A true New Yorker heads to Houston.
by Marene Gustin
Photo by Nick Granito
Oh, to dream the impossible dream. Get ready, because Theatre Under the Stars is presenting Man of La Mancha in all its glory: great story, famous songs, and some wonderful actors.
In particular, you might want to keep an eye out for the cameo role of The Housekeeper, played in this version by veteran New York actress, cabaret singer, and part-time holistic nutritional coach Eadie Scott.
Scott’s regional credits include Fiddler on the Roof (with 13 Barrymore nominations) and Evita at the Walnut Street Theatre, The Pirates of Penzance at Pittsburgh Public Theater, and A Christmas Carol and My Fair Lady at the Geva Theater. Her New York credits include Jonestown, the Musical for the Fringe Festival, Voice of the City at the York Theater, numerous workshops, and several featured appearances at Town Hall as a solo vocalist.
Scott has also received awards for her solo cabaret acts.
But this will be her first performance in Man of La Mancha, and her first trip to Houston. “I’m really excited about both,” Scott says. “I love to dine out, and I understand you have a lot of culture there. I just want to be a tourist and soak up the local color.”
Scott knew from an early age that she wanted to be in musical theater. “I remember seeing a movie of Porgy and Bess as a child, and I started singing ‘Summertime’ in the bathtub that night!” Likely she saw the ’59 version with Sydney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, but whichever one it was, she was hooked.
After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater, she returned to New York City and has been based there ever since.
But while she always knew what her career would be, she didn’t always know whom she wanted to be with. “I was busy going to auditions, and I dated a few men, but I didn’t go out much,” she says.
Then she met Collette Black at The Duplex, Greenwich Village’s legendary cabaret and piano bar. “I was a singing bartender and she was the booker,” says Scott. “It was 1991. And I just loved her. I was just a person who fell in love with another person.”
At the time, the twenty-two-year-old Scott was sharing an apartment with her sister Amy. She says Amy was fine with Black moving in. But her parents were typical Jewish New Yorkers “right out of a Neil Simon play.”
She came out to them over the phone. “I called my mother, and I said ‘Mommie, I need to tell you something. Remember Collette? I brought her to Passover last year. Well, she’s moving in with Amy and me,’ and she asks why, and I say it’s because she’s my girlfriend. And Mom sighs and asks if Amy is gay, too!”
Fast forward twenty-two years and the couple is still together, sharing a Manhattan apartment and both active in the theater world. Black just won a broadwayworld.com cabaret award for best director, and she’s directed Scott in several projects including her starring turn in Wished on the Moon: A Tribute to Dorothy Parker in 2009. “I love working with her,” Scott says. “She knows all my tricks, and she’ll call me on them.”
And today her family is just fine with the relationship, with her father telling her that she and Black are the “normal” couple among the kids, hosting family events and cooking Thanksgiving Day feasts.
So, after more than two decades, is there a legal marriage in store? “We’re domestic partners,” Scott says over the phone from their New York City apartment. “When the law changed, we started talking about it, but . . . I don’t know why we haven’t done it yet.”
To which Black yells in the background, “I don’t know what to wear!”
Scott laughs uproariously.
Clearly, this is a happy theater couple with a long past and a bright future.
What: Man of La Mancha
When: February 26–March 10
Where: The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby
Marene Gustin also writes about El Tiempo Cantina restaurants and the Dianas in this issue of OutSmart magazine.