– Hi, my name is Ted Levy and I am here outside of the
Queensborough Community College standing in front of the
Performing Arts Center. We are here today for
two very special reasons. One, we’re bringing an
event, a brand new show, celebrating the life of Tammy Wynette. And two, we are celebrating
40 years of performing arts history here, at Queensborough
Community College. Now today is an extraordinary day because what we’re gonna try to
do for the community here in Queens is to show you
what goes on backstage from the time they load in the show. I mean 8:00 in the morning. You people should be
very happy that I am here with you at 8:00 in the
morning to load in this show, put it up, all of the
elements that goes into it, and then all the way through to show time. Ladies and gentlemen,
come on inside with me and let’s see if we can have a little fun. (lighthearted slow music) Come on! This way! Hurry! (fun music) Ladies and gentlemen, I
am now sitting here with the Manager Artistic Director of the Queensborough Performing Arts Center, Ms. Susan Agin, how you doing, Susan? – Good morning, Ted Levy. – Good morning! Listen, tell us a little bit
about what’s going on here right now and what has gone on this season for the Performing Arts Center, and what’s coming up for next season. I’m excited about it because
when you told me about it over the phone, I wanted to
rush down and get a piece of it. So please, tell everybody else
so that they can understand and get excited too. (laughing) – Right, well first, you
gotta take it easy on me, Ted, because it’s 9:00, it’s
about 9:00 in the morning. (laughing)
– Okay. – This is actually our
last show for the season. And we’re here, it’s on Saturday, a little bit after 9:00, as I said. We go up tonight, the curtain
goes up tonight at 8:00 pm. If we were having a show that
opened, let’s say, at 3:00, we would’ve been starting
this process probably around 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. – [Ted] Which, in that event,
I wouldn’t be no where around. – No.
(laughing) – [Ted] 3:00 in the
morning, that’s amazing. – And as you can see, these guys are working very diligently. – [Ted] Very diligently. – And quickly to make sure that by 8:00, the curtain goes up and we have
something really spectacular to share with our audiences,
that’s what’s happening now. – You’re running a tight ship here. And it seems to be
coming along pretty well. What is the show that’s going up tonight? – Stand By Your Man, it’s
the Tammy Wynette story. And it’s a musical. It features 26 of Tammy’s songs, and of course, her most
popular one which was Stand By Your Man.
– Stand By Your Man. Now wait a minute, now Susan
told me a very interesting story about Tammy Wynette. Would you tell the
audience what you told me about Tammy Wynette? – Well, Stand By Your
Man was her greatest hit, in lieu of the fact she
was married five times. (laughing) So, there’s something with it. – [Ted] I think that is
great, that is great. Her most popular song. Listen, what is coming up for next season? – Oh, well next season
we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary, Ted. – [Ted] Wow. – I mean, this is huge. – [Ted] 40 years. – 40 years, we’ve been here 40 years. We’re going no place, we’re here to stay. – [Ted] Here to stay. – And you know, what we
did was we surveyed our audiences this year. We wanted to know how can
we continue to bring into the community things that
people wanted to see. And they want celebrities,
they want music and dance. – [Ted] They also want Ted Levy. – Well, you know, Ted actually
preformed for us this season. Ted did a tremendous
salute to Sammy Davis Jr. – [Ted] It was a great cast,
we had a Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, and a Dean Martin. – We had a Dean Martin, yes. – [Ted] I forget the performer’s names but it was a wonderful time. – It was a great time. – Brian Greis was on drums. (laughing) – It was a great time. And listen, I’m hoping
that if we’re lucky, maybe Ted will sample us
a little bit of his charm, you know, of his talent a little later. – Give us a rundown of
the shows that are gonna be here for next season. – Well, this is a sneak preview. – 40th anniversary, 40 years
in this place right here. – That’s right. – That is amazing. Tell us what’s going on. – Well, we’re gonna
open up our season with the 15th anniversary reunion
of Catskills on Broadway. – [Ted] Starring Ted Levy. (laughing) – Everything next season
is starring Ted Levy. (laughing) I wouldn’t mind that, you
know what a big fan I am. So let’s see, and we
have the three main guys, the originators of Cat Skills. We’ve got Freddy Rollman, Dick Capri, and Mousy Lawrence. These guys will just have
you rolling in the aisles. – [Ted] That is great. – I think we have some friends of yours, The Manhattan Rhythm Kings. – [Ted] They finally got my job. (laughing) – And these guys are just super. – [Ted] Wonderful performers, yes. – They’ve been compared
to the Mills Brothers. I mean, they are these
brilliant tap dancers and singers and so forth. – [Ted] Great work with Tommy Tune. – They worked very close with
Tommy Tune, right, right. And we have the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. – [Ted] Ain’t Misbehavin’,
Fats Waller, wow. – I mean, that score you can’t beat. – [Ted] Can’t swing no better than that. – Honeysuckle Rose. – [Ted] Honeysuckle Rose. The Viper’s Drag.
