That Time Neil Patrick Harris High-Fived Me


Alright, I’ll admit it: adult life has hit full force and my blogging (or lack thereof) has fallen a bit to the wayside. Because, my dear friends who are still living the fantastic life known as college, my day pretty much includes work, possibly working out, making dinner, and sleeping. Exciting, huh? Don’t worry; I’m not going to pull a “work life is hard” again…probably.

What I am going to do is relive a very exciting evening for this Broadway fangirl last night- when I met the Neil Patrick Harris. Tony winner, television star, future Oscar host…yeah, that Neil Patrick Harris. And it was legen…wait for it…dary. And then some. Yes, it was probably the quickest book signing/ pseudo meet and greet EVER, and yes, I was fangirling probably way too hard. No shame, y’all.


Neil just released an autobiography entitled Choose Your Own Autobiography (which, by the way, I am very excited to read…and only a bit deterred that it’s the first book in a year I won’t be reading on my Kindle- technology, guys). After seeing a tweet that he was going on a cross-county book signing tour, naturally my next step was to anxiously scour the internet, fangirl over his coming to Austin, and purchase my ticket to see him in the flesh at the local bookstore Bookpeople (which I had never actually been to, but after stepping inside have realized it’s pretty much an avid reader’s dream).

Being a grown up, I couldn’t get in line for this 7:00 event until around 6:15. As someone who has frequented Twilight (not proudly), Divergent, and Hunger Games midnight premieres, stood in line for the famous Franklin’s Barbeque here in Austin, and rushed Broadway shows for an entire summer, I thought I had seen some pretty intense lines. I was wrong. 45 minutes before the event started, the line wrapped around the store, the building, and the entire shopping center. People had been there since 2:00 pm. Keep in mind this was a ticketed event; every single person with a ticket was guaranteed entry into the event. And people still thought it necessary to get there 5 hours beforehand. At least I wasn’t the craziest fangirl there. I did see a lot of Hedwig playbills (in addition to my own), that, sadly, were not allowed to be signed. The Broadway fans though were a nice reassurance that everyone wasn’t there to simply meet Barney Stinson (though of course that was exciting, as well).


At around 7:45, we made it into the building. Of course, the last 20 minutes or so weren’t as boring, as I was jamming along to the Hedwig tribute band while onlookers looked in confusion and asked what kind of band it was. No shame.

I had never been to a Bookpeople signing before, but damn that place is a well-oiled machine. After reaching the entry checkpoint, a certain number of us were ushered up the stairs to level #2, where an attendant took our names down on a post it and gave it to us to hold. Then, at the level #3 checkpoint, we would slap the post-it onto our book So Neil would know for whom to personalize the book. With over 600 tickets sold, I guess these people know what they’re doing.

Even though I’m clearly not, I like to think I’m an expert on meeting celebrities. I stood in line to meet the Glee cast back in 2010, I got a picture with Cory Monteith a couple of years later, I met Jimmy Kimmel during my internship last spring, and I’ve stood by countless stage doors garnering signed Playbills and harassing my dad to “make it a good picture because we only have one shot!” Of course, the no posed photos rules threw a bit of a wrench in my master plan (“Hey, can you hold my phone and take a picture of us as he’s signing my book?”), Which brings me to an important point- make friends in line. We were waiting for two hours; some awkward small talk is a bit inevitable. Be nice, fangirl (not too much- don’t freak them out) a little, and secure a photo-taker. How else would my high-five with NPH himself have been documented?

After telling him what an adorable family he had (truth), eliciting a small laugh (of course I died) and requesting- and getting- a high five, I left with a personalized copy of the book I cannot wait to read, and the opportunity to cross off meeting one of my favorite celebrities and biggest celebrity crush (DON’T SAY IT! I KNOW!) off my bucket list.

As for my Playbill? I guess I’m stuck with it just being signed by the not-at-all talented, lowly Andrew Rannells.

Sarcasm, ya’ll. He’s awesome too.




