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Al Pacino’s Preshow Ritual Revealed!

Jesse L. Martin left the Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice at the end of last month (the show closes for good on February 20), but he already has pangs of longing for one of his former castmates. “I definitely miss Al [Pacino]!” he told us Tuesday at Second Stage Theatre’s annual All-Star Bowling Classic benefit at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge (where he won the trophy for Most Stylish Bowler). “Every day he’s so committed. He doesn’t call me. But I do miss him. I’m sure he misses me in a way, too. Or at least I tell myself that.” To better get to know the acting legend by proxy, we asked Martin for a fun fact about Pacino. Turns out he has a touch of OCD.

“He’s a big rituals guy,” said Martin. “Certain things have to be done a certain way and if he doesn’t do them a certain way, he has to do them again. He’s very particular.” Martin refused to detail all of Pacino’s rituals, but did tell us about one: “Sometimes before going onstage for his first entrance, there’s several people downstairs in the green room that he has to shake hands with. Not everybody, but it’s usually the same people. I’ve been the guy several times. He just picks two people and walks up and shakes hands and that’s just part of his whole thing. The people change week to week, but it’s always two.” How very befitting of a quirky star. “Well, he’s a little older, so, you know,” said Martin. “We’ve all got our rituals, but he seems to have a lot.”

Photo: Joan Marcus