(mumbles) – Black and Blue. – [Ted] Black and Blue. – And This Joint is Jumpin’. – [Ted] And it will be jumping tonight. – So that’s gonna be fun. And then, let’s see, we have the Russian Ballet
Company doing Swan Lake, classic. – [Ted] Wow. – We have Tony Orlando. – [Ted] Tony Orlando. – He’s making an appearance, he’s coming. Don’t ask me! – [Ted] With his yellow ribbons. – He’ll bring his yellow ribbons, yes. – [Ted] Or Dawn, is he bringing Dawn? – Yeah, he comes with a
great bunch of backup singers but not the Dawn you used to know. – [Ted] Right, right. – We have Leslie Uggams coming. – [Ted] Leslie Uggams is coming here? – Stage and screen! – [Ted] Are you kidding
me, on golden prime? – Well, she’s there, that’s right. Right now she’s starring
in it on Broadway. – [Ted] Tony nominated show right now. – And so, she’s coming and– – [Ted] Denzel Jones, that’s great. – So I’m looking forward to that. – [Ted] That is fabulous, Susan. – We have the Latin Legends of Comedy. And the Harlem Gospel Choir. – [Ted] Starring Ted Levy. Listen, that is Latin? – Legends of Comedy. – [Ted] Legends of Comedy, is
that like a Kings of Comedy? – That’s it. – That is great. Now listen, guys, from
what you just heard, that sounds like a fabulous lineup. I mean, get your tickets now. Now, for your viewers, where and how can they
get tickets right now? – Well, you have to call us, 718. – [Both] 631-6311. – If you have a hard time remember that, that’s 718-631-6311, call now. That’s great, that’s great. – And for you folks
who like to sit at home and get your tickets on your computer, we’re on TheaterMania.com. – And now listen, I went
online last night and I went to www.qcc.cuny.edu. Now you know that’s the
first time I have ever remembered a web address? You can get, that was www.qcc.cuny.edu. – That’s right. And if you wanna go
directly to the box office, you put a /BoxOffice, it will
take your right to our page. – Hey, get your tickets now. Next season is gonna be a blast. 40 years, listen, you don’t last 40 years without doing something right. And how long have you been here, Susan? How long have you been here
with the Performing Arts Center? – I just finished my full year. – [Ted] Your first year. And last, listen, last
season was swinging, man. After we had gotten through performing, the audience was so excited, they mauled us backstage. They came and they talked to us and they wanted to know more
about what was going on. And I think the energy
that you’ve created here is a wonderful thing. – I’ll tell you what’s exciting. I mean, what we’re doing
is we’re giving people in the community access to
world class entertainment. And in most cases, I mean,
you can meet the performers, you can talk to them. I mean, these are opportunities that don’t come around too often. – [Ted] One of the things
that I find really interesting is that you have professional
theater in the community. Community, this is not a
community theater though, I have to get that right. How would you categorize
this particular theater because you bring in professional shows? – That’s right, well, we’re
serving the community. We’re providing service for the community. And we’re responding to
their needs, their wants, their interests. But all of our shows that we
bring in here are professional. – [Ted] And this comes
out of your surveys? – That’s right, this
comes out of our surveys. These shows are professionals. In fact, there are very
few theaters that could accommodate shows of this size. – So listen, everybody is
not able to get out and see a Broadway show. And Broadway and film, television, all of this is supported by the
advent of theaters like this that bring in professional
projects for your children, for seniors, for performing
artists, and novice alike, students of the arts. I think everybody, at
some point in their life, should be introduced to theater, should have an experience in the theater, of live theater, in their lifetime. They should, and support
it because it speaks. There’s nothing like, listen, there’s nothing like sitting
in one of these seats and watching someone, like you and me, who’s gone through a
tremendous amount of training, get up there and either
speak to our lives as regular people, because
I’m a regular people, Susan is a regular people. Those people up there
are not regular people, they’re crazy people to go
through what they go through. But they either speak to
our lives, for our lives, or about our lives. And I think it’s just a
wonderful, wonderful experience and everybody should
have the opportunity to share in that experience,
that live interaction with a performer and an audience that can only happen between a
performance and an audience in a live setting. And this is where it happens, in Queens. – And you know, Ted, you said something. I remember the very first
performance I ever attended, Broadway show. It was Pippin. (mumbles) And Ben Vereen was starring in it. – [Ted] It don’t get
much better than that. – And I will never forget
that curtain going up and the very first scene in Pippin, it’s kind of a black light
effect, it’s a dark stage, and all you see is kind of
hands moving around and things. And then this voice comes
booming across the sound system and the lights go up
and there’s Ben Vereen with this gorgeous smile on, the ultimate song and dance man. And that shaped my life. I mean, it was from that point
on that I spent my entire life working, in some
capacity, in theater. – Wow, how great can you get. Thank you for sharing
