Monday, February 6, 2012

Today I Love Damn Yankees

There is no way I can go through this month without giving love to my Damn Yankees crew.
I had quite the experience performing in this show for a good six weeks and I didn't realize at the time the lasting friendships I was building with these people.

I've written about Kristen before, and if you couldn't tell, one of the big reasons I love her is because of her spunk.   We have shared the stage not once, not twice, but thrice.  Whenever I have needed a wallop of common sense or an elevator for self-esteem, Kristen has been there for me.  Break-downs about ill-fitted costumes?  She's got my back.  Jumping up and down with squeals of excitement over a job well-done or a show well-closed?  You better believe she's bringin' me in for a hug and off we go to the Village Inn for midnight food:-)  More important than that is that this girl is fiercely loyal and through her sometimes seemingly tough-as-nails persona, she will do anything for those she loves and will always pay attention to the details of your life.  In fact, I was quite blue the other week and, simply through electronic communication, she knew something was up and, in spite of all of her shows and moving and pet dilemmas, she lovingly offered up her hand to help anytime anywhere.
I love you, Kristen!
After a performance of All Shook Up
During rehearsals for Damn Yankees

Girls' night at the Melting Pot - see Amy and Keri there too!  (and Tiff and Megs)  I need me some more of this...

Gosh, where do I even start?  I love this man.  You may recall reading about our adventures in Salsa classes.  Well, the fun never stops.  Dennis was so quiet and reserved when I first met him, but one night we ended rehearsal early and he and I stood in the hallway chatting about his most life-changing event for over an hour.  Those conversations never stopped.  Dennis is pretty much inside my head and can tell me what I'm thinking or going to do before I even know.  I can always count on him to be my "date" for a show, cheer me up when I'm feeling down, or make me through-the-roof happy when I'm already buzzed.  If ever there were a tender-hearted man, this is him.  If ever there were a man to completely appreciate me just as I am, this is him.  Sometimes I think he feels my pains and joys as deeply as I do.  I can also always count on seeing his smiling face in support of whatever it is I'm doing, be it a show or a party or pancakes or a love for Jurassic Park:-) 

Dennis, I love you!
Fake ignoring me as my fake husband watching baseball
Keri's Halloween Party
I don't think I've ever told Keri this, but she reminds me quite a bit of my older sister in all of her passions and desires and protectiveness over me...and sass.   What do I admire about Keri?  Almost everything!  She is an amazing mother of two who finds time to balance her family and profession and friends and even moonlights as a singer in an 80s cover band.  Radical!  She shares my passion for Bon Jovi, traveling, performing, food, exercise, and really juicy stories:-)  She is one of those people that can't do anything half-way, she is always giving 190%.   I love how she is always up for any adventure she can squeeze in and will sacrifice her personal life entirely to be there for those she loves.  She is so on top of her game, that I remember initially being rather intimidated by her stunning presence, intelligence, dedication, and talent.  I'm immensely grateful I didn't let that get in the way of getting to know her more because dang I would be missing out.  In fact, as I was going through photos trying to find some of me with each of my Damn Yankees I came across dozens more of Keri than of anyone else from this crew.
Keri, I am so glad you are part of my life - I love you!
New York City Subway
Bon Jovi Concert
One of Keri's gigs for her 80s cover band
Keri's Halloween party in her amazing home (Amy too)
Central Park where I made her walk 16 miles whilst 7 months pregnant...oops
When I think of Amy, I can immediately hear her laugh, see her dimples and smile, and think of sunshine.  She may just be the happiest person I know.  In fact, I've wondered what kind of chemical assistance she has because there is no way on earth someone can be so full of energy naturally:-)  I mean, c'mon, what mother of five do you know who can perform in musicals, attend all the social activities of her friends, rock it out with an 80s band (same as Keri), take care of her family, and still have enough energy left to be bouncing off the walls?  She inspires me to not give in to the exhaustion's of life, to keep moving, and to see the joy in every little thing.  And let's talk about her rockin' bod - five kids?  Seriously?  Not fair.  She's also always up for a juicy conversation;-)
I love you, Amy!
Keri's Gig at a bar in Magna
The Melting Pot for a girls' night out with Keri too

