TR: That was the thing. Of course I wanted the job. We were a week before we opened for previews. We started tech rehearsals two days after I got married. I got married on Saturday, September 20th and we started tech rehearsals on the 22nd.
NR: I guess it wasn't much of a honeymoon.
TR: No, in fact I had to come back to New York without him because we got married in Vermont. But I told them I totally want the job, but I just want to see if maybe there is the possibility to have one day off to get married. I said, "Just remind Peter, he's the reason we met, when you ask him."
TR: Well they gave me Saturday off and we already had Sunday off. I arrived at 11 o'clock Friday night. They did all of the rehearsal dinner without me. It turned out great. It made the whole weekend amazingly great, but we had rented this huge beautiful old farm for a week and a half that we were going to spend all of this time in. A lot of our friends had come up for a four day weekend and I was up there for 48 hours. But, you know what, I wasn't going to complain because within a month I was going to make my Broadway debut. It was perfect. I wish it could have lasted a little longer.
NR: Was anything different than you expected?
TR: Yes and no. I'd certainly heard for a long time that there were a lot of people on Broadway who were bitter and took it for granted and complained a lot. There was really none of that in the beginning of our show. I think it has a lot to do with it being a new show and everyone was excited to be there. Everyone was thrilled and there was a lot of really great energy in the beginning. I was relieved that other people were as excited as I was and thinking "This is incredible." So, it made it easier for me to really have that experience. So, every time something happened like the sitz probe or whatever it was ...
NR: The what? Say that again.
TR: The sitz probe is when we first did it with the orchestra. You go and sit in a room with the orchestra. You hear the orchestra and we sing along, and we were just crying.
NR: What's the difference between doing a show on Broadway and the other regional shows you did?
TR: Well that is an interesting thing. There does seem to be more at stake but when you're on stage there is no difference. That was a weird thing that happened. Our first preview was a little bit of a letdown because we were working so hard just to pull the show off, like you are anytime you open a show and you're not ready, which is every time. I was so focused in doing what I was supposed to do on stage that I never realized I was on Broadway. So, we finished and there was my aunt and my husband and all of these people. Their minds were blown and I wasn't really there. But what I do is in curtain call, I just remind myself where I am and enjoy curtain call. Because, if you're on stage thinking, "I'm on Broadway" you're not doing your job. I did have a moment on the opening night, which was so huge and outrageous. When I walked out for my solo there was a moment or two - I'd stand in the doorway and there were two bars before I came in. It was opening night and just for a moment I let myself recognize what was going on, and the fear was so intense that I almost couldn't take a breath in to sing my solo because all of a sudden the magnitude of what was happening, the years of preparation - I almost couldn't breathe. So, I knew that I could never do that again. I could never think about that when I was in the process of doing my show.
The disappointing thing is that there is no difference. Things were behind. Things were not done properly. Things were handled badly. Things were built badly. You just think at that level, with a $10 million production, your expectations are pretty high. You'd think the shoes would be there on time. All of the ball gowns were hemmed to the wrong lengths, so the first couple rehearsals with the ball gowns were total disasters. They hemmed us with two-inch shoes and we were wearing one-inch shoes. When stuff like that happens you think, "Isn't anyone paying attention?" My husband, who's a production manager, was going berserk when I told him about some of these things. I think on some levels it's so big that it's too much for one person to oversee everything.
NR: Also, you didn't have an out of town tryout, which made everything harder.
TR: I will say I was a little disappointed with the shape of the show when we opened, during the first few previews. I thought, "This is Broadway, and we're not ready." We were running into each other all through the ball. We had not rehearsed in the dresses enough. They wouldn't let us do extra rehearsals in the dresses because it cost money, because you have to bring in the whole wardrobe crew. I was amazed, thinking people are paying $75 a seat, they're traveling from the Midwest to see the show, and we are a disaster. We're running into each other, we're singing the wrong things, they're making up scenes as they go along. But, you know what? That's how it is.
NR: Is it more fun doing the show than the cabaret act?
TR: No. Well ... the cabaret act is certainly more fulfilling.
NR: Can you tell me something about it?
TR: The one I'm doing right now, I've done a few times. Most of the cast has seen it because I did it last year. It's called "Why Walk?" which is "Why walk when you can fly?" I do other people's songs. I don't do my own stuff. It's a mixture of musical theater and some pop, there's a Don McLean song and a Billy Joel song, but there's also Sondheim and a Gladys Knight song. For me, I don't like cabaret where the story you put on forces the material to fit the story you've written, as opposed to what the material was written for. So, I basically put together the songs I liked, the songs I knew I wanted to sing, and I shaped something around it. There's not a story line per se, although I tell stories, and it's connected, and the songs go together in groups. What I respond to in cabaret is people being themselves and sharing the experience of the song as it should be, and their own take on it.
NR: Do you have any plans to do it again?
TR: Yes. My teacher is Craig Carnelia and he helps me with the show. I think I'm shooting for May if I can get a date. Heather's doing a show in April and I don't want to be on top of hers.
NR: Oh, Heather sings also? Have you ever done anything together?
TR: Not in the real world. In our living room, in our road trips. If you see my solo show, you'll hear a lot about our road trips. In fact, one of my big comedy songs in my solo show is a song about that.