(click the picture above for the high definition video - but also click YouTube for me!)
10:31 PM, Friday, October 31st, 2008:
Happy freaking Halloween indeed.
High School theater was a big deal for those involved. Memories of those days actually still bring up all sorts of emotions 15 years later. When a few of us got together for pizza in Chicago...
Tara's in the center. Where she belongs. :-)
...it was funny how we were instantly back there bitching about so and so, or revealing our own OCD issues about a part we didn't get or some perceived injustice. Mike King, that was mine. Ha.
However none seemed greater at the time than the underused Tara DeFrancisco. I mentioned her a few months ago as a fellow classmate that has continued to put off "real life" like me and keeps pushin' the dream - now with Second City. She is and was hilarious and magnetic. She was a student that you spotlight, highlight and support. Yet, consistently, the directors casting our shows ignored her. I don't mean gave her the small parts, I mean gave her one line. Just ludicrous as she was arguably the "leader" of theater. It's like the team captain sitting 12th on the bench.
Of course none of it matters now, we all moved on and in Tara and my case - we continued to perform and create. Tara is touring with Second City and as I mentioned in July, could easily be on SNL.
...apparently the producers agreed.
Last week SNL had an emergency showcase because of Amy Poehler's departure and she and 5 other Second City people were invited. Huge, huge, huge and today... Tara got the call. They are flying her to NYC Tuesday and she has a final audition Wednesday with the producers to show some characters. JUMP JUMP CRY BARF OMFG.
After years of struggling she's gotten a gigantic opportunity and she will absolutely knock them dead. Maybe she should knock 'em live? Heh. She is in her element and will absolutely shine. Whether that means a cast member, a featured player, a writer, another shot in the spring or just an incredible connection and networking - it's a WIN. She's in the game. It's akin to what happened for me with CBS in 2006. It turned into 3 million people seeing me each week, the magic of The Price is Right and Young & Restless, and a shitload of contacts... but not necessarily a home-run. Still trying to work on that of course... but Tara is in a farrrrrr greater position to knock that ball out of the park because it's such an extremely focused opportunity. As well, she's in a game with extremely focused people running it. As well, SNL is now arguably as big as it's been in 15 years and the timing is the definition of perfect. HELL. YES.
The inspirational level for this story is off the charts for me. The universal high school aspect which resides in all of us to some degree is just poetic, but obviously it's so much more than that. It's the same as when my photographer friend Chad got the cover of Time Magazine this summer. All 3 of us got to stages of being burnt out (multiple times) to the point of giving up and we didn't. It's one thing to go for it in your early 20s, it's a completely different thing to keep it going for over 10 years and believe until you can barely stand up. This is Tara's moment and I am praying with all my heart for one of the best Wednesdays of my life. If I can say President Elect Barack Obama and SNL's Tara DeFrancisco... just wow.
Let me also say that although I'm a big fan of "the egg", I don't want to count someone else's chickens before they hatch... so know that there's several outcomes next week and all of them are positive. Getting this call will change her entire life no matter what... we all just want it to change in the best possible way. :-) There's actually a bit more to this story that at the moment I'm not able to divulge - but Tara really went above and beyond for me awhile back and I promised her I'd write about it. Heh, she gave me "Hey, where's MY entry buddy?" and I'm like "I KNOW..." but it's just too convuluted at the moment to bring up. You'll all understand soon...
But, wait, here's your entry. Duh.