Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Overweight Date

I have felt judgmental for quite some time regarding my lack of attraction to overweight and/or non-physically active men.  Judge me, that's fine.  I am not attracted to men carrying additional poundage who are not doing anything to remedy the situation.  But why?  This has really bothered me and made me feel superficial and unwilling to "give someone a chance" as we are so often counseled.

I'm a big advocate of needing to be attracted to your significant other.  Eventually, you will want to participate in some activities that, let's face it, require feelings more than, "He's such a great guy..."  Yeah, you know.  And do you want to be with someone who you know has had to learn to be attracted to you?  No!  You want someone who thinks you are a hottie Mchothot with a shake and fries! 

My eyes have recently been opened to the answer to this woe and I feel a little less of, "Larissa, you are a horrible person."  My mother, my uncle, and all of his children have struggled with obesity.  Even my dad was overweight for a few years even though he is now one of the fittest, healthiest people you will ever encounter.  My mother and uncle have both had no choice but to have a gastric bypass because their health issues were so severe and in such immediate need of remedy.  I remember sitting on my bed in Ohio, sobbing as my father held me, telling him I didn't want my children to not know their grandmother just because she liked food.  I have had my entire life to watch almost my entire family struggle with the unhealthy yo-yo diets and the effects of overweightness/obesity - I do not want that for my future. 

Not only have I had to watch them, I have had to experience this struggle first-hand.  I had a doctor tell me, straight up, "I am afraid for your body because of everything you do at your weight.  Your body cannot handle this, you are going to hurt yourself."  Tell me that wouldn't scare you straight.

If I see an overweight man, I take that to be indicative of his eating and activity habits - the same habits that have lead my family to so much heartache (figuratively and literally).  I also see that being healthy is most likely going to be an uphill battle.  I have battled so hard and for so long that I cannot willingly put myself with a catalyst for more struggle and the possibility of falling into old habits and destroying everything I've overcome.

I do not want that for myself.  I do not want that for my future family.  The man I end up with deserves more than to know I resent him because of his passion for food and lack thereof for physical activity.  He deserves more than to know he is causing me mental and physical pain. 

I honestly feel the costs outweigh the potential benefits.  I feel the need to share because so many people have wondered how I could write people off even though I have myself been overweight in the past.  So many people wonder how this kind of life change effects you outside of your diet/exercise regime.  If I can see a clear, concerted effort and lasting results, I can convince myself to reconsider, but, friends, this is a mental block I cannot hurdle.  I hope you understand.

Brown Eyes

I used to have eyes this deep, chocolate brown color.  My mother used to tell me I'd have to eat a lot of chocolate to keep them that brown - no complaints here.  I guess I didn't eat enough because the older I get, the lighter my eyes get.  You used to get lost in chocolate bliss and now...I dunno...they're mutts...why does this happen?  I found an answer, but I miss my chocolate peepers.

Baby Riss
Big Riss

Friday, May 27, 2011

On the Radio

I know some amazing people who do some amazing things.  One of these amazing young ladies gave my information to a friend of hers and, before I knew it, *poof* I was being invited to come on the radio to be part of "Win-a-date Wednesday" with KBER Rock 101.1."

Some of you may be thinking, "Larissa, you are so not the KBER kinda girl."  Well, I actually have this as one of my car radio pre-sets and, well, their DJs are hilarious. Who would turn down a chance to see the inner workings of a radio station and meet Mick and Allen?  Not me!

What is "Win-a-date Wednesday?"  Basically, a gal comes in, they ask her questions about herself and then guys call in to be harassed interviewed to try to win a date with the lady.  The lady is actually under no obligation to call any of the contestants, which is why I was okay with the whole scheme.

I went in and pretty much made a fool of myself.  Which always makes for a better story.  Who goes into a hard rock station and, when asked about yourself, says, "I perform on stage.  Um.  I mean, musical theater."  Then they asked me to sing from "My Fair Lady."  On a ROCK station.  I respond, "Well that isn't exactly your target audience..."  Then I sing for like 8 seconds anyway.  Oy.  I did get to plug my new show for a second, that's good news.

"What do you like in a man, Larissa?" Well, I like a man with a good head.  On his shoulders.  A good head on his shoulders!"  Yeah, everyone got a laugh out of that one.

"What age range do you prefer?  26-35?  And you are 30?  Doesn't that make you a cougar?"
"Well, actually, I looked up the definition of "cougar" last night and it is a woman in her prime dating someone at least 15 years younger, so I'm safe.  Not a cougar.  I'd have to go to the high schools to qualify."  Why?  For the love!  On public radio even! 

