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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dear Certain Subway Riders (An Open Letter),

I can understand why you might want to take the subway. It's fast and moves underground, like those weird-faced snake monsters from the Kevin Bacon movie Tremors. Plus, despite the frequent delays and reroutings, on certain days it works like magic. Like those times when you spend the entire morning reading on the toilet and, by all accounts, are an hour behind, then somehow the stars (and trains) align to take you to your destination not just on time, but minutes early! Planes, automobiles, time machines, Jason Statham -- nothing could deliver such miraculous transport!

Whatever your reason for riding the subway, I don't care. If you are like most of the people I encounter there, you are doing it badly. Here is why.

(I shall now address a few letter recipients directly.)

To the Large Man Serenading Himself to Headphone Music Only He Can Hear,

Sir, please stop this. While I fully respect and laud a man who can appreciate a good Whitney Houston ballad, you are in a public space, not your shower. And, if you can believe it, headphones are tiny speakers that only you can hear. Crazy, right? All this time you were hearing a symphonic swell of synth, sax, and drum kit, the rest of us were hearing only the shrill and terrifying sound of your voice. Take your feeble riffing elsewhere.

To the Screaming Baby On My Morning Commute Who Haunts My Dreams,

Hey! I know you're only a baby or whatever, but please consider not crying for the entire half-hour duration of my commute. What are you even doing out and about this early? I didn't think babies had 9 to 5 jobs! We, on the other hand, do -- we, the folks who are covering their ears, massaging their temples, and wishing they had never been born. I know, I know -- it's not your fault! My only request? As soon as you have the capacity to speak, ask your parents, "Parents, why did you bring me on the subway when I was a wee child with lung power that could fell a small tree?" Thank you for your time!

To the Space Cadet Hipster Who Rocks and Sways On the Platform,

First of all, I love your heeled moccasins and spandex capris; you have a great male fashion sense. Second of all, I would like to submit a humble request that you do not carelessly mill about the train platform, unexpectedly lunging forward or back when I'm trying to pass you. People who use the subway to get places, as opposed to for long bouts of reverie, are often trying to walk with purpose. As I'm passing by you near the yellow line, it would be super fun if you paid attention and didn't knock into me, nearly sending me into the tracks below. Also, cool 1970s grandpa glasses!

To Anyone Who Gets On the Subway Car Before Others Get Off,

A fiery pit awaits you. No, I'm not talking about one of my armpits, I'm talking about hell.

In conclusion, I urge you subway riders to read (or have read to you, in the case of the baby) this blog post on one of your many buzzing mobile devices, whose media sounds and alerts you have no doubt left on, at their fullest volume, for everyone else on the subway to hear and enjoy.

Felicia Lisbeth Ricci

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Regarding Memoir Writing

Sup! Somebody named Anon Y. Mous posted a great comment on my latest excerpt that I thought was worth answering in a new post.

Q: "I don't mean to question your morals or honesty, but is this legal? the people who own wicked are really hard-ass when it comes to copyright stuff. did you have to pay to get approval?"

A: Great question, Anon. Indeed, I've been in touch with the super cool folks at Wicked, and they know about Unnaturally Green and its unnaturally green (as in "first-time") author (me!). In any event, memoir writing is legal, because each individual owns the rights to his or her own story. The rule is: if it's true and it happened to you, you can write about it. Otherwise we would live in a censored society! (No free speech, and whatnot. Yikes.)

The tricky part would be if a memoir contains slander or defames any person or organization that might falsely portray them in a negative light. But Unnaturally Green is not about mud-slinging, gossip, or huge "reveals" about how things "really" are: it's a story about one girl's personal, hopefully funny, (totally true!) journey under strange and unusual circumstances -- which, due to real-life events and happenings -- takes me backstage of Wicked in San Francisco.

Thanks for the question!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Top Secret Book Excerpt (Holy Crap!)

I recently shared with my mailing list subscribers this excerpt from Unnaturally Green (you know, the super cool behind-the-scenes of Wicked book I'm writing?), but here it is again, copied and pasted for the motley, unwieldy masses.

Read it and WEEP, then feel free to leave comments below. (Although, it would be better if you did not weep, as it is not a particularly sad scene, and I would worry about your emotional stability.)