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Six Inches Forward and Holding Nothing Back: Why HEDWIG is My New Favorite

I would like to preface by saying that this is not a review. Reviews are balanced, constructive, and unbiased. This is none of those things. This is my extremely unbalanced account of how I completely fell in love with Hedwig and the Angry Inch (and Andrew Rannells’ flawless portrayal of the title character) at the Belasco Theater last night.

Oh, and also, no matter what I say, I still love Neil Patrick Harris always and forever. Okay, let’s go.


When I first heard the news that Neil Patrick Harris would be headlining a Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (almost a year ago, sitting in the office), I knew I would have to see it. Because of its cult following? No. Because of the acclaimed music and book Obviously false. Because of the way it has exploded across the world, played to thousands of different audiences, and even become a feature film?? Of course not.

Because my Hollywood crush, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris (don’t even mention his sexual preference to me…I (begrudgingly) already know) was starring.

Fast forward a year later- to my graduation present/ sisters’ weekend/ Broadway trip to NYC. On the roster? A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Best Musical- self explanatory), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Pippin (at sister’s request, although I won’t complain about a shirtless Kyle Dean Massey and getting to see Rachel Bay Jones’ hilarious performance all over again), and Hedwig and the Angry Inch…starring Broadway veteran and Girls star Andrew Rannells. Granted, I knew about this casting change back when I bought the tickets (Neil’s Tony performance of Sugar Daddy got me on the “see it not just for NPH but for the integrity of the show” bandwagon), but sitting in our seats at the Belasco Theater, I couldn’t help but wish we’d been there a few weeks before to see the Tony winner and How I Met Your Mother star in the flesh instead.

Well, that thinking went completely out the window maybe 30 seconds into Rannells’ rendition of “Tear Me Down.”

I saw Rannells as Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys back in the day, and I saw him slay the role of Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. I knew he was talented. I didn’t know he was a freaking ROCK STAR. I am not at all ashamed to question if Rannells’ performance rivaled Neil Patrick Harris’. That- I’m telling you- is how phenomenal it was.

What begins as a C-list concert- set in the Belasco Theater (the previous home of immense failure The Hurt Locker: The Musical- with its set still in tact)- right outside internationally famous Tommy Gnosis’ sold out concert- quickly, and undeniably enjoyably- turns into the hilarious, entertaining, and moving story of Hedwig.

Set amongst catchy and extremely well-written numbers such as “Sugar Daddy” (YouTube Neil’s Tony Award performance for that one- actually- I’ll just put it below. You’re welcome), “Angry Inch”, and “Wig in a Box”, Hedwig tells the audience the story of his life.

With a perfect combination of wit, irony, and sass, the audience learns of Hedwig’s- formerly Hansel’s- journey of love, heartbreak, and music. A “slip of a girly boy” born in East Berlin to a single mother, Hedwig suffered a botched sex change operation (hence, the Angry Inch) whilst attempting to escape to America with husband, U.S. soldier Luther. Once that relationship fails (Luther leaves him on their first wedding anniversary), Hedwig meets aspiring musician, looking-for-the-meaning-of-life, lost boy Tommy. Together, the two write songs and fall in love- Hedwig believing Tommy is his fated “other half,” until confusion, embarrassment, fame, not to mention the Angry Inch, chase Tommy away.

Oh, did I mention this is pretty much a two person show? Yet Rannells himself makes Hedwig’s story comes alive more vividly than a thirty-piece company could.

Now, amongst husband Yitzchak (played by Tony winner Lena Hall) and his five-piece band, Hedwig performs a one night only set, accompanied by this ongoing monologue.

What would seem- at least in the synopsis- as a cold, depressing story, is absolutely anything but. John Cameron Mitchell’s hilarious (I wish there was a word that meant funnier than hilarious), literally laugh-out-loud script, Stephen Trask’s catchy, memorable, and upbeat score, and Rannells heart, energy, improv, and obvious passion and love for both his character and this show, made me wishing an hour and a half was much, much longer.

