Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Things to Look Forward To

Hey, guess what? It's almost spring! I can feel it. I know we've still got a few weeks of cold left, but March is barreling towards us, and I await her with open arms. But aside from spring, there are a handful of things that are making life exciting right now. It's especially nice to have all of these sunny things to look forward to after the post-show doldrums of Beau Jest ending. Here's what's on the docket for the next few months:

In a few hours, I'm getting on a plane to meet my sister and her girlfriend, and my mom and stepdad in southern California. We'll spend two days running around Disneyland, and I can't wait. My sister and I have been texting each other countdowns to this day for the last month and a half.

Then, the following weekend, Jacob and I and a few friends will be heading up to Rexburg to see our incredibly talented friends and family perform in BYU-Idaho's production of Antigone. It's been an awesome experience for those involved, and I'm excited to see the final product. Oh, and that weekend, we also get to watch the Oscars. And you know how much I love the Oscars.

And THEN, the weekend after THAT, Jacob and I are going to New York City for a whirlwind weekend. Jacob made it to final callbacks for The New School (did I mention he's auditioning for grad schools?), and even though we're not sure how we could afford moving to New York, it seems foolish to throw away this chance, so he's going. And since I was free, I decided to go with him. I'm planning on spending every day trying to see shows (lottery for Hamilton--I wanna be in the room where it happens), and possibly wandering the Met, while Jacob auditions.

Sometime in the spring, I'll be going to Germany to visit Dad and Mary. I had a big Europe tour planned, but I don't think the timing is right. I may try to make a weekend trip to Paris, but my epic two-week excursion will have to wait.

And when I return from Germany, it will be time (appropriately enough) to begin rehearsals for Cabaret. I just got cast in Utah Repertory Theatre's upcoming production. I'll be playing Frenchie, one of the Kit Kat Club performers. I haven't played such a dance heavy role in about ten years, and I'm still sore from call-backs on Sunday. But I've got until June to get my rear in gear, and I'm THRILLED to be doing this show. I'll be reuniting with some old friends, and I'm excited to work with some new ones. The show runs from mid-August to early September, if ya wanna come! (Although, fair warning, this is not a Hale-Theatre-Family-Style-Entertainment show. But more details on why I decided to do this show anyway forthcoming.)

What are you looking forward to nowadays?

photo via

Monday, February 8, 2016

Y'all make me giggle

It's been so long since I've done a quote book post! Some of these are over a year old now. I love being surrounded by funny people. Enjoy!

"No matter how many times I hear Elder Christofferson talk, it always takes me a split second to remember that he's NOT Alex Trebek." -- Amanda

Liz: I totally stole that joke from an Anne Sexton poem.
Marshall: Well, if it makes you feel any better, I stole my joke from "Veggie Tales."

"Dude, I love you, but you'd be one f***ed up children's book writer." -- Anonymous high school student in an English class I subbed for

Liz: I told my sister that they did the show "Big River" in Orem, and she as like, "Where did you get black people to do that show?"
Brooklyn: They're called Polynesians.

Roughly two full hours after getting home:
"Speaking of food, that reminds me! I have a burger in my backpack!" -- Jacob

Marshall: I tried being sexy once.
Liz: How'd that go?
Marshall: I hurt my hand.

Riley: This is a dark room.
Murphy: Your butt's a dark room! (long pause) I'm sorry. That was really weird.

"It's hard to go poop when my dress is so FLUFFY!" -- Anonymous little girl, overheard in a public restroom

"I wrote a little Christmas poem, once. About a mouse. Named Andrew." -- Anonymous

"I went to jail once for peeing in an alley. It was my birthday!" -- Overheard on SLC bus

"It's a little cheese-filled egg swaddle!" -- Jacob, commenting on my omelette

Jacob: How's The Mystique?
Brandt: Well, as its name suggests--
Kieffer: It's a brothel.

"It's just nice seeing British men saying things to each other." -- Jacob, on the film "The Imitation Game"

"This is a good-looking dog. If he was a human, he could be in a liquor commercial." -- Anonymous

"Quick! Push your scratchers into my back!!!" -- Jacob's desperate request for a back-scratch

Adam: Which Wednesday?
Riley: The September Wednesday!

"Why was he fired? Was it the combat boots?" -- Ashley

Liz: All of my worst injuries are from theatre.
Riley: All of my worst injuries are from shaving my legs.

"It's a bitch, but, you know...nature." -- Marshall

"I wasn't really tired, so I was hoping that if I read for a while, it would sleep me down a little bit." -- Jacob

"Shut up! Shut up and look at these tiny leggings!" -- Beckah

"I tried to make a Pope hat but I accidentally made a penis." -- Ben A

"I shouldn't have done that. But it's milk under the water bridge." -- Jacob

"My boobs are lighthouses. They're like beacons of hope." -- Ashley

"I figure learning to golf is preparation. Like...I'm gonna be old someday." -- Carson

Me: What are you gonna be for Halloween?
10-year-old: I don't know yet. Maybe a guy riding a turkey?

Liz: Your boyfriends? Plural?
Isha: Yes. The Church has selectively called me to beta test polygamy.

Bryan: Hitler's kids could be anybody, if they changed their name.
Liz: It could be like Shia LeBeouf or something.
Ben P: I had such high hopes for him.
Bryan: Who? Hitler?
Ben P: No. Shia LeBeouf.

"Yes! I got this! I was the primary chorister, bitches!" -- Ben A

Bryan: I respect you, Eric.
Eric: Thank you, Bryan. You're the only one I don't care about.

Jacob: Lemme just spitball this idea with you.
Liz: Spitball?
Jacob: Brain freeze...brain stem...
Liz: Brainstorm?
Jacob: Yeah, brainstorm.

