ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Hurrying Home for the Hurricane; Marin Mazzie Talks!

By Seth Rudetsky
30 Oct 2012

Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson
Photo by Joan Marcus

All right, let's go back before the storm and reflect on last week. I had the fabulous Marin Mazzie on as my radio guest "Dueling Diva" because Christine Pedi, my regular co-host was out of town. Marin played the mom in the recent revival of Carrie and we were discussing the moment that she had to stab Carrie (played by Molly Ranson). She told me that she was always scared she would actually stab her. I didn't understand why, since those fake knives retract on contact. Turns out, Marin told me that those fake knives don't always retract; they stab people! Marin had the nerve to say she was scared? What about Molly? Which would you rather have: The emotional wound that comes from stabbing someone by accident, or the wound that comes from a knife embedded in you? That's like the ol' "This hurts me more than it hurts you line" that's hauled out right before a massive spanking. I didn't believe it when I was five, and I don't believe it now.

We talked about her childhood and I mentioned that I loved the story she told in her act at 54 Below, about the time she sang "Evergreen" at her Catholic School's "Blessing of the Rings" ceremony and Sister Alice Patrice made her change the "inappropriate" lyrics (see my earlier column about that). I knew that her school in Rockford, IL, had a lot of Broadway folks come through it (Paul Castree, Jodi Benson, Joe Mantello), but she added to that list by telling me that the pianist for "Evergreen" was Robert Greenblatt — the current head of NBC!

Jason Danieley and Sunday in the Park co-star Carmen Cusack.

Marin and I were talking on the air and I brought up her husband, Jason Danieley, who's currently starring in Sunday in the Park With George at Chicago Shakespeare Theater). I told her that now that I'm married, it's weird for me and James — we've always celebrated our anniversary as the anniversary of our first date, but now we probably have to switch it to our wedding anniversary. Marin told me that we can celebrate both; she and Jason commemorate both their wedding anniversary as well as the date they "got together." I thought she was referring to their first date until I asked how she celebrated the day they "got together." She smirked and muttered, "Well…," and I immediately cut to a song.

I then brought up Passion (which is to be revived Off-Broadway this spring with Melissa Errico and Judy Kuhn), and I made her tell my listening audience one of my fave stories: At the beginning of Act One, the curtain would come up and Marin would sitting, nude, on Jere Shea's back. Well, Jere's back was aching before one performance so he put something on it to ease the pain. Unfortunately, he didn't wipe it all off before the show began. So, at "places," Marin got on his back, the curtain went up, and soon she began to feel something in her nether regions. What did she feel you ask? How about the burning sensation of Ben Gay! Imagine what Ben Gay feels like on your skin and now imagine what it would feel like on (fill-in-the-blank). Marin finished the opening number and ran backstage and asked her dresser for cold, cold water. She said she was literally running around singing the Sweeney Todd song "City on Fire." Of course, she changed "city" to a word that starts with a P and ends with a Y. Then she sang it on the air. I thought it was hilarious 'til I got a tweet from someone telling me her four-year-old is now running around singing that song. With the new lyric. Hm…maybe she thinks it's about a cat on fire?