Thursday, July 31, 2008

Link...

Some people who visit this blog might be under the impression that Cheyenne Jackson is my son...or, at least, my nephew.

He honestly isn't.

However, he is one of my favorite guys, and for anybody who wonders exactly why they need only read this interview on Playbill.com...

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/119885.html

Read it...and then try to tell me that you don't love the guy already.

Diana Rissetto

Sometimes when I am really bored...

...really bored...I read Amazon.com reviews for books and movies that I have either loved/hated/never seen. I usually just read the 1 star and 5 star reviews. The 1 stars are the most fun.

I enjoyed reading Judy Blume novels when I was a kid. I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Centonze, reading us the Fudge books out loud, and by the time I was in the fourth grade, I had read almost all of her books. My favorites were Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself and Just As Long As We're Together.

When I started working at Barnes and Noble in 2001, I was immediately stuck in the children/teen department...because I was the only girl in a sea of college-aged boys, who aren't usually the biggest fans of screaming children and picture books...I would constantly sneak reads of my old favorite Judy Blumes. They just never got old.

I never read any of Judy's "adult" novels, until Summer Sisters came along (which I have reread every single summer since 1999. I am very cool like that.)

I had never read Forever, either, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the 1 star reviews of it on Amazon.com.

Such as this one, with the title "Child Abuse", which states...
If you still want to read the book, please don't move to my town. We've got enough weirdos and perverts here already.


Okay.

Sure.

Yeah.

I mean, OF COURSE, Judy Blume Fan=Child Molester.

It's a perfectly logical assumption.

Honestly, you probably never thought to read negative Amazon.com reviews for fun, and now that I have given you the idea, I can guarantee that you'll soon have a new past-time.

Right after my sister got engaged...

...a relative said to my mom (as I stood right there):

"One down, one to go!"

I took offense to that.

(The “Single and Fabulous?” episode of Sex and the City was on TBS the other night, dragging all this stuff from over two years ago up. On a related note, I know plenty of fans who were very disappointed with the end of the Sex and the City movie. They feel that the movie should not have ended with Carrie marrying a guy who had hurt her time-and-again...it should have ended with Carrie being "Single and Fabulous!" This time with an exclamation point...not a question mark.)

My mother yelled at me for being too sensitive...(which she often does. I am too sensitive…I will be the first person to admit that I, in no doubt, have a very good spot on the Most Hypersensitive People in the World list) but I honestly took offense to that.

Should I have?

Was that comment offensive, or was I just acting out on my own insecurities? That a (small) part of me does feel that being “alone” really is sad and something that needs to be “cured” as soon as possible...that I do need to defend my reasons for not having a "plus one" on an RSVP card? (Could it be that I'm just not looking right now, or is that just so unbelievable?)

Let me get this right...judging from the “One down, one to go!” comment…an unmarried woman is a burden to, not just her family, but…hey! Probably to society as a whole.

The most important thing ANYBODY can EVER do is GET MARRIED. (I mean, I’m sure that’s the most important thing Mother Theresa or Golda Meyer or Joan of Arc ever did, right?)

NONE of your life accomplishments matter as long as you get married!!!!

Comments like this relative's made me wonder if I really DID have something to be ashamed of by being single...were people looking at me like I was a freak? Were people feeling sorry for me? I actually started dreading having to go to my sister's wedding alone...and daydream that maybe I would change the world before then and people would see me at the reception and go:

"So! You don’t have a date tonight, huh? But, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE PULITZER!”

“HOW many weeks has your book been on the New York Times’ bestseller list? Twenty, is it?”

“That was a GREAT photo of you on the cover of Marie Claire last month!”

(A girl can dream…)

I hear girls (I guess I should be saying “women”, but it sounds weird) my age commenting that they’ll only go to their high school ten-year reunions if they are married…that they have “backups” (My Best Friend’s Wedding agreements, one might call them) and turning down invitations to weddings because the girl would rather not go at all than go solo.