that with your audience. Thank you for sharing all
the wonderful information and your time and your
effort to make this happen for our community here in Queens. Thank you, Susan. – Thank you. You know, I will let you
guys in on a little secret, the host we have today, Ted Levy, is actually a Tony Award winner. I mean, this guy won awards
for Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, and Jane’s Last Stand. I was so thrilled to have
him here with us today. So, when you see him on camera next time you’ll that he’s really a superstar. And who knows, maybe we’ll
get him to sing for us later. (soft rhythmic music) – Ladies and gentlemen, this
is where it all happens. This, when you’ve got
everything loaded in, this, right now, is when
the real party begins. The stage hands are putting
the entire show together from top to bottom, or should
I stay from bottom to top because they have to work
from the bottom to the top. Scenery, lighting, everything, staging. They’re preparing this stage
for the thing that we call, for that magical moment, when
the audience is sitting here and the performers are talking to you, as you are listening to them talk to you. Yes. (deep rhythmic music) So Claire, your name is Claire, right? – Yes. – [Ted] Where you from? – I’m originally from West Virginia. – [Ted] Is this where the show originated? – No, we rehearsed here
in New York last September and we got on tour the
beginning of October. – So how long have you been doing? What are you doing, can
you tell us for a minute what you are doing? Actually what you are doing? Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, this is the part of
theater that you never see, the people backstage actually
getting the show ready. This is the beautiful part of the show, the costumes, and this
beautiful lady right here, Claire is her name, is
going to make all the women and the men look
beautiful for you tonight. So Claire, could you tell us what it is, what this job is that you’re doing and why it’s so important to production. – Well, right now,
specifically, I’m steaming, this is a steamer, and I’m steaming mostly
the women’s clothes. You saw what they were
packed in earlier and they tend to get crammed because all the costumes have
to fit in that one box. So they get wrinkles and creases, and this steamer just
makes those fall right out. – [Ted] Is this a daily maintenance? – Yes. – [Ted] How often do you guys do the show? – Well, the past couple of days, we’ve done it every night
for the past two days in a different place. – [Ted] And you have to do this every day? – Yeah, yeah. – Ladies and gentlemen,
she got here quite early and she does this everyday. Please, when you do your
applause this evening for the wonderful show
you’re about to see, remember Claire. (laughing) Thank you so much, Claire. – Thank you. – [Ted] Listen, wait a minute,
how did you get into this? – Actually, it’s kind
of an interesting story. This is not what I normally do. I’m normally a dancer, or performer. – Ladies and gentlemen, this
is an artist extraordinaire. She doesn’t just do one
thing, she does it all, which is quite a unique experience. Most performers don’t have
the opportunity to know what it’s really like, to really prepare, to have the space, that is
theater, prepared for them. And I applaud you. – Thank you. – For actually taking on an extra job. Where did you study? – I studied in West Virginia, I danced with a ballet
company when I was younger and then went to college
for musical theater. And then got my first tour a
year and a half in college. – [Ted] So you sing? – I sing, I dance. – [Ted] And you dance? – Yeah. – Watch this. – And then I met my husband, so we got married and this
is what we do together. (fun rhythmic music) – So ladies and gentlemen,
we are standing with– – Mark Kanazo. – The production? – Production Manager. – Production Manager, equal
opportunity production manager. I understand that John is very versatile. – Oh. – And that would mean that
his wife, as a matter of fact, the lady you saw doing the
hair, Claire, is his wife. So we have a husband and wife team. And this looks like a
tremendous amount of work that you guys have to put into this. And I understand that you’ve
been on the road since– – Since, this leg of the tour
since January, end of January. – [Ted] What was the last day of the tour? – Last leg was September
through end of October. – [Ted] And when you say
leg, you’re talking about? – We tech the show last year in September, ran for a couple weeks touring, and then we had three months
off, that was the first leg. The second leg is January through May. – For our viewing audience here who would absolutely have no idea
as to what’s going on, all they know is that they come in and they sit in these seats and they see this wonderful thing going on. What is it that you guys do
that makes all of this possible? That’s what we want. – Before we come, we make advance calls to the local technical directors. Like, I’m in touch with
this guy John here, he’s the technical director. – For the Queensborough Performing Arts. – Talking to him about
what we need to have when we get here, how many
crew members we need. Every venue we go to,
we have a local crew. So we’re a crew of four or
five, four or five of us. – So, everybody else here is local. – Everybody else here is local. – These 30 people we see up here. – Sometimes we have students,
sometimes we have volunteers, sometimes we have union members. – Are you paying these people, John? – I’m not.
