A Shot of Adrenaline

Last night, in the shadow of teenage Dorothy Parker’s home, I made out with a boy. Even typing that sends a ripple through me that feels like adrenaline.

I shouldn’t feel this way. By all rights, except for his high level of intelligence and nerdiness, he shouldn’t be my type. He’s slightly effeminate, yet also in the military (to pay for musical theatre school), did a children’s musical tour, auditions, but doesn’t work much as an actor. I should find his speech patterns annoying. I should find his face shape unattractive.

But.

When I think about him, I get a rush.
When I think about what I want to do for the day’s activities, I want them to include him.
When I am with him, I don’t want to leave.
I want to be touching him all the time.

Maybe this reaction is because it’s been so long since I was in this kind of relationship. I’ve grown so tired of the back and forth, the giving a mile and getting an inch, or the pulling away because I just can’t, I can’t, I don’t feel the same way. Maybe I’m just yearning to be touched by anyone. Maybe I’m desperate to be loved. Maybe I’m horny.

But maybe I just really like him.

It doesn’t feel logical. My brain is not really in it at all. I’m almost trying to convince myself out of it.
But that rush, from my toes to my cheeks, the warm tingling in lots of places, the way I feel caught up in my throat when I think about him, the way that I literally lost my train of thought when he put his hand on my back at the wine bar– that’s real. It’s visceral. It’s kind of scary and almost unpleasant.

But there is something so glorious about it too… To feel. To focus my mind on someone else, someone warm and caring and engaged, instead of falling into the whirring thoughts and the emotional soup of “what’s next?” “what should I eat?” “I have to lose weight” “I have to see that show” “I’m spending so much money” “that audition is tomorrow and I’m not ready” “make a decision” “fix yourself” “be good be perfect be what they want.”

That’s still there, of course, but now there’s him. Something solid outside the ephemeral spin of thoughts. It’s incredibly comforting.

I am dizzy with this feeling. And feeling feelings is a sign that something is on track in my life. It sounds crazy, but when I get a rush of happiness, of dejection, sadness, of anger, of this, I know that I am alive. I am living. I am enough.

Massacre (Sing to Your Children)

Tonight I saw Jose Rivera’s new play at the Rattlestick, Massacre (Sing to Your Children). I didn’t love the play, but I absolutely respect it, and it was extra awesome because Jose Rivera was actually in the show tonight– one of the actors was out, he was around, so he decided to do it. It was pretty amazing to see someone onstage in his own play whose work I’ve read over and over in Theatre History courses.

The play begins with 7 people running into what looks like a horror movie torture chamber, covered in blood in crazy masks, carrying machetes and knives. Over the course of the first act, we learn that they have just slaughtered “Joe,” a man who seems to have taken tyrannical, bloody rule over their New Hampshire town. At the very last moment of the act, we hear three knocks on the door– Is Joe alive?!

Act II begins with the 7 actors in the same shocked position as the first ended, but now with a small man in a white suit with a red poppy on his lapel– Joe. He doesn’t really exist… yet they all can hear him… Whatever, that’s not the point.

The point is that in this second act, Joe goes one by one to each person, grilling them and exposing their deepest secrets (real or false, it doesn’t even really matter)– one man possibly raped a woman years ago in Chicago, a woman and her mother both slept with Joe, etc.

It got me thinking, though. If that happened to me, what secrets would Joe reveal about me? I tend to feel I’m pretty open on the blog– maybe not in real life but better than some. Yet at the same time, I had a pretty strong reaction of fear just thinking about what a revelation of my deep, dark secrets would mean. But what would they even be?

I still binge all the time and my binges have included boxes of donuts, entire loaves of bread and tubs of hummus? That I masturbate, and have since I was very young? That I haven’t had sex in over a year? That I’m spoiled and privileged and expect a lot from my parents, including financial support? That I wish my sister loved me, but I’m insanely jealous of her and her boyfriend especially?

Honestly, none of these things would ruin my relationships with people, I don’t think. None of these would honestly even shock my friends, probably. So why does the idea of exposed “secrets” cause this knee jerk reaction?

