YOU CAN’T STOP THE TWEET: Annoying Actor Friend’s “Hairspray Live!” Drinking Game

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Here we are again! After a significant pissing contest between NBC and FOX, our beloved live musicals have now completely conformed to actually including a live audience. Gone are the days of silence so awkward that you could actually hear it emanating from miles away in that studio hangar out in Bethpage, Long Island, and gone are the days when all of my working New York friends had to juggle an eight show week, developmental lab, and a lucrative television salary while I comped their drinks at the bar I work because they told me they couldn’t afford to visit me on their nights off because they’re “poor.” That’s right, Broadway on network television has officially gone Hollywood.

Never has there ever been a more poetic example of “Oh. Hell. No,” than NBC’s response to FOX’s Grease Live!. They were like, “Wait, wait, WAIT. You snatched our wig and wore it better!?” Hairspray Live! is like that New York actor who left their Broadway chorus contract to go out to Los Angeles for pilot season because someone who understudied them once at a dinner theatre landed a one episode arc on Scream Queens.

Look, I thought Grease Live! was great. And it pissed me off. Now we’ve got to deal with a show that is actually good following the Grease Live! method. It’s going to be very difficult to make social media funny during Hairspray Live!, but I’ve seen a lot of people find a way to make 2016 funny, so I have great faith in all of you because even in the darkest of times, one thing is certain: YOU CAN’T STOP THE TWEET.

SO, EVERYONE, grab your favorite beverage, and pour one out for “Nikki Blonsky from the movie Hairspray”; it’s time to use your elbow to break down the walls of segregation and/or elbow back as many as it’ll take to make you forget that Jennifer Hudson is only four-ish years older than Ephraim Sykes.

PRE-GAME: take a shot in honor of every actor friend you know who is live social media-ing this event on a Wednesday night at 8pm, because it probably means they’re unemployed.

NOTE: I trust you’ll be surrounded by friends either in person, on social media, or both, so some of these rules pertain to you and those around you, as well as what you’ll be viewing on screen. 

DRINK WHEN…

  • Ariana Grande attempts a consonant.
  • a set piece breaks or malfunctions.
  • there are sound problems.
  • celebrity marking.
  • you have no idea who Amber and Link are.
  • the camera cuts to an actor who is not really paying attention.
  • Ugh. LA dancers.
  • the key changes for Jennifer Hudson.
  • you see someone you know (this is probably a wasted rule because LA).
  • Dove Cameron is a deodorant right?
  • Martin Short and Andrea Martin eat the set by the end of act one.
  • one of your friends says, “I almost booked this.” (because they didn’t. again, this is LA)
  • was Garrett Clayton a Vine star?
  • an actor accidentally looks at the camera.
  • Donald Trump wages war on Hairspray Live! because there’s a song called “Ladies’ Choice.”
  • Donald Trump wages war on Hairspray Live! because he thinks the Miss Teenage Hairspray competition is rigged when Amber doesn’t win.
  • Donald Trump wages war on Hairspray Live! because Rosie O’Donnell.
  • NBC stamps an awkward hashtag at the bottom of the screen. #Crabs
  • omg remember when Kristin Chenoweth did The Music Man?
  • someone in the cast is phoning it in like they are doing an open ended run.
  • Allison Williams has a series of flashbacks and you can audibly hear her screams from her home in Chelsea.
  • PONIES!
  • lyric flub.
  • Harvey Fierstein.
  • where’s Shanice?
  • acting for the stage.
  • The original Broadway Dynamites look younger fourteen years later than you did when you were fourteen.
  • Billy Eichner screams at someone.
  • Little Inez walks away with the show like Benanti.
  • you pass out before “Cooties.”

Have a great night, everybody! And remember: Always drink responsibly, but unapologetically.


SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION TIME: The epic best selling book, #SOBLESSED: the Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business and its sequel, #GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason are available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback and “ARE THE GREATEST HOLIDAY GIFT OF ALL TIME.” – Me

9 Times I Shoehorned Jurassic Park References Into Annoying Actor Friend

By ANDREW BRIEDIS

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Today, July 13th, 2016, marks the fourth anniversary of when I created Annoying Actor Friend. I was bored out of my mind and had nothing better to do on an extremely hot day. Nothing has changed! Hence this blog post.

Yesterday, I asked a friend, “How should I celebrate my parody Twitter account’s birthday tomorrow?” Upon hearing those words come out of my mouth un-ironically, I promptly asked the universe to send an asteroid to my GROWN ASS ADULT’S house because that is some serious Millennial bullshit. But, hey, look around, look around… Pokemon GO is still a thing after an ENTIRE WEEK. We get to be children forever now!

Publicly celebrating the birthday of a parody Twitter account is probably the most #ShamelessSelfPromoting thing ever, which is certainly “on brand” for Annoying Actor Friend, and when it comes to brands that define myself, Jurassic Park is pretty much the only thing I’ve got going on right now. So, for this blog post that I am 100% certain that nobody will read, I’d like to list and annotate all of the times I shoehorned Jurassic Park references into the voice of a character that was created to satirize the life of a Broadway actor. Think of this as my version of the #Hamiltome, except without the insightful stuff and more Jeff Goldblum.

1.) Spielberg Don’t Give a Shit

In the Smash blog, “Spielberg Don’t Give a Shit” (Mar. 2013) I gave Mr. Spielberg a few GREAT suggestions for how to up Smash‘s rating by using elements from some of his most famous films. I’ve spoken greatly about how of the 20+ Smash recaps/blogs I wrote in the winter/spring of 2013, this one marks as my favorite. It was the first time I made a series of memes, and I am still proud of this one:

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While I was actually giving myself an excuse to devote an entire section of a blog to my favorite Spielberg film, I was too paranoid that one of my friends would pick up on it, so Jurassic Park only gets a tiny mention at the end, urging Smash to “add dinosaurs” to the show.