– I mean, Mark. – I’m not paying them,
somebody’s paying them. But if they’re volunteers, sometimes not. – [Ted] Are these
students that volunteered? – Lot of them are students, yeah. But again, every venue we
go to is a different space, a different theater. We’ve played in theaters
that are half of this size, where we can’t use the
entire set sometimes. So we have to break it down. – [Ted] So as the production manager, is that your decision to decide? – Yes, as soon as we come into a venue, I take the first 10, 15
minutes measuring out, you see some tape marks on the floor. That’s what I spend my
first couple minutes doing, taping out, measuring out the setting. Okay, are we gonna use this, are we not gonna use this
so we have enough space. – How much time did it
take you from the time you guys begin until
you’re ready for the show. How much time does it take you? – It’s usually about five or six hours. – Five or six hours, and you start when? – We usually start at 9:00
for an evening performance. – Evening would be? – 7:30, 8:00. – What if you have a matinee? – Matinee would start at 7:00. Which is tomorrow. – People, this is not fun, it’s – (laughs) 7:00 in the morning tomorrow, not fun. – So yeah, we have a show
here at 8:00 tonight, we’ll get out of here
about 11:30, midnight, and tomorrow morning,
bright and early, (mumbles). – So for somebody out here
to really (background noise) technical thing, what would
you have to say to them? They would have to be serious,
first of all, very serious. 7:00 in the morning. – You know, you just
have to want to do it. Get into volunteering, get used to it. Learn the ropes a bit. (fun rhythmic music) – So Cindy, this is really
exciting for me because the girls are in the house today! We’ve actually seen a lot of girls on set, moving the sets and so forth. Here we’ve got Cindy, Cindy
is the Master Electrician. – Yes, I’m also the
lighting designer as well. – Oh, oh, you mean both? – Yes. – Because one job wasn’t enough. – Exactly. I designed the show and
I also put it up with it. – Listen, you wanna get
something done, you hire a lady. I mean, we know that. Anyways, just don’t tell the boys. This is really outrageous. You need to know, obviously,
a ton of different systems because you never know
what you’re gonna walk into when you walk into a house. The kind of system they’re using, how everything is hooked
up, that kind of thing. And I notice before she was
working very diligently, I didn’t wanna bother her
because the worst thing you can do, I know, is get in
the way of all the magic pulling together. So, you came into the house
and there are all sorts of colored gels up there and stuff. And then what do you do? – We pre-print the show,
this is my own thought, this is what I have made up. I ask the house to give me dimmer numbers, every dimmer number changes per house. I then repatch, this is our
board that we carry on the road. I repatch everything and
hope everything works. – Now, this is, and cross your fingers. Now, will you actually be
running the lighting board during the show? – Yes, I will, and I will be
calling spot cues as well. – Okay, and I’m thinking
that, in terms of the actors, they’re gonna be, and they’ve been staged, to move in different places. – Correct. – [Susan] And they’re gonna
hope that when they get to a particular spot on stage that
the light’s gonna hit them. – No, they won’t hope, it will hit them. – [Susan] There you go, there you go. And that’s why this person
here is so important. And now, I see kind of a make shift– – Yes, this board will be back
there with the set right now. But in order for me to go on the stage, I need to focus very quickly. And instead of walking up and
down, I just do it right here, boom, boom, boom. I memorize it at this point. You know, you go on the road for months, you memorize what you need to do, you don’t even need to look. I just need to type numbers at that point. – And do you ever wish that
you could set things up and then stay in one
theater for a few weeks? – During breaks and during little times, I work at Brooklyn College. So I do have my own house
during these little breaks instead of being a waiter or a waitress, I am actually an electrician for real. – That’s terrific. Well, we’re gonna let Cindy
get back to work because time is moving and we’ve got a show that’s gonna go up real soon. Cindy, thank you so much. – Thank you very much.
– Appreciate it. And you know, the girls rock today. – Great, thank you. (fun rhythmic music) Sure, and I also noticed
something there, at 39, doubled with this one and
I got a front of house one. (fun rhythmic music) – How you doing, Ted Levy. – Fine, doing good. – Fine, please to meet you. Is it my understanding that you do the sound on this project? – Yeah. – That’s great, that’s great. What does it take for our audience, if you could explain for a minute, what it would take to create
the right kind of sound in, what is this, 1,000 seat house or– – It’s probably 800. – 800 seat house. What is it that you do that
makes the sound, make us hear? – Well basically, my job
is recreate the sound as true as possible from
what’s coming off stage and amplified, reinforce it so to say. Especially in a smaller venue like this, it’s all about reinforcement. Taking what’s on stage,
making it sound as true as possible from what’s
coming from the performers, and the instruments, mouths, and reproducing that for the audience. – [Ted] That’s great, that’s
actually really great. And are you in charge of
bringing this equipment here? – Yeah, we have our own rig
that we travel around with. So usually if the in house system, this is a little bit more of
a rock and roll system here than it was a theater system, so we brought in our own stuff. – Okay, now let me ask you something. What would be the difference
in a rocking roll setting than a theater setting, for
somebody who doesn’t know? – Well, first off, microphones. Rock and roll microphone
techniques are a lot different than theatrical microphone techniques. The performers have to be
miked with what’s called lavalier microphones, which
are small, omni-directional microphones which pick up their voices but are small and hidden on their bodies. – [Ted] So wait a minute, explain omni-directional real quick. – Omni-directional means
it picks up sound in all directions, so you can
place it in different parts of the body and it picks up
in a sphere around the body. – [Ted] Great. – Those are a lot harder
to mic than a traditional rock microphone because they do pick up, so it creates more
opportunity for feedback. – [Ted] How long have you been doing this? – This is my 11th year. – [Ted] What got you into it? – Music. – [Ted] Music? – Love of music. – [Ted] Do you play music? – I play guitar. – Ladies and gentlemen, we have a dress, we have a costume, Claire, I think it was. – Claire, yes. – Claire sings. We also have a musician on our sound. We’re going, later on,
we’re going to do a show behind the show. (laughing) Which is the one you actually see. Thank you, man. (fun exciting music) – It’s now about, what time is it, 4:30? – 4:30. – Now about 4:30. As you know, we’ve been here since 9:00. And at this point, we’re
really basically waiting for the company to show up,
those are the artists. They’ll come in and do
all sorts of warming up and get comfortable with the stage and all that kind of stuff. And this…
(phone ringing) Oh wait, there’s the phone, hang on. – [Woman] I’ll take it. – Queensborough Performing Arts Center. Yes, we will! 8:00! 7:15 is fine. See ya then, bye bye. Now you’ve gotta know
that everything stops when the phone rings,
right, that’s the rule. No matter what you’re
in the middle of doing, the phone rings, you answer it because most likely that’s about tickets and that’s what we’re all here.
