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The Jesus Christ Superstar concert at the Winery was an enormous success. It was great performing alongside some incredible talent for an extremely appreciative audience…of mostly non-thespians. Which is the best. The best compliment any of us can receive is someone saying, “I don’t usually go see live theatre, but now I’m going to!” (AWESOME shit non-thespians say.)

On that note, I just have to say that theatre hipster snobs need to stop pretending that Andrew Lloyd Webber isn’t awesome. So what if he’s “mainstream?” THAT IS A GOOD THING. ALL MUSICAL THEATRE SHOULD BE MAINSTREAM. The more mainstream it is, the more we work, and the more people appreciate the work we do! Plus, can anyone listen to “This Jesus Must Die” and NOT get overwhelmed by the utter badassery? Or the 7/8 part of “Heaven on their Minds?” 7/8, man…impossible to breathe, but when it works, it REALLY WORKS. Okay, I’ll stop. </geeking>

Up next, I’ll be joining my friends at Little Radical Theatrics to play Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Show dates are April 25, 26 and 27 at LRT’s new home in the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers, NY. Tickets are available here!

I’ve been recording some new songs with Gabe Pressman and Brian Keenan, I have lovely new headshots (by photographer Ben Esner and stylist Jacqueline Cookson), and I got my first SAG-AFTRA waiver working on a new Starz series. That means if 300 of you buy one of my albums before I get my next two waivers, I’ll be able to pay my initial membership dues immediately, and then I’ll feel all high and mighty.

So that’s the 2014 update thus far. Happy April! Thank goodness it’s getting warmer. I was getting sick of waking up to single-digit temperatures.

But, even if you’re not fat, if you’re a woman, you’re probably still so caught up with your toxic weight shit that you can’t even see straight. During my working life I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been part of these ridiculous workplace group diets. Almost all of the participants have been women. Sometimes they even try to bribe one another with money. They all put in ten dollars on the first week and whoever loses the most wins the pool at the end of 4 months, or whatever it is. Look, I’m like you. I’ve done it too. And at a perfectly normal, healthy weight I’ve done it. All because of a sick, shitful, ugly little voice in the back of my head that tells me I ought to be smaller.

And that’s the rub, right there. Exactly why do we want to be smaller? What exactly is the appeal of being smaller? How does it benefit us? Does it make us better mothers? Better students? Better lovers? Better artists? Scientists? Friends? Does it make us more badass badasses?

No, no, no, no, no. You must see that it doesn’t. It doesn’t do anything but make us smaller.

Babies and puppies are small. So are dimes and Skittles. You’re a fucking woman. A woman! You are entitled to occupy as much fucking space as you like with your awesomeness, and you better be suspicious as fuck of anybody who tells you differently.
Why, ladies? Why must we continue to whittle ourselves down? Who is it for? What is it for? You can walk through a certain aisle at the pharmacy or at the grocery store and see the language of diminishment all over the packaging for weight loss aids of all kinds. “Shrink your waist.” “Lose inches off your thighs.” “Slim down.” “Get skinny.”

How about “Grow your mind.” “Increase your confidence and productivity.” “Beef up your knowledge.” “Enlarge your scope of asskicking.”

That’s a valid message for women and girls: grow, expand, branch out, open up, get bigger, wider, faster, stronger, better, smarter. Go up not down. Get strong, not skinny.

You are not here to get smaller. You are not here to have a thin waist and thighs. You are not here to disappear. You’re here to change the world! Change the fucking world, then! Forget about “losing a few pounds.” Think about what you could be gaining instead.  (via albinwonderland)

Thanks to Tiffany for Facebooking this. It merits re-blogging. Again and again and again.

(Source: clearthatmindofcant)

Why You Can’t Cockblock a Theatre Person: A Cautionary Tale.

Last night after performing in Jesus Christ Superstar, I was sitting at the bar having an excellent conversation with an extremely talented friend of mine whom I’ve known for several years and respect the shit out of as a professional and as a person. It was a very take-it-at-face-value scenario: Theatre people hanging out, drinking wine (which the venue comped because they think we’re famous) and generally being our awesome selves.

A vague acquaintance of his (who was just one of a group of completely plastered women) then proceeded to hijack our conversation to ask him if he could drive her home, before informing us very blatantly that she was trying to “fuck up his game,” and telling me (in a tone of voice that people generally use with misbehaving three-year-olds) that this man had a beautiful wife and children (which, obviously, I already knew) and imploring his friend to “watch him, don’t let him leave with her.” Luckily (sort of), she then left us to tend to her even-more-plastered friend who had just vomited on the couch.

It’s worth noting that all of these “women” were at least in their forties, at least two of them were clearly ACTUALLY trying to screw him, and all of them talked about me like I was some dumb bunny chorus girl who couldn’t hear a word they were saying—which itself is a whole other feminist rant that I’m not going to get into right now.

You might be asking, “What can I take away from this story?” Aside from the obvious fact that people in their forties shouldn’t be getting white-girl wasted in public, the bigger moral is this: don’t ever try to cockblock a theatre person. EVER. You will only look like a fool.

First of all: eighty percent of the time, there are no cocks to be blocked—we’re just THAT much more open and honest and touchy-feely than everyone else, and it’s a damn shame you don’t have the same comfort level in your own skin, but that’s not our problem.

And secondly? When there are cocks to be theoretically blocked? Theatre cocks are unblockable. We are passionate and creative people, and if we want to get laid badly enough, you’d better believe we will find a way to make it happen without giving a rat’s ass what you think.

But in case you’re wondering, my awesome friend drove me home and no sex was had, although many laughs were had.

