Kellye and Suzie’s
New York City Trip
The Musical Chicago
And a Backstage Tour
1/24/03 and 1/25/03
Kellye’s story is in normal font.
Suzie’s story is added in italics
To those who haven’t seen the show, please try and follow along with us. If you do not want to read about the show, STOP NOW!
I met Suzie at the airport; we timed that one perfectly. We get into a cab to take us to the hotel. Okay, a little unknown fact about me. I’ve never been in a damn cab in my life!! Suzie looks at me and says, “Focus on me; not what is going on around you. If you have to, close your eyes.” For those of you who don’t know what its like to take a cab in NYC, it can be unnerving - all the swerving into other traffic lanes – and signals are nonexistent LMAO!
As we headed back to the hotel, we stopped to get Kellye a cup of coffee and me, my bottled water. Kellye proceeded to purchase the MOTHER of all chocolate chip brownies!!!! We thawed out and started to get ready for our night out on Broadway. We walked to Carmine’s around five o’clock and saw it was packed. We decided to eat at the bar. I told the bartender our orders, Kellye was trying the ravioli, and I was going to eat the Manicotti. The bartender kind of looked at us and was like, “There dinner are family sized. You ladies will be ordering a lot of food.” Good thing he told us that LMAO we would definitely not be living up to the lite name. As luck would have it, two seats opened up just before our dinner had arrived. YUMMY! We split the Manicotti.
Hey, I offered her some of the atomic brownie!! The brownie was screaming my name, what could I do, it needed to be rescued. Sorry people, you know how I am about my coffee.
We realized we had an hour to kill before we needed to head to the theatre. So, we went back to the hotel bar for another glass of wine for me and a pot of coffee for Kellye. She was way under her quota for the day LOL. After chit-chatting with a few friends, we were off to see the show.
We walk into the entrance way. Okay my eyes light up, the new program is finally here with Kevin’s pictures in it. We had heard rumblings that it wasn’t in yet. Of course, I have to buy one. I look at the pull out and almost melt into the floor. Holy shit!!! He’s gorgeous. I would be happy to just go home with this.
We are shown to our seats and handed our playbills. (Yes Tracy, we got one for you!) Suzie and I flip open the playbill. We laugh, loudly. Okay a word of warning about the playbills, Kevin’s picture looks like a driver’s license photo. I’m glad I purchased the program. LOL
These are just the highlights for those who have not gone yet or aren’t going to go. Kevin plays a sleazy lawyer with an all-girl clientele. (Rough part for Kevin LOL). The musical takes place at the Cooke County Jail in Chicago circa 1920.
The first of Kevin’s numbers in the show is All I Care About Is Love. He sings with a chorus of fan-dancers surrounding him. His body disappears in the feathers and all you see is his head. The dancers are circling his body. This was the starter for me, the ending of the song, all you see is his head. He is surrounded by gorgeous women and buried in a sea of feathers. Kevin pops his line out with, “Physical love ain’t bad either.” The “Oops” he added as in getting goosed wasn’t too bad either.
Now Suzie is grinning, she knows my body is there with her, but my mind just took a left turn toward Gutterville. I have to admit Suzie is enjoying the show just as much as I am. If it wasn’t for Kellye wanting to go see this show, or rather Kevin LOL, I would not have gone. But, that being said, I had an incredible time and loved this show!! Having Kevin star in it was definitely a plus ;)
We enjoyed Kevin’s ventriloquist act with Billy (Kevin) and Roxie (Belle Callaway). I won’t comment on it because, to be honest. DAMN! I was toast. Center stage is a good place to be for this one. Sharon Stone has some competition. Our seats were OUTSTANDING!!! OMG, many times I thought the cast was staring right at me – it was fantastic but freaky too. One of my favorite things of the entire show was Kevin’s mannerisms. He smirked, raised eyebrows, and grinned his way from start to finish. For any one going to see the show you have to watch his facial expressions, they are priceless.