Girls go through wedding announcements and watch A Wedding Story on TLC and tell themselves, "Hey! THAT girl found somebody! And I'm so much prettier than her! I should find somebody eventually!"

I think it’s terribly sad…guys don't worry about this stuff, do they?

I have a friend whose parents’ marriage was arranged. She is first generation American, brought to this country so that she could have chances that those women before her in her family didn’t.

And now she is 26…and unmarried…and her family treats her like a leper for it.

What exactly was the point in bringing this girl to this so-called “land of opportunity” if they are going to keep such barbarian values?

Recently, an 18-year-old girl I know commented that she really hopes she is just married and settled by the time she is twenty-three.

I wonder what she sees when she looks at me...a washed-out, on-the-shelf old maid of 26? (Well, considering I still get carded at rated "R" movies, I don't think I can pass off as a 26-year-old ANYTHING...)

I told her, "I think you should get married when you MEET somebody you want to marry and decide it's the right time for you both to...get married." (I could have changed it up a bit and said “wed”, but then I would really sound like I was coming out of another century.)

She looked at me sympathetically and said, "You don't have a boyfriend, do you?"

You know what? No, I don’t! And I’m okay with it until I have to feel the need to defend myself...and that is when I start wondering if something really is wrong with me.

What makes it even harder...I have found...is not being able to go a few months without being invited to another shower...wedding or baby...engagement party or wedding...and if I see one more Facebook default photo of an old classmate holding up a newly bejeweled left ring finger, I just might take one of myself!!!!

(I am also announcing right now that I am going to throw a HUGE "What-Wedding-or-Baby? I-Can't-Even-Seem-To-Meet- Any-Straight-Guys-and-I-Don't-Make-Much-Money-And-Would-Love-Some-Gifts!" shower.)

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'd rather be nine people's favorite thing...

I am a notorious crier.

I once heard the expression "crying over card tricks" and I always thought it was a good way to describe my crying habits. I've been known to cry over Oatmeal and Air Freshener commercials.

If you catch me on a bad day, I'll burst into tears if you look at me crooked. I cry when I am shopping for cards at Hallmark, and once I was watching a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie with my mom on television. (It was this one: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387851/)

They only showed Hallmark commercials throughout the movie, and by the time the end credits were rolling, I was a complete mess. My mother was confused. She said, "The movie really wasn't sad..." "It's not about the movie!" I told her. "I CANNOT HANDLE ALL THESE SAPPY COMMERCIALS FOR HALLMARK CARDS AND CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS!"

A few years ago, I went to see the musical Little Women with my trusty sidekick, my buddy Andrew.
Little Women
, by default, always takes an emotional toll on me, no matter what form the story is told in. I still remember seeing the Winona Ryder film version in the movie theatre when I was twelve and weeping.

However, the night we saw it on Broadway, Andrew vowed never to sit next to me ever again. Add the fact that I always cry over Little Women to the fact that I always cry when Sutton Foster is involved (because I can't do what she does), and Little Women, the musical, in 2005 was the biggest tearfeast I have ever had in a Broadway theatre.

Until last night.

Until I finally saw [title of show] at the Lyceum Theatre.

I purposely chose to see this show on a day that I was neither PMS-ing or overly tired. I didn't need to be more inclined to tears than I already was.

I started crying over this show long before I sat down to watch it...in fact, I cried many times when I listened to "A Way Back to Then" on the original off-Broadway cast recording.

I cried when I looked at the wonderful cast crying and embracing on opening night.

I cried.

I cried.

I cried.

Last night, I took one look at Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen onstage, singing the opening notes and the fresh tears started.

I did more than cry, though...

I remembered why I love theatre...

I remembered why I like to call myself a writer...

I took out my notebook and pen on the train home and remembered what the characters in the show said...you just have to keep writing...no matter how crazy it all sounds...

This was, by far, one of the most profoundly moving, inspirational shows that I have ever had on stage.

I heard once that part of growing-up is realizing that you have to give-up on your dreams...that you're really not any more special than the next guy, and that you have to learn to settle for being not so special.