I’m sure it all ties back to shame, that lovely little thing my therapist and I are all about. I feel shame about pretty much everything I do, and it’s not till I completely stop, slow down, and track the reality of a situation that I can convince myself there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Joe couldn’t actually destroy my life with my secrets.
But it does feel like he could.

B.

 

I Am Enough.

Yesterday, I hopped on a train to New Jersey to audition for a play. On the way there, taking a break from prepping my sides and gazing out the window, I casually checked my iPhone email. I received a brief, incredibly passive aggressive email from an agent (this was in response to a recommendation email sent on my behalf, which I’d followed up on Monday with, granted, a long-ish email introducing myself). This is not “the” agent I’d met, but it’s his superior in the agency. I have a pretty tough skin in terms of rejection, but this, for whatever reason, went deeper. I felt prickles run up and down my skin, and I knew my face was flushed. My breathing didn’t even change as tears began to roll down my cheeks. Goddamn it, I’d already put on makeup.

I had about forty five minutes left on the train and could barely put myself back together. I reapplied my mascara once, twice, listened to mood-bolstering music, carved the words “I AM ENOUGH” onto my upper thigh in pen, just to have under my shorts all day… Yet I still felt physically ill. I wandered through this po’dunk New Jersey town, crunching on broken glass bottles with my converse sneakers, getting honked at by semi-truck drivers, observing this tiny, terrible, Detroit-level disaster of a town as if out of a thick, bottle top glasses through a haze.

I had an hour to kill, so I wandered towards the shore, my iPhone map guiding me along “Broadway” towards a county highway, past abandoned buildings and split-levels rimmed by fenced in dumps, feeling lonelier and less safe than I ever do in New York City. Once I’d crossed the threshold of the highway, I found myself in another world, of Gold’s Gyms and microbreweries and apartment complexes named for beaches and purported paradises. I ambled towards the sound of the shore, my styled hair already beginning to frizz in the humid air. The air was thick with it, and warm, but as I found myself standing on a cement boardwalk gazing over a sand back towards the sea, I caught a brief whiff of the sweet, earthy scent of the ocean. I planted on a bench nearby, dropped my backpack and crossed my legs and breathed as more tears slid into the wrinkles to the sides of my eyes, dripping then into my ears. I still felt like I was observing the world through a thick fog, I was invisible in my “moment.” And it was odd… no one looked twice at the girl on the bench silently weeping over the ocean. I’ve found that when I cry in public in NYC, I am always stopped: “Are you okay?” “Do you need a Kleenex?” or just, “Here you go, here’s a tissue, sweetie. Feel better.” It was odd to be ignored– not good or bad, just… different.

After a while, I wiped the final drips of tears from my face with a corner of my sweater and hiked my backpack back on. I knew the way back, now, and I simply took one step at a time, confined to my own bubble of feeling, and hopefully, thereby impervious to the outside world. I simply didn’t have the energy to deal with the “Hey mami! Hey pay attention!”s or the stares of the women from out of their stores of santeria (seriously) or the stoners and drug addicts nestled in shop corners.

I reached the theatre (if you can call it that) and sat on a cement bench in a small area between the parking lot, a foreman’s office, and an abandoned bank. For the first time since deleting that email, I pulled out my phone, and for the first time all day, I reached out. “Hey buddy,” I texted to my friend P, “Having a really bad day and now I’m in Jersey. Can I get a digital hug?” I set down my phone and set myself to the task of doing SOMETHING with my now-ruined face and non-compliant hair. After a moment or two of brushing my hair actually out of my scalp and caking foundation underneath my puffy eyes, I felt the buzz of a reply text. “Of course! **HUG** What’s wrong, princess?

I wasn’t going to tell anyone, I mostly just wanted a hug. And I could very easily just get by on the warmth of feeling growing in my chest from what I knew that **HUG** would be in real life, but I texted him back. Started out with few details, then added some more, and he responded with compassion and understanding and just enough suggestions for ways to feel better that I actually became excited about something again… namely, drinking delicious cocktails at my new favorite bar in Midtown. He did it. And I did it for reaching out. I knew he was the right one.

