Over the years I’ve met a lot of celebrities, and they’re not always the easiest people to deal with. In fact, I’ve had some downright horrible experiences with people I looked on as idols. So last week, when I realized what I’d be doing and who I’d be photographing, I went in with a detached professional attitude.
Which I dropped as soon as Donny & Marie stepped on stage. As you know, I’d met and photographed Donny before; but this was different. I was photographing both the show and the exclusive after show party. Plus, Marie was there. The show was a mash up of childhood hits and all time favourites. Their energy, ease and adlibbing were second to none.
Colm Wilkinson was there too, with his lovely wife Deidre, and they welcomed me so warmly, I had to keep reminding myself that this was the Colm Wilkinson.
Though it was an intimate party, Marie & Donny both tirelessly worked the crowd. Everyone reminisced and relayed anecdotes of the roles the Osmonds played in their lives. Pros to the core, Marie and Donny took it all in stride, giving everyone their individual focus, despite being exhausted.
At one point I noticed Donny was stuck with a woman who would not let him go. She kept going on about Justin Bieber, and how he’s “living Donny’s life now.” How they’re “both exactly the same”. I stepped in and said “But Donny’s better.” He laughed, gave my arm a squeeze and quickly moved on.
At the end of the night Donny hugged me and thanked me for my work. He thanked me. How wonderful was that? And would my 5-year-old self, the one who used to beg her mom to stay up late so she could watch their show, have ever believed it?
Hugh Jackman’s also in town and I was supposed to photograph him as well, but it got cancelled. I’ll tell you why next week. They still sent me to see his show, which was equally fabulous. I’d say the title role in Kate & Leopold comes closest to what he’s like as a song & dance man on stage.
If that wasn’t enough, I was then sent on assignment to photograph what turned out to be one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen. Given by some of my favourite performers, it was truly electrifying: Martin Short (I call him Marty now), 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski (who’s shoes I was coveting), Raul Esparza (who I’d never heard but now have a musical theatre crush on), Broadway royalty Audra McDonald & Brian Stokes Mitchell, conducted by Marvin Hamlish (the Marvin Hamlish).
Robin Duke, whom I adore was there cheering on Marty. I actually know nothing about her except that she’s made me laugh pretty much my whole life. And backstage I learned that Audra has a potty mouth, Brian’s a runner, Marty… is Marty, Raul was wearing one of my dad’s suits, and if you trip like an idiot over Jane’s luggage, she will catch you.
So now Carrie Fisher’s coming to town. For so many of us, we’ve grown up with her not just as an icon, but as an action figure as well. What will she be like? Who knows, but I do have a pair of tickets for her show Wishful Drinking, to give away.
If you’re going to be in Toronto August 20th, leave me a comment letting me know who your idol was growing up and why, or your best Princess Leia story. Your comment is your entry to the contest.
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