Thursday, November 22, 2012


Dear Reader, 

I've been very busy running home after midnight wearing glass slippers and a puffy marshmallow coloured ball gown for the past couple of weeks in the Young People's Theatre production of Cinderella (a RATical retelling) in Toronto. 

Last week, I had the honour of writing for the National Post's special diary section of the newspaper. I had the privilege of writing about all of the pressing issues of princess-hood: from haircuts to prince charming. 

I wanted to share my royal qualms with you. 

Come see the show! And get your tickets here!

Princess Diary Day 1: This Cinderella Prefers to Wear Sweatpants with her Glass Slippers

I haven’t worn pants in weeks. Twenty-one days to be exact. In rehearsals, I’ve been sporting the kind of pants that you find at the bottom of the clothing chain: sweatpants.
Surely, actors are the only people in the world who can work in sweatpants and still become anyone they want. Two things: sweatpants make me think that I can eat all the candy I want and they look awful with any outfit.
This morning, we were having our very first rehearsal onstage and I made the decision to wear my tightest skinny jeans for the occasion. After arriving at rehearsal, I inconspicuously paraded around the green room area for 20 minutes waiting to see if anyone would notice or acknowledge my efforts. No compliments were made. Thank goodness I had packed an extra pair of sweatpants.

Princess Diary Day 2: This Cinderella's Got Sole

My feet hurt. Being royalty in those glass slippers isn’t as metaphorically comfortable as I was lead to believe. During rehearsal today, I was ironically singing the duet I’m Not a Princess when it hit me: “Look at me, ma! I’m going to be a princess!”

In a few days, this theatre is going to be filled with the sweet little gleaming eyes of giggly girls gasping at the sight of Cindy’s ball gown. After 23 years, not only am I finally fulfilling my dreams of becoming royalty, but I’m also fulfilling the dreams of hundreds of little girls. They are counting on me. As Spider-Man’s grandpa has said: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Am I ready for the ultimate transformation into princesshood under the glow of a fresnel light? Will those little girls accept the idea of a princess with a pixie cut? There are hundreds of versions of the Cinderella story, and very soon, I will be joining the long line of actresses who have played her. In the end, I know I must trust the shoes I am stepping into. Why? Because Cinderella’s shoes have sole.

I think I might die of laughter. Literally. Coming from a family of doctors, I was always brought up to be very precocious about my health. In rehearsals, I’ve been laughing, giggling, chuckling and snorting so hard with this exceptionally comically gifted cast, that I became worried that these fits of hilarity and merriment might be detrimental to my health. I consulted the very trustworthy Wikipedia and the results were shocking: “Death by laughter” exists!
I could not think of a more pleasant exit in life than what they call this rare case of fatal giggles. I’d be the happiest ghost to ever haunt the theatre! Will this princess be able to keep her composure to save her own life? I’ve started a laughing jar in my dressing room, and anytime I laugh a little too hard, I’m putting in $5 and donating the contents to the fictional Death by Laughter society for research. Or just buying a new crown.

As my humidifier is feverously buzzing, the clock hits 7:33 a.m. and my alarm rings. At 8, when I take out my retainers, I mean business. I start my warm-up ritual: Neti pot, oregano oil, saline spray, steamer, pastilles, olive oil, and I turn to Lola. Lola may be a yellow plastic pony with a pink mane, but don’t be fooled, she is a mascot of grace, beauty, strength and poise: Every quality a princess must possess.
When the clock reaches 8:30, I light my gluten-free, calorie-free scented candle as I stretch and let Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga serenade me. By 9, it’s time for the most sacred part of my warm-up ritual: watching videos of Carol Channing, the larger-than-life first comedic lady of musical theatre. The rule is: Always be yourself, unless you can be Carol Channing. Then always be Carol Channing.
At 9:30, I remind myself: “There is always a CAN in DiDomenicantonio.” Today isn’t any normal day: It’s opening night.

Tomorrow, I start my search of the kingdom. I was on the subway the other day on my way to rehearsal, and as I was sitting there in my sweatpants, I felt a pair of eyes watching me. As the subway came to a screeching halt at Museum station, the guy that had been sitting across from me got up and right before leaving the subway car, left a note on my lap that read: “You are so pretty.” And just like that he was gone.
After kissing so many frogs, had I just missed my Prince Charming at the chiming doors of the subway train? Just like the glass slipper, I will set out on a quest to find the man who matches the handwriting. It may take years to find him, but maybe fate, a fairy godmother, or even this published article in the National Post will bring us back together somehow. As I find my Prince Charming onstage, will I find him offstage?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Dear Reader,

2011 is upon us. Some things have changed- DADT was repealed, thanks to Lady Gaga. Some things haven’t changed- Susan Boyle still succeeds in making every song sound like a funeral. And, some things will just never change- Magic will never go out of style.

