You’ve Got Hate, Mate

Part of the torture being in the “public eye” (and I use that term loosely) … is responding or not responding to feedback. I choose to respond. I’m like a Baldwin.

Here are a series of emails I recently (today) received from a person I do not know who’s unhappy with my show. Enjoy.

Dear Peter,
Please refrain from making any references in your so-called ‘entertainment’ Desperately Seeking The Exit to my wonderfully talented friend Angus Jackson.
He last directed Frank Langella in King Lear. You are wasting your time with your dull circus act on your dreadful show which closed seven years ago. Everybody else has- you should try this concept sometime- MOVED ON,

XXX (name withheld)

Hello XXX,
Thank you for writing to me. I understand and appreciate you standing up for your friend. I am telling a story. I do not portray Angus or anyone involved in the production in a negative way. I look like the biggest fool in the bunch. We ALL were working in different ways. The original London producers have seen the show and had no complaints and only praise. Angus’ friends have seen the show (even in Australia) and have all told me that Angus would enjoy the show. We both went through a lot during that process and after. I am a storyteller and I am telling my story about mounting a show. It has touched many artists around the world who strive to create and collaborate. I have no bad feelings about Angus and have championed his work ever since the show closed.

Dear Peter,
Angus is exceptionally talented

I agree. We all just had a different show in mind. I admire Angus’ success post-Susan! He has proven himself to be a talented director and he has moved on, as have I. My show about the show is one of many things I do as an artist.

A v.classy response to what I must confess was an outburst but DSTE is only thing you do as an artist, not one of many things you do as an artist.

That is incorrect. And I honestly don’t feel like I need to fill you in on what I do, unless you plan to hire me, but a visit to my website should make it clear.

Still unclear.
Andy Blankenbuehler is also very talented

Have you seen my show? Why is this all coming up now? I performed the show for a month in London, and for two seasons in Edinburgh. Why now? Why the griping now? Why are you questioning me (to quote Patsy Stone from Ab Fab)?

I did have the misfortune to see the show. It gave me a headache and my expression remained stern throughout.The level of disrespect to Andy and Angus was breathtaking.

It is the hallmark of the bad artist to get paranoid

Sorry you felt that way. I haven’t gotten that feedback from anyone else who has seen it…including those who actually worked on the show. Andy and Angus are enjoying great successes and I am happy for them. I am proud to have worked with great artists. I relate stories of what happened and what was said and done during the process based on a detailed blog. I don’t give my opinion, I give the facts of what happened. I do wonder why all of a sudden you are trying to get an irate response when I assume you saw EXIT over a year ago in the UK.


Changing the subject, am about to try get a project funded on Kickstarter.
Any advice?


That’s how I raised money for my EXIT show that you disapprove of – but with a different crowd sourcing company. I think you have to let your potential donors know what you plan to do with the future of the project, so they are investing in a long term goal and not just the NOW. You have to make a detailed schedule for rolling out the campaign and offer some sort of rewards. You have to stay in touch with people. I still write to all of my funders with updates on the success of EXIT. If you have no money for rewards, offer dinner or house cleaning. Planning a crowd sourcing project will also help you define what YOU want to achieve with the project. Most of all, be honest and clear. Set deadlines. Be on top of things. And by all means, don’t take things too seriously and keep in mind that all human beings have their own problems and issues that might be greater than you know. Best of luck with it!


It’s an immensely funky documentary that if people find out about, they will want to fund…


This documentary sounds intriguing already. I am glad I could provide some help; even with the way you introduced yourself to me. I take great pride and responsibility with my work and I hope you do the same. If you treat people like you would like to be treated, you can reap some great rewards simply because you are doing it – honestly – and not alone, but with a community of supporters who want you to succeed.


Thanks. Cocktails on me!!


Next time I am in London? This fall. Count on it.
I drink the expensive stuff when I am over there.


UPDATE: After posting this on my Facebook wall (to friends only, not public) and getting over 100 responses, our hater sent me this email:

Facebook is beneath me but I am told your stage army of stooges have been assaulting my character in regards to what I had assumed was private correspondence. Charming…

I seem to have struck a nerve with my original thoughts on your posturing skit. Your cyber-boat people are laughing with you but when it comes to the show, evidently they’re with me

However I do not need their following. I am not bipolar nor insane nor schizo. Apart from failing to convince my partner that we should have children, all is well in my world.

XXX (name withheld)


No worries, XXX. I did not mention your name. Your character is safe.
It made for a good read on how to respond to irate strangers.


So anybody who does not sprint into the Marino boudoir bearing petals and kisses for that underwhelming act of desperation is an ‘irate stranger?’

