Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 36: "Don't Be a Hero" ( #IHeartIdiot )

Appropriate as our musical tells the ultimate anti-hero story.

So I have worked in professional theater for over almost six years now.  I have done hundreds if not a thousand+ performances in that time.  Tonight will go down in history for me as a actor:

The night I first called out of a show.

Here's the story:  I have a terrible history with foot injuries.  Over the holiday, I re-injured my right foot and I was hoping it would be better by our first show in Toronto.  Alas, today, it did not feel 100% percent and so it pained me (yuck yuck....get it?) to notify our stage manager and "call out".

I planned on going to rehearsal nonetheless as  I wasn't sick, just a little broken.  As I hobbled to get ready around my hotel room, I started having doomsday thoughts:  "Fuck, you're going to let everyone down."  "You are weak, your body and spirit."  "If you could just man/woman up, you could do this.  But obviously, you suck!"

I am sure that I could have powered through with a limp but I could have furthered my injury and slowed my healing.  A small voice came over my shoulder (was it St. Jimmy?) and said "don't be a hero."  Actually it was our director Michael Mayer and also several of my supportive cast members in their way.

When I came through the stage doors, there were nothing but smiling faces.  Understanding faces.  "Shit happens" faces.  Still my doomsday voice came into command, "Sympathy for the invalid!"

We had a put-in rehearsal today for Jen Bowles (fabulously joining our tour) and, for me,  Vince Oddo (one of our fabulous swings).   Someone once said ( I won't mention names-) (okay.... it was Matt DeAngelis), "watching a swing go on for you is like watching someone eff your girlfriend (in my case, my non-existent boyfriend).  But you'll get over it."  WHAT THE FUCK, MATT?!  ..... But it was kind of true.  I wanted to be up there.  Vince was my hero, the show's hero.  And I felt like the show's failure.

But then, as do all of Matt's theater philosophies that can sound blunt and unkind, it revealed it's important lesson:   Sometimes you have to watch your Ex get fucked by someone else.  In the end, it always sets this pit in your belly on fire and forces you to grow; to see things as they really are.  

Because what I got to witness, in the audience with my icepack, was Vince Oddo onstage; killing it.  I saw Jen Bowles onstage; killing it.  I saw this incredible company of actors and musicians; all fucking killing it.  This show:  I know the ending, and I proudly cried like a little bitch anyway. American Idiot can be viewed as a show full of anti-heros.  These characters live like rock stars and sometimes callously.  But the actors who embody them:  They are warm, caring, passionate people who are giving a unique voice to a generation.  Eight shows a week. 

And at the end of the show, when I walked through the audience and was recognized by some of our fans who didn't even see me onstage- they wished me a speedy recovery- they, in fact, made MY day.  They proved that this is a crazy fucked up family and that we're all a part of it; Even the broken ones; On your best days and especially on your worst.  


So, I posted a twitter challenge earlier last week:  "How does American Idiot speak to you?"  These are the responses from the Idiot family (excuse if I misspell any names, I'm hopped up on mucho PAINKILLERS!)!

Katie Marie:  "since I saw it for the first time last November, I've learned who I am and what I'm meant to do with my life. "

Aimee Kislin: "everything you jus said in your blog. I saw the show 146 times on bway and felt everything new every time. ."

Katie Fitzmorris: " because it gave me one of my best friends x)"

Katrina Harris: "truer words were never spoken about what happened at the St James. "

Cristina Moreno: "I wrote this months ago, but it's still true. "  from that and exerpt "there’s always a chance that you’ll discover something new and that is the beauty of live theater." 

Olivia Alvarado: " because it's uplifting yet realistic. The perfect, passionate mix of rage and love."

Sally:  "My heart is like a bomb! "

Mrs.VanDenburg: " I saw AI 3 times on broadway.. would have gone more but live in CT. best show ever made me realize you always have a chance to change.. best show ever. .."

Cara, awesome theater geek!:  " because my life (and that of my generation) is told every single time the show is performed."

Shelly D:  "My life was changed forever after seeing American Idiot on Broadway. Can't wait til you get to Detroit! "

Amanda, lola oh lola!:  "idiot tells the story of my life, my broken generation & hope it's given me a new family united with rage & <3 "


If I didn't have to eat, pay rent, or have dreams of one day owning my own ice cream truck, I'm pretty sure I would do this show for free.  



  1. You, sir, are wonderful. And if I didn't have to pay a mortgage, eat, and pay my cell phone bill (hey, I gotta have access to my twitter & blog family somehow....) I'd become a full time Idiot groupie & do nothing but follow the tour around so I could watch the show all the time.
    BTW, has Jen joined for good? If so, that will make 5 tour cast members that I saw on Broadway! Yay!

  2. I rarely read through blog posts over and over again..... This one though. You are absolutely amazing. First of all, I wish you a fast recovery, and one that's as painless as possible, at that. I can't put it into words but the way YOU talk about Idiot, it's obvious that-- it's really fucking special, you know. And that makes me smile 'cause.... 'cause it means the world to know that it means SO much to you guys, who CREATE that, as it does to me, as I sit in my room at the other end of the world.
    I'm getting sappy but I guess my point is- your blog updates make my day. Honestly.
    And I think you're kinda awesome.

  3. It was fairly impossible to tweet what it meant to me in 140 characters. When I think about the things I have learned about myself from this show and the people I have met and how my life has changed, I am overwhelmed. It is the screaming voice of my generation demanding to be heard above the banality that society wants us to be. Are we grey suited drones, or are we breaking free, covered in glitter shaking our fists at the sky demanding that the world change to fit us? Are we tied to our depression and couches fighting against becoming nothing afraid to become something? Have we become disillusioned in our heroes and demons,are we searching for acceptance? YEs to all of it! My Idiot family is always there for me, my idiot family loves me regardless of what I do or look like, my idiot family supports me, and my idiot family is my strength. I am so happy that this show is back in my life and there is a whole new aspect to it and new idiot family members. New faces, new stories, new laughter, fresh tears. God I Love you Kelvin!!