It’s been a busy couple of months: I was cast as Phillip Bax/Bazzard in a holiday production of the chamber version of the fabulous show-within-a-show multiple-ending musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, at my beloved Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, FL. Director/Choreographer Jennifer Werner was simply amazing, as were all the designers and the entire cast and crew. It was one of the loveliest experiences of my career–and that’s saying a lot!
In the chamber version, the 11 performers all visit with the audience during a pre-show segment, in the guise of our Music Hall characters. Jen asked each of us to use one of our special skills–in my case, she wanted my character of Phillip Bax to be a ventriloquist! I suggested we should expand on that idea, and make both Phillip Bax and Bazzard ventriloquists, meaning if I got chosen as Detective, Murderer, or Lover, it would be both me and my dummy singing! Jen loved the idea, and we wove my new dummy, Colin, into the whole production. Colin and I also thanked patrons in the lobby after the show; we had so many remarkable conversations! (And women flirted with Colin every single night; I didn’t see that coming!) This was the first time a ventriloquist and his dummy have played these roles, so that’s another first for me this year after becoming The Ventriloquist in the final season of Gotham.
The musical’s creator, Rupert Holmes, came to see our production. He said wonderfully generous things to the entire company, and also to me personally. He remembered the first time I played Bax/Bazzard, which was the first post-Broadway production almost 30 years ago! And he was aware I had also done the role at Riverside Theatre two years ago. He said he hoped I would play the role(s) a fourth time soon–and that if I played it as a ventriloquist again, to let him know so he could add some lines for Colin! It was a very special evening in the midst of an already special run.
Here’s a montage from the show, a promo clip, and a few images. I hope they convey in some small way what a treat this was for audience and performers alike! I’m so grateful to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato, Jen Werner, and all involved for including me on this joyous ride.
Montage from The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Promo for Drood