When I wasn't busy embarrassing myself, I had a blast.  Some of the highlights:
  • They told me I reminded them of Amy Adams from Enchanted - even my singing voice
  • After I left the station I was listening to them and they kept commenting on how tiny I am and calling me sweet, tiny Larissa.  I love being tiny and sweet!
  • The men who called in were hilarious.  Number one couldn't think of what natural disaster he would be and described himself as Robert Downey, Jr.  Hmm...what era we talking here?  Drug addict era?  He actually seemed pretty sweet and said he wouldn't pick a natural disaster because they are all bad and cause destruction and he didn't want to be any of them.  He said he's an outdoorsman who is into physical activity, etc.
  • The second man who called in was a softball player and an outdoorsy type who described himself as Brett Favre.  Apparently dude 1 and dude 2 both had facial hair.  Anyway, the hosts went nuts all over what part of him exactly resembled Brett Favre (kudos to those who get this reference).  But when asked if he could take me anywhere in the world for breakfast lunch and dinner then where would he take me, he said he'd stay right here.  Boo!  I love to travel! 
  • So who did I pick?  Number two.  Why?  Well, he talked more.  Number one sounded sweeter and more genuine, but I do not like the awkwardness that *might* come along with non-talkers.  Neither of the guys were tops in creativeness, but I guess that's what I get for saying first that I liked athletic men.
  • The third man called in well after the segment time and begged the hosts to give me his number anyway because I would like him because he's a personal trainer.  Nevermind the fact that he is 14 years older.  So not into that. 
  • They mentioned maybe doing a "flash mob" on the local "train to the North Pole" for the children in need come Christmas time.  I would love to help work with them on this and they challenged me to do just that.  Here's to hoping that comes to fruition.  
So there you have it - my experience as a radio star for 30 minutes.  Questions?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Because I'm Too Fat

You know what I'm sick of?

I'm sick of the fact that, after all this time, the first thing I think when something doesn't go right or someone looks at me funny is, "It must be because I'm too fat."

I was talking with someone at an audition and she mentioned how she thought I'd have been good in a certain part, then she said, "But that character has to be skinny."  She then tripped over her words and tried to correct herself, but it was too late.  The kicker?  Said individual is at least 40 pounds heavier than me. 

At the gym, twice in one week I had personal trainers approach me to see if I wanted a free session.  Um?  Do I look like I need a trainer?  Is that what it is?  Both of them looked shocked when they found out I had been going to the gym almost every day for over 6 years.

People all the time are not surprised to find out I was a gymnast because of my "gymnast legs."  Exactly what is this supposed to mean?  And why is it okay to say this?

A dear friend who I know meant nothing by this was listening to me whine about how I once dated a guy who told me to stop working out my legs because they were getting too big and then she said, "Well, your thighs are getting big..."  The poor dear realized what she'd said and tried to recover by saying they weren't "big" but compared to the rest of me, proportionately, they are larger.  Well, this is true...and I would rather have larger legs and a tiny waist, so it isn't all bad.  No harm in speaking the bold truth - I'd rather have honesty:-)

I often walk by a mirror and think about how large I am.  Then I look at someone else and think how tiny she is.  Then I see myself next to the person and am shocked to see I'm not much bigger than her.

How sad is it that my self-perception can still be so off?  I know this is ludicrous.  I've been fit for years now.  According to all the official charts I can find, I am not overweight at all.  I once blogged, "Once you've been fat, there is a part of you that always feels like that insecure fat girl inside."

I suppose, like with any addict, this is a struggle I will face my whole life.  I have to make sure I keep winning this battle. There was a time I would have screamed from the tops of the mountains to be where I am now.  I need to work on maintaining that gratitude and joy for the beautiful body I have worked so hard for...that has worked so hard for me.

I'm just sick of my emotion always defaulting to, "It must be because I'm too fat."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Morning Person or Night Person?

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I used to think I was a creature of the night, much like my raccoon friends.  As a youngster, I'd feel this tingle of excitement all over as I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning curled up with a book, or watching one of our five television channels, or talking with friends, or laying on the trampoline looking at the stars and listening to the crickets chirp after the rest of the world had retired.

Even now, I go through occasional spurts where I feel this same energy - especially during the run of my shows or when I first meet a young feller who tickles my fancy.

However, I think the sun and my body made some sort of secret pact without me knowing.  My mind thinks that if the sun is awake, my body needs to be awake.   On the weekends I will wake up refreshed and stretching to bask in the sun's rays as I take a glance at the clock.  What?  Prior to 7am on the weekend?!  Alas, it is the weekend and I can nap later if I need to - might as well get up and enjoy the daylight.

There is this precious time of the day when all the world starts to come to life.  I now feel the energy and joy from being there to witness the awakening that I used to from ruling the night. 

I still don't know if I would call myself a "morning person," but the more people I am around at early hours, the more I realize I'm probably one of those annoying folks about whom you think, "Why the #$&! are you so happy this early in the morning?  Shut up.  Go away."  But I can't really call myself a night person because, even though I defy this feeling every so often, once 11pm hits my mind is off in never never land.

How 'bout you?  Do you know if you are a morning or a night person?  What are your prime indicators?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


All of Salt Lake City is in an uproar over this tiny little group called U2 - heard of 'em?

The University of Utah is shutting down their entire campus at 2:30pm to accommodate for the concert at Rice-Eccles stadium.  I heard radio interviews this morning with attendees who have camped out overnight in the 40-degree weather and rain.  Utah's commuter rail is running extra trains tonight.  My co-workers are all going crazy with excitement, most of them taking off time from work to get to the concert early or to come in late tomorrow morning.  One of them is even calling the lunch she brought in, "The Bono Special."  I have no idea what that would even mean.

