JMcD: (lets out a scream) You'd better stop! (convulses in laughter)
TM: I have to ask. I saw that production of Applause that you both did out at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
JMcD: I'm sorry.
TM: I actually had a good time, because I had never seen a professional production of the show before.
JMcD: You still haven't!
TM: Okay. Let's move on to the next diva. Dixie Carter?
JMcD: What a sweet lady. A gentle woman. I love her.
TM: Carol Burnett?
JMcD: Carol is a dear friend. While she was here doing Putting It Together, we got to see one another quite a bit. She's a real "bud" to me; we talk often. But I did pinch myself when I invited her out to my house in the country for lunch last year. I went inside to freshen our drinks, and I was like, "Carol Burnett is sitting by my pool!"
TM: Now, what about Tyne Daley?
JMcD: I'm so glad we skipped over Stephanie Powers! (laughs) Tyne is another great lady, and a hard worker. She worked her ass off when we did a production of Ballroom together in L.A.
TM: Naturally, I have to conclude with Rosie O'Donnell--the woman who, I guess, has changed your life.
TM: Give us a few words about Rosie.
JMcD: She's the kindest, most supportive, one of the truest friends I have. And I think it's a mutual support system going on. It's very, very special. I wouldn't change it for the world.
TM: What has it been like for you to evolve over the last couple of years into a celebrity? Are you always recognized in public now, or do you still have some degree of anonymity?
JMcD: You know, once in a while I feel like I'm slipping into anonymity, and then the celebrity sneaks up behind me. I had dinner not too long ago at a restaurant with a friend of mine. At the end of the meal, the waitress came over and said "We just want you to know that we love your show, and we're so thrilled you're here." Then she said, "That gentleman over there didn't believe it was you, but we told him it was." So this whole thing had been going on in the restaurant, and I didn't even know it. People were aware that I was there, which is so odd for a music director. It's not something I could ever really dream up for myself.
TM: How do you balance the fame with your image of yourself?
JMcD: I don't think about it much. Rosie and I have a very similar outlook on the show: We realize that it has a far-reaching impact but, when we're doing it, it feels like it's just us and 120 of our close friends. I mean, the audience is quite small. It's very intimate, and Rosie and I talk back and forth just like we were in an office or a restaurant. You know, if you start to think about the fact that there are millions of people watching and listening to you, it can be a little creepy. So we kind of keep it to what it is, and we're just ourselves. We get excited about the show, but we don't get nervous anymore. It's fallen into a very comfortable morning hang.
TM: What's next on the horizon for John McD?
JMcD: I just started talks with a major artist to produce an album for her; I can't really say who it is yet, because it's just in the planning stages. And Rosie's hosting the Tonys again, so I'll probably work on the opening number for that with her. We're going to be doing numbers from lots of Broadway shows on our show leading up to the Tonys; I think we'll have one every day leading up to awards.
TM: Will you have time to take a vacation at some point?
JMcD: I'm going to Tahiti in June for a couple weeks. I've never been, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll just put my feet up and...
TM: ...sip on something cool?
JMcD: (laughing) Yeah!