Chock Full O' Nuts.


Friday is our last day of touring. Between both of our shows we will have done over 100 performances over the past 9 weeks. And let’s be real, some days it’s hard to keep it fresh.

LUCKILY Joshua and are nuts.

Towards the end of our George Washington Carver play, I bring three kids up on stage to represent the three branches of government. In order to make the scene even more interactive, they each get a costume piece that we keep under the desk. The president gets an Abe Lincoln hat, the legislator gets to don a really appalling Ben Franklin wig, and the member of the Supreme Court has to wear a devilishly charming powdered wig.

Sometimes the kids get a little self conscious about their new hairstyles. So today I put a bowl on my head. And when Joshua came out from behind the set as Thurgood Marshall, he wasn’t expecting it at all.

Just another day.

all wound up.

Last week during a performance of our George Washington Carver play, “Jackie Robinson” hit me in the back of the neck with a baseball.

My character, Dorothy, is just a more excitable version of George Michael Bluth, so when Joshua winds up to throw a baseball at me, I let out a great yelp and turn my back to him in order to protect my face. Usually, he waits to toss it until I’ve turned back around so I have no choice but to catch it, but during that particular show, our timing didn’t work the way it normally does and it bounced right off the back of my neck and rolled away. I responded with a swift “It’s okay, that’s what usually happens to me,” and the show continued.

Sometimes during the Q&A the kids ask us if we ever have to laugh on stage, and if so, what do we do? We tell them that it’s okay to laugh if something funny happens. (But when Joshua and I laugh, we LAUGH. So sometimes he has to hold it in until he has a chance to go backstage, and I have to find a good moment to duck underneath the desk on our set).

I think they ask this question because they think Joshua and I are crazy. I say this because during almost every Q&A we either get asked “Are you this crazy in real life?” or “Why are you so crazy?” or the occasional “I liked the show because you are crazy.”

Later during the show with the rogue baseball, as I sat in the audience hoping that “Madame CJ Walker” would pick on me to talk about my favorite beauty product, a little boy wearing a striped sweater that he must’ve borrowed from Freddy Krueger tapped on my shoulder. I turned around and he mouthed “You’re crazy.” And then he did the “crazy” thing with his finger on the side of his head. You know what I’m talking about. The universal sign for crazy. Cross your eyes, stick out your tongue, bop your head from side to side and swirl your finger around your ear.

I had to spend the rest of the show avoiding eye contact with Freddy Jr, because I don’t think he uncrossed his eyes and put his hand back to the ground, ever.

Our set is made of PVC pipe, which is a genius idea until one piece loosens up and the thing comes crashing down around you. After the show Joshua and I were giggling about the baseball incident. He had just finished saying “I’m surprised it didn’t hurt” as the last standing piece of PVC pipe tipped over and landed right on the back of his head.

There was one last line of students in the audience waiting to go back to class. And as Joshua and I howled with laughter, and the last 7 kids in the cafeteria howled with laughter, there was Freddy Jr., not laughing of course, but waving that finger around his head, mouthing “You’re crazy.” There wasn’t a teacher in sight, and he was the last kid in line, walking backwards of course, so he could continue to relay his message.

“No, you’re crazy!” I said.

“You’re crazy!”

And on it went until he said, “You’re right. I’M the crazy one!” And then bounced around in little circles droning “Ahhhhh” all the way out of the room.

Okay so maybe he borrowed his sweater from Tigger.

Maybe that’s why the kids like us so much. There aren’t many adults out there who can prove that it’s OKAY to be crazy sometimes.

diva lessons.

IMG_0810I’ve been getting real sassy lately and it’s Joshua’s fault.

Joshua is my Bright Star tour partner. He’s my diva teacher. Sometimes when he gives me diva lessons he sits crisscross applesauce on his hotel bed with a flannel scarf wrapped tightly around his head and preaches.

One time when I was brushing my teeth, the bathroom door flew open and he pranced out in his underwear, struck three poses in the mirror, tripped over his feet and crashed to the ground. To give you an idea of how normal this is, I will tell you that I had absolutely no reaction to this.

I asked him the top 3 rules for being a diva. He said, “Beyonce diva? Like, workin’ fo her money diva? Or… Lindsay Lohan diva?”

“Good” diva traits:

3. Have a spiritual, physical and mental understanding of thyself.

2. Be aggressive- nobody is going to hand anything to you.

1. You have to believe you are a diva. This is confidence. Never apologize for who you are.

It’s good advice, really, if you want to be an actor. Know who you are and then market it. I’m still working on that.

I cannot bring Joshua back to Chicago with me when I return on the 22nd. Alas, he must go back to Atlanta to continue spreading the love. Luckily, I have been listening hard to the diva master and if I can’t have him with me physically, then I can at least take with me a little bit of sass, a big boost of confidence, and the sense of humor that I used to have before my mid-twenties sucked it away thinking that was the right way to battle living in a city.

And as I type this, Joshua wails in the background: “I knew it! I knew it! Mean Girls: The Musical.”