Joey’s Worst Nightmare (AKA Scavenger Hunt Assignment)

As an actor you have to talk a lot in front of a lot of people however asking questions that you make up yourself is not really part of the job. Therefore going around asking questions of people I don’t know is, indeed, my worst nightmare.

For this assignment I got one easy task and one hard task. I had to get an autograph and have a conversation about current news events.

My first stop on my hunt was the Krone Advising Center because I figured since my first year advisor no longer works here I would be able to talk to people I didn’t necessarily know. When I walked in Shari Benson was not at her desk and there was no one in the lobby so I turned to leave when Lilian Lopez, who was with a student, asked who I was looking for. When I said no one in particular just someone free she said “Oh! You’re doing one of those scavenger hunts!” At that moment two of the first year advisors and Stacie Hays came out of their offices ready to help with what I was looking for. There was one other person from the class also in the KAC so two went to work helping her and I asked the third, Katie Miltenberger, for her autograph which was my item. She looked a little shocked when I asked her because its not every day that you are asked for your autograph. As she was signing my paper she asked more about the assignment stating that this seemed like a “good way to get students out of their comfort zones.”

As there were three people in the KAC I could have just gotten my second task done there but if I was playing this game I was playing on hard mode so I decided to go to a different building. This proved challenging as most other buildings had people in class or in meetings. To add to the problem of finding people was the fact that I needed to talk about current events in the news and when you ask people about news they glaze over. Eventually I decided to try my hand in the music building. I am involved in the music department to an extent which is why I avoided it until a last resort.

I want to go in to musical theatre so, of course, I take vocal lessons so I decided not to talk to any vocal instructors because I know all of them to some extent. What I realized was I had never really set foot in the music department office. Therefore I had never talked to Deb Protexter. She was sitting at her desk when I came in so I approached her and said “Hi! I’m doing a scavenger hunt for class and I was wondering if you had time to help me by talking about current news events with me.” She looked a little skeptical that this was an actual assignment so I showed her my paper and she said “Well, have you heard about that hurricane in Puerto Rico. It’s terrible. Is that all you need to know?” We talked a little about the hurricane and other hurricanes that had been happening. As I was leaving I asked for her autograph as well because I am an overachiever and figured it was an easy way to prove that this conversation actually happened and I didn’t make it all up.



News Comment #5

This week something funky was happening with my NY Times subscription as it was telling me I had reached a free article limit on my subscription so I had to look elsewhere for my news comment. So this week I went out of my comfort zone, NY Times Entertainment section, to… the BBC News Entertainment section. Currently in the news is backlash over the photoshop job on the new Tomb Raider poster. In the poster it looks like Alicia Vikander has an overly long neck and of course the internet snapped it up and made it a meme. The story goes on to relate it to other “poster fails” such as Pretty Woman and more recently The Heat. I think what I learned from this jaunt outside the Times is that other entertainment sections seem really shallow. In the NY Times, because it is based out of New York you get a lot more theatre, art, and dance news and a little less vapid celebrity news. My interest in the entertainment section is, more often than not, for the theatre news (not celebrity or Hollywood news) and that is why I usually read trades and type specific websites rather than a full on news paper. Overall the story was fine for what it was. It was a timely and interesting read that would keep the attention of a millennial because “OMG its a funny internet thing!” That’s just not the type of thing I enjoy.

Lede Exercise 4a

Four Armstrong Aeronautical University students were involved in a boating accident yesterday that led to the death of one.

At about 5 pm yesterday the 16-foot catamaran boat that Randy Cohen, Christy Wapniarski, Daniel Perrin and Tammy Ennis were sailing in sprung a leak and capsized. None of the passengers were wearing life jackets.

At dawn the group decided to swim to Ormond Beach four miles away. Wapniarski called for help claiming a shark attacked her and Cohen went to her aid. When he reacher her she was unconscious so he started swimming back to shore with her. Perrin checked her pulse when he reached them and found she was dead. Cohen swam with her for a while longer before leaving her behind.

Cohen, who was bitten by dozens of Portuguese men-of-war, is being treated at Halifax Hospital. The others were examined at the hospital and released.


