I was recently in a local theater production of Ragtime. I’d like to take a moment to thank my fellow cast members for being humans, and for the joy they brought to my life just by existing. If I had a bajillion dollars, these are the gifts I would give you all…
To Joi, a documentary crew and seventy rolls of film. You were the unofficial videographer of my heart, and you made life FUN. I will not forget that you started being sad that the show would end in week TWO… your passion is infectious.
To Marisa, an assortment of teas to fill your Spartan mug, which is with you so much, it’s become an appendage… 😉 I hope you already know how much I admire you for your intelligence, honesty, and hard work.
To Carlee, a box of red hair dye, because girl you got to. You are sass, spunk, talent, and ferocity; you astonish me every day.
For Jack, a train, so that you can quit your job and become a full-time conductor. Obviously, it is your calling. Just so everyone knows, Jack and Kelsey were actually Evelyn’s parents, so that movie book was for me.
For Gabe, a full-length script for my new hit musical It’s Going to Be Fine, Gabe. When it wins a Tony, I’ll let you know. Thank you for being a genius at the word game, and for being my friend.
For Marcus, Evelyn’s hat. Bob will definitely hunt you down, just so you know. Sleep with your eyes open. You hit the high notes better than anyone. Love.
For Chloe, a set of wheels, so that I’d get to hang out with you more often! You follow your dreams, and I think that’s amazing.
For TJ, a time turner, that you might be able to get all the sleep you need and still do all the things you love. You will always be the creepy stalker to my skanky ho.
To Hailey, a star on the Walk of Fame, just so I can beat somebody else to it. I will always play the word game with you or bobby pin your headscarf. You are professional to the max and you are going places, no matter what.
To Henry, a bag of Sour Patch kids. You probably shouldn’t eat them, but you definitely will. Cheers to the show’s biggest smallest star!
To Kelsey, I leave my copy of Bad Feminist, because you are the very opposite. Cheers to smart girls!! May your aspirins be many, and your Jimmy John’s delivery boys be few.
For Donald, soothing calypso music and a stress ball, for all those times when someone sings a lyric wrong. You are passionate and professional, and I’ll miss going to the Cottage with you.
For Emily, Seasons 1-7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because girl you know why. After eighteen performances where you effectively ripped my heart out, I can confidently say you SLAY. From now on, I will only refer to you as “Emily, the scene-slayer.”
To Mike Dodge, a million dollars, in honor of J.P. Morgan. That was pretty wealthy in 1906, right? It’s a pleasure to have worked with you. And keep the mutton chops. They’re legit.
For Ja’leeyna, a broom and dustpan to sweep up everyone’s jaws off the floor after they hear you sing. Not only are you talented, you are passionate, and your voice is a part of your soul. Thank you for the blessing that you are.
For Whitney, a giant bottle of wine for every paper you have to grade and script you have to read. I’ll never forget our Coalhouse moment. Neither will the world. I’m waiting for our Tony nomination.
To Doug, I gift a snazzy pea coat, because you would always give me yours when I was freezing in my pantlessness. I always started the show with you, and that was one of my favorite parts. You made me feel at home right away.
To Will, my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I can’t wait to see you be a part of it. It’s a joy to know you.
For Shane, that Houdini wig. Keep it. Own it. Love it forever. I liked you even though I had to dance with an invisible Houdini for a month and a half. If only you weren’t so talented, they’d stop putting you in shows!
For David Hatter, a life-sized replica of the U.S.S. Moustache, since it obviously brings you such great joy. May you sail off into a world of happiness where you never need to change your costume again.
To David Houseman, those Thaw glasses, because they were honestly pretty rad. You were the worst husband in the world, but you made up for it by being a pretty excellent friend.
To Devon, my corset, because you’ve been asking for it since the beginning. I’ll never enjoy a night of bowling again unless you are dancing with me. And I’ll always believe that you can fix anything.
To Cam, a baby sling knapsack, so you can more easily tote Gabe around. You’re the best Immigrant/Newsie/Tennis boy/Fireman/Juror/Baseball Fan/Vacationer the world has ever known.
For Mieke, a backpack, because every college girl needs a backpack. You are going to GO places over the next few years, and I wish you well in the journey. I’m glad I got to be a part of it. Journey on!! (had to…).
To Jason, an IOU for one ride, anywhere, anytime you lose your keys. I will never be able to thank you enough for a last-minute favor on a Friday night. Your sense of humor is only outweighed by your kindness.
To Micah, I bequeath the doorway under which we crossed paths every night. Thank you for taking time to catch up. If you ever stop dancing, I will continue to burn down firehouses, and I will destroy the entire city if need be.
To Kristen, a studio which you could dedicate to interpretive dance, specializing in show-stopping ballads by leading women. You were always there when I needed you.
To Brenna, a pair of sunglasses, to shield the world from being blinded by your beautiful eyes. You have so much to give the theater community and every community you are part of.
For RJ, a Tootsie roll, payback for all the treats that would randomly appear mid-act. Somehow, you won both “Most Villainous Laugh” and “Henry’s Favorite Backstage Buddy.”
To Ally, a scarf for all those chilly walks in Boston. If there were a photo dictionary for emotions, your picture would be on every page—it’s an absolute joy to watch you act.
For Eddie, a pair of tap shoes. You’re gonna need them for Millie! Burn the floor, sir. Your heart is brighter than any stage light.
For Michael Stewart, you can have that car—drive three miles on the highway, lookin’ like a badass. You are ten times more talented than you even know, and I am glad I got to be along for this ride.
For Bart, a caving helmet so you don’t have to hold up your backstage singing light—efficiency! You are immensely talented, and it was an honor to work with you. Your stories backstage made me forget entrances more than once—I just couldn’t walk away!
For Bud, a cane for the next six times you play Grandfather in Ragtime. You are my favorite Backstage Singing Buddy, and no one except us will ever know how good we are in “Union Square.” High five!!
To Michael Travis, a standing ovation. Listening to your voice is like wrapping myself up in a blanket, and I’ll forever be grateful to have sat next to you during the final “Make Them Hear You.” We truly had the best seats in the house.
To Carly, three dozen red roses for the opening night of Millie, because you are a triple threat. You are absolutely going to smash that stage. I’m glad to have worked with you. Too bad you’re having a terrible time in Greece right now.
To Stacey, a cornucopia of new makeup brushes in replacement for all those you let me borrow, and a whole field full of strawberries, that you may continue to bless the casts of your future. Thank you for being the first one to see when I needed you.
To the whole crew, a vacation somewhere sunny. You make life awesome, and you all look good in black.
To Chris, Torrey, Wright, and Bruce—thanks for taking a chance. Thanks for making me feel worth it.
Lauren (Boersma) Harris (’13) is a spontaneous, idealistic, independent, fierce, over-thinking, damaged, adventurous, ordinary megalomaniac with a healthy sense of self-worth and a high word count. She has been a teacher both indoors and outdoors; she loves improvised comedy, backpacking, and writing, even when it’s required.