Newark’s Scott F. Mason, a writer, director, producer and performer, has won a Bistro Award in New York City for his unique talents and portrayal of Dame Edna. This highly coveted award is given to those who have strutted their style as cabaret artists. Scott, who is theatrically familiar to many in Delaware, has an artistic resume’ that spans over 35 years.
Scott, you won a Bistro Award this year for your witty writing and sassy comebacks as Dame Edna, a character made famous by the late Barry Humphries. What was the impetus to recreate this eccentric matron?
I was struck by the outlandish Dame Edna, the wigs, glasses, dresses and jewelry back in the 1980s. At a Halloween party where the theme was to come as the opposite gender of a television character, Dame Edna was easy to put together in short time. That appearance led to a director asking me to do the welcome speech at Chapel Street Players in Newark as the saucy Dame and, as they say, “the rest is history.”
I emulated Barry’s style and clever commentary, honing those skills in many theater venues here in Delaware and nearby states. I’ve been a professional Dame Edna impersonator now for over 20 years. In 2010, amongst dozens of others in New York sporting rhinestones and sequins, I auditioned to be Dame Edna’s “honorary understudy” for Barry Humphries as part of the promotion for his latest show (with Michael Feinstein), All About Me, and won that honor.
My name appeared in the New York Playbill for the show. Many actors in New York have spent a lifetime vying for any spot in a New York Playbill, so I feel quite fortunate.
Tell us about your latest award.
This year, at the 38th Annual Bistro Awards, I won a Bistro for Outstanding Comedic Characterization for my NYC debut as the Dame’s understudy in One Dame Funny Night in the nightclub, Don’t Tell Mama, an entertainment mecca for many—Liza Minnelli, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin and Bette Midler, just to name a few—for over 40 years.
Barry Humphries passed away on the day of my last scheduled NYC performance this spring. It was an emotional evening, and at the end I showed a picture of Barry and dedicated the show to him. I will be marketing future shows as a “Tribute” to the real Dame Edna, Barry Humphries.
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Didn’t you spend some time in Las Vegas?
I was there four different years to attend the Celebrity Impersonator Conventions. In 2010, I won The Reel Award for Best Comedian, an award that recognizes an impersonator who impersonates a comic. As the Dame, I was also the co-host for the event that year. The Reel Awards were featured in a CBS Sunday Morning News Show that year. I won the award again in 2012.
What else is on your resume?
I’m in the Sunburst Professional Impersonators Hall of Fame as “Funniest Male” along with some other awards from their annual conventions. I was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary short subject Just About Famous. In 2009 I received a Tribute from the Delaware House of Representative for my dedication to the cultural arts in Delaware.
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Your work in theater is well known in Delaware. How many hats have you worn?
Many of them: playwright, director, actor, set decorator and producer from community theater to opera to dance and in almost every theater in the state. I’ve written over 25 plays, directed more than 75 and have performed over 100 different roles for community and regional theater. This past December marked my 37th appearance in Delaware Dance Company’s annual The Nutcracker ballet and my 31st year playing the iconic Drosselmeyer.
Anything new and exciting in your future?
I am continuing to develop the work I do with my company, F-ervescent Productions, LLC , which includes my Dame appearances, creating murder mystery events, providing workshops and other artistic endeavors. On another note, I’m moving my favorite theater, Chapel Street Players, to a new location…but that’s another story.