Every day is grapefruit day.

Today I close another show. This is how this career is… you’re deep in it, totally invested, your whole day leads up to those few hours at the theatre…

And then suddenly it’s over, and you’re unemployed, and you may never seen your castmates, who have become your family, again, or at least for a long while.

It’s a somber moment, and I’m feeling a bit somber today.

Last night, I went up on an entire speech– I froze onstage and literally couldn’t form words; didn’t know where I was– and it really shook me. It was fine, but awful. I forgive myself, because it wasn’t my fault– I know the speech front and back, I was focused and paying attention– I just short-circuited.

That, compounded with the closing of the show, is making today tough. The rain doesn’t help (thanks NYC).

This was so wonderful.

  • We were a New York Times Critics Pick.
  • We got amazing reviews (my work was mentioned)
  • My parents got to see it
  • I got to do Shakespeare!
  • I made some amazing friends and met some remarkable people
  • I got to work off-Broadway, which is a gift in and of itself.

But more is to come, I know. Including a weeklong vacation in July.

And really, you can’t top what we did at the end of our performance on Friday, June 26. The day was already so joyous. Then we did this, and it was the best curtain call ever:

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It’s Movie Christmas!

Anyone who has read here for a while knows that when it comes to awards shows… I KEEP UP.

This morning, Oscar noms came out, and frankly, I’m pretty irritated by the machine of the Academy. Here are some initial thoughts and my picks.

(Disclaimer: I have not seen The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Foxcatcher, Two Days One Night, or Nightcrawler)

BEST PICTURE
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
Birdman
The Theory of Everything
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash
Selma
American Sniper

For my money, Boyhood is easily the best film of the year, and possibly the best film of the last five years. It is simply groundbreaking, subtle, intensely powerful work, and an exploration of the amazing power film has at its disposal. I’m okay with this list, although I think that Gone Girl should be on it.

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Okay, this was a shitty year for actresses. Objectively. Of these, only Moore and Witherspoon were truly leading actresses (in other words, not shared focus with a man). I have no idea what Marion Cotillard is even doing there. I didn’t see Still Alice, but my vote goes to Julianne Moore because I like her a lot. I’m glad Pike got the nom, and Jones did deserve a nom, but really. Just the worst year. My god.

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

BEST ACTOR
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
WTF no Oyelowo? I saw Selma last night and he KILLED. I can’t imagine being a not-particularly-well-known British actor and have the balls to play an American hero. And he just kills it. He was King. Also, this is like the whitest boys band of nominations I’ve ever seen. Seriously! Redmayne was great, and the nom and his GG win was well-deserved. And Michael Keaton WILL and SHOULD win. But Oyelowo, Oyelowo, Oyelowo.

David Oyelowo in Selma

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge
I haven’t seen Foxcatcher or The Judge, so I can’t really say here. I WILL say that it’s a stacked category (funny– no female category is stacked) and of the three performances I have seen, all are deserving. My vote goes with Simmons, because it’s such a major role. However, both Norton and Hawke gave career performances.

JK Simmons in Whiplash

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild
Okay, color me CONFUSED. Where is Carrie Coon from Gone Girl? Where is Emily Blunt (who was better than Meryl) in Into the Woods? And suddenly I realize that there were NO GOOD SUPPORTING WOMEN except for Patricia Arquette. I did not think Stone was awards-worthy, Meryl is just doing goddamn Meryl (which is amazing, but I think we can take a breather maybe), and I didn’t see either Dern or Knightley so what can I say. Ladies, this can’t happen again. This industry can’t keep doing this. GSDLGAFSKJLAS

Carrie Coon in Gone Girl

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Yay to the top three (and tough choice between Boyhood and Birdman— though it should be Boyhood simply because of how ballsy Linklater was). But WHERE is Ava DuVernay for Selma? Seriously? How does a movie nominated for Best Picture NOT have noms for Best Actor or Best Director? HOW? Also, nominating DuVernay would be groundbreaking– the first woman of color to even get a nomination for director. Nope, this year is all about the white men. Also I think Gone Girl is some of Fincher’s best work but apparently no one listens to me.

David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay on the set of Selma

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
I have only one basket in this cart and SHE’S NOT EVEN NOMINATED. I walked out of Gone Girl and was like, “wow, I have never seen a better book to film adaptation than this.” It was fucking brilliant. Adaptations are kind of a precious point for me– I have a lot of opinions about them– and this one was brilliant. Utterly genius. But no, it’s more important to add more white men writing about white men. Did you notice all the writers are white men and all the movies are about white men? Yeah.

L to R: Kim Dickens (Det. Boney), Rosamund Pike (Amy), Gillian Flynn, and Carrie Coon (Go)

Here are some final thoughts:

  • How did The Lego Movie not get a nomination?
  • Why does the Academy hate Gone Girl so much?
  • I’m about to get political, but I kind of can’t bear to see all the accolades for a movie (American Sniper) whose hero is a guy who took enormous pleasure (yes, pleasure) in killing people. I’m sure the movie is fine, but it makes me feel icky. When you put it side to side with something like Selma, I think we should feel icky about which got more noms.

