Sunday Night Fever with John Travolta, by Chaz DaBaT

2 April 2014 at 23:34

A Conversation with John Travolta. Presented by Rocco Buonvino.

Time to meet another ICON. Seems to be just another day in

the life of Chaz DaBaT. LOL

But seriously folks. I remember going to a cinema in

Leicester Square to see Grease when it was released,(yes I am that old)  and I remember thinking, what is all the fuss

about? Its just a movie about a some high school in America, how great can it

be? And how wrong could I have been.


I was already a fan of John’s (I call him John now) when I

saw Saturday Night Fever. I remember going straight down to the Empire Disco to

find my boogie feet. (Still looking)

But no one not even John new how iconic these two movies

would become. They have earned their place in cinema history and no one can

deny that.


I actually met John and his wife Kelly years ago but it was

very brief and very forgettable when my friend Hossam was playing with Isaac

Hayes. (That's not the forgettable part)


Well I was excited to meet the man to say the least. We did

not know what to expect.

Rocco, Joe, Anca and I were sat waiting in a hotel lobby

amongst beautiful English countryside surroundings. The Hotel was chosen

specifically by John and when I asked him why so far out of London giving him

extra journey time in and out to the venue etc. He replied that he wanted to be

away from the hustle and bustle of the city when he was not working and just be

in peaceful surroundings. He said “I have been to London many times in my

career I know it well, so when I am working here I just want to chill somewhere

not connected to the city and relax” Could not argue, the hotel was very



While we sat there waiting wondering why he was late (20

minutes) he walked into the lobby from another room connected to it. He opened

his arms to hug Rocco who by the way he had yet to meet but this is the sort of

loving guy he is. We actually almost missed him as he was so unassuming in

casual black attire and hat.

He said, “Have you guys been here all along? I have been

waiting in the other room for you” There was no fashionably late pretentious

icon complex with this guy.

So we both had been waiting for each other in separate rooms.


It was evident as he hugged and greeted us all that this

first meeting was going to go well. We sat down around a table in the

restaurant that was busy getting tables ready for tonight’s Valentines Day

bookings.   Waiters pottering around us trying to sort

their tables out for the big night ahead. John was very focused though. He

listened attentively to every word we said. I noticed that about him first,

when you spoke he looked into your eyes and logged everything you said.  First thing he said was

“this is amazing it does not make sense to me, why would

people pay money just to watch me sit on a chair and talk? It's a first for me,

im not acting singing dancing, yet people are coming to see me”.  Very humble of him to think like that and

mean it.


So while sat down we ran through the various elements of the

day. He kept thanking us for asking him to do this, he was so genuinely nice I

kept thinking I have to be professional about this but my instant reaction is

to hug him. LOL. 


Its very hard when you first meet John, to listen to him

talk and not think of Danny Zuko or Tony Manero, its like who am I talking to

here? The characters have become bigger than the actor. But its only once you

have spent a bit of time with John that the real John starts to creep out. John

the man, the father, the pilot and the person. We spoke about flying and his aeroplane

that he flew in. These things fly themselves these days he said.


Having gone through all the formalities we stood up to leave

and decided to take some pictures to commemorate the moment. 

Me & John

At that point

Johns sisters Ellen & Margaret were introduced to us and you could see that

the loving genuine trait was running through the family blood. What beautiful

young spirited women they are. John adores them and it’s easy to see why and

they adore him.


I discussed with the ladies the various aspects of their

trip as they were making it a sight seeing one. Not staying at the hotel, “we

are out to be tourists” they said. And of course moral support. I could see in John’s

eyes when he was looking at them how much he loves them.


Well as we said our goodbyes there was the odd recognition

form a fan here and there asking for pictures and John was only too eager to

please. He didn't seem phased or bothered.


Stage setting up.

The day of the show was fraught with the usual mayhem but this

time there was added pressure as the BAFTAs were next door and police, security

and Westminster traffic were challenging to say the least. After setting up

screens and props and the usual meetings about security in and out points

before during and after the show were had john arrived at Drury lane, and early

I might add.


The radio communications started franticly beeping again as

they always do, from security, house people and our backstage team. I like to

keep things in the family so our runners were my sons Christopher And Theo, my

daughter Sophia and my sisters Kiri and Bobbie too. Kiri was already on the

case and walking around the theatre taking a tour with John on the history of

the oldest Theatre in London., He then went to a private room to get ready to

greet the VIP guests as they were arriving.


