Nominated for: Outstanding Solo Performance, Peter Michael Marino
Photo by Alicia Levy
About the Production
Failed cruise ship entertainer, celebrity stalker and musical theatre fanatic Lance is docked in town for one night only, so he’s hosting a variety-talk show with special guests Liza Minnelli, Hugh Jackman and musical sensation Miami Sound Machine. But who’ll show up? Lance has suffered for his art. Now it’s your turn!
Performer Peter Michael Marino talks about this funny, warm, and insightful one-man show.
What attracted you to this subject matter?
Peter: I was interested in spoofing the solo show genre, and managed to do that, while also poking fun at talk shows and celebrities. I was fascinated with the idea of a "regular person" being a guest on a talk show - but treated like a celebrity. I did a bunch of research on classic talk show hosts and discovered that many of them created personas as their on-air personality. This concept led to me having my old 90s character Lance come out of retirement to be the host of the show. And then that led to me creating a bigger backstory as well as interstitial bits to do in between the guests.
What did you want the audience to come away with after watching this production?
Peter: I wanted audiences to come away with a good feeling. I wanted to make people forget their troubles for an hour and to believe in the struggle of the character and to hopefully see parts of themselves in the character. It's a show about being optimistic...even when the chips are down. And for Lance, they are always down.
What was your favorite part of this production?
Peter: I love improvising with audience members who "Lance" treated like real celebrities. I did the show in NY, Orlando, Hollywood, London and a month-long run in Edinburgh. I met all kinds of people from all over the world with such diverse backgrounds and observing how they responded to Lance as if he was a real person was a real treat.
What was the most challenging aspect of this production for you?
Peter: It was tough to find the heart and the "why" at first; but after doing the show at a few fringe fests, it became clear that Lance just wanted to be loved and recognized. It was then a challenge for me to realize that Lance was essentially me. Beyond that, the character is very high energy and it was a real workout as far as singing and dancing and keeping up with the variety of people who Lance chatted with.
What is the noteworthy thing that happened during the production?
Peter: I was fortunate enough to book and interview actual stars near the end of the run. These stars included FAME & Broadway star Laura Dean; FAME star Antonia Franceschi; Chanteuse Extraordinaire Tammy Faye; and YouTube/Off-Broadway Impressionist sensation Christina Bianco! And I always enjoy hearing people GASP when Lance's wig came off at the end of the show. It always warmed my heart. I called it the "Santa Claus" moment --- like, "Hey! That guy isn't real! But I want him to be!"
You can follow Peter Michael Marino on Twitter - @blackoutpete