Who are our American heroes?

Jams I’ve Been Jammin’ To

One of my jobs right now is writing study guides about musicals and plays for a new website. It’s a shit-ton of work for shitty pay, but it’s really fun for the most part. One of the parts of the job that is the most fun is finding video clips for every show and every character. I love musical theatre songs because A) I’m a theatre nerd, B) it’s my job to be nerdy about theatre, and C) each good song is a glimpse of a moment in time for a character. More than songs of any other kind, musical theatre songs are about people and their stories.

So. Here’s some fun stuff for you.

First, a little girl who KILLS it. Sydney Lucas singing “Ring of Keys” from my favorite musical of last year, Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about growing up a lesbian with a closeted gay dad. SO. GOOD. (this video is from an event, not the show)

Keeping it in the same with the same composer, Jeanine Tesori. This is “Lot’s Wife,” the insanely amazing 11 o’ lock number from Caroline, or Change.The whole musical is on YouTube– I highly recommend it.

This wasn’t from a show I did a guide for, but it came on shuffle and made me feel good. Lots of good songs from this show, but this week in my life, this was the one. “Remember This” from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown.

So… Newsies doesn’t always do it for me, but this song gives me serious shivers EVERY time. “The World Will Know.” Super good dancing in other clips– recommended for that.

Love this musical. If you loved the 1970s documentary, you’ll love it too. This is my favorite song, but there are lots of good ones. “Around the World” from Grey Gardens.

The harmonies!!!!!  “Sunday,” Sunday in the Park with George

I love this whole musical. I don’t get why not everyone does. Here’s just a little taste of The Secret Garden.

And, because there’s never enough Matilda:

Speaking of what I was just writing about:

One of my friends (a male) wrote this hilarious/tragic thing. Link here: https://medium.com/p/f919637ff615

CASTING BREAKDOWN FOR NEW STUDIO FILM

Seeking actors for the following roles in our upcoming studio film.

LINDSAY

Lindsay is the kind of girl you fall in love with immediately. She’s down-to-earth, fun-loving, just one of the guys. She’s also a girl’s girl, with close girl friends.

She doesn’t ever look like she’s trying too hard, except when she is, and then she’s the most gorgeous girl on the planet — perfect figure, smoldering eyes, flawless skin — you just can’t take your eyes off her. She’s got to be that kind of sexy that knocks you off your feet and sends your heart racing, but also that girl-next-door, completely approachable in every way kind of sexy.

You know Cameron Diaz? She’s Cameron Diaz meets Sandra Bullock meets Emma Stone meets that girl from the new car explosion movie whose name we forget. She is fragile, and strong. Hilarious, but dramatically powerful. A real goofball. But hot. A hot-ball, if that makes any sense. She’s rock solid, but gooey, like a warm cookie (Hot, basically.)

You can tell just by looking at Lindsay that she is withholding a fatal secret that could destroy the world. But when she’s thinking about the secret she’s got to look smoldering. Think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct meets Joan of Arc in life? Actresses must be comfortable with partial nudity and someone repeatedly poking them in the side of the face with a small rod, as this is an INTEGRAL part of the film. Please only submit actresses who can handle an intense workout regimen and diet. Also the rod.

Lindsay is a party animal and loves drinking and dancing all night long at the club, then going home and curling up with a cup of tea and a great romance novel. By day she’s a librarian at the local town library, by midday she’s a serial killer, by night she’s a college professor, but always hot, hot, hot. That never stops.

She owns a suit and wears a size 8 shoe, but never wears socks. How many pairs of Crocs does she own? None. No pairs. Actresses wearing Crocs in the audition will be thrown out of the room.

She has 26 freckles and many of the characters address her freckle-count at different times in the film, so please only submit actresses with this many freckles. Also Lindsay’s bones are brittle, so if we were playing Lindsay, we’d avoid Calcium on the week before reading for this part.

When Lindsay walks, she swings her left arm kind of like this. Can you see what I’m doing right now? That’s what Lindsay needs to walk like. She needs to be able to cover the entire spectrum of emotion — from “crazy” to “cool” and then from “hot” to “less hot” but then back to “hot” again.

The actress needs to be 5 foot 4 with orange-ish hair and C-cup breasts.

MAX

Max is a slacker with a heart of gold who lives with his parents. A Seth Rogen type.

This is why we shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things.

Just some of the roles listed for self-submissions just TODAY on Actors Access. This is the MAIN website for casting calls, used by all licensed agents and CDs (all Broadway shows, TV shows, films, etc, use this site), so this isn’t like a trashy website for bullshit casting calls. These are taken from just the first page of results for a woman my age.

I’m curious what your reaction, non-acting-industry-people, are to this casting calls. Are you shocked? No? Do you find them strange? I’m so used to them by now that it’s hard to gauge my actual reaction.

