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How to embarrass yourself at first sight – part one

It’s a very cold day in New York, february 1996. I’m standing at the artist entrance of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Friends from the USA, Canada and Holland are getting together that weekend to see Jeff Trachta perform his role of Danny Zuko in the musical Grease. I’m waiting there to just say ‘Hi’ to Jeff, but it’s cold and I’m unsure if he’s not already in the building. A man comes out of the artist entrance and smiles at me. Nice guy.

A little while later the same man comes back and sees me still standing there. He smiles again and while I’m getting really cold, I said ‘Hi” and asked him if he knew whether Jeff Trachta was already in. He didn’t, but he went inside to have a look. And sure thing, a few minutes later he stuck his head out again. Jeff was already there and he was rehearsing, so he couldn’t come out. No problem. I thanked him, because now I got to go back to the warm hotel and wait for the others to arrive.

The musical is fantastic. Grease used to be one of my favorite movies growing up and the cast is really really good. Half way through the show Teen Angel makes his entrance. For a second I stop breathing. Isn’t that the friendly man from earlier? At the end of the musical one of the cast members introduces him as a very special guest star: Al Jarreau!

It takes me a short while to figure out who he is, but when I do, I’m ashamed. He’s a way bigger star as all of the people in that theatre together and I asked him if he could check to see if somebody else was already in the building. Way to make a first impression! ­čÖé
Nice as he is, he doesn’t┬áhave a problem with it. I feel the need to apologize, but he laughs about it. He thought it was very funny. And I never forgot his name, when I hear ‘Roof garden’, I think about that cold day in New York.