The thing is, and many of you may blacklist me after this, but I don't care so much for U2.  Sure, I enjoy their music, but, to me, it all starts sounding the same after awhile.  And, have you seen Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark?  Cause I have.  And Bono was responsible for the music that, all critics will agree, is monotonous and unmemorable.  I've been to a U2 concert.  I commend the incredible performers and musical genius they entire group possess.  I commend the energy the crowd emits.  Yet, I don't care to ever attend another of their concerts.  I'm more of a Bon Jovi girl I guess, cause I enjoyed myself much more at his concert.

For all of you attending tonight, great - have fun - it'll be a Beautiful Day.   To me, they just aren't worth the money, the time, the frustration fighting traffic, the frustration fighting super fans, the PTO...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Walk With Me - Request Granted!

Remember when I posted about wanting this darling little number from Anthropologie, but it was no longer being made and costs way too much on ebay?

Not only did I have two friends tell me they could make it, but one of you went to the store to see if they had it, then one of you worked some kind of dress fairy magic and *poof* gifted me the dress on Saturday...refusing to let me pay you. 

How blessed and lucky am I?  I just may have the best friends in the world! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

All Shook Up

With deepest pride and greatest pleasure I announce this:
I am lucky enough to have earned the privilege to play for you the lead role of Natalie Haller / Ed in All Shook Up for Midvale Performing Arts Center!  All of you who have been dying to see me play a man, your wildest dreams have just come true.  Should be exciting for all of us:-)  (don't get confused, this is a different company than Midvale Main Street that just finished their run of this same show)

I'm stoked.  I saw the show on Broadway when it first opened.  For those of you who don't know the plot, you basically have Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (or Amanda Bynes in "She's The Man") set to the tune of Elvis music...mmm...Elvis.

I love Elvis, I love the people I will be working with, I get to again pretend to be substantially younger than I am...who wouldn't love to come see me and an entire cast of people having the time of our lives?! 

Mark your calendars - July 15-22!
Midvale Outdoor Stage in the Park
455 West 7500 South
Bring your blankets, chairs, and picnics!

I also just realized that I got another dream role of mine last year after auditioning for Seven Brides and working hard to earn a callback for the show - such fun dancing!  Any theaters doing Seven Brides next year?  Seems to be my good luck charm, although I am quite sad I keep missing the opportunity to perform with amazing theaters in that crazy show.  I hope I get the chance in the future!

For those of you wondering, I get to sing these songs as solos, duets or small solos in company numbers:  One Night With You, C'mon Everybody, Follow That Dream, Teddy Bear/Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Blue Suede Shoes, Can't Help Falling in Love, A Little Less Conversation, Fools Fall in Love, and Burning Love.

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying On Broadway

"Are you here for the show or are you here for Daniel Radcliffe?"And thus begins my experience with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, our unanimously favorite show of the trip.

I found myself smack dab in the center, 5th row orchestra, next to this delightful older gentleman from Australia.  He takes a three week vacation each year to come to New York and see 21 productions.  The guy was serious about his show-viewing and I had to put him to ease a little that I wasn't some crazy Harry Potter fangirl there to hoot and holler and drool over Radcliffe the whole show.  I've been wanting to see How to... for at least fifteen years and know every word to every song.  Now, the fact that the show stars John Larroquette (J.B. Biggley), Tammy Blanchard (Hedy La Rue), and Daniel Radcliffe are added perks to my experience, but I'd have seen the show regardless. 

The Plot
The curtain lifts and a man dressed as a window washer starts descending from the ceiling whilst reading an instructional book, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  The lights brighten, we hear his voice, and then he flashes us a bright, shining smile - enter Daniel Radcliffe as J. Pierrepont Finch.
Basically, the title says all you need to know.  A young man with lofty ambitions, an "eager beaver," manipulates and lucks his way to the top of the corporate ladder, all while trying to win over Rosemary (Rose Hemingway).  How To... does not try to take itself seriously as far as the story, yet the characters within the story are delightfully real...at least we wish they were.

The Music
What can I say?  Here you have your classic Broadway show with fun, not-too-serious music you can tap your toes to, sing along, and smile smile smile.  I really don't feel I can be objective here because I have loved these songs for far too long, from Coffee break to Paris Original to Brotherhood of Man.

The Costumes
Mad Men on color crack for the ladies and just straight up Mad Men for the men....well...with a little added flair in bright accents, such as Radcliffe's bow tie. 

The Sets
Flashy and totally retro 1960s glam-office feel.  We were all enamored with the office of J.B. Bigley on the "second floor" of the set.  His entrance was an elevated, slide-out platform on the left of the stage.  Sounds simple enough, but added that extra little flair.  The way they worked the scenes in the "elevator" also tickled us.  The only set at all I can remember thinking was a little sparse was during the song Coffee Break.  Seriously though, you 100% felt the 1960s over-exaggerated office environment.

The Choreography
The best of the shows we saw!  Even silly songs like Coffee Break were magical because of the staging, the lifts, the random body positioning...les sigh!
Is there anything out there that makes my heart flutter the way a handsome singing, dancing man does?  How about almost twenty of them?  Be still my heart.  I could have watched Brotherhood of Man over and over and over.  In fact, I may or may not have watched the video at least five times.  Grande Old Ivy stole my heart as well - Larroquette and Radcliffe were both dripping with sweat by the end of the number, with more than good reason.  See it, see it, see it! 