Now, with the soundtrack sitting on my iPhone (and fated to be played on loop for at least the next few weeks, I’m sure), I’m literally looking at my signed Playbill right now wishing I could see it again. Well this is anything but your typical, run of the mill, ensemble musical (and for the immature, faint of heart and those who cringe and the mention of a curse word or a sexual reference- run the other direction), it is without a doubt one of the most impressive and animated nights on Broadway you will have. Andrew Rannells is a revelation- if it were possible to give Tony Awards to replacements; he’d without a doubt take home the prize. Making the audience fall in love with a book or a score is the easy part- it speaks for itself. Making the audience fall in love with a character, with all of his or her flaws, is a bit harder. Rannells makes it look easy.


Rannells received a packed, warm welcome at the stage door probably rivaling Neil Patrick Harris’ stage door experience- and one just as deserved. If this story about staying true to yourself and chasing your dreams taught me absolutely anything last night, it’s that Rannells needs to keep doing exactly what he was born to do- gracing the Broadway stage…preferably as Hedwig.

Here’s hoping this musical gets an extension- so I can go and see it again.

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The Real World: Austin (Minus the Drinking, Partying, and Pretty Much Everything Else)

“I’m in this weird place because I went from being around all my friends all the time to working 9-5 and being tired everyday and having zero social life.”

This statement is usually met with a small laugh, a not so subtle eye roll, or a hearty “welcome to the real world!”

Speaking of, I’ve officially been in the so-called “real world” for a month now. And it is an awkward, adjustment-required place. I’ve traded pregaming for early bedtimes, late night Whataburger for early evening lunch packing, sorority tanks and Nike shorts for pencil skirts and blazers (though, if I’m being honest, the sorostitute getup makes a return appearance everyday after 5 PM).

So far, I’ve hit almost every cliché in the book. I’ve scoffed and/or laugh at a paycheck I initially thought was great but that ended up going towards more taxes than I ever thought possible. I’ve naively apartment hunted, underestimated my budget, abandoned every intention of trying to be social and/or fit by crashing at 8:00 pm, and I’ve milked Dad’s payroll for about as long as I’ve can.

When I was younger and wanted to do something, buy something, or experience something that was dangerous, inappropriate, or just against my mother’s wishes, I was greeted with ever-popular phrase, “Well, when you are working and paying for things yourself, you can do that.” Working and paying for things yourself always sounded a mystical, far-away time that was talked about but that I would never actually experience.

And BAM- here I am, looking at my checking account, ready to turn back time and follow every single one of mom’s rules in exchange for some of that cold hard cash.

Alright, so I’m a bit overdramatic. Maybe even a tad (tad) on the bratty and spoiled side. Honestly, the idea that I’m a real-life, working and functioning adult is still a bit lost on me. I’m half convinced (and half wishing) that come August I’ll be reunited with my friends and resume a life of minimal studying and maximum fun. Instead, I’m fully convinced that come August I’ll be moved in to my new “big girl” apartment, living off my own, hard-earned paycheck, and trying to balance working out, having a social life, and sleeping all among a 40 hour work week.

No matter how many Buzzfeed quizzes I take that tell me otherwise, vent sessions I have with my family about this newfound traffic, or 8:00 PM bedtimes I welcome; I am a grown up. I have more freedom than I will ever have, I’m completely and utterly in charge of what I do, what I buy, and where I go, I have full support of my parents and sister (who, by the way, I will finally have in the same city as me (read: blessing for me, curse for her)), and I’m in the place I’ve been preparing for for the past 22 years.

And despite the shock, THAT place is a pretty awesome place to be.

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The ‘Other Plans’ Work Life Had in Store For Me

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 (according to my Timehop), my newest tweet read: “Just got to sit in and watch the @KPRCLocal2 11AM live newscast in the studio! Can’t wait until I’m behind the desk one day! #internship.”

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 (according to my memory), I was in the third week of my editorial internship at in New York City, convinced I was ready to pick up and move across the country to pursue a destined career in entertainment news.

Today, Friday, June 13th, 2014, I’m not sitting behind a news desk or covering the opening night of a Broadway production. I’m sitting here, at my parent’s house, days away from starting my first full time job…in public relations.

Wait what? Public Relations?! But you just said…

…yeah, I did, but turns out I was wrong.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” We’ve listened, laughed, and even remained a bit skeptical of this thought-provoking but better-suited-for-Pinterest quote while continuing on, what we think, is our destined trajectory. For me, this trajectory led to the anchor desk. Life moved it to the marketing office.