(phone ringing) And there’s the phone
again but that’s my phone so it’s okay. So anyway, so you have
to answer the phone when the phone rings and that
was somebody who wanted to come see the show tonight. We still have tickets and
they asked if we’re accepting TDF, which generally we do. TDF is a type of special
discount that we give. So that’s that. So anyway, we have two box offices and here’s really where we
kind of prep all the shows and do all the marketing
and things like that. And you must be wondering
why I’m holding all this money in my hand. It looks like a lot of money but really, it’s all singles and we have
to always make sure that we have at least 100
singles before every show. And one of us generally picks it up and today it was my turn, so I’ve
got the singles, we’re set. So that’s the good news. Let me introduce you
to some of these folks. This is Amica. – Hi. – And Amica is the
office assistant here and she is critical to the
success of this office. She does everything, she
helps me with the marketing, helps me with the contracts, and does all the ticket sales, and generates all the reports. And this guy over here, he’s
one of our newest recruits, his name is Evans. And we love this guy, he’s
actually a nursing student. You see, Queensborough has a
tremendous nursing program. Evans helps us wit our
volunteers when they all start coming in, giving out assignments. And that’s what this is for. Here’s my clipboard. You’ve gotta be really organized. Every volunteer, and our
volunteers are really the most important people because without them, we couldn’t pull this off. We’re a 875 seat theater
and there’s so much activity that goes on before the
show and during the show, we need as many hands as possible. So, that’s really it for now. We’re just gonna be taking
some last minute phone calls and make sure that we
have our money in order so that we can handle
the hundreds of people that we hope will line up
at our door in just about, what, about two and a half hours. So we’ll see a little later. – Ladies and gentlemen, right now, I have just stolen four members
of the Queensborough crew. These are the cats who are
backstage making everything happen, and we just watched
this whole thing all day go down. I mean, it was almost like
another kind of ballet, to watch these people. You’ve got a road crew who comes in and they don’t know who these guys are, and you’ve got a crew that is here at Queensborough Community College, and they all come together
and do this wonderful thing of putting, turn around, let them see the stage for a second. Let them see the stage, just turn around, let them see the stage. They’re gonna hear my beautiful
voice and see the stage. Before now, that was a mess. And these wonderful
people have come together with this road crew and put it together. I want you to meet them right now. – My name is John Funke, I’m the Technical Director
at Queensborough Community College for the theater.
I work with Susan. Introduce yourselves. – Ron Carter, the House Sound Engineer. – Also would like to tell you, Ron Carter is also in charge
of our sound studio here with the music department
of Queensborough. He’s an excellent sound man,
many years of experience. – [Ted] And Ron does something else too? – I’m a musician as well, producer, do a lot of other things
under my hat as well. Sometimes I do lights every
now and again as well. – [Ted] Look at that. Go ahead. – I’m Diana Yepas, kind
of Ron’s assistant here. Also do all the stage hand work. And I also work in a
recording studio in the city. I’m also going to school
for, I’m going to City Tech, entertainment technology program. I’m doing lighting,
sound, everything live. – My name is Belinda Jamie. I’m currently a student at QCC, I’m a fine and performing arts major. I was currently in Julius
Caesar as a soothsayer. Yeah, I have big things, I have big goals. I hope to be coming to a theater near you. (laughing) – That’s great. Listen guys, give us a little
insight on what this is like. You guys are here for mostly
all the shows that come in, right, throughout the entire season? How many shows is that for the season? – We’re busy here except for
a few weekends in the summer. We’re running a show literally
every Saturday, Sunday, most Friday nights, the entire year. – [Ted] Are you talking about
runs or just one night gigs? – Mostly we do different
shows every weekend. We do the dance and the
theater department, the music. The theater department, they run their show for
two weekends straight. But mostly it’s road shows
coming in, it’s a rental house, there’s a band, a chorus, an
orchestra, a dance workshop. We rent out to different community groups, lots of people come and
do their performances. There’s probably, normally,
anywhere from 12 to 16 of these shows a year,
it’s a pretty busy house. – [Ted] What is like
working under this guy? I mean, what is that like? How grueling can it get for you? – Oh, very grueling. – [Ted] What would a typical day be like? – Today’s pretty light but
our day can start at 6:00 in the morning and then
we don’t leave here until maybe 12:00, 2:00 in
the morning sometimes. – [Ted] I saw some pretty
decent lifting up in here. And I saw the ladies pick up
one of these huge pillars. Is that a regular going on around here? You ladies are putting the
guys out of business or what? – I’ve only done a few,
like two shows, with them. It hasn’t been bad at all,
it’s been pretty okay. – [Ted] You’re just
saying you can handle it. – Yeah, I can handle it. – [Ted] Anything swing your
way, you can handle it. – I can handle it. – We definitely out do the guys sometimes. (laughing) – Well, you seem like you
have a pretty decent boss. Tell me from your perspective, what this is like as an occupation. If I’m out here in TV
land and I’m wondering as a college student, high school student, what I wanna do with my life and I decide, and I’m coming to experience live theater. And what they get a chance to do today is they get a chance to see the other side. I think the performance
that you guys do before the performance is no less important than the actual performance. The difference is that
most people don’t get the chance to see it. What is that like as a profession? And if you had to speak
to someone about that, what would you say to them? – I would say get involved in
the business in any fashion you can and learn as