The Actors/Actresses
Many of you out there may be speculating that Daniel Radcliffe got this role because he played Harry Potter, therefore bringing in that fan base to pay beaucoup bucks and make the show a success regardless of the quality.
I want to tell you - loudly, proudly, firmly - this is not the case.  Can Radcliffe sing?  Dance? Act? Yes, yes, YES!  And all without a trace of his accent.  Want confirmation?  I can't say enough, the video at the end of this text from a Good Morning America performance speaks for itself.  Keep in mind, even the video does not do the actual stage performance justice.
I will say that we all agreed you can tell Radcliffe is a screen actor because, through the first 2/3 of the show, his antics were not "larger than life."  By the time Brotherhood of Man hit, however, you would never guess this man hadn't been on the Broadway stage his entire life.
I was just going to write, "You know who really stole the show?"  But I can't, because they all stole the show in their own rights and at different times.  If you had to pick one  person to see this shoe for, that would have to be Larroquette.  The man can knit - seriously!  I honestly had no idea I was in for such a treat with him.  If someone else wins the Tony award for which he was nominated, I will have to see that actor because I am fully convinced no one can top this.
Rose Hemingway, in her Broadway debut, was... well... perfect.  When you know a show for years, you have pre-conceived notions of how everything should be, which can often lead you to being disgruntled with a perfectly splendid performance.  Hemingway was everything you could want and more - darling, voice to kill, looks to kill, and capable of stealing that spotlight from Radcliffe at any moment (but finding a fine balance).
Tammy Blanchard as Hedy La Rue is the Joan Holloway of the stage.  Va-va-voom!
I could so so much about so many of these actors and actresses, but, really, you just need to see them for yourselves.

My Biggest Downfall?
I have a few of things on my list here - only one in regards to the actual performance.
My Australian acquaintance pointed this out to me several times - the first act of the play was almost two hours.  This my friends, is far too long for a first act.  Not like I cared - they could have gone on all night and I would have stayed, but try to keep it to eighty minutes or less for those restless or elderly audience members. 
Another - I never did believe that Finch actually loves Rosemary...but perhaps this is all part of the farce of the 1960s the script is intending.  She's happy to keep his dinner warm and has security, he has arm candy and someone to wait on him.
The theater itself is also far too small in the lobby area.  I tried to get to the restroom during intermission and, well, it took me five minutes to get out into the lobby upon which I was pushed into a wall and pinned there against some other ladies for another five minutes, trying to keep a large mirror from falling off the wall and onto the pushers.  I couldn't even begin to see where a line formed because we were motionless sardines.  I gave up and went back to my seat.  Good thing, too, because Keri and Megan (one and two rows behind me, respectively) actually found the line and missed the first five minutes of the second act. 
If your favorite Broadway show is Next to Normal, then this probably isn't the show for you.  I love that show too, but what I'm saying is that if you are looking for something moving and educational, you are barking up the wrong tree here. 

My Biggest Praise?
My brain is going into this tizzy of a tailspin trying to put into words all the fabulous things.  You cannot see this show without finding your cheek muscles sore at the end because you have been grinning from ear to ear for three hours.  You may even find your abs are extra firm from laughing.  This is the kind of show that will leave you wanting to immediately jump on the stage and do your own song and dance number or twirl around light posts in the rain.  The only word I can think of to describe it all is, "electric." 

If this show doesn't win the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, I will be thoroughly shocked.  I recommend this show right up there with Jersey Boys and Wicked for those venturing to NYC for the first time.


Friday, May 20, 2011


I called my all-within-48-hours awkevents my "trifecta," but, alas, I realized I have a "fourfecta" on my hands for those 48 hours.


I had arrived at the location of "drop it like it's hot," because of an invite to unwind from my stressful day in a soothing, steamy hot tub (me and three dudes).  This was a new invitation for me, so I didn't really know where I was headed.  I followed Jon through a dark hallway and into a dark room.  He turned around and flashed this huge "this is going to be good" grin at me as he reached for the lights.

"Um, so this is the men's room.  You probably don't want to go hot tubbing in here."  Had I really just followed him right on in to the men's room?  *He turns the lights on* You bet your bottom dollar!

Laser Hair Removal

Ready for part three of the trifecta of awkward stories?  Yes, ladies and gentleman, "Drop it Like It's Hot," "Why Are You Still Talking," and this awkevent all happened within 48 hours of each other.

I was at an audition and I ran into this young lady who seemed familiar.

I like to make the most of my auditions, being as friendly and supportive as possible, because you never know who your new 3-month family (aka cast) is going to be or how much someone is struggling with their nerves.  Best to get off on the right foot and help everyone feel the best about what they accomplished that day.

I really hit it off with this familiar young lady, we even stood outside talking for 5 or 10 minutes after the audition.

Then it hit me.  I did know her.  And there is a reason she did not recognize me.  She's my laser hair removal technician.  And, well, she isn't exactly ever looking at my face.

Please bless I have someone new for my next appointment!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Catch Me If You Can on Broadway

By now, we are all probably at least one-view familiar with the Tom Hanks / Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Catch Me If You Can.  Would you believe they put this on stage as a musical?  I was a bit skeptical, I have to admit, but the reviews I read were glowing and the show stars not one, not two, but five Broadway and television/film "big" stars with whom I am familiar.  If the show were bad, they may be able to attract one "star," but five?  Ticket, please!

