Elaine Stritch – A Legend

STRITCH-2-obit-articleLarge The dear and talented Elaine Stritch passed away last week. Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my blog after 10 months to find this post I had been working on. I usually have 4 to 5 posts in my drafts folder but this time it was only this one. A bare draft of only a title and two clips of this legendary performer.

This feels like a sign. I have been thinking for months of reuniting with my blog to share with (all three of) you some of the people, places and things that have been making their way into my mind and soul, changing how I think and how I want to live. From the very beginning Elaine Stritch was one of those things.

This puts a smile on my face. It feels like things might be aligning. Perhaps my intuition isn’t that bad. Perhaps I should listen to it more often instead ignoring it over the drone of everyone else’s thoughts on Twitter and Instagram (I am too in love with it).

I think this post about Ms. Stritch will be the first of a series of posts. A series of people who have made a deep impact on my thoughts, my heart and my actions. Even if I’ve never met them, even if you think it’s silly, I’ll tell you about them. I’ll own it, and I will celebrate everything they offer me. I truly feel you never know what can happen if you just put it out there into the universe. I think Elaine would approve :)

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I Want To Go To There – NYC

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New York City – I want to go to there. I saw this picture on Tumblr and I immediately almost started crying. It was that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach but at the same time it’s in your throat, and if you try to speak you know you will break down. I’m not sure what that says about me or my feelings about NYC since last night I cried at ‘Ice Age – Continental Drift’, but I digress.

I think what struck me about this picture is that it captures a moment in time when you’re young, you have little to no responsibility, you can call up a friend, who clearly also has nothing much to do, and you both board a greyhound for a weekend in the city. In my case it’s a 12 hour bus ride, but if we were lucky we got one of our parent’s cars and we could make it down there in 10 hours tops!

A memory is coming back to me….there were 4 of us and we might have been cutting it a bit close. We left Toronto at about 10am and we were trying to get to NY before an 8pm curtain of a broadway show. We made it in time, but barely. Those little adventurous moments are the kind I live for (in moderation), and my friends never disappoint! However, it’s all fun and games until someone gets me to a broadway show late. Especially a show by Stephen Sondheim. Remember that lesson.

NYC has held a special place in heart for many, many years, and now that my moving there is pretty much a done deal I find myself reflecting on how it all started. When did I suddenly become obsessed with the city that never sleeps? I love sleeping, so that part of it isn’t even that appealing to me. Besides, NYC is full of people, and I hate big crowds. Sometimes on the subway people make eye contact with me and I’m sure they’re about to spit in my eye. The germaphobe in me finds the thought terrifying. Renting an apartment costs more than I will ever be worth…so that’s not it either. None of these things ever enter my mind when I tell people why I NEED to live there. I guess I’m just really amazing at spinning a story that works for my purposes. I’m an actor, after all. I can act like I love EVERYTHING about NYC and maybe I’ll believe myself. Those acting classes don’t cost a fortune for nothing (especially in NY)!

The longest period of time I’ve spent down there is 3 months. I did that two summers in a row, actually. Looking back on it there were moments that I definitely hated. If I think really hard and I let myself remember I recall crying every day for the first week of my very first 3 month stint. I had no money, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was living in a tiny room in an apartment with 3 other girls whom I’m pretty sure were all clinically insane. It also didn’t help that it rained every single day and anything I thought to do would have cost money. My parents of course thought I was having the best time because that’s what I told them. Thankfully, the skies cleared, and so did my crappy mood, and I quickly made lots of friends and wonderful memories. Every trip since then has been amazing. I mean, life’s never perfect so neither were my trips, but they were amazing enough that I could make myself believe they were perfect!

I don’t know what it is but I love the vibe of that city. I love the architecture, I love the streets, and I love the people. New Yorkers are not mean or rude, I just think they’re focused on a goal and they’re not interested in people that will get in their way. Tourists, unfortunately, are usually in the way. I have gotten so much help and good vibes from strangers in that city that I will defend them to anyone. Try me.