many skills as you can. If you can work in the
business, in the box office, and sell tickets, and get
to know people, do that. You can do sound, light, dancing. Get involved in the business and try and learn as many skills as you can. One thing we do at Queensborough,
which is very positive, is we like to get a lot
of our students active and involved and on the stage. In some other universities, some students might not
be able to be in a play or get onstage until
they’ve done two years worth of classes. At Queensborough, we like
to get people in here, get them on the stage,
turn them onto it and get that mole growing. And it is a good program, we
have a lot of great students that come through here. And many of them have gone
onto pretty serious careers. I’ve been here over 20 years
and I’ve seen many people go onto some great things from here. That’s what Queensborough
does, get involved. – Let me ask you something else. I’ve got an actress, stage hand, singer, do you dance at all? – I can dance. (laughing) – Ladies and gentlemen,
ladies and gentlemen, meet the everything woman, right here, this is the everything woman. What is that like, what
is that like for you to really be able to
experience the full gamut of what the theatrical experience is? – Personally, for me, if you ask me, I wouldn’t wanna work backstage but, I’d rather do the acting thing. And then coming here and
working for these people, I have respect for them because they make the show really. It’s hard work working backstage. I think it’s much harder
than when you’re onstage, the acting, but people don’t know that, people don’t know how
to give credit to those who work backstage. And with this experience,
I look at these people and I say, these people are amazing because it’s a lot of work to put
on these shows together. And especially in one day, it’s amazing. I have a totally different aspect. – Ron, when you’re working
with dangerous equipment and you’ve got a lot going on, what’s the intensity level like? What is the concentration level like? How does that compare,
backstage, being on stage? – It is different. As a performer, you don’t
need to think about what’s going on backstage, you just
hope that everybody is doing their thing and you trust
that the people that are working that are doing their thing and doing it properly. And while you’re performing, you just wanna be able
to go onstage, perform, do your show and then
hopefully everything goes well. The technical aspect is
being handled by people that you trust– – [Ted] It’s a matter of trust. – Exactly. – Tell us one of the funniest things that has happened to you. – I remember, I think it was Jerry Lewis when he was performing here. – [Ted] Wow. – He had a bodyguard because
there was someone who was following him around,
giving him a hard time. And I remember it was a great day because this guy was some kind of kickboxer. And he was giving us all
kickboxing lessons in the back room, which was really great. We had the whole crew back there learning kickboxing lessons from
Jerry Lewis’ bodyguard. That was a kind of fun day. Just moments, you know. Some of the stories I can’t tell you. – Oh, okay.
(laughing) Well, I guess the kickboxing
and the bathroom story is as close as we’re gonna get to some of the funniest stuff. And that’s the real beauty
of it all, it is personal. It’s just as personal
backstage as it is onstage when you’re with your audience. I wanna thank you guys
for hanging out with us. Yes? – One thing I would say is
that you have to remember it’s a team effort,
everybody has to be there and do their job. – And I guess that’s what
makes 40 years of success. In a regional theater, 40
years is nothing to sneeze at, it’s a wonderful accomplishment. And here at Queensborough,
they offer professional shows, not regional theater shows, which is not to frown on
regional theater shows, but for professional shows
to come into a regional area is not a small task by any measure. And I’m very proud to
be here with you guys. And I was really proud to
watch the process today and I think John just summed it up for us. It’s the totality of it all. (fun rhythmic music) I have the cast here. Stand By Your Man, the
Tammy Wynette story. Please, introduce yourselves first. – I’m Larry Tobias, I’m
playing George Jones. – I’m Connie Mock, I play young Tammy and a few other of the female
characters in the show. – I’m Kristen Stewart and
I’m playing Tammy Wynette. – [Ted] And? – My name’s Erica Livingston
and I’m playing Tammy’s mother and a few other miscellaneous characters. – Andrew Crawl, I play
Don Chapel and Fiddle. – [Ted] Let me ask you something. I think in every theatrical experience, we usually learn something
either about the artists or ourselves. Could each of you just
offer a little insight as to either what you’ve learned about yourself in doing this piece or what
you’ve learned about Tammy that has helped you grow as an artist. – Well, starting with me,
I am the baby in the show and in the cast. I’m 20 and this is my first
job straight out of college. My first audition, so
I’ve been very fortunate because I found the right
audition immediately and the right part for me and
the right cast and everything. It’s been really great
because all these people have worked a lot before,
and so I’ve got to learn a lot from them, and especially
the other women in the cast are just exceptionally talented. And I just feel like
I’ve been really lucky to have these people to look up to. – [Ted] Wow, that’s great,
that is really, really great. How about yourself, sir? – I think for me this
is the first time that I’ve ever played a living icon. Those, it seems like
particularly huge shoes to fill. While there are still
people out in the world who are really big fans of
George Jones and Tammy Wynette, separately and together. And to sort of realize that
there’s a certain homage and respect that is
commanded by the audience that you really have to be aware of and treat them gently,
because a lot of people really look up to these people and view them as almost a cult of personality, a cult of celebrity. It’s interesting to note that
they really are real people with real problems and real emotions, instead of this sort of iconic thing that we tend to think about celebrities. – [Ted] So, does the audience get that? Is that the kind of
