"Welcome to the makeup sex," he said at the start of the show, and I felt a twinge of knowing exactly what he was talking about. Aside from my periodic reunions with Mr. If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right, I've been holding my breath through the strike, terrified for the fate of Pushing Daisies, this beautiful baby bird of a TV show I've been doing. With the strike ended, we are all breathing again and anxious to get back to work this summer. Before I resume shooting the show, I'll spend the spring in New York, shoot a movie in Minneapolis, squeeze in some family time with my far-flung loved ones in Texas, Denver, and Oklahoma, do a concert with the Chicago Symphony, and give a special benefit performance for a friend in Manhattan -- all of which keeps me pleasantly occupied and comfortably distanced from L.A. with all its potential complications and painful reminders.
I make my way backstage in my Jimmy Choos. I'm getting nervous. This doesn't happen to me much anymore. Like everyone around me, I'm a seasoned pro. Stage fright is a thing of the past. But tonight, as I prepare to step onstage, a hollow, little ice cube of doubt forms in the pit of my touchy stomach. I close my eyes. Heavenly Father...
I don't have to say anything else. He knows.
Adding one last dash of adorable to the Enchanted number is Vanessa Williams's little daughter Sasha, so Vanessa is here, helping her get ready. She gives me a good-luck scrunch and tells me, "Sasha's going to be right there when you look at her."
It's good to have another Broadway girl backstage. There's no unnerving a woman who's conquered the pageant circuit and delivered eight shows a week. She's a glam-cat paragon of strength and calm. Sasha's learning early what it took me years to understand. Crew hands hustle out the set pieces. The hunks and I brace ourselves for places.
Jon Stewart catches my eye.
"You're going to knock it out of the park," he assures me.
"I feel like I could pee my pants."
Jon smiles at me without a trace of wisenheimer. "Just get out there and do what you do."