2.) Mr. DNA Deciphers the Tiered Production Contract

In #SOBLESSED: The Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business (Oct. 2013) — ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! — there is a passage in Chapter 4: “On the Road,” where the Old Annoying Actor Friend explains how the Equity national touring contracts devolved over time. In that section, I gave a nod to Mr. DNA, the cartoon exposition extraordinaire who explains to the audience exactly how Dr. Henry Wu (played by Broadway’s B.D. Wong) was able to clone dinosaurs out of DNA found in fossilized amber by filling in the genome sequencing gaps with the DNA of frogs…

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The highlighted line is verbatim what Mr. DNA says in the film, except it’s said in a labored and exhausted manner because that’s how tedious it is to connect millions of strands of DNA to create one dinosaur. I chose this reference in particular, because upon doing my research, I was equally as exhausted by the confusing manner in which many of the more profitable Equity touring contracts seemed to disappear. It felt about as easy to explain in this book as it would be to revive an extinct animal.

(NOTE: There is also a reference to Game of Thrones within the same sentence. I use many Game of Thrones references in my AAF writing, depending on what time of the year it is. I believe most of my Tonys drinking games have some mention of the show because the season finales are in June).

3.) JURAAF Productions

In the summer of 2014, ten incredible and generous actors (Alan Cumming, Lesli Margherita, Megan Hilty, Julia Murney, Will Swenson, Keala Settle, Tituss Burgess, Krysta Rodriguez, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, and Brian Dennehy), along with two equally incredible and generous audiobook producers/directors (Piper Goodeve and Jayme Mattler) donated their time and talents to the audiobook version of #SOBLESSED, where all proceeds and royalties benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Due to scheduling, the recording of this audiobook began in June 0f 2014, but didn’t wrap until the end of September. So, I had a lot of time to come up with the only piece of new writing this project needed: a production/publisher name. That name wouldn’t need to be established until we had locked down the voice we were looking for to read the opening and closing sections–which included the credits. Naturally, I procrastinated until that time.

In July, we were fortunate enough to grab a few hours of Alan Cumming’s time, so that morning I frantically tried to come up with some sort of title that would live on this project forever…and I still couldn’t use my own name. Borrowing from Jujamcyn Theaters (which derives from the first handful of letters of the names of the original chairman’s grandchildren), I took the first three letters of JURassic Park and the initials of Annoying Actor Friend, to come up with JURAAF PRODUCTIONS. My nickname is also “baby giraffe” because that’s what I look like when I run, so the entire thing worked for me.

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At the end, Alan Cumming reads my full name as executive producer, followed by “JURAAF PRODUCTIONS,” and that is probably the most “hiding in plain sight” moment from when I was anonymous.

You can download the audiobook for FREE, and BC/EFA will still get their donation if you follow these directions: How to Get “#SOBLESSED: the Audiobook” for FREE!

4.) Where’s the goat!?

It wasn’t until June, 2015 that I stopped caring about being found out. I had planned my reveal for December, and Jurassic World was a huge thing at the time, so I thought it was appropriate to bring some truly niche and forced jokes to Twitter.

This is pretty terrible. Edward Albee has a play called The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards) says the famous line, “Where’s the goat?!” before a goat leg drops on their windshield. The word “goat” is about all the two have in common, although I’m sure Edward Albee has at least seen Jurassic Park.

5.) #Sufosteraptor

This is my most favorite tweet I have ever done, or will ever do…

I was on a red-eye coming back from Kauai (where most of Jurassic Park was filmed) and I had left my entire playlist on shuffle as I fell asleep. At some point in the middle of the night, “Gimme Gimme” popped on, I didn’t skip it, and when Sutton Foster got to the lyrics, “clever girl,” my hazy mind went to those two famous words Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) utters to the velociraptor just before she devours him.

6.) Dennis Nedry is #GRATEFUL

#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason (Nov. 2015) — ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY — is the “choose-your-own-show-business-destiny” sequel to #SOBLESSED. It is four times as large as its predecessor, and thus has four times as many references to Jurassic Park.

There are four main stories that break down into close to a hundred smaller stories, depending on which avenues you choose. One in particular, is semi-autobiographical–wherein you quit being an actor, become a personal trainer, and then create a version of Annoying Actor Friend, which in the universe of #GRATEFUL, is called Irritating Performer Pal.

There is a fairly simple exchange your character has with your manager, that I pulled from when John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough) bemoans to Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight): “I’m sorry about your financial problems, Dennis, I really am, but they are your problems.”

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It’s kind of a throw-away, but my goal was to get as many in as possible.

7.) Creativity Finds A Way

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If you follow the career transition track in #GRATEFUL, then you reach a point where your character is trying to suppress the creative instincts inside–which goes completely against the nature of an actor, and that isn’t always a good thing. Similarly, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) has a speech near the beginning of the film where he tries to break down how attempting to control nature will always end negatively:

“The kind of control you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

I adapted that passage for the narrator to recite to the reader at the moment they are trying to battle against their own instincts:

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8.) Discipline. Discipline. Discipline.

There was a moment in the very beginning of Annoying Actor Friend (around fall, 2012) when I wasn’t sure how to make the next step. I considered an Instagram account that posted screen caps of “social media offenders” with their names blurred out. I eventually decided against that because it wasn’t providing new content. It just felt like trolling and unnecessary shaming. However, there is a part in the semi-autobiographical section of #GRATEFUL where you can choose that option, and when it backfires, I borrow from the following words so eloquently spoken by the great Jeff Goldblum:

“If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

From #GRATEFUL (2015):

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NOTE: There was one final nod to Jurassic Park in #GRATEFUL where I noted that the Times Square Chicago Flyer Girls “do move in herds,” but it was cut because it was the only reference that lived outside of the section that is semi-autobiographical.

9.) The Reveal

When John Hammond and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are left alone to eat melting ice cream after the power outage, Ellie urges that the animals will defend themselves, “violently if necessary.”

