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Friday, November 07, 2008

Please join me TONIGHT at The After Party

TONIGHT!!
November 7th!
A Special PRE-PARTY Edition of
THE AFTER PARTY
A NEW TIME FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY
7:30pm to Midnight
featuring
Author of 'Til The Fat Girl Sings and
Avenue Q's
SHARON WHEATLEY
and
A TALE OF TWO CITIES'
DEVIN RICHARDS



THE AFTER PARTY:
A Special PRE-PARTY Edition
TONIGHT!
Friday, November 7th
One Night Only @ 7:30pm.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
@ the West Bank Cafe.
407 w42nd St., NYC.
FREE!

Doors open @ 7:30pm.
Show beings @ 8pm.




For more information and other fun facts,
please visit:
www.BrandonCutrell.com
www.MySpace.com/BrandonCutrell
www.WestBankCafe.com
www.MySpace.com/AfterPartyNYC
www.AlyshaUmphress.com
Located within the
West Bank Cafe
407 west 42nd Street @ 9th Ave.
212-695-6909

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When it's all worth it...

This is a letter from my friend Bryan, who is a freshman in Musical Theater at Penn State. He said I could share it on my blog, and I hope you enjoy it.

Hey Sharon,
So for my English class we had to write a narrative about a literacy event that taught us something. I wanted to share what I wrote with you because I ended up being pretty proud of it. I know it isn't arthur laurents or anything, but I thought you might appreciate it. :)

Bryan Baldwin

“My Name is Bryan and I was Fat.”

I was fat. That is all I can think of to say. I was fat and it was ruining my life. I couldn’t concentrate, I had a social life that consisted of the characters from Friends and "Tony the Tiger” and was completely and utterly miserable. My life long dream of being an actor was starting to show some promise but it felt like my casting was always second-guessed because of my weight. How could people want to watch someone perform onstage who was growing outward so quickly that they could hardly lift themselves up off the floor? My life was in a downward spiral and despite the worries of my parents (which I always answered with a nasty glare) I attempted to find my way out of my despair through 2 a.m. bowls of ice cream in the darkness of my bedroom. The only joys in my life were musical theatre, food, and the annual trip I took to New York with my dad. This year was different though; Dad went without me and all he brought back was a stupid book; a stupid, freaking book with nothing but a fat girl on the cover. I didn’t care that it was about Broadway, or even that it might help me lose the weight that secretly haunted my every thought during every moment of every day. I smiled politely, put the book down on my night table and went to bed, not suspecting at all that this book would change my life.

It was six months later and my family was on our annual summer vacation, this year to Hawaii; the retreat for the gorgeously bronzed and thin God-like creatures who lounged around all day, half naked, soaking up the sun. Although I loved taking tropical vacations (mostly for the roast pig), I was petrified for this trip because I knew it would involve another struggle with donning my sized 44 swim trunks. There I was, sitting on the beach with my beautifully blonde, athletic sister (who could eat anything she wanted and still be a rail) when she looked at me with her movie star sunglasses and said the most terrifying words I could have imagined: “Why are you still wearing a shirt? Take it off, we are at the beach!”

I wanted to run away and hide. I had painstakingly tried to remain invisible next to my model sister in my gargantuan swim trunks and t-shirt but it was apparently not working. I slowly stood up, took off my shirt as fast as I could, and sat back down. This was the most horrible feeling in the whole world. I felt ugly, naked, and the most uncomfortable I had been in a long time.

Lying there with my farmer’s tan, delineated with white fleshy blobs for arms, exposed in all my glory and feeling my fat seep through the plastic lounge chair, I saw my father approaching. Earlier in the trip, I had complained to him that I didn’t bring any reading material and he had briefly mentioned that he brought me something I might be interested in. As he got closer, I was desperately hoping he would tell me that it was time to leave for a big eat-your-sorrows-away dinner. Instead he pulled out a book and said, “I think you will really like this. It’s about a girl who always loved to perform and is now a Broadway actress. Oh... and she had a weight problem growing up...”