A United Airlines flight carrying 61 people crashed in a residential district Friday afternoon while approaching Chicago’s Second City Airport killing most of the planes passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board in Washington investigation team was immediately dispatched to Chicago. Several board officials were already in Chicago conducting hearings into the October 20th commuter train crash. An official was quotes as saying “We’ll look into this thoroughly.”

One survivor from the flight, Marvin Anderson of Omaha said “The last words the pilot said to us were, ‘We’re at 4,000 feet and everything is going well.’ I knew that was wrong a few seconds later because he began to rev the engines.”

Holy Cross Hospital reported 16 people, including the planes three flight attendants were admitted with injuries. The Cook County Coroner reported 42 bodies had been found. One of the victims has been identified as Rep. George W. Collins who was returning to Washington to “organize a children’s Christmas party.”

“You’re a 90s Kid if” (Article #1- Take 2)

Media outlets are reporting recently that millennials are “killing” many industries and ideals such as lunch, Applebees, and napkins. While this may or may not be true the release of the Nintendo switch and the current onslaught of Hollywood reboots and remakes proves that millennials are changing the the way advertising and the media conduct their business as they are now utilizing nostalgia marketing.


Nostalgia is defined as a longing for the past. Every generation feels nostalgia at some point but millennials, or anyone born between 1981 and 2001, have proven to have a greater affinity for nostalgia. Abigail Wilkins of Brogan and Partners reports this could be due to the world in which they were raised.  “They saw the effects of the recession at a young age and are in the midst of a difficult job market. On top of that, Millennials have been inundated with technology and the internet for a large portion of their lives.”


This need for the “good old days” felt by millenials has been reflected in how companies advertise. Many major companies have brought back marketing tools from the generations childhood. As Digiday reports McDonalds has recently brought back the Hamburgler and KFC has brought back The Colonel as spokespeople in their ads.


Digiday goes on to report that brands are also reviving products sold in the late 80s and early 90s. Among these are Coke’s answer to Mountain Dew called Surge and Crystal Pepsi.


This need for reminders of a millenials childhood is not limited to just products. Hollywood has seen a growing call for television and film franchise reboots. Shows from the 80s and 90s are regaining popularity thanks to streaming services and the internet and that resurgence in popularity has lead to shows getting new spinoffs or even straight reboots. Currently shows such as Full House, Rosanne, and Will & Grace are returning to the airwaves through both streaming services and network television. Movies like Ghostbusters and It have been updated or remade for a new audience.


This has also permeated the world of theatre. Playbill reports that in the past ten Broadway seasons, forty news shows that have opened have been based on a movie from the millennial childhood years. The 2017-18 Broadway season will see the opening of Mean Girls: The Musical, Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Pt. 1  which all cash in on this early onset nostalgia.

News Comment #4

I took my news from a different source than the New York Times this week as the title of this story intrigued me. That title is “Emma Thompson Still Regrets Turning Down That Date With Donald Trump.” This story actually flashed across my Facebook feed as some of my friends on the site like the Huffington Post and because of that I got ads telling me to like the page and this story just happened to be on one of those advertisements and it obviously did its job because it got me to visit the website to read more of this story. When I got to the story it was very basic celebrity news type reporting. Not a lot of story but enough star power to keep you intrigued no matter the lack of real content or story with it. This piece actually revolved around a video that went along with it so the actually written part of the story is very short. The lede does a pretty good job of summarizing the main points in case that is all someone reads before just turning to the video. Personally I found the story very interesting, topical, and had a novelty feel even in celebrity news.

Reflecting on the Best Day of my Life

It has been a week since I left on the trip of a lifetime with two of my closest friends and fellow theatre majors Amy and Annalee. We made the crazy decision to take 4 days of our lives and do what everyone said was crazy: drive halfway across the country to see an off-Broadway turn around and come home.

When we began planning this trip everyone told us that this was impossible and that there was absolutely no way this would be fun for us. We had to drive 20 hours to have one afternoon in the city. I didn’t care. I was going to see my idol in a show that I have loved for so long yet had never seen live. I had my doubts, yes, but I was all in for this to work and so were Amy and Annalee.

Looking back there is nothing I would have changed about my experience. We had just enough time to do everything we wanted. We wandered the city we all plan to call home in just two years time. We saw the marquees for shows we dream of being in. We built our friendship. I met my idol. And, most importantly, our loves for theatre were further enforced.