I’m sitting on my red couch with my Neti Pot (shout-out to Kyle Riabko), Oregano Oil, Advil, Saline Spray and Ricola Pastilles in close proximity to help my fever-ridden body type this blog. Needless to say, I feel like crepe. Preferably one filled with Nutella and strawberries. I’m just sitting here, waiting for my body to make a decision: Hot or Cold? (Thanks, Katy P.)

Magic happens everywhere in our lives, and what made me realize it was watching the movies Labyrinth, by Jim Henson, puppet master extraordinaire, and that cracked fairy-tale classic The Princess Bride for the first time. (And yes, I’ve been told multiple times that it’s weird that I’ve never seen Princess Bride, but, hey! I’m French!)

Sweet reader, there have been some strange, magical happenings in the universe lately… One morning, late last year, I woke up and made myself some breakfast, as per the usual. To my biggest surprise, I looked down into the pan and saw that I had fried the egg into a heart shape, purely accidentally. Then, I remembered my new neighbour was moving in that day. The egg was definitely a sign. What if my former neighbours were wrong? What if that single, older lady was not the one moving in but was actually surprising her tall-handsome-badass-well-spoken-and-preferably-blonde-and-muscular-like-Sam-from-Glee-SON with the new place?... When I stepped out to meet my girls for a drink that night, I ran into my new neighbour… And she is, in fact, and unfortunately, a single, older lady. A friendly hello and a handshake were exchanged. But, as I turned away from her and headed toward the elevator, I thought up the most brilliant of plans: drive her away by making her endure far too much horrible singing, day and night, making a proper night’s sleep nearly impossible, forcing her for health reasons to move away to a new place, finally fulfilling my dream of having a neighbour-turned-lover.

In the meantime, I felt that the universe owed me a big one for screwing up the neighbour-turned-lover thing. Shortly after this, the ladies of Spring Awakening we’re invited to perform “Mama Who Bore Me- Reprise” at the New York Stage and Film Winter Gala in December… Our first reunion performance! But that’s not all. The girls of Spring were also going to sing back-up vocals for the one and only, John Gallagher Jr. in “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. What a fantastic reward! I was one step closer to becoming his wife. This, dear reader, is real life magic.

If that wasn’t enough of a compensation: I shook Laura Linney’s hand and had a conversation with Jon Hamm, who plays the insatiable Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men. Santa had told me to buy the Mad Men season DVDs for Mama D as a Christmas gift and since then, I’ve watched every single episode and the show has become one of my absolute favourites. Blake Bashoff, former Spring Awakening star and scene partner, plays Mark in Season 4 and is as cute as a button.

Moving on and concentrating on the task at hand:

Labyrinth has everything I've ever wanted in a movie: Puppets, singing and David Bowie. There is an overall very dark tone to the film and a great lesson that is learned for both adults and children: be careful what you wish for. As for Bowie and Connelly, they do an excellent job considering their scene partners consist only of puppets. There was also something about seeing Bowie dance with a baby as he was singing that catchy tune "Magic Dance" that brought me so much joy and made my life almost complete. But then again, I wouldn't expect any less from a man whose eyes are two different colours.

The Princess Bride also has everything I've ever wanted in a movie: giant rats, kissing and a princess named Buttercup, which reminds me of one of my favourite treats. The Princess Bride achieves perfection in it's humour and corniness and to prove it, one of my favourite quotes from the movie was: "That day, she was amazed to discover that when he said "As you wish", what he meant was "I love you."" Really? It has the same amount of syllables, but I really felt as if Princess B was assuming a lot here. Even if it turns out to be true, you should never assume is all I'm saying. As Mama D always cautions: "Never assume- It will make an a** out of u and me." I feel that The Princess Bride has to be one of the most quotable movies of all time, along with Mean Girls. The overall tone of the film is so humorous and the colourful characters and hilarious place names, such as the "Pit of Despair" and the "Cliffs of Insanity", are what make the movie such a success, pleasing both adults and children alike. My absolute favourite quote is when Westley, after seeing Buttercup about to stab herself in the chest with a dagger, says: "There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours." This is hilarious and inappropriate, as Westley and Buttercup have not yet been married, but I hope that those of you who saw Spring Awakening understand Wendla and Melchior's cautionary tale. 