I don’t do namedropping but as my former neighbour Harold Pinter used to say ‘F*** them all!” (BTW I would have asked Harold Pinter to narrate my documentary.)

Will tell you all about doc over cocktails which, thanks to your misbehavior on Mark Zuckerberg’s toy, are now ON YOU. Till dawn.



I know that Facebook is beneath you, but if you are going to do a Kickstarter campaign for your documentary, you can reach a much wider audience to help fund your project. Just engage in conversation, have a story, and tell it!
P.S. – You managed to drop two names in that email! Naughty girl.

DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT will be performed on March 22 & 23 at the Triple Crown Underground at 8PM. Pay-what-you-can.

Please visit for more details.

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EXIT Has a New Buddy Piece

On Monday, a friend suggested I do EXIT in a warehouse and end it with a dance party. What a great idea – if I had a warehouse and more DJ pals who worked for free. This got me thinking … and by the time I woke up on Tuesday, I hatched a new show idea. Shit! Another show!

So many people in NYC hadn’t seen the Desperately Seeking Susan musical (then again, hardly anyone in London saw it either) and I wanted to present a NYC screening of the London musical, without renting out a theater for 2 hours and 10 minutes. I chatted with a pal about the idea and before I knew it, I had a title: Desperately Screening Susan. I decided to show clips from the musical – musical numbers and book scenes and compare them to the film that inspired it. But why? What was the point of the show? I had no idea; I just knew that I wanted to do it.

I worked on the logo and by Wednesday morning, I booked a date (Valentine’s Day) in the Underground theater at The PIT. I always tell my students that the only way anyone will ever see their show is if they book a space. By securing a theater space you are instantly forced to be accountable to the venue manager and yourself. The show must happen.

screeningwtitleSo, it was time to watch the rare DVD of the musical. This master shot video was made by the producers as a favor to me while they shot the tight footage for the EPK (Electronic Press Kit). While the quality of the video isn’t perfect, it does give a sense of what the show looked and sounded like. I cringed in a few spots during Act 1 while frantically jotting down notes and ideas and timing numbers. My friend Fritz watched with me, and we wound up talking about the differences and similarities between the movie and the musical, and I determined that Desperately Screening Susan would be about the adaptation process and how the writer of a musical adaptation of a film might use the closeups as songs. How certain scenes have to merge with other scenes to keep the stage action moving. How characters have to be beefed up to justify their songs. How to raise the stakes. How to … the list goes on.

By the time we got to the “interval,” my buddy Fritz informed me that clearly, I already had a two-hour show. NO! I only booked the venue for 70-minutes! And here I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough material.

We watched Act 2 (which I must say is damn near perfect) and picked out a few more scenes and songs. The name “De Palma” was bandied about … using split screen effects to show both versions. Of course. Why not show scenes side by side? Picture in picture? I don’t know. I also don’t know how to do that kind of fancy editing.  I don’t if I have time to do all of this. I don’t know if anyone will come to see a show on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if people have $12 to spend. I don’t know if it will be any good. I don’t know an awful lot.

I do know that the show opens in less than 3 weeks. I do think some people will come, as it’s already been blogged about by Blondie and Madonna lovers. I do keep in mind that this is the first time I’m doing it, so it doesn’t have to be perfect and I’ll only learn more about it by doing it and hearing what people have to say. So, I’ll continue to watch the show and the movie and take notes and brush up my iMovie skills and do a whole bunch of editing. And more editing.

The good news is, I have a beginning and an end for the show. And the really good news is that I’m starting something new. And the postcards are ordered. Let’s DO THIS.

EXIT 2013. ENTER 2014.

2013 was a dandy year for me and Desperately Seeking the Exit. Here are 13 reasons why:

