This past Saturday, we had a backers reading of Ian Mairs new play THE LEARNING CURVE featuring Emmy Award winning Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest) and Jeff Binder (Broadway: Lion King, Mary Poppins, Lieutenant of Inishmore). Hosted by NYU and produced by Amy Cordileone.

Here was the playbill link that announced the reading:

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/171272-Emmy-Winner-Michael-Emerson-Jeff-Binder-and-Mason-Lee-Set-for-Reading-of-The-Learning-Curve

If you don’t know what a backers reading is – it’s a reading that is closed to the public, but open to Artistic Directors and potential producers of the play (muckety mucks). This way they get to hear the play and think about whether it would be good for their audience.  Then they get a catered party following. Why isn’t all theater like this?

The night before the reading, we went to the opening of Carrie Preston’s (Michael’s wife) movie “That’s What She Said”, which stars Anne Heche. A true delightful romp about being single in your 30’s in the city.

Following it, at the cast party, I ended up hanging out with Terry O’Quinn (Lost), who was amazing at getting free appetizers sent over to us. Maybe it’s his celebrity status, maybe it’s his perfect bald head, who knows, but i have rarely had so many bacon wrapped tiny items delivered in such a short period of time. Also, we talked about how he wants to get back into doing theater…um, YES!

Anne Heche was also there, and the party was sooo fancy, that they had a man in the bathroom who was there JUST to lift up the toilet seat for you –  with metal tongs. It was perhaps the strangest thing ever. We even sent in some ladies into the bathroom to see if he did it for them…he did. In a life of truly awkward moments, this has to have been in the top 10. If you have to poo, do you give him the “just one lid” signal?…I don’t know…I tipped and ran as fast as I could.

Michael couldn’t join us as he was shooting “Person Of Interest” on CBS into late in the evening, but still rushed over first thing to rehearse and provide the comedic relief for the reading.

He was genius. It was a true laugh riot. And he had amazing chemistry with Jeff Binder. The room was packed with theater types and producers (high five!), so the actors really turned it up. Lots of laughs, lots of great moments about the struggles of teachers and a quick standing ovation at the end – followed, of course, by a several hour party.  All in all, a great way to have a backers reading.

Alexis Hauk, an Associate Editor from NewBay Media, who came into town for the reading described it as:  “A truly understated, funny, insightful piece on what it’s like to teach in current public schools.”

Web Designer Rebecca Haden wrote: “15 minutes in, I forgot I was watching a reading. The story was told so fully, I can only imagine how affecting a production of it would be.

So, now we chat with the prospective producers and send out scripts to the regional theaters, and see what happens next.  As Tom Petty once said “the waiting, is the hardest part”…let’s hope it’s a short wait, followed by a full production and more bacon wrapped goodness on opening night.

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