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professional showbiz hyphenate since 1993

actor-puppeteer-singer-voiceover artist-so much more

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enjoyments

Here are a few things that I highly enjoy in association with my career:

I HIGHLY ENJOY THESE PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS:

AND I PROFUSELY THANK THE TALENTED PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO TOOK THEM AND EDITED THESE SELECTS.

ALSO, MY ENJOYMENT IS NOT LIMITED TO THESE SHOTS ALONE.

IT'S JUST A SAMPLE.

PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Marchant

Taken at the FIRST MUPPET TRIVIA SPECTACULAR at the Museum of the Moving Image, where I was "Carol Merrill" to my game-show host husband Craig Shemin.

PHOTO CREDITS: Ben Hilder

Taken at the Broadway opening of HAND TO GOD.

PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN - WARNER BROS.

Taken at San Diego Comic-Con 2013.

PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Kramer

Taken at the 2004 Manhattan Theatre Club Gala, with Rick Lyon, Ann Harada, and Jennifer Barnhart.

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Zak

Taken at the York Theatre's MUFTI 100 Concert.

PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Marzullo

Taken at the Museum of the Moving Image's 2015 Gala

(I enjoy this because it's a lovely shot, but I also enjoy the fact that Joe thought I was worthy of being photographed, as I did not walk the press line for this.)

PHOTO CREDIT: Micah Joel

Taken at a rehearsal for the NYMF production of ACADEMIA NUTS

PHOTO CREDIT: Bruce Glikas

Taken backstage at

NOTHING LIKE A DAME 2004

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I HIGHLY ENJOYED THIS EXPERIENCE:

Singing with R.E.M. on "Furry Happy Monsters" at SESAME STREET and being in that recording studio with Mike Mills and Michael Stipe. It was incredible.


(Even though I was battling a horrible cold at the time.)

I HIGHLY ENJOY THIS STORY ABOUT WHEN I PERFORMED AT THE 2004 TONY AWARDS:

During the first rehearsal for the big opening number, a few days before the telecast, on the stage of Radio City Music Hall, Hugh Jackman said hello to me. He saw me, smiled, walked over to me, and said hello.


We had never met before. We didn't know each other. He hadn't seen AVENUE Q yet. He was busy doing his own eight-a-week in THE BOY FROM OZ.


I think he only said hello because I was holding Lucy the Slut, and she was slated to kiss him at the end of this opening number. But I don't really care why he came over. The point is, he came over to little, little me. Not the other way around. The fact that I immediately turned stupid is completely beside the point. The end.

I HIGHLY ENJOYED THIS EXPERIENCE:

Being a "celebrity player" on the syndicated game show PYRAMID in 2003 as part of their Broadway Week.


I also enjoyed the fact that six months later, while leaving the 2004 Outer Critic's Circle Awards, this exchange took place walking down the back stairs at Sardi's:


ME: (mildly shouting down half a flight to Frank Langella) I enjoyed what you said in your acceptance speech, Mister Langella!


FRANK LANGELLA: Thank you! I saw you on PYRAMID this morning!

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I HIGHLY ENJOYED THIS EXPERIENCE:

Back in the 1990s, Kaufman Astoria Studios used to have a working commissary in the space that is now The Astor Room. Because Astoria was a very different neighborhood then, there weren't many other places to grab lunch.


A few seasons into my working on SESAME STREET, I found myself at a large table with Carol and Debra Spinney, Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, Marty Robinson, Pam Arciero, Jim Martin and oh, I don't remember who else… and they all told stories.


I felt like I won a contest.

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I HIGHLY ENJOY THIS MEMORY:

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embarrassments

Here are a few things that I wish did not exist in association with my career:

I AM HIGHLY EMBARRASSED BY THESE PHOTOGRAPHS:

WHEN I DIE, IF ANY OF THESE ARE USED IN MY OBITUARY, MEMORIAL OR TRIBUTE, OR IF THEY ARE USED IN AN 'IN MEMORIAM" REEL (PROVIDED I MAKE IT INTO ANY "IN MEMORIAM" REELS) I WILL CURSE AND HAUNT YOU FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.

GOT IT?

