DIVA TALK: A Conversation with Two-Time Tony Nominee and Passion Star Melissa Errico

By Andrew Gans
01 Mar 2013

Ryan Silverman and Melissa Errico in Passion.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Question: Have you and Judy talked at all about the relationships of the two women towards this one man?
Errico: We have seen it as they are both very sexual and very aggressive in some ways. The play begins with an orgasm, and it ends with—pretty much—with one. Sondheim's idea was that it would begin with my scream, and that it would end with hers… That's how he saw it. He saw it as a complete balance of my ecstasy and hers… I think she's been very appreciative. She feels I found a lot of depth in a role that it didn't have, and it puts up a good fight, I think. I think I put up a pretty good fight for Giorgio.

Question: You mentioned before about being a mom and your kids being a little older. How old are they now?
Errico: [The twins] just turned four, and Victoria is six. I had three kids in two years. It just helps a little that they can understand a little bit where I am. I can bring them to the theatre… After this I'm going to spend the day with the girls. The ones who are in pre-school, I can pull them out of school and spend the time with them. They sleep through the night. I don't have anymore diapers to do. They're in school until 2:15 or 3:10, so they have lives now, somewhat. It just helps because until a year or two ago, I had everybody—or most of them—in diapers and pull-ups and stuff. It was insane. I had a two-year-old and two newborns, so it was a lot. And, this is the first time where I really feel, personally, like I'm sleeping. I feel fit. I feel the girls are really supportive and excited. Of course, this is not a very long run, so I don't feel like I'm going to strain them too far with Mommy not putting them to bed. But I guess I feel good. It's wonderful that I had children, and I'm just so happy for it, and I'm really happy that I'm able to do what I love, and they know it. Like, "Mommy, you have a show. Can we come to the theatre?" It's really healthy. Unfortunately, I don't take them to school right now. I oversleep. So I wake up in the morning, and I've got all these pictures that have been slid under my bedroom door… So I decorate my dressing room with these pictures. I don't think it's that bad for little girls to have a mom who is just super psyched to go and sing Sondheim every night. It's kind of a magical moment in our family. I feel really good about it, and I feel like it's really good for them to see me happy like this.

 

Errico and Ryan Silverman in Passion.
photo by Joan Marcus



Question: Is there any talk of a recording?
Errico: There is talk of a recording, so we'll see how that pans out… Ryan sings beyond beautifully, and I just think we know the score so well, and with these original orchestrations, and Judy's incredible voice—it's so raw. I mean, her whole soprano-Cosette thing is in a whole new place. She sings so naturally, so I feel like all three of us and the ensemble, we know this score really well. We have it exact, and they killed us to get it exact. So I'd sure love to get to capture it, and John Doyle, again, has made us feel like we're all in this together. It's a wonderful accomplishment. He's an incredible person in that way. You don't feel nervous when you perform because you don't feel like it's all on you. You feel like you're a part of John Doyle's world. It's the weirdest thing. He makes you feel safe. It's the strangest thing to say, but when a director can get everybody to focus outside themselves—as much as I enjoy analyzing this and all the different parts and so on. There's a real structure, and he's let us see it from so many different facets. It's like we got to stand all around the show. [The stage has] three sides. I've been able to do the show from every side, so once I go back to my spot, and I'm playing Clara, I feel like I've seen it already from a million angles. I've never done that before. I've never been in a play where I feel like I've seen it from everybody's perspective. One day we did the whole play, and everybody, their entire focus had to be the doctor. Everything the doctor says, every time the doctor's on stage, everybody focus on the doctor. And, by the time it was over, Tom Nelis [who plays Doctor Tambourri] was weeping. First of all, he's doing such a great job, but it gave him so much power… And, every time he spoke or every time he had a comment, you never felt like he was just chipping in or a little comment at the dinner table. It was super important because the doctor was talking right now. And, John Doyle said, "It's going to be a little bit weird, but every time the doctor speaks, the king is here. The king of the story." And, it was so good for Tom. He did it for every actor by the way. It was amazing—even the smallest of parts.

[CSC is at 136 E. 13th Street. Tickets are $75 on Tuesday through Thursdays (select sides at $60) and $80 Friday through Sunday (select sides at $65). Passion plays Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 PM; Thursdays and Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 3 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 3 PM. Passion will also have Wednesday matinees at 3 PM March 6 & 27 and April 3. For tickets, visit classicstage.org or call (212) 352-3101 or (866) 811-4111.]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.

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Melissa Errico
Photo by Joan Marcus