Meeting Lee Tergesen: TEN

By Anne (

May 2, 2010
More photos from this event at

This was one of the funniest times I have ever had hanging out with fellow Lee fans.

And to think, I almost didn’t go!

Friday, I was feeling kind of down and was worried I would put a damper on the festivities, so I was really pondering whether or not to go. My worries were for naught. As soon as I got about halfway to New York on Saturday, my mood started to lift.

I stayed at Eve’s on Saturday night and we drove into the city together late Sunday morning and went to lunch with Diane, Jessica, Laura and Vicki. Toni met us after lunch and we all went to the theater together. (I went to the 3 p.m. show, but could not make the evening show as I had to be home for my boys that evening.)

Tom Fontana is both a genius and a nut for cooking this thing up. Lee told us that he had written it a couple of years earlier but had not been able to get the funding to stage it. He also told us that they had their first read-through on Saturday!

The plot of this crazy play goes something like this:

Dean, Lee and Chris (playing themselves) are discussing their favorite actors. Lee and Dean agree Brando is the best but Chris says no and starts dissing Brando's movies, including "The Godfather," saying that most of the scenes in it are implausible, especially the scene where the mobsters put a horse's head in movie mogul's bed. Chris insists that there's no way this could be done.

Dean is pissed and starts plotting revenge. He gets Lee and Terry Kinney in on it. Terry agrees to direct and film the revenge movie, and we later found out that Terry was in fact recording the entire time. I hope they release these sometime. I would surely buy a copy.

The plot revenge is this: They will get a horse’s head and put it in Chris’ bed without his knowing. Lee is reluctant to go along. He points out that he and Chris are best friends and he wouldn’t want to do that to him, etc. Then Dean utters a line that he repeats several times throughout: "Lee, you’re really sweet. Sweet and naïve." And Lee just looks up at him so clueless and adorable. Then Dean points out that Chris has been dating Lee’s recent ex-squeeze, Julianna Margulies (in the "universe" of the play).

Julianna was supposed to be in the cast, but when the date was changed she couldn’t do it. Guess who filled in? Tom Fontana! Which made it all the funnier. Tom was apparently supposed to narrate, so he got Eamonn Walker to fill in and he was HILARIOUS. He kept making this grand gestures and using his voice (and that gorgeous British accent) to make things sound more dramatic than they actually were. Too, too funny.

Terry meanwhile kept uttering these hilarious lines, none of which I remember now, but whenever he uttered one, he would remark, "I didn’t write that." Or he would make a writing gesture and shake his head. Too cute!

So back to the plot - Lee is shocked and hurt that Chris could do this to him – break the unspoken code that guys don’t date their best friend’s exes. So he agrees to help out.

Dean and Lee and Terry try to figure out where to get a horse’s head.

First, he tries a prop master, to no avail. Then, he goes to a toy store, but there are no stuffed horses. Kristin Rohdes (Claire Howell on "Oz") makes an appearance as the toy store clerk, and there was an inside joke where she cajoles Dean into a quickie in the bathroom. We all got a kick out of that.

Finally, Dean recalls seeing a horse’s head on the wall of Zeljko Ivanek’s house, so he heads over. (Zeljko played the governor on "Oz.") When he arrives, the horse head is gone; Zeljko now has a moose head on his wall. What happened to the horse, Dean asks. That was last month, Zeljko replies. He lets Dean take the moose head if he promises to bring it back in pristine condition. He even has a name for it: Mortimer. He gives Mortimer a kiss good-bye, which elicits "awwwws" from the audience.

Dean then heads off to make fake blood and Lee is in charge of taking the antlers off the moose.

Meanwhile, Lee runs into Chris again and asks him about Julianna. Chris denies that he’s dating her, stating that he would "never date my best friend’s ex," and Lee is touched. "Best friend?" he asks, all sweet-faced and gullible. Soon after, Dean reiterates the line about Lee being sweet and naïve.

