I didn’t like this. I really didn’t like this.
Going to the Stage Door after performances originally made me nervous. But we had done it so many times this week that I had discovered that if I was silent and offered to take the pictures, it was quite bearable.
But today was different.
Going backstage to get an autograph was one thing, but staying in Sierra Boggess’s dressing room and talking to her? That made me nervous- so I didn’t say much. I let Abby do most of the talking; this trip was for her after all.
I thought I had hit the final straw when they invited us to stay for dessert- I wasn’t much of a dessert eater for one. But being around a bunch of strangers? A bunch of famous strangers certainly got rid of whatever appetite I had.
I figured I would just sit and say nothing like I had in Sierra’s dressing room for a while- we had seen the matinee performance, so we had to be out of there by eight-o’clock when the next performance started.
But I was pretty sure I had hit my limit when Abby had started running around the Green Room, interviewing the Cast Members and making me act as ‘Camera-Man’. But then, she had taken it one step further, grabbing a Churro, she began to use it as a microphone to shove in the faces of each actor like a real reporter.
With each person she interviewed my face became hotter and redder than my hair with embarrassment.
“And that was the fabulous Rebecca Spencer, commenting on her role as Madame Giry in the Broadway production of Love Never Dies” said Abby, speaking into the ‘Churro Microphone’ with a smile, “Moving onto our next guest…” she said, trailing off as she began to walk around the room, I trailed behind her with the camera.
As we walked, we passed the couch where Cass was currently seated, still talking to Austin. Or more flirting. I hope she saw the glare I aimed at her. She had been doing most of the filming whilst we were over here- she would have had no problem filming Abby and her crazy interviews
But I couldn’t believe that she was flirting with another Broadway actor. Was getting the number from one of the main actors in Jersey Boys not enough? Not that I had any idea why she had his number, we were going back to Australia soon enough. What was the point?
“Ramin Karimloo!” said Abby happily as she walked over to the counter and sink that Ramin was currently leaning against.
He looked up from his cup of tea curiously, seeming surprised for a moment that we were talking to him before he smiled at Abby.
“See Mr Karimloo, you can see this camera works” she said gesturing to me as I moved the toggle around in circles to capture the footage.
“Yeah, about as well as your microphone” he grinned, nodding to the Churro in her hand.
“Exactly” smiled Abby, “Now, Mr Karimloo, please tell me what made you so interested in musical theatre?” she asked seriously.
“Ah…” he said, “I like performing” he shrugged, seeming slightly uncertain as he spoke into the Churro.
“Thank you…” she said loudly, “for giving the most boring and obvious explanation ever” she grinned.
Ramin threw his head back and laughed.
“Tell me” said Abby putting the Churro back in front of him, “What do you think the moral of Love Never Dies is?” she asked.
“Well” he grinned, “I hate to be obvious and boring, but I think the moral is that love never dies”
“Because even though the Phantom and Christine were away from each other for years he still loved her. And even after her death, he will continue to love her. Time and distance don’t make any difference to that kind of love” he explain.
“Do you believe that kind of love exist?” she asked curiously.
Ramin hesitated for a moment, thinking his answer through before he spoke, “I hope so”
The way he look her… he was oddly hopeful and contemplative. I didn’t understand it.
“Well I disagree with you about the moral of the play” said Abby, speaking into the Churro.
“Oh really?” he asked, raising his eyebrows slightly and smiling.
“I believe the play is about not leaving things to the last minute” she said, “I believe it’s about not waiting and living every day as if it’s your last because you never know when it will be” she said firmly, “I think Christine does when she performs the title song, but I think the Phantom doesn’t as he waited ten years to go and get her!”
“Well he was afraid she didn’t love him” defended Ramin.
“Life’s too short to be afraid” she shot back automatically.
Something passed between the two of them then as they stared at one another. It was some sort of… spark? Of admiration on Ramin’s part but on Abby’s side it was something more… a hopefulness? A happy hopefulness I hadn’t seen in her for a long time.