  1. EXIT debuts in Ft. Myers at Theatre Conspiracy. This was the first time the show played in an actual theater and was met with large houses and a fabulous review. It was also very nice to do the show with a tan.
  2. EXIT debuts in Australia at the Adelaide Fringe. While the houses weren’t huge (but they were hot and I was tan) the show went on to receive two 5-star reviews and was named Best Comedy by The Advertiser. Many new friends were made and it was a blast to see fellow performers from other festivals doing their thing. I also determined that I wasn’t a fan of kangaroo meat.
  3. Did a few more “pop-up” performances of the show at the Triple Crown which regularly had standing room only … and many drinks afterward with good people. And got a new rave here.
  4. LONDON! The show made its way back to where it all (sort of) began with a month-long run at the Leicester Square Theatre in the West End and two performances at the Brighton Fringe. Producer Kat Portman picked the show up after seeing it at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe and produced the marathon London run that was met with great houses, lots of press, and me learning how to spell the word “Leicester.” We had weekly talk-backs with the original Desperately Seeking Susan cast and crew members and many fond memories were shared.
  5. I had the great pleasure of bringing my Flying Solo classes to The Actor’s Centre in London during the run and helped a dozen students create the beginnings of new solo shows … a few of which will be making their debut at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.
  6. Had brunch at Sir Ian McKellen’s house and enjoyed conversations with Ian, Ruby Wax, Alan Rickman, Martin Sherman, and other British notables. ‘Nuf said.
  7. Directed and developed Eva Andersen & Joan Estep’s original musical-comedy-variety-bio-show My Sax Life is All Fached Up which played to a sold out house in Ars Nova’s ANTFEST.
  8. Opened Amy Albert’s Delilah Dix: America’s Showgirl at the Hollywood Fringe, which I had originally directed and developed at Ars Nova. Sold out run and great times with my LA peeps. And a mandatory trip to Universal Studios.
  9. Emceed the Long Lake Bed Races on July 4 weekend. Yes. These are races where costumed teams race decorated beds as I interrogate bewildered travelers passing through the town.
  10. Back to the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe with EXIT for 24 performances in a different venue with standing-room only crowds. The show was named Top 5 Solo shows by Fringe Review and received a bunch of new raves.
  11. Created and hosted the Critical Mass Tomato Toss in Edinburgh where scorned performers gleefully threw tomatoes at a wall of critics … for charity of course!
  12. Brought EXIT to Buffalo (where the first reading of the show happened almost 2 years ago) and got some great press and full, fabulous houses.
  13. Co-produced and created SOLOCOM at The PIT with my new pal Toby Knops. This exciting event packed two theaters over two days with 60 solo comedies making their world premier. Many of these shows are now heading toward full productions and runs in 2014.

I also taught my award winning Flying Solo classes and was presented with the Teacher of the Year Award at The PIT. The Orlando Fringe picked up EXIT where it will be presented in May 2014. Had a chilly blast emceeing the Polar Bear Plunge in Long Lake, and I did indeed plunge into the frigid waters with the rest of the lunatics. And, I began work developing two new solo shows that I’m directing this coming winter and spring: Mark Demayo’s retired NYPD cop comedy 20 & Out, and Amy Marcs’ gripping cancer comedy NICE T*TS.

Finally, it looks like Hollywood Nurses (the lesbian pulp novel homage I co-wrote with Sheila Head) will be making its NYC debut sometime next fall. Don’t fret – you’ll know all about it when the time comes.

Everyone has been so supportive of EXIT and many of the other projects these past two years, and I cannot thank you enough. I hope that 2014 brings you all great happiness and fulfillment and I hope to continue to challenge myself and my audiences with innovative, universal, fun and entertaining work that illuminates a bit more of this condition we call being human.

Much Love,


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We’re baaaaack! Yes, “Desperately Seeking the Exit” is back on US soil after kicking arse at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. With great press, sold out houses, special events and a slew of 4-star reviews, it was even better than last year. Whew!

I really didn’t know how EXIT would do in its second round in Edinburgh. After all, this years’ festival was officially the largest Arts festival in the world to date – hosting 45,000 performances of 2,871 shows in 273 venues across the city. Uhm, that is A LOT! But somehow, EXIT managed to find its way and audience. 75% of the 21 performances were standing room only and we often had to turn people away (which is a good problem to have). Most of the attendees were there from word-of-mouth … not only from last year’s run, but from hearing about the London run this past winter. Many people simply stumbled upon it due to the venue I was in with comedy-seekers literally just popping in to check out the show.

The Counting House

The Counting House is a large bar complex made up of four venues, connected to a beer garden and another popular pub. I would gladly return to it, even though I fought with the sounds of the band and clicking bottles in the beer garden below the window of my very hot venue.

It was great to meet up with so many fellow performers from last years’ Fringe, as well as new friends I made in London and at the Adelaide and Brighton Fringes where I performed the show this past year. Everyone is so supportive of each other and we don’t even blink when asked to see the same show again and again because some important reviewer is in the audience that day. I think one of the best things about doing the Fringe, is seeing others’ work. I am almost always moved to tears at the sheer creativity that goes into these kinds of shows. Most shows are an hour long, so I squeezed in about 2-3 shows a day starting at 10AM and going until 2AM. Plus, doing my show every day at 6:15PM. I lost some weight, crediting the “Fringe Diet” and the many hills of Edinburgh. I highly recommend it!

Alan's Yard

I stayed with my old pals Alan and Victor who live in Edinburgh and treat their guests like hotel guests. The flat is only a 30 minute walk to my venue, but I did learn to master the bus system to save my energy. It was nice to come home to some paella cooking on the stove every so often and I treated them to a proper Yankee BBQ on my last day.

