So… we're famous. Like, really famous. Like, more famous than anybody has ever been or ever will be. In the Catskills. Which is huge because that's where Dirty Dancing happened, and Patrick Swayze is pretty damn famous. Plus, he conquered salsa. So you know we’re not joking around here.
It all started just a few days ago. I had emailed the Shadowland Theater’s PR person to ask for some photos and he put us in contact with a Times Herald reporter. "He wants to interview you," he told us. "Say yes, and you may find yourselves in an article with 90,000 plus circulation."
So we said yes. Not ones to pass up some good Gutenberg! press or the opportunity to promote this ridiculous website, we spent 20 minutes the next day answering questions about obsessive compulsive disorders, general insanity and why in the hell we decided to do this. Standard stuff. At the end of the interview, we talked about age. “What’s so peculiar about this whole thing is that you guys are so young,” said Mr. Reporter. “Usually people who see theater are so much older than you. How do you feel about that?”
I had never really thought about it before. But he persisted. So I answered. “Yeah, most of the people who see regional theater tend to be older, I guess, probably because they’re subscribers, and the ones with the money. I think younger people would love this show though if they gave it a chance, so it’s sad they don’t make up more of the audience.”
The next day, that quote turned into this:
"What's so sad is this show is so geared toward younger people, and younger people would love it. But every show we've gone to is skewed to an older audience."
And I learned that I hate old people.
For the record, I just want to say that I don’t really hate old people. I love them, in fact. My parents are old people. My teachers were old people. And if my grandparents weren't so old they were dead, they would also be old people. In my perfect vision of the world, young and old people of the theater would be joining jazz hands across the aisles, singing Seasons of Love and doing the Macarena.
But a misquote is just a misquote and all a part of my impending fame. When Jennifer Aniston gets misquoted, does she piss and moan about her troubles? No. So I will not either.
Instead, I will fill up my gas tank, pull out the GPS and drive an hour and 51 minutes up to Ellenville, NY to see Gutenberg! The Musical! With Gutenberg! ending its run at the Shadowland Theater that weekend, there were only two more chances to see it, and Saturday became the prime day to go.
And it turned out to be a really good day. The weather, for once, wasn't 90 degrees and the expected rain of the week held off for our travels. Plus, compared to our 4 1/2 hour drive to Ithaca, this drive would get us there in no time -- with ample hours left for sight-seeing!
And this sign!
And this patio thing!
Of this statue!
Then we saw this, and that was pretty much the end of it:
Except, remember, we're famous now, so everything we do is of much greater importance and grandeur. While in the past, we may have just walked into a theater unnoticed and unrecognized, now we were open to scrutiny. Judgment. Nothing would ever again be the same.
As we handed our tickets to the ushers, I was the same old person I always was, but to them I was someone else entirely. A celebrity, if you will. Angelina Jolie. "I bet you've never seen this show before," an usher joked as she handed us our programs.
"How'd you guess?" I joked back. I laughed politely, but wasn't entirely sure why. Had she noticed my Gutenberg! T-shirt peaking out from my jacket? Was my sense of euphoria too overly noticeable?
No. It was just that I'm famous.
That fame became clearer after we got to our seats and were waiting for show time. “Excuse me?” The lady behind us was peering over our shoulders. “Are you the girls from the paper?”
I couldn't believe it. "Why yes! Yes we are." I told her. Her face couldn't hide her excitement. "Honey, look! It's the girls from the paper!" As her husband perked up in his chair, this fame-thing was starting to grow on me, and I have to admit that I felt kind of bad-ass.
"So do you really think old people shouldn't see this show?"
And then there was that.
"No!" I told them. I could immediately feel the sweat on my forehead. The life of Oprah was definitely no picnic. “It was a misquote! I didn't say it. I love old people. LOVE 'em! You have to believe me!”
The woman laughed. "Well you were right about them taking over the theater. Just look around you!"
The sea of grey hair surrounding my section was comforting. Crisis averted.
The show began shortly after that and when the lights went down, I went back to obscurity. Bud and Doug were the celebrities now, and what I said to some newspaper didn't matter, and nobody cared.
Then the lights came up and I was Angela Bassett.
Once again Jen and I walked through the theater our regular selves, but I could feel the eyes of strangers upon us. "They're not looking at us," I heard in the background. The joking usher from before was talking to one of her usher friends. "They're not letting us in."
For a brief second, I thought they were referring to me and Jen, but I quickly shot it down. After all, who were we but mere Gutenberg viewers blending in with our fellow audience members?
"They're not letting us in. They're not looking at us."
I almost glanced over but didn't want to seem pompous. They COULDN'T be talking about us.
"Excuse me, are you the Gutenberg! Girls?"
The. Gutenberg. Girls.
When we turned around, a man was scurrying towards us from the box office. The artistic director. He wanted to know if we enjoyed the show (we did) and how it compared to our other performances (quite well!).
"And when you said the audiences skew older..."
We were standing outside the theater when I went into my well-rehearsed speech. "...I love them -- you have to believe me!" A crowd started to gather around us.
"Are you the Gutenberg! Girls?"
"Oh look, you have T-shirts!"
"Did you really see this in the mid-west?"
One woman came up to us and said that she may have been old but she liked the show anyway. Thanks.
It was good to know my simple words could touch so many people at once. Being an anonymous asshole was so passé.
We stayed outside the theater for an extended period of time saying hello to those who recognized us, answering questions and talking about the show. When the actor who played Bud came out into the lobby, the artistic director wanted to introduce us, be we declined. He was talking with other people and we didn’t want to bother him.
But should we have stayed? My normal self says no, but what about my famous alter-ego? Wasn’t I the Gutenberg! Girl? Had Bud been waiting the whole day just to meet us, only to have us rush out trying to make our way back to the city?
And what about the ushers??!!?
My celebrity cup runneth over, but my neuroses were still firmly intact. I wasn’t used to all this attention. What would Bono do?
In my experiences of reading Perez Hilton, I've noticed that many famous people like to issue press statements. So here is mine:
As a one-day member of the celebrity elite, I have made mistakes that are truly regrettable. For that, I am sorry. Being thrown into the public eye has affected my judgment and I am ashamed of the person I’ve become.
To Matthew Hardy, to whom I did not say hello, if you were basing your life’s happiness on meeting me, I should have made myself more accessible.
To the couple sitting behind us, I’m sorry for not saying goodbye to you after the show. Although I felt we had bonded before the curtain, I then went ahead and forgot we were friends. I hope you enjoy a lifetime’s worth of community theater.
To Andy Rabensteine (Doug), who posted on Twitter the night before that we were coming, I’m sorry for not seeing that tweet until after the show. If I had known our arrival was announcement-worthy, I would have acted more noble and pompous for your benefit.
To the very friendly ushers, who might or might not have been talking about me, I apologize for not looking at you and letting you in. Any time you’d like to discuss some Gutenberg! theater, please feel free to email me your comments and thoughts.
And finally, to the older residents of the Catskills (and beyond), I extend my deepest regret and resentment that I was not more careful with my words. Had I known that there would one day come a time when people would actually listen to a thing I said, I would have stopped speaking years ago.
During this two-day span of notoriety, I have learned many things that I will be using to better myself as a human being, and I hope to one day be successful. One major lesson, however, will stick with me forever:
Fame’s a bitch.
Thanks for the mem’ries, Ellenville!