Eric: Make that moment come after the [makes crazy noise].
Liz: Um. How do you spell that?
Bryan: H. h. h. h. h. h...h.

"Carpet just...makes me sad." -- Jacob

"Wait, that's your car, right? Good. I didn't want to hump someone else's car." -- Kieffer

Liz: Whoa. You made that joke so fast.
Jacob: I'm the impala of comedy.

"I've asked Brother ____ to share his experience, and I've given him permission to use one swear word." -- Bishop

"I like falling, but I don't like landing." -- Bryan

Andy: So I see this trash can lid flying through the air--
Liz: Wait. Why was it flying through the air?
Andy: Because I threw it.

"This album sounds like a late night with some whiskey and some light hallucinogens." -- Dave

Liz: Look at the moon right now!
Bryan: It's super spooky! It's all orange and stuff, like a bowlful of bloody cheese.

photo via

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I'm never gonna dance again the way I danced with you

It’s Tuesday, and Beau Jest has been closed for three days. I gave myself Sunday and Monday to mourn, and today is the day I’ve given myself to officially say goodbye to the show. I’ll be ready to move on after today.

Monday was difficult. I knew exactly where my phone and keys were at all times, and it was the worst. When I said or did something funny, the room was mostly silent, and I felt the absence of 600 people’s joy. There was a thrill that was missing from every moment. I stayed in bed until noon.

I think the thing that will stand out in my memories of this show is the playfulness that infused us. We exchanged stories at the cast party. “We didn’t really have many things go wrong,” the THS cast said. I looked at Bryan. “I think we had something happen every single night,” I replied. Bryan breaking the remote, over and over again, and the final night that he caught it mid-air, and stood looking in astonishment at it in his hand. (“I’m sorry…I’m just really impressed that I caught that.” The audience applauded his sportsmanship while I smiled at him, open-mouthed in amazement.) The night Ben and Bryan missed their high five, TWICE, and I sat at the desk and laughed, trying to hide my face. The beautiful, beautiful night when the door-frame broke, and Ben embracing the comedy of it so perfectly, and Betsy and I standing hand in hand, trying to get it together enough to say our lines. I brushed up against that column of light every single night.

After months of rehearsing and performing, the set became comfortable in the way your own apartment does. I will miss the blue couch, it’s velvet brightness and the way I felt comfortable and safe in it. I’d lay on it in Act Two, facing the ceiling and hearing Joel psychoanalyzing, and sit up blinded from the stage lights to look at Bob and say out loud that I wanted to be with him. The yellow ottoman, with its one faint black stain on the side, became “my spot” during rehearsal. At the end of each performance, I could barely stay balanced as I turned and bowed while standing on it. My feet have memorized the distance between the phone and the desk, the couch and the bedroom door, the sideboard and the table.

“Take My Breath Away” and “Don’t You Forget About Me” will forever be Beau Jest songs. And “Careless Whisper.” Always “Careless Whisper.” On closing weekend, Jacob was in New York, and he told me later that he walked out of his hotel to a man playing the saxophone on the street, wailing “Careless Whisper” with all of the enthusiasm of Chris in his turtleneck. He gave him $5, because “he f***ing earned it, man.” I like to think that at the exact same moment, the song was playing in the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley, Utah…a cosmic connection. At the end of intermission, Bryan and I would stand backstage, ready to walk out in the black out, dancing to the Post-Modern Jukebox cover. Some nights Bryan would make up wildly inappropriate lyrics of his own. I would laugh while trying to get the left-over challah out of my teeth, knowing we were about to kiss a half a dozen times and not wanting to have bread in my teeth for it.

I was so nervous about the stage kisses before rehearsals started. But I’ve been baptized by all kinds of fire, and feel more capable as an actress having added the experience to my resume. I spent most of my life believing I wasn’t pretty enough to ever be a “leading lady.” I've come to see my own beauty over the years, but I've never thought of it as "leading lady beauty," and I spent the first few weeks of Beau Jest rehearsals believing that I was cast because I was funny, and that they just chose to live without the pretty. It was astonishing to realize, slowly and gradually, that others saw the pretty, too. I have never felt more beautiful during a show than I did during Beau Jest.

The dressing rooms were emptier during this show than “Oklahoma,” but it didn’t feel that way. Betsy and I would exchange stories while music rang out from my phone, and Ben and Bryan would come stand in the doorway, chatting while we got into makeup. Jerry would join long enough to make a “dad joke,” and Todd would poke his head in to say hello.

I think of everyone’s eyes, the way I learned to read them over the weeks. Their kindness as they asked about my dad, the warmth of their arms around me, the smooth tenderness of their hands as we stood in a close circle every night before the show. I remember the night of the Paris attacks, believing that laughter is the best way to fight terror. I remember nights when my ears and toes were icy with cold, while some of us stood in the parking lot under the stars, talking while the freezing air gathered in clouds around us. I started calling these times “Parking Lot Talks,” and I will miss them as much as I will miss standing in Sarah Goldman’s living room, trying to let her be brave enough to tell the truth.

On that last Saturday, I lingered at the theatre for hours, not wanting to go home, not wanting it to end. We all kept saying, “Let’s do another show together soon,” and I nodded. “Yes please!” I kept replying. I felt the question mark of the next few months loom over me for the first few days after leaving the theatre. But it’s faded into an exclamation point, my heart bursting with gratitude. That last night, as I teetered on the ottoman and bowing my head to 600 people, I thought suddenly, “I can’t believe I got to do this. Someone saw that I could do this.” And it was both a sensation of melting into disbelief, and flying straight upwards in celebration. It was the perfect gift, that moment. This show.