But there was also some sort of weird understanding between them that was just plain weird.
Suddenly Abby turned to me, as if just realizing I was there, “And that concludes our interviews” she said into the Churro with a smile before she looked at it, “Can I eat this now?” she asked.
Ramin laughed and the two of them shared a smile.
I began to feel uncomfortable as I shut off the Camera. I didn’t like the way they were looking at each other. It wasn’t safe- none of this was. But I immediately wanted to come between them.
“Come on Abby, let’s go sit down” I said loudly, watching her carefully as she and Ramin continued to smile at one another.
I waited anxiously, holding my breath.
“Ok” she eventually agreed.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we once again sat down on the couch, but there was a queasiness in my stomach and an uneasy feeling that I couldn’t shake.
I still couldn’t believe this was happening to me. That I had actually walked around the Green Room of my favourite Musicals and interviewed the actors!
And now we were all talking to each other like old friends.
I had made the mistake of asking what where the funniest mistakes everyone had made onstage- the conversation had soon involved the whole cast and I couldn’t remember laughing so hard.
“What about that time Sierra sneezed when she was supposed to be dead?” said Sharon.
“Oh yeah, I remember that!” said Ramin, laughing slightly as he turned to Sierra.
“I had a cold!” she defended.
“Or when you dropped the Music Box before ‘Beneath a Moonless Sky’” asked Matt, one of the Cover’s in the Ensemble.
Sierra winced, “Why is it things always sound ten times louder when you want them to be quiet?” she asked.
“Is that like when Ramin fell over behind the mirror?” asked Jenny, another member of the Ensemble.
Austin laughed, before he turned to Cass, who was sitting next to him on the couch, to explain, “I’d just finished singing and Sierra and I are kissing and everything’s quiet to get ready for Ramin to appear in the mirror and all we hear is this loud thump and a really quiet ‘Ow’” he laughed.
“Hey! I dislocated my knee cap. Ow was restrained” Ramin defended.
I burst out laughing at the image that came into my head.
“I think the worst one that has ever happened to me is in ‘Bathing Beauty ‘ when one of the girls, I’m pretty sure it was you Jenny, pulled off too many layers and instead of wearing checks when I was supposed to be wearing checks, I was already wearing stripes” said Sharon shaking her head.
“Oh god!” I said, sympathy instantly flooding me, “What did you do?”
“Pretended like nothing happened, stayed calm and said stripes twice” she shrugged, “Inside I was shitting myself”
I laughed again.
I needed to be alone with her. I wanted to talk to her, find out about her.
I was made to feel surprisingly happy every time I saw her smile, she was so beautiful. Every time I heard her laugh, it was such a free sound.
When she had interviewed me with one of the oldest camera’s I had ever seen… and a Churro, as if the situation wasn’t weird enough. I was given a surprising insight about her, one that just made me more curious when I looked at her.
It clawed at me like some sort of hunger and I had no idea why! So many questions ran around in my head: How did someone at nineteen come to the conclusion that life was too short? How did she get to be so… fearless?
But why? Why did she had that broken look in her eye? Why was she so unafraid?
So may questions and none of them answered. But I wanted them answered. I had to have them answered.
All of that, mixed with her demeanour, the way she held herself, the look in her eyes… it just made me all the more enamoured by her.
Every time she spoke- asking a question of one of the cast members, I burned with questions of my own.
But I couldn’t do that in a room full of people. I needed to come up with some way to be alone with her. How? I had no idea.
“That reminds me of that time you had a wardrobe malfunction on stage” said Bonnie, turning to Abby just as Sharon had finished telling her story.
Abby groaned, placing her head in her hands, I could tell she was embarrassed, but there was no real force behind it as she continued to smile, “Don’t remind me” she said, looking up again.
“Oh, do tell us though” said Austin, grinning at her suggestively.
Jealousy flashed through me. He already had his arm around Cass, why was he making eyes at Abby too? I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the thought of them together.
“Cass can do it, she tells it so much better than I do” said Abby flippantly; obviously noting her friends pout when Austin deviated his attention from her.