The other number that left me numb was Kevin’s rendition of Razzle Dazzle! The best part, Kevin’s fingers crawling up a cane to touch an exposed hip bone of a meagerly dressed dancer with a bare mid-drift. Of course, he gets slapped by the woman, after all he deserves it. He sings with the cast, “You’re just disgusting!” Okay that was a fanfic thought that will stay in fanfic land. LMAO
I have to admit you know you have a best friend when they stand out in the below zero temps when you factor in the wind-chill. We were dressed to party. As we stood outside the Shurbert Theatre after the performance, we encountered several fans, even one from Holland. Suzie was freezing but she stuck it out for me! God love her. There is something to be said for wearing long wool coats in NYC in January. Excuse me, not all of us had long coats on LMAO but then I had on winter pants, not a dress :p
Around 10:35 p.m. he came out the side door and signed. He was dressed casually wearing brown cords, a sage green trench coat, a black and blue scarf, and hiking boots. Of course, he goes to the opposite side of the rail that we are standing at. I was nervous, I thought with my luck, he won’t come to this side and Suzie will kill me for making her freeze to death. However, Kevin did work the rail, took pictures with some of the fans, and signed playbills. I was surprised he wasn’t wearing his woolie!! Yeah, no ugly hat.
He started walking towards us, I was shaking, it was so cold. I looked at him and said, “Please sign my playbill. Somewhere there is a shot of tequila with my name on it.” He chuckled. Lord that man is tall, but when you are as short as I am, everyone is tall. Kevin smells damn good too.
Any way, I’m standing there, frozen. I can’t move, I can’t talk, this isn’t the cold, this is him. He’s standing in front of Suzie and I. Suzie being her ever polite and calm self says very nicely, “Will you take a picture for me?”
“Yeah, where here?” He answered her.
I’m still frozen, this was scary, my stomach is turning. I could have been one with concrete at this point. Suzie, who suffers from anxiety attacks in large crowds, is as cool as can be. Loud mouth me, I’m a statue.
Suzie looks at me, I was dumbfounded. I can see her laughing on the inside, she knows I’m petrified. I just sort backed up and he leaned down. She snapped the picture. I still hadn’t spoke.
Kevin stepped over to sign for Suzie. She asked him to sign her playbill, again very sweetly. I can't believe they all buy this act.
I can't believe they all buy this act. LOL
If you could have seen Kellye, she was a site to behold. As much as I would have loved a pic with Kevin, she was in no shape to take a picture. Yes, I know I cut the top of Kevin’s head off. Did you ever try to take a picture of a man who is 6’ 2” with a woman who is barely over 5’ tall?
Hey, I’m 5’ 2 ˝” thank you~~! LOL
I finally found my courage to talk. I turned to him and said, “Thank you for my first trip to New York City and my first Broadway musical. I’m not pregnant this time either.”
Kevin’s head turned slowly and he looked at me while he was signing a playbill for the girl standing next to Suzie. The look on his face was comical. “For me? I’m honored... Thanks.”
I nodded a “Yes. ” I was totally amused and he was sort of thinking about something else, you could tell. I could see his mind whipping around; it was cute. We had dazed him with that last zinger of a line. That’s okay, I sort of scared Nick once too with something similar!
In the meantime, Rob Bartlet came out of the stage door. Rob plays Amos Hart in the production. He is a wonderful actor and Suzie thought he was great. She yells, “Amos!” and starts clapping for him.
Poor Kevin was standing in front of Suzie and she didn’t even give him that kind of reaction. I think she shocked the hell out of him. “Amos is cool,” he laughed and said to her. He called Amos’s name and they high fived! It was great!
Suzie and I began to chatter. Suzie looked at me, “Okay, you got what you wanted, now it’s time to go drinking. I need to get warm.”
Out of blue we hear, “Hey!”
We both turned to look at Kevin, he smirks, “Don’t drink too much ladies.”
I think we shocked him with the looks on our faces. I think we were both wearing that, ‘You talkin’ to me?’ expression. He’s a nosey little shit.