And then the whole reason I went there in the first place. I walked into a glorified storefront, where an overdecorated hall led to what I assumed to be the theatre. I could hear someone acting from back there, quite clearly in fact, a pretty bad sign in general. I met the stage manager (?) who took my headshots and my intake form and directed me to the waiting room/lobby. There were about five other people there, none reading for my role until towards the end, when a tiny little girl approached (the character is like… 16ish). I pulled out my sides, but let them simply sit on my lap as I watched the other actors sit in that room. Some were nervous, some couldn’t care less, some seemed like they were old hats at this theatre, and I knew I looked completely out of place.

Finally, they called my name and I entered the… theatre. It was a weird, wide rectangular space with three long rows raised above the stage floor. It seemed disproportional to me, and also really, really, really small. No more than 45 people could possibly fit. How do they make money? I introduced myself to the director and the Artistic Director, and in very short order I started the sides. Luckily my reader was good, so that was something, and they let me get all the way through. I hadn’t planned on doing an accent, but since the other guy was and I totally can, I let it slip right in through the second half. He had me do the side again, more playfully and teasingly. Girl, I was born for that. After I finished a second time, he asked how tall I was. And YUP, that’s when I realized what a waste this was. If I seemed tall in this space, then everyone who is supposed to play older than 16 is fucked. And I’m 5’5″. He also complimented my work quite effusively and sincerely, but I knew I was done and I was really ready to go home.

I finished, relieved, packed up my stuff and walked back down Least Cool Town Lane to the train station. I picked up an Izze and a snack at the Rite Aid (hadn’t eaten since 10am and was about to drink) and waited. The entire train ride back, I was in a much better mood. I listed to Mindy Kaling’s audiobook, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, which is no Bossypants, but is still pretty delightful. I love to hear her voice and I love how unabashedly her girlie, sassy, determined, but also average Mindy is. I like to think we’d be friends.

I arrived back and headed uptown to meet P at Breeze after changing into a dress and my favorite gray bootie heels for the show. Oh, I didn’t tell you? I saw WIT on Broadway (play about cancer with Cynthia Nixon) for free with my friend L (friend with lymphoma), and afterwards, I’d spoken to my friend who is an understudy and she brought us to meet Cynthia Nixon. In other words, no big.

P and I drank and talked and got well-soused on their delicious drinks (mai tai and Blue Moon for him, “kimono” sake cocktails for me), and I remembered why I am the luckiest and have the most amazing friends. He in particular is easy to talk to, smart, funny, willing to let me go a little bit mad and still think I’m special. About four drinks and two hours later, it was time for WIT. We paid (only about $10 each, because Breeze is the BEST), and parted ways on 47th St, where I met L, her mom, and our friend N.

The show was brilliant. Truly. As was Cynthia Nixon. And when my friend found us at the stage door and pulled us backstage, I felt a little like I was going to die and I was so proud of being the best friend on the planet. She guided us up the stairs towards the dressing rooms, past other actors, and past VANESSA REDGRAVE NO BIG DEAL JUST THE BIGGEST DEAL and finally into Cynthia’s dressing room. It all went very fast– L introduced herself, hugged Cynthia, Cynthia gave her a book, the rest of us introduced ourselves briefly, and then I helped L’s mom get her phone to take a picture of us. I, at least, was on air all the way out of the theatre. We capped the night with one more delicious cocktail and a yummy meal at one of my favorite restaurants. L and her mom dropped me at my apartment in a cab on their way home, and I went straight to bed, but not after posting this picture on Facebook for all to see:

L, Cynthia, Me

And I didn’t even notice until this evening that “I AM ENOUGH” was still visible on my upper thigh. And over 24 hours later, I’m beginning to believe it.

Love,
B.

P.S. I’ve been bingeing a lot in the last couple of days, which I do want to write about, but not in this post. Soon. Also, more updates on the boy front. Also for another time.

“Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness. I thought being extremely smart would take care of it. But I see I have been found out.”
Margaret Edson, Wit

The truth is…

Okay, so…

Why am I tipsy after half a cup of old champagne? Especially when I had a brutally normal day of eating (banana before gym, coffee, BIG sandwich, partook in free Pinkberry)… It is confusing. But fine. I guess that’s what tonight will be. Drinking alone in my apartment at 6pm. It’s okay. I swear I have friends and a life.

