Ron Onesti: Backstage questions
You ask 'em, I'll get them answered!
"I know you had Kevin Costner at The Arcada. What does he do and what kind of a guy is he?" -- Tina B., Carol Stream
Kevin Costner has a country band called Modern West. He reunited with some college buddies he used to play with at the suggestion of his wife. They play their own songs, written mostly by Kevin. It's pretty cool because although the songs are not about any particular film he was in, many were written while waiting for his scene on location in a trailer and represent his feelings at that moment. He is a very humble and fun guy, with a dry sense of humor. Soft-spoken, he is a regular-guy who loves to just "fade into" a crowd. When I told him it was partially because of the "If you build it, they will come" line in his film "Field of Dreams" that I actually decided to take on The Arcada, he teared up and thanked me for sharing that his film made a difference in the history of the theater.
"Do you know if it is Bret Michaels' real hair or is it extensions he hides with that bandanna?" -- Michelle T., Bloomingdale
Wow! That's a good question! I have worked with Bret on many occasions, and I have seen him without the bandanna. I do know he had an accident a while back that caused a scar he tries to hide with the bandanna. His close circle tells me that, although he has done many things with his hair, currently those are his blonde locks!
"The new singer from the band Kansas is a local guy from Chicago, I think. Did he actually audition? -- Jimmy W., Chicago
This is such a cool "American dream" story. Ronnie Platt, the new lead singer for Kansas, was a local truck driver and weekend-warrior-slash-singer in the '70s rock cover band ARRA. Steve Walsh from Kansas retired and a national search for his replacement ensued. ARRA had opened for Kansas a few years back at a festival, so Ronnie sent the band a note reflecting his interest in auditioning. The band remembered him, recalling his great talent and stage presence. A couple of days later Ronnie flew to meet the band to determine whether there was "chemistry." They hired him on the spot and in just a few days he went from truck driver to international rock star!
"Really, you had 'I Dream of Jeannie' by you? She is my FAVORITE!" -- Shelly K., Morton Grove
Barbara Eden announced a speaking tour to talk about her career as a television and film star. I JUMPED all over this! I even got the opportunity to interview her on stage! She was so sweet, and even carries a replica of the famous bottle used on the television program. Did you know the original bottle was a Jim Beam liquor bottle? She had the most controversial navel in the biz! It was exposed the first two seasons but by season three, it started getting some attention so NBC said "Cover it up!" She was also pregnant during season one, requiring the need for more veils and close-ups!
"Was Joan Rivers as arrogant as she appears on TV?" -- Stephen H., St. Charles
Joan was extremely sweet and a true pro. We shot her last stand-up television special at The Arcada. She came in, was very nice and inquisitive about the theater's history, and immediately took charge. She became involved in everything: the set design, the music, the audience and the script. She was a bit crude at times, but as she put it, "It's what they came here for. If they didn't, then 'blank' them!"
• Ron Onesti is president and CEO of The Onesti Entertainment Corp. and The Historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Celebrity questions and comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.