Now they need a way to get in, so Lee asks Chris to give him a key. Chris says no. Lee reminds him about the "best friends" thing, but Chris still says no. So Lee tries another move. He tells Chris he wants to see his acting reel so he can get some pointers. So Chris invites him, Dean and Terry up to watch. Chris is hysterically arrogant and pompous about his acting reel and talent. He really hams it up to the delight of the audience.

While they are in the apartment, it is Lee’s task to unlatch the window near the fire escape. Later that night, when they return and are lurking outside the building, they are confronted by a nosy neighbor (Catherine Wolf, who played Nurse Carol Grace on "Oz"). Terry and Lee concoct an elaborate story about being with Homeland Security and she buys into the cat-and-mouse game and leaves them alone.

They head up the fire escape and Lee realizes he forgot to unlatch the window. Luckily, Terry took care of it. They sneak through the apartment and open Chris’ bedroom door to be shocked by the sight of Chris snuggling with Julianna Margulies (aka Tom Fontana). The sight of Tom and Chris cuddling brings hysterical laughter. Lee, of course, is shocked, shocked, shocked to discover Chris not only betrayed him, but lied to him. He starts calling Chris names ("Charlatan!") and cursing him and now he’s in for full-on revenge, but Dean stops him. They can’t risk placing the horse's head (or rather, antler-less moose head) with Julianna there. They have to wait for another night. And it’s Lee’s job to make sure she doesn’t spend the next night at Meloni’s.

The following day, Lee asks Julianna out on a date but she has to meet with somebody about an upcoming project. He asks for the following day and several more but she is always busy with something related to work. He is crestfallen, but knows that at least she won’t be at Chris’ that evening.

So the guys head back to Chris’ house for a second attempt. When they get up to the apartment, Dean realizes he has forgotten the blood so he goes into the kitchen to improvise -- using Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce. "It's for charity!" Dean says, miming that he is shaking the contents exuberantly over the moose's head.

Then they all head to Chris’ room. He’s laying across two stools, representing being in bed. He's all tangled up in the sheets, so they need to find a way to get him untangled. Dean tells Lee to blow on Chris. Lee gives him a wildly puzzled look but he complies. Chris stirs a little and leans toward Lee’s blowing, as if he’s enjoying it. Too funny. Finally, he moves and the sheets are free, but surprise, Chris is naked (not really, but we wish) and he starts fondling himself. They all look away, but then Chris starts moaning “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and I swear the audience was convulsing with laughter. Lee looks stunned. Tom really knows what his fans want, eh?

So they put the moose/horse head in his bed, dump the new tomato sauce/blood and run for the fire escape.

Just as they seem like they're going to get away, a cop approaches, played by Mike Doyle (Adam Guenzel on "Oz"). Lee has to play "Jaeger drunk" so the cop doesn't become suspicious about their breaking-and-entering. Show tunes ensue! Adam belts out something from "My Fair Lady." He has a great voice!

Finally, with the cop gone, Terry realizes that they need to go back so they can film the “dénouement” and finish the film. So they head back up just as Chris is waking and, of course, replays the scene from the Godfather, screaming louder and louder. More and more laughter from the audience.

To wrap it up, Terry announces that the film is going to released in theaters nationwide. We wish!

After the play was over, the cast members came back out and audience members immediately swarmed the stage. I was in the first row, so I didn’t have to move far. Lee saw me and gave me a yummy hug. Then he was quickly surrounded by fans wanting to take pics with him. Chris joined him and there were flashes everywhere. Lee and Chris invited the ladies to pose for pictures between them. Can you say heaven?

I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the other cast members. Eve and I were sort of blocked in by the swarming crowds. After a half hour, a stagehand came and asked people to leave. You can imagine how effective that was. Not. He kept asking but everyone was ignoring him, even Lee and Chris. Finally, Chris got up to leave and then Lee broke away and came over to me and asked if I had to get back on the road right away. I told him I could stay for a bit. We wandered into the side hallway and people were passing by and asking for autographs, etc.

