Ok, Internet, its time to get personal.
This coming Monday, October 3, the life of a man very close to me will change forever. My roommate, best friend and adopted brother, Bryan Fenkart will begin the first step of a journey that will out him even further on his path. This isn't a figurative journey, but an actual one.
For the past two years, Bryan has been understudying the lead role of Huey in the Broadway production of Memphis. He was the first choice of everyone and anyone who matters to star in Memphis' touring company. This Monday he will get on a plane, and head off into the wild, blue yonder.
I met Bryan about eight years ago. It was my very first year in New York, and I got cast in a Nosedive production called Mayonnaise Sandwiches. It was a tiny, no-money production in a the basement "theater" of an old church. As my first show in NYC, I loved every second of it. It honestly changed my life forever, mostly because of the lanky young actor who was playing opposite me.
He was a man of extreme talent and potential. He played guitar and piano, he was smart, funny and handsome, he was confident and definitely the most interesting person I had ever met.
Obviously, the first thing I did was fall head over heels in love with him. I was a starry-eyed young Virginian transplant to New York City and was in no means immune to his charms.
I thank my lucky stars that there was never any relationship between us.
Instead, over the next years a very strong, steady, rewarding friendship grew between us. We became roommates almost 4 years ago, and since then he has been a constant source of encouragement and solace in my life. He was with me when my grandfather died and my first serious, grow-up boyfriend left me. He was with me when I got cast in Law and Order and when I met the man I'm going to marry. Bryan has been with me at my very best and my very worst.
Throughout the years, I have watched Bryan's career. He has gone from teeny-tiny productions to Broadway, from playing Jersey coffee houses to playing with Richie Cannata to sold out houses. Through the years he has proved again and again his talent is immense and fair reaching.
Throughout his ride with Memphis thus far, I have really seen him step up his game. He has worked harder and more than ever. I have never been as proud of him as I am now. I am so lucky to count him as part of my family. He is a continual source of inspiration.
I'm not completely sure why I am writing this. I know when he leaves both James and I are going to miss him terribly. Life will definitely be a little more subdued. I know I'll be sad once in a while, but I am so excited for all he's got ahead of him. I guess I'm saying that I hope everyone has a friend like I have. He's held me when I've cried and bolstered my courage when it's waned. He's laughed with me in the most ridiculous situations and trusted me with his own hurts. I really couldn't have been luckier when it comes to my New York family.
The tour dates are as follows:
October 14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, where it will play through October 23.
Other venues include Houston, TX (October 25-30)
Tulsa, OK (November 1-6)
Oklahoma City, OK (November 8-13)
Nashville, TN (November 15-20)
Chicago, IL (November 22 - December 4)
Toronto, ON (December 6-25)
Pittsburgh, PA (December 27-January 1, 2012)
Charlotte, NC (January 3-8)
Hartford, CT (January 10-15)
Philadelphia, PA (January 17-22)
Durham, NC (January 24-29)
Atlanta, GA (January 31-February 5)
Clearwater, FL (February 7-12)
Naples, FL (February 14-19)
Greenville, SC (February 21-26)
Cleveland, OH (February 28-March 11)
St. Paul, MN (March 13-25)
East Lansing, MI (March 27-April 1)
Baltimore, MD (April 3-8)
Hershey, PA (April 10-15)
Schenectady, NY (April 17-22)
Des Moines, IA (April 24-29)
St. Louis, MO (May 1-13)
Dallas, TX (May 15-27)
Columbus, OH (May 29-June 3)
Buffalo, NY (June 5-10)
Washington, DC (June 12-July 1)
Kansas City, MO (July 10-15)
Las Vegas, NV (July 17-22)
San Diego, CA (July 24-29)
Los Angeles, CA (July 31-August 12)
If he is coming to a city near you, do yourself a favor and see the show. He's gonna be a huge star one day, and you'll want to say "you saw him when".
I love you very much, Bryan. Go be awesome, you son of a bitch.