People ask me what I’m doing and I don’t know what to say. I used to. I had a nice, tight ball of words to hurl back at those who dared ask me what my life in NYC is like. Now…

The truth is, I submit for auditions probably at least 5-10 times daily.

And the truth is, I have one audition a week if I’m lucky.

The truth is, I thank god I’m salaried because sometimes I forget that I actually have a job. And that’s wonderful, but also weird. What do I do all day to make me so tired?

The truth is, when I get to go home at 5pm and don’t have anywhere else to be, I am so happy I do things like drink champagne alone and watch crappy television in bed for hours. And it’s glorious.

The truth is, I haven’t had sex in 15 months. That, I think, is a life record (I mean, not counting pre-sex years).

The truth is, I wish I didn’t have any dignity and would just fuck that incredibly attractive boy that WON’T stop and just get that shit over with. (the truth is, profanity sometimes helps)

The truth is, I’m more excited to bring my cat home for Easter than to go myself.

The truth is, sometimes I want this life I’ve built for myself so badly, I actually feel ill. My stomach actually hurts and my heart actually aches. I cry every time I walk into a theatre. Really.

The truth is, I actually feel okay about how I’m doing in terms of “life.” I’m okay (not thrilled, but “okay”) with my self-made “career” at this exact moment. I’m okay with the amount I work out and the amount I eat, usually. But what do I SAY?

But when I’m actually asked, “What are you up to?” I say stupid shit like,

“Oh, y’know, just livin’ life!”
“Auditioning as much as I can, working, running around, y’know, the usual!”
“Well, y’know, well, my spring mission is to get an agent so I’m pretty focused on that…”
“Oh, my company’s in a ‘development’ phase now, since we just got representation… No, it’s totally on track!”
“Well, um… I got a CAT!”

“That boy” and another kid from my school just got in to Yale School of Drama for their MFA. And my first response was ANGER. Which felt crazy, but recognizable. I talked to my therapist about it. I wish I could throw out a gem like that as an easily measurable gauge of success, you know? I’ve always been more comfortable with that– like, “Oh, well I went to the premiere performing arts high school in the country” and “I was the salutatorian” and “I played like 6 leads in college.” “I’m working on it” simply doesn’t have the same ring. It’s fine when it’s just me saying it to myself, but for some reason “not good enough” when I have to explain it to others, even others in the business.

The truth is, I’m happy but I don’t know how to tell people.

So at least to you, blog world, you heard it here first: “I’m doing well. And I’m proud of myself.”

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you… Be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
–Rainer Maria Rilke

Nostalgia is the scent we follow

First, it should be known that I’m retaking the Acting Shakespeare course I took as a junior in college because A) enrollment was really low, B) my boss, the head of the program, is taking it too, so there’s only so much I could get done solo anyway, and C) PHYLICIA RASHAD is in the class too.

That being said, I have realized that my Acting Shakespeare teacher has the exact life that exists in my dreams.

He’s in a committed, long-term relationship with a man. I don’t think they’ve officially gotten married yet (it didjust become legal, and they’ve been together for a loooooong time so really.. who needs it?) but he wears a ring.

He’s got the agent I dream of and salivate over. His career is steady, steady, steady, and although he’s in numerous star-studded projects, he’s not “famous.” Yet he is always working, and is never, ever, in a flop.

He and his partner live in a house (a HOUSE) outside NYC. The house is on a lake. They have a yard, a neighborhood, a dog. They commute into the city for work, but they have a “normal” life.

That’s what I dream of.

***

On another note. Last night, I took my friend R from high school to this reading thing that was organized by a company I’m trying to get “in” with. I was actually interested in the play too, but mostly I wanted to appear engaged with the work.

(Oh also yesterday I auditioned for a horror movie that a friend from SUMMER CAMP is producing– he’s actually the first boy I ever really kissed, onstage or off. I was a late bloomer at 15– and it involved me having to fully act out a torture/murder scene. Who am I where am I what am I doing?)

