Under The Sea

by Bri Ryder

This summer, I’m on a mission to see as many of my friends’ shows OR shows with friends as possible. So far, I have seen 6! I’m not sure when this will be posted, actually, but I’ve been writing these for about a month and a half while I’m waiting for the site to be launched. I’m writing in secret and you had NO IDEA. Mwahahahaha! 

Last night, I visited Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH to see about a zillion of my friends in The Little Mermaid. Let me tell you, I had an excellent time. I snuggled up with good food and friends and watched all of these people have an absolute blast!! [Also I live-tweeted it. @Bri_is_awesome - check it out. 7/2/16.] 

This little journey I’m on is really weird for me for a few reasons. I was at NTI while many of these shows were casting, which means that I didn’t have much of an opportunity to audition. A good friend of mine asked me to submit a video for this production of Mermaid, and I was in the running for Ursula, but ultimately, I was not cast. I was a little bit upset about this when it happened. It’s hard to see something you want go to someone else. Ursula is a dream role for me, but with almost no time to dedicate to this audition, I didn’t feel like I did my best work.  

This happens to me a lot. It happens to all actors a lot. Rejection is a HUGE part of the industry and it’s hard to get used to sometimes. But when it does happen, I find it very difficult not to make excuses. I literally just did it to you right now! I was all like, “I had no time blah blah blah” but really- sometimes, someone else is just better for the job and that’s that. When I don’t get a part, and when I have the opportunity to see the performance regardless, I often find that the person who did receive the role brings something that I had never even considered for the part. Last night, watching my friend Lane play Ursula, I felt extremely lucky to be seeing her perform that part. I was so proud of her, and I learned so much watching her bring that role to life. I feel very fortunate to be able to say to myself, “This was the right thing,” when I’m watching my friends do awesome stuff like that. And I’m so glad that every time I’ve been passed over for a role, I’ve been able to see why and recognize that I have more work to do.  

The Little Mermaid was awesome last night, seriously. I’m so proud of my friends and I’m just so pleased for all of them. They’re Broadway and they deserve so much success. I’m so lucky to be able to see everyone do what they love to do. I got to sit in a beautiful park and eat an EXCELLENT GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH, I got cotton candy, and my heart was full. My friends were in front of me totally living on stage, and also around me whispering comments about the show in my ear. I don’t know what more I could ask for. I hope that I get to see the show again this Summer. And I highly recommend seeing it!! I don’t know if it’ll still be playing when this is posted, but, if it is, it’s for donations, you can bring a blanket and sit basically wherever you want, and there’s yummy ice cream. All that plus the performers are complete geniuses. I’m a little biased about them, but I am NOT biased about the woman who plays Ariel and I can ASSURE you that she’s a real princess. She’s so perfect that she might be a figment of my imagination. Truly. 

Along with all these happy feelings and learning things, there’s also a lot of fear. I’ve noticed that with these blog posts I’ve kind of been trying to teach things and I realized that I don’t need to have anything profound to say, I just need to talk about my life, so, I’m gonna tell you some stuff I’m nervous about. And I’m gonna try not to solve the problems. Maybe you have some answers, I don’t know!! If you have anything to offer, I’m here waiting. Imagine me draped across a chez lounge in a modest but cute peignoir, maybe sipping a nice red moscato. Just listening.  

I think a lot about my career and my trajectory in this industry. I know that I have talent and drive and all of that. I also know that there are a million things I have to work on. I told my mom that I wanted to keep training the other day and she gave me the craziest look I’ve ever seen. I’m working up to my big move, but I am very nervous that I’m not ready. Not even because of self esteem things, but because I feel very behind. I’ve been feeling like that since I was in high school, actually. I would look at people I loved watching on Broadway like Laura Bell Bundy, who had been working professionally since she was 8 years old. I was like, “But I’m already 15 and I haven’t even gotten a lead in a show ever.” That’s so messed up, right?! Anyway, I’m 23 now and I do not have any professional credits. I’ve got some famous Broadway friends and a lot of fancy training, but I’ve never been cast in anything that has paid me. And I’m really worried about that.  

BUT. I’m working on some cool stuff. I’m doing some writing. I’m making some money. I’m seeing my incredible friends do beautiful things. I’M LOOKING FORWARD, I WON’T GO BACK {#IfThen #TomKitt #BrianYorkey #IdinaMenzel #TeamLiz} 

This is just some stuff I have on my mind this week. Mostly, though, I just have a lot of love and admiration in my heart for the performers I get to see this Summer. I’m so proud of my friends and I can’t wait to see what they do.  

I’m gonna go watch The Match Game hosted by ALEC BALDWIN because what else can you do at 10pm on a Sunday night?