The Footlights: 'Amazing Race' star Nick Spangler on his 'Fantasticks' day
Many of you may have caught Nick Spangler and his Dallas Cowboys cheerleader sister Starr on Sunday night’s premiere of six-time Emmy winner The Amazing Race on CBS (if you didn’t, watch clips here). Spangler may be the first New York actor who’s doing eight shows a week while also appearing on a hit reality series. (And the TV world plucked him from the thea-tah — unlike the more-prevalent opposite.) Despite his busy schedule playing romantic lead Matt in The Fantasticks (after several months put in as The Mute in the very same show), the affable actor with the Colgate smile was kind enough to provide us with a diary charting a day in his life.
10:10 a.m. Saturday mornings, once dedicated to cereal and cartoons, have changed. As a member of the Off Broadway cast of The Fantasticks, they mark the beginning of four performances over two days. The sudden fall weather makes it hard to leave the haven of my bed. I head to the kitchen to gargle and I jump in the shower. I read a bit of my current book, Clive and Dirk Cussler’s Treasure of Kahn. After a brief vocal warm-up and a kiss to my sleepy girlfriend, Monica, I’m on my way to the Jerry Orbach Theater—my home away from home.
1:25 p.m. Emerging from the subway I marvel for the umpteenth time at the fact that I live, breathe, and work in this city. Heck, my theater is across the street from Wicked and Mamma Mia!. Signing my initials on the call sheet, I say hello to cast members Gene Jones (I idolize his performance in No Country for Old Men—he was the gas station attendant taunted by Javier Bardem) and Steve Routman (who I envy for his appearance in an Apple TV spot). We’ve got 30 minutes to showtime and there is a flurry of activity. Margaret Anne Florence’s voice drifts through the air vents as she warms up in her dressing room and our understudies banter in the greenroom.
addCredit(“Amazing Race: Monty Brinton/CBS; Fantasticks: Joan Marcus”)
2:05 p.m. I use the moment to take in the experience. Performing in The Fantasticksis like nothing else. Our theater is so intimate that when I hit thestage I can see the faces of nearly everyone watching. The front row isliterally sitting on stage and they’re an active part of the story. Wetalk to them and feed off of their energy. We gather to make ourentrances and we’re off.
2:33 p.m. I make my first exit with a smile on my face. The audience is totally with us.
3:06 p.m.—Intermission I pull out my laptop. I can’t resist thetemptation to peek at the latest posts on the reality TV blogs. Namelybecause my name now appears on them.
4:03 p.m. The curtain comes down. I grab a Subway sandwich and eat backstage while enjoying an episode of The Office on my laptop.
5:20 p.m. A crew arrives from Broadway.tv. They’re interested ina New York actor competing in one of the greatest televisioncompetitions of all time. Normally this would have felt odd, but afterrunning through various airports chased by a camera crew, I feel like Ican handle things.
7:10 p.m. My castmates begin to return. The mood is much morerelaxed. Our audiences are generally in a good mood to begin with. Asthe show starts, their good mood increases. Beautiful music, hilariouscomedy, and happy endings have a way of doing that.
8:07 p.m. The curtain rises on performance number two.
9:10 p.m.—Intermission I replay my between-shows interview in my mind, and it brings back memories of my reality TV expeirence.After the life-changing journey of The Amazing Race, it’s nice to come home to The Fantasticks.
10:13 p.m. Lights out on stage. Changing back into my streetclothes, I think about tomorrow’s performances. Sundays bring us great crowds,and between shows I can watch NFL football at my favorite sports bar, Tonic).
10:36 p.m. Back home to Monica. It’s been a busy Saturday. But a damn good one.
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