The term “weight problem” is just a fancy way that doctors and other professionals waltz around telling fat people the hard, cold truth. My parents loved “weight problem” and used it every time the issue came up.

He handed me a black, yellow, and white paperback that oddly resembled a Broadway Playbill. I immediately recognized the book with the fat girl on the cover that I had set aside six months ago and hoped to never see again. I smiled that same “I’m going to pretend to be interested so we can change the subject” smile I had before and turned it over. The words on the back cover immediately struck out at me like sharp, painful darts. “My name is Sharon and I am fat. I think it is important to tell you that I am fat right away because I am sure you can tell, even though you cannot see me. I don’t blame you for not liking me. After all, not many people do.”

I sat there dumbfounded, trying to hide the hurt from my family. Had I written this? How did this person know exactly how I felt? I had no choice but to start reading, and thus began my journey with Sharon Wheatley’s ‘Til the Fat Girl Sings ' .

The second I opened this novel, it was impossible for me to put it down. It was so easy for me to empathize with this girl who felt like she would forever have to fake a life of happiness on the outside while still feeling deeply depressed on the inside. It seemed like every sentence Wheatley wrote was about me, only from her eyes. The sneaking down to the kitchen at night for a secret midnight snack and becoming a master at preparing food silently (harder than you think), the urge to perform and the obsession with Broadway, the pain of having to laugh about my weight when someone would joke about it, and worst of all, the fear that I would never realize my dreams because of my addiction to food. I read this book all the way through in about two days on my Hawaiian vacation but it wasn’t until the next New Year that I would change myself forever.

Over the next few months, I thought of Sharon’s book practically every day. I thought of how she had changed herself and how, according to the book, becoming a healthier person had affected every aspect of her life. I tried dieting once or twice over this period but still was never able to fully commit. I would start anew every morning saying that this was it, this was the day that I was going to change and lose all of the weight that I needed to be a new person. Throughout the day I would always “fall off the wagon” (as my mom referred to it) and eat something I knew I shouldn’t. The repetition of this failure every day threw me into an even deeper despair and my eating became worse than ever.

That December, my friends and I took a trip together to Disneyland. We spent the whole day laughing, riding roller coasters, and of course, eating anything and everything we could get our hands on; well, at least I did. Being theatre people, we planned a hilarious picture for Splash Mountain and when the picture was taken, we were more than ready to see it. Without even looking at it on the monitor, I waddled over to the booth where they sold the pictures as fast as I could and ordered one. The cashier handed me the picture and I opened in it up in such anticipation…then I saw myself. Something was wrong, I looked huger than ever in my red sweatshirt that was advertised as slimming. I was shocked and mortified. It was one of those moments where I wanted nothing more than to go huddle up in a corner by myself and cry my eyes out. How could I have let this happen? What was I doing to myself? Was this how my whole life was destined to be?

The photo haunted me the rest of the trip and after I had gotten home. My head was swimming with confusion as I alternated between denial and reality. I could not believe that I had I had let myself get this way. Finally one day as I got out of the shower, I looked at myself. I looked at my body hard, in a way I had avoided for a very long time. There I stood in front of my full-length bedroom mirror with everything exposed; I felt disgusting. There was nothing at all healthy about my body. My tub-of-lard belly hung over my size 44 waist like a giant chocolate chip muffin. Holding it up were my thighs, that looked more like two honey hams, sitting on tree trunk calves for support. As my eyes traveled back up my body, I saw my chest and the two deflated water balloons it consisted of and the Sta-Puf marshmallow man arms attached to it. This was not me, this was the real me in a fat suit from the movies, trying to escape but trapped beneath a shell of someone I didn’t know. Humiliated with myself, I looked around my room to make sure no one was watching me; it was then that I saw it. My semi-worn copy of ‘Til the Fat Girl Sings was sitting on top of my bookshelf like a sign. It was time; I knew it more than ever. And this time I really would succeed, even though it would take me over a year to do.