“So are all of the costumes kept here?”
“Each production has its own wardrobe department, but, yes, when the costumes aren’t being used they’re housed here, in the shop. Our goal today is to find some that might fit you.”
Amanda leads me to the right aisle and starts hoisting down clusters of hangers, on which there have been draped every manner of heavy fabric, sewn together in intricate and impossible designs. These costumes are so large and elaborate they look more like wildly festive outdoor tents than any kind of wardrobe for humans. She holds out my first costume, which reminds me of a brownish orange barrel, held together by a structure of hoops, studs, and snaps.
Utterly perplexed, my first instinct is to initiate a headfirst attack—so I basically lunge forward with my chin tucked to my chest, like a land diver. This is apparently very wrong.
“Oh, nope, careful there,” says Amanda. “It looks like it buttons here, but actually you just pull it apart with the snaps there, and step inside right there.” She pries apart the barrel then collapses it around me, until I am swimming in hoops and fabric. “Over time, you would learn how to get everything on and off, plus you’d have a dresser helping you during the actual show.”
“This is great news because I can barely dress myself,” I say.
Next we make our way to a steep-shelved library of plastic bins, each of which contain dozens of colorful shoes, labeled in Sharpie with names of former Wicked cast members. It seems the production keeps a physical record of everyone who’s ever passed through—a monument to the talent that’s helped make it all possible. I see names that read like chapter headings in a theater encyclopedia: Idina Menzel, Eden Espinosa, Julia Murney. Confronted by this visual reminder of how small I am, I feel my throat gulp, in that cartoon sort of way. 
“Hmm,” says Amanda, kneading her palms together. “Why don’t we give those a try—the Elphaba shoes.”
She scoops up one bin and starts to dig. I peer over her shoulder to see folds of supple leather, zippers, and laces, doubling back on each other, like some swirling shoe orgy, until a handsome pair of brown laced boots emerge from the chaos. They’ve been fashioned to look worn and distressed, and so carry with them inalienable character and story, like an old medicine man.
“Here we go,” Amanda says.
I take a deep breath and slink my foot toward her, as if the boot must first grant me permission to enter its domain.
But in seconds, I, Felicia Ricci, am in Elphaba’s shoes—a living metaphor. I wiggle my toes, carving out my own little space in this legacy of greatness.
“How do they feel?” Amanda asks.
“They feel perfect,” I say.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here is something that happened to me recently.

So. This happened.

When will I learn how to banter in the workplace

The long-form joke and I are well-acquainted bedfellows. The winding, swirling, no-punchline, create a theme or mood then amuse with unexpected twists and turns (POOPY) joke -- she/he is my friend/bitch. Same goes for its cousin, the non-sequitur. Totally my game. Free-associations that beget strange and unrelated comments, like when a paint color reminds me of the afterlife, or my sushi rolls have personalities, or I point out which celebrities would have to mate to birth one of my friends.

But there is one joke in whose presence I cower, on whose frontier I will forever lag behind the other wagon trailblazer pioneer people: the Workplace Banter.

What IS Workplace Banter? What ISN'T Workplace Banter! It's those completely un-pithy one-liners that are totally benign and essentially just any old sentence in a normal conversation -- but which, for strange and inexplicable reasons, everybody ends up laughing at.

Workplace Banter is at first hard to spot, because it sounds just like a normal sentence. This is because it is a normal sentence, except said in a weird voice. And when it comes to your boss, or anyone prominent or "superior" in the office hierarchy, Workplace Banter can literally be when anyone says anything at all, whether or not it's in a weird voice.

Here, for your edification, are examples of Workplace Banter.

1. "Don't ask me anything until I've had my coffee!"
2. "Sorry, my brain stopped working."
3. Weird-voiced person: "Does not compute."
4. Boss: "Hi!"

Bear in mind that all of these statements would traditionally be followed by hysterical laughter.

Also bear in mind that this is universal Workplace Banter. I work in a real-life office right now, but I have also worked in theater, and the same exact rules apply, if you can believe it. Same rules, with a few notable theater-specific additions:

5. Person after they've done something really easy, like move a chair: "That's why they pay me the big bucks!"
6. Any person during rehearsal or performances: "We're going to Broadway!"
7. Person, yelling: "Belt your face!"
8. Sarcastic person who has to move one prop or carry scenery: "But...what's my motivation?"

In summary, Workplace Banter is everywhere. You cannot stop it. And if you want to succeed, you'd better learn how to do it!*


*Alternatively, you can just blog about it and stubbornly not engage, like some ashamed career floater slash outcast. What is "success," anyway?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stephen Schwartz Newsletter and also other things

Hello, sass machines!

Brilliant news! Carol de Giere, author of the Stephen Schwartz biography Defying Gravity has mentioned Unnaturally Green in her latest quarterly newsletter. Check it out here!

Carol is a super cool lady, WICKED aficionado, and Stephen Schwartz ├╝ber-expert (obvs) who has already been generous in providing me with tips and guidance on the publishing of Unnaturally Green.

Here is a sample chapter from her totally awesome-tastic book and a link to the WICKED section of her Stephen Schwartz website. Be sure to check them out!

In other news, my young and fashionable sister visited me in NYC this weekend and we finished an epic project which shall be gracing YouTube in the near-to-very-near future. It involves singing, rapping, eyeliner on my face, and much awkward prancing. (Because why would you expect anything less.) 

Stay tuned...!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Announcing my memoir's official title!

Hi friends! I just sent an announcement out to my mailing list revealing the title of my behind-the-scenes of WICKED memoir. It is... (drum roll....)

Unnaturally Green
[mind-blowing subtitle pending]

As such, my book's placeholder website ( will now redirect you to its new online home,

Indeed, "Unnaturally Green" is borrowed from the Stephen Schwartz WICKED lyric that describes Elphaba at birth, and is also (DUH!) the title of this blog. Truth is, I'm mildly obsessed with the phrase because I feel there could not be a more apt way to describe me when I first got hired: wholly and unnaturally green -- a novice, a nobody, a nincompoop -- watching unbelievable events unfold as if I were starring in the strange and oddly directed movie-version of my life.

I hope you're just as excited about this as I am!!!