I had that total WTF look on my face. The man EAVESDROPPED on our conversation LMAO
What whizzed through my simple little mind, “Oh, you, of all people, commenting on drinking too much! You have no room to talk.” LOL
Suzie had flashbacks of a little interview with Dave Chappelle.
She brings that up to me all the time. Even sends the snaps to get me stirred up. Suzie is into pain.
We were meeting up with on of my college roommates at Sardi’s after the play so it worked out great for us. Sardi’s was directly across the street. While we waited for my old roomie to arrive, Kel and I just kind of took it all in and chatted about the play and meeting Kevin.
I don’t know maybe the warning worked. We went for drinks, but didn’t get loaded. It’s not everyday you get warned by Kevin not to get hammered.
Suzie managed to stay well composed and polite through the entire episode. Since Suzie suffers from anxiety and panic attacks in large crowds, this was a big step for her. It took so much for her to get on the plane and travel by herself. I stuffed her into huge crowds the entire weekend and she did wonderful. Not only did she do this for me, but what makes it even more worth while, is that she did it for herself. I, the ever-present rambling loud mouth with brass balls, had the problem. I froze! LOL
Okay I was giddy, stupid, and over-tired in the morning. Suzie would usually want to shoot me but she puts up with it. She knows I’m not one to sleep much anyway.
The freakin hotel room had no problem with heat – it was a sauna!!! Now, normally I can sleep the mornings away, but I was dying and was wide awake at 6 AM. Kellye stayed asleep til 6:30AM.
We went to the restaurant in the hotel to have breakfast. Guess what? We found the second most expensive chicken that laid golden eggs. Sorry inside joke on that one.
After breakfast, we decided to walk around a bit and use the roll of film that was still in the camera from last night. There was no way in hell I was going to let anything happen to those pictures. Not over my dead body!
We wandered down to the corner of Broadway and 44th Street and took some shots of MTV. She still wouldn’t let me make my anti-Carson sign. LOL Anyway, we did some shopping and we decided to go down to the theater and take some more pictures.
The Shubert’s exit doors are covered with posters of the performers. I took some awesome shots of Suzie with Kevin’s poster. She looks like she’s going to give him a beat down. I walked up to the step and she took a picture. When Suzie went to take another one the doors rattled. I looked at her and told her, “Somebody is behind me.” I freaked because the noise startled me but then it stopped.
We headed around the corner to Shubert Alley. We wanted more pics of the stage door and the cast listing board. Again, I took Suzie’s picture and she took mine. Of course we have tourist stamped all over us with camera in hand. We started looking around for someone to take a shot of the two of us together.
We were just standing and waiting when a nice looking man came around the corner. He
smiled and says, “You want a picture together?”
We laughed and Suzie says, “We were looking for someone nice enough to help us out.” We told him that we had seen the show the night before and truly enjoyed it. Kellye went into her speech that this was her first time to the city and to a show. I then chimed in telling him this was my first Broadway show too.
Sucks ups aren’t we.
The gentleman tells us to stand together by the door and took the picture for us. In the mean time were reading his jacket which has “Chicago,” written on it. The other shoulder had “Backstage” on it. Okay, we’re grinning now!
The man says, “How would you like a tour of the backstage?”
Suzie and I exchanged a quick glance. She turns to the man, “Really? Sure we would.”
The man opened the stage door, we walked in. This was just starting to hit both of us. I think we were there physically, but not there mentally. The gentleman introduced himself as L and began our tour.
He smiled and said, “Since you seen the show, here are Billy’s feathers.” He pulled back a slipcover that was draped over a rack. Low and behold, it’s the feathers from Billy’s first solo, “All I care about it Love.” Not to rewrite what I wrote in the beginning…if you forget, it’s a must to go back to understand the next part.