So on January 1, 2007, I made a New Year’s resolution and took on the greatest challenge of my life. Without any fanfare, I began to study food values, cut back on my eating habits, avoid fast food and exercise regularly. As the numbers on the scale dropped day by day, I felt like I could see my own self melting away into a much healthier person. About ten months after I embarked on my weight loss journey, I was on top of the world. In addition to having lost 90 pounds, I had gotten more friends at school, grew closer to the friends I already had, and was cast in my first role as a leading man (not the character or the fat guy). I am not so superficial to believe that losing weight and becoming healthy eliminated all my problems. Sharon’s book had taught me that I could be confident no matter what I looked like, and that is what made the difference

In October of 2007, a few weeks before the annual New York trip, my dad called me into the kitchen and told me that he had written to Sharon and told her my story. After only a few short days, she contacted us and suggested that we meet. She had never met someone who had actually successfully lost weight because of inspiration from her book and I honestly felt like she wanted to get to know me. As we all sat at dinner, I felt like I was joking and laughing with an old friend rather than someone I had known in person for only an hour. Over the past year, Sharon and I have kept in touch and talk frequently. She is someone I highly respect and I feel like I will always have her as a teacher, mentor, and friend.

‘Til the Fat Girl Sings has meant so much more to my life and goals than I ever imagined it would. If I am having a hard day, trying to find inspiration, or even just looking for comfort, I delve into the world of Sharon Wheatley and read a chapter from the novel. I give it most of the credit for my lifestyle change, confidence, and countless other things. It blows my mind that I was able to make this huge change in my life because of motivation from a book that I was petrified to read in the first place. All because of one person’s story, I am now a normal guy wearing a medium t-shirt and a 34 inch swimsuit who is proud of the way I look and I know that nothing can stop me from finding my dream.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Laugh

This needs little introduction. Please enjoy!

A film by Center of Comedy Productions

Written and directed by Charlotte Meffe
Filmed by Rob Meffe
Starring Beatrix Jane Meffe (with a brief cameo appearance by Charlotte)

video

Monday, August 04, 2008

Rosie's Broadway Kids

Hi Everyone,

I'm not sure if you've heard of Rosie's Broadway Kids, but I urge you to visit their web-site and read all about them. I recently attended their summer performance and was blown away. I wrote my friend Lori Klinger a note about my experience and she posted it on their website, so here's a link if you'd like to take a peek.

http://rosiesbroadwaykids.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beatrix Eats!!

Today we will have a guest host blogger. Charlotte Meffe. Heeeeere's Charlotte!

I loved feeding Beatrix this morning. She just spit the food out and looked at me like I was crazy. She spit it out and put it everywhere. She put it on me, on her, on the high chair, everywhere. And I mean everywhere you can think of. It was easy to find on you, it was orange, sweet potato. I tasted it, even if I knew it would not be good... It really tasted good and bad. It was like mashed sweet potato with water added. Here are 2 videos of her 1st day of eating real food!

video





video

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Milwaukee wrap up and future performing news

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the final installment of my trip to Milwaukee. We did finally arrive home, after flying through a break in tornados, 6 hours late only to wait in line at LaGuardia for an hour. Actual in bed time: 3am.

But, it was so worth it. Special thanks to my fellow vlog co-stars Jacob Brent and Farah Alvin.

Thank you so much for watching all the installments of my video-blog and I hope to bring you more soon. Tomorrow I help fellow cast members of Avenue Q ring in the opening bell of the Nasdeq, so I'll try to video a little of that.

Just to explain--I can't really show you very much performance video footage due to very strict union guidelines. I wish I could!

