BroadwayWorld.com's newest TV host Haviland Stillwell is moonlighting for our readers, covering the latest R Family Vacation cruise! "Spring Break on the Mexican Riviera" is the cruise line's first trip to Mexico and Haviland will be giving a first hand account of all the going ons. It's your special backstage pass to all the fun and excitement right here on BroadwayWorld.com! For more information on R Family Vacations, including details on their upcoming Summer Cruise, click here!
Diary Entry #1:
Well, here I am, on my third Rosie Cruise! We are somewhere between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas at the moment, there are people on the Lido Deck dancing to "We R Family" and Cyndi Lauper is gearing up to show us her true colors!
My first r Family Vacations Cruise was July 2006, to Alaska, and the second, last summer, to the Caribbean. Rosie and I (and subsequently her family and r family) became friends while we were on Broadway together in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. I actually met Rosie when I was a little girl, working on the film "Now and Then," before her talk show had started. She and Kelli invited me to perform on board after FIDDLER closed, and again last summer. This time was last minute – I literally decided three days ago to hop aboard.
There are many stories, obvs, but I want to let you know what's going on here, because it's a magical place full of magical people and things.
Last night was "Rosie's Broadway Belters" Show, which Ro hosted, doing her stand-up act, which is what we all know and love about her – her sense of off the cuff warmth, truth, and familiarity. She makes everyone on this ship feel like they are a part of a rare, special and inspiring movement, one that she perhaps unknowingly lauched, when she started this company with Kelli O'Donnell and Gregg Kaminsky. People here can just be, and not have to explain why they love the people they love. It's an ideal little world, actually. And this year, they are partnering with PFLAG, so the number of heterosexual family members seems to have expanded. (Not that anyone has to show a sexual identity card upon boarding) Nothing is sweeter than seeing grandparents playing with their grandchildren, no matter what genders the kid's parents are.
On the boat, there are two performances of almost every show, to give people an early or late option. Also, as r fam veterans know, the early show is a little more G-rated.
Obviously, the LATE show is packed.
The show opened with a setting of "ohmigod you guys" from Legally Blonde, changing lyrics in the song to fit the campiness of the first night onboard, such as "no need to shave your legs – ohmigod!" In stead of Margot (or, in this version, Michael Lee) talking to Bruiser, he finds out that "Rosie's totally freaking out" from the squirrel on her famous blog, Shady. It is always great to see many of the Team Members (an energetic group of people who are sort of like r family's camp councelors) back each time, many of them performing. Sweet, sweet Megan Jacoby, one of the featured kids with two moms on HBO's "All Aboard," the documentary from the inaugural voyage, six years ago, now a young woman, is one of my favorites, and continues to grow as a person and performer every time I see her.
Former "American Idol" contestant, 18-year-old Danny Noriego, was personally invited by Rosie to sing "Tainted Love," on the ship, and he did! He is adorable, and as Rosie said in her introduction, "Danny is what every parent hopes their child will be – not afraid to be himself."
Other highlights: Shoshana Bean riffing her shoes off (literally – the boat was rocky and they were five inch stilettos, so she just kicked 'em off) in stellar back-to-back versions of "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity" from WICKED.
Julia Murney and Gavin Creel, in preparation to sing from BABY, made the very exciting announcement that Julia had decided to carry a baby for Gavin, followed by a very funny Michael Lee holding up a sign professing, "not really." It kind of made me wonder, Carrie Bradshaw like…what IF Julia Murney and Gavin Creel reproduced? I feel like on the day of that child's birth, three million Broadwayworld message board users heads would explode. Right? It would be like the child of Bette Midler and Elton John, or Melissa Etheridge and RuPaul.
The show ended with "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious" from Mary Poppins. They taught me how to spell it, but obviously I was too fixated on Gavin's adorable Justin Timberlake moves. Super cute, very fun night.
This morning, yoga with the exquisite and irreverent Susan Powter, ("if it's not sexy, why do it? What's the point?") who will be appearing live with me, via internet, hopefully later this week…I know, promises, promises…
...stay tuned for more!