There is a bit of a tease in the title of Mario Cantone's show "On the Way to Broadway," which the actor and comedian will perform Saturday, June 13, at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Is his latest musical-standup mashup destined to play the Great White Way, like his Tony-nominated one-man show "Laugh Whore"? Cantone, who had critically lauded turns in "Assassins," "Love! Valor! Compassion!" and "The Tempest," isn't exactly saying.
"The subtitle is, 'If I Get There,'" Cantone says in a telephone interview from his home in Manhattan. "I'm working on it, but so many things come up. I may be doing something in the fall, which I haven't finalized yet, so I can't talk about it. But if I do it, then it will take me out of the concert world for a while. And then, I might go right into something else I may do, too, and I can't talk about that, either."
Here are some things Cantone, who may be best recognized for his appearances on "The View" and in "Sex and the City," can talk about.
Doing a Broadway show is also a huge toll, doing all those shows every week and you can't do anything else, right?
Oh, God, yes, seven or eight shows a week. Look, I'm 55 and I'm exhausted. When you do a show like that, all you worry about is your voice. And I'm singing like Judy Garland and Bruce Springsteen and I'm talking away on the phone, and my husband yells at me, "Get off the phone. Are you crazy? You've got to save your voice." And he should know.
Yeah, he a musical director and performer, too, so he really knows how hard a Broadway run is. [Cantone and Jerry Dixon married in 2011. Dixon's credits include "If/Then," "Once on This Island" and "Five Guys Named Moe."] You should listen to him.
Oh, look, I do. Old age is not for sissies. And guess what? I'm a sissy and it's not for me.
You've performed here before, but it was at Hard Rock Live. Is it going to be different performing in Parker Playhouse?
When I came there before my agent ... said it's 1,800 seats, and I said, "I'll never fill it. I'll never do it." I got there a day or so early and the concert is on a Thursday, and I got there like the Saturday before or something. So I'm driving around with … the woman from Hard Rock and we're doing press, driving around to different TV stations, and she ends up telling me that it's actually 5,500 seats. I'm like, "What?" And she says, "Don't worry, you're selling well. We're in a casino, so we give [away] like a couple of hundred seats." So I ask her how many I actually sold, and she said 2,800. That's shocking. I was a nervous wreck. I never sold that many seats in my life. From that Thursday to Sunday, my stomach was twisting in knots.
I'm not surprised. You're very loved here. There's the whole Northeast theater crowd that has relocated here, and there's a large gay population.
I love South Florida so. I was really shocked by how many people came out, and it was lovely. I had a lovely time.
Do you have any favorite hangouts here?
The first time I was there, someone took us to Nobu and we walked through this pounding club inside the hotel to get to the restaurant. And when we sat down, I said to the waiter, "How's your migraine? You got to be kidding me. Why is there music pounding while I'm trying to eat my popcorn shrimp? You got to be kidding me. I'm too old."
What is this show like?
I almost called it, "Mario Cantone Swings Both Ways," which is another lie-riddled title. My titles are just riddled with lies. It's very musical. Jon Stewart said I was the white Sammy Davis Jr. It has an opening number and my standup about pop culture, like about movies and my disdain for reality TV shows. And there are some impressions and musical numbers as Liza, Judy and Bruce and myself. There's stuff about traveling and children and not having them, how I feel about them. It's just a big mishmash of a lot of things, whatever I want to talk about."
Tell me about this movie you're in called "In Stereo."
Oh, I'm only in a couple of scenes. I play the agent of this actress who is being offered a reality show she doesn't want to do. The rest of the movie … well, I don't even know what it's about, it was so long ago. Who the f--- cares? It's all about me. It comes out in October, I think.
They love you on "The View." You seem to be on every week, right?
Yes. It's wonderful. But you know, when Bill Geddie, the producer who left soon after Barbara [Walters] left, I thought it was over. He was my guy. And then, ABC News took over, and for some reason they like me even more. I knew I was never going to be a permanent thing. It's women. It's nice to be in the mix with them.
You get away with so much on that show, for daytime, don't you think?
There's a way of doing it. I've kind of trained myself. Jerry Seinfeld said political correctness is killing comedy, and he's so right. You're always offending someone. That's why I rarely tweet. You say something in a tweet and they don't hear the sarcasm and the tone. But you can't read that, you know? I don't even take that risk. I just want to entertain and make people laugh. I leave the political stuff to people who are much more eloquent: Dan Savage, Bill Maher. Now, I love my president. I have never been more invested in a president that President Obama. I met him once and I just about died. He's made it happen for us. It all happened under his watch. And people say, "He didn't say this strong enough" or "He didn't do this strong enough." He's very careful about it. He has this way of not banging people over the head with it because if you do, they will run the other way. He has to. And everything you see, all those shootings of unarmed people, it's backlash against a black president. It's always been the way it is. Something like that comes forward, like a black president or gay rights, and you see the backlash very clearly.
Mario Cantone will star in "On the Way to Broadway" 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale (in Holiday Park). Tickets cost $28-$98. To order, call 954-462-0222 or go to ParkerPlayhouse.org.