[Guest post today, dear readers! Join my good friend, the preternaturally ostentatious Etai BenShlomo, as he spins a narrative web of novelistic proportions. And more from me soon! Lots of stuff in the works. --FR]
As an avid follower of this Blogospheric Imaginarium of Dr. Ricci, I was thrilled to be personally invited by the one and only singer slash actress slash part-time gangster Felicia Ricci to contribute my very own guest post!
So, greetings, readers! I’m Etai BenShlomo and I’m currently playing Boq in the San Francisco (aka Kiamo Ko) Company of WICKED! I officially joined the company about 3 weeks ago (I replaced Eddy Rioseco), and have been having the time of my life. It’s been a wild ride on the WICKED train thus far, and I’m so looking forward to the adventures ahead!
Since I have neither the wit nor intelligence nor talent to match the phenomulous bloggage of my friend and next-door neighbor Felicia (“phenomulous” was my lame attempt at a WICKED-like, Ozian phrase a la “thrillify” and “gratitution”), I thought I would devote this post to a certain incident that happened to me recently that you may find interesting or funny or perhaps horrifying.
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society (“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” anyone?), I call this story:
So it was Tuesday. I had just come off of an incredible birthday weekend…turns out 23 is not much different than 22, but still a reason to celebrate I suppose…and it was just about the filthiest day in Northern California you can imagine. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ADORE San Francisco, but I have to say: it is not quite the California I’d seen in the movies. Needless to say, when it’s sunny, it’s perfect…but I’ve realized that’s a little more rare than I had anticipated. Ah well.
Anyway, weather like that has a way of putting me in a lazy mood, so I spent most of the day sitting on my couch watching “The West Wing” and playing Wii. Very productive. Dinnertime eventually crept up on me, and being the lazy fool that I am, I wanted to exert the least possible amount of effort in attaining my sumptuous feast. So, of course, I slogged through the filthy rain and wind about for about 30 seconds to Jay’s Cheesesteak, a little hole in the wall around the corner from my apartment building. Rebel that I am, I decided to defy convention and order a cheeseburger as opposed to a cheesesteak (GASP!), and here was my fatal flaw: I ordered it medium rare. Can you see where this is going yet?
So, flash forward a few hours: I’m feeling good, I’ve got some bloody cow in my belly, I’m pumped and ready for my first show of the week! As I get to the glorious Orpheum Theatre, all of the sudden I feel a slight wave of nausea come over me. No worries…I pop a Pepto Bismol and guzzle down some Ginger Ale. Done and done. “Places! This is your places call!” a voice sounds over the intercom. Even with the little bit of filthy nausea (you might notice the word “filth” show up in my vocabulary quite a bit – it happens to be one of my favorites), I felt totally capable of getting through the show.
I think it was right around when Glinda was getting back in her bubble in “No One Mourns the Wicked” when suddenly everything started to kind of move slowly and my legs started to feel less and less sturdy. Still, I soldiered on. Around halfway through “Loathing” my stomach started churning and tying in knots. “Just…Keep…Swimming” the Dori in my head kept telling me.
And then came the dreaded “Ozdust Ballroom.” After spinning DeeDee (our beautiful and insanely talented Nessa) around a few times, right when Elphaba entered the scene, I started feeling a cold sweat, then came the dizziness, and then the heinous, FILTHY nausea hit me again like a torpedo. Code Red! Code Red! Following Nessa, I nonchalantly made my way off-stage and ran to the nearest restroom as I could feel that ill-fated cheeseburger coming back up. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the restroom. I will spare you the gory details, but picture me in full Boq attire sprawled on the floor off-stage right, my face buried in a trash-can. Oy vey.
Now, let me explain: besides going on-stage and completely blanking on your lines, notes, lyrics, choreography, or whatnot, I am totally convinced that getting sick on-stage is the ultimate actor’s nightmare! And it’s especially painful since I love performing in WICKED so much…to be on-stage, wanting to have fun and be in the moment, all the while contending with a vengeful cow hell-bent on wreaking havoc upon your insides…well…it sucks!
Thankfully, the WICKED staff was incredibly gracious and helpful – they immediately got my understudy, Jeremy Kocal, ready to go on and called me a cab. Jeremy is a total G and I hear he rocked Boq. Unfortunately, I was unable to witness any of his brilliance, as I was at home, lying on my couch, shivering and sweating away whatever poison was in that cursed cheeseburger.
The moral of this story? Never, EVER eat at Jay’s Cheesesteak on 21st and Valencia. That’s right, Jay – whoever you are – I hope this blog post puts your filthy establishment out of business (though I hear you make a mean cheesesteak)!
Thank you to Felicia for letting me purge this story all over her blog (pun intended and enforced). And, O Readers, although I know it probably did not expand your already vast knowledge of the inner workings of WICKED, the story does illustrate the utter insanity that is live theatre. Literally anything can happen!
Though I have neither the discipline nor patience to maintain a blog of my own, I’d be happy to write another guest post (this time it will be both filth- and vomit-free) if ya’ll enjoyed this one (why did I just type “ya’ll”? I’m a little Jewish boy from Florida, though I suppose some people consider that the South – I just consider it the phallus of America …Oh well, too late now).
Good night, and hope to see you all – er, y’all - at the Stage Door!