I am sure people are getting tired of me talking about this experience, but I don’t see an end in sight for my excitement. I have always wanted to go into theatre. I love the freedom, the creativity, and the community. When we sat down at that table to see this show we were part of a family. Our table got to know each other, the actors who talked to us pre-show talked to us about our lives. One of the actors said she looked forward to working with me when I made it to NYC and I feel like she actually meant it. Even when we were making giant fools of ourselves in front of Ms. Carolee Carmello herself, someone I have idolized and dreamed of meeting since middle school, she was gracious and welcomed us into this theatrical community they created.

If I was 100% sure I was moving to New York to pursue professional theatre before the trip I am 300% sure now. Everything I saw that day just made me want to become the best actor I can be to make it to where I can inspire someone with my performance as much as the ENTIRE cast of Sweeney Todd at The Barrow Street Theatre inspired me.

Now here is a picture of me with Carolee Carmello again because I still can’t believe this moment I have long dreamed of has happened!!!

me and CAROLEE!!!

Lede Exercise 1

Unrest caused by disgruntled students hit East High last week resulting in the suspension of ten upperclassmen.

School principal Laura Vibelius took action after general unrest hit the school. Among the incidents was a food fight that closed the cafeteria on Tuesday and three false alarms that sounded on Wednesday.

The ten students suspended said that they were protesting the Monday suspension of five other students who were caught smoking marijuana in the school parking lot. Vibelius believes that the unrest was “Not so much unrest because of the suspensions, but because of summer vacation being so near.”

No continuation of these incidents is expected in the near future.

A Good Lede

This story from the New York times has what I think is a good lead. This story about Hurricane Irma is talking about the damage it has left in the Caribbean before it heads for Florida. It summarizes all you need to know from the story in the first paragraph. You wouldn’t have to read past there if you didn’t have time or if all you wanted to know was the general effect of the Hurricane.

News Comment #3

Currently on Broadway there is a very successful revival of Hello, Dolly! staring Bette Midler. This week it was revealed that Bernadette Peters would be succeeding Ms. Midler in the title role and the theatre world has been a light with delight over this casting choice. Victor Garber will also be joining the cast at the same time replacing David Hyde Pierce. This is news in theatre circles because everyone was worried about who was going to replace Bette Midler. Casting her was a major power move for the producers because there are devoted fans who will come see the show just because she is in it. Hello, Dolly! is one of my favorite musicals but the person playing Dolly has a direct effect on whether or not I will go see the show. Personally bringing in Ms. Peters is interesting to me because she doesn’t fit the usual type to play Dolly. The role is over the top and a strong female role, something in direct contrast to what Bernadette Peters usually plays. Another very interesting fact found in this article is that Bernadette Peters will do all eight performances in the week. Currently Donna Murphy is playing Dolly on Tuesdays so Bette Midler doesn’t have to perform every show. All the information relayed in this story is very “in the know.” It is in the Theatre section of the New York Times so that is understandable. If someone doesn’t care about or know a little about theatre they probably wouldn’t stumble upon this article.

Seeing my Dream Show and Meeting My Idol!! – A long blog post about my short trip to NYC

Over Labor Day weekend a lot of college students go home or stay on campus to get some work done in advance. My Labor Day weekend was a little bit more active than that as I got to travel to New York City to see a show I had been dreaming of seeing for a long time!

On March 1st the new, fully immersive production of Sweeney Todd opened at The Barrow Street Theatre, which was fully converted into a pie shop, after a successful run in London. Soon after it was announced that the actors playing the roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett would be leaving the show in April and would be replaced by Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello (my idol and all time favorite actress).

When I found out that this was happening I was so upset because classes didn’t end until May and right after that I was entering into a 3-month contract with a professional theatre that I was really excited about therefore there was no way to make it to the show before they were set to leave in August. But then, in June, it was announced that Ms. Carmello would be remaining in the show until, at least, the end of September and I decided that I was going to look into ways to get there as a crazy dream. I had some good money from my theatre job and was looking into trains, airfare, anything I could to maybe make this happen. I then said to a friend of mine “tell me this is crazy, there is no way I can do this right?” Instead of giving me the answer I was looking for she said “Why not? Let’s make this happen.

