Tyne Daly's Broadway team reunites after 25 years
- Article by: MARK KENNEDY
- Associated Press
- May 12, 2014 - 7:10 AM
NEW YORK — Twenty-five years ago while doing "Gypsy," Tyne Daly met a special group of people backstage.
One was Valerie Gladstone, her dresser. Another was Geordie Sheffer, who did her makeup and hair. The third was John V. Fahey, her personal assistant.
This foursome became more than co-workers — they became fast friends. Now, a quarter-century later, they're back together on Broadway for the current run of "Mothers and Sons," which has netted Daly her latest Tony nomination.
"Part of the antidote for this becoming just a job is having these guys," Tyne says in a joint interview at the Golden Theatre. "We do quite a bit of laughing. We know when to be quiet around each other."
Over the years, they've kept in touch, worked on new projects together and celebrated milestones. When they initially met, Daly, 68, had a 4-year-old daughter. Now she has a 4-year-old granddaughter.
When word came that Daly was returning to Broadway — in a show celebrating family, no less — they all jumped at the chance of a reunion. Gladstone left a TV series where she was miserable to rejoin her pals. Sheffer flew in from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"This is unique. This," says Sheffer, waving to her friends, "does not happen. You say yes to that. It may not happen again but this is uniquely itself. I wouldn't have missed it."
Daly was known for her Emmy Award-winning TV role on "Cagney & Lacey" when she began rehearsals in 1989 for the Broadway-bound revival of "Gypsy." One of the first people she met was Fahey, a production assistant.
"Very boldly, while everyone was scraping and bowing and calling her 'Miss Daly,' I went over with my hand out and said, 'Hi, Tyne, I'm John Fahey. I'm the most important person in the room. I'm the guy who gets lunch.' Fortunately she laughed," he says.
When he came back with her order, Daly asked him to help run lines. Soon he was doing all kinds of things for her, from picking up dry cleaning to scheduling appointments.
Over the years, they comforted each other as each lost parents and he is now one of the few people trusted to pick up her grandkids at the airport. Daly is also the only person allowed to call him Johnny.
"The three things that bind us together is Hellman's mayonnaise, our love of poetry and the fact that she knows she can call me at any hour," says Fahey, who also worked at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and as a guardian to the children in "Billy Elliot."
Tyne has happily seen Sheffer's career skyrocket since they met in Hartford, Connecticut, during the pre-Broadway tour of "Gypsy." Sheffer replaced the second hairdresser, who quit, worried that Daly would stumble on Broadway as Rose. (She won a Tony).
Later Sheffer reunited with Daly in Los Angeles to style her hair in the TV series "Judging Amy" and went on to do hair for such films as "Black Swan," ''The Road" and "True Grit."
"If you want to have your movie nominated for Oscar, just get Geordie Sheffer to do the hair," says Daly, proudly.
The last piece of the puzzle is Gladstone, who is Tyne's dresser, which means, as the actress says, "she gets to see me naked. She shows great forbearance."
The new play marks the first time the two women have worked together since "Gypsy." Gladstone, who also does makeup and hair for stage and film — she worked with Sheffer on "Black Swan" — has lately become a union leader and a doll maker.
Now this group — as tight as brothers and sisters — are in Terrence McNally's play that looks at society's evolving acceptance of gays. Tyne plays a mother who pays a surprise visit to her late son's ex-partner.
On show days, the four get together, joke and swap stories until show time. At some point, Daly has to leave to go onstage. "She's missing the really fun stuff but we fill her in and try not to make her feel too bad," Fahey says with a laugh.
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