When it came time to write “@AndrewBriedis”, the essay that would reveal my identity, I knew that Jurassic Park would play a small part in it. I made sure to explain how the film inspired me to write Steven Spielberg and ask him to be in the sequel, which ultimately led to me starting youth theatre. I was certain to make a joke about the meme of Sutton Foster with a raptor. And I made sure to include at least one phrase of dialogue in the final sentence. Whether it made sense or not, it was for me, and exactly how I wanted to end that chapter of Annoying Actor Friend…

“Above all, it taught me that you can have an epic passion for something and then one day you might wake up and it’s gone—and that’s OK. Because if you really love it…if it is absolutely a world you’re supposed to be involved with in some way, it will drag you—violently if necessary—back into its arms.”


CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for reading all of that masturbatory crap! Or for at least scrolling to the bottom! These were just the nine times I referenced Jurassic Park that I could rememberWho knows how many were lost after a happy hour.

TUNE IN on Annoying Actor Friend’s 5th birthday, when I list and annotate all of the times I shoehorned in references to Animaniacs.

#SLAM4HAM: Annoying Actor Friend’s 2016 Tony Awards Drinking Game

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What an incredible Broadway season, right?! So many Hamilton! Hamilton think pieces! Hamilton jokes! Hamilton memes! Hamilton Hamilton! Since the moment Hamilton opened at the Public on January 20th, 1997, it has just been one awesome and crazy ride to the 70th Annual Tony Awards.

Wow. Has Tony time for Hamilton come already? I mean, thank goodness Jeffrey Seller coaxed Harvey Weinstein into locking down Radio City this month so that the Tonys had to bump a week to the Beacon, thus adding an extra seven days of cultural relevance for the juggernaut. Alas, unfortunately it is finally the moment for the Event of the Century to climb atop the Iron Thrown, and then go gently into that dark night, to make way for future artistic triumphs of the American Theatre such as the revival of Motown.

OK! Grab several of your favorite drinks (pour one out for every member of the original cast of Hamilton who left the production before the Tony Awards) because it’s time to slam a few back for Ham! #Slam4Ham.

THE RULES:

You might remember some of these rules from 2015’s Somedrink Rotten, 2014’s A Drinker’s Guide… and 2013’s Drinky Boots, and I’m not even ashamed to recycle them (or the rest of this sentence) because there were literally nine hundred theatre award ceremonies this year, and I’ve already forgotten which one I’m currently writing about.

As per usual, all rules apply to what is happening on screen, through social media, or wherever you are viewing it.. Unless otherwise specified, drink when:

  • You hear the words: “live theatre”
  • Hamilton wins something (Drink WATER. Remember: Tonight is a marathon, not a sprint. The only way I can assure that all of you will remain hydrated is by instilling this mandatory rule that requires everyone to drink water every six to seven minutes).
  • A winner thanks God in their acceptance speech (take one drink for them, and one for the latest national tragedy that God didn’t get a chance to stop because He was too busy helping that person win a Tony).
  • You roll your eyes.
  • A moment is so awkward, your butthole literally clenches.
  • Someone tweets something and then deletes it.
  • Lin-Manuel raps while not in a costume (Again, drink WATER).
  • Jennifer EFFING Simard.
  • The sound doesn’t work (drink cautiously because it’s going to be a long night).
  • There is a technical issue (again, drink cautiously because it’s going to be a long night and they haven’t been at this venue since Once).
  • Someone says the entire title of Shuffle Along without stumbling (take a shot).
  • CBS celebrity!
  • Who is that CBS celebrity I don’t watch CBS!
  • A producer of an un-nominated show buys air time.
  • Fans of a nominated show are tricked into buying air time.
  • Pies.
  • Someone spells it Tony’s. #unfriend.
  • Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber drags a diva.
  • Someone uses the words #grateful or #blessed in any form. That includes ironically.
  • An award is presented that was left out of last year’s telecast because it wasn’t Hamilton (take one shot for Lisa Kron and two for Jeanine Tesori).
  • Something happens with the plays.
  • Cynthia Erivo does Jack Palance-style one armed pushups when she wins.
  • A kid from School of Rock quits the business midway through their performance because it’s the 27th time they’ve done “You’re in the Band” this week.
  • You see someone you know on stage.
  • You get bitterly jealous of said person.
  • You see someone onstage who doesn’t belong there (drink at your own risk).
  • Streisand appears after 46 years to make us all OK with her doing the new Gypsy movie and Broadway Internet collectively shits itself.
  • Banjos.

#SLAM4HAM: If someone or something beats Hamilton in any category, grab the bottle nearest to you, slam it back until it’s finished, and then run streaking through the streets until daybreak.

Remember to always drink cautiously, but unapologetically.

2016 AWARESIE AWARDS: Winners!

The AWARESIE AWARDS honor excellence on Broadway, Broadway Internet, and more specifically: Sh*t the Tonys Leave Out

IT’S THE 2ND ANNUAL AWARESIE AWARDS!

An ‘awaresie’ is an “intelligent follower of Annoying Actor Friend who is aware of the negative implications of social media masturbation.”

The AWARESIE AWARDS were created to spread awareness of lesser celebrated creative people within the industry, as well as highlight important (and maybe some not-so important) entities that contribute greatly to the community.

All nominees were handpicked by Annoying Actor Friend after a happy hour. Winners were voted on by the Awaresie Academy, which is a group of 60+ industry professionals (actors, writers, producers, media) and complete randos (friends) chosen by Annoying Actor Friend. We can not confirm that the entire Awaresie Academy saw every play or musical on Broadway this season, but Annoying Actor Friend trusts them, so you should trust their opinion. WE AREN’T THE DRAMA DESKS, OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE, ETC.

