Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There is nothing...

...that makes your day MORE than hearing somebody tell you, "You made my day."

On Sunday night, my friend Laura and I went to see a one-woman show, Rena Strober's Spaghetti and Matzoh Balls. (Laura had comps...which she got through her office, which USED to be my office too, until that day when they said, "We love you, you've been great, now...go pack up your stuff and never come back. You are being laid-off." But I won't talk about that now...we have discussed that unfortunate incident enough here.)

I grew up in a very very very (very) stereotypical Italian-American family. The majority of the men I knew growing-up were named Vinny or Joey or Anthony. In my family, if you grow past 5'4, you're right up there with Elle McPherson. (Seriously. 5'4 is TALL in our world.) When I was a child, I often woke up to the smell of gravy (yes, we call it GRAVY) drifting through our apartment...and we pretty much consider Frank Sinatra a member of the family.

In this show, Rena talked (and sang!) about her life, how she found herself sucked-into the Italian-American, New York City culture, and, of course, about the "Rao's incident."

(A recap...http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/9919/ I absolutely when this happened, because it was, OF COURSE, discussed in detail at our 2003 very very very (very) stereotypical Italian-American Christmas Eve dinner. (That includes lots of fish, if you are not familiar with those traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve dinners.)

I truly enjoyed this show, as did my friend Laura. (Laura, who is from South Carolina and has converted to Judiasm since moving to New York City, especially liked hearing about Rena's experiences with synagogues in the south. Synagogues in the South. ...that would make an excellent title for SOMETHING.)

Now, my dog died last week, and since then, I find myself weeping over air freshener commercials. I burst into tears several times during this show, mainly during Rena's renditon of "Time to Say Goodbye" (made famous by Mr. Andrea Bocelli, of course)...because I was thinking about saying goodbye to my dog (I am aware that that makes absolutely no sense. No where in that song are West Highland White Terriers mentioned.) and, of course, with the last song, "Live on the Moon." (made famous by Sesame Street's Ernie, of course.) Muppet songs always make me cry. I think they have that impact on a lot of people.

When I got home, I decided to shoot Rena an email through her website to tell her how much I loved that show and felt like she was my friend when it was over. (There is also that immediate connection I feel with people who have hair as curly or curlier than mine!) I noticed on her website that her agent is located in the same building that I work in, and I let her know that if I ever see her in the elevator, I will make sure to introduce myself.

On Monday morning, I was sitting at my desk, stamping contracts, and who do I see outside my office but Rena Strober. "How odd!" I thought to myself. "I just saw her one-woman show last night!" She walked in, and I couldn't help but tell her, "I saw your show last night! I loved it"!

I was really just expecting a, "Thanks!" but then she told me that she had come-up to my office to say hi to me because my email had made her so happy!

Frequently, I am suddenly reminded why I love the New York City theatre community so much. It is such a small, supportive, wonderful group of people. It really made me happy that this young woman cared enough to get in the elevator and ride a few extra floors just to say hi to me!

I doubt this ever happens much in Hollywood!!!

Diana Rissetto

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