I got to meet one of my theatre idols—John Tartaglia— last night after the production of ‘Seussical the Musical’ at the Muny in St. Louis! The show was very good, and it brought back so many great memories from when I was in a production of ‘Seuss’ my sophomore year. The crowd was electric with childish energy, me and people around me were mouthing the words as if we were right there on stage, and the power of live, interactive theatre ruled the night.
All of this was amplified to an awesome level by seeing John Tartaglia mere feet away from me as the hammy Cat in the Hat. He was perfect—his energy and playfulness were off the charts, he tapped into his puppetry background with crazy voices and character quirks, and he lead the show with his trademark charisma.
Seeing him live made me relive the first time I heard the OBC soundtrack of my favorite show, ‘Avenue Q’. Hearing Princeton through my crappy iPhone earbuds, I knew that I was listening to something great. Looking up the cast later and seeing things on John’s repertoire like Lumiere, Pinocchio, director of Shrek and Tarzan, and a Sesame Street cast member at the age of SIXTEEN (I love puppets)! I was dumbfounded.
This excitement all lead to me finally meeting him after the show. Waiting outside the dressing rooms with my wonderfully patient girlfriend, I spotted John and enthusiastically waved him over to me. With a kind smile on his face, he asked if I enjoyed the show. Duh I did! After seconds of star-struck small talk, I pulled out an 8x10 of John and Princeton. His face lit up in surprise.
"Avenue Q is my favorite show of all time. I was too young to see it when it first premiered, but I finally got a chance to watch it in Chicago just a few weeks ago. Will you please sign this for me?" I asked, basically shaking.
"Of course! What’s your name?"
"Avenue Q was a really fun show. But I haven’t gotten to see the Chicago production yet. Did you enjoy it?"
"Every bit as I thought I would."
Meeting your idol and having him be a genuinely nice person that is interested in what you are saying is just a dream. Thankfully, though, one of my dreams came true last night.