The next day I started rehearsal for AVENUE Q in New York. If you are interested, I will be performing in AVENUE Q this summer for these scheduled dates:

As Mrs. T/Yellow Bear on July 20th (both shows)
Tuesday July 22nd and Thursday 24th at 8 pm
Saturday July 26th (both shows)

I will play Kate Monster/Lucy on Friday August 29th 8pm
Saturday August 30th (both shows)
Sunday August 31st (both shows)


For tickets visit www.avenueq.com

Also, to my sweet Aunt Barbie in Akron. I love you, I'm thinking about you, and I hope you are hanging in there. And, I hope all these glimpses into my life help you through rough days. The videos are kind of silly, I know, but they are all for you.

xoxoxoxo,

Me




video

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Something to make you smile

Hi Everyone,

Rob and Charlotte left today for Vermont to do Les Miserables at The Weston Playhouse. Yep, Charlotte is in the show, playing Little Cosette and Rob is music directing. I was going to join them in the show, but I stayed in New York with Beatrix to do Avenue Q.

Last night, nervous about starting rehearsal, Charlotte asked me if I thought she was a good singer. "Very good!" I said.
"Do you think I'll grow up and be a singer?" she asked. I told her I thought she was talented in many ways and that I felt certain she would do something wonderful with her life. "Really, Mommy?" she asked. I explained that she has so many talents it's hard to know what she'll do. "Sometimes you just have to wait and see why you were put on this earth." I said.

Charlotte looked me in the eye and said very seriously, "Mom. I know why I was put on this earth. Comedy."

Naturally I broke out in a huge laugh and she looked at me, still very seriously, even as my eyes watered with laughter and said, "See?"

So, I present for you....Charlotte Meffe and her very best audience, Beatrix.

Written By: Charlotte Meffe
Performed by: Charlotte Meffe
Enjoyed by: Beatrix Jane Meffe
Filmed by: Their Mother
Date: July 7, 2008

Enjoy

video

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Milwaukee Part 8

Hi!

I'm so sorry, I've been really busy at work and with Beatrix so I haven't taken the time to upload more videos. I hope everyone is doing well and a special hug and kiss to someone who might be reading this blog who needs extra TLC. (You know who you are) xo.

Watch this video first, this is the cute Chapter 6 boys at intermission:

video

Here's #2. Please forgive my buxom-ness, it's just the way the dress is built. I had no idea or I would have stood the whole time!! This was after the concert when we were selling stuff, farah and Chapter 6 sells CD's and I sold books. Yes, it's true, someone called me "Chubby" while I signed a book. It was mortifying!

video

I hope you are all well and have a safe and healthy 4th of July.

Sharon

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Milwaukee Part 7

Happy Sunday!

Here's another Milwaukee installment. I have a crummy internet connection today, so this is all I can do. If you'd like to see the previous posts, scroll down. I hope everyone is doing well.

video

Watch this one second:

video

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Milwaukee Part 6


Hi Again,

Sorry for the delay, I got caught up in Tony mania here on the Great White Way, which was very fun. Yay for In The Heights, South Pacific and all of the fantastic actors at Gypsy. If you are in NY or coming, don't miss these 3 shows...they are really wonderful...and (of course) August: Osage County.

Here is a picture with my Cincinnati friend Andy Blankenbuhler who won the Best Choreography Tony for In The Heights. He and I did Bye, Bye Birdie at St. Xavier High School and his sister Nancy was in my class at Ursuline. I'm so proud to know him!



Okay--these installments are short so I'm posting 2 of them.

Watch this one first:
video

Now watch this one:
video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Milwaukee Part 5

For today's movie, visit my friend Jacob's blog at:

http://meetmeatthestagedoor.blogspot.com/2008/06/tragedy-on-lanes.html

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Milwaukee Part 4

Hi Everyone,

Now we are headed backstage. If you'd like to see previous posts, please scroll down or visit "old posts"

Thanks!

video

Friday, June 13, 2008

Milwaukee Part 3

Hi Again,

Here's a little more, this is my friend Farah Alvin who is an amazing singer--seriously amazing--and she's had a little mascara mishap.

If you haven't seen the first two and would like to, please scroll own or visit "old posts"

Rough cut...rough cut...

video

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Milwaukee Part 2

Hello friends,

I'm grateful that so many of you are visiting my blog!