In the years leading up to college, I was warned I would want to change my major. “College freshmen change their major an average of three times,” others told me, “so what you think you want may not be what you actually pursue.” I took this advice with a grain of salt. I was given a lot of worthwhile, valuable advice in college (still getting used to that being in the past tense…), but regarding my major, I was spot on from day one (from 7th grade, to be specific) with graduating with a degree in journalism. And countless journalism courses, hundreds of hours spent at Texas Student Television, and three internships later, I was still dead set on both graduating and pursuing a career in journalism.

And then the fourth internship came along.

You always hear about the right internship. The one you’ll inevitably find and fall in love with, the one you remember most about your time in college, or the one that landed you your first job. But, unless it’s absolutely catastrophic and/or the source of some hilarious work stories, you rarely hear about the wrong internship. Finding the right job is dependent on finding that right internship.

But my experience depended on finding those wrong ones.

I loved every single internship I had. Two straight up, newsroom gigs, one summer adventure on Broadway, and a semester delving into public relations adorn my resume, and all four helped me land the full time job I start next week. I enjoyed shadowing reporters, turning packages, appearing on camera to introduce stories, and practicing anchoring a top 10 news market broadcast, but there’s a reason I’m not doing that on Tuesday. That reason? Unbeknownst to me at the time, an internship I thoroughly succeeded at was that wrong internship. Why? I found something I love even more, thanks to my marketing internship at Austin’s Long Center. I found somewhere I could implement my degree, apply my journalism skill set, and go beyond the scope of the newsroom while still utilizing my love of broadcast. My newsroom and PR internships were worthwhile; both were educational, both were enjoyable, and both produced a successful, skilled product (me). But one internship: the PR one, the right one, showed me that the other: the newsroom one, was indeed the wrong one…for me. It didn’t matter that my degree, resume and work experience reflected a trajectory towards the newsroom (though that route would have been the easier one). What now mattered was the challenge of taking that degree, resume, and work experience, and selling those unique skills in a new field.

It’s not necessarily about what you’re talented at, what you think you should do, or even what you’ve dedicated your entire college career to doing. It’s about what you want to do, every day, for the majority of your career, and if it takes one or two “wrong” internships to determine that? That’s a pretty small and valuable price to pay.

Here’s to the real world. And here’s to June 13th, 2015’s social media post reflecting on a fantastic year.


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The Full Time Job of Finding a Job: A (Temporary) Breath of Fresh Air

Landing a job in public relations isn’t an easy feat (heck- landing a job at all these days is hard, ya’ll). From social media presence to networking, there are some huge aspects that can help (or hurt) you in the job search these days- some which you probably haven’t even thought about. From predictable aspects like resumes and cover letters, to factors you don’t even think about like old Facebook posts, answers to questions like, “Describe how you handle frustration,” and handling interview after interview while playing the oh-so-fun waiting game, the full time job of finding a job can certainly test your patience.

However, somewhere within the mess and hullabaloo we call job searching, you can learn a thing or two. During a job interview the other day, one of my interviewers said something that not only stuck with me, but inspired me (and gave me a breath of fresh air) throughout the tedious, sometimes frustrating experience we call job searching.

Hire for the will, train for the skill.”

As a public relations and marketing hopeful, I like to think my skill set is there. I’ve done my fair share of valuable internships, learned all I could about the communications world during college (which is still weird to refer to in the past tense…I’m getting there…), and put my all into beginning what I hope to be a successful, rewarding job search. Yes, the skill set is there, but in the game of life, there will always be someone with more, better, or different skills. Your resume advertises your skill; you need to advertise (and sell), that unique will.


The first way to show that will? Networking. Your resume is one of the most vital parts of the job search, yes, but you can’t always describe and exemplify passion, motivation, and dedication on paper. I mean connecting, networking and staying in touch. Networking, as I’ve learned, is fundamental. Amidst the initial phone interviews, in-person meetings, and somewhat intimidating question and answer sessions, get ready to enter a lot of serious relationships.