The next three days we planned our “spontaneous” trip and approached another friend about coming with us. We bought the tickets and the waiting game began. Every so often someone would comment on the fact that we were really doing this and we would all get really excited. As the three of us were theatre majors and all want to live in NYC anyway we were so excited to visit our future home and see a show that was so creative.

Then the day finally came. We loaded up into the car on a Thursday and started on the 20ish hour drive to New Jersey. We stopped on Thursday night in Illinois and slept over in New Jersey on Friday. We ended up crossing 7 states to get there a couple that we had never been in before. On Saturday we took a train into the city and the fun began!

As theatre nerd tourists we went to Times Square and saw all the marquees of shows we love, take pictures, and spend way to much money. We then walked the 40ish blocks down to the theatre that was in Greenwich Village right near Stonewall which was really cool to see.

When we entered the space we knew that this show was going to be special. We were sat at a table and a crew member came by to tell us to keep our stuff off the table because the actors would be using them as playing spaces and to put our phones away because the actors were so close they would be distracted by us on the phones. As soon as the show began I was mesmerized. It was a once in a lifetime experience being so close to great actors doing what I want to be doing. My idol was about a five feet away from me at her furthest distance away. My friend had also tweeted out to Ms. Carmello that we had driven so far, she replied, and then located us in the theater at a point where she could give us a wave. Throughout the show she played to us making eye contact and even, at one point when she was on our table looking down directly at us, giving us a little wink.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 8.12.22 PM

A grand tradition in the theatre is waiting at the stage door to try to get some signatures from cast members as they leave. Because we saw a matinee we didn’t know how well this would work but we waited in the lobby to see who we could talk to. We ended up seeing all but two cast members. With the first two actors we talked about our trip and sometimes even their character motivations. After we finished with the second actor I felt the urge to turn away from where the other actors were coming from to look back at the door we took into the actual theatre space from the lobby. Exactly as I did that, my IDOL, the fantastic Carolee Carmello, stuck her head out of the door. I almost died. She started talking to one person outside of that door and when she finished with them came up to my group and said “20 hours right! I saw your tweet!” and I lost it.

I have dreamed of meeting Carolee Carmello since I was 12 years old and heard the OBC cast album for The Addams Family musical the first time and found out who she was and there I was standing with her in front of me, talking to me, caring about the fact that I came all this way just to see her. She was just as nice as I had hoped she would be. She signed our playbills with personalized messages and let us take pictures with her. I asked her first if I could get a picture and she said “well do we want to do a group selfie” and I said “I would like an individual as well if I could because…well…you’re kind of my idol” to which she laughed a little and said how sweet I was. She asked about our trip and said “You aren’t driving all they way back tonight are you!?! Where are you staying, I hope you are being safe.” She put up with all our shaking and fan-girling. When I went to take my picture with her I was trembling pretty bad and she patted my back and told me I was ok. When she was ready to move on she said “Ok I am going to hug you all now is that all right?” I, of course, said “OK!!!” As she gave us all hugs she said how grateful she was that we made the trip for her and how good that made her feel.

me and CAROLEE!!!

Before she left she asked us to keep tweeting her because she loved interacting with people and to tweet her for sure when we got home so she wouldn’t be worried about us. On the way home I made a Facebook post about getting the trip going and my friend Amy said to include that in my “we are home safe” tweet because it was worded so well that Ms. Carmello needed to read it. So when we were safe back in the dorms I made a tweet to send out and tag Carolee Carmello in and included our individual pic, our group pic, a pic of my playbill, and a screenshot of the Facebook post. I assumed that would be the end of it but then on Monday morning I awoke to a reply. Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 8.27.52 PM

I have always been told that I never want to meet my idols because they could never live up to the image you created of them. That was not at all the case with this interaction. Carolee Carmello was the most amazing person I have ever met and did not let down my image of her at all. When I got back to my dorm I looked back at the pictures of meeting her and the autographed playbill in my hand and I just began to cry. Happy tears, of course. Just 6 months ago seeing this show at all was never going to happen. 5 months ago, seeing my idol in my dream role was an even crazier dream. Meeting Carolee Carmello has been an outrageous dream since age 12.  But just two days ago all these dreams came true. It was the best day of my life.


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