BALLERINA/MODEL ]
LOOKING FOR VERY, VERY, VERY SKINNY GIRLS!!!! Casting Women 18 and older. I am looking for a very, very, very skinny girl to play an anorexic ring girl. This is a VERY important character!!!! You would be playing a ring girl in a boxing ring, you will be wearing a bikini carrying a piece of cardboard with the number 8 on it. you will have special effects makeup to make you look skeletal. And there is a part where young boys will be throwing food at you.

NUDE BEAUTY ]
Beautiful, caucasian girl who will be rapping the lyrics to camera. She is the main focus of the video.  My goal is to create one of the most disturbing and unsettling music videos ever.

[ROLE 3 ]
Caucasian Female, age 18 – 25.  Hot looking model/ actor with a good body and looks that can make her stand apart from a crowd.  Lead

OLIVIA ]
(22-25) She is a very average looking girl, who wears no makeup. Being with Sebastian makes things much easier in that regard. She wants to be viewed as independent, but cannot bare the thought of being rejected. She always feels guilty around her mum – for having abandoned her -, and strives to make her dad feel proud….FEMALE… LEAD…CAUCASAIN OR LATINA….

2 GIRL FRIENDS ]
Age Range: 24 to 30. Latin American, Caucasian (European or American) Female Models. Very beautiful high end looking model types. Because they are the 2 best friends of our lead girl who is playing a high end model. Skinny. CAN YOU SUBMIT BODY SHOTS AS WELL. Picture Submission Only

LEAD GIRL ]
age range 18-25, any ethnicity and body type, a natural beauty who is also very sexy. This girl must be very cool and down to earth but also very hot and sexy.

GIRL ]
Caucasian, 18-25, Perfect, bad girl, beautiful, dangerous, but also “a vision of perfection” so angelic with a bad streak.

Goodbye, Phil.

As you may have heard, if you’re linked to any social networks or know anyone in the arts biz, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away today. Apparently he was found in his apartment with a hypodermic needle still stuck in his arm. Heroin overdose.

alt-obit-hoffman-articleLargeThere are many, many sad things about this, not the least of which is that Phil was a treasure in our industry– unique, compelling to watch, shockingly versatile, a consummate pro on stage, film, and in the director’s chair, brave and bold, and a generous spirit. Although I never saw him onstage (you can never get free tickets to the really good shows!), I saw a couple of shows he directed with LAByrinth, a company he led and worked with for many years in NYC. My voice teacher in college was his coach, and I’ve worked with many actors who had the privilege of working with Phil. He was talented, and that is a loss, but he was also a cornerstone of the arts community in New York, and he leaves a hole.

What really made this tragedy hit deeply was the cause of it. Since he was young, Phil struggled with drug addiction. He was open about that struggle, and in 2013 even returned to rehab.

I am loath to compare disease to disease, but I’ve written about patterns of addiction before, and it’s not unfair to say that all addictions and compulsions share some basic components. In the eating disorder community, we know people who have struggled for their entire lives to fight this battle. Phil got sober in his twenties, but he was lost today at age 46 because these diseases are vicious and cruel. Fighting for health is lifelong, particularly so for those of us who struggle with addiction. I have incredible compassion for Phil’s family, his close friends, and everyone who he touched in his too-short life.

I don’t have too much more to say– I’m too sad. But I wanted to share something a friend of mine wrote on Facebook that, to me, is the most thoughtful and compassionate response I’ve read yet.

The death of PSH is particularly upsetting to me, somehow. Amidst many celebrity deaths/ overdoses in the past few years– Cory Monteith, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger…somehow Philip has hit home for me. Maybe it’s because he was a member of the theater community, and thusly, in a sense less abstract. Or maybe it’s because as I get older, I understand the pain of failure, of loneliness, of defeat in a more complex way. I think of his final moments, he probably wasn’t thinking about his fame, his career, his powerful talent or any of the things most people (including myself) envy him for. He was likely thinking about how he’d messed up again. How his illness had taken hold once more– leaving him alone, isolated, and feeling like he didn’t deserve to be well. He was probably self punishing, as so many of us do every day. Whenever I break a diet, or procrastinate a project, or fail to live up to some expectation, I feel a small version of this. I can empathize and imagine this man’s pain and I don’t wish that on anyone. To those of you who are saying “that’s why drugs are illegal” or “that’s what you get for doing heroin” or one particular facebook “Friend”–who is now unfriended–who said “whatever, he was rich enough to buy whatever treatment he needed”, I sincerely hope that if you ever find your own life touched by addiction, which is a horrible, stigmatized, brutal, tragic and often incurable disease, you are able to show yourself more humanity than you seem to be reserving for Philip today. Yes, he was a celebrity, so it feels fine to discuss him as if we have a right to comment (guilty!). But he was also a father, a partner, a collaborator, a friend, a person. And his family and friends lost him to a disease, which he battled for years, courageously and publicly. I wish them strength through this time, and I wish that all those who struggle with addictions (myself included) find a way out, free of judgement.