The 2nd AWARESIE AWARDS were held at an elaborate ceremony on YouTube with appearances from Cameron Adams, Iain Armitage, Laura Benanti, Mo Brady, Andrew Briedis, Craig Burns, Mike Carlsen, Gavin Creel, Max Crumm, Frank DiLella, Tina Fey, Brian Gallagher, Kathryn Gallagher, Michael Gioia, Megan Hilty, Rachel Hoffman, Sarah Marie Jenkins, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Ashlee Latimer, Zachary Levi, Lesli Margherita, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Chris McCarrell, Chelsea Nachman, Keala Settle, Jeff Richmond, Matthew Rodin, Krysta Rodriguez, Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Roma Torre, Jennifer Simard, and Alex Wyse.

AND THE AWARESIES GO TO…

Best Sound Design of a Play

WINNER! Christopher Cronin, Noises Off

Fitz Patton, The Humans

Tom Gibbons, The Crucible

Broken Chord, Eclipsed

Darron L. West, Fully Committed

Best Sound Design of a Musical

WINNER! Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton

Mick Potter, School of Rock

Scott Lehrer, Shuffle Along

Nevin Steinberg, Bright Star

Gareth Owen, Spring Awakening

Best Casting of a Play

Fool for Love, Calleri Casting, Nancy Piccione (additional)

WINNER! The Humans, Carrie Gardner, C.S.A.

Eclipsed, Jordan Thaler, C.S.A., Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A. and Laura Schutzel, C.S.A.

A View From the Bridge, Julia Horan CDG, Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A.

The Crucible, Bill Berloni for “The Wolf”

Best Casting of a Musical

School of Rock, Tara Rubin Casting

WINNER! Hamilton, Telsey + Company and Bethany Knox, C.S.A.

The Color Purple, Telsey + Company and Justin Huff, C.S.A.

She Loves Me, Jim Carnahan, C.S.A. and Stephen Kopel C.S.A.

Disaster!, Seth Rudetsky’s Phone

Play or Musical that Best Passes the BECHDEL Test

Waitress

Eclipsed

The Humans

Hamilton

WINNER! The Twitter Conversations Between Laura Benanti and Chelsea Nachman

Most Random Concert at 54 Below 

DEX! A Killer Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of DEXTER

Christmas Carols with Chris McCarrell

WINNER! The Melody Lingers On: A “Benefit” for Victims of Earworm

TOO DARN HOT: Hot Pepper Theater LIVE!

Broadway Sings A*Teens

Best at Keeping SMASH Relevant

Debra Messing

Louis Peitzman and Matt Piwowarczyk (After Smash podcast)

Theresa Rebeck’s Book Tour

WINNER! Gay Twitter

Hamilton

Best Performance by Jennifer Simard

WINNER! Jennifer Simard in Disaster! (Sister Mary Downy – Broadway)

Jennifer Simard and Brian d’Arcy James announce the Outer Critics Circle Nominees

Jennifer Simard hosts part of the 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition

Jennifer Simard in Sisters (Pet Activist at Party – Universal)

Best Broadway Bound Musical We Know Nothing About

WINNER! Mean Girls – Book by Tina Fey, Music by Jeff Richmond, Lyrics by Nell Benjamin

A League of Their Own – Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Book by… Penny Marshall? Maybe? Aaron Sorkin?

Bombshell – Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Book by WHO DA FUCK KNOWS

Hamil2 – East of Broadway Company

Best Performance by an Actor Who Appeared on the Audiobook of #SOBLESSED

Lesli Margherita, Dames at Sea

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Keala Settle, Waitress

Krysta Rodriguez, Spring Awakening

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Tuck Everlasting

Will Swenson, That One Week in Disaster!

WINNER! Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Best Performance by a Hashtag

WINNER! #KanyeDescribesAMusical

#NotMyService

#Stand4Ham

#ImWithHer

#FeelTheBern

Best Ensemble in a Musical

WINNER! Hamilton

Bright Star

Fiddler on the Roof

Shuffle Along

Best Use of American Sign Language in a Play or Musical

WINNER! Spring Awakening

Hamilton

Outstanding Performance By A Midtown Hangout That You Actually Love But Hate Going To

WINNER! Glass House Tavern

Schmackary’s

World Wide Plaza

Olive Garden in Times Square

The Elaine Stritch Unemployment Avoidance Award

Aaron Albano

WINNER! Cameron Adams*

James Brown III

Lisa Gajda

Audra McDonald

*runner-up to Lisa Gajda who was disqualified due to unemployment at the time of the 2016 Awaresie Awards ceremony.

Best Performance By Something That Makes You Want to Kill Yourself

WINNER! Daily Hamilton News That Was Not Issued By Their Press Department

Caring About a Viral Equity Movement for Approximately Six Minutes

Broadway Chat Boards

Bitching About Broadway Chat Boards

Everything And Your Mom Being a New York Times Critic’s Pick

Best Lin-Manuel Tweet

WINNER! Luz (@ltmphd)

Outstanding Broadway On Camera Hosting

NY1’s “On Stage” with Roma Torre, Donna Karger, and Frank DiLella

“Playbill’s Red Carpet Challenge” with Matthew Rodin

Broadway Style Guide

WINNER! Lesli Margherita on Anything She Does for Broadway.com

Best Broadway Internet Brand/Organization

Broadway Black

The Interval: Smart Girls’ Guide to Theatricality

WINNER! Justin “Squigs” Robertson

Hamilfans/Faniltons/Hamiltrash

Best Self Created and Produced Internet Thing

Theater People Podcast – podcast – created and hosted by Patrick Hinds/produced by Mike Jenson

Turning the Tables – web series – created by Ellyn Marie Marsh/produced by Katherine Paige

WINNER! The Ensemblist – podcast – created and hosted by Mo Brady & Nikka Graff Lanzarone

#MakingMondays – live broadcast – hosted by Jordan Roth/created by Jordan Roth and Robbie Roth/produced via Periscope and fueled with wine

Best Marketing/Advertising Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, SPOTCo Inc.

