Episode 47: Nicholas Barasch

My thoughts on the Tony Awards will be coming up in a blog post soon. This one is about my interview with the amazing Nicholas Barasch.

Rachel and Nicholas Barasch at Broadwaycon

Original caption on this was “future podcast guest Nicholas Barasch.” UPDATED!!!!

You can listen to the episode here: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-fv663-929921

Nick mentioned his work on The Backyardigans and I wanted to hear it so I found this video on YouTube and it’s the cutest thing ever. Nick played Austin.

If you want to know why Nick and I are gushing about my cousin Larry, you can hear his Elsie Cast interview. (Also, based on last night’s reaction on Twitter, I will from now on be referring to Tony Award Winner Larry Hochman by my mother’s nickname for him: Cousin Larry the Big Deal.)

We casually talked about our mutual friend Jen. We meant this Jen.

Nick was in the 2012 Roundabout Theater revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

We got in a rather long chat about GS (which I edited–you’re welcome). “GS” is Columbia-speak for Columbia School of General Studies. I work at Columbia and the current Dean of General Studies is my former Department Chair, which is why I’m throwing around internal abbreviations like that. I apologize. But GS is an amazing program for all sorts of non-traditional students like Nick or my friend David.

In short, if you get a chance to see Nick in anything, take it! He’s amazing. Below is the performance that first sold me, orchestrated by Cousin Larry the Big Deal:

Next time on the podcast:

June 18: #SaveRise

Buy Elsie Cast merch in my new shop.


TeePublic Review (Guest post by DJ Lilly)

Seven days. One week. That’s all the time it took to get my nifty new “He’s weird but he He's weird shirtsure is happy about it” Darren Criss shirt produced by Elsie Cast featuring brilliant artwork by @JesslovesDarren! This is my first experience with TeePublic, but it certainly bodes well for my future online t-shirt orders.

I have a…thing for message shirts. I allow myself to have only a certain amount (established many years ago after I realized I had a RIDICULOUS number of them which is embarrassing to even say out loud) so I have to be somewhat discerning in buying them, but I just love walking around with something I believe in or like visible for everyone to see. No surprise, a lot of mine are library-related, and many reflect my life philosophies, and the rest…well, the rest have something to do with Darren Criss.

shirt collectionI knew I had a LOT of Darren Criss shirts, but I just now found out that I have ten of those (including the new one).  This means a full third of my NSFW wardrobe says something about Mr. Criss or some project he’s involved with. I also know what you’re thinking. WHY do I need TEN shirts about Darren?

The logical answer, and the one that I am fully aware of, is that no one NEEDS ten shirts about one person. But, MY answer is that I respect, enjoy, admire and flat-out adore Darren (in a non-stalker way), so why shouldn’t I have as many shirts about him that I can find that reflect the amazing scope of his talent, his unique view of the world, and his quirky sense of humor like this new one does?

For those more interested in the logistics: I got an email two days after I ordered it saying they’d shipped it, then it arrived five days later which is truly amazing. The discounted price was great, of course, although it looks like their regular prices including shipping aren’t bad. The shirt is comfortable (not scratchy like some) and the sizing is accurate. If I had to come up with a negative, it’s that the choice of colors in the plus sizes are limited, but that’s not unusual…(sorry, got distracted by an earworm there for a second) and there was still enough of a variety to choose from.

So, go forth and shop! You’ll support Elsie Cast’s fabulous efforts to spread art around the world AND you’ll get a fabulous shirt or sticker or some other fun tidbit for yourself.

Thanks to DJ Lilly for writing this guest post! You can follow DJ on twitter at @wemeow2 (a must-follow for Klaine fans).

For official Darren Criss & Elsie Fest merch, check out our friends at Ann Arbor Tees. More about Ann Arbor Tees in Episode 44.

For Elsie Cast merch, click here:

Elsie Cast Shop

She’s here!!!

Some time last winter, I noticed that Elsie Fest was not getting the kind of attention from Darren Criss that it had the year before. Two years ago, as now, Darren would mention Elsie Fest occasionally in an interview. Last year: nothing. Although we sometimes saw tweets from the official Elsie Fest twitter (@ElsieFest), there was basically no mention publicly about Elsie Fest from roughly November of 2016 until Ricky Rollins tweeted that they were working on it in I believe June of 2017. (These are all my perceptions. I’d like to make this good reporting and go find all the tweets and interviews I’m talking about, but that’s not realistically happening. If you remember something differently, please let me know.)

I got frustrated and scared, especially since I had just started this podcast enterprise and if Elsie Fest stopped happening, I didn’t know what I would do about it.

But I don’t believe in being a pest to celebrities. Darren, Ricky, and Jordan (Roth, the third producer of Elsie Fest) don’t owe us an Elsie Fest. I just wish they’d communicate more. So I started tweeting using the hashtag #LittleOrphanElsie whenever I felt like Elsie Fest was being neglected.

Someday, I hope, more people will pick up the hashtag and make it more visible. In any case, it makes me feel a bit better. It amuses me. And I hope that when any of the producers of Elsie Fest see it, they take it in the intended spirit. It’s a nudge. A gentle nudge with a sense of humor hoping that they’ll take notice and be more communicative. Because we don’t know what’s going on in their heads and although I firmly believe at this point that they think we know for sure there will be another Elsie Fest, we don’t know that for sure. We need information. And people need dates so that they can ask for vacation days, plan travel, and save up.

It occurred to me at some point that it would be great to make Little Orphan Elsie t-shirts. I would love it if people started showing up at Darren’s events with a clever reminder that Elsie is something we think about (and would like to hear about) all year long. It would be a way to start a conversation with him about what’s going on with Elsie Fest.

There were just two problems.

  1. I can’t draw.
  2. I had no idea what Little Orphan Elsie would look like.

Obviously, she would need to be some combination of Little Orphan Annie and Elsie Fest, but what does Elsie Fest look like in human form?

Well, last week, I started chatting on Twitter with someone named @JesslovesDarren, and she offered to make me some art for a t-shirt I wanted to make based on something Darren had said in an interview.

Did you hear that right at the end there?

I know this guy. He’s weird. And he sure is happy about it.

It struck me that this should be on a t-shirt. And Jess helped me make it. I realize now that I screwed up the quote somewhere along the way, and the t-shirt doesn’t have it exactly right. But it’s a pretty cool t-shirt:


So I asked Jess if she’d try and make me a picture of Little Orphan Elsie that I could use to put my long-dreamed-of plan into motion, and she agreed. As I said, I had no idea what Little Orphan Elsie might look like, beyond some combination of Annie and Elsie Fest. And this is what we came up with.

She’s beautiful. She’s brilliant. And she needs to get in Darren’s face. I want him to laugh. I want his mind to be blown that people went to the trouble of creating such a thing. I want him to think the whole thin is ridiculous (because it is). And hopefully it will help him to understand that we need more communication. Or at least he’ll answer your questions about Elsie Fest 2018 and you can report back to me and I’ll tell everyone.

I would really like to have the first person who gets this in Darren’s line of sight to come on the podcast, too, to tell us about his reaction. I suspect it will be hilarious. So please, RT the image, purchase the image (stickers are just $2.50, tee-shirts are $20), wear it/bring it to LMDCtour shows or to Tramp Stamp Granny’s or wherever you know you’ll see Darren. In my dreams, Little Orphan Elsie will be everywhere he goes, until Elsie Fest gets the attention she deserves. Go out and make it happen people.

Here she is. Click here to purchase.