Must have been a tech rehearsal for Damn Yankees cause we both look a little...out of it...
Ah, my little breath of fresh air youngin'.  She is so full of youth and so ready to just jump at life, snatching up any opportunity she can and trying to create opportunities where none have been presented.  She's such an innocent, classy young lady.  What strikes me most of Justina is her growth.  I don't think she's ever satisfied to accept "that's just the way things are."  She has worked her butt off since I first met her a year and a half ago and I am so proud watching her really try to make something for herself. 
Justina, much lovies to you!
We randomly ended up being at the same improv show together
Keri's birthday dinner (notice Amy and Dennis as well)
Ah, sweet Jeremy.  He, too, is full of youth and vigor.  What a ride it has been watching him grow and try to learn his place in life as he discovers new things each day.  I make it a point to see all of his shows to support him and I'm pleasantly surprised how he steps-up the level of his performance with each new character.  The thing I take from Jeremy is unconditional love.  He does not see age, gender, social status, color...nothing.  He sees the person standing in front of him.  Although you better be just as dedicated and hard-working, otherwise he forms some pretty strong opinions:-)  He's never one to shy away from letting you know just how much you mean to him, even if he hasn't seen you in months.
Jeremy, I love you!   
Another fake husband I am fake mad at whilst he fake watches baseball
I believe I am insulting his manhood right about here...

If you know him, you know that about sums it up!  There is not a creature in the world like unto Stephen, the ice cream-eating, poem/book-writing, comic book-loving, art-drawing, theater/improv-performing, healthcare-working, opinionated, loud guy that he is.  When I first met him, he was an egg I could not crack, which is a bit frustrating for me because I swear I've got "everyone needs to like me" syndrome.  One day, he chipped away his shell a little bit, did this, and the electronic harassment that ensued became the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  In fact, if I am ever feeling a little too inflated about myself, I can even count of Stephen for a good break-up conversation!  All kidding aside, this man is a good man.  He stretches himself if for no other reason than he sees that if he stretches to become more, he will better be able to be a man his friends and family can depend on.  And I do.  They do.  This past year, I've seen the results of his actions and how much more he has come to rely on himself as well - funny how when you serve others you ultimately end up serving yourself.  Our conversations range from philosophically enlightening to embarrassingly juvenile...all in one breath.  You'd be surprised if you found out how many of my blog posts or his were inspired by some conversation we'd shared. 
Stephen, I love you man!

Must have been early on in a tech rehearsal - mic's and coherent faces and tongues?  Ew.
Stephen's bestie Darian and me at my A Christmas Story Party in '10

Stephen came over and was trying to help me make oreos.  Instead he exploded my mixer. Smoke and everything.  Hilarious.
Leatherby's this past Saturday night.  There is something strangely attractive and simultaneously repulsive about a man who can consume so much ice cream in one sitting.  For the record, I made him do it.  Next on my agenda is making him get a hair cut...


Amy said...

Larissa! I love YOU!!! Even though you made me cry. ;-) what an amazing post. I really am so grateful that I got to be in that show with so many amazing people and future friends.

P.s. Caffiene

S.R. Braddy said...

RE: Haircut


(Or, y'know, when I decide to do it)

Justina said...

Thank you! That was something that I needed at this time. I think you are amazing, and I miss all of us spending time together. Love you! :)

miss kristen said...

Aw Riss, I love you mostest toastest.

We should all have a Yankees catch-up dinner...just sayin'.

And Stephen-I LOVE the new look. Very rugged and dare I say...Handsome. I'd date you for sure-well if you dated people not as smart as you. ;)

Miss Megan said...

How many husbands were you fake married to in this show?!!

Seriously though, I love that you got to meet so many loved friends in one show! Those plays are the real life-changers and they're my favorites!!! said...

I am constantly amazed at how many good friends I made in that show! I am closer to you guys than to any other cast members I have been in plays with. I love it when we can catch up! <3 you all!!!

And thanks, Larissa! I am so flattered at the very nice things you said about me! I am so proud to have you as a friend. So funny, that initially when I met you, I wasn't sure I liked you, but oddly enough, it was stalking your blog that made me realize that we actually think quite a bit alike! I'm glad I got to know you!