Here's installment #2 of the RIVETING behind the scenes look at The Milwaukee Symphony.

Remember...it's a rough cut...don't get all picky on me....

video

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Backstage Pass








Hi Everyone,

I spent a glorious few days singing with Jack Everly and The Milwaukee Symphony this past weekend, and I thought it might be kinda fun to show you what happens behind the scenes. The plan was to make this a fancy-shmancy movie, but I am knee deep in rehearsals for AVENUE Q in New York and the rest of my time is for my girls. So, I'm going to post a little every day and I'll try to make it all pretty and edited soon.

Enjoy the rough cut!

video

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm joining the Broadway Company of Avenue Q


Hi!

Great news! As of June 9th, 2008 I will be a permanent member of AVENUE Q on Broadway. This is a show I love and I am honored, delighted, thrilled and grateful to get to play on AVENUE Q every night. I am a standby/swing for Kate Monster/Lucy and Mrs. T/Yellow Bear, so I will give a heads up when I am going on.

Thanks!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Day In May Life



It's Tony voting season here on the great White Way, and as a Tony Voter, every May I play the "how-to-see-every-new-show-without-neglecting-my-children" game. The addition of Beatrix has added a new member to consider and here's a picture after the matinee today. Rob and I are outside of the show we saw today, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Beatrix was dropped off by her babysitter, and I'm off to hop on the bus to pick up Charlotte from her playdate at her friend Rosamund's, then onto the subway, dinner, baths, piano practice, currency project, bottles, diapers....tra la, its May!!

Last night was CRY BABY, tomorrow I'm going to see a PASSING STRANGE. Saturday is IN THE HEIGHTS and Sunday GREASE, both with Charlotte. Fun, fun.

By the way, I still can't spill the good news, but I will soon. No, I'm not pregnant!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A little shout out of love to someone who needs a smile.


Feel better soon. I love you!

News, news, news...lots of news.




I will be singing with The Milwaukee Symphomy for four performances of The Nifty Fifties, The golden Age of Black and White. Dates are June 6,7 and 8th.

I have more good news, but I can't officially announce it yet. Soon, soon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Beatrix sings with Mommy

Beatrix Jane seems to be musically inclined. I noticed within her first week of life that she would turn her head and forcefully press her ear against my mouth if I sang while rocking her.

A couple of days ago I was vocalizing and I heard little coos coming from the her bouncy seat. Sure enough, she seems to sing along...or at least she seems to try. What do I know? I'm just a proud Mom. You be the judge!

Starring: Beatrix Jane Meffe
Supporting role: Sharon Wheatley
Beatrix's Hair stylist: Mother Nature
Directed and filmed by Charlotte Meffe

Click on the arrow to view. She really gets going one minute in so feel free to skip ahead.

video

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Beatrix Jane at one month


This is me (looking a little tired!) and Baby Beatrix. I'm too occupied to blog right now, but I thought a picture might speak a thousand words. She's such a good baby!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Girl Power



I've never been a political person, I leave that to my father who raised my sister, brother and I on Republican values. In fact, his political views are so large and loud (he says anyone who wants to know what he thinks should listen to Rush) for many years he drowned out my own political thoughts. He once said "If any of my children voted for a democrat I would consider myself a failure as a parent." True story.
Maybe because I grew up in such a political atmosphere I've never really developed my own opinions on political parties or candidates. Mostly I considered it a subject I'd like to avoid.

But this year is different. This year I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Why?

Maybe it's because I have two girls growing up in this world of male leaders.

Maybe it's simply that I believe she's the best for the job.

Maybe I want to prove to my Dad that one of his children can vote for a democrat, a candidate that inspires me out of my political indifference, and still be a good, thoughtful and worthy daughter.

Maybe it's because Hillary Clinton is smart and worthy, as smart and worthy as anyone else and it's a woman's turn to sit at the head of the table.