“We were doing a play… ah what one was it again?” asked Cass, turning to Abby and Bonnie, seeming unsure for a moment.
“Oliver” said Bonnie firmly.
“Oliver that’s right! Anyways, Abby and I were in the ensemble, playing pub wenches and we were performing the song ‘Oom Pah Pah’, dancing and being thrown around in the background” she said waving her hand dismissively, “But Abby had this bit where she was being twirled around in some guys shoulders and when he put her down on the ground he was supposed to grab her ass” she explained.
“Key word being supposed to” added Abby, still smiling.
Here, Cass began to smile, “Anyway he grabbed a handful like he was supposed to but his hand got stuck. But instead of leaving it there and trying to untangle whatever it was he had caught himself on, he ripped his hand away-” she began to giggle too much to continue the story by this time.
“-And ripped off my skirt. Leaving me there in front of a crowd of two thousand people in nothing but my undies” she smiled happily.
Half the cast burst out laughing and I even had a little chuckle of my own.
“What did you do?” asked Sharon, red faced and slightly breathless.
“Took my skirt my skirt back, pretended to slap the guy and stalked off stage as if it was all part of the act” she smiled.
That earned another round of laughter. But I didn’t laugh; I simply stared at her with renewed interest and admiration. It took a talented performer to recover from any kind of blunder that happened on stage.
But to do it with the amount of class that she had, at such a young age and such an embarrassing mistake, I couldn’t help but be…impressed.
“So you want to be an Actress?” asked Sierra.
I glanced at her, she was grinning at me slightly in a very knowing from the back of the couch before she turned to face Abby again. Sierra was a good friend and had obviously guessed my interest and was trying to help me. Bless her.
“Kind of, I mean I love performing, don’t get me wrong, I love it more than anything” said Abby wincing slightly with indecision, “Acting is fun but I’m not a very good singer”
I marvelled once again. I knew grown men and women who couldn’t point out their own faults and here she was, at nineteen, not only pointing them out with innate truthfulness but accepting them with a strange sort of humour and charm.
“I love dancing though” she added; “I’d love to dance on a Broadway Stage” she smiled.
This smile was different to all the other’s she had given. This one was filled with hope and a strange sense of amusement… but it was broken. It didn’t touch her eyes that took on a faraway sheen of longing.
It was utterly the most beautiful and heartbreaking smile I had ever seen.
“That reminds me of the time I couldn’t get my shirt on in time for the final lair” said Austin, “So I had to do it shirtless”
“Really? Shirtless?” asked Cass, who had almost progressed to sitting in his lap.
The conversation took a turn then, but I didn’t listen as I watched Abby on the couch. Bonnie had said something quietly. Abby nodded as she grabbed an empty glass from the coffee table and stood up, coming to the seat.
I was the only one by the counter-top, which in a room full of people, was the closest I could get to being alone with her. I leaned against the counter and watched as she filled up her friends glass with water.
“So” I began, she looked up at me curiously, “You want to dance on a Broadway stage” I stated.
It was a lame way to start a conversation, but I couldn’t think of any alternative.
She smiled that same heart-breaking smile to herself as she looked down at the glass, “Yeah” she said quietly as she finished filling up the glass, “One day”
Suddenly an idea occurred to me, it was barely formed in my head before I spoke aloud, “Why not today?” I asked.
She looked up at me carefully, “What?” she asked.
Those eyes. It had to be those eyes. One Brown and one Blue. Smiling, I nudged my head towards the door.
Something lit up her eyes as she slowly put down the glass, keeping her eyes on me the entire time; I took that as a yes.
Reaching out, I grabbed her wrist, glancing around the room quickly, the two of us quickly dashed out of the room and out the door. I was unable to wipe the smile off my face. Not only was I getting some alone time with Abby, but she had agreed to come with me.
And, it sounded juvenile even in my head, but the fact that I had my hand wrapped around her tiny wrist, was strangely intimate. And I liked it.