Suzie asked L., very innocently, if she could get her picture taken with the feathers. After all, she didn’t get her picture taken with Kevin but she could get her picture taken with the feathers that have grazed his body! I really don’t know how but she pulls off that sweet innocent routine and it works every damn time. That is because I am innocent LMAO! L. graciously pulled the cover back even more and took a picture of both of us with those feathers. I went to sleep dreaming of feathers last night. LOL
After the feather-fans, he showed us the stage listing. Basically, it’s a sheet of paper tacked on the wall that tells the performers where they are suppose to be and when.
Next, he showed us the Sound Manger’s booth. It was incredible to see how things work. Each of the characters has their own microphones and earpieces. Microphones were labeled with each character’s name. He showed us the computer that syncs the voices just in case the performers are having a bad day. He explained everything that entailed the job of soundman. It’s very fast paced and stressful.
Taking a few steps up towards the front, he showed us the Stage Manager’s podium. L. called the job, the “Rolaids job!”
He showed us the four cameras that are mounted in the theater and the monitors for the feedback. This way the performers can see what the audience is seeing. He went on to explain that each performance is taped so that it can be critiqued later on in the week. We saw the cue sheet for the actors and actresses. He explained the lighting and the cue sheets in detail.
I think the one thing that gave both Suzie and I a giggle was the side of the Stage Manager’s podium. Taped to the podium were three Styrofoam cups and one envelope. Kellye commented that those cups would be changed soon if Kevin has a say LMAO Each cup had a name. We saw, ‘Advil, Tylenol, and Rolaids.’ The envelope was labeled, ‘Band-Aids.’ It was a dose of reality that these are real people with real aches and pains just like the rest of us. LOL
From the Stage Manager’s podium he took us out onto the stage. It is so striking to stand up there. I couldn’t imagine doing that every night with people looking back at you. I would be horrified. The stage still hadn’t been cleaned from the night before. The finale confetti littered the stage.
As the three of us stood on the stage L. gave us a Reader’s Digest history of the Shubert family, the Shubert organization and how Broadway came to be in New York. It was pointed out that the Shubert’s were notorious for wanting it all and they did play dirty.
L. was kind enough to let us take pictures of the inside of the theater. I asked L if he would mind – I didn’t want to take advantage of his hospitality. When he said, go ahead – I went to town.
The craftsmanship in this theater is amazing. I come from a construction background and I couldn’t help but just take it all in. The theater was recently restored and cleaned. Frescos were removed from the walls and sent out to be cleaned and restored. The ceiling artwork made my mouth drop. As you can, Suzie took a picture of me taking it all in. The gold leaf and all of the paintings are truly beautiful. I was fascinated by the gold trim, it looked so real. L. said that is was 18 karat gold. It had taken 23 different processes to restore the gilding on the balconies.
Suzie and I had talked the night before about how intimate the theater had been. When the performers are on stage; it’s as if they are not more than a few feet away. A couple of times we thought that they were looking directly at us. It spooked me, since of few of Kevin’s lines made my mind take a right turn. Sorry that happens a little too often sometimes.
It’s pretty rare that they let you do this so we truly do feel honored that he did. Suzie and I can now say, “We’ve been on Chicago’s stage, on Broadway!” And we’ve got the pics to prove it. We had our pics taken in the orchestra section on the stage. L. told us Chicago is the only musical play to have the orchestra on stage with the characters since they play a part in the production of it.
After taking more pictures, we went back to his office and chatted for quite some time. I don’t think there was a topic that we didn’t cover. This is where chatterbox Kellye comes back to life LMAO She was not nervous at all. We talked about Backstreet fans. It was obvious why some audience members were there due to their age. From there, he brought up security. He did say that so far, the Backstreet fans have been pretty good, but Kevin wants to do this as Kevin Richardson, not Kevin Backstreet. The only thought I had was that they shouldn’t have Backstreet slapped all over everything in that case. I think this was more of the producer’s idea than Kevin’s. At least that is what I sensed.
At one point, one of the dancers came into the studio. She went upstairs to the dressing room for something. Since the Chicago production is moving to the Ambassador, the performers needed to move some of their stuff to their new home. It was at that moment that I realized they had a 2PM performance and that slowly the actors would be reporting to work soon. The thought of Kevin walking through that stage door frightened me a bit.