SO. Got all cute, went down to Gramercy where the reading was being held at the Players Club, which is a totally trippy place if you’ve never been. I walk in the door and promptly trip over my own feet as I walk in. The guy I’ve been in contact with from the company shakes my hand and introduces himself… which is odd because we’ve been communicating via email like we’re buddies. I reciprocate and wait for him to catch on, which finally he does, with a bashful– “oh! really? Is your hair different?” (my hair’s not different).

R and I head upstairs with this guy, S, and enter the room, where there’s a long table with actors with scripts at the center (it’s not called a table read for nothin’.) At the last second, as R and I are chatting in the corner, S kneels down in front of me.

“Hey, B. Do you want a last minute gig?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to read tonight?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, here’s your script, there’s the director, here are the parts you’re playing.”

As I sat down to read aloud a play I’d never read, ever, in front of and with people I’d never met, I turned to R grinning. “And that’s how it’s done, bitches.”

After the reading, which I was quite proud of myself for, as the language was slightly heightened and I played both a 7 year old black girl and a pregnant white whore who sells her babies for profit (typecast!), R and I headed outside the Players Club to meet our other old friend, N.

So. A little backstory. In high school, I wasn’t necessarily a “cool kid.” I’ve never been a “cool kid.” The popular kids at the performing arts boarding high school I attended were the members of the Environmental Club. They wore birkenstocks, slyly subverted the uniform, smoked in the woods, and microwaved rice concoctions in the cafeteria for meals. I wore pink flats and Old Navy t-shirts over my uniform polo,worked my required community service at library, scanned Shakespeare like it was my job, and ate the shrimp poppers and seven layer bars in the cafeteria because it just didn’t matter to me. They all lived together, while I lived with violists and a violinist I wasn’t best friends with. They listened to new bands, and I listened to musical theatre. I was friends with them, but I wasn’t one of them.

However, I didn’t need them. I had the most amazing group of friends in high school.

There was S, gay boy #1, who was a cool kid but liked me because I was funny and sassy and really, really smart.

Me, S before MORP (our prom) junior year

There was W, gay boy #2, who was even smarter than me, introduced me to the pleasures of Project Runway, and took me to Disneyworld for our senior year spring break. He always called me a star.

Me, W. Halloween, junior yr. (p.s. that dress belonged to a girl we knew and W's costume was my younger sister's.)

Then there was the “extended suite.” I lived with musicians and R lived with other folks, but four of my friends, N, T, A, and X, all lived together in a suite (all the upperclassmen girl dorms were two double rooms connected by a bathroom– I still can’t take long showers). Them, plus R and I, were the “extended suite.”

R was an actor, like me, a tall, lovely “black Brazilian Jew” who to this day is the boldest, most strong willed person I know.

Me, R

N is an actor as well, the daughter of a well-known composer and always self-conscious about that. But her heart is so genuine and her love is so pure that it’s hard to believe that she has any sense of privilege at all.

Me, N. Senior trip.

T was a free spirit, a first year senior actor who floated into our group, although she could have easily been “cooler.” She liked our goofiness, and we loved her for being different.

Me, T

A was a writer, and a good one. She and R would joke that they were brothers. She was from Colorado.

N, Me, A. Typical night at boarding school... temporary Ninja Turtle Tattoos.

X was a dancer, also a first year senior. She was lovely and funny, crass and clever, generous and an easy fit into the group.

The "extended suite." R, X, N, Me, T. Going to A's reading.

We were lucky to have each other, and I have still never experienced friendship like that. One of these days I’ll tell you what they did for my 18th birthday. It’s unreal.