Now, I don’t mean calling up those exes for some midnight rendezvous (no judgment, what you do on your own time…). In the workforce, connections and relationships are everything. It’s not enough to simply say hi and bring to your intern supervisor a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte every so often, and then never speak to him or her after your internship is over. Make the effort to keep in touch. Write a thank you note to the HR representative you talked to for half an hour about the position. Update your past internship supervisor on what you’re doing nowadays. Email the head of the company you spoke with via phone and thank him or her for their time.

Now, avoid stalker status, because I’m not liable for any restraining orders. But, send an email to those past bosses every few weeks, update him or her on your job search and career track, and genuinely ask how they’re doing. Who knows? That stuffy boss you simply tolerated that one semester in college may be best friends with the owner of your dream company, and that HR rep you talked to for a mere half an hour may be an essential piece in getting you that sought-after offer. The worst than can happen? You end up with some adorable, personalized Thank You notes.

In the communications field, you are literally entering a field about communicating and maintaining relationships. Prove you not only can do this, but also want to do this, in the interview.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far? Rome wasn’t built in a day…and unless you’re the Elle Woods of your graduating Harvard law school class, odds are your career won’t be found (or built) in a day, either (it has taken me nearly four months of impatience, frustration, and maybe a bit (or a lot) of crying, and I’m still trucking). Remember that old saying, ‘Patience is a virtue?’ Yeah, your parents weren’t just spitting that for their health. You will most likely apply for a lot of jobs, get a lot of non-responses, do a lot of interviewing, and wait a lot of time. But- when all is said and done and you do land that dream PR job- you’ll have a lot of satisfaction and a lot of fun (or so I’ve been told).

Am I frustrated, worried, and a bit tired? Definitely. Have I lost any of that passion and drive to land that job and finally prove myself and show what I can do? Not at all. Your skill set, at least for the time being, is set. It’s a valuable commodity, but if a company knows what they are doing, they’ll hire you for everything you represent off that black and white word document. So go ahead and brag about the internship you’re most proud of, your proficiency in almost every new design program, and your personal blog that receives thousands of hits per day, but don’t forget to let them know that you plan to, want to, and will rock their world.


Oh, and employers? Give me a call… 😉

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Stepping into Giuliana’s Shoes: My Night Interviewing Tomorrow’s Broadway Stars

Being a broadcast journalism major has opened several doors for me over the past few years. What started as shadowing reporters in the field during a local news internship quickly evolved into flagging down Laura Osnes and Patina Miller on the 2013 Tony Awards red carpet, to meeting and interviewing late night star Jimmy Kimmel. I’ve learned that with the right mix of confidence and excitement, a microphone in hand, and a camera behind me, nearly anything can (and with a group of rambunctious and overeager theatre kids- will) happen.

Making the transition from interviewing last year’s Broadway stars to next year’s Broadway stars was an opportunity given to me during the first ever Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards. As a marketing intern for the Long Center, opportunities have been anything but few and far between. For a job description that includes “press releases and social media,” somehow videography, editing, out of the box blog posts, and television-style reporting and interviewing has wedged its way into my internship (with only a *hint* of begging from me). So on Thursday night, when I (much like every other high school girl in attendance) slipped on my old prom dress, reapplied my lip-gloss, and grabbed that microphone; I knew I was in for one glamorous evening.

The most surprising (and at the same time- extremely obvious) revelation of the evening? While reporters often have an extremely difficult time getting people to talk on camera, theatre kids are definitely not those people. Conducting pre-show interviews Giuliana Rancic-style, I felt like the celebrity as nominees, and cast members flagged me down, ready for to revel in their spotlight (a very drama kid-esque trait, I can say from personal experience and my days on the high school stage, *tear*), enjoy the evening, and provide me with some of the most charismatic, energetic, and fun interviews I’ve done. From pre-show rituals, to hopes for upcoming awards show, to Broadway role models and inspirations, this theatre nerd had no trouble talking to the very kids I may one day be speaking with outside Radio City Music Hall.