I wish I hadn't needed such a vacation from vacation when I returned home and had had the energy to write about all of these immediately for more complete details.

The Plot
Pretty much the same as the movie. Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Aaron Tveit) begins conning around the age of 16 due to the divorce of his mother and father (Tom Wopat!!!).  The show highlights his exploits forging overdraft checks, posing as a PanAm Pilot, a doctor, and the beginnings of a lawyer.  Throughout his scheming, he is always just barely eluding Carl Hanratty (Norbert Leo Butz), based upon real life FBI agent Joe Shea.  We also see a brief romantic interlude with Brenda (Kerry Butler) that eventually lead to his capture.
What I really appreciated about this script was the one thing that Wonderland was lacking - the cheese actually added cohesion.  These actors embraced every silly joke or twisted line in a way I can only dream of.  Because, trust me, there were some crazy lines.  I'm not quite sure if it was the script ("the book" in official lingo) that made this show better than the previous, or the actors.  I'd definitely side with the scripting team, as Wonderland had some *wow* actors, but I could be wrong.  There is a fine, fine line that an actor must dance near when being punny and cheesy - one side of the line and everyone laughs right along with you, the other side and you are DOA.    They go over the top with everything in this cat and mouse game, yet...I like it.

The Music
I really enjoyed the music, especially the songs that lent themselves to big production numbers - like when Jr. meets his girlfriend's family or when Hanratty dances around like a total goof.

The Costumes
Talk about women with sexy legs!  1960s airline stewardesses had this reputation of being sex symbols and, by golly, the costuming does not disappoint.  I'm sure the hemline's are about 8 inches higher than the real deal was.  All of the outfits matched the mood of the music, the lighting, the era, and were clever enough to be "costumes" without being over-the-top.  Another thing I appreciated?  These costumes were sexy without being trashy, another fine line.

The Sets
I adored how the entire orchestra was on the actual stage.  Often times the stage would open up to this Ziegfeld era set - my first taste of this was when Abagnale, Jr. began to tell the audience something along the lines of how he is creating his own story and has his own symphony to play for him...oh man, I wish I could remember because it was actually so cute and clever that as much as I wanted to dislike this strange transition, I couldn't help but smile to myself.

The Choreography
Fun!  I loved how Norbert Leo Butz can dance around like a buffoon of a man 20 years older than he actually is who doesn't know how to dance, but Butz does know how to dance.  I've seen him in Wicked and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  The women had such six-pack abs it was almost distracting...there is yet a third fine line approached in this show - women who are too cut.  Only one of the women crossed the line, thank heavens, or I may just never be able to look at my own abs again.  One last thing to say: Legs, Legs, Legs!!!

The Actors/Actresses
I think I've already talked about this one too much.  I adore Tom Wopat.  My first experience in NYC lead me to the musical 42nd Street one afternoon, front row seat.  If his booming voice doesn't win your heart, his energy and kindness will.  After the musical that afternoon, I watched the orchestra until they had finished playing, and, what I saw surprised me - Tom Wopat would run down to the pit after every curtain call and conduct the orchestra for their exit number.  How awesome is that?  He was all smiles and hopping around and full of a kind of energy I only see in young boys.  He brought all of that, only channeled differently, into Catch Me If You Can.  I love him.
To quote this enamored young man from the audience behind me, "Norbert Leo Butz is a God!  Playing a character 20 years older than he is?  He's a genius!"  Seriously, you'd never believe he isn't some stifled late 50's office paper pusher.
Aaron Tveit's as the schmoozing con-artist flowed on stage like...I don't know, something that flows really well:-)  The contrast and compliment he and Butz were able to share made both of their characters work.  Each  has a polar opposite charm that attracts the audience to them and them to each other.  Tveit's also delivers one of my favorite lines.  When asked why he did one of his schemes, his response was simply, "I like girls."
Kerry Butler as Brenda was adorable, but spent most of her time off stage.  Her character was a sprightly, tiny, bubbly, hourglass, intelligent bundle of normalcy amongst all the Glamazons.  And she owned it.
The two who portrayed Brenda's parents - Carol and Roger Strong (Linda Hart and Nick Wyman) were incredible stand-out featured performers.  Linda Hart had me in stitches - her character just does all these unexpected...well...things.  You'd have to see her.  In our particular performance, there was a man in the audience laughing like a hyena.  And laughing.  And laughing.  Linda apparently couldn't hold it in because she started busting up laughing as she delivered her line, but somehow managed to work that in to her somewhat tipsy character.  Oh I loved her. 

My Biggest Downfall?
Catch Me If You Can is definitely more of an adult musical.  Not in that creeper kinda way, but as in the costumes aren't crazy and there aren't colors and rainbows and lollipops everywhere.  The themes are also a bit too mature for children...even if they weren't, this isn't the eye-catching, bubble-gum pop-sound of a show for them.
Isn't it awesome that that is the worst thing I can think of and it isn't even bad?

My Biggest Praise?
The way the actors/actresses delivered the script, embracing everything about their characters and their over-the-top show.  These were not actors playing a part, these folks were the characters.  Hats off to book writer Terrence McNally, who wrote another of my favorites - Ragtime.

I admit, I was a little star-struck.  I adore some of these players and could watch them chew gum and enjoy it.  Well, maybe not.  The show really was fantastic.  I'm still a Jersey Boys girl at heart, but give Catch Me If You Can a chance if you haven't quite had your fill of the 60s.