SO really the trio of power was N, R, and me. We had a fourth, C, but that disaster is another story for another time. But being with N and R again, just the three of us, for the first time since freshman year Thanksgiving at N’s estate (I know), was unbelievable. We drank cheap, cheap pitchers of Bud Light. We ate mozzarella sticks and caesar salad and buffalo wings. We took tequila shots. We talked about high school, about our friends, about the end of school, about work and play and new loves and old loves and sadness and joy. This was the beginning of where we all started to realize that, as N said, “In a lot of ways, we really knew a lot when we were in high school. We had a lot of it right.”After drinking and stuff, R had to go home to her boyfriend and prep for class the next day (she is always the last one done– she took a post grad year after we graduated and now won’t graduate till December). N had a party with some friends from college (she went to a prestigious MT program), and it was uptown so I joined her. We stayed for a free shot, chatted, I met people, she said hi, and then, like the true friends we were, we headed to my place. There’s something special about the friendship we have… something that goes deeper than even the tightest relationships in college. We knew exactly what we wanted in high school and we sacrificed normalcy for it. We were protected from a lot of the pain and stress of the real world and of college, yet we were unique beings in a completely one-of-a-kind scenario. Even almost five years later, we are closer than the best friends I have from college.At my place, we drank some lovely champagne my mom bought me for graduation. We played with my cat, Franny, and we talked very frankly about depression, my ED, our fears, our family, our needs, our wants, our everythings. At around midnight she decided she had to head home. Being with those girls was unbelievable. It really reminded me how deep those bonds run.

Tomorrow’s a big day. Will tell you more about it later.

B.

“They hooted and laughed all the way back to the car, teasing Milkman, egging him on to tell more about how scared he was. And he told them. Laughing too, hard, loud, and long. Really laughing, and he found himself exhilarated by simply walking the earth. Walking it like he belonged on it; like his legs were stalks, tree trunks, a part of his body that extended down down down into the rock and soil, and were comfortable there–on the earth and on the place where he walked. And he did not limp.”
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Tony, Tony, Tony

Hey y’all,

It’s an actor’s favorite night of the year (sort of!) It’s Tony Time!

So, in honor of this great night of nights in the theatre, let’s start with some predictions, eh? I’ll star those I’ve seen. Then we’ll move onto my personal recommendations (Broadway and off).

TONY PREDICTIONS

Best Play
Good People Author: David Lindsay-Abaire
Jerusalem Author: Jez Butterworth
The Motherf**ker with the Hat Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis
War Horse Author: Nick Stafford

My expert opinion is: This is HARD. And I’ve actually not seen any of these (because I’ve been so busy). My guess? WAR HORSE.

Best Musical
The Book of Mormon**
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys**
Sister Act

This one’s easy as pie. There’s no competition. THE BOOK OF MORMON will take it. I saw it– it’s brilliant. So was SCOTTSBORO, but let’s be real guys, a minstrel musical can’t take the cake over those adorable Mormon jokesters.

est Book of a Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Alex Timbers**
The Book of Mormon Trey ParkerRobert Lopez and Matt Stone***
The Scottsboro Boys David Thompson ***
Sister Act Cheri SteinkellnerBill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

Again, BOOK OF MORMON. This might be boring.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Book of Mormon*** Music & Lyrics: Trey ParkerRobert Lopez and Matt Stone
The Scottsboro Boys** Music & Lyrics: John Kander & Fred Ebb
Sister Act Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Wild guess. BOOK OF MORMON.

Best Revival of a Play
Arcadia**
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart**

My call is NORMAL HEART. I saw it this afternoon, and for the last ten minutes, I was snotting all over my face and arm I was crying so hard. After the show, I went out to see my professor, who was in the show, and I hugged him and told him how much it moved me and how much I cried. As I said that, some lady with a Playbill leans over and says, “I know– I was sitting behind you.” HA! The only real competition is MERCHANT, but I think it’ll be NORMAL HEART.

Best Revival of a Musical
Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

This is hilarious, I know. And they both sucked. ANYTHING GOES.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Brian Bedford The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello** The Normal Heart
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance Jerusalem

This is the fight of the night here. All five are irregularly strong performances by leading men– in theory, talent-wise, it could go to ANY of them. Seriously. This is rare. Here are my thoughts. When MERCHANT moved to Broadway, I was sure it would be Al Pacino (see notes later for Leading Actress). But Mark Rylance is arguable the best actor in our generation (I saw him in BOEING BOEING a few years ago and he was… transformative– unbelievable). Now, I’m thinking it’ll be Rylance. We’ll see!! (Also, I saw Joe Mantello in NORMAL HEART today, and he is unbelievable. He deserves to win, too, and in a normal year he would. But this is not a normal year.)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand Good People
Lily Rabe The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland** Brief Encounter

