Meeting Lee Tergesen: ELEVEN

By Anne (amytych@yahoo.com)

More photos from this event at LeeTergesen.com

Dec. 4, 2010

This time the gathering was in Boston, and I met Leslie and Merrily at the hotel on Saturday afternoon. I was in a pretty giddy/giggling mood all day, which often happens when I go to see Lee. For some reason, they took it upon themselves to share this information with Lee when we were hanging out at the restaurant later on. Uh huh.

It was pretty cold so we took a cab even though the theater wasn’t that far. When we arrived, Danielle, maverick4oz, catheights and Mr. Heights were already there chatting. I greeted them all quite enthusiastically. I hadn’t seen Mav since 2004 and for Danielle, it was even longer. Later, katej joined us and introductions were made all around before we went to our seats.

"Vengeance is the Lord’s" by Bob Glaudini is the story of a small-time crime family. When the play opens up, it’s Thanksgiving and the mother is planning to visit her daughter’s killer in prison to try to forgive him. Dad (Larry Pine), who divorced Mom years ago but still comes to holiday gatherings, is violently opposed to her plans and does a lot of yelling. Lee plays the eldest son, Woody, and he is Dad’s right-hand man in the car-stealing business. There is also a sister, Roanne, and a younger brother, Donny, who is opposed to his family’s crime dealings, but doesn’t really do anything about it other than whine.

During one scene, it is revealed that one of the kids who works for them had to be turned in for stealing a car because it belonged to the alderman’s daughter (although the kid taking the fall didn't steal that particular car). The boy gets shot when he’s arrested and the boy’s father comes to see the family. This causes no end of problems for the family and Donny keeps trying to make Dad and Woody (Lee) feel guilty about what they’ve done.

Lee does a great job in his role as family breadwinner and protector. He has some great scenes where he argues with Donny, which later turns into a physical fight. The way Lee plays him, Woody is smart, cunning, loyal to the family, but practical and cold when it’s necessary. Larry Pine also did a good job as Dad, and Katie Kreisler, who played Roanne, was also good. She was believable as the sister.

The set was amazing. It looked like a real house with several rooms and it rotated around between scenes. Lee told us that it made him dizzy at first, but he got used to it.

After the show, we all went to the lobby to find a place to wait for Lee. During the curtain call, he was looking all over the audience for us. It was sooooo cute. Anyway, we waited in the lobby, near the stairs to the bathroom. I was watching all possible exits and then he came in from the outside through the front door with Larry Pine. I practically flew across the room to greet him with a hug. Leslie teased me, saying that it was like something out of a romance movie where the two lovers come together at the end. LOL.

Then he greeted everyone (hagiologic, her partner Amos and her pal Antonia had joined us) and we followed him outside. I always feel like he’s the Pied Piper of Hamelin when we see him because he always has this purposeful stride when he’s bringing us to a restaurant. We follow behind like the children being led to slaughter, only we’re being led to fun instead.

When we got outside, he pointed out that there’s a Pizzeria Uno next to the theater. He said, “Let’s go to Uno to see what they can do-no,” which he was very proud of and joked that he had been practicing that one all day. At the restaurant, Lee asked for a table for 12. As I followed Lee and the hostess, I ran into a couple who were watching this parade with avid interest. The woman caught my eye and asked, “Do you go out with him all the time?” Or something like that. I explained that whenever Lee did a play, we came to see him and he blessed us with his company. She was pretty impressed. I suggested that she stop by and say hi because Lee is way cool. She said she would. Later, she and her partner had a lovely visit with Lee.

When we got to the room, Lee didn’t like the set up. There was a row of four tables with a sort of brick beam partially separating the first two from the second two. He made a few adjustments and we were good to go.

Lee told me that he e-mailed me earlier that day to see if I was still coming up. When I didn’t respond (yes, I felt GUILTY, but I didn't have my laptop and I can't get e-mail on my phone), he went to my Facebook page to see if I mentioned anything on it. Then he found a comment from Leslie about seeing Al Pacino on Broadway. She wrote, “I just saw your man on Broadway tonight. No, not that man. The other one. No, not that one, either. The OTHER one. Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice! It was intense.” Lee quoted her.

