THE ROBBY AWARDS!!!
Okay, I'm not one for crowds...especially crowds of famous people - so I usually like to try to stay clear of events like the Robby's. But because I went to it last year and Kevin, Julie, Misty, and Nick were all nominated for awards this year for "Side Show" I figured I should try to go. I had doubts about going all the way up until I picked Marina up at her working place. I was so tired from all the traveling that I almost called her earlier that morning to cancel...but I'm so glad I didn't!
We got to the Roosevelt hotel at about 7:10pm or so. Marina immediately went to the bar to get a drink and I saw the crowds of theatre performers milling about, hugging each other and I thought, "Okay, I think this was a bad idea..." Marina & I walked around a bit trying to find the registration desk, and I caught glances of Carole Cook, Jason Graae, and several other LA theatre performers whose names escaped me as I stood there in awe. We stood around for a few minutes after registering, sort of feeling out of place - and then I saw Julie...
I had to say "Hi" to her and I couldn't remember if I had told her I was going to be there. "Sheri!" she exclaimed and hugged me, "I didn't know you were coming!" I felt a little better after that - at least I didn't feel like too much of an outsider. We talked with Julie and her husband Rich for a few minutes... She looked so adorable six and a half months pregnant! :) She asked me if I knew if Kevin was coming and I said that the last time I talked with him he said he was planning on it. Then all of a sudden she said, "Oh! There's Julie....and there's Kevin."
I turned around and Kevin, Julie (his Julie), and his Mom came walking in. He was wearing a gray suit and looked wonderful. He immediately said hi to Julie and Rich and then turned to me and said, "Hey!" He immediately got caught talking with some other people and the doors were open, so Marina and I decided to go to our table (which was right in front of the stage!) I wanted to talk with Kevin, but I also wanted to give him his space, since he was in his setting with his peers, I didn't want to bother him...
Jennifer Leigh Warren happened to be sitting on our table - as well as some people from the production team of "Doing Judy" (we later found out because of their loud cheering whenever "Doing Judy" was mentioned...) :)
The program itself was great! Got to see John Raitt sing live on stage for the second time in my life (the first was at last year's Robby's), got to see Julie & Misty sing "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" to one of the only 2 standing ovations of the night. And then... the awards...
When the category for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical came and went and Kevin didn't win for "Spitfire Grill", my heart sank. Even though "Side Show" was his stronger performance, I actually thought he had a better chance of winning this category because he was up against less stiff competition. Well, imagine my surprise when the award for Best Actor in a Musical was announced and the winner was... KEVIN EARLEY for "Side Show"!!! Woo hoo! I think Marina and I screamed the loudest in the room, though I'm sure I heard screams coming from the "Side Show" table too.
His acceptance speech was cute (he thanked the Colony for providing him with the shirt that he was wearing that night - and then said his underwear was from Laguna. :)) But the best part about his speech was when he yelled, "And...I LOVE MY WIFE!!" That was just the sweetest thing.
Julie and Misty won for Best Actress in a Musical for their portrayal of the Siamese twins in "Side Show" (which was wonderful though I knew they'd win...) Julie thanked Rich saying that he had a really busy year last year, looked at her pregnant stomach and said, "Obviously". :) Then thanked Robby for the award and for recognizing their individual performances and giving them two separate awards because, "You know, we don't live together." :)
Nick won for Best Director of a musical for "Side Show", and "Side Show" won for Best Musical. All in all a very banner evening for the wonderful cast of that very special musical.
When the evening was over I wanted to congratulate Julie & Kevin. So I went up to Julie and gave her a huge hug. I asked if I could take her picture with Misty and that's when Misty turned to me and said, "Sheri, so nice to see you!" and gave me a big hug. I was floored...I had no idea that she even knew who I was! All I could say was, "I loved you in 'Anyone Can Whistle'". She looked at me shocked, "When did you see it?" I told her her I saw the matinee on Sunday and she said, "And you didn't stay afterward to say hello?" I was about to fall on the ground... I didn't even think she knew who I was. That was really nice... THEN...
Nick saw me and came up and gave me a huge hug and kiss on the cheek. I had seen him the night before at "Fuddy Meers" (he was incredible in that, BTW) and had a nice conversation with him, but I keep having to mention what a warm person I think Nick is - I absolutely adore the man! He is just so talented and so likable that I can't help but totally adore him...
I was about to leave the "Side Show" table because I was afraid Kevin would've already left so I wished them all well and made my way to the door. Once there I saw Kevin's Mom and Julie (Kevin's wife) standing there - not really talking with anyone, kind of looking a little bored and like they wanted to leave. I had never been formally introduced to either of them before and I don't know what inspired my courage that night but I went up to Julie and held my hand out to her and introduced myself. For the life of me I can't remember what I said, but I knew I ended it with, "I thought you were absolutely wonderful in 'Taken'". She smiled warmly at me and said, "Why, thank you." She was really sweet and had just a tinge of a southern accent (I had wondered since I heard it in "Drew Carey" and "ER", but not at all in "Taken"). She is very stunning to see in person, and had such a sweetness about her that I immediately could see what a darling couple she and Kevin made (I had always thought so, but talking with her only proved it).
She introduced me to Kevin's mother (which was a big moment for me since I know what a big name she is in the Chicago theatre community). I was in literal awe...if I had a mirror, I'd probably check to see if my jaw was dropped all the way to the carpet... She was such a sweetheart though and seemed rather shy. I told her, "You must be so proud that you have such talented sons." She smiled and said, "Well, a few of them are, but Kevin's the most talented of the bunch... the others are talented in other ways."
Then Julie said the nicest thing - "Kevin will be back," she told me, "He went to talk with Robby, but I know he wants to see you before you leave." What a sweetheart she was! She even came up to me later to make sure that I had gotten the chance to see him.
I can't really remember what happened to bring me back to the "Side Show" table, but the next thing I know I was at the "Side Show" table again and when I looked up Kevin turned around and said, "Hey!" I congratulated him and he gave me a hug. "I sooooo didn't think I'd win," he kept telling me. Then I asked if I could take a picture of all of them with their awards. Nick took forever trying to find his award amongst the many awards that he had collected that evening for the show. He kept saying, "Which one is mine?" :) Someone (I think it was Julie) said, "Just pick any one and hold it up for the photo, Nick." :) That's when I got this shot, which was my favorite picture of the entire evening - everyone just looks so happy.
Nick DeGruccio, Julie Dixon Jackson, Kevin, and Misty Cotton
I got several more photos of Kevin with Julie (his wife), with his Mom and by himself before I realized that Marina was waiting for me outside the ballroom (not wanting to have to speak with Kevin, she made a quick exit after the awards were done to talk on her cell phone outside the ballroom - I guess she has a shy side to her whenever she meets someone she really likes in person). I told Kevin that I wanted to introduce him to a friend of mine - so I literally grabbed Marina's hand and brought her back inside ignoring her protests. I introduced them and Marina stood there and smiled, but said nothing. I took a picture of the two of them (against more of her protests) and when we were done, we made our exit.
It was nearly midnight when we finally made it to Marina's aunt's house, and it was pouring, the streets were flooded, and I had to wake up at 4:30am for an early flight home, but none of that seemed to matter. It was one of the nicest evenings I had on my LA trip and it's definitely one that I'll never forget! :)