John took pictures and shook hands. I get a radio call from

my Kiri to say that Johns getting a bit flustered with everyone coming up to

him. There were only 30 people but it was continuous and John also had a show

to do. So I made my way to the guest room grabbed him by the hand and said John

I need you backstage now.


I actually did need him backstage, as I wanted to do a last

minute brief with him and also the host Barry Norman. On route I got another

call on the radio to say Barry was a little tired walking back and forth from

the various rooms and was resting in his dressing room.

I asked John if he would not mind having the meeting in

Barry’s room and he said of course and was most understanding and concerned

about Barry.

In Barry's dressing room.


We sat in the dressing room with Barry & John, after

going through show times and cues etc., Barry asked if there are any questions

that he wanted to avoid. John said, ask what you like. John & Barry

starting talking about movies and directors and Johns career. The interview

started in the dressing room, but this time the audience was just Kiri and I.

It was surreal reacting and being involved in what looked like a personal TV

interview live before our eyes. It’s like jumping into the TV and talking to

them. We talked about Tarantino and movies John liked or didn't like., we even

spoke about Saturday Night Fever, how amazing is that? (Pinch me)


After the meeting I took John to his dressing room and got

him wired up for sound and let him have a few minutes alone with his wonderful

sisters. Ellen said to me “its wonderful how you have your whole family working

here backstage, it reminds me of our family when we were all at the theatre”.


The show began with a 13minute montage of film clips of

Johns extensive career. While the clip was showing to the 1800 strong audience

John was standing with me and my son Theo. He was so cool and un-phased by what

was about to happen. So much so that Theo was telling John about the part he

played in the school production in Hairspray namely Corney Collins, and John

said, “Yea I can see that, you look like a Corney Collins,” Then Theo gave him

some lines from the script and John remembered his and they started acting the

parts out. How fab, they even took a pic backstage. 

Theo & John

We then walked to our

position as the walk from the dressing room to stage was being broadcast live

to the front screen for the audience to see. We go through last minute chit

chat John is still cool as a cucumber while my sister Bobbie who is supposed to

be camera cable person starts to dust off his jacket, LOL., “Let me dust you

off john” she says while he actually wiggles his bum, “I know what your doing,

am I good to go” He says.

“you’re good” she says, trembling. I give the cue to go.

I give the word to go.


The show was a great success., A few cues and technical issues

but they were quickly ironed out. John was a delight to watch. He was very

frank and candid, even when he was taking polite punches by an old Barry Norman

but a fully clued up one. In the Q&A he even got people on stage to dance

with him. Everything was totally unrehearsed yet John made it feel normal and

timed. After the interview and the audience Q&As, John’s sisters bring a

cake on stage with Rocco the promoter of the show and Joe Ricotta one of the


Rocco, John's sisters & Barry with the whole audience sing to John a Happy Birthday.

John took his applause to a

standing ovation and waved goodbye to the audience with the tune of “We Go

Together” from Grease.

He came off stage still dancing and the audience were still

clapping. My whole family were dancing off stage watching John and when John

saw them he grabbed them all and pulled them on stage, “come on come on, lets

dance” he said pulling them on. My guys totally not dressed for the occasion

and unrehearsed all of a sudden were on stage in the west end with Icon John Travolta

singing and dancing to “We Go Together”, life does not get much better than


They went together


John euphoric form the evening went to his room and then

quickly to the VIP room for some last pics and autographs.

After show end proceedings finished for the production crew

we then went to Join John who was with Rocco, Anca and Joe at ‘Nonnna’s

Kitchen’ for food and merriment.

John sat at a table thoroughly enjoying the Sicilian cuisine

at the newly opened restaurant by Joe Ricotta. He had a marvellous evening.

Joe also organised another birthday cake for John.

Christopher and Theo my sons sung a song for John too. 

The family & John & Nonna's Kitchen.


When John had to leave he still had time to stop for people wanting

to take pictures and have autographs signed. I sat briefly with him in-between

courses and he told me that he had a wonderful time. We spoke a little about

the show, the food and the people around us, we even discussed the various ice-cream

flavours he should try.  I would love to

have him as a friend to go out and chill. He is that kind of guy, very real and

down to earth. You don't meet people like that often in the normal world let

alone in Hollywood.   I am very fortunate

to have spent time with John, and I would do it again at the drop of a hat. On

reflection I have to say stardom and icon aside, I think John is one of the

nicest guys I have ever met.

You can see the boys singing here.