The show received three 4-star reviews and was named Top Five Solo Shows by Fringe Review. I did an interview with the BBC, spoke on a panel about World Fringe festivals (having now participated in five) and learned about the American college touring circuit which is the next phase for EXIT. Not only can I perform the show at these colleges and universities, but I can also teach. And this means an income doing something I love to do. I’m doing the show in Buffalo the weekend of October 18 on the same weekend as the National Association for College Activities is having a big convention. Here I plan to land a booking agent, and it’s also going to be fun to bring the show “back” to Buffalo. I actually did the first workshop/reading of EXIT in Buffalo about 18 months ago! So much has happened since then. Kind of shocking to think that EXIT has now played on three continents in 10 cities in about one year. Oh! And I just added a performance of EXIT in NYC at the Triple Crown on Sunday Oct 13 at 8PM. Pay what you may, as always!

Madonna’s birthday landed on the third weekend of the show, so I threw a spontaneous birthday bash in the middle of the three shows – complete with cake, candles, balloons and streamers that magically appeared; getting 50 people to sing “Happy Birthday” to the Material Girl. If I do EXIT again next year, it will only be for that weekend and will absolutely have a Madge party. There is also talk of showing the DVD of the musical in Edinburgh one night, and a pop-up-drive-in theater where I might show the original film. We will see!

The Wee Stage

The good news is that EXIT has reinvigorated an interest in the musical Desperately Seeking Susan which my lawyer and I are working hard to get published and licensed by 2014. We hope the show will then be performed by regional theaters, UK tours, colleges and high schools. It has taken a long time to get this far with the musical. Working with pop stars is not easy.

One of the highlights of the Fest for me was the crazy event I created called the Critical Mass Tomato Toss.

Set up in a large park in Edinburgh, performers who received rotten reviews were encourage to throw rotten tomatoes at the poster-sized faces of 33 critics. It was a hoot! Most of the supplies and printing were donated and we collected money from the roughly 40 onlookers and participants which went to the local homeless charity Streetwork. “Making something good from something bad” was the slogan…and it was a total blast; ending with me dumping a HUGE bucket of tomato-goo over my head (think CARRIE). The event got some great press and will definitely be back next year. And maybe  every year. Ironically, The Scotsman (who gave EXIT a 1-star review last year) asked me to write a piece about the Toss for them!

The 2013 Edinburgh Fringe was one of the highlights of the year, and I cannot wait to go back. I’ve been asked to direct and develop three shows – one from the US and two from London. I’m not sure if I will be doing a new show next year, but there is some talk of Hollywood Nurses (the play I cowrote with Sheila Head) making its way to the Fringe in 2015 direct from Manchester. This. Would. Be. Awesome.

In the meantime, I’m back in NYC working hard on the novel version of the show, which a publisher in London is keen on publishing. I will be running my Edinburgh Fringe Starter Kit workshops this winter to help folks get ready for next summer’s Fringe and I hope to perform the show a few more times in NYC and hopefully get chosen for the Orlando Fringe in May. If you haven’t already “liked” the EXIT Facebook page, please swing by and give it a click. This way you’ll get updates that are a lot shorter than this. To date, over 1,700 people have seen the show on three continents, and we hope to double that this year – alas, one or two continents will suffice. : )

Finally, thank you gentle reader for your support and encouragement these past 18 months. It might be a solo show, but it’s nothing without an audience and readers like you. The tide is high … let’s get into the groove!

xo Pete


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London Called!


Well, I’ve been back in the States for almost 4 weeks since the end of the 4-week run of Desperately Seeking the Exit in London – and it feels like it all happened yesterday. Apologies for the delay in blogging about the London run, but since I returned I had two new shows opening that I directed – one at Ars Nova and one in Los Angeles. Good times!

Joan & Pete; together again.

Joan & Pete; together again.

It was a thrill to perform at the lovely Leicester Square Theatre every night for four weeks (at the same time as Joan Collins); plus two shows in Brighton as part of the Brighton Fringe. Many shows were packed, many not so much; but each audience brought so much to the show which continues to change and grow. We had celebs there, former cast & crew members who participated in post-show talk-backs, gossip-hungry theatre people, and regular folks out for a good time. The talk-backs went so well and people wanted to know so much more, that I added a Q&A at every performance. This will also be a part of the show when it returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this August.

Original DSS cast & crew at opening night party.

Original DSS cast & crew at opening night party.