If the magic in both these films isn’t enough for you, dear friend, read on. On Christmas Eve, Santa came down the chimney, as he usually does and I stayed up for him with a glass of bourbon and some duck reduced-fat confit salad, as I do each year. We’ve had some pretty enlightening conversations and he wanted me to share with you all that, whoever started the whole “leave Santa a plate of cookies” thing, was trying to sabotage him. Santa has been trying to loose weight for years. But to not disappoint all the boys and girls, he has to eat those cookies and milk left out for him. Anyway, he brought me exactly what I wanted: a copy of the album “The Gift” and a new MacBook Pro. How exciting! This is definitely magic. As I type this blog on my new baby, I’m truly lovin’ it except I’m really missing that backspace key. But like new lovers and old, they can’t always be perfect. Thanks for everything, PC. It was good while it lasted and we had some pretty good times editing Totally Trucked videos together, but I’m over you. I’m sorry to have to do this via blog via my new lover but this is my official breakup letter. Go catch a virus for someone else! Speaking of viruses, it’s during days like these, when sickness takes over, that I wish said neighbour-turned-lover would come take care of me. It would be so practical and useful, not to mention passionate.

BOTTOM LINE: Magic is everywhere in your everyday life! Have a night of unique and quirky, (Alliteration Alert) fabulous and fantastical family fun with the films Labyrinth and The Princess Bride!

FUN FACTS: Did you know that the character of Hoggle, in Labyrinth, is voiced by Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson? And that Sarah’s baby brother, Toby, is actually played by conceptual artist Brian Froud’s real son, Toby! (Can you imagine being just a baby and having that credit on your resume? “Starred opposite David Bowie in Labyrinth”) Did you know that Andre the Giant, who play’s giant Fezzik in The Princess Bride, suffered from a hormonal disorder that makes a gland produce excess growth hormone?

LABYRINTH- 4 Exits out of 5
THE PRINCESS BRIDE- 4.5 Brides out of 5

As a side note and conclusion, I’d like to mention that I went on a date with a magician once. He showed me quite a few of tricks that day but wouldn’t reveal any of his secrets. Needless to say, it didn’t work out between us. Also needless to say, don’t date or marry a magician in hopes you’ll learn their secrets. You’ll never find out, no matter how hard you try to seduce. The heartache isn’t worth it. 

Steffi D and her fever say thank you for reading this blog.

If I can sleep tonight, I shall dream a dream in time gone by. Thanks, Suzie B.

Ste-fever D

P.S. If you didn’t catch my fabulous performance in the holiday themed McDonald's commercial, watch it here right now! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010