He seemed uncertain whether he needed to hang around between shows, so I said we’d wait out front and he could let us know. This gave me a chance to chat with Merrily and some other LJers that I had not met before. It’s always nice to meet fans of Lee! I love sharing the love.

Lee came up a few minutes later. He was wearing the same thing he wore in the play – jeans, black T-shirt and a blue long-sleeved collared shirt that was unbuttoned. It was pretty hot outside but he seemed comfortable. He asked someone who worked in the theater where there was a restaurant/bar close by. Then he started tearing down 59th Street as speedy as usual. His harem of about 20 ladies followed him down the street. One gentleman and his family also accompanied us.

We wound up at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South and Lee surprised the host by asking her to seat 21 people. While she scampered off to accommodate us, we stood in the lobby/waiting area and chatted. I was standing near Lee and he put his arm around me. *happy sigh* Then we sat down and Diane remembered she wanted to call Erin in Australia. It was early Monday morning in Australia, but she didn’t mind getting woken up for Lee. She had been to LeeFest 2008 but couldn’t make the lengthy trip this time.

So Lee got on the phone with Erin and serenaded her. Awwww. He chatted with her for a bit and then they said good-bye. The hostess came and got us and we went into the back room where a large table had been set up for us. The gentleman fan who had come with his family, sat at a separate table and Lee headed over to chat with them for a little while. Then he came back to his harem and I was just so happy, as always, to be near him and spend time with people who appreciate him like I do.

Lee charmed everyone in the room and took time to move around the talk with everyone, which is one of those things I love about him. He even talked to another fan -- this time in England! -- on someone’s cellphone. What a guy.

I really don’t remember any of the specific conversations and I didn’t take notes this time. I do remember Jessica asked me if this was my 10th time meeting Lee. I had to stop for a second. I took out a piece of paper and wrote all the other meetings down in order by date. She was right. I showed her the list and she remarked, "You remember the dates?!" Well, yeah. That's normal, right? ;) So I mention to Lee that this is the 10th time I have come to see him. (And Jessica started to show him the list I wrote. Gak! I don't really want him to know I remember every date by heart. I want him to think I'm relatively normal. LOL.) Then I amended it by saying that one time, he came to DC. And he said, "That was the first time, right?" Awwww. So I said, "It's the first one you would remember. The actual first one was the Season One Oz DVD signing. You don't remember that." I am such a geek.

It was getting late and I knew Lee would have to leave soon and I hadn’t had a pic with him yet. So Eve decided we needed to rectify that. So I went to the end of the table where he was sitting and told him about this glaring oversight. He pushed his chair back, grabbed me around the waist and proceeded to put me down onto his lap. I couldn’t have been more surprised. I thought I was going to fall over. Luckily, I grabbed the back of the chair before I landed on him. Eve took the picture. I gave him a hug because I knew he was leaving soon, but as always more people wanted pictures and he just can’t say no to anyone, which I lurve about him.

I waited outside the restaurant with Eve and I got to say goodbye again and got another big hug when he came out. He just makes me so damn happy.

He didn’t have a lot of time between shows so I was very touched by him taking time to spend time with all of us.

All the pictures I took are here, in my Photobucket account.


Main Page
Meeting Lee

Meeting One
March 19, 2002

Meeting Two
May 19, 2002

Meeting Three
October 7, 2002

Meeting Four
December 7, 2002

Meeting Five
January 28, 2003

Meeting Six
August 31, 2003

Meeting Seven
November 13, 2004

Meeting Eight
January 7, 2005

Meeting Nine
May 31, 2008

Meeting Ten
May 2, 2010

Meeting 11
Dec. 4, 2010

Meeting 12
Nov. 23, 2011

Meeting 13
June 9, 2012

Meeting 14
Aug. 17, 2013

Meeting 15
June 14, 2015

Meeting 16
October 15, 2017

Meeting 17
June 8, 2019