If you'd like to read another opinion, go on over to Megan's blog for her take from the balcony that evening.

Walk With Me

I want this dress  (Walk with me from Anthropologie) soooooooo bad!

The problem?   They don't sell it anymore! And ebay hasn't had my size* for the past month.  Even if they did, I couldn't rationalize forking over all the cash.  But still.

It would be cute on me, no?

*Size 6, depending - 26.5 - 27 inch waist

Why are you Still Talking?

This is a question I don't commonly ask myself.  I'm pretty amusing, especially when I've lost my brain-to-mouth filter.  But sometimes?  Sometimes I really do need to just stop talking.

For example, Sunday night.  As we all know, the singles ward boundaries in Salt Lake City have thrown caution to the wind and given us all a chance for a fresh start with realignments of boundaries.  Need to know your ward?  Log in to Lds.org or here.

I have not been a regular attender of ward prayer* or like activities for quite some time.  Mainly due to rehearsals or athletic training or flat-out exhaustion.  I'm four months away from expiring.**  I've been doing the overly-energetic meet and greet for almost 13 years and I am worn out.  BUT!  Hope!  I decided to give these last four months my heart and soul - go out with a bang.

Back to the story.  Sunday night I decided to attend ward prayer, as some of my favorite people landed in Oz with me after the tornado.  This feller sits next to me on the couch and, after a good while of talking with my friend, I decided to introduce myself to TG.

He says his name.  I respond, "How do I know your first and last name but not you?"  I ask a few questions before a listener-inner asks if I attend theater much because TG (Theater Guy) is, well, a theater guy.  I bust with excitement and say, "I'm a theater person too!"  Apparently I said this in a rather strange or condescending or sarcastic way because no one believed me until my friend piped in.  Even then, they made me tell them all the shows I'd done and what parts I had played.

He then tells me the role he is currently playing.  To which I respond, "OoooOoooOooh.  You have a bad reputation."  Who says that?!?  I clarify that I'd heard a conversation regarding how he'd been a diva, but someone else in the conversation said he was quite nice and I couldn't remember who either person was.  My clarification really wasn't making anything better.  He, thankfully, laughed it off and said he had been a diva in a couple of shows, so it must have been those.  I profusely apologized for not having my filter activated.

Where did the conversation go from there?  Where else?  Downhill.

I'll share some highlights, but I'm not going to even try to explain how we got to each topic, for I have no idea.

1. "Oh, no I haven't seen that one.  I hear there is a six foot male anatomy (I used the real word but don't want creepers finding my blog by searching for that word) on stage and I don't really care to see that."  Naturally, he didn't hear me the first time, so I had to repeat myself.

2. Him: "Let me show you a picture of the 2.5 carat engagement ring I bought for my ex-fiancee two years ago."
Me: "Your ex must have been a big girl."
Him: Confuzzled look.
Me:  "I mean tall, she must have been tall.  Because when I went ring shopping last year, we put 1 carat on my finger and it was too big for me.  My ring size is 3.5.  So your girlfriend must have been a tall girl."
Seriously? Do NOT give a man your ring size OR act interested in photos of an engagement ring for his ex OR tell him about your past romantic interludes in the first 20 minutes you've known each other.

3. Figuring theater talk, after my original word vomit, was relatively neutral and safe and was leading to my overdue exit, I diverted - "So do you know TG2 (Theater Guy 2)?"
"Yes, I do."  Said with a weird sort of grimace.
"Awesome!  Well, I'm going to his house to watch Mad Men right now - some of us do that every Sunday night."
"Okay, yeah, I know him."
I get to TG2's house and ask about TG.  He laughs.  And says what?  "Oh man, he HATES me.  I made out with his little sister.  If you ever want to get him mad just say, TG2 made out with your sister.'"  He continued laughing, especially when I told him of how I awkwarded up the conversation all over the place.

Unintentionally awkward conversations are awesome.  I don't really care - a good story is gold - I just don't want to do it again anytime soon. 

*Ward prayer is a Sunday night activity that some LDS singles wards do where someone offers up their home for everyone to gather, share a spiritual message, a prayer, some talking and some treats.  Often times this is joked about as "ward stare" since many people go just to check out the dating selection.

**When a young LDS single turns 31, they must attend a family ward instead of a singles ward, because those wards are for 18-30.  Mid-singles wards for 31-45 do exist, but are not the most appealing option for this gal.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Drop it Like it's Hot

Can you drop it like it's hot? 

Twenty-four hours ago, I could not answer to the affirmative, but now?  This guy taught me all I need to know to back that thang up.  That's right.  A man taught me to drop it like it's hot...in front of his girlfriend...and two other dudes. 

There is a person formally known as "post-midnight Larissa."  Which means I get myself deliriously excited and involved in bewildering activities and then don't remember much of it the next morning.  Who needs drugs or alcohol?  Sleep deprivation works just as well (especially when I've been up since 5:30am)

I don't know how this happened.  There I was, at a friend's house I was visiting for the first time, after midnight, being tutored on how to "drop it like it's hot."  I kept hearing this voice behind me saying, "There you go.  Wait. No. You need to try that again...no...again.  That one was good!"  Then I realized I was doing this about 2 feet from the face of another of my man friends who thinks he's pretty funny.  I had four people giving me pointers, cheering me on, laughing hysterically, and...well...they couldn't give me pointers without staring at my derriere.  Awkie!  Yet I was too delirious to realize any of this at the time.