I think this show and the people behind it really shoot that theory down.

Dreams absolutely can and DO come true to those who don't give-up.

Thank you, Hunter, Jeff, Heidi and Susan...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And these photos from the [title of show] opening say it all...

THIS is what theatre is all about...










And, I have to include this photo of creator Hunter Bell and one of my favorite guys on earth, Cheyenne Jackson...






Congratulations, guys.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I look for signs MUCH too much...

I really do. I'm at the point where I think I need to stop looking for signs EVERYWHERE...because if you want to see a sign badly enough, you WILL see one, and it, most likely, won't be the RIGHT sign.

It happened a lot while I was job-hunting a few years ago. (I have had, at press time, three frustrating job hunts...once after college, and two more after lay-offs...job-hunting is so much fun.)

One time, I was interviewing with Scholastic (I still would absolutely love to work for Scholastic, but after ninety-five job interviews with them that never resulted in hearing, "You're hired!", I am giving-up on that dream.) Before my interview, I was hanging-out actross the street from the building (it's a wonderful shopping block) and I realized I was standing right in front Devechan, the special salon for curly hair.

I took that as a sign.

I was going to get that job.

(I didn't.)

Another time, during the Great Job Hunt of May 2004-March 2006, I was feeling extremely frustrated and was laying on my floor reading The Diary of Anne Frank. (It was something I would do often when things were bad...things can always be worse...you could be Anne Frank.)

I think it was a Saturday afternoon, and suddenly, my phone rings and it was somebody who wanted me to come in to interview with them the next day...(Sunday.)

I took this as a sign...that just as I was laying on my floor and thinking, "It could be worse!", things were about to get better.

And then I learned, the next day, that this job would involve selling $300 tickets to Bombay Dreams to unsuspecting tourists.

No no no no no.

Couldn't do it.

I also interviewed to be the assistant to a lawyer. I do not have much interest in working in a law office, but when I got out of the subway to interview for this job, I found that block had a view of the building in which I spent my childhood in.

I took that as as a sign that I was meant to have this job.

And I was hired on the spot.

But only after this guy said stuff to me like:

"Are you a good liar?"

"This job isn't about managing my office. It's about managing my personal life. I have a very...interesting...personal life. You would need to be discreet."

"I smoke a lot in the office."

I told him I would think about it, and called him the next time and told him that I had asthma and couldn't work with a heavy smoker.

(I have extremely bad allergies, but not asthma...so I guess I CAN be a good liar...)

The whole "sign" thing happens with romantic relationships as well.

At my post-prom party eight years ago (holy cow...eight years?), a psychic told me I would soon meet my soulmate and he would have light hair and double initials.

Months later, I met a boy with light hair and double initials and CONVINCED myself that he was my soulmate.

(He wasn't...but he was a nice guy.)

I broke my phone last week. (I knocked a bottle of water off my desk at work, and it fell into my open purse, and it was a while before I realized that my phone had gotten soaked.)

There was no hope for the phone...so I had to buy a new one.

When I returned from my lunchbreak with a new, shiny purple phone, I soon learned that, while many of my phone numbers have been salvaged, many were lost...and in their place were phone numbers of people I had deleted years ago.

I am not even much of a cellphone kinda person...I would rather have email addresses than cellphone numbers...so I'm not too heartbroken about losing all those numbers...I am more concerned with all these old numbers which randomly popped back up.

I started to think, "Is this a sign that I am supposed to call all of these old friends that I haven't spoken to in years? Is this the universe's way of making sure that I get back into touch with them?"

I think it just might be...

Diana Rissetto

Friday, July 18, 2008

My family went to an antique shop once

We weren't exactly an "antique shop" kinda family (more like a "sing showtunes in the car" kinda family), but I do remember one random Saturday afternoon when we went to an antique shop.

I have no idea why we went to an antique shop.

And I made one single purchase.

A large, framed, formal portrait of a soldier in uniform.