Fascinating category. One brand new star-in-the-making (Arianda), an old-school dame (Redgrave), a much lauded stage/screen actor (McDormand), the theatre’s new leading lady coming out of her shell (Rabe), and a wild card (Yelland). I think it’s between Rabe and McDormand, and like with Al Pacino, I was sure it would be Rabe until the last couple of months. Now, sources are leaning towards McDormand. We’ll see!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad** The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry** The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells** The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Good performances here. Joshua Henry won’t win, but he was remarkable– a star-making turn. It’s BOOK OF MORMON’s game again, and my vote is with Andrew Rannelis– he literally blew my mind. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sutton Foster Anything Goes
Beth Leavel Baby It’s You!
Patina Miller Sister Act
Donna Murphy The People in the Picture

Maybe the shittiest category I’ve EVER seen. None of them should win. NONE. It’s ridiculous. I’ll put my money on Patina Miller– just ’cause. She’s the only newbie in the pack.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mackenzie Crook Jerusalem
Billy Crudup** Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey** The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vázquez The Motherf**ker with the Hat

This could go many ways. I’m sure Crook is amazing– he was the epitome of Kostya in THE SEAGULL a few years ago. But my vote is with John Benjamin Hickey. Not only is he an alum of my school, but he was absolutely stunning. And NORMAL HEART deserves some more wins.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Ellen Barkin** The Normal Heart
Edie Falco The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light Lombardi
Joanna Lumley La Bête
Elizabeth Rodriguez The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Hmm. This is a toughie. I’ll go with Elizabeth Rodriguez– MOFO needs something.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Colman Domingo** The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley Anything Goes
John Larroquette How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon** The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O’Malley The Book of Mormon

I’d say this fight’s between Rory O’Malley and Forrest McClendon. I kinda want Rory to win it, because he’s fucking ADORABLE and reminds me of all those adorable, normal gay boys I went to high school with.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark Sister Act
Nikki M. James The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Love Laura, Vicky, Nikki, and Patti (I’m not sure I know who Tammy is). But this is an unfair fight– none of them had particularly great parts. I want to say Benanti, because from what I heard, she completely stole the show with literally one song. But realistically? Vicky or Nikki.

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe** The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan The Merchant of Venice

MERCHANT vs. NORMAL HEART, in my opinion. I’d say Daniel Sullivan for the win.

Best Direction of a Musical
Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker** The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman** The Scottsboro Boys

MORMON all the way.

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw** The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman** The Scottsboro Boys

MORMON. Although if anything takes it, it would be SCOTTSBORO.

And I’ll stop there. We’ll see how I do!

Next episode, of Tony coverage here will continue later!!

What would you do?

Last night, as I was walking home from the train, I heard two people yelling at each other. As I crossed the street, I saw a man and a woman embroiled in a physical altercation– he had her hair in his hand and was pulling while she begged him to let go. They both were screaming at each other. I have never seen actual domestic abuse before, and I found myself really intensely affected. I considered what I should do, because I knew that it was wrong. I kept walking, afraid to enter the altercation. I know it was the smartest thing I could have done, but I really wanted to do something, anything. I saw other people seeing it too, but no one did anything. I walked slowly till I got to my building, still listening to the fight happen behind me. At some point, I heard a punch or some sort of contact, and the woman screamed “my leg!” I can’t tell you how strongly I felt and yet how little I knew I could do. What do you do when you have to stop something but if you got involved you’d get hurt, almost certainly? Call the cops, I realized later, but still? When I got inside, I opened my window and continued to listen. I don’t know why… but maybe it was just that I wanted to make sure nothing worse happened? I don’t know. At some point, the couple crossed the street, the woman limping, and got into a car. It was kind of awful to see that kind of violence so close.

What would you do?

“The only thing worth grieving over, she said, was that sometimes there was more beauty in this life than the world could bear.”
— Colum McCann

It’s 11:11 and I have a lot of wishes.

My first official blog post. Exciting? Yeah! Why not?