Now I have one more totally useful skill in my back pocket.  The problem?  Jon still does it way better than any man or woman I have ever met...scary.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cost of Dating

Upon discussing the below series of events with this guy, I decided to put this out there for the world to comment.

The other day I was enjoying Cafe Rio with some co-workers for lunch - neither of those two details are typical.

The group got to talking about their favorite restaurants in Salt Lake.  I quickly realized they were throwing out names of high-end restaurants - $30-$50/plate places.  My turn to contribute to the conversation soon arose.

"Ummm...I've never actually been to any of the better restaurants around here.  I'm perfectly happy with Sweet Tomatoes."

"You mean no one has ever taken you on a date to one of these places?"

"No...I'd feel too guilty!"

"You mean to tell me they say, "Let's go to 'Ruth's Chris,' and you say, 'No, let's go to Chili's?!?"

"No, no one has ever suggested eating at a nice place and I would just feel too guilty!"

"Larissa, you are dating the wrong men."

Everyone laughs.  Hard.

The thing is, truth be told, I've never dated a man who has a higher salary than me and my favorite place to eat really is Sweet Tomatoes.  I don't even know if I've been on a single date with a man with a higher salary.  And I don't even make anything more than your average bear!  Is this normal? Or as freakish as my co-workers made it sound?

I would feel really guilty if a man wanted to fancy schmancy dinnerize me because I don't want them to be pulling from their budget elsewhere or when logic reasons I should pay (although I certainly don't want to set that standard).  But shouldn't I be uber flattered that he is willing to make this huge sacrifice to simply spend time with me?

I do always let them pay and give them that chivalrous opportunity, etc. but I don't think a single occasion has passed that I haven't felt some measure of guilt...but then in return huge measures of gratitude.  I guess I shouldn't be too worried - I've made it this long without a man offering to schmancy dinnerize me.

Men, Ladies - what are your feelings on this?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dentist: Love and the Torture Chamber

I used to love going to the dentist.  I know, I know, all questions regarding my mental stability begin....now.

The thing is, I love that clean, minty fresh feeling and I want to continue my love for the tooth dude.  I do adore my actual dentist - awesome, honest, kind, gentle, concerned, great memory...all the things you want from someone who can see everything you've eaten for the past six months plastered all over your mouth.

But the ladies who clean my teefers?  AY CARAMBA!  Their gentle faces and sweet voices give no foreshadowing of the torture to come.  Who knew floss could be a lethal weapon?  Ladies, I floss.  I really do.  Regularly.  BUT.  Not. Like. That.  Isn't it considered a mental disorder if you enjoy inflicting extreme pain upon yourself on a twice-daily basis?  Perhaps there is a medical explanation for all of this? I know I have a few dental people reading.  Some have told me to floss more, use a certain toothbrush, use a certain mouth wash.  I've faithfully devoted myself to trying it all and it hasn't made a hill of beans of a difference in protecting my mouth from the blood bath of a dental visit.

Every time I had the opportunity to close my mouth, all I could taste were the pools of blood forming in every crevice. I cringe admitting this, but I even had to wipe away tears from the corners of my eyes a few times.

I don't want to be that asinine patient who says, mid-treatment (hence asking for more pain), "Umm...is it supposed to hurt that bad?  Is there a reason you are digging to China through my gums with your floss?"

Through the blood, tears, and agony of the morning, I have one good thing to say...
"Look, Ma!  No Cavities!"

Where's my treat?  :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This Place is a Zoo!

Did you know Salt Lake City has a zoo?  I do!  It's right down the canyon from Ruth's Diner

Looks like the young single men aren't the only animals in the valley;-)

I was flapped in the face by this fellow - never thought getting flapped upside-the-head by a pink bird would be on my list of accomplishments.

I just want to give this big fellow a huge squeeze around the neck!

mmmm...wall!  Derishous!

Friday, May 13, 2011

You Smell Like...


At least that's what my co-worker told me when he snuck up behind me to scare me, only to start giggling and grinning, saying, "You smell like Disneyland!  No, really - you do!  Disneyland!"

This may be the strangest compliment or non-compliment I've ever received. 

Wonderland on Broadway

Wonderland is not only the first show we saw on our New York adventure, but the news also hit yesterday that it will be closing this Sunday, so I've decided to share my thoughts on this one with you first.

My friend, Melissa, recommended her friend's blog, Natalie Hill - Mormon in Manhattan - No Sex in the City, to me awhile back - she said we had a mutual passion for blogging and I'd love her.  Oh, and she's a Broadway starlet. Melissa was correct.  Conveniently, Natalie has been plugging her new show, Wonderland, and I decided to check out what all the fuss was about.

The Marriott Marquis has this fantastic sidewalk laminate thing for publicity outside of their theater.  If you look at this illustration through your camera lens, it appears to be 3-D...oh and it is stationed in front of a wall-sized screen playing clips from the show...right in the middle of Times Square...I'm sold!

Where to begin?