That quote is from the Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall and it describes perfectly how I feel about it. I lurve it, loave it, luff it.
If my personality was a movie, it would be a Woody Allen movie. If I were older, Woody Allen would probably be my husband. If a biopic of my life was made, it would have to be written, produced and directed by Woody Allen. Hell, I would even cast him to play me. (In a bob, a discobra and a tutu, of course).
From start to finish, this movie made me hoot and holler and really ask myself “How did he come up with this?”. The script is so hilarious, witty, zany and delicious. The simple life story of a couple is told absolutely extraordinarily, with humour so sincere that anyone who has ever been in a mildly dysfunctional relationship can understand. Having been in a few mildly dysfunctional relationships myself, I definitely understood the movie's humour. Amen.
The strongest forces of storytelling are at work in this movie!
Woody Allen is the Gaga of film making. Let’s look at the evidence. Mr. Allen uses so many different storytelling devices: asides (talking directly into the camera or breaking the fourth wall in theatre drives me kind of insane. But with Mr. Allen, there is love in heaven, all will be forgiven), animation, subtitles and just plain genius that’s brilliantly executed. Not to mention, every aspect that contributes to the plot is hysterical. Alvie (Woody Allen) grows up in a house situated under a rollercoaster... Who would think of that?! His character also sneezes into cocaine in the movie, which I read was actually accidental but was kept in the film. What makes this movie so magical is that it’s so SIMPLE. Annie Hall basically consists of long shots of people talking. That’s it. And it’s brilliant.
And don’t even get me started on Diane Keaton’s outfits in the film! Her iconic, distinctive look in the movie consists of layering over sized, mannish blazers or vests with huge trousers or long skirts, boots and ties. Diane came up with it first, Avril. You’re not fooling anyone. After some research on Google (an invaluable tool my mother swears by to find anything from cooking recipes to the meaning of Life itself), I found out that the outfits that Ms. Keaton wore in the film were actually her own clothes!  
One of my favourite quotes from the movie definitely brought me back to my days touring with Spring Awakening: (The next sentence is rated R. Stop reading right now if you are underage and do not have a legal guardian present. I’m serious. I warned you. If you keep reading, I’m going to assume you are of age. Alright. Carry on.) “Hey! Don’t knock masturbation! It’s sex with someone I love!” We got a Hanschen in da house.
In other news, I wanted to share with all my fellow Canadians, that during the holidays, on English and French networks in Canada, I will be seen in a McDonald’s commercial! I was on set two weeks ago and boy, what a thrill it was! Special shout-out to McDonald’s fries. So salty, so perfect. Keep your eyes peeled and let me know if I come up on your TV screen! I’m extremely glad that my magical haircut will finally be making national television.  
As I type this, my not-anymore-neighbours are on the plane to sunny Los Angeles, California. They are both brilliant Comedians! (Watch their YouTube famous comedy sketch here! Over 6 million views!)
As I was watching Annie Hall and daydreaming, I thought about what my new neighbour was going to look like: tall, handsome, badass, well-spoken and preferably blond and muscular like Sam from Glee... At our first meeting, he will knock at my door and introduce himself. But soon enough, our relationship will take a dangerously passionate turn. Can you imagine? Neighbours by day, lovers by night?... Then, as I said goodbye to my two lovely neighbours last night, I asked who was moving in and they said: “A single older lady”. I heard “single” and got really excited but the rest definitely shattered my dreams.
There are many places to find love, dear reader, but it seems at this point in time, it will not be my new neighbour.  Unless she convinces me that she’s not too old for me and seduces me with the idea of making me baked goods all day, every day, seven days a week... But who knows? She might be tall, handsome, badass, well-spoken, blond and muscular like Sam from Glee...
BOTTOM LINE: I’m going to be in a McDonald’s commercial and my new neighbour is most likely not going to be the love of my life. Also, Annie Hall instantly finds a spot on my “favourite movies” list. Three words: simple, quirky, irresistible (the movie, not me). It’s comedy everyone will love! Watch it with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your boyfriend/girlfriend’s best friend, or lover, or your hot neighbour, or whoever strikes your fancy.  
1. What gets trapped behind the refrigerator in the movie?                                                
2. Where do Alvie and Annie initially  meet?
3. What’s the first song Annie sings in the film?
(Answers at the bottom of this blog! No cheaters allowed. But if you haven’t seen the movie, be my guest.)
FUN FACT: Did you know, although Woody Allen has denied this, that the movie contains many biographical similarities to his life? Woody Allen and Diane Keaton (whose real name is Diane Hall) had dated before the movie was made...
RATING:  5 Annies out of 5!

Well, “I’m due back on planet earth”, where are you headed?
Party Time.

