The woman, the myth, the legend, Broadway Barbara, who hails from the heights of (off-) Broadway and (near-) Hollywood joins us On The Couch this week. As her producers remind us: “she is a tireless artist, having logged more audition time without ever booking a lead role than any other performer in Broadway history”. Read more about Barbara’s most embarrassing moment, the pre-show meals which keep her agile and performance ready, and the time she beat Gwen Verdon in a leg wrestling match.
What do you consider to be your best asset?
It’s a five-way tie between my singing, my dancing, my tireless work ethic, my attention to detail, my math abilities, my attention to detail, and my humility.
What was your proudest moment?
Probably the time I beat Gwen Verdon in a leg-wrestling match backstage at the St. James Theatre. Or when I became a mother. It’s a toss-up.
What is your favorite drink?
It’s called “The Blatant Plug,” and is my variation on a gin rickey. The recipe can be found in my new book on mixology and party planning, Broadway Barbara’s Nips, Sips & Tips, which is currently seeking a motivated publisher with vision.
What is your favorite food?
As a dancer, I must maintain a slim figure. So I opt for something light before a show – nothing more than a double carnitas burrito and a few fistfuls of onion rings. And if it’s a matinee, I’ll save the strawberry milkshake to have backstage, just before encores.
What is your favorite condiment?
This is far too personal of a question. Pass.
What is your current obsession?
I love Glendyn’s Ketchonnaise – which is a blend of ketchup and Dijonnaise. I slather that stuff on absolutely everything. I guess you could say it’s my favorite condiment.
If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?
I don’t believe people should be ashamed of their vices, just as I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Or the concept of “guilt” in general. But to carve out a little more “me time,” I would consider shutting down my underground ferret fighting ring, as requested by several law enforcement agencies.
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
I’d like to be the first person with an EGOPLGD – that’s an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, People’s Choice Award, Latin Grammy, and Duane Reade FlexRewards Card. And I’m well on my way!
What is the one thing you waste too much money on?
Lotto scratchers. What can I say? I’m a dreamer and I like to keep my fingernails busy.
What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?
Commuting to auditions, which is why I’ve developed a habit of camping out overnight at casting offices to save time. That way, when the intern flicks on the lights at 8am, I’m already there and washing up in the office sink.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
What’s the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
My father’s eye for picking the ponies.
What’s the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
A slight inclination toward losing my savings on horse-racing.
What in the world most thrills you?
The applause, alarmed shouts, and concerned murmurs of a satisfied audience.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
The idea that every creative person must become a BRAND, and that every brand must be exhaustively MARKETED. I speak on this topic on my social media accounts (@BroadwayBarbaraOfficial) and my website (broadwaybarbara.com) – where you can also purchase tickets to my live show AND OFFICIAL BROADWAY BARBARA MERCH!
What was the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced on the job?
I make it a point never to get embarrassed. I once got booted from Joel Grey’s New Year’s Eve bash for pocketing one too many canapés and not being on the official guest list. Before I was escorted out, I made a pit stop and got some TP stuck to the bottom of my Capezios. I unfurled an entire roll of Joel’s double-ply out the penthouse door, into the elevator, and down through Times Square before I realized it. Embarrassing? Of course not. It gave me a fool-proof breadcrumb trail back to J-Grey’s pad, where I snuck back in, and lifted two bottles of Dom and an entire sleeve of Club crackers.
What is your favorite place in the world?
The stage. Any stage. In a pinch, I’ll barge into a Chuck E. Cheese, shove aside the animatronic singing animals, and belt out a few numbers. Anything to get some facetime with an adoring public, even if it’s the birthday party for a confused eight-year-old.
What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?
Emotional, moral, and physical flexibility.
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
Dogs are tolerant, attentive, and can sit quietly for hours if properly trained – the perfect audience. So I skew toward the canines. But don’t tell that to my four rescue bobcats: Jonathan, Thomas, Taylor, and Other Cat – who are as jealous and bitey as they are unlicensed.
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
I shot out of bed this morning, already kicking and raring to go – which is the benefit of having both a positive attitude and restless leg syndrome. Every new day is the best day of my life.
What is your personal motto?
“Always let ‘em see you sweat.”