Late With Lance
by Anthony Chase
Interview with Peter Michael Marino
Actor/writer Peter Michael Marino has a talent to invent and then reinvent himself. When his musical stage version of Desperately Seeking Susan flopped on London’s West End, he picked himself up and recounted the whole sad saga in a one man show, Desperately Seeking the Exit, which toured the world for over two years.
That spirit of optimism and reinvention imbues Marino’s new show, Late with Lance! in which he portrays Lance, a delusional cruise ship entertainer, celebrity stalker, and pathological musical theater fanatic who has two gay dads and his own talk show. In this 60-minute show business spoof, “Lance” has invited Liza Minnelli, Hugh Jackman, and Miami Sound Machine to appear on his show and is waiting for them to arrive. But will they?
Marino brings the act to Buffalo next week Friday, December 4 at 8pm in the Flexible Theater of the Donald Savage Theater Building at Buffalo State College; and Sunday, December 6 at 7pm at Allen Street Hardware, 245 Allen Street. It’s “Pay-what-you-can. No reservations.”
This light hearted romp has been well received in Orlando and Hollywood, as well as at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; followed by performances in London and an open-ended run at NYC’s Triple Crown Underground.
Expect original song parodies, The Sound of Music performed in five minutes, and an homage to the movie Fame, as well as many more surprises. Marino has a penchant for the ridiculous, and as he likes to say, “Lance has suffered for his art. Now it’s your turn!”
An alumnus of Buffalo State, Marino directed Character Witness at the college and A Christmas Twist at Buffalo’s Alt Theatre. He is also the creator and star of earlier cabaret shows, All About Me! and More About Me!, which played the cabaret circuit in the mid-90s, earning him a Backstage Bistro Award for Outstanding Achievement, and a number of MAC Award nominations.
When I reach Marino by telephone at his home near Madison Square Garden in New York City, his voice is tired.
“I just finished SOLOCOM (a festival of solo comedy performances), which I co-produce,” he says, “so I’ve been using my voice in some unusual ways. But don’t worry. I perk up for interviews!”
Indeed, Marino enjoys talking about himself and his irrepressible creations. And there is no such thing as “down time” in his life. He is always performing, producing, and developing new projects.
“I like doing little ‘pop up’ shows,” he says, meaning performances when opportunities “pop up.” Thus his great comfort in doing one show at Buffalo State and then popping up two days later at Hardware. (One venue has the advantage of being on campus; the other has the advantage of alcohol).
“At these performances I can develop the piece further,” he explains. “I see how it works as a road show. Then I do it in New York City. I’m always trying new things and making changes. For example, I just realized that the show I’ll be doing in Buffalo is the version I did in Edinburgh with Liza and Hugh Jackman as the guests. In my next version, Lance is waiting for Cher and Andrew Lloyd Webber!”
In case you were wondering, the real Liza, Hugh, Cher, and Sir Andrew have never made a surprise appearance at one of Marino’s performances.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he notes dryly.
Without giving too much away, after “Lance” entertains his audience, he returns to the interview format.
“I’ve watched a lot of talk shows,” says Marino. “Merv Griffin and my favorite, Dick Cavett, who once said, the secret of his success was that he didn’t interview celebrities, he engaged them in conversation. I love that. And I wondered, what would it be like to interview just ordinary people. Artists or show business personalities always go onto a talk shows with an agenda, a book to sell, or a movie to promote. What if Dick Cavett just talked to some ordinary guy?”
“So I had created the character of Lance years ago,” says Marino. “He is a failed chorus boy with two gay dads. He comes from a show business family—his parents were ice skaters and he’s been in several editions of the Ice Capades. And nothing ever goes quite right for Lance, but he never loses his optimism or his enthusiasm.”
Like many a commedia performer, Marino talks about Lance as if he were an entirely separate person. In fact, he reveals, “After each show, I honestly do not remember what Lance has said!”
For more information about Peter Michael Marino, see www.petermmarino.com.blog comments powered by Disqus
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