PHOTO CREDIT: Carol Rosegg

From IT MUST BE HIM. Yes, I'm supposed to be in character, and commitment to character is not always flattering, but I always hoped that if I ever got to work with the great Peter Scolari that the proof of it would not feature my face looking like Buddy Hackett.

PHOTO CREDIT: Carol Rosegg

From AVENUE Q. You should know that I do not blame Carol Rosegg for these photos, as I do tend to look like Buddy Hackett when I sing or do character work.  I just wish people would stop using this picture, because Carol has taken much better shots of me.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Strothmann

From THE MAD SHOW, with Chris Hoch (and Matt Castle in the background.) Again, it is not Ben's fault that I look like Buddy Hackett when I am in character. I am too busy having fun playing silly characters to think about what doing it does to my face.

I WAS HIGHLY EMBARRASSED BY THIS EXPERIENCE:

Unexpectedly -- and completely -- losing my voice onstage, forcing me to leave the show at intermission, twice, during my AVENUE Q run.


On both occasions, I'd been sick for days, but had performed without major incident. If I had known that my voice would diminish slowly as Act I wore on, I never would have gone onstage.


There are few worse feelings a performer can experience than croaking in front of an audience.


I am only grateful that those moments were never posted on YouTube.

I AM NOT SO MUCH EMBARRASSED AS IRKED BY THIS:

That so many people -- friends, strangers, and IMDB -- assumed that the brunette puppeteer in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL was me.


I have worked with Julianne Buescher in the past, and I don't think we look anything like each other. I'm sure she feels the same.


I would have liked to be in the film, but I never even got an audition.

I WAS HIGHLY EMBARRASSED BY THIS EXPERIENCE:

This issue of TIME OUT NEW YORK came out the week of the 2004 Tonys. The cover featured Donna Murphy, Idina Menzel, Tonya Pinkins, and Kristen Chenoweth: four out of the five Tony nominees for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.


I was the one they left out.

I shouldn't have been too surprised, as the NEW YORK TIMES twice dismissively referred to me as "the Dennis Kucinich" of this insanely competitive Leading Actress race.


And in the immediate shock of my nomination, even I described my own place in this nominee group as "the Professor and Mary Ann"

(a.k.a. "and the rest.").


When my producers caught wind of this photo shoot, a compromise was made that a photo of me with Lucy would appear in the corner of the contents page. I refused to pose with Lucy, on the grounds that none of the cover divas would be posing in character. This is what TIME OUT published:

My dear AVENUE Q cast wrote a lovely letter protesting my omission from the cover, but the rest of the world really didn't give a whit or fig.


Can't say as I blame them. When Michael Riedel referred to this Tony category, he said, "There's a puppeteer in there somewhere, but no one can remember her name, let alone pronounce it."


He wasn't wrong.

INTERESTING EPILOGUE:


In 2009, when AVENUE Q was closing on Broadway, TIME OUT NEW YORK presumably changed the editorial policy they laid out in my photo's caption, and put a non-human on their cover.

I mention this embarrassment only to show the youngsters who want to pursue a career in acting that even the best moments in showbiz can turn out to be more bittersweet than they could possibly imagine.

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...but as you can see, it does all sort of balance out.

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I WAS HIGHLY EMBARRASSED BY THIS EXPERIENCE:

When First Lady Michelle Obama came to SESAME STREET in 2009, the puppeteers were already set up, seated in the garden area. Since my right hand was in a tomato, I greeted the First Lady with my left hand. I overshot, and I wound up scratching her forearm with my engagement ring, which had spun around on my finger. It's not like I wear a giant rock or anything, but it's in a square setting, so I think it was the corner that hit her. No broken skin, but I was still mortified. I'd damaged her.


But naturally, she was gracious and had a great sense of humor about it.

PHOTO CREDIT: David Gordon

From the 2011 Vineyard Theatre Gala. You'd think I would have learned a thing or two after so many years of putting on spackle for concerts and events… but clearly, this photo shows that I have not learned a blessed thing. So let me at least share a tip with you:

NEVER TRY TO MAKE SMALL TALK ON THE PRESS LINE.

Your face will look like this if you do, like you've forgotten what you're supposed to do with your mouth.

You're welcome.

Pointing to my first -- and so far last -- awards show seat card.

And the seat I would sit in when I lost the Tony.