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An Action-Packed Thursday


Most Juilliard students have pretty hectic schedules, but third-year actor Ryan Spahn’s December 13 was a little more diverse than most, from his pre-dawn mystery job to a wrap party for a short film he’d just made with his boyfriend, Group 32 alum Michael Urie—and going to class and joining his classmates in the new Ogden Nash revue Nosh on Nash in between. Ryan and Michael live on the Upper West Side with their cat, Dawson, and their dog, Sprouts.

Michael Urie and Ryan Spahn

Michael Urie (left) and Ryan Spahn.

(Photo by Benedict Evans)


5:20 a.m. I wake up to do this job that can only be defined as Fight Club: the first rule of the job is you can’t talk about the job. To anyone. Ever. At least, not in writing. What I can say is this: it’s like Jerry Springer in that I play a character and fight with a make-believe mate or friend, it pays super well, and it takes about 20 minutes to do. It’s also legal, I promise, and I’ve been doing it for more than six years. So I “work,” I finish, and I head back to bed.

9:30 a.m. Wake up for good this time. Michael and I have just finished making a short film called The Hyperglot, which wrapped last night. This morning, people will be arriving to close down the production office—our apartment. I was the line producer on the job, so I need to finish payroll before class. Michael was the director.  

9:47 a.m. Michael and I take Sprouts for a walk, get a bagel and a coffee, and enjoy some quiet time. We don’t see each other a lot because of school and his work schedule.

12 p.m. I’m pushing a wheelchair up 11th Avenue. I borrowed it for the film shoot (we used it as a dolly) from James Gregg, the schedule and production coordinator of the Drama Division. James isn’t there, so I leave it in his office.

12:56 p.m. Heading to my first class—they gave us the morning off because we opened our show, Nosh on Nash, last night. The class is Religion and Science with Prof. Anthony Lioi. I still haven’t finished my bagel—that’s for class.

2:01 p.m. The topic is the Apocalypse, but we finish early so we can fill out the forms evaluating our teacher’s performance. He was—is—a fantastic teacher. 

2:21 p.m. Run to Gourmet Garage to grab a coffee before heading to the second-year production of King Lear. I also get a PB&J—the best food.

4:47 p.m. The second-years did a fantastic job on King Lear. They continually impress everybody in the division. I’m contemplating going to the gym for 30 minutes—we have a 6 p.m. call for tonight’s 8 p.m. Nosh on Nash curtain. I decide to go to the gym and read scenes for the movie Woven, which I co-wrote and which will be filming next Monday and over Christmas break. The gym gives me some alone time before the show.  

5:18 p.m. Not much of a workout—I run for like 20 minutes and do some push-ups and sit-ups and then take off. I figure it’s better than nothing, especially if I do it every day.

5:24 p.m. Grab dinner at Gourmet Garage. I still need to shower.

5:47 p.m. Out of the shower and getting dressed. The entire cast is in the dressing room, getting ready for the 15-minute group warm-up at 6.

5:51 p.m. I sneak into a practice room to work on my song for singing class. “Issue in Question” from Triumph of Love. I get a few good rounds in.

6:02 p.m. The group warm-up begins—vocal and physical stretches that help us with focus, articulation, breath, and simply getting our mind into the show.

6:22 p.m. Heading back to the second floor to grab free candy from Margot. I try not to go every day, as I feel like I am stealing, but, well, it doesn’t really work. I always end up there. She’s got the best candy. 

7 p.m. Song and dance call on the stage. We run through our numbers. I do a lot of pushups during the songs I’m not in. It helps keep my energy up.

7:12 p.m. Begin the process of gelling the hair, getting on the makeup, and changing into my tuxedo. Sam Lilja, Lars Berge, and I all play Ogden Nash in his prime. (The play is an adult kickback to classic fable storytelling.)

7:24 p.m. I receive a very intense phone call from my sister regarding a family friend. I do my best to handle it without getting distracted from the show.

7:45 p.m. Sam, Lars, and I head into a practice room to run through our opening sequence. Sometimes we speak in unison, so we need to make sure that our Boston accents, timing, sound, and vocal dynamic are all in sync. 

7:55 p.m. The ensemble goes into a practice room and we do a group game that we have learned from our teacher, Moni Yakim, who’s also the director of Nosh on Nash. This helps to get us all excited and thrilled to perform with each other.

8:07 p.m. The curtain goes up!

10:18 p.m. Nosh on Nash ends and the crowd erupts into applause. We congratulate each other, change out of our costumes, and shower. I didn’t have any friends attend the show, so I head home.

10:21 p.m. I call my sister back to discuss the family situation. I wish I was home with them all. Then I call Michael to talk with him about it. I love him.

10:32 p.m. I arrive at the 300 Bowling Lanes at Chelsea Piers for the wrap party with the cast and crew of The Hyperglot. Michael and my classmates Alex Sharp and Lars Berge come with me. I bowl about 125—not nearly as high as Lars, who’s much more competitive.

12:02 p.m. After taking a cab home, Michael and I grab Sprouts for a late-night walk down 57th Street.

12:18 p.m. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and lie down with Michael, Dawson, and Sprouts. We’re all asleep within 30 seconds.

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