interaction that you think the audience, or should I say the message that the show carries? – I think so, absolutely. The show does a great job
of allowing these people that are coming to the
show to kind of remember Tammy and George. And I think we both,
particularly Tammy and George, we do, we certainly try to
not imitate who they were but kind of through us as actors, through Kristen and Larry, we try to represent Tammy and George. Because they are, people love them and people still love them, and
kind of worship their music and who they were, and everything that
happened in their lives. To imitate, I think, would
separate us from the show too much, so we’ve kind
of created our own thing and just a little
characteristics of each of them that we can bring to the show, I think it helps kind of bring
the audience to the show. – [Ted] That’s great. Let me ask you something else. The venues that you work, places such as Queensborough
Community College. What kind of venues
have you worked, please? – Well, also live community colleges and as the show progressed, we
picked up some different venues than we thought we were going to. We’ve played middle schools,
we’ve played churches. Just yesterday, we played
at a really nice theater. I think that was a historic theater. And they have a lot of
Equity shows coming and mainly a lot of just
older, historic theaters. New Mexico was one of
the few places like that. Just some really neat
kind of quaint places. – [Ted] What is the response? What kind of response do
you get from the audiences? This style of audience? – It’s been interesting regionally how different the reaction is. – I was gonna say the same thing. – And not necessarily in the end. At the end of the show, the audience, as far as we can tell, loved it. But the reaction throughout the show, the laughing and the clapping, has been very different regionally. In the south, they know much
more about George and Tammy so they’re a little bit
more vocal about responding to you while the show is going on. So it’s been very interesting regionally how different it is. – You can kind of tell who
watches Hee Haw and who doesn’t. (laughing) – That’s exactly right. – Some of the humor is
sort of a corn-hole, down home folksy kind of stuff. And it does play better in
smaller metropolitan areas, I think, that kind of humor
anyway, as broad as it is. – [Ted] I would love for
you guys to do me a favor, give us one, perhaps maybe
one, one good road story. Ooohh, girlfriend got one! She was like – (laughing) – Well, I mean, it’s… Well, I mean, this has
been a very different tour, I think, than most. Just our dynamic as a group
and also just a lot of things that happened throughout the tour. – [Ted] One, one good one. (laughing) – I’ve got a good one (mumbles). – [Ted] She’s gonna tell your
secrets, gang, watch her. – No, it has to do with me being young and being straight out of
school and everything. When we first, we rehearsed in the city and it was only a few
blocks from my apartment, that was fine. I was very excited to be apart of it and figure out how everything went. And then we went to
Roanoke, Virginia to do our tech week and our first opening run. And we got to the theater
and I knew my part, and I was totally ready to go and then as soon as we got
there, our sound guy, Brian, hands me a body mic. I’ve never worn a body mic before, I had no idea what to do with it. I’m looking around, like,
I don’t wanna admit that I don’t know what I’m doing
but I finally had to ask and they showed me how to tape it on and I had to have people show. I had never worn a wig cap before. I wear, I think, six wigs in the show and I’ve never done pink curls
or done a wig cap or anything and they had to teach me. I’m just watching the girls. They’re like, do you wanna get ready? I’m like, I didn’t know what I was doing. So that’s my good stories,
just learning all the little technicalities about everything
and how everything went because all of the things
I’ve done were smaller. – Right now, I’m gonna
let you guys on the inside of what this thing is. We’re gonna tell you, it’s
not gonna happen tonight, don’t worry about it. (laughing) But this cast is gonna
tell you one of their more favorite faux pas during the show. Who’s got a story for us? – One of my favorites, it
was during the final song, which of course is Stand By Your Man. So I’m out singing, I’m just
looking at the audience, I can’t see anything
that’s happening behind me. All I hear is this big enormous crash and I have no idea what’s happening. I just kept singing and
trying my best to keep looking out at the audience. I heard people running and I
just pictured my stage manager running on stage and giving CPR behind me. I had no idea what was happening. Later I find out that,
yes, the stage manager was running all over because
he heard the crash and couldn’t figure out what had happened. But accidentally, the drummer
somehow knocked one of his drums over and it took
the cymbal down with it and just went tumbling. So not a big deal. – [Ted] So while you’re singing? – While I’m singing this happened, and all this commotion’s going on. I was just freaking out. – People, you would
have never known because that is what professionalism is all about. That is great. You guys are winding down I understand. – Tomorrow’s the last one. – [Ted] Tomorrow is the last one. How you feel about that? – It’s been a long tour so
I think we’re all kind of ready to wrap it up. I mean, for the most part,
it’s been a great experience. We certainly all learned
more about Tammy Wynette than any of us ever thought we would know. But I think we’re ready
to put it to sleep. – Yeah, at the end of the tour, there’s always sort of
mixed feelings, I think. – [Man] It’s always mixed. – But you do, you’re ready
to move onto projects, other jobs, no one really
wants to be button holed into one particular thing. – Especially when it’s nine months. You’re ready to do your
acting chops again. – It’s been a good ride. – [Ted] Okay, and what,
elaborate on the mixed feelings. What is inside that? Is that a personal thing
or a professional thing, or is it a combination of both? – I think it’s both. I mean, I think also most
of us know we’re gonna run into each other again, it’s not– – Yeah, it’s a small circle. – Even when we had a break,
I saw Kristen at auditions, I saw Andrew around, it wasn’t. It’s not like you’re gonna
