If you are new to Sharon Wheatley's blog, welcome! If you are a regular reader, hello, hello! It's been forever, don't you think? So much to talk about, so little time. Let's get right to it. Quit distracting me. I have no paid advertisers here on My Own Space, but this blogisode is brought to you by Seth Rudetsky's radio show on Sirius XM. It's national and it's amazing (or as Seth would say, "ah-mah-zing") and if you have Sirius, you should tune to the Broadway channel right away and listen to Seth as often as possible because he is (as I like to call him), the Mayor of Broadway and a total riot.
Yesterday I taped an interview with Seth that airs on Sunday. If you don't have Sirius, I will talk you through how to sign up for a free trial in our next blogisode so you can listen. I sing. I talk. He's funny. I screw up the game Celebrity on the air (the answer is Ann CURRY--as in an Indian Spice) and the other guest is....wait for it....Elaine Paige.
She sang Memory and With One Look and then she and I stood around and talked about how it is so hard to make money in publishing. And I was like, What are you talking about, Elaine Paige, I make a lot of money writing my blog. And then I immediately left Seth's studio and checked into the poor house.
Speaking of doing things for free, I was just the co-producer of what became a giant benefit for the flooded Weston Playhouse, which had me working so hard that I couldn't see straight. It was all worth it-we raised over $30,000 and put on a great, terrific, wonderful show--and it is the reason I was on Seth's radio show. I was pitching for the Playhouse and he was touting me as the next Erma Bombeck. It was great. In fact--I forgot to mention this--I didn't just produce, I also performed because that big diva Lucy T. Slut from Avenue Q showed up and insisted on singing. It was a great night.
And speaking of Lucy....and Avenue Q....this brings me to the whole reason we are here...the debut of our latest Blog Series, "I Wish I Could Go Back To College." Does everyone have their back packs packed, their dorm assignments and their twin extra long sheet sets? You'd better get ready because we are going back to college.
Let's start with a musical theater lesson. In the musical Avenue Q there is a song called, "I Wish I could Go Back To College." Pause story. A special shout out to the Tony winning composing team Bobby Lopez and Jeff Marx for permission to use the title of their song as the title of my blog series. I wrote them both to ask, and had a response from each of them within moments. Because they are awesome. As is their Tony winning show. Go see it. Unpause story.
So as it turns out, I was in the cast of Avenue Q for several years in a couple of different companies including Broadway, and I had the great fortune to get to sing this song hundreds of times. In fact, early on in the rehearsal process for the Las Vegas company, Jason Moore, our director, had three of the actors sing the song without puppets, to get to the "heart" of the song. Cut to all three of them bawling their eyes out and sobbing about how college was the greatest time of their lives and being an adult sucked. Everyone in the room was visibly moved. I, on the other hand, was dumb founded. LOVED COLLEGE? What, were they NUTS? I remember thinking that if you paid me one million dollars in nickels I would not go back to school. No. Way. It was miserable. My college life was an exercise in outing every gay guy within a ten mile radius of the CCM musical theater department. No one was happier than me to get away from a dorm.
And then I got cast in Avenue Q. Where I would need every excellent acting skill imaginable to sing that song because I would NEVER want to go back to college. Ever. And....scene.
Cut to a couple of years later. I'm in New York. I'm married to s straight guy! I have children, which means I've had sex with that guy at least twice! I am happy! College is something I think about for my children, as in How will we pay for that college if you keep working for free, Sharon?
And then--I don't know what hit me--it happened so fast. Let me try to explain.
I blame the weather.
About 10 days ago, the temperature in sweaty New York dropped about fifteen degrees, bringing in a nice, cool evening, but it felt like more than just a change of weather. It felt like a change of seasons. Literally, I walked into Barnes and Noble with my back pack sticking to my back, sunglasses perched on my head, iced tea in hand, and walked out two hours later to throngs of Upper West Siders in down vests, gleefully clutching pumpkin spice lattes while shopping for scarves. That quickly, flip flops had been replaced with boots.
I have self diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affect Disorder...is that what it's called? I don't feel like Googling...but you know what I mean, it's that thing where you dread everything because the sun sets at 4:30 in the afternoon? According to my Google/WebMD medical degree, I have whatever that's called. (I graduated with Google honors.)
I have done various things over the years to combat my self diagnosed "I hate fall, winter and spring" disorder which range from re-painting my entire living room a sunny yellow at the first sign of a cold snap to even more extreme measures. Last year, decided that I--as an unemployed actress, mother of two, and wife of a busy guy--needed a "just for me" project as a way to offset the gloom and doom of winter. Preferably something more interesting than yoga class--which is (in my opinion) this generation's answer to luncheons and bridge groups. Okay, calm down, I know it's much healthier than eating full fat chicken salad sandwiches with sweet tea and saying "no trump" while inhaling your Pall Mall, but the point I'm trying to make is that I wanted something extremely engaging.
In a perfect world, Broadway would call and I would find myself smack dab in the middle of (INSERT NAME OF TONY WINNING MUSICAL HERE). Reality is, it's a recession and most people don't list "theater tickets" at the top of their budget, so jobs were hard to come by (coupled with an almost completely male dominated season). I contemplated extreme pick-me-up measures like buying a motorcycle or training to scale Mount Everest; but ultimately I chose something much more terrifying because I was crazy.
I enrolled as a full time college student.
Here's a video of the original Broadway cast singing "I Wish I Could Go Back To College" to further your musical education. If you can explain what happens to Stephanie in the beginning of the song, you will get bonus points on the quiz.