“There were like FOUR guys!” he said dramatically to Leslie. Then he added, “It made me feel cheap. (pause) Not that I mind feeling cheap.” When Leslie started to explain about all these other men she was referring to by saying, “I hate to tell you this, Lee, but Anne has other loves in her life,” Lee held his hand up dramatically. “I don’t want to know,” he said. What a character.

I told him Danielle had come to the show but had to run out to catch the bus home. He commented that it has been a long time since he’s seen her. I then said I could probably tell him the date. He looked at Mav and dryly remarked, “She’s probably got it on a list.” Oh my God. He knows me far too well. (Turns I had the date wrong and Mav remembered it better than me.)

Someone asked him if he’d ever been to Boston before and he said yes, twice. Once when he was 20 but he couldn’t remember why he’d come the second time. Mav said it must have been some trip if he couldn’t remember it. Then she suggested that it probably had been for a romantic rendezvous with me. And Lee joined right in, agreeing that we’d chosen Boston because it wasn’t the obvious choice. Well, of course, I blushed, which Mav felt she needed to point out. Then she said, “My work here is done.” Cheeky monkey.

Then Mav said, “Anne and I were talking about your headshot and we think you need a new one.” Well that started a thing that just ran through the whole evening. It was unbelievably funny. He remarked that the current headshot is good and he looks hot in it. I insisted he looked hotter now, but he didn’t seem to believe me. A couple of folks said it didn’t really look like he does now. He remarked that it was only 11 or 12 years old and that he was basically too lazy to get new ones. Then he offered to pose for a new headshot for Mav. She captured the image on the right, while I got the profile view:

He noted that they had cropped the headshot for the program and most of his forehead was gone and all the hair on top of his head. Then he remarked that his hair was getting too long and he needed to get it cut. This led to someone (Mav?) commenting that the reason Danielle left early was because she didn’t like his hair. He pretended to be Danielle -- "If his hair isn’t better by the second half, I’m out of here" -- or something to that effect.

I told him I wanted to call Nic, who hasn’t been to a gathering in awhile but wanted to come. I asked if he would talk to her. He sighed exaggeratedly and remarked that he was just a puppet on a string for all us and he was just there for our entertainment. Um yeah, what’s your point? When I called Nic, he said, “There's a puppet here who wants to dance for you!” and flailed around like a puppet. While he was talking to Nic, a call came in from Danielle and he said, “Oh, it's Danielle. Too bad!”

At some point, someone asked him about the food in the play -- was it real and did he eat it. They had to “eat” Thanksgiving dinner and Easter dinner and he had to drink several “beers.” He said yes, it was real but it was cold. He said the ham tasted like sponge. And he laughed at the “did you really eat it?” question. “How do you fake that?” he asked.

He said that he tried to eat a lot of food at the beginning of the scene then stop eating after his character's father started throwing a fit about something and imitated shoveling it in. Someone commented that it was an acting choice. “Yes, a choice! I didn't know the name for it before, but it's a choice!”

When he was eating the turkey during the play, one of the characters commented that he “eats like he’s still in prison,” which prompted huge grins from our group. I looked at Mav and Cat and it was all we could do not to laugh out loud. He really DID eat like he did on Oz. He said the beer was colored water and it was not pleasant. Some nights, the color was inconsistent and looked lighter than beer usually did. He said he tried drinking non-alcoholic beer for awhile but it made him gassy. Then he pretended what it would be like if he was saying his lines in between burps.

He said doing plays was exhausting and he didn’t know how anyone could do long stretches of theater like they do on Broadway. He said musicals had to be even worse because you have to be “up & happy” every day, even if you're doing it for a year. Then he imitated a fake happy face. Leslie asked him if actors had a trick that helped do that. He said, “I don’t know.”

Someone asked him about the audience for the play and he said they had been pretty good. He talked about this one guy who came in to see the show recently who had a very dry, monotone laugh, which he imitated. He said the guy would laugh at almost everything, even stuff that wasn’t meant to be funny. He said it got to be annoying after awhile. I can’t really describe how funny it was when Lee was imitating this guy’s laugh, but he had all of us going. Lee joked that the guy was thinking, “I'm at a comedy. I'll laugh at everything and blend in!”