I'm not sure what war the photo was from...could have been from World War I or World War II or the Korean War or Vietnam.

And not only did I not know which war this soldier fought in...I also had absolutely no idea who this soldier was.

I hung that portrait on my wall. I had a friend from school, Raquel, who would come over my house and was incredibly creeped-out by this picture of the anonymous soldier that I had hanging on my wall...

...but I really LIKED that portrait.

I used to look at that soldier and realized that he lived once...and maybe he was still alive...he had a childhood and a family and friends...people loved him and some people didn't like him...maybe he died in the war...maybe he survived it. The possibilities were so incredibly endless.

Maybe that's the writer in me showing...the fact that I can't pass a person on the street without making-up a whole story to go along with them.

I never bought a used book before. I did so a couple of weeks ago. (I had a random, "Let's watch miniseries of the 70's and 80's weekend" recently. I have an odd DVD collection...among them are Jesus of Nazareth, The Thorn Birds and Holocaust.

Watching these DVDs put me in the mood to read! I had already read The Thorn Birds (roughly 90 times), and a good chunk of The Bible, so all that was left was to read the novel which Holocaust was based on. The book seems to be out-of-print (which is such a shame, because it is absolutely brilliant), but I managed to find a used copy on Amazon.com.

It was delivered a week later, and my next three train commutes were devoted to reading this book.

Inside the front cover, the name "Evelyn Williamson" was written in neat cursive. There goes my mind again...who WAS Evelyn Williamson? I imagined Evelyn Williamson buying this book, inscribing her name in it. I imagined the book being shuffled around and discarded when Evelyn sold her house after her children had moved out and moved to a condo in Florida, and didn't have the room for her elaborate book collection.

Or maybe she really didn't like the book.

Or maybe she had to read it for a college class and didn't have a use for it after the course was over.

I plead "Writer's Block" sometimes...and I really shouldn't...because I think that as long as there is a portrait of a random soldier or a book with a name written in pretty handwriting inside of it, there will always be something to trigger a story...

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Welcome to Broadway, guys...

I listened to this song from [title of show] roughly fifty-eight times today.

And it made me cry every time.

I'm not sure why...I'm tired, PMSing, and I already cry at Oatmeal commercials to begin with...

I am yet to see the show on Broadway, but I have enjoyed the [title of show] show on YouTube (especially when Mindy the Puppet pops-up and smacks a certain Broadway actor and goes, "Get outa heeeeeeeeere, Cheyenne Jackson!")and listened to the cast recording over and over.

I think this song speaks to every theatre dork who can remember being a little kid and first falling in love with everything theatre represents...and knowing that, one day, if you were really really lucky...you could be a part of it all.




Dancing in the backyard
Kool-aid moustache and butterfly wings
Hearing Andrea McArdle sing
From the hi-fi in the den
I've been waiting my whole life
To find a way back to then

I aimed for the sky
A nine-year-old can see so far
I'll conquer the world and be a star
I'll do it all by the time I'm ten
I would know that confidence
If I knew a way back to then

So I bailed on my hometown
And became a college theatre dork
I was eastbound and down
Moving to New York
So I crammed my life in a U-Haul
To find my part of it all

But the mundane sets in
We play by the rules
And plough through the days
The years take us miles away
From the time we wondered when
We'd find a way back to then

And when you least expect
Opportunity walks through the door
You suddenly connect
With the thing that you forgot
That you were looking for

And there you are
Right in the middle of what you love
With the craziest of company
You're having a kick-ass time
And being who you wanted to be in this world

You're that little girl
With her wings unfurled
Flying again
Back in your backyard dancing
I found a way back to then.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bon Jovi had a free concert in Central Park today

I didn't go.

(Mainly because I was at another show just a few blocks away...Damn Yankees...which I already saw...but this time, I brought my mother...)

However, I am quite fond of Jon Bon Jovi...he and his family would often come into my old bookstore. (I once straightened out Berenstein Bear books after his little boy looked at them.) They always just seemed like a very nice, down-to-earth family, and I'm glad they have been able to lead a peaceful, private life in New Jersey.