The show received excellent reviews in London and Brighton, but we learned that 4 & 5-star reviews in Edinburgh translate to 3-star reviews in London. Still, we got tons of pull quotes, lots of press, and a bunch of radio interviews. EXIT continues to be a show that people like to talk about. (see reviews here)

I saw a bunch of fabulous West End shows including One Man, Two Guvnors (starring Kelly Price who played Roberta in SUSAN), A Chorus Line (starring Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who played Maria in SUSAN) and The Bodyguard (another jukebox/movie mashup). In between teaching my Flying Solo classes at the Actor’s Centre, I met up with many old mates, had brunch at Sir Ian McKellen’s house(!), and had many meetings about the future of EXIT. One of the most exciting developments was with a UK publisher who wants to turn the show into a book which would trace the story of the making and unmaking of the musical as well as the story of EXIT.  We hope that this unconventional book will work both as an entertaining journal and as an educational tool. The format will be quite unique and I can’t wait to get started on it.

The London run was certainly a once in a lifetime experience. When EXIT was hatched 18 months ago, I never dreamed that the show would play for a month in London. The story has really come full circle. I’m grateful for my producer Kat Portman who was with me every step of the way and continues to be a champion of the show. My UK publicist, Ann-Marie Baptiste, worked tirelessly to get press for the show. The Spice Girls musical announced its closing while I was there, so all these papers were calling me to get quotes about my “take” on a jukebox musical closing early. Crazy! Oh, I saw that show too and I can see why it closed early. : (

photo credit : David Rodgers

photo credit : David Rodgers

Prepping now for the return to Edinburgh this August. The show will be a bit different from the run last summer as it now has the Q&A, new stories and a pre-show video. We are also in a different venue called The Counting House which is in a much better location than last years’ venue. And again it’s pay-what-you-want. The show is at 6:15 every night for the whole month, save two Monday nights where I can get some rest and see other shows. Quite a few Yank mates are going this year and I’m ready to rock it. This year there are over 2,800 shows at the Fringe! So I am doing more flyering and postering, placing some ads, and creating a huge media event called the Critical Mass Tomato Toss where fellow performers who’ve gotten sour reviews can toss spoiled veggies at large photos of the critics. This outdoor event will certainly get some press and we hope it erupts into a huge food fight. Stay tuned!


Thanks again for all of your support. If you’re feeing philanthropic and want a tax write-off, please consider donating to the shows’ Fractured Atlas campaign. Your Yankee dollars will help pay for posters, ads, flyers, food and lodging. And it’s all tax-deductible.

See you in the UK, soon!

xo Pete


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Surviving a Flop

This is a guest blog I wrote for What’s On Stage UK. Hope it helps you if you wrote a flop – or plan to.

Making Bloody Marys from Rotten Tomatoes


photo credit: David Rodgers

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G’day, Australia! Cheerio, London!

Just finished a 2-week run of the show at the Adelaide Fringe, which is the largest Fringe festival in the Southern hemisphere – hosting over 900 shows from all over the world. It was hot as hell (average temp 103) and the city was bustling with a number of other festivals. Getting the word out seemed easy at first, as I did several radio interviews from the States at the ungodly hour of 6AM (time difference is 27.5 hours ahead in Oz). But getting the word out there was more of a challenge as there was just so much going on in Adelaide. It’s a busy city in the summertime. And did I mention HOT? But such a beautiful part of the world – even if it takes about 28 hours to fly there. Don’t get me started.

Austral Hotel where the show was.

When I arrived at the show’s venue The Austral Hotel, the show posters and flyers were all over the place. Note: A “hotel” in Oz is simply a bar with more than one floor. No one stays there unless they pass out in the bathroom. Which is entirely possible at this very popular bar on the main drag of the city called the Rundle Mall. I thought with all of the foot traffic and posters that EXIT would be packed every night. And it was. For the first 5 nights. Then the 4 & 5 star reviews started coming out, and less people came in. Weird! Sometimes I played for 6 people; sometimes 50. But mostly, under 10. Which was a disappointment. Then when the festival was over, the show was named BEST COMEDY by the big paper there, The Advertiser. WTF?!


I met some amazing artists and saw brilliant work. Every show was a chance to refine the material as I readied EXIT for the next stop – LONDON. I discovered new bits, new moments, and new ways to connect with the audience to keep the show fresh, fun, and conversational. The feedback was fantastic and I am definitely glad I did this festival. But, I doubt I will be coming back to Adelaide. As lovely a city as it is with its Botanical Park and Gardens and rowdy people, the audience for a show about a musical is pretty small there as they don’t really “do” musicals in this part of the world. Maybe that’s a good thing?