Lee also told us a really cool story about how John Travolta recently became of fan of Oz and invited Chris Meloni and Lee to his house in Florida. He said he got a couple of calls from John’s assistant and at first he thought it was a joke that Dean Winters set up because they had made a joke about John Travolta in "Godfather IV." But turned out to be the real thing. So Leslie remarked, “That’s weird. Did he proposition you?” Please, Leslie, don’t hold back. So Lee replies, “Only as much as you have.” Leslie came right back with, “So, yes.” This conversation went on for awhile and Leslie once again commented that it was weird and then Lee made a comment (really loud) that “I sucked his cock” literally just as the waitress walked behind him. She gave him a look and said, “I'll just go over here now,” and the whole table howled.

Turns out the waitress, Marnie, was an "Oz" fan and she said when we arrived, her supervisor asked her if she wanted a table for 12, and she thought she was being punished. But then she saw Lee and she said she would be happy to take that table. She didn’t let on all night that she was a fan until we were getting ready to leave. When she first took our order, she said, "Did you guys come from the play next door?" Lee said yes and started to go on about how good the play was that that there was a very good actor in it she should see. Marnie was a very cool lady, that one. Then she posed for a pic with Lee. At one point when she asked Lee's section of the table if they needed anything, Lee said, “Do you need anything?” She responded, “a nap,” and Lee said, “Curl up right over there. If anyone needs anything, I'll get it.”

Leslie and Lee had a little snarkfest going all night long. Leslie took over in Danielle’s role in that regard. Later, while Lee was telling a story about "Army Wives," Leslie accidentally knocked over the pepper shaker. He stopped his story and said, “Hey, if you’re bored, you don’t need to knock things over.” Then a couple of minutes later, Leslie knocked her glass over. Lee admonished her, “Leslie, use your words.” Leslie came right back with, “You’re boring me.” Oh snap. (Lee will be back in "Army Wives" this next season and said he films the first episode soon after the play ends.)

Also, during the snarkfest with Leslie over the Travolta, Lee insisted that Beecher and Keller were the heart of the show, so it makes sense that Travolta would want to hang out just with him and Chris. Then he said, “If you were an 'Oz' fan, who would you rather hang with? Adebisi? Mums??” Leslie said, “I’m not hanging out with Adebisi right now, am I?” Lee said, “The Defense rests.” Hee hee!

Then he started quoting Poet’s first poem on the first episode and I was amazed he remembered it. He quoted the part where Poet said, “I said kill and he said chill,” complete with hand gestures and the same inflection Poet used. It was so funny. I remarked that it wouldn’t be surprising if one of us could quote it because we watch Oz episodes a lot, but I was surprised that he could. Then he told us that he had watched some episodes with his girlfriend, Yuko, because she hadn’t seen them all yet. (WHAT?!) But he said that was one of the ones he watched recently so it was fresh in his mind. He said the first time Yuko started watching "Oz," her reaction was WTF? He said he thinks she understands most of it now. At the May gathering, Leslie said that Yuko mentioned she could have used a translator.

At some point, he was talking about doing "Castle" and he was talking about his character’s devotion to the foster brother, who had the glandular problem that caused him to sweat a lot. He said that they wanted him to play the sweaty guy but he refused. “I have boundaries. I’ll do anal sex but I won’t sweat.”

Merrily looked at him and cheekily said, “Can you stop for a second? I need to turn my tape over.” Everyone got a kick out of that. Then he joked about this “tape” of him talking about anal sex would be all over the internet tomorrow. If only.

The ladies teased me about my detailed write-ups. “And then he moved his left eyebrow,” Leslie mocked. Hmph. I just want to help the reader feel as if they were there. Is there something wrong with that?

As always, the night ended too soon and Lee surprised us by paying the full check. That’s the second time he’d done that. What a sweetie. I just adore the man. How great is it that after being a fan for 10 years and meeting him 11 times, I still get giddy over him? He’s still my No. 1 and there’s no one else who makes me feel this way consistently. He’s still my happy place and I think he always will be.


 

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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