleasha Gamble opened the envelope and read my name, I had to do some fast thinking (along with the usual quick outfit adjustment) as I walked to the stage. I think I thanked everyone in a general way; I was trying hard to keep my remarks short and succinct. If I forgot you, I apologize and blame the lack o’ notes.
I was particularly thrilled that Assassins director Joe Calarco was honored, and was absolutely through the roof with joy over fellow Assassin Andy Brownstein’s win on his very first nomination (that’s Joe and me with Andy towering over us in the photo above). Will Gartshore’s Leading Actor/Musical award came as no great surprise; it was some of the finest work I’ve seen Will do. And I was tickled to death to see Joe’s sister Renee pick up the MacArthur Award for her terrific play, Short Order Stories.
I drank a touch too much wine last night (just enough to have a headache this morning) and my feet still hurt from standing in heels all night long, but I had a great time and got more than my yearly quota of hugs and kisses. The only thing I missed was the traditional moment at the start of the Awards ceremony when they ask all the nominees to stand and be acknowledged. For some reason, they didn’t do it this year. I made my little fuss about its omission to the ever-patient Linda Levy Grossman (head Hayes honcho) and I hope that moment will be returned to the evening next time. Winner or not, nominated or not, it has always given me a happy glow to see so many wonderful people rise to their feet and receive the applause of their peers.