By Dawn Watson
Comedian, actor and singer Mario Cantone returns to Bay Street on Saturday, May 28, to perform a special “How Long Has This Been Going On?” duo concert with his husband, Jerry Dixon.
You’ve had a long connection to Bay Street. How did you get involved?
I’ve performed at Bay Street a number of times. And I’ve worked with Joe Mantello, whom I love, on a lot of shows, including my solo show “Laugh Whore” for Broadway, which he developed with me. I’ve been involved with the theater for years—back to Steve and Emma—and have done their galas and benefits over the years. I love coming out there.
Tell me about the concert, what can the audience expect from you this time.
This is different from my one-man show, which I’m doing at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on July 2 by the way. I’ve been booked two holiday weekends this summer that involve battling that Hamptons traffic. I was BAMBOOZLED!
So the Bay Street show?
It’s me and my husband, Jerry, sharing the stage and singing and laughing and telling it like it is after 25 years together, basically the course of our relationship, in song. So don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s going to be fun.
What’s on the program?
It’s mostly standards and Great American Songbook and Broadway stuff. It’s a great show. We performed it for the American Songbook at Lincoln Center and it was a big success. And we don’t know when or if we’ll do it again, so it’s a good time to come out and see it.
Any specific numbers that you can mention?
It’s a lot of duets. My brilliant husband arranged everything. He’s put the whole show together. All he does is work, work, work! I’m lazy, I’d rather be sitting on the couch and on permanent vacation. We’ll be doing some Louis Prima, Cole Porter, Eric Benet, Michael McDonald and ___.
You mean ____ from ____?
Wait! Don’t say that! I want that to be a surprise. It’s a fun surprise for the end.
So a lot of ballads, aside from the song by _____?
Some of them. But Jerry’s doing most of those; he’s so brilliant at the ballad. I only sing one and I barely get through it—it’s a song that Jerry wrote with David Foster and it’s beautiful. Oh, and I do a Kander and Ebb number. Most of it is up and joyful duets. It’s really about getting the dynamics of our relationship out to the audience. Like who gives a shit?
Is it all singing and patter?
It’s some patter, musically and non-musically, but pretty much what life is like between us offstage. We tell our stories, about ourselves and each other. You know, relationship stuff. It’s pretty real. No façade or veil.
What would you say to people who are on the fence about coming out to see the show?
Oh god! Don’t say that! It’s a great show. I can’t force them. I’m not a politician. I can’t make people do things. Come. Don’t come. You’ll have a good time if you decide to go.
Mario Cantone and Jerry Dixon will perform “How Long Has This Been Going On?” at the Bay Street Theater on Saturday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Visit www.baystreet.org for additional information and reservations.