OK, for those of you who’ve never been in the Chicago cast of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, I was a waiter today. We’re called the Black Staff because, you see, the caterer is named Vinnie Black. I should mention that I have sometimes had to remind new hires with whom I was sharing a bus ride home that they should avoid using the term “Black Staff” in public, particularly if one is complaining about them after the show. It just doesn’t sound very good to say something like, “Boy, the Black Staff was really goofing off tonight.” It’s a good way to get really nasty looks from strangers.
I was on The Staff today for 2 reasons: 1) KB, who has been in the show for about a year, made his debut as Father Mark; 2) I had been accidentally left off the schedule for today due to a clerical oversight, and I volunteered to do waiter duty rather than take the day off.
Some people view being on The Staff as a drudge, or even as a punishment, but after not having done it in so long, I had a blast. It helped that I was elected to be Pizza Guy. Y’see – during the reception, Tina’s ex-boyfriend Michael, who has crashed the wedding, orders a pizza, and it gets delivered. In I walked, wearing a “Lou Malnati’s” t-shirt, dark sunglasses, and a backwards baseball cap. I wandered up to the bandstand, large pizza balanced on my palm, picked up a microphone, and paged Michael in a goofy voice. Yeah, it was just a dumb little bit, but it was fun!
All in all, it was an interesting show. In addition to my change of role, we had 3 actors debuting in parts they’d never played before – on top of our new Father Mark, we also had a new Tina and a new Maddie (that’s the stripper that Tony’s dad brings as his date).
As for that photo at the top of this post – the folks with the red bowties are all Black Staff, serving Vinnie Black’s Buffet of Love. The one looking at the camera is my roommate CC. She was in the cast for 7 months, alternating between Black Staff and the mother of the bride. Specifically, she is shown here as Shirley Black, innocently impish sister of Vinnie.