(I'm not going to mention my middle-aged coworker who, when Mr. Bon Jovi walked in once, rushed over to me, shaking, and grabbed my wrists, going, "Just calm down! Calm down! CALM DOWN!")

Anyway, here's a quick, funny slightly-related Dianecdote.

Last year, I asked my mother if she caught "Matt Lauer's interview with the boys the other day."

She said she had.

We talked about this...the interview that Matt Lauer did with the boys...

It took a few two minutes before we realized that we were talking about two entirely different things.

THESE were the boys SHE was talking about...



While THESE were the boys I was talking about...




(My mom was very confused for a bit. She had no idea that I was such a big Richie Sambora fan that I would defend so much as I was protectively defending Prince William. I can't help it...I was named after his mum...maybe it's innate for me to want to look after the boy!)

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

When I was a kid...

...my family would often make the very long trip (at the time, it seemed like a very long trip, even though I do that same commute via train every day now) from our home in New York City to the New Jersey Shore.

We would do what any cool, modern family would do during car trips.

We would listen to showtunes.

Lots and lots of showtunes.

(Actually, we alternated between showtunes and Frank Sinatra.)

My parents, compared to the parents of my peers, have always been extremely cool. (In fact, I think they were a lot cooler than I ever was.) My dad was athletic and brilliant and witty, and my mom is constantly telling me to loosen-up and stop acting like an eighty-five year old. (I really do. I am not going to deny that.)

However...despite their cool factor...they did embrace an intense love of Broadway musicals...as illustrated by our musical theatre sing-alongs in the car. (My sister managed to escape the trap and, to this day, doesn't care so much for showtunes OR Frank Sinatra. I think it's because she had a Walkman to listen to...and it was probably New Kids on the Block...while I had no choice but to be exposed to Rodgers and Hammerstein and Ol'Blue Eyes.)

Most people do not equate Broadway showtunes with hip and modern...but Broadway showtunes were always a part of our hip and modern household.

I specifically remember one album we had that we would listen to on almost every trip. It was probably "American Musical Theatre: the 1950 and 1960's" or something and it had songs from West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof...and Damn Yankees.

West Side Story would become one of my all-time favorite musicals and Fiddler on the Roof would give me some of my favorite cleaning music ("Matchmaker, Matchmaker" is really great to vacuum to...)

However, apart from singing along to "Whatever Lola Wants" from Damn Yankees, I never quite got into the show...never saw it onstage or watched the movie...and except from watching a VHS of my cousin Amanda when she was in the show in high school (she played the reporter), I wasn't a fan of the show...I wasn't really familiar with it. It was one of the few musicals I couldn't sing the entire score to and didn't really know the story of.

Until now.

Until City Center decided to take a DYNAMITE cast and put them in Damn Yankees for three fantastic weeks. I have already seen the show twice, and will be back.

Anybody who has read this blog within the past year (and considering how many random people comment on this blog, and the amount of high school friends I haven't spoken to in years who, for some reason, googled me and found it and admitted to be reading it even though we lost touch...I think that sounds a little odd, personally, and wouldn't admit to it if I were them...and the stories that come-up at family dinners when I learned that my cousins all read it too...it's actually quite a lot of people), would know that there is a certain young New York City stage actor that I hold in very high regard, both professionally and personally...Mr. Cheyenne Jackson.

The boy's got magic!

I first became familiar with Cheyenne when he was in the ensemble of Thoroughly Modern Millie about six years ago. Since then, I've have the pleasure of seeing him in almost everything he's done in the city, and on the big screen in United 93. I think he has some serious, pure star quality...plus, he is one of the nicest guys on earth as well, unaffected and caring and just a lovely, lovely person.

I think this is one of those classic roles that Cheyenne Jackson was born to play. I often feel like I was born in the wrong era, but I'm sure even if I was born in the "right" era, I would still be a complete spaz...while Cheyenne Jackson fits into 1955 absolutely perfectly.

