May 212023

My friend Rachel’s daughter is currently playing Mimi in a local production of Rent. She texted me the info to me the other day in case I was looking for something to do this weekend, and you know what? I was actually. And also, it was timely because there was a Rent question in Trivial Pursuit when we were playing on the night of Chooch’s belated birthday cake celebration and he was so pissed that I got it right without having ever seen it. I don’t really like musicals, ok??

But what I do like is supporting local theater and my friends’ kids, plus I recently found out that Janna is some kind of Queen Rent Head so I figured it would be something for us to do together that was a change for her coming to my house and being hostilely quizzed on the 23* members of NCT.

*(Actually, it’s 22 now. Lucas officially announced his departure from WayV & NCT. DO NOT GET ME STARTED.)

The ComTra Theater is in Cranberry, which is like 35 minutes away, but all I know is that the whole time I kept thinking, “When did Cranberry get so far away? Has it always been this far away??” It really felt like it took for-fucking-ever to get there. And then as soon as we walked in, I was like, “OH SHIT” because it was much smaller than I thought, and very hot. I almost immediately started to sweat through my shirt so I can only imagine what it must have been like for the performers.


PRE-SHOW SELFIE. I liked Janna’s shirt a lot!

Anyway, she immediately asked me to switch seats with her so she could be on the end and I was like “UGH FINE” but then she ended up having the stage partially obscured by a pillar so who’s laughing now?! A dad and his young daughter filled the last two seats in our row, and the people in front of us were normal. No one sat behind us. I was content with our section.

The show started around 2pm and I thought it was really cute! (Is that weird? I mean, the subject matter isn’t “cute” and I’m sure the teens performing in it would not appreciate being called “cute”- BUT THEY FUCKING WERE!)  I mean, I had almost NO idea what was going on for most of it because I couldn’t hear a lot of the lyrics (the house band was WAY TOO LOUD) and also I was getting v. antsy. Intermission didn’t happen until 3:30 (!!!) and I said, “Isn’t this supposed to be over at 4? Will they be able to get the rest done in 30 minutes?” and Janna goes, “Oh, there’s still an entire other half. There is no way this is over at 4pm.”

Do you know me? I hate sitting. Even when I am being entertained! So, while I was enjoying the show very much because those kids were insanely talented, I also was ready for it be over. It’s who I am, OK? I am also like this during pretty much every movie I go to see in a theater, slyly checking the time on my FitBit.

One of the guys looked so much like Judd Nelson specifically in his Breakfast Club role that it was all I could see throughout the whole entire show. It was crazy. I saw him up close afterward and while the resemblance was less uncanny, it was still there. I hope to god that is his next role.

My other thought was that the one main kid looked like the spitting image of Janna’s high school boyfriend Matt which amplified his annoyance to me. I’m not sure if his character was meant to be annoying but I definitely kind of zoned out whenever it was one of his songs, sorry kid.

BUT THEN DURING INTERMISSION, JANNA GOES, “That kid that plays <striped sweater guy / I could not keep track of the characters’ names> is sooooo cute!” and I died. Honestly.

I didn’t tell her until afterward when we were walking to my car that he reminded me of MATT so it was not shocking to me that she basically imprinted on him as soon as the lights went down. She was like, “O M F G” and then tried to say she only thought he was cute because he had floppy hair.


Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon! I was happy to support Rachel and her daughter, who is a freaking powerhouse. Girl can perform her ass off! The only downside was that the theater’s website lists all of kinds of ADULT BEVS but all they had was WATER and SOFT DRINKS so I guess the HARD WETS are for evening shows only?! I was going to treat myself to a White Claw (the website had approx. 12 varieties of tastes listed) but it was probably for the best considering I was driving and the journey home was fraught with missed exits and merging mayhem. Anytime I have to drive on BIG ROADS, I’m screaming like Pee Wee driving over a hillside, thanks to Henry conditioning me to being a perma-passenger and hardly-ever-driver.

When I wasn’t emitting battle cries every time I had to merge, I asked Janna lots of questions about Rent and she seemed happy to answer them because this was like her time to shine, you know? For example, I texted her just a bit ago and asked what the fuck was the significance to the drywall bucket that kept popping up in some scenes and she explained that one of the characters was using it as a drum in the beginning and then they were using it to panhandle later. Those were the examples she gave me, but I SAW IT POP UP MORE THAN TWO OCCASIONS so I was wondering if there was an INSIDE JOKE or something that someone who pays her rent wouldn’t understand. It just felt like someone was always carrying it like maybe it was the stage pet or the communal security blanket, I dunno.

Also, I still don’t understand why that Joanne person was on the phone so much. Who was she talking to? Out of all the actors, she was the one I could hear the least and I feel like I missed a lot. Maybe I should watch the movie. (I will probably never watch the movie.)

And that concludes my once-every-four-years attempt to be cultural! It was an enjoyable afternoon which left me swearing that I will do these things more often but…we know how that goes!

Say it don't spray it.

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