Friday, January 20, 2012


He was good-looking and very bold. I was wearing a striped black and tan, tight-fitting jersey dress. Great dress -- on a world tour with my dance company, I had to wear things that didn't get wrinkled.

In England and Scotland, my Dance Drama Company presented only four ballets. I appeared only at the end of the evening in "Romeo and Juliet," which Todd Bolender choreographed for me. I was training myself to be a stronger artistic director. Using a small tape recorder, I sat in the audience every night, watched the first three ballets, and whispered notes -- notes I'd give the dancers the next day. Not easy notes -- I expressed my real feeling, preparing to tell the truth to each dancer about what he or she was doing poorly and how to improve it.

At intermission, I'd race backstage -- don my costume, check makeup and hair, and head for the stage.

My "Juliet" got raves in Scotland, but in England the major ballet company had just premiered a full length version of the famous tale of star-crossed lovers, and London was in love with another Juliet, a famous new prima ballerina.

I needed morale boosting. After the show in Edinburgh, I sat with a few of my dancers in the hotel lobby, and had a drink, before phoning my husband, John Cullum, in New York. He was in a show. The time difference was weird. It was very expensive, but two minutes of I love you would cheer me up.

In the hotel lobby, the good-looking guy said "Hello --you're beautiful!" and after less than a minute of conversation, he smoothed my dress. Yes! He ran his hands down the sides of my striped tight dress as if he were molding my shape out of clay, and told me very nice things about the look of me. The specifics? I don't remember them, but he was very direct about inviting me to sleep with him.

I ummed -- probably mentioned that I was married to an actor in NY, but I was drinking a martini. What I do remember is that he was playing "Romeo." He named a famous theater in Edinburgh and suggested we meet after his matinee in his dressing room.

Did I say yes? Did I say no? I thought YES I will. I thought WHY NOT? Every evening after his show, my husband went out with his fellow actors and actresses. Was I worried, and jealous -- YES -- if you're married to a John Cullum, the best looking man in the world, you worry.

So I hemmed and hawed and murmured "maybe" to Romeo, and excused myself. I phoned NY. John was home. We talked and talked -- the bill was $76.00.

What happened? Well, I still have the striped, black and tan, tight-fitting jersey dress and it still looks good on me.

Yes, the next day, I thought about Romeo. I wasn't sure what his name was but the local papers raved about the young actor playing Romeo and said he was on the way to becoming a major star.

I spent the morning going over my taped notes, and delivered them to my company in a strong voice during the rehearsal that I scheduled for 3 to 5 in the afternoon.

I didn't know who Romeo was -- not really, not for sure, until I saw movie "Damages." Here's the trailer.

Yes, Romeo in Edinburgh was Jeremy Irons. (Like JC says, " Win some, lose some, some rained out.")


Maureen Jacobs said...

Wow.... I bet he was extremely charming. But you, like me, believe in the sanctity of marriage.

I found this story fascinating, without being gossipy, endearing, for the sake of love, and finally, I ask myself what I would have done. ( of course my choice would be George Clooney)

Reading your blog intrigues me and I wonder how much fun, you and I, given the chance, would have had growing up together.

Maureen Jacobs said...

Looks like I need to watch that movie.

Tommy said...

Beautiful story. Your choice was of course, correct, but if you are going to turn someone down, it might as well be someone like Jeremy Irons! LOve, Tommy Scott

Anonymous said...

Great story Em! You made the right choice, but oh how wonderful to meet Jeremy Irons and be invited by such an actor-and so good looking! Wow! Everytime you see that outfit, you think of this story. And then there is John Cullum-you made the better choice by far. kam

Linda Phillips said...

I don't like that he was touching you and was so brazen. I'm glad you did not meet him.

I do love him as an actor though.

Grannynomi said...

He was (still is?) always very sexy with a hint of menace. I remember him from "Brideshead Revisited."

john chatterton said...

I friended you because Facebook says we have a lot of friends in common. Little did I know the circles in which you moved! A fascinating and sexy story.... Has dramatic potential.
I produce Off-Off-Broadway theatre festivals: the Midtown International Theatre Festival, the Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival, and the Short Play Lab. Very much a matter of squeezing a few drops out of every opportunity. And I'm starting a theatrical insurance business, Broadway Insurance.
I hope we stay Facebook friends, and some day I meet you in person

Anonymous said...

Wow what a story, I am so glad i met you, life is for the living and the living need a heart beat as well as passion. You have lived your life to the brim. I hope Mr Cullum is not reading because i think you did him :-)Romeo. There are two lessons i learned from this story, from Romeo BE BOLD, his confidence approaching you like that is amazing and intriguing.

You may or may not enjoyed that spur of attention which was lacking at the time due to distance and work from your marriage, but i think you were basking in that little possibility. WORKING HARD pays the ultimate price but also comes with a lot of character testing. Cherish your moments they are worth remembering.