The show will be playing at the Leicester Square Theatre in the heart of Theatreland every night for 3.5 weeks starting April 24. On my two “off” nights, I will be doing the show at the Brighton Fringe, which is an hour train ride south of London. It’s sure to be quite a workout – not to mention that I will also be teaching my Flying Solo workshops twice a week at the Actor’s Centre in London. But I am looking forward to being produced (by Kat Portman who picked up the show after seeing it in Edinburgh) and to seeing how it goes over there … and of course seeing all my mates.

I’m also doing a special “Be My Little Britain” performance of the show on April 14 at 7PM at the Triple Crown. At this show, the audience will be transported to London (and become my “Brits”) so I can try out the London version of the show which is somewhat new – opening with a video montage from the musical plus about 10 minutes of new material. Tickets are the usual “pay-what-you-can” and if you cannot make it and would like to support the show with a completely tax-deductible donation, please go to my Fractured Atlas page. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be thoughtfully utilized as we take this little show to new heights.

The show has not even been running a year and yet it seems like forever – but the good kind of forever! Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement. I  hope to make you proud in the coming months. : )

xo Pete


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Thankfully, Exit is on the Move!

Hard to believe that the Edinburgh Fringe ended only three months ago. I think I’m still a bit wiped out from that incredible journey because as I’d hoped, it launched the show to places I had never dreamed about. I gambled and went to Scotland for for the opportunity to develop the piece and to garner international press so I could take the show and my writing workshops to new places. And that’s exactly what happend. I just didn’t expect it to happen so darn quickly.

In October, the show was back in NYC at the Triple Crown Underground where it all started. Sandy forced us to cancel the second show, even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The trains stopped running and folks were busy clearing supermarket shelves for the storm of the century. Two more shows were added at the adorable Hourglass Tavern in the theater district which led to a number of personal appearances at Broadway Sessions and Porno Bingo. Guess which one was more successful? We donated the proceeds from the first show to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for Sandy relief. Amazing, generous people really helped those in need. Thanks!

Michael Musto of the Village Voice reviewed the show providing the perfect pull-quote: “Marino has a hit!” Lots of folks from all over came to the show – London, Scotland, Queens … it was like Edinburgh all over again as they packed the Hourglass.

In the meantime, Team Exit was busy sprucing up the logo (see above) and planning for 2013. In January and February the show will make it’s Florida Gulf Coast debut at the Theatre Conspiracy in Ft. Myers in conjunction with my Page to Stage workshops at Big Arts on Sanibel Island. But the warm winter weather doesn’t stop there …

EXIT makes its way to Australia for the Adelaide Fringe in March where it will play for 2 weeks in the Red Room at the Astral Hotel. I’m more nervous about surviving the 24-hour trip there than actually doing the show. Luckily, a few new mates from Edinburgh will be doing their shows as well. Amen. EXIT was chosen as one of 119 acts to be part of the BankSA Support Act program for Adelaide Fringe 2013. This means that BankSA customers get 50% off tickets and BankSA generously donates the remainder of the ticket sale to the show – plus provides a slew of free advertising!

London is the next stop on the “world tour” in May with a 3-week run at a sexy theatre in Leicester Square (to be officially announced soon) and then it moves to the Brighton Fringe for another week of shows. We will be expanding the show a bit with video clips and special guest talk-backs. When we started this project we didn’t know how the English/Brits would respond to the cultural ribbing they get in the show, but it was a Brit producer who picked it up and a Brit theater owner who booked it, and a West End producer who upon seeing the show in Scotland insisted that the show run in London. The story will officially come full circle.  I cannot wait to see my Desperately Seeking Susan mates and to drum up some more reviews and interviews which will help promote “round two” when the show returns to Edinburgh in August .

Plans for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe, the place where it all really took off, are already in motion. Eight months before the first performance. And I’m looking forward sharing prep info for the Edinburgh Fringe at my own Edinburgh Fringe Starter Kit workshop that I’m leading at The PIT in December. Eight Fringe pals will be on hand to answer questions in this 4-hour workshop and I’m sure I might even learn a thing or ten.

None of this would be happening if it weren’t for the support of my family, friends and fellow artists. Thank you again and again for helping the project move forward. Now, cook up some turkey and get into the groove.



Exit to Oz

This March, I’m delighted to announce that Desperately Seeking Exit will make its Australian premier at the Adelaide Fringe. Whoop!

Located in southern Australia, the Adelaide Fringe is the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. There will be over 900 shows featuring over 4,000 performers from around the world. The festival runs from February 15-March 17, and I will be doing the show for the first two weeks of March at the intimate 50-seat Red Room in the Austral Hotel. Luckily, quite a few of my Edinburgh pals will also be performing at the festival and I’ve secured a lovely little bungalow that’s a 15-minute walk along the river to the center of town.