Headshots, Part II: This Shouldn’t Be Controversial

I am in the midst of participating in a 3-day audition intensive workshop that required us to bring fifteen headshots/resumes. I didn’t have enough prints, so I went out and bought some photo paper, and printed out my own headshots. They looked great. Ok, so the paper was a bit too glossy for my taste—I prefer a totally matte photo—but I mean, it was on sale for ten bucks at Staples, versus a couple hundred at Reproductions with a minimum two-week turnaround. And my inkjet printer is about as good as home printing gets, which is pretty damn good.

But then came the hard part…finding the time to trim these photos to 8x10s, and then cutting my resume to fit them and staple to the back.

Mind you, I didn’t use scissors. I have been notoriously and irreparably incompetent with scissors since childhood. It killed me on my kindergarten report card…sure, I could read at a fourth-grade level and memorize songs and poems better than most adults, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to fucking hold a pair of scissors. To this day, I wrap Christmas presents hideously, I maul any fruit I attempt to properly core, I rarely cut anything into even pieces, and cutting in a straight line is just completely out of the question. Sometimes, in life, you have to accept your limitations, and since my limitations seem to involve anything remotely sharp…I invested in a paper cutter.When I have to affix headshots to the back of the 8x10s that Reproductions printed (and even THEIR dimensions aren’t always exact), I use the cutter, and it works great. To have to actually cut pictures to their “proper” dimension was going to be more challenging. I had to decide which sides to crop, and all 4 of them needed separate and unequal crops. I made small marks with my pen and tried to approximate as best I could, but still, the first shot I took cut off part of my name. The second started off crooked, didn’t make a clean cut, and ended up too short.

And then, a thought hit me. That thought was, “WHY?”

Seriously, WHY? Why is acting the ONLY profession in which we are expected, even obligated, to NOT use normal-sized paper? No one makes 8x10 paper…trust me, I’ve looked. It’s certainly not something you’re going to be able to grab at Staples if you need a bunch of new headshots and you either can’t wait for studio prints or, like 11 out of 10 of us, you aren’t in a position to spend the equivalent of a month’s rent to get them printed.

The response I get is, “oh, but it’s the industry standard, they won’t take you seriously if you don’t conform to it.” Oh, okay. Because apparently the filing cabinets in every casting office are one and a half square inches smaller than filing cabinets everywhere else, and the only way you can secure a space in those files is to have a headshot cut to accommodate those dimensions. Because apparently having a good picture and a solid resume and a solid audition will never book you the job if you have an extra one and a half square inch of resume space. GUYS. COME ON.

When did this become important? In what universe is it worth it for me to spend hours of my time painstakingly cutting paper and photos down to a size that serves no purpose and has absolutely no visual or practical advantage over the 8.5x11 paper that everyone else uses for every other profession?

I’m writing about this because I think it’s one small example of a somewhat obsessive-compulsive mentality that seems to plague us as performers. A certain, “did I sit right, did I stand right, did I blink the right way” attitude that distracts ALL of us from the aspects of the business and the craft that actually matter. The twenty minutes I spent trying to fix two photographs could have been spent doing any number of other things. Time is precious, and our well-being is precious.

So I made the apparently very bold choice to NOT CUT MY HEADSHOTS. To walk into a workshop full of Broadway casting directors with 8.5x11 headshots affixed to 8.5x11 resumes. The edges were clean. Nothing was crooked or missing.

And the result was…the director of the program did notice, but she then agreed with me that cleaner was better, and admitted that the arbitrary rule was stupid anyway. And no one else said anything about it, even though she said they might. I’m not less talented, less professional, or less employable because of it. In fact, I’m better off. Because instead of scrambling for scissors and cutters and staples, I’m focusing on my performance. Instead of worrying about walking or shrugging or blinking the way Bigshots X, Y and Z want me to, I’m focusing on being my best self.

And guess what? That’s what they all say they want. And they mean it. They aren’t the big bad enemy. They aren’t the rulers of the kingdom that we have to marry into. They’re people doing their jobs, and by and large, they view us the same way. They like us a whole lot more than we think they do. They are rooting for us because they want us to make them look good. And they can all live with the extra square inch and a half.

I really should not have had to write this. Honestly.

Mean Girls Day 2013: My Extremely In-Depth Contribution

THE BACK STORY: When I was a college sophomore, my parents suggested that it might be a good idea for me to double-major in something that wasn’t musical theatre. Mostly to humor them, but also because I thought it would be something I might actually enjoy, I decided to try Communication. Had I started a bit sooner and planned a little better, I might have finished the major; needless to say, I was never exactly an academic superstar…but I digress.

The point is…I took Intro to Interpersonal Communication with the marvelous Professor Meredith Marko (now Harrigan), and for our final project, we had to pick a movie, and analyze the interpersonal communication concepts occurring within the film. We had to treat the film as reality, and explain, as a communication adviser, how certain situations might have been handled differently if the film were real.

I chose Mean Girls as my film, since I thought it gave numerous opportunities to touch upon all points of the assignment in rich and interesting ways. Indeed, it ended up being one of the most fun and eye-opening experiences of my academic career, and was also extremely informative to me as an actress (as was the class itself). In fact, the hardest part of writing the paper was deciding what to leave out; I had pare it down significantly in order to fit the page limit.

For a while, I thought this paper was lost in cyberspace on my dead hard drive from college, but I recently uncovered it on one of my trips home, and was reminded of how much fun it was to write—and hopefully, to read. In honor of October 3rd, I’d like to share it with you now. So without further ado, here is…

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