Hamilton, Tumblr

Hamilton, The Grammys

WINNER! Hamilton, That Cross Town Bus

Best Press Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, Sam Rudy Media Relations

Hamilton, Playbill

Hamilton, The New York Times

WINNER! Hamilton, Rich People/Celebrities

Best Musical if Hamilton Didn’t Come Out This Season

(Voting for this award was OPEN TO THE PUBLIC via a Twitter poll on @Actor_Friend’s feed between May 2nd – May 9th, 2016.)

Outstanding Production of a Musical Named Hamilton

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WINNER! Hamilton

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Thérèse Raquin

2016 AWARESIE of the Year

Annoying Actor Friend – “Wow! I can’t believe I won! This is such a surprise! When I created the Awaresie Awards with the sole intention of awarding myself the top prize, I never imagined that dream would actually become a reality. I’m so incredibly humbled. I’d like to thank Twitter, Broadway, my fans, the Awaresie Academy, and most of all, Me, for without whom, none of this would have been possible. Goodnight, and see you all next year.”


Thank you for joining us for the 2nd Annual Awaresie Awards. We look forward to **maybe** doing this again next year!

Some of you might be wondering why a group of somewhat anonymous people with questionable knowledge about the theatre are allowed to choose whom takes home the coveted and respected Awaresie Award, which is why I must point out that despite the lack of expertise among Awaresie voters in assessing elements such as sound design, it is better to potentially celebrate the art incorrectly, than to ignore the art altogether.

Why the Tony Awards Need to #PutSimardOn

By Andrew Briedis

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Yo, guys. I’m speaking out of character, as me, Andrew Briedis. I’ve only done this one other time. There will be no forced jokes or ironic hashtags in this piece, because that’s how serious I am about Jennifer Simard. Sorry, TONY EFFING NOMINATED JENNIFER SIMARD.

Do I know Jennifer Simard in real life? Yes. Do we share a mutual obsessive love of Jurassic Park? YES. Did I come up with a campaign to get her to revive her showstopping performance of “Never Can Say Goodbye” from Disaster! on the Tony Awards because of either of these reasons? HELL NO. I did it because I believe that Jennifer Simard’s presence in this season represents a win for anyone in the world who has ever posted that “When so-and-so was thirty, they were working at a blank-ety-blank job,” meme. It’s also TOO DAMN GOOD not to be immortalized on YouTube or at Musical Mondays in every gay bar across America for years to come.

Look, I don’t need to try and explain why the Tony Awards need to #PutSimardOn. Everyone using the hashtag is doing just fine. Furthermore, I am completely aware that when it comes to performing on the Tony Awards, it is not the power of a hashtag, but the financial responsibility of each show’s producer. Unfortunately, Disaster! had to close early, which makes it unlikely that an expensive commercial payment is on the table. But how cool would it be if CBS just put it on anyway? Stranger things have happened. The Big Bang Theory is the most successful television comedy of all time. I think someone (I don’t know who, I don’t care) should just do it for us. Do it because there will be nothing else on the telecast like it. Do it because Lisa Howard brought the house down last year. Do it because she licks the handle of a slot machine while in the middle of screlting vocal pyrotechnics.

This season is slammed with so many brilliant performances by women, Audra McDonald didn’t receive a Tony nomination. There wasn’t a guarantee that Jennifer Simard would get recognized. She was the unknown actor in a show packed with stars, playing a nun with a gambling addiction in the limited run of a small disco musical comedy. Despite her brilliance, the cards weren’t necessarily stacked in her favor–but people noticed.

#PutSimardOn was one of the easiest hashtags I’ve gotten to catch fire, thanks to Matt (Disaster! press agent) Polk’s genius idea to live stream the closing performance on Playbill’s Facebook, so those who didn’t get the chance to make it to the Nederlander could see exactly why she earned her Tony nomination. Moreover, it’s something that members of the Broadway community can engage in, if not because there’s actually a belief she’ll get a free slot on the telecast, but because they can publicly come together to celebrate the work of a peer, and that’s been really cool to watch.

There have been several times when I’ve dubbed Annoying Actor Friend the ringleader of social media campaigns, or made various attempts at activism, and I’m occasionally accused of doing so for “attention” or “personal gain.” I have nothing to gain from anything I do here. I only make money as “Annoying Actor Friend” if someone buys my books, and I personally don’t believe that trying to get a hashtag to trend is going to land me on the New York Times best seller list or get me some killer writing job somewhere. I do these things because I care about them, it entertains me, and there’s only so many Hamilton jokes I can come up with.

Even if we don’t get the privilege of an encore performance by Jennifer Simard on the Tony Awards, we did get the brief, perfect moment of Jennifer Simard in Disaster!, and is there anything more thrilling than watching “it” happen for someone? When Disaster! opened, she was the person on the poster that people might not have known, and when it closed, she was the one that nobody could forget.

NOMINEES: 2016 AWARESIE Awards

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The AWARESIE AWARDS honor excellence on Broadway, Broadway Internet, and more specifically: Shit the Tonys Leave Out

IT’S THE 2ND ANNUAL AWARESIE AWARDS!

An ‘awaresie’ is an “intelligent follower of Annoying Actor Friend who is aware of the negative implications of social media masturbation.”

The AWARESIE AWARDS were created to spread awareness of lesser celebrated creative people within the industry, as well as highlight important (and maybe some not-so important) entities that contribute greatly to the community.

All nominees were handpicked by Annoying Actor Friend after a happy hour. Winners will be voted on by the Awaresie Academy, which is a group of 60+ industry professionals (actors, writers, producers, media) and complete randos (friends) chosen by Annoying Actor Friend. We can not confirm that the entire Awaresie Academy has seen every play or musical on Broadway this season, but Annoying Actor Friend trusts them, so you should trust their opinion. WE AREN’T THE DRAMA DESKS, OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE, ETC.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NOMINEES!

