There’s a reason Broadway’s John Treacy Egan will be stepping up to the mic on Monday night at Stepinac High School to host the 2014 Metropolitan High School Theater Awards.
“I had such a good time last year,” he says. “I loved the enthusiasm of the audience and some of the performances just blew me away. And the productions….I don’t know. Everything’s so amped up since I was that age.”
It has been a wild spring for Egan, who last month had the plummiest of plum roles in a star-packed one-night-only concert performance of “Guys and Dolls.”
He played Nicely-Nicely Johnson, who has the showstopper “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,” in a production that starred Nathan Lane, Patrick Wilson, Sierra Boggess, Megan Mullally, Judy Kaye and Len Cariou. Or, as Egan deadpans, “a bunch of nobodies.”
Directed by Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray,” “The Coast of Utopia”) with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Rob Fisher, the concert was a fund-raiser for Carnegie Hall’s music program.
“It was insane. So exciting. And I got to sing the big tune,” he says.
What was it like to be up there and to be singing the big tune and playing to Nathan Lane and Patrick Wilson and Len Cariou?
The second rehearsal, Jack did a read-through/sing-through. And everybody was so nervous. It was like your audition. You’re sitting around the table and now you’re gonna belt out your tune and read all your lines. We were supposed to come first day off-book, which I was, but of course at that read-through I was like ‘I’m lookin’ at the book. I’m not gonna be the one who slows this down.’
That was the worst day. It was so many nerves. But I have to say every day after that was so much fun. And even Carnegie Hall. I don’t think I was nervous for Carnegie Hall because once you’ve sang in the middle of Giants Stadium (which he has), everything else is a walk in the park.”
Nicely-Nicely almost wasn’t his.
Before coming to him, producers wanted to get the biggest stars they could.
They asked Bruno Mars, who declined.
Then Usher, who was busy, Egan later learned.
“Then Jack O’Brien said ‘For god’s sake! Just call John Egan, already.'”
“I’m glad he was busy.”
And Egan will be busy Monday, keeping the Metros trains running on time.
Be sure to tune in at www.lohud.com from 6 to 7 p.m. June 2 when we’ll have red-carpet pre-show interviews. And again at 7:30 p.m. to see Egan spin his magic.
I’m sure he’ll do nicely.
(Photo by Matthew Brown/The Journal News: John Treacy Egan, left, chats with yours truly before the 2013 Metro Awards in Peekskill.)