Things are happening over here at the Brooks and I have had hardly any time to truly just sit down and catch you all up, lately. I’m striving to be better at this! Here’s my attempt to catch up you all up.
We officially opened on Broadway September 27th (with like, 25 Broadway debuts in the cast!). We had our normal two-show Sunday schedule that day and it was crazy. I didn’t even make it out to the Broadway Flea Market that morning because I was on a hunt for better heels (an actual, serious concern) for my Opening Night outfit and I was curling my hair in Stage Management during the matinee with no shame. It was hectic and exciting and happening for everybody at the Brooks. Celebs were arriving, press was setting up their cameras for the step-and-repeat (the thing that celebs do when they walk the red carpet and have to be interviewed) and the after-party next door was already in preparations for later that night.
The energy in the theatre for our official opening performance was so electric and contagious. I don’t think I’ll soon forget that feeling. We had so many important people come out for the night and I only actually saw a handful of them at our afterparty at Copacabana later. Nicole was my plus one and I’m so glad I had her to navigate that party with! (All of the actors had at least an hour of press/interviews post-show, so they didn’t come out until much much later.) Open bar, unlimited buffet with pastas on pastas, stellar music DJ-ed by these two quirky guys in matching hipster nerd outfits (They played several Prince songs, j’approve – as well as MMMBop and Jesus Christ Superstar. I’m ACTUALLY obsessed with Broadway afterparties, now.) Nicole found Nyle DiMarco at the bar and brought him back to our table so I could interpret for her/meet him also. That was wild. I also was able to spot Ben Splatt, Hamilton cast members, some OBC Spring Awakening actors and the voice of Bee-Bop from Inside Out (he mistook Nicole for Krysta Rodriquez, our Ilse, and started congratulating her on the performance. Haha!). I was told Taran Killam, T.R. Knight, and Jon Groff were there, also – but they were hidden in the massive sea of people. Things I learned about myself that night: when I get drunk in the presence of Deaf people, I will start signing song lyrics in their entirety while dancing. Also, the more drinks I have, the higher my voice becomes. Yiiiiiikes. Woo girl to the extreme! The party was over shortly after 2 AM – and we all were just getting started, it felt like – so we all headed out to a bar and stayed out until about 4 AM. My sleep schedule has been so thrown off since I’ve arrived here, ha!
One thing I’ve been learning at the Lottery and Stage Door is how… interesting fan interactions are. While they are absolutely exciting, contagious and encouraging – you have to be so careful. For me a person, I’ve always strived to be honest and truthful in all my interactions – I don’t like being anything but authentic. I’m always so game to answer questions about sign language, Deaf Culture, and the show itself – but the conversations almost always quickly turn into “give me information about the actors” and then I get uncomfortable. I’ve been learning how to create a healthy yet firm boundary when these conversations get weird like this – but man! This was definitely unexpected.
Also, watching all these fan conversations at Stage Door have been eye-opening. (This coming from a girl that used to stage door back home, mind you.) Some fans actually scream when the actors come out, some try so hard to be memorable in the hopes of being real friends, some fans actually bring huge things of bagels, cookies, candy to the Stage Door for the actors, lots of beautiful drawings (actually the sweetest thing), but I think the most important thing I like to focus on is how many of them are learning sign language to communicate with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing actors! Josh (Ernst) taught some phrases on Andy’s Vlog of Purple Summer on Broadway.com (you should watch if you haven’t been, you might see me – and it’s fully captioned!) and I see so many of the fans use them! “Do you mind if we take a picture?” “Can you sign my program?” “Great show!” and the occasional “Are you single?”, haha. Some fans are also very nervous to try to sign and I just want to hug them and tell them that any attempt to try is deeply appreciated – they’re not expecting perfection! The weirdest thing I’ve interpreted so far would have to be a fan asking Josh if he could propose to him when he was ready, lol.
We’ve been getting some AMAZING reviews, particularly the New York Times review. We’ve actually posted the entire review outside our theatre, instead of just taking some memorable quotes from it. That’s pretty bomb to see. People are still leaving the theatre just in awe of what just happened on our stage and TRUST ME, I’m still pinching myself. I get to see this incredible moment in time, I get to contribute to the accessibility of it all and I’m thankful a hundred times over. I always had a gut feeling I’d make my way out here, and to realize that I’m truly in the middle of a dream of mine coming true is rad as hell.
Dear reader: PLEASE FOLLOW YOUR DREAM. I don’t care how crazy it is, how far away it feels, how insane it sounds when you say it out loud – follow that small and steady yearning for something more. You are capable of so much more than you realize and not just created to live an easy life. Just DO IT! (insert Shia LaBeouf here). For example, I can vividly remember the summer of 2011 and the time I spent on Project in South Carolina and these two specific moments. The first one was when a guy I knew from Bethel was talking really loudly about ASL and how it “wasn’t useful anymore” (LOL). My friends immediately looked to me and were anxious to see what I would respond with and I prepared to drop some truth on him. “ASL is absolutely useful” I said, and he spun around to me and responded with “Prove it” – to which I then said “My parents are Deaf” and I WISH I could have taken a picture of his face. He immediately backed off and tried to apologize. Whatever. Then like, a week later – we were out on a room/group date, I think (#projectproblems) and a guy asked me what I wanted to do after college. I was kind of annoyed with the small talk, so I just boldly said that I wanted to work on Broadway and he then responded by laughing at me. Whatever! My point is, it doesn’t matter what people choose to say to you about what is and isn’t important – you do you. Do the things you feel passionately about, the things that come naturally and authentically to you. I’ve always loved the concept of how our true calling in the world is where our skills and passion line up with what the world needs.
And with that tangent, I must bid you farewell. If you guys want any specific insight on anything in particular – let me know! I’m picking up on a great deal of the business side of theater just because I’m in the Company Management/Stage Management room so much. It might be fun to have some themes to write about instead of just gushing to you all of my unfiltered thoughts. Who knows.
Hope you all are doing well!