A new show called Celebrity Autobiography slipped into town this week playing in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center. Actually it’s not so new as Celebrity Autobiography has been running in New York for three years of sold-out performances. The show features a rotating cast of celebrities reading celebrity autobiographies on stage. Not your typical evening of theater but an entertaining romp nonetheless, or so says Mario Cantone, one of the celebrity actors appearing in Celebrity Autobiography during it’s first week run at the Arsht. “I’ve been doing the show in New York off and on when my schedule permits,” says the actor/comedian known for his role in Sex and the City and hilarious guest appearances on shows like The View.
Celebrity Autobiography is filled with vignettes inspired and taken straight from the pages of celebrity tell-alls and onstage antics include (shows vary nightly) “the he-said, she-said accounts of Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson... how Tiger Woods strokes his putter... Mr. T's acting tips…the Britney Spears Diary ... Justin Bieber's backstage confessions... the re-enactment of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's courtship, to the most famous love triangle in Hollywood history – Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.”
“The creators of the show do a great job choosing the material,” says Mario. There’s not a lot of rehearsing for this show. “We just read straight from the books and hopefully all is funny.” The point is to make fun of the celebrities and the actors use the celebrities’ own words as ammunition. From his experience in this show, Mario has learned that all actors should not write autobiographies as is makes them seem foolish-especially when read out lot by the actors in Celebrity Autobiography. “If you’re not of the caliber of an actor like Al Pacing then don’t write an autobiography.” Mario says the show has taught him one lesson. “Not to write an autobiography.”
Mario Cantone appears with a fearless cast of performers in Celebrity Autobiography. Joining him onstage (thru May 8) will be Rachel Dratch (of Saturday Night Live fame), Craig Bierko (best known for his role as Timothy in the 1996 action film The Long Kiss Goodnight), Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey, Queer As Folk), and the two creators of the show, Dayle Reyfel and Eugene Pack. The following week the show stars comedian/writer Bruce Vilanch, Cady Huffman (The Will Rogers Follies, The Producers), Paul Provenza (Northern Exposure, Empty Nest), Sharon Gless, Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives, The Producers, Young Frankenstein) and Dayle Reyfel.
While in Miami, Mario is checking out theatres like the Arsht Center as potential venues for his one-man show that he hopes to bring to Miami in the fall. Mario recently completed filming a pilot for a new television show called A Man’s World starring Don Johnson as an aging hairdresser. “I’m waiting to hear if it gets picked up and the news could come any day,” adds Mario, known for his quick wit and acerbic tongue. While Mario is known for his vicious comedic attacks offstage he’s really a nice guy. “People think that I’m mean spirited but I’m really not.” Mario went on to explain that it’s the vicious comedians that are the nice one. “You’ll find that comedians like Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin are really sweet onstage and the comedians that are nice onstage are the mean ones offstage.”
The cast of Celebrity Autobiography may be a little vicious onstage but it’s all in the name of entertainment. Celebrity Autobiography runs thru May 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center of Performing Arts in downtown Miami. The Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard. For information call 305.949.6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.