Best Sound Design of a Play

Christopher Cronin, Noises Off

Fitz Patton, The Humans

Tom Gibbons, The Crucible

Broken Chord, Eclipsed

Darron L. West, Fully Committed

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton

Mick Potter, School of Rock

Scott Lehrer, Shuffle Along

Nevin Steinberg, Bright Star

Gareth Owen, Spring Awakening

Best Casting of a Play

Fool for Love, Calleri Casting, Nancy Piccione (additional)

The Humans, Carrie Gardner, C.S.A.

Eclipsed, Jordan Thaler, C.S.A., Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A. and Laura Schutzel, C.S.A.

A View From the Bridge, Julia Horan CDG, Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A.

The Crucible, Bill Berloni for “The Wolf”

Best Casting of a Musical

School of Rock, Tara Rubin Casting

Hamilton, Telsey + Company and Bethany Knox, C.S.A.

The Color Purple, Telsey + Company and Justin Huff, C.S.A.

She Loves Me, Jim Carnahan, C.S.A. and Stephen Kopel C.S.A.

Disaster!, Seth Rudetsky’s Phone

Play or Musical that Best Passes the BECHDEL Test

Waitress

Eclipsed

The Humans

Hamilton

The Twitter Conversations Between Laura Benanti and Chelsea Nachman

Most Random Concert at 54 Below 

DEX! A Killer Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of DEXTER

Christmas Carols with Chris McCarrell

The Melody Lingers On: A “Benefit” for Victims of Earworm

TOO DARN HOT: Hot Pepper Theater LIVE!

Broadway Sings A*Teens

Best at Keeping SMASH Relevant

Debra Messing

Louis Peitzman and Matt Piwowarczyk (After Smash podcast)

Theresa Rebeck’s Book Tour

Gay Twitter

Hamilton

Best Performance by Jennifer Simard

Jennifer Simard in Disaster! (Sister Mary Downy – Broadway)

Jennifer Simard and Brian d’Arcy James announce the Outer Critics Circle Nominees

Jennifer Simard hosts part of the 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition

Jennifer Simard in Sisters (Pet Activist at Party – Universal)

Best Broadway Bound Musical We Know Nothing About

Mean Girls – Book by Tina Fey, Music by Jeff Richmond, Lyrics by Nell Benjamin

A League of Their Own – Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Book by… Penny Marshall? Maybe? Aaron Sorkin?

Bombshell – Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Book by WHO DA FUCK KNOWS

Hamil2 – East of Broadway Company

Best Performance by an Actor Who Appeared on the Audiobook of #SOBLESSED

Lesli Margherita, Dames at Sea

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Keala Settle, Waitress

Krysta Rodriguez, Spring Awakening

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Tuck Everlasting

Will Swenson, That One Week in Disaster!

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Best Performance by a Hashtag

#KanyeDescribesAMusical

#NotMyService

#Stand4Ham

#ImWithHer

#FeelTheBern

Best Ensemble in a Musical

Hamilton

Bright Star

Fiddler on the Roof

Shuffle Along

Best Use of American Sign Language in a Play or Musical

Spring Awakening

Hamilton

Outstanding Performance By A Midtown Hangout That You Actually Love But Hate Going To

Glass House Tavern

Schmackary’s

World Wide Plaza

Olive Garden in Times Square

The Elaine Stritch Unemployment Avoidance Award

Aaron Albano

Cameron Adams

James Brown III

Lisa Gajda

Audra McDonald

Best Performance By Something That Makes You Want to Kill Yourself

Daily Hamilton News That Was Not Issued By Their Press Department

Caring About a Viral Equity Movement for Approximately Six Minutes

Broadway Chat Boards

Bitching About Broadway Chat Boards

Everything And Your Mom Being a New York Times Critic’s Pick

Best Lin-Manuel Tweet

Outstanding Broadway On Camera Hosting

NY1’s “On Stage” with Roma Torre, Donna Karger, and Frank DiLella

“Playbill’s Red Carpet Challenge” with Matthew Rodin

Broadway Style Guide

Lesli Margherita on Anything She Does for Broadway.com

Best Broadway Internet Brand/Organization

Broadway Black

The Interval: Smart Girls’ Guide to Theatricality

Justin “Squigs” Robertson

Hamilfans/Faniltons/Hamiltrash

Best Self Created and Produced Internet Thing

Theater People Podcast – podcast – created and hosted by Patrick Hinds/produced by Mike Jenson

Turning the Tables – web series – created by Ellyn Marie Marsh/produced by Katherine Paige

The Ensemblist – podcast – created and hosted by Mo Brady & Nikka Graff Lanzarone

#MakingMondays – live broadcast – hosted by Jordan Roth/created by Jordan Roth and Robbie Roth/produced via Periscope and fueled with wine

Best Marketing/Advertising Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, SPOTCo Inc.

Hamilton, Tumblr

Hamilton, The Grammys

Hamilton, That Cross Town Bus

Best Press Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, Sam Rudy Media Relations

Hamilton, Playbill

Hamilton, The New York Times

Hamilton, Rich People/Celebrities

Best Musical if Hamilton Didn’t Come Out This Season

(This award will be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC via a Twitter poll on @Actor_Friend’s feed between May 2nd – May 9th, 2016.)

Outstanding Production of a Musical Named Hamilton

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Thérèse Raquin

AWARESIE of the Year (Honoring excellence in both performance and social media presence and innovation. There are no nominees in this category. Winner will be announced at the Awaresie Awards ceremony in June.)


That about covers it! We look forward to presenting the very first AWARESIE AWARDS on June 6th, 2016 OR WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE IT.

Some of you might be wondering why a group of somewhat anonymous people with questionable knowledge about the theatre are allowed to choose whom takes home the coveted and respected Awaresie Award, which is why I must point out that despite the lack of expertise among Awaresie voters in assessing elements such as sound design, it is better to potentially celebrate the art incorrectly, than to ignore the art altogether.