The plot was, well, Alice in Wonderland meets Manhattan.  A young mother, Alice, and her daughter, Chloe, move in with their mother-in-law during a temporary separation from Dad, who has lost his job and strained the marital relationship.  Alice hit her head on the elevator before falling asleep on Chloe's bed, sending her into the dream-world of Wonderland. 

The costumes were dazzling, colorful, and invoked creative jealousy within me.  I do wish the human-animal characters resembled their respective animals a bit more, but don't think they could have given their characters the movement/dance aspects they needed if that were the case.  In the promo shots, Alice was wearing this amazing fuchsia wrap dress, but in the show she wore a fuchsia over-sized boho kinda top and some stretch pants...I preferred the dress, but my comrades thought the shirt/pants gave a more motherly vibe.

The sets were as spunky as the costumes and reminded me of the gardens in Central Park.  As a matter of taste, I would have preferred less reliance on the use of lighting and projection techniques and more on actual set pieces, but, again, my comrades actually loved this aspect because it can create more than traditional set pieces.  For instance, lighting projection was used to transform part of the stage into an elevator instead of having an actual elevator.  Another trick? To get into Wonderland, instead of shrinking when she drank the potion, Alice's door grew bigger.  This was clever, but made me think it was only done because there was no other way around this.

The choreography was, in a word, fun!  They have soft shoe, some leapers, wacky business, modern, and traditional numbers.  I wouldn't say the numbers required the athleticism of say, Lion King, but I never found myself wishing they were dancing more - everything seemed quite appropriate.  The sets, costumes, actors were all so over-the-top that more dancing may have actually been sensory overload.

The actors and actresses?  I never cease to be amazed with the caliber of those on Broadway - one look in the bio's of these folks shows some are experienced beyond experience and others are having their fledgling works on Broadway.  You'd never know the difference between the two.  I applaud all of them for getting through some pretty cheesy scripted lines.  The show is obviously a family show, with about half of the entertainment clearly geared towards entertaining the younger half of the audience.  The cheshire cat, El Gato - Jose Llana, for instance, had lost his ability to disappear, but all of his friends appeased him by pretending he was invisible.  What a spectacular display this ended up being:-)  My first thought was, "Oh, they can't really make him invisible, so this is a cop out."  But, man, Jose was so convincing, I couldn't keep from giggling...and hearing the children in the audience squeal with delight won me over as well.  Janet Dacal as Alice had this rockin' voice that blew me away.  Maybe I'm too used to community theater here, but I'm always worried someone's voice is going to squeak (yes, I've heard it on Broadway too - we are all human), but no worries here.  She's...Wonderful.  The ensemble?  Very united - I got excited every time I saw them all coming out - the large full-cast numbers were the best!  And the White Knight?  He can be my knight any day.  He was in charge of this boy band of troupes and I could. not. get. enough.  Tickle me to death.

My biggest downfall?  The cheesiness of the script.  I tried and I tried, but the lines just didn't flow for me and some of the actors weren't able to fully embrace every line in a manner convincing for me.  I found myself with an odd look on my face quite often.  Something simply didn't gel for me.  I hoped the show would run long enough to enable them to tweak that little something I can't quite put my finger on that was off to transform this into the truly fantastical Broadway show it is sooooooooo close to being.  BUT, would I see the show again?  YES! Yes! Yes!  Would I recommend it to those wanting wholesome, fun theater?  Absolutely!  The musical numbers and visual appeal outweigh the scripted cheese fest.

My biggest praise?  Ironically, the message hidden in the midst of the cheesetasticness.  Alice and her husband are having difficulties, but through the course of events of the show (her husband doubles as Wonderland's White Knight), she comes to realize that all he ever wanted was to be her knight in shining armor, her protector, her hero.  I took this to heart.  Too many times in my life I have pushed people away who want nothing more than to be my knight.  Why is it so hard for so many of us to accept a little help once in awhile?  To give others the opportunity to be to us all they know they can be if we simply let them?  This message may have slipped past the younger ones to whom much of the show was geared and crept straight into the hearts of most of us adults.  *gulp* Did I just refer to myself as an adult?  Ew. 

This show will take off in the regional and community theater level much like Seussical did and everyone will love it.  Why?  Flashy costumes, giggle-inducing characters, a strong family message, ways to have every element big or small.  Now, let it be known, I am not a fan of Seussical at. all.  I am, however, a fan of Wonderland.   I only relate the two in the level to which I believe Wonderland will take off.  In fact, I'll say this now - Wonderland is much, much, MUCH better than Seussical.  Even through cheesy scripts, the script is at least comprehensible and enjoyable.  I laughed out loud and I can't get the song "Off With Her Head" out of my head for a week straight - two things that don't happen often. 

Is it the best show I've ever seen?  Well, no, but does it matter?  Does the show deserve such a preliminary close?  I never would have guessed when I saw this show last week that they would close the next week.  Never saw that coming.  I've seen worse on Broadway open for much longer.  I was actually quite excited for the future of this show and saw great potential.  Blast those Broadway politics.  Here's to hoping I get to be a part of this one someday and that a not-too-distant revival gives it the re-vamp and attention it needs and deserves.

*UPDATE - 5/16/11* Closing night was last night.  Darren Ritchie (the White Knight) proposed to Janet Dacal (Alice) after the final curtain call.  How romantic is that?!?!

screen before the opening of the show - projections of characters morphed all over