This festival is 1/3 the size of the Edinburgh Fringe covering a mere one-square mile. This should be a lot easier to navigate and manage than Edinburgh, but the opportunities are just as promising. Unlike Edinburgh, this run will be ticketed. No need to hold out the bucket at the end of the show; but I’m sure I will be hustling, promoting and networking on the same scale as Scotland. The “DSE” team is planning to generate more buzz for the show, book tours and special engagements, and keep it fresh for the London transfer which is scheduled for a 3-week run in early Spring, 2013.

The application took about 2 weeks to complete. The festival is 4 months away. The flight is about 24 hours, with a transfer in Singapore. It’s been a dream to go to Australia since I was 10, and to have the opportunity to do what I love and to have the opportunity to actually work there is better than any dream I imagined.

So book your flight (and show tickets) and I will see you on the white sandy beaches of Adelaide, soon!

xo Pete

I am engaged! Edinburgh: Week 2-3

I thought that would get your attention!

No. I’m not actually engaged. Or even dating. However this photo might make you think “hmmmm” …

John Fico and I staged a fake wedding to promote his show “Made for Each Other” by Monica Bauer; along with the London Gay Men’s Chorus Ensemble and a cake.

And that is what it’s all about. Getting attention. See above.

And how else do you get attention for a show without dressing up in a traditional Scottish kilt and running through the streets of Edinburgh carrying a three-tiered wedding cake? You engage people every which way you can. All day. Everywhere. Every day. Every second. Every person you meet is a potential “punter” … or what we Yanks call “audience member.” And it’s not just about handing out flyers to every person you meet. It is about truly engaging the right people at the right time.

Last week, whilst waiting in the queue for Chris Difford’s show “It’s All About Me“, I began chatting with two groovy looking chicks. They seemed like the perfect audience for my show. I could just tell. After all, Chris’s show is an acoustic performance which incorporates slides and videos telling the story of the history of his band Squeeze. I told them all about what my show was about and they promised to come to the show. We sang along with Chris and had a blast. After the show, I met Chris. I told him that I knew Kaisa Hammarlund who was in my musical as well as several workshops for his upcoming Squeeze musical. After five minutes, he asked me if we could talk again over coffee because they were looking for a new bookwriter for said jukebox musical. Of course I said yes. I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. We will see. As for the gals I met?  They came to my show the next night and brought friends.

Taking a shortcut one day, I passed a candy shop that sold unusual Euro and American candy. I engaged the owner Katrina in conversation about my show, and lo and behold, she’s a transplanted New Yorker who had heard about the show and is bringing her gals to the final show this Sunday. And she gave me candy. I went back the next day and bought some for my flatmate, and she asked me to leave flyers for my show at her charming shop. Engaged!

I engaged Anthony Rapp in a Twitter conversation about the similarities between our Ed Fringe shows (the making of a musical; his being RENT) and he plans on coming to the show. He says he is tired, but I doubt he’s as tired as me. Anthony doesn’t have to flyer for his show. He doesn’t have to hold a cheesy bucket at the end of his show to solicit donations from his audience. He gets paid. He has producers. His show is moving to the Chocolate Factory. But, we all deal with the stress of performing our show for nearly 26 days in a row in different ways. Happily, David Babani who programs the Choc Fac (keeping it short like the Brits love to do) did come to my show and loved it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be doing my show there in the future. I’ve actually been getting offers to transfer Desperately Seeking the Exit from a number of West End Fringe (Off-Broadway) venues, promoters and producers. I never expected this. Ever.

Adam Kenwright, who is a major force on the West End, came to check out the show and was reduced to tears by the time he dropped £20 into my bucket at the finale. He gave me some great advice on what to do next, and my “team” is currently weighing the options of which theatre, when, and for how long of a run. This show has a limited audience, really, and we’re working on getting a three week run of just three nights a week so that the “West End Wendy’s” can come see the show about a show. During that time, I hope to teach my Page to Stage workshops at the Actor’s Centre, so I can earn some cash. This festival is quite costly and I rely on the bucket donations I make each night to pay for food, bus, batteries, drinks, phone cards, my flyer team, and my front of house gal, Lucy. And more. Luckily, I haven’t had to withdraw any money from the “hole in the wall” (aka – the ATM). But I sure do have a lot of coins. So. Many. Coins.

I’ve engaged fellow performers after their shows, as well as “exit flyering” their audiences. If they like the musical review, Showstoppers, then they will surely like DSE. All the Yanks here have engaged each other in the most supportive ways. In February, I created the USA to Edinburgh 2012  Facebook group, which now boasts over 125 active members. We post about our shows; we post reviews (good and bad) and we all support each other on an hourly basis.

“I have important people in tonight! Can you all come see my show … AGAIN?”

