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Imagine, if you will, the Pillsbury Doughboy with Peter Brady’s haircut and Truman Capote’s voice. Add a sprinkling of the fear of being touched and the social anxiety of a shy Chihuahua. That was me at 18, and in December 2008, that guy decided it was a good idea to take a trip to New York City all by himself.

To reiterate why this cultural experiment was destined for failure, I should mention I was born and raised in Clovis, Calif., a small town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley — you know, where they end up in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Clovis is a place of spacious farmland, quiet suburbs, ample street parking and trucks with testicle ornaments. It couldn’t be more different from the Big Apple, which is probably why I spent much of my adolescence wishing Kristin Chenoweth would show up in Glinda the Good Witch’s bubble and take me there.

In 2008, my spirit guides must have paid off their gambling debts, because I was unexpectedly presented with a plethora of life-changing opportunities. In June, I graduated from high school; that September, I auditioned and booked the pilot of “Glee”; in October, I briefly moved to Los Angeles to shoot it; and in November, I had neck surgery from the whiplash of it all. Actually, it was just to have my wisdom teeth removed, but I was under the influence of Vicodin nonetheless.

During this narcotic haze, I kept in touch with my “Glee” co-stars (I also sent a lot of emails to Condoleezza Rice, but that’s a different story.) Although I don’t remember it, I somehow managed to invite myself to the apartment that Lea Michele and Jenna Ushkowitz shared on the Upper West Side.

“You’re going to New York City … by yourself?” my mom was shocked to learn. “But Christopher, you’ve never even been to the doctor by yourself.”

“Mom, life is about stepping outside your comfort zone,” I replied — or maybe I said: “Cut the umbilical cord, Mrs. Bates! I’m going to see my friends!” I can’t remember.

I fully expected Lea or Jenna would greet me when I arrived at Kennedy International Airport — but I quickly learned that’s not how it worked in a big city in 2008. Getting into the taxi of a complete stranger was the most terrifying experience of my life up to that point. I was convinced that I would be whisked away and murdered like one of the victims in “The Bone Collector.” I was too afraid to look my driver in the eye or try pronouncing his foreign name (it was Gerald, by the way). The taxi’s door locks were broken and clicked loudly whenever the vehicle accelerated, so naturally, I thought gangsters were shooting at us.

Suddenly, everything changed as the Manhattan skyline came into view. My fears of being murdered faded away and were replaced with a wave of wonder. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t feel — all I could do was stare in bewilderment at the towering buildings in the distance. I had seen “The Wizard of Oz” a million times, but until that moment on the bridge, I never knew how Dorothy felt when seeing the Emerald City. It was as bittersweet as it was magical, because I knew I’d never see New