In 2012, I discovered Last Tango in Halifax (“Last Tango”). I have often watched UK TV shows but I have never seen anything like Last Tango. The show had me by the first episode : the incredible script and the amazing performances by all the actors. This show is a masterpiece! Last Tango opened my eyes to a wonderful band of actors, and actresses, as Anne Reid likes it said. All of the actors are perfect for their roles and the scripts by Sally Wainwright are simply amazing! I became an addict!! I learned all the main actors’ names. I went on the Internet and researched all their past performances and watched everything I could find. I visited fansites and websites about the show and its actors/actresses. I joined online forums and FaceBook pages to order to connect with like minded fans.
I found out via FaceBook that Anne Reid was going to bring her cabaret act to New York City. I do not live in New York but close enough to it that allowed me to drive into the city in order to catch Anne’s show, which was to be staged at Feinstein’s 54Below Supper Club. She was to appear with Stefan Bednarczyk and the show would be centered around music from the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, famous lyrists who wrote Broadway and Hollywood musicals, such as New York New York and Singing in the Rain.
I arrived at the club entrance around 4:45pm even though the flyer said doors would only open at 5:45 pm. I wasn’t sure if Anne had already arrived. I asked the doorman and he checked with the people downstairs who said she was there already and doing her sound checks. I was told they were not letting anyone in until about 5:45pm, so I waited outside. At about 5:15 pm the doorman offered to let me sit at bottom of the stairs that are by the entrance of the club. I accepted and when I went downstairs, I could hear Anne was still doing a sound check. So I waited quietly. In a little while some more people showed up and waited with me at the entrance. We were all fans of Last Tango and Anne Reid. About 5:45pm, all of us were allowed into the club and they seated us at our own tables for dinner. I recognized some of the other guests as members from various FaceBook pages and said hi to them. We all were excited to see Anne perform.
After dinner was finished, it was getting close to show time. I noticed two women being shown to their seats at a booth across from me. I noticed that the back of one woman’s head looked very familiar. I was pretty sure it was Nicola Walker. Once she turned to sit down, I could see that it was Nicola. I became sooo excited! She was there with Phoebe Fox, her co-star/friend from the play, A View from a Bridge. I believe the show and its cast had arrived in NY that week. When Phoebe Fox got up and left the table briefly, I quickly grabbed the opportunity and went over to Nicola’s booth to ask for an autograph and picture after the show. Nicola said, “Lets do it now because I might have to rush out after the show ends.” So she came to my table and talked to me and some other fans a bit.
I was very nervous around Nicola. I mean, she usually appears on my TV screen and now there she is, in person right beside me. I had with me a copy of the Last Tango DVD which I was going to ask Anne Reid to sign. I asked Nicola to sign it but was so nervous that I couldn’t get the DVD sleeve out. Very calmly, Nicola offered to do it for me and went ahead to take the sleeve out and signed it. Like a pro. She’s probably done it a million times before.
I told Nicola she does a great Yorkshire accent. I am such a fool – what do I know about Yorkshire accents! I read someplace that Nicola was the only actor in the main cast who was born in the London area and not from up North. So she had to learn a Yorkshire accent. I didn’t know what her true voice was until I heard her in interviews or on other shows. Nicola just smiled and thanked me for this compliment. Nicola was impressed with us fans who she said knew more about what was coming up with Last Tango then she did.
One of the ladies who was with us was kind enough to take a picture of me with Nicola. Thank you, whoever you are. I am so bad with names and faces, so please forgive me for not being about to recall your name. That is the picture you see.
Then a minute later the show began. Anne Reid and Stefan Bednarczyk came on stage and delivered an amazing show. Anne told stories behind the history of lyrists Comden and Green, and the history of the songs they were singing. The show was full of jokes and stories about the people and the music. Anne Reid can really sing! She gave a wonderful performance, and her’s and Stefan’s voices worked really well together. If you get a chance to see Anne sing, go for it. You won’t be disappointed because she is a wonderful entertainer. After the show was over Anne walked past me to exit. I told her that she was wonderful and bravo for her performance. She said, “thank you”. It was not easy to get to Anne after the show because people were crowding her. She was very popular. I was not quick enough to ask her for an autograph or picture before someone else grabbed her attention.
The owner of the club needed everyone out very quickly because there was another show to prepare for. I tried to get a good picture of Anne before I left but the first picture only got the back of her head. Then later I got a side picture of her talking to her friend, Barbara Cook (shown below). It was a great night. I just wish I had more time with Anne to talk to her. Anne is such a wonderful actress.
Nicola had to leave and she walked right by me. As I was saying goodbye, I told her I would see her again on 6 November as me and my friends are going to her play, A View from the Bridge. She said something along the lines of, “yeah see you there”. I wonder if Nicola will really remember me, that crazy fan from Anne’s show. LOL! Nicola is really nice in person, which I read about from other Close Encounters reports. But to see it for myself was unreal. I just wish I wasn’t so nervous around her.
Many thanks to AnnaT for sharing her meeting with Nicola and photos! To find out whether Nicola did remember Anna when they next meet, head over to Lynn’s Story.
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