Movie Trivia Answers:
1. A Lobster  2. Playing Tennis  3. “It Had to Be You”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Yes. Yes, it is a very strange world. Especially if you’ve seen the cult classic Blue Velvet, a film by David Lynch.
Earlier this month, I watched Mulholland Drive and attempted to watch Eraserhead, because Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer had told us that Moritz’s hair is based on the title character. When I say “attempt” I mean I watched the first 15 minutes and couldn’t deal. Eraserhead was far too disturbing in the first 15 minutes and let me tell you that the images in those first 15 minutes still haunt me and this is coming from a gal who sat through Paranormal Activity without flinching. (However, I was unable to sleep for a week.)
David Lynch’s movies aren’t scary per se, but they are mighty disturbing and unsettling. His images are really nightmarish. I found myself looking away from the screen many times during Blue Velvet, because I didn’t want the images to be lodged in my subconscious forever, because I felt they definitely had the power to go there.
I had prepared dinner before popping in the VHS (Yes, I still own a VCR player). (Tangent: Isn’t it weird how you don’t put a VCR into a VCR? You put a VHS into a VCR. Oh, the mysteries of life.) Right, dinner: I made myself Indian Mango Fake-Chicken (I’m a vegetarian) with Rice and Naan Bread. I was really looking forward to this meal because I had really applied myself. Mama D would have been proud.
Blue Velvet’s opening scene takes place in a pretty suburban town and a man falls to the ground while watering his plants.  The images are really bright and colourful. BUT, I have learned that pretty images don’t last long in Lynch’s movies.
Sure enough, the camera digs into the ground to reveal big, disgusting beetles roaming around in the dirt. Gross. I have a complex that when I see bugs, I imagine them right away in my mouth. I understand that this is a very strange statement, but I feel it comes from something that happened in my childhood. I was in Florida with my family as a little girl and found a dead dried bug near a plant. I guess I must have been hungry, because I picked it up and started chomping on it. Daddy D asked me what I was eating and I showed him the dried mutilated bug in my hand and he thankfully scooped it out of my mouth. Needless to say, I have a bug eating complex. And as I write this, you have no idea how difficult it is to NOT imagine bugs in my mouth. (To make matters worse, after a phone conversation with my mother today, she confirmed it was a beetle that I bit into, ironically enough.)
MOVING ON. That definitely cut my appetite and I considered turning off the movie. But then I considered the metaphorical aspect of the image: On the surface, it looks like a perfect suburban town, but underneath lies the sinful creatures of the underworld. Right and Wrong, Good and Evil are recurring themes in the movie.
Eventually, the young, handsome leading man (Kyle MacLaghlan) finds a severed human ear in a field and love (Laura Dern, not the ear. Although it would make for an interesting plot twist). P.S. Through all of this, I am still trying to eat dinner. The young man, Jeffrey, then decides to find the origin of this crime throughout the movie and this gets him into all sorts of trouble.   
What a strange movie and an unsettling mystery. The crazy thing is that it almost didn’t even feel like a movie, it felt more like a nightmare. Lynch is considered a “post-modern” movie-maker, which is, I think, a great excuse for nothing making sense. Nonetheless, I did really enjoy the movie and especially Dennis Hopper’s performance in the role of the ultimate sadist villain, Frank Booth.
In the end, I have no interpretation to offer for this movie. I think that David Lynch’s movies are works of art and don’t need to have a specific meaning or interpretation. We take a ride into his twisted imagination for a couple of hours and that is enough for me. The only problem is that these images really stay with you. (God only knows how I am watching all these super creepy movies all alone in the darkness of my apartment and still find the courage to turn off the lights in my bedroom at night.)
If my asymmetrical bob would take the form of a movie, it would be a David Lynch film.
BOTTOM LINE: This is not a date movie. And it is definitely not for the weak of heart. I suggest watching it alone in your apartment one night or watching it with someone you want to impress or look smarter than and discuss whatever you’ve read in this blog. Oh yeah, and this movie is definitely rated R for a reason.
FUN FACT: Did you know that Kyle Riabko was named after the actor Kyle MacLachlan? On his 23rd  birthday this past September, Mr. MacLaghlan actually gave Mr. Riabko a call to wish him well!
BLUE VELVET- Rating: 4 yards of blue velvet fabric out of 5  
MULHOLLAND DRIVE- Rating: 4 Roads out of 5

Sleep tight, don't let David Lynch bite.
Protect your children.
The D 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Introduction to the Ultimate Actor's Blog: The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Reading

This morning felt like any other morning.
8:45am- I wake up, check twitter and try to think of anything witty or cute or mildly entertaining to tweet. I come up with “What are you having for breakfast?”... Which, I guess, falls into the “cute” category.
9:15am- Still in my cartoon owl jammies, I decide to get creative and make French toast with Strawberries for breakfast. While I devour the delicious eggy bread and real Canadian maple syrup, I try to think of anything else I could tweet that’s witty or cute or mildly entertaining.
9:30am- I have my multi-vitamin and extra Calcium and Vitamins C, D and B. (Vitamin B is my personal favourite because it is a rather large gummy that I very much enjoy chewing.)
9:45am- I check my e-mail. 5 Facebook notifications, a note from my agent, a handful of new Twitter followers (I’m at 1, 592!) and Mama D.  She has an idea. You see, I’ve been making my way through the best movies of all time, so my mama-who-bore-me suggested in her e-mail that I start a blog like Julie from Julie and Julia, who goes through all of Julia Child’s recipes and blogs about it. Thanks for the idea Mama-who-bore-me. In this case, you have not made me so bad or sad and I’m relieved to say that there will be sleep in Heaven and Bethlehem.
10am- Nothing is the same ever again. A new moment in the short history of my life so far: I start a blog.
And so, dear reader, I am making my way through all the “movies you must see before you die” and would love to share my thoughts and hear yours! I’m going to attempt to rate and review these movies, as well as plays I’ve been seeing and reading, and, of course, I’ll keep you posted on what I’ve been up to in the big T Dot. Because sometimes, 140 characters is not enough.
Love and Blue Wind Forever.
Let the party begin.
Steffi D