An Actress and Her Dresser

The relationship between a stage actress and her dresser is special, sacred, pure. Julia has been with me eleven years, since my first Broadway job, Éponine understudy in the revival of Les Mis. We forged a bond on that show over double-chocolate cupcakes, Christopher Walken impressions, and late nights gossiping as she helped me out of my skirt while I’d pass gas. From there, she joined me on The Music Man, my first lead role. Julia stood behind me in my dressing room every night tailoring my dress, listening to my stories of new love and heartbreak while I silently slid farts into her face. When you work so closely with someone and form that sacrosanct bond, you notice them change. Over the four years of that show, Julia’s stunning green eyes became bloodshot and stained with pink rashes, her arms and thighs thinned out as she couldn’t keep her dinner down after I’d hold my ankles to stretch my hamstrings and pump ass-rips point-blank into her nose every evening. South Pacific was next, one of my all-time favorite roles. During previews, Patti LuPone taught me that Broadway audiences are seated far enough away from the stage that the star of the show can piss in her dress and no one will notice. She was right. Each night I’d unload a full bladder of hot urine all over my legs, tights, underwear, and dress, and I was able to hit a high-C note I’d never hit before without all that nasty yellow slush weighing me down. Julia was there for me backstage every night, listening to me anxiously ramble about choosing an outfit for the Tonys while she wrung gallons of foul brine from my skirt into a filthy plastic bucket. Then it was Shrek The Musical, and Julia was right behind me every afternoon, painting my ass green while I wolfed down chicken parms and cracked long, creaky-door shit-screams into her open mouth. But that was the last time we partners — friends; sisters, really — had the privilege of working together. Kristin Chenoweth had told me Patti’s advice wasn’t the full story; that leading ladies on Broadway are also able to evacuate their bowels on stage without anyone in the audience, including critic Ben Brantley of the New York Times, noticing. I ate a sloppy serving of sardine lasagna before that night’s show, and Julia — as always — pulled me into Fiona’s dress while my buttcheeks flapped hot firecracker snaps into her bare hands. During the finale of “I’m a Believer,” I felt a rumbling and took Kristen’s advice, crab-dancing stage right and incorporating a squat into the choreographed moves to discreetly empty my colon onto the stage. Considering what I’d had for dinner, the turd came out miraculously clean and solid. Relieved, I resumed the groove and shuffled center-stage for the final bars, but a red dot of light appeared in my vision. Up in the balcony, a man in a black Security hat aimed a sniper rifle at my face. He saw what I did, and it was forbidden. Kristen grinned in the front row and I knew I’d been sabotaged. The sniper squeezed his trigger, firing a long bullet through my green skull, staining the forest backdrop red. As I passed away onstage, I soiled myself one last time, filling Fiona’s stunning emerald dress — Julia’s masterpiece — with a devil’s chowder of brown piss and thin diarrhea.

I look down now at my funeral as Julia takes the stage for a eulogy. My best friend, my sister who was by my side through it all.

“Thank god that pig is dead,” she says.

The crowd rises to their feet, erupts in a standing ovation.