He leaves you forgetting that the likes of Troy Donahue and John Saxon (random 1950's movie star. Aside from listening to showtunes all the time, I also used to watch my share of old movies) ever existed.



He plays the role with such a lovely innocence and charm and it is very easy to see why he has come so far in just five years of being in New York City. And that voice...that voice...THAT VOICE!

Photobucket

Okay, I was a Will and Grace fan for years (for some really odd reason, I was attracted to that whole "wacky girl with big curly hair who is surrounded by gay guys" thing). My sister's dog's name is Jack...but I do not call him Jack...I call him JustJack. Sean Hayes as JustJack ALWAYS makes me laugh...and as I watched him play the Devil in Damn Yankees, I realized something...JustJack? Is just a character! Sean Hayes was ACTING all those years. (Who knew!) Now, had I realized that years ago, I would have been campaigning for Sean Hayes to win the Emmy for his work as Jack McFarland every year! The guy is a great actor!!! He is wonderful in the musical, can sing and bang that piano, is charmingly evil, and, with his blue-blue-blue eyes, he is terribly cute.

Well done, Mr. Hayes!

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On to Jane Krakowski.

Photobucket

If you know me, you know I love my Lifetime movies. (Drugged with allergy medicine last weekend, I kept nodding-off and waking-up during "Give Me Back My Baby Sunday", which makes you really really confused and start blending all the movies together.) Jane was once in a Lifetime movie about a teen girl who realizes that she cannot take care of her baby, so she gives it to her infertile guidance counselor. Jane, of course, played the infertile guidance counselor.

(Seriously, if I had a baby I couldn't take care of, I'd definitely give him to my infertile guidance counselor.)

I must admit, I haven't seen Jane in anything else, not even a single episode of 30 Rock (don't hit me!) or Ally McBeal. (I WILL be catching Kitt Kittridge this week, though...)

Just as Cheyenne Jackson is a perfect fit for Joe Hardy, Jane Krakowski makes a fantastic Lola (by the way...that's my dog's name. Lola the Westie's birthday was yesterday, and I considered waiting in the autograph line after the show to see if Jane could call Lola the Westie and sing "Whatever Lola Wants" to her. It would have meant a great deal to her.) She looks and sounds beautiful in the role, not to mention dances like a dream and is hilarious when the scene calls for it.



Speaking of my dog Lola, I would like to mention my dog, LuLu, now and why I started bawling during "Goodbye Old Girl" last night...

It made me think about LuLu (she died last year at the age of 16...I still really miss her. Lola can never measure up...and I tell her that all the time!)

So sleep your sleep, old girl
Our love will keep, old girl, till then
My old girl
Goodbye


(That has absolutely nothing to do with the show. I just like relating random things to even more random things and crying over them.)

A special mention goes to the always-wonderful Megan Lawrence, who was fantastic in The Pajama Game a few years ago. (And for me to notice ANYBODY else on stage when Harry Connick, Jr. was involved??? Certainly says something about Ms. Lawrence's performance in that one!) She stepped in on short notice after Ana Gastayer was injured. (I was disappointed...I wanted to see her...I mean, after my OWN Celine Dion impression, I think Ana's is the second best.) However, Megan danced in like the pro she is.

The ensemble was wonderful, and I feel that is always the best part about these revivals...I saw South Pacific a few months ago, and there was just something so remarkably special about a gang of 21st century musical theatre actors singing "Nothing Like a Dame"...a song that has been sung on stages all over the world since the 1950's. Damn Yankees' "Heart" has the same appeal. These songs are timeless...there is a reason why they're still sung in high school auditoriums and community playhouses all over the world every day...they absolutely never, ever lose their charm or their magic. (And they never will.)

Above all, this is a love story with a happy ending. We need more of those.

What an energetic, dazzling production...I hope it ends-up transferring to Broadway so many more can get the chance to see it and remember what musical theatre is all about.

(Plus...that Cheyenne Jackson is the BEST!)



Diana Rissetto