Actress, singer, recording artist and writer Melissa Errico shares her 5 things to do today
Where would I have my ideal day? Well, I was lucky enough to be in Paris for a spell this spring, doing a series of concerts with my dear friend and soul-sister Isabelle Georges, and my days there were very nearly perfect. So, Herewith, a five-beat sample.
Breakfast! I am normally a good breakfast-maker, at home, making perfect six and a half minute eggs for my three teenage daughters. But here I love to wander from my hotel on the Rue du Bac to the famous corner a few short blocks away on the Blvd. St Germain where the two cafes, the Deux Magots and the Flore, sit side by side, serving tourists like me but also a fair share of locals. I like to order a cheese omelet with wilted asparagus and herb tea, not coffee, thinking of my throat – all singers on tour ever think about or talk about is the condition of their phlegm – and just watch the crowds of tourists and Parisians go easily, and then urgently, by.
I majored in art history in college and looking at art is still my favorite pastime. Even more than visiting the Louvre, I love to walk through the Tuileries gardens just looking at the statuary, discovering things that I hadn’t seen before and wondering at their origins and meanings, which is what I do next. On this morning, for instance, I happened upon a beautiful strange striking nude statue by Maillol of a woman tumbling over, falling, head down, helpless against inexplicable forces and struggling to restore herself, but beautiful despite it. She seems naked to her enemies and overwhelmed by some circumstance beyond her control. As an actress, I identify with her immediately. Seriously, she’s quite extraordinary, and I found out later that she’s called “La Riverie” and that she was sculpted in the late nineteen thirties and that many people think of her as a symbolic image of the torment involved with the coming of the war. This is the kind of art historical stuff I love.
Now it’s time to reach out to my three beautiful daughters, all of whom are back in the States– with the younger twins, Juliette and Diana, away at their specially chosen camps, one dance and one more athletic, and my older daughter Victoria pursuing her studies and her tennis and her driving and getting amped up for college. I write the twins each day and facetime with Victoria. I have two different apps, one is called Campanion, and one is called Bunk1, to keep track of. (The camps use different apps.) On the app, where they send the notes to the girls in the morning, I send them photos of each other! As they are twins. I know they miss each other. And then I go on Amazon and send them weird stuff: Just yesterday I sent a double-dutch jump rope to Juliette. It should have arrived today. I miss them fiercely, and I know that these short bursts can’t make up for the extended time we’re not having – but I also believe that giving them the model of a woman who loves her work in the long run is my gift to them. They know that you can be fulfilled in work as well as family.
Next, I have a long-distance exchange with my inspired but usually impossible-to-find lyric writer. Always on the road lecturing or promoting one of his hopelessly highbrow books, I find him, invariably , in transit, at the airport in Winnipeg flying to Calgary or on a train to San Diego from Los Angeles or else making paella for his family and twelve new people (he was the one who taught me the six minute egg) I never see him, but I find him briefly in one stop or another and ask him if he can help. He always immediately assents — then there is a long frustrating pause while he flies or sautés or whatever –and then comes bouncing back the request, in this case, a new lyric specially designed for Paris, of Rodgers & Hart’s, “Lady Is A Tramp”. It’s my anthem, but often misunderstood, since the point is that because the lady is a free spirit, she’s much more conservative and fastidious than the people around here – she loves the opera and won’t go ‘slumming’ in Harlem…because she is a free spirit her tastes can be quite staid and square. She loves rowing on Central Park lake and is all alone at the end of the night – which is very much me, a roaming gypsy with old-fashioned family values. Anyway, he sends two fabulous new quatrains, one saucy, in the spirit of Lorenz Hart. (Amazingly so, wouldn’t you agree?)
I DON’T WANT BIJOUX — JUST HAND ME A FLOWER
NO PARAPLUIE, PLEASE! IT’S ONLY A SHOWER.
I’LL CLIMB THE STAIRS TO THE TOP OF THE TOWER!
THAT’S WHY THE LADY IS A TRAMP.
I WALK FOR MILES TO DINE IN MONTMARTRE
I GET QUITE GIDDY WHEN I’M READING SARTRE
WHEN HE GETS HARD, THAT’S MY FAVORITE PART.
THAT’S WHY THE LADY IS A TRAMP.
Everything in the end turns on performance, and so I have a blissful, demanding rehearsal with my soul-sister and French counterpart, Isabelle Georges. We were both picked out by Michel Legrand to star in his musical, called “La Passe Muraille” in Paris and “Amour “in New York, and we’ve carried our love for him over into our collaboration with each other, kind of a last Legrandian kiss. Rehearsal today is in her garret in the north of Paris. No air conditioning! None of the usual catered comforts of New York – but thrilling work and the way our voices blend and overlap when we sing the “Chanson des Jumelles” together, with specially added lyrics by Jeremy Sams, the lyricist of “Amour” gives me a thrill from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. This is what it’s all about, the thrill of creation and getting ready to perform. Despite the difficulties and occasional loneliness and too-frequent-separations from my family, this is the moment I live for. This is my life! And God I’m grateful for it.
Melissa Errico brings her brand new concert, “The Life & Loves of a Broadway Baby,” to Crazy Coqs. With her trademark glamour, wit, and smart talk, she shares backstage stories and Broadway dreams, accompanied by jazz, swing, and theatre music from her acclaimed albums and stage roles. Melissa’s career spans from Broadway hits like “My Fair Lady” and “Les Misérables” to TV shows like “Billions” and films like “Frequency.” With numerous accolades and a captivating live performance style, Melissa Errico is a unique and celebrated talent in the entertainment industry.