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I watched pre-show jitters transform into performance-ready high energy, and later, overwhelming gratitude and excitement as I interviewed the evening’s talented winners backstage in the green room. Each and every interview was different- some winners were extremely chatty, going on and on about every thought running through their mind, and giving me (and eventual television watchers) hilarious and energetic footage that can really only come from a fearless theatre kids. Others, understandably, were still in shock, and many were simply happy to be part of the experience. If I didn’t know better, I could’ve been backstage at the Oscars or Golden Globes working for E!- the professional atmosphere was uncanny.

While working the backstage crowd presented me with a few, not-so-exciting surprises (my 22-year-old self being called ma’am by an 18-year-old, for one thing), I could not have asked for a better, more hands-on reporting experience. The opportunities to combine my love of journalism and theatre really are few and far between, and while the Tony Awards certainly prepared me for the evening, the experience of Thursday night was exciting and memorable all on its own. The bright lights of Broadway shone on the Long Center stage (literally- audience members were graced with video messages of some of my favorites, including Laura Osnes and Billy Porter), and the future of Broadway, made itself known in the talented nominees of the evening (these kids better remember me when they’re accepting their Tonys…just saying). I may have even gotten nostalgic for my own high school theatre days (because when you aren’t around theatre kids 24/7 running lines and sharing mutual nerves over auditions and competitions, bursting out into showtunes at any time just isn’t as socially acceptable, apparently).

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From practicing my “gracious loser face” with the display (*cough cough* REAL *cough cough*) GAHSMTA award (Friends reference, for those of you that haven’t seen every episode 30 times like I have (proud of it)), to asking the hard-hitting questions such as, “Who would play you in a musical about your life,” (deep stuff, ya’ll), the Long Center gifted me an unforgettable night in Giuliana Rancic’s and Ryan Seacrest’s red carpet-ready, award show-hosting shoes. And while those shoes unfortunately had to come off at the end of the night (mainly because my feet were killing me), they’re tucked away in my closet, eagerly awaiting their next glamorous, and reporting, night out.

– Wendi

Originally written for and published on the official blog of the Long Center, Long Story Short.


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From Screen to Stage, and That’s About It

Over two-dozen Broadway shows premiere during the 2013-2014 season. Among them are The Bridges of Madison County, Rocky, Aladdin and Big Fish. Sound familiar? Out of nearly twenty-five new musicals, over a fourth have been seen before, in the movie theatre. Translating a Hollywood script onto the stage is risky. Some musicals prove extremely successful; The Lion King stands as the fourth longest-running Broadway musical. Others, however, close in as little as three weeks. As more Broadway marquees display familiar, well-known titles, theatregoers wonder if the Great White Way will stay a haven for creative, new work, or simply copy and paste entertaining, yet recycled, favorites.

Though imitative, familiar stories sell tickets. An inexperienced theatregoer is more likely to buy tickets to The Lion King than to If/Then. The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, and Cinderella get a reluctant foot in the door. The shows are great, don’t get me wrong. Cinderella‘s score is classic, The Lion King is brought to life in an incredible manner, and Mamma Mia! is a fun, laugh out loud musical that has audiences singing along and on their feet night after night. But the best part about these musicals? That patron, who would otherwise not even attend a Broadway show, is now a theatre fan. Consequently, he or she may reach out of his or her comfort zone and see If/Then, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, or Lady Day next time. Headlining superstars such as Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, and Audra McDonald don’t hurt, either. Returning patrons keep the often- struggling Broadway economy thriving, and make it possible for producers to stage original shows.

Musicals inspired by books, plays, and films are not uncommon. Seeing a wave of films on the stage does not necessarily mean the beginning of the end for vibrant Broadway theatre. Kiss Me Kate, Hands on a Hardbody, and 42nd Street are just some of hundreds of shows with unoriginal beginnings. A Broadway production inspired by a little-known documentary, however, vastly differs from Legally Blonde: The Musical, nearly a carbon copy of the Hollywood script, with new songs inserted to appeal to the Broadway stage. While it gets patrons in seats, it also stomps on unprecedented future hits. A big-budget show based on the Hollywood smash, Rocky, is much more likely to receive backers than a brand new, completely innovative show. Unfortunately, the novelty also suffers when a movie repackages itself and presents itself as new, for nearly $85 a ticket.