The Truth Behind the CATS Protest

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You may have seen this flyer circulating Broadway Internet over the past few days. It went viral when New Yorker, Jose Simbulan posted it on his Facebook page after seeing it tweeted by Ryan J. Davis who credited it to where it originated: an Instagram post by Adam J. Thompson, who found the flyer in Brooklyn (I love the Internet). Whether you are a fan of Cats or not, this stunt is effing hilarious. It’s the kind of joke that makes you mad that you didn’t think of it first. Every detail is perfect. The wording. The font choices… The decision to post it on a random bulletin board in Brooklyn… THE E-MAIL ADDRESS.

I was such a fan of it all, I decided to send an email to pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com to congratulate its creator. I was shocked to find out that there was one small detail they forgot to cover: REGISTRATION OF SAID E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Not to be outdone by someone else snatching my wig, I did the only thing a self-proclaimed sole-satirizer-of-the-Broadway-industry could do….

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I STOLE IT.

That’s right. I registered and stole pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com because this is my turf, bitches, and I will Claire Underwood myself into any situation I please. It’s not my fault they didn’t think to take ownership of 100% of their idea. If you wanna make fun of Broadway, you best be covering all of your bases, because I am always watching.

OK, I don’t actually want to take credit for this great joke because I was not raised by The Fat Jew (and I’m still holding out for them to cast me in Cats). I did, however, want to see what kind of emails would be sent by people who thought that the flyer was real. Another reason I am thrilled to own pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com for the next two hours that it is still topical, is because I get to share some of those emails with you!

HERE GOES…

A lot of people showed support!

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Many people wanted to get involved because previous productions of Cats took a toll on their soul…

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 1.11.11 PMI don’t know about this one…

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 1.12.58 PMOne person came up with a fun battle cry to chant during the march!

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Some people felt that the protest was heavenly divine…

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And some did not!

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There was even one Cats enthusiast who didn’t have anything to say, so he just sent me this…

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All in all, I’d say it was a pretty fun 24 hours for Broadway Internet and it no doubt made us pretty stoked for our comp tickets to Cats this summer!


A previous publication of this article cited Jose Simbulan for posting the original flyer. It later came to knowledge that he found it on Adam J. Thompson’s Instagram via Ryan J. Davis’ Twitter.

 

I SWORE NBC ALREADY DID THIS: Annoying Actor Friend’s “Grease Live” Drinking Game

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I seriously forgot this shit was happening. Between NBC’s three live musical events and their 2007 smash hit, Grease: You’re the One That I Want!, I honestly thought it already had. In fact, I am not entirely certain that none of the white people in the photograph above aren’t Aaron Tveit. Alas, FOX’s Grease Live is indeed something we are all going to have to deal with this weekend, and we’re going to deal with it the only way we know how… with lots, and lots of alcohol.

After the well executed The Wiz Live and the shaming that came with hate-watching Peter Pan Live, we have all been itching to #MakeTwitterGreatAgain. NOW IS OUR TIME. Grease Live is an LA thing, so all bets are off! There’s no need to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings because it’s LA and nobody has them!

There are a lot of promising things about Grease Live, so let’s get the pleasantries out of the way first…

1.) DIVERSITY: The only thing whiter than Grease, are the people who love Grease. So props to Grease Live for the diverse casting.

2.) LIVE AUDIENCE: Oh, for the love of fuck, thank God somebody has listened to us and thrown in an audience. Without one, it feels like the cast is bombing.  I’ve gathered from actors who’ve performed in previous NBC musical events that after multiple runs without an audience, the live show feels normal. However, for those of us at home, it still looks like they are tanking, and thus, we feel sorry for them in spite of the FAT CHECK we know they are getting. I look forward to seeing how this works with an audience, and I’m even more excited for how NBC will find a way to ignore the success of it when they do Hairspray Live.

3.) COOL FILMING: Grease Live is not going to be confined to one studio, and will instead be shot in multiple locations that include exteriors. This means it might literally rain on prom night, and I for one, would like to see that happen to Julianne Hough.

4.) ANA. GASTEYER.

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ALRIGHT! Now that we’ve covered the good stuff, it’s time to grab your favorite beverage, pour one out for feminism, and devote the next three hours of your life to a truly dated piece of theater that proves that deeply-rooted nostalgia will always make misogyny A-OKAY.

WARNING: I urge you to use caution. I have never constructed a set of drinking game rules more dangerous than this one. 

Ready? OK…

DRINK WHEN…

  • you remember that Grease is a terrible show.

Goodnight, everybody!

CLOSING TIME: The “Your Friend’s Show is Closing and You Can’t Deal with Them” Drinking Game

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Shows come and go. Some closing notices are tragic (an open ended run), some are expected (a limited engagement), and some really don’t mean shit (regional theatre). But to the people who are members of the casts that are going not-so-gently into that dark night, a show’s closing can make for a somewhat traumatic experience for you on the Internet. Often, your various social media platforms become plagued with obligatory closing-notice-sobbing, that you literally can’t even begin to even with. That is why in honor of all of the shows that close in January (and throughout the year), I have constructed the:

“Your Friend’s Show is Closing and You Can’t Deal with Them” Drinking Game!

This game is awesome because you can apply it to any time someone you know is in a show and that show is closing (just use caution if it’s a college show, because you. will. die.) All you have to do is crack open some Svedka and your smartphone, and revel in the self-congratulatory-sadness that is your friend’s closing weekend. Apply it to your own show if you’re really jaded!

LET’S BEGIN!

UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, DRINK WHEN SOMEONE POSTS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING WORDS:

  • family
  • amazing
  • thankful
  • gratitude
  • life changing (drink twice)
  • experience (drink twice)
  • life changing and experience in the same sentence (switch to butt chugging)
  • honored
  • monumental
  • the best show I have ever done (take a shot because it wasn’t)
  • incredible
  • amazing again
  • something about being “the greatest cast/company” (take a few extra drinks for all of the people who have previously done a show with this person and have now been offended.)
  • heart is so full (kill yourself)
  • humbled (finish the bottle and unfollow)

If you don’t know anyone who is closing a show in the near future, try this game during the closing weekend of Spring Awakening!

The Unofficial 2016 BroadwayCon Bar Crawl Route

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This weekend marks the first ever BroadwayCon! I am so happy someone finally created an event like SantaCon, but for us. You see, there’s always one Saturday every December when I feel extremely left out because I don’t live in Murray Hill or work an entry level position at a hedgefund firm, and are therefore not allowed to participate in something quite like the frat-tastic bro-boozefest that is SantaCon…. UNTIL NOW. That’s right! The time has come to take back our right to vomit in the middle of the street and engage in public urination while dressed as a slutty Zaneeta Shinn without the fear of judgment! It’s time to get our BroadwayCon ON!

RULES:

1.) Use the provided map as your guide.

2.) Grab a group of your most obnoxious friends.

3.) Sex up your favorite Broadway character costume.

4.) Chose any of the BroadwayCon dates (Jan. 22nd, 23rd, or 24th), as well as a day or two after to recover.

5.) Make sure to have at least one drink at each establishment.

6.) MOST IMPORTANT: Do not get belligerent and hurt anyone. Remember… you are representing Broadway, and Broadway is anything but a mess.

LET’S BEGIN!

START: Glass House Tavern,  252 W 47th St.

Ideally, you’ll be starting early in the day, so Glass House won’t be slammed with post-show schmooze. After 11 p.m., Glass House turns into the Broadway Hunger Games, where every show sends two tributes to fight for oxygen and career longevity by having to network in a sardine can. If you feel you’re missing out on that by being there so early, don’t worry, there is always time to go back. Enjoy your inaugural BroadwayCon drink here and carry onto…

STOP #2: Bar Centrale, 324 W 46th St.

If you thought Glass House was expensive, hold onto your hat. Bar Centrale is even more buzzy (but like “famous people” buzzy) so the drinks cost more, but it’s OK because one time I stood in line for the bathroom behind Marilu Henner.

The exterior is subtle, and makes up for 50% of Table 46 on Smash. You probably won’t get in here without a reservation, so just go back to Glass House and have a second drink before heading to…

STOP #3: Joe Allen, 326 W 46th St.

Joe Allen completes the second 50% of Table 46 from Smash, and is known for hosting show posters of infamous Broadway flops on its walls. Enjoy a scotch and Instagram a few pics of you and your friends next to the posters of Nick and NoraSpider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, and Nerds. Now, it’s time to journey to…

STOP #4: Hourglass Tavern, 2, 373 W 46th St.

Hourglass Tavern is Glass House Tavern for the unemployed. They have a great happy hour, and you get the feel of being successful because Hourglass Tavern sounds vaguely like Glass House Tavern. The third floor is nice and secluded, and the bathrooms feel homy like an apartment because I think it might actually be someone’s apartment. Anyway, you’ll feel comfortable executing your first vomit of the day here if it’s already come to that. Hopefully not, because your mind is going to be blown when you make it to…

STOP #5: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, 321 W 44th St.

Gyu-Kaku is the Hourglass Tavern for the unemployed who has run out of unemployment insurance and still hasn’t booked a job. If you read #GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason, you know that Gyu-Kaku serves half price drinks in the bar area ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Their martinis are so cheap that Eileen Rand would lose her fucking shit.

Feel free to stock up on a few drinks here without judgement. Gyu-Kaku is next to the Binder office*, not the Telsey building, so there’s no chance you’ll run into anyone important. Once you’re ready, it’s time to class it up at…

*It has been brought to my attention that Binder moved a year ago and nobody noticed.

STOP #6: Sardi’s, 234 W 44th St.

After the sudden closure of Angus (and up next, the Ziegfeld) you might as well stop into Sardi’s because you just never know these days. It’s possible you’ve timed this out so you can still get the cheap “Actors Lunch” by showing your Equity card–and if you’re non-Equity, I won’t say a word because I still want you to follow me.

After you’ve enjoyed enough time trying to figure out who the fuck those drawings are supposed to be, say a prayer because you’re about to enter Times Square…

STOP #7: The View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway.

I know you’ll have to deal with tourists and people who are going to see On Your Feet, but I thought the view at the top might be pretty–or at the very least, there are three hundred outlets on the hotel’s various floors if you need to charge your phone. I’d give this place a quick one-and-done, before braving the rest of Times Square…

OPTIONAL DETOUR: Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant, 249 W 49th St.

If cutting straight through hell proves to be too much, you can take this optional detour. Lillie’s is kind of like the Uptown Glass House, but I’m not sure to be honest, because I haven’t been there since I discovered Glass House.

STOP #8: Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Ave.

You made it through Times Square! Celebrate by making a quick stop at this moderate tourist trap that I only placed on this bar crawl because the Hello, Dolly! revival was announced this week and there’s this part in the show where Ernestina yells something about Rosie O’Grady. They also have a pretty good French Onion soup. Once you’re fulfilled, you can take pride in knowing that you made it to the…

FINISH! New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Avenue.

Apparently a bunch of Broadway people are hitting up this place over the weekend during their own BroadwayCon celebration, and I think it would be a fun gag if after copious amounts of day drinking, you surrounded yourself with a shit-ton of industry professionals. You know, like a cool after party!

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IN CONCLUSION… as you go forth unto your BroadwayCon, I ask that you play this shit to win. Go full out! Make this first BroadwayCon an event to remember. If I don’t see some dude dressed as Dickon holding back the hair of a Galinda as she vomits onto Sixth Avenue next to a pile of passed out Pippins, then what the fuck is the point? If you’re gonna do BroadwayCon, do BroadwayCon RIGHT.