Maybe it's because Charlotte watches primary returns come in like it's the finale for American Idol. She sees a woman running for President and she cheers. She sees unlimited possibilities. Wouldn't I be a failure as a parent if I didn't support her?

Here is a terrific article I encourage you to read. I think Obama is great, but it's all about Hillary for me.

Oh--and by the way, you can teach an old dog new tricks. My Dad is great about my support of Hillary and we discuss it often. Go Dad. As he said "I have 4 sisters and 5 grand daughters. I'm all about the girls."

Goodbye To All That (#2) by Robin Morgan

February 2, 2008

http://www.womensmediacenter.com/ex/020108.html

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Our new baby, Beatrix Jane Meffe


On January 30, 2008 at 3:16 pm, Beatrix Jane arrived into the world happy and healthy.
Well, I was going to write more but a certain 8-day-old baby just woke up, so I'm off to Mommy her. I'll post a picture instead and get back here soon!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Charlotte and Beatrix meet

Moments after being born, Beatrix was plopped into her big sister's arms by my ob/gyn. Click on the arrow to see a short video.


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Monday, January 28, 2008

Holding On

September? That's the last time I blogged? Shame on me and a big apology to my one blog reader (my Aunt Barbara). Now that I've figured out how to link this to my facebook page I'm going to attempt to post stories more frequently.

So as most people who know me know, I'm pregnant and on the verge of delivery. For anyone who likes a timeline, I am 39 weeks pregnant today and my official due date is February 4th.

To clear up a little confusion, I was supposed to be induced on January 24th (last Thursday) but my doctor canceled due to a death in her husbands family and then she left to run a marathon in Miami. True story. My mother planned her vacation and purchased plane tickets based on my induction date so she is here in New York waiting for baby and being a generally good sport despite the fact that there is no baby in sight. I have a doctors appointment at 3pm today, so I'll update my preggo status later.

I will include one short Charlotte Meffe story from last night. As anyone who knows her knows, this small nine year old has big thoughts and feelings. Here is an example.

It was about 9:45 pm and Charlotte was (I thought) in bed. I heard light footsteps behind me and a big sigh. Sue enough, there was Charlotte headed back into her dark bedroom, 45 minutes past her bedtime. I followed her in, more than a little annoyed that she was still awake.

"Pup, what's up? You've gotta go to sleep."

Charlotte turns to me and it is quickly apparent that she's been crying pretty hard and for a while. Naturally my irritation quickly changes to concern.

"What's the matter?"

"I've been crying." Charlotte holds up her blue pillow which now features a large dark blue wet spot as proof.

Waiting for the baby has been a double edged sword of excitement and anxiety. As much as Rob and I try to shield Charlotte from the pre-term labor, trips to get monitored at the hospital, and the general concern about the delivery (especially because I'm older) Charlotte feels almost every bump with us, so I wasn't surprised to see the wet pillow. I expected her usual monologue about how long she's waited and that it's time for the baby to come out already, but this time she had a different thought on her mind.

"Mommy, I was thinking about a book I read. In it the main character describes the stars as lights in the night sky that are holes, and these holes are the pathways to heaven. The character describes them so beautifully, Mommy. She says she is holding on to the grass to keep from floating through one of those holes. Then, at the end of the book she very simply says that things get too hard and she lets go of the grass."

Charlotte started to cry. "I started thinking about you and that you are 40 and delivering this baby and that is scary. So, I prayed to god that you'll be safe. Please God, please let her hold onto the grass."

I walked over to the bed, took Charlotte in my arms and let her cry for a minute. Then I looked into her wet eyes and I promised, "I will hold onto the grass, I will hold onto you, I will hold onto this baby and we will be fine. I promise. I have a firm grip of the grass and I'm not going anywhere."

Our grass has deep roots and my daughter is a miracle. I kissed her goodnight, walked into the living room and cried at the depth of it all.

I will never look at the stars or grass in quite the same way, and I will hold on tight. I promise.

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year
My weight was going up and up...

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine
I guess I'm about 3 or so? Nice tan!