Whether audiences better receive musical movies remains a toss up. Newsies– one of my favorite musicals- and Once emerged as box office successes, and continue to sell out. Sometimes, however, stories become lost in translation. Catch Me if You Can and Ghost: The Musical closed after five months. The highly anticipated Big Fish closed in under four weeks. Despite these responses, however, the bright lights of Broadway have always encouraged expression. Whether from a familiar movie plot, or a never-before-seen production, it is important to keep live theatre alive and audiences in seats- no matter the origin of the script.

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How ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Met its Demise

I’ve seen every episode of Friends. Twice. Three times. I can quote each episode backwards and forwards, name an episode from overhearing it in the next room, and still laugh-out-loud at jokes I’ve heard way too many times…

…but I never watched one single episode live during its 10-year-run.

Thanks to Nick at Nite and TBS, odds are that when I turn on my television, Friends is playing. If an episode ended with a gasp-worthy cliffhanger, it didn’t matter- the next episode would play after the commercial break. I watched the episodes out of order, several times, and never had to wait for a storyline to tie up or to find out the fate of a character.

For better or for worse, this has not been the case with the 9 season long How I Met Your Mother.

How I Met Your Mother changed the rules of the average sitcom. First off, it’s a love story told in reverse. Technically, we never had to wonder if Ted was going to end up OK. We knew- from literally the first second of the pilot- that Ted would be fine. We saw his kids, we heard his voice, and we heard him begin to tell the story of how he found his true love.

Did we still worry? Yes. Did we still think, in the back of our minds that he would end up with Robin? Yes. Did we curse when he broke up or got back together with certain characters, even though we knew all of those women were simply red herrings? Definitely.

Which is why this show is amazing. Despite knowing the ending, we still got so wrapped up in the present, that we totally forgot we already knew (some of) the future.

HIMYM changed the rules in other ways, too. Despite its alleged “racy” references (which I found not only hilarious but genius), the show remained a “family” comedy. Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily and Barney aren’t just characters on a run-of-the-mill weekly sitcom; they’re real people. They make mistakes, they openly discuss smoking “sandwiches,” they sing catchy songs about hooking up, and they engage in silly, meaningless fights. They drunk call their exes, lose their jobs, and face the consequences. Find me one avid HIMYM fan that doesn’t want a spot at the booth in MacClaren’s.

And despite its billing as a “comedy,” many episodes were anything but. Parents were lost; significant others were cheated on; a potential terminal illness was alluded to (more on that later). It took the element of surprise and milked it. And when the element of surprise reeled its ugly head, I had to wait. Wait to see what would happen, wait to laugh or cry, and test my patience each and every (well, some more than others) week. Even though we may have shed a tear or two or even yelled at our television sets, we remembered those episodes, didn’t we?

All good things must come to an end, and in HIMYM’s case, it comes about a season too late. Dragging an entire season out over the course of one week, well, failed. What I hoped would be several flashbacks and even more flash forwards turned out to be nothing but somewhat stupid, time-filling plot lines with the occasional revelation or clue that would keep me hooked.

So tonight, the game-changing comedy comes to an end. Whether it’s an epic, smart end like its previous seasons, or a cop-out, unfunny mess like its current season has been the question of the hour.

*Spoiler Alert*

And, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays finally gave us the flash-forwards we’ve been not so patiently waiting for all season long. The first half presented the biggest potential red herring. A few episodes back, it was subtly hinted at that the Mother suffered from a tragic, terminal illness that has Ted in tears. It was placed there, no warning or explanation, for fans to run wild. Tonight, halfway through the episode, we learned Barney and Robin had divorced. The kicker? We spent an entire season dragging out a wedding weekend that would ultimately end in failure. Hmmm. Now, with a Mother potentially dying in the near future, leaving Ted single, and Robin single and regretfully wishing she’d end up with Ted- the theory we’ve been promised would never happen from episode one may very well end the series.

