Thursday, July 28, 2011

I've totally been in the same room as famous people

Ok, so I'm one of those people who love the theater. When I was younger I even wanted to be an actress (until I realized I am awful), and I was in a ridiculous middle school play where I wore a dress from Goodwill and was forced to act onstage without my glasses on. I tweet what I think are hilarious theater jokes that in fact nobody understands, even a theater festival full of drama professionals. True story

Seriously, I haven't even seen Cabaret and I knew that song. But no one at my sister's theater festival understood that? WHAT IS THIS.

Anyway. I especially love theater in the summer, because that's when the more well-known stars of the big and small screens take their talents to more accessible venues. And I'm not talking about Dan Radcliffe or even Jim Parsons on Broadway or whatever. That's way too expensive, are you kidding? Also, have you heard Darren Criss might be filling in for Daniel Radcliffe on "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" for a few weeks? I DIE. And did you see Dan perform during the Tony's? So great. Ok, focusing. No, I'm talking about the smaller theater festivals that pop up quite a bit during the summer months. Just in the past year or so, I've had the chance to see some famous (to me anyway) people up close and personal in these venues. These include:

Last summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival (which had shirts for sale that said "WTF is going on" and needless to say, I wanted one) I was able to see Justin Long in a new play called "Samuel J and K." It was incredibly exciting for me to be able to tell people, "Oh, he's way shorter in real life than you would think." Because he is. Dude is not tall. But that's ok because he's Justin Long. And I don't ignore height differences for just anyone. That's pretty much the one thing I'm shallow about. I'm around 5'8" and if you're smaller than me, thanks for playing move along. Wait, what am I even going on about? Right, theater. Of course.

Earlier this summer my mom and I went back to Williamstown for another new play (this time on the main stage. Moving up in the world) called "Three Hotels." This play featured one of the guys from the tv show "Wings" so of course my mom and the miriad of other middle-aged women in the audience were all atwitter with anticipation. And while that's certainly not my favorite 80's sitcom, I've seen it a few times and discovered a few jokes "Friends" later recycled so I kind of knew the guy. The other actor in the piece was Maura Tierney, who played a nurse-then-doctor on "E.R." which happens to be one of my favorite shows of all time, forever and ever amen. Ever since that helicopter fell on that red-haired guy, I never missed an episode. Interestingly, my sister had the exact opposite reaction and swore off the show from that moment onward.

Then just today I saw yet another new play, this time at the Berkshire Theater Festival. For some reason, each one of these productions I've discussed has had a cast of just two actors. Weird. But one of the actors in BTF's show, "Dutch Masters" is Christian Coulson, who played Tom Riddle in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." In an audience where I was the youngest member by about 40 years, I might have been alone in my excitement about this. But for days before I saw the show, my Facebook and Twitter were full of updates about how I would be seeing OMG TOM RIDDLE soon (a limited view and ignorance to given names I'm sure the actor, who gave a great performance, could live without). It was extremely fun to see him play a character so completely opposite from the only one I have thought of him. Honestly though, wouldn't any character pretty much be pretty opposite from that? A shard of a soul taking the form of a young dark wizard, intent on immortality and a life of unfathomable evil, who directs a giant serpent to kill middle schoolers by looking at them. Right. For example, during a transition between scenes, the-actor-who-is-not-Tom-Riddle dance across the stage while strobe lights flash and hip-hop music blares. Now just imagine that scene in the Chamber, with Ginny dying and baby Daniel Radcliffe furrowing his brow and trying not to get eaten. Now see Tom there, with that Voldemort-y sneer that says, "Yeah, I'm going to straight up murder you. Deal with it." (ALSO: did anyone else, when Harry pops up after being not-really-dead in Deathly Hallows Part 2, think of that line from "Aladdin" where Jafaar says, "How many times do I have to kill you, boy?!" Come on, that can't just be me.) But yeah, imagine that guy, busting a serious move. It's pretty great, right? Reality was even better. PURE GENIUS.

I should also add, because this show is still going on and my sister's working on it, that both the actors in Dutch Masters were fantastic in their own right. I also just know my sister's looking for some validation on this so here goes: BECKY. Your show is really good. And this is coming from a 20-year-old History major, so you just know it's legit.

Everybody buy plane tickets and go see it. And no, that's not an unreasonable request. It's summer, you don't have anything better to do. NO, YOU DON'T.

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