The funny thing was a Kevin did walk in the door. Damn, it was the wrong Kevin. It was Kevin Woodworth the Costume Supervisor. I’ll tell you what, you never saw two heads whip simultaneously to the right as you did with us two when L. said, “Hi Kevin.”
L. also does the security and showed us the camera’s that are stationed outside the theater. They are very aware and observant of people who hang around the theater at all times. He did tell us that it is not just for Kevin. The actress’s and dancers in the show are scantily clad and have some “Rabid Male fans.” So, they do take security seriously for the sake of everyone involved.
We talked about privacy issues and how sometimes the performers are just so tired they want to go home. They do eight to nine shows in a row without a break. I assume that for Kevin, it must be a familiar routine, he’s just not hopping on a bus. L. was saying how sometimes the performers just don’t get a break from being recognized.
He chatted how the cast is really like a family, they hangout together and enjoy each other’s company. On Sunday’s, they have potluck dinners. Everyone brings a dish to pass and they eat dinner together. L. talked about how for Christmas, he cooked dinner for the entire cast – took him three days but he loves doing it. So, for anyone worrying about Kevin’s welfare, I’m sure he’s doing fine. L. talked about summer clam bakes and parties where everyone gets together with their families. He talked about the places that they hangout vs. the tourist traps.
We could tell that L. was truly sad that Chicago was moving to the Ambassador. Apparently, the crew doesn’t want to leave the Shubert either – they’ve been there for 6 years and L has been with them for five. Not to mention, the actors feel comfortable where they are and they know L. watches out for their safety.
Suzie asked what most of the performers do during the day since they don’t need to be at the theatre til 7ish. L. explained that many of them do commercials during the day and other odd and end type jobs. As prestigious as it is to be on Broadway, it doesn’t pay the bills so all of the actors have some other type of day job. From that we launched into how grueling the dancing was in this production, he said that all of them have gym memberships. There is no way you could dance in this musical and not stay in shape. He also told us that rehearsals were rare unless somebody new came into the cast.
L. had to get to work so we began to walk towards the exit. As we stood outside, we began to chat about family and kids. OMG I found the TWO MOST TALKATIVE PEOPLE in all of NYC!!! Actually L. busted on me for having a family that couldn’t survive without me. We talked about our kids and he talked about his family. I told him Curt was beside himself with the two kids. He’s never had to be with them alone, esp at mealtime. L. told me I needed to teach Zach to cook so Zach can help whomever he ends up with, instead of being a pain in the rump. LOL
As we began to step away he said, “Wait a minute; I have something for you.”
We followed him back in and he gave Suzie his card. He grabbed another, scribbled on it handed and it to me. He smiled, “When you two come back, come see me. I get great seats sometimes. We’ll hit the non-tourist spots.”
We walked out, the door closed. Suzie looked at me and said, “Don’t!” See, she knows I was keeping a cork on it.
I was cool. I turned to her and said. “What did we do to get that?”
She smiled, “Easy, we came here just to see the show and not have an agenda.”
I smiled in my head, knowing that one single thing that I believe in most had come true. What I send out comes back to me three-fold. I can honestly say it really did.
Amazing things have happened to me in the last forty-eight hours. I had the opportunity to meet Kevin, get an autograph, and a picture. Hey, I was even warned by the man not to get plastered. We stood center stage in the Shubert on Broadway. Most importantly I spent time with my best friend. We did Broadway, shopped at MTV, drinks at Sardi’s and ate dinner at Carmine’s.
We need to thank a few people for our wonderful time. Thank you to the cast and crew of Chicago. Belle Calaway who played Roxie Hart, Caroline O’Connor who played Velma Kelly, Rob Bartlett playing the role of Amos Hart, and of course, Kevin for doing an excellent job on Broadway. Also to L.! Congrats on the promotion, we wish you were moving with the company but we can understand why you didn’t go. We’ll be back to see you!
Any questions drop us a line!