lose people in your life, you’re just putting a show to sleep. And you’re just ready
to move onto new things and I think that’s the mixed emotions, is relationships versus being on stage, ready to start something new but relationships you like to maintain. – [Ted] I know you guys get
this question all the time from probably anybody that
ever asked you to sit down in a chair and do an interview. Why theater, why not truck driving, or why not accounting? – I don’t know, I don’t know
but I know that I’ve had more than one teacher and more than one, I actually studied violin,
I’m sort of an exception to the rule but I’ve had more
than one violin teacher say, if you can picture yourself
doing anything else and being happy, do it
because it’s not worth it for the money and there’s
very little job security and all that. If you can picture yourself
doing anything else, if you can be happy doing
anything else, do anything else. And I think most of
us, I speak for myself, but it’s like, when I’m
out of theater long enough, I just get this itch to come back and it gets in your blood. – Yeah, it’s just, I think a lot of us, it’s just kind of what
we always wanted to do and there are days when it’s like, why, why don’t I wanna do anything else but it’s what I’m supposed to
do, at least right now. – Yeah, I’m too old to do anything else. (laughing) I gotta retrain mid career. – [Ted] Best part for you? The best part of this thing for you? – [Andrew] Of this tour? – [Ted] No, this thing you’re doing? – Oh, this business. – [Ted] This business thing you’re doing, the best part for you? – For me, I think it’s the
opportunity to feel like you are giving people at
least a couple of hours out of their day, away from their lives, that they don’t really
have to focus on themselves or if it is focused on themselves, that the work that you’re
doing gives them an opportunity for introspection, to
think about certain parts of their own lives. So I think it’s just entertaining
but at the same time, hopefully there is some
thought provocation, I guess. – [Ted] Okay. – I would basically say the same thing. Just try to have artistic integrity in whatever you’re doing and
trying to provoke something, emotions, thoughts, something. – For me, if you put that
question in the context of this show specifically,
the best part of the show was a couple of performances
we had down south where little old ladies
after the show would come up and go, I grew up
listening to Tammy Wynette and we know her story
and it was just so great. And they just, we were
able to give them back something that they grew up with and something that meant a lot to them. Some shows, audiences clap and
you’re like, they enjoyed it, but some shows, people, there
were just a couple times, they came up and were like, this really means something to me. And that’s worth the whole thing to me. – Absolutely. – Being able to do what
you love and have that, there’s something about being a performer, and mainly for me, being a singer, that just evokes the
emotion in you to be able to affect other people with something that you’re so passionate about. – Well, I wanna thank you
guys so much for your time and I think, I’m very proud
to hear artists when I’m in their company, really
remember the audience, that time that you share
with the audiences because I think really this whole
experience is what it’s all about, all of these
elements coming together to help us share that
time with the people who care to share their time with us, and somehow change their lives or help them think differently,
or help us think differently. – And it is unique on stage too. You don’t share that, necessarily, when you’re working in film or television. You don’t get the symbiosis
between the audience and you, as a performer. Which is why stage, I think, for me, is ultimately a lot more satisfying and gratifying on an immediate level. – [Ted] Now remember that
little babies, symbiosis. (laughing) Thank you guys so much. Symbiosis, everybody we’re
gonna have symbiosis tonight! Thank you so very, very much. – Thank you. – [Ted] And I look
forward to seeing you guys do your thing and have a great time. – Thank you. – My pleasure, truly my pleasure. Thank you, thank you. – Thank you. – I’m laughing at you (mumbles). Thank you, man. This is my favorite part,
the actual half hour process where the theater starts buzzing. The performers are singing,
the band is playing long notes before they get on the stage. And then you see the people
in the front of the house stampeding, they actually
wanna be there so bad, like you’re gonna wanna be next season at the 40th anniversary. You’re gonna wanna come
and stampede the place because it’s just fabulous,
it’s gonna be great. – Amika, do you need help
opening up the box office? Evans, would you mind just
helping her lift up that, we’re gonna open up the box office now. And you’ll see, there’s a big gate there that has to be lifted. (lighthearted music) Where is Clarissa, do we
know where Clarissa is? (humming) We’re gonna have a little meeting. Tina, Lovins, (mumbles). These people are all amazing. We could not afford to
pay these many people. We cannot… (fun country music) Excuse me, excuse me. It’s almost time, I’m gonna
make the opening announcements and then, it’s good times after that. Welcome to the Queensborough
Performing Arts Center. A few reminders before we begin. The taking of pictures
and use of video recording equipment is strictly prohibited by law. Thank you for being with us this season and we hope you enjoy Stand By Your Man. (fun country music) – [Announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, the first lady of country
music, Miss Tammy Wynette. (cheering) – Okay, ladies and gentlemen,
this is the wind down time. I wanna thank everybody at the Queensborough Community College Performing Arts Center for their time and a wonderful, wonderful day. Specifically the crew. I mean, listen, it takes
a great deal of heart to put up a production and
the many productions that the Queensborough
Performing Arts Center does on a yearly basis. I want you to know that
next year, I will be here for the 40th anniversary celebration for the Queensborough
Performing Arts Center and I look forward to seeing you here. Thank you so very much and come on out and hang out with us, thank you. (fun rhythmic music)
(light tapping)