A Q&A with the fabulous Scott & Patti

CL chats with the mother-son cabaret duo. See them perform at GASP! Friday night.

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COURTESY OF AMERICAN STAGE
  • COURTESY OF AMERICAN STAGE

Actor, singer, dancer, drag performer and emcee to fit your every need, Matthew McGee is fresh from a successful run in Stageworks' The Divine Sister and recovering from a broken nose and fractured elbow caused by overzealous canines.

Not to be deterred, McGee is at it again with actor/performer Scott Daniel in an all-new rendition of their popular cabaret gig, The Scott & Patti Show: Love Will Keep Us Together, debuting at American Stage one night only tomorrow night. Their show is rife with bon mots, saucy jokes galore, sequins, tacky hit song parodies, bouffant wigs and “cringe-inducing audience participation.”

The duo’s lounge act stars McGee as Patti, an Ethel Merman-like stage mom who’s a force to be reckoned with, and Daniel as her son, whose star is on the rise (if his dear old ma doesn’t muck things up). McGee and Daniel have performed as the duo at freeFall and other arts venues throughout Tampa Bay. 

A little background info on the actors: Daniel came into this world as a Brit and now resides in St. Pete. He has been traveling and performing nationally and internationally for the past 15 years in the national tours of Cirque Dreams and Footloose, and has been a featured vocalist for luxury cruise lines. He's a member of Actors Equity and has also become a sought-after director/choreographer and designer for regional and educational theaters across the country.

Georgia native McGee has numerous stage appearances, voice-overs and commercials to his credit and has become a familiar face in the Tampa Bay theater scene. He  won a Jeff Norton Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Dr. Frank 'n' Furter in The Rocky Horror Show at American Stage in the Park. McGee's day job is Community Outreach Director at  freeFall Theatre Company

But it's Scott and Patti whom CL wanted to get to know. Lucky for us, the illustrious duo made time between engagements and Patti's hair re-dos to divulge tawdry secrets about their past and reveal what led them to the stages of Tampa Bay. 

CL: You hark back to Captain and Tennille with your show title, "Love Will Keep Us Together." Has love kept you together? Was your bond recently put to the test? Or do you just love that song? Or both?

Patti: The bond between a mother and son is never stronger than when it is played out on stage in front of a large group of strangers.

Scott: I think our true fans would know the answer to this. In our original production of The Scott & Patti Show at freeFall Theatre Company, I was tired of the way Mother treated everyone. The band had quit because of her offensive comments, and her drinking had pushed me away.

Patti: That’s a fucking lie! I had oral surgery at the time, and was having a severe reaction to the Novocain.

Scott: At the end of the original show-

Patti: But wait…

Scott: Mother, let me finish!

Patti: But!

Scott: At the end of the original show, I was leaving to sing on cruise ships in Rio. Well, needless to say, I did not leave and I know it was the unconditional love for my mom that kept us together. Mother has been behaving herself lately… for now.

Scott, what was your childhood like? Did you get to play with kids your age? At what age did you go into show business? What was your breakout role?

Patti: Scott always played with boys his own age. Remember when you went to visit your dearly departed uncle Michael Jackson? He would spend weeks on Neverland Ranch. Remember that, dear? What? Too soon?

Scott: I think I can handle this question, Mother dear. My childhood was an interesting one, not too different from my godmother Liza Minnelli’s. Mother's Broadway career was over after her torrid affair with Jerry Herman, so she starting working the regional theater circuit and brought me along for the ride. Granted, she would always tell her co-stars that I was her older sister’s [Tuna Melt's] son. She claimed she was much too young to have a boy my age. She made me call her Auntie Patti until I was 18.

Patti: Wait a minute… Oh, no that is true.

Scott: There were other kids in Mother’s productions that I got to play with, but they were all child actors on the fast track to becoming stars. None of them stuck around for too long.

Patti: Loved that Kirk Cameron! He played Winthrop in my bus-and-truck of The Music Man. Cute kid! He’s a real Bible-thumper now.

What was your breakout role, Scott? 

Scott: Once, when I was about 8 or 9, Mother was playing Miss Hannigan in a production of Annie in Flagstaff, Ariz., I had gotten really close with the cast of young girls. They dressed me up and I would run scenes with them. We had such a blast. Well, the girl that played Pepper was leaving the show early to play Young Eponine in Les Miz on Broadway. I thought this was my chance. I could show the world that I could be a star and step into the show. I showed the director my stuff and convinced him that I was the only choice. He let me do the show, and we both agreed that we don’t tell Momma. I went on that night and it was the greatest feeling in the world. I was PERFECT! So perfect in fact, for the first time in history Pepper received a standing ovation during curtain call. Mother was not pleased with the audience response, and not knowing it was me, she pushed me out of the way as she took center stage.

Patti: Wait a goddamn minute… No, Sorry that’s true.

Scott: My wig fell off and I was revealed. The audience was disgusted with Mother's reaction and they ran us out of town.

Patti: They would have brought the curtain down, but we were doing theater in the round.

Scott: I think it was that moment that she knew there was no stopping me from performing again, and the only way she could gain any credibility was for us to perform together.

Patti, would you call yourself a stage mother? I know it can get competitive out there. Have you had run-ins with other moms?

Patti: I am not a stage mother! Scottie, get Mommy another drink. And make it a double. And while you’re in there, practice those time steps.

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Patti, what was your career like before Scott? Any stories you'd like to share from your showbiz past?

[Patti is snoring. Scott tries to wake her by throwing water in her face.]

Patti: Did a Depends commercial! Good money!!

Did you two ever watch Gypsy starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood? In the film, there's another child who starts out as the star and runs away. Do you have any similar situations here? Any other siblings who've been upstaged or estranged?
Patti: Loved Gypsy! Roz Russell wore two-tone shoes in the finale. Loved Roz Russell. Called her the Lizard of Roz.

Scott: Mother said I had a twin.

Patti: But you devoured him in the womb.

Scott: What?!

Patti: Sorry. I promised your father I would never tell you that. Oops.

Your costumes and hair are fabulous. How much of it is your vision and how much of it involves others, and if so, who?

Scott: Thank you, our act is entirely self-contained, I design and build all of the costumes and style Mother’s hair for every show. Mother is responsible for bookings. She has a ton of contacts from her MANY years on the road. As for the “vision” of the show, the goal is to entertain people. I like elegant things covered in rhinestones. I try to think of an elementary school project. You didn’t have to know what you were doing your project on to get an A. You just had to use as much glitter as possible. No one cared that your project had no substance as long as it was sparkly. That’s what I keep in mind when designing clothes for Mom.

[Patti is snoring again …]

Where's dad?

Patti: No comment!

Scott: My father is Broadway’s Larry Alexander. He’s a well-known performer in Tampa Bay these days.

Patti: Never heard of him!

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