Of course we all do. Many of our shows conflict with each other due to the show times. We need at least 2 hours before our shows to get our heads on straight. And we need an hour after the show to cool down … and find the venue we are going to see the next show at. But, many of us have created long-lasting friendships. I for one have been incredibly inspired by the work that came from Los Angeles. And of course, the New Yorkers. I’ve mostly seen sketch shows and solo shows, cuz that’s what I do; and each and every one of them has been a revelation in comedy, storytelling, media, performance and passion.

And the show doesn’t stop at the curtain call. You engage every member of your audience on the way out of the theatre. You run into them on the cobblestone streets. This town is packed with 2,700 shows (of which DSE has rated the #58 highest-rated show!) and thousands of visitors; yet, I run into someone I know at least six times a day. The city is a volcano consisting of six hills. You never know who you will see at the top or bottom of those hills.

“Hey, look! There’s David Hasselhoff!”

Yes, even The Hoff is doing a one man show here. “An Evening with David Hasselhoff Live!” And he just performed it in London at the very theatre that is courting my show. From Bay Watch to Gay Watch. Anything goes!

I’ve gotten calls from old New York friends who are here to take it all in. They come to the show. I think out of the 24 shows I’ve done, I know at least one person in every audience. And who knows what the audience will be like on any given day? Last Friday I had a full house. The next night, I had THREE people in the audience (one of them a former student from my improv classes at the Actor’s Centre) and the other a REVIEWER. We know they are reviewers because they sport a blue laniard. And the theatre (aka; the Shoebox) is so small you can’t miss them. I engaged that audience in a whole new way that night. Seven-minutes into the show, I simply stopped and said:

“OK, boys. I am aware of what’s going on here. There’s me up here telling a crazy story. And there’s the three of you down there feeling uncomfortable to laugh because there’s NO ONE ELSE HERE. So let’s be friends. We’re at the bar having a laugh together. You have drinks. I have a cider … ok … it’s just water, but we can pretend. Here we go!”

And after that we were all on the same page. We had a blast. And that reviewer gave me a ★★★★★ review!

All the posters around town have suddenly filled up with stars. As soon as a review comes out, we all get to Fringe Central and wait on queue to print out hundreds of stickers to place on the posters around town (I know where each of my 45 posters are hanging – mostly gay bars and coffee shops) and sticking those little buggers on the flyers (or postcards, as we Yanks call them) which we leave all over town in every available centimeter of space. One day I stickered 300 of my flyers while attending a free seminar about touring shows internationally. Every spare minute counts! I delivered them to my flyering duo. I came home and lo and behold I had another 4-star review. The next day, I did it all over again. And then again. You can read all of the reviews HERE. They are short. And they are raves. And I am thrilled.

I also got a ★ scathing review from The Scotsman. When I read it, I cried. With tears of laughter. Really, at this point, there is no point in crying over one reviewer who was clearly at the wrong show for her taste. Read it HERE. And feel free to comment. Although, this journalist does not post the comments. Odd.

This is the last weekend of the Festival and everyone here has pretty much reached the end of their Scottish-lambs-wool-ropes. Some reached that end last week. I’ve seen several performers call it quits. They couldn’t handle the reviews or lack of them; the flyering; the small houses. Hey! It’s the largest arts festival in the world. It is the hardest I have ever worked in my life … and I include mounting Desperately Seeking Susan in that equation. Yes, this show about that show is ostensibly a one-man show, and I am also a one-man promotional machine. My publicist Ann-Marie Baptiste is back in London working remotely for the dozen shows she is repping at the Fringe. Perhaps you Facebook readers are tired of seeing my daily posts. But, I must engage. There’s at least one person who finds out about the show from Facebook every day. We need to do all we can. And in the end, there is no such thing as a one-man show. The audience is the other character.

Sometimes you are acting with 50, sometimes 3. But as long as you are engaging them, you’ve done your job.

And it is indeed a job. It’s called show business, not show show fun, as they say. Meetings, seminars, meet-and-greets, phone calls, texts, emails, carrier pigeons! Yet, in between all the business, there is a great deal of fun to be had. I have not laughed or smiled so hard on a daily basis in a long, long time. This festival has re-invigorated my creative juices, and even my acting career, that I had all but thrown away …

“I enjoyed your performance. Would you be interested in a role in a sci-fi pilot being shot in Dublin? Here’s my card.”


“Have you considered writing a book about the making of your musical? Here’s my card.”


“Wanna go out for some gluten free pizza and a couple of pints? Here’s a map.”


I am totally engaged. All I had to do was say “yes.”

Thanks to all of my friends and family who have said yes and who’ve been so supportive these past few weeks…months…years.

I would not be here without you.