I’m quite a picture, people. I have my moose shorts on, I’m in my bed, and ’90s Christmas techno came on shuffle and I’m not changing it. So how ’bout some quick facts and I’ll launch right in?

I live in New York. I’m an actor, graduating this year from a training program. I’m originally from the West. I am easily excitable. I’m in recovery from EDNOS (quick sidenote– eating disorders are NOT about what you look like, contrary to popular fiction. They, just like other forms of self-harm and depressive behaviors, are simply manifestations of psychological issues. I don’t fit perfectly into any specific eating disorder, but I will say that I have fluctuated 50 pounds in the last year and a half, and I’m currently in the larger portion of that process). I’m also, like a vast majority of other artists, clinically psychologically screwy. I’m totally high-functioning in the world (Phi Beta Kappa, boarding school, straight A’s, lead roles, y’all!) but I am also fully aware that I’m going to have to grapple with the fritzy chemicals in my brain for the rest of my life. I have my therapist. I have amazing friends. I’m gonna be fine.

So, down to business. Today, I went into my nutritionist, as I do every week, irritated. I hate going there, and I have from the start. My Thursdays are ridiculous– I have my therapist (H, I guess I’ll call her) at 11, take myself to lunch, then see my nutritionist on the other side of town at 1pm. It’s supposed to be my day off, but it’s obnoxious. Anyway, I headed into the nutritionist (M? What’s the protocol on this?) with a clear goal that I’d been harboring for at least a month– to tell her I wanted to come in less frequently. I’m not “cured”, but I have been remarkably consistent lately in terms of my behaviors, and I just felt like every week I was repeating myself over and over… and for that much money and effort, I just was very much DONE. So, I went through the whole appointment, jittery, nervy, and altogether out of sorts. But at the end of the session, when M said, “I think you’re doing really well,” I jumped in and said, “I agree– and I’ve felt that way for a while, and so I’d love to think about coming in less frequently.” She, to my somewhat surprise, said, “I was actually about the say the exact same thing!” Honestly, when I left her office, I felt probably less “eating-disordered” than I have… maybe in a year. It suddenly felt like my progress was being rewarded. I’ve felt moments of feeling better, but never like I was actually actively “in recovery.” Pretty great.

It was also gorgeous today in New York. Fifties, probably. Glorious! I came home with groceries from Trader Joe’s, opening my window, made some hummus, and snuggled in to watch some Modern Family. I had a lovely afternoon– no bingeing, very calm, collected, and safe. I became nervous, though, when I became hungry earlier than I hoped to, and finally decided to just make dinner. I probably waited too long, though, because my brain was already in that buzzy place it goes to when it doesn’t want to focus on doing what I’m supposed to do. Mistake. I ended up having a normal dinner, and then about an hour or so later, participating in some “behaviors.” Certainly not as bad as it has been, but also not really the smartest self-care. These little falls have been happening lately. I haven’t had a huge binge in a week or so, but food just seems to turn my brain into a live wire, and I suddenly lose all control of self-control. It shuts off.

I’m hoping that starting this blog will give me somewhere to push the buzz of the brain when it acts up. If anyone starts reading this, let me know you’re here. Knowing that I’m actually writing to someone and not just to the internet ether will SURELY help me stay on track. Also, nonexistent readers, email me whenever. I LOVE email.

–B.

P.S. I’m totally in love with a boy who may or may not A) be single, or B) be into me. Here’s the thing– he’s been insanely flirty via text/Facebook (omg I’m such a 21st century generation x-er) but the profile picture of the girl who at least WAS his girlfriend still has HIM in it (I’m just making it worse). I’ve seriously loved him since I saw him in like, June of last summer. Last night (dorky subconscious alert) I dreamed that we were for realz in love– like my love at first sight for him was totally mutual. We were inseparable in the dream. I feel often that I will never be the kind of person who could live with a lover (I desperately dream of it, but I can barely live with a roommate… hell, I can barely live with myself), but with him in my dream, our love was just so pure that it was not even a worry. Urg.

It’s my mantra, apparently: “I just feel so much, so deeply, all the time.”

How ’bout a quote of the day for the blog? I love quotes. Yeah? Okay.
“”May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”  –Neil Gaiman