As I sit here right now typing this I am a nervous wreck. What if this move that I’ve been wanting for so long doesn’t actually happen? Even worse, what if it does and it’s nothing like I expected? Am I THAT good of an actor/liar that I can convince myself everything’s ok? Will I die alone of malnutrition and loneliness in my little corner of the studio apartment I share with 5 other girls because I decided to go see ‘Matilda’ instead of buying any food for a month straight?? Oh, did I mention I’m really dramatic sometimes. Surprise!

Ok, I know it will never be that bad, but I write this in an effort to put out into the universe the idea that this will be a whole new wonderful chapter in my life. I hope it brings me great adventures, lots of inspiration, and an embarrassing amount of new friends and experiences. I want to be able to walk down the street, to work, to brunch, to a show, and feel lucky and excited every step of the way. I want to create a life for myself that I am proud of, excited about, and that I can become successful at. MY idea of success, that I will not compare against any ideal or expectation set by anyone. A success that will allow me to bring along my friends and family, and give me the freedom and opportunity to help out as many people as I can along the way.

As I read this back it sounds like I have my s**t together much more than I actually do! I don’t, but if I write it, and I believe it, maybe it will come true! I read ‘The Secret’ once and that has something to do with it, right? (mental note to pull that book out again, and not tell anyone).

Dear NY, I don’t know what it is about you, or when it started, but I am in love. There, I said it.

The Reason I Love ‘In The Heights’

 

This pretty much says it all. Lin Manuel Miranda is the Latin Sondheim.

Allison Janney For President

Toronto International Film Festival 2011

Ok. Not literally, people. Come on, the woman doesn’t even like politics. She doesn’t trust it (neither do I. Except Obama, of course). When I say ‘Allison Janney For President’ I mean it symbolically. As a compliment paid to a distinguished artist who is making the world a little better through her art and her life.

Truth be told, I stole that line from my sister. I did not stop laughing for hours after hearing her say ‘Anita For President’, in response to my friend Michelle’s portrayal of Anita in 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. My sister was so taken with that performance that she just believed Anita was real was going to conquer the world one Jet at a time. It also helped that, as a person, Michelle is the coolest girl around.

That’s how I feel about Allison Janney. Forget the fact that she played one of the most powerful and memorable characters on television (CJ Cregg). Or the fact that she transforms herself for every role (think Drop Dead Gorgeous or Juno). Or even the fact that she stands out even while sharing screen time with some of hollywood’s greatest, like Meryl Streep. The really outstanding thing is the honesty and humanity she brings to everything she does. That’s the part that makes people think they know her, love her and want to be like her.

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Call Me Maybe – West Side Story Edition

This is why I love these people.

This is the 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story with their take on Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’. This song has taken over, and this is one of many youtube videos dedicated to the catchy tune.

After a long and hard day yesterday I was so happy to get home and find this on my facebook. It put such a smile on my face to see some dear friends and some seriously funny and talented people.

I expect another video from Japan, friends!

The Cast of ‘Anything Goes’ is Beautiful.

There are moments when I think the theatre community at large is full of crazed ego maniacs who make dumb choices based on silly ideas and negotiations. I ask myself why I’m in a business that treats me like a dollar sign, an object and a pawn. I think about all the skills I have, the education, and wonder why I don’t just get up and do something else! Start my own business, work for a worthy cause, or finally start focusing on creating a family of my own.

Then a video like this comes along. It changes my whole perspective and gets me out of my rut. in the few minutes it took me to watch this, within the first 10 seconds actually, I was reminded of the power of art. Of song and dance. That power, mixed with passionate people and great talent, really does have the ability to change the world.

In my moments of frustration I try to remember that the theatre community, as crazy as we are, is continuously spreading a message of love and light. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

I saw Anything Goes on Broadway last year. I can confirm that this is an incredibly talented group of people. It’s nice to see that they are also eager to spread a positive message and share the magic of heart and music.

Let me end this by saying that Joel Grey is perhaps the cutest thing since my grandfather.

Enjoy the magic.

Everybody

Quote

Everybody’s got the right to be happy,
Don’t be mad, life’s not as bad as it seems,
If you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height,
Everybody’s got the right to their dreams.

Stephen Sondheim (Assassins)