I mean, HIMYM has been subject to many fan theories. This one, however, was nipped in the bud in the pilot. Robin is Aunt Robin. She’s not mom, she’s not stepmom, she’s Aunt Robin.

And Ted, who has talked about true love and marriage the entire series, makes it to 2019, with two kids, still not married. This guy has been the advocate of marriage for 9 seasons. Robin and Barney, two perpetually single people, tied the not (albeit unsuccessfully, but still). Now we learn that the hopeless romantic of the group can’t find time for the one thing he’s been waiting for his entire life? Okay, that’s believable.

One thing that is believable? Barney Stinson, after sleeping with who knows how many women, got one pregnant. Good job, Craig and Carter, one thing you made realistic.

49 minutes in and we haven’t found out much. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Barney has a child, Marshall got his judgeship, and Ted is about to get married after 7 years (not getting over that one). Robin is completely detached from the group and a very young Penny doesn’t even know her (so how we get from that to Aunt Robin has to be a pretty interesting- and fast at this point- story). Am I completely impressed yet? No. Am I hoping this episode presses fast forward and gets to the good parts stat? Hell yes.

Had the episode ended at 55 minutes, I would have been okay, I could have been happy. Ted and the Mother (Tracy, we finally learned) shared an amazing moment in the rain, under the iconic yellow umbrella. They’re funny, charming, cute together, and we see Ted finally getting the ending we’ve wanted him to have since 2005. But then, Ted made the reference to the Mother getting sick, and I began to feel sick as well. As the final scene played out, and Ted broke the fourth wall to conclude his story, a small part of me wanted Tracy to appear behind him and give us all a reassuring glimpse into the future.

The alternative? The Mother is dead. The theory at the back of my mind that I hoped and prayed was just a red herring wasn’t, and the previous red herring of Aunt Robin wasn’t either. The worst part is that the creators filmed the children’s reaction during season two. They’ve known this ending for 7 years (as long as it took for Ted to get married, mind you), and I’m so disappointed. Because Craig Thomas and Carter Bays don’t know their fans as well as they think we do. The love story we’ve been rooting for nine years is no more, and the love story we put to rest in the pilot is just beginning. Smart and funny? Not so much. A complete cop-out? Absolutely.

At least we have old season reruns. And at least I didn’t have to sit through Two Broke Girls afterwards.


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VIDEO: Sunday Morning Lineup

Today marks my mom’s 52nd birthday (Happy birthday, Mom!), and, knowing me, I couldn’t let it pass without a birthday video. After both my dad’s and sister’s videos back in November, I wanted to do something different and unique, and found it with the Susan Birthday Network. Sit back, relax, and turn on the television for some favorite TV hits featuring my mother (and, subsequently, the rest of my family).


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VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel: The Alleged Cure for Senioritus

It’s mid-February of my senior year and the inevitable has happened: senioritis has kicked in, and in full force. Instead of catching up on assigned readings, I’m applying for jobs. When there’s a project I really need to get started on, there’s also a movie on television that my friends and I just have to watch. And when I have a test Thursday, I’m sitting here updating my blog. But, if procrastinating and finding anything and everything to do but my homework keeps me from dwelling on the scary and unknown future (which my mother kindly reminded me is about 90 days away- not even touching that one), I’ll take it.

The one place my enthusiasm has skyrocketed has been at my internship. As a marketing intern for the Long Center for the Performing Arts, I’m once again thrust into the world of both journalism and theatre, and I absolutely love it. Writing press releases and updating social media pales to what I also get to do; let my creativity and imagination run wild. I’m taking my video editing skills and my love of performing arts to market shows and sell events- a complete 180 of my internship (day-to-day job wise, definitely love both). While the broadcast journalism major in me knows how to report on a story, gather interviews, and produce news worthy content, I’m now taking the knowledge of a reporter to experience the other side…public relations.

Oh, and I also get to meet celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel. Did I forget to mention that?

The late night comedian will broadcast his show from Austin’s very own Long Center during South by Southwest. To promote his show, he visited the Long Center to do a press junket- and I was part of the action. Check out the promotional video I created- and be on the look out for more videos as I milk every second of my awesome (and last!) internship.


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