As promised yesterday, here is another one of my love rants.
Jesse. Tyler. Ferguson.
As I thought about what to write, I figured I should maybe tone down my crazyfan status just a tad – after all, you never know. In my dream world, I get to work with this man someday.
(But then, I didn’t really tone it down. It is what it is.)
Let’s start with the night I was first introduced to JTF’s greatness. Rewind back some years to when Spelling Bee was on Broadway. I was a mere teenager, spending part of my summer studying at Juilliard. (Mocks herself in super pompous voice – “Ah, yes. I was studying at The Juilliard.”) It was my first summer in the City, and I loved every second of it.
I’d heard from some friends that The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was the one show I could not miss. They were right. I love a lot of musicals, but this one is my favorite. I had no idea what I was in for. I hadn’t heard any of the music. I hadn’t even heard a synopsis of the show. All I heard was, “Go.” So I did.
Thank goodness I went, and thank goodness I didn’t have any of the surprises ruined for me. The show is unbelievably fun and touching.
I identified so hard with different characters. (How does Rachel Sheinkin (or maybe Rebecca Feldman) get me so well?)
The thing I will take away most from that night is being absolutely mesmerized Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s performance as Leaf Coneybear. I had never seen anything quite like it, and I’ve never seen anything like it since. He’s a genius. Yeah, I’ll say it – genius.
It’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly what it was about his performance that I adored, but I’ll try. He played the part of the “dumb one.” He could’ve played “at” the character instead of really playing him. He also could’ve made a bunch of choices that we usually associate with “the dumb character” – and still given a great performance, but one we’d already seen in other places.
But, no. He was completely original – making every choice unique. His facial expressions, line deliveries, physical choices – all of it, everything – were unique, new, and different. Yet, they still made perfect sense for Leaf Coneybear. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. His performance was basically immobilizing. I couldn’t help but be sucked completely into his world.
(The whole cast was phenomenal. That show was magic onstage.)
Also, as if he wasn’t amazing enough as Leaf Coneybear – he was wonderful as Logan’s dad. (Actors play multiple roles in this show.) He completely transformed, and was equally as fun to watch in the dad role.
I was so emotionally involved in that show. It’s so good, I can’t even handle it. Ever since that night, I have been Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s biggest fan. I saw him in Spelling Bee 11 times. (And I would’ve seen if 11,000 times if I could’ve.)
I also saw him at Joe’s Pub, in Shakespeare in the Park, and in a few other things. It’s possible that there was a little stretch there where he may have possibly thought I was perhaps stalking him a tiny bit. Hopefully he didn’t.
Yes, I was at the stage door a lot, but what superfan isn’t? I guess the difference is – when you see Madonna 17 times, no one notices, ’cause so many people are doing it. But, I was a fan of Jesse Tyler Ferguson when not a ton of people were standing up and taking notice. So, I felt a little weird about it. (Yet, I continued to go see everything, and then pour compliments all over him after every show).
He was always the very nicest to me. I’m sure he doesn’t know who I am, but there was a time when he saw me so much that he recognized me. He was so kind. He asked questions about my life, and would remember answers and ask follow-ups the next time I saw him.
There was even a time when he was the outgoing message on my voicemail. However, since somehow the world was not wisening up to his talent, it always confused people when they went to leave a message and heard him refer to himself as my personal assistant. “Hmmm, do you, or do you not have a personal assistant? ‘Cause that kind of sounds like a joke message, but I don’t know who that person is… So…?” (I would get the most awkward voicemails.)
The point is, Jesse Tyler Ferguson was a total sweetheart. And the absolute most talented sweetheart at that. To me, his acting sets the bar.