Please meet two of my longest friends (makes them sound stretchy, doesn’t it?😂), Joel and Ryan. They were interesting nearly 30 years ago, and that hasn’t changed. To call them quirky and idiosyncratic is not hyperbole; they really are both of those things. And, of course, I recognize those traits in myself, so I am naturally drawn to our like mindedness. Plus, they just plain make me laugh out loud, and I adore that quality in anyone.
Here’s some stuff from our conversation:
I don’t like most musicals from the 1980s. No thanks to Les Miserables, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera. I could tell I was disappointing Ryan, so I valiantly tried to redeem myself by remembering that I like Evita. Phew!
Ryan had the Internet in his dorm room in 1992. Yes, you are reading that correctly. 184.108.40.206. I remember that dorm room so clearly, and I remember being so impressed that he had a computer in his room. If I did know he had the Internet, I certainly didn’t understand what that even meant. I just know that when I said, “Oh I like that song,” the next day, a cassette tape would show up with Ryan’s distinct handwriting on the case.
Their podcast, The Movie Show with Joel & Ryan is intended to be only positive and exhibit Ryan’s encyclopedic brain. I really love that, and the show is a super deep dive into some very obscure places. Take a listen.
A mutual classmate of ours, Casey Murphy might (or likely might not!) appreciate that we immediately went back to our college-aged selves where he was concerned. Sorry, not sorry, Gerald. It was so fun to talk about Jeff Fietek, Robb Rossi, Jim Bartruff, Tom Schwans and so many others from our years in college.
Tuacahn Theatre is truly beautiful. If you pushed me, I could sing the entire opening song from the musical Utah! that I performed nearly 65 times the summer I was there (“Howdy folks, we welcome you…”). It’s in a stunning place in the world.
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Customer Service is apparently an easier job if you have a theatre degree and learned how to be empathetic (I think maybe that’s not a skill I possess???). This is a really lovely section in the conversation, and it’s no surprise that it comes from Ryan. Because, of course, what comes from being idiosyncratic and a bit obsessive is also a truly deep and thoughtful mind.
The most depressing play I ever did was The Grapes of Wrath, and it also holds some of my most joyful memories. I’ve perhaps never laughed as often as I did with Ryan during that rehearsal period.
You have to listen closely at the very beginning, but Joel has called me “Dayna-girl” since almost the first day I met him—you know, the day I tore my shirt off in front of him and our entire acting class! It’s one of my favorite things about him because it’s just so sweet.
Not unlike my conversation with our mutual classmate Tom Schwans, these two men have known me, even if primarily through social media, throughout my entire adulthood–the good, the bad, the totally self-consumed and the ho hum day to day. Our lack of physical connection doesn’t diminish the way I feel about them or how important they remain in my memories of some of the most formative years of my life, and I am happy they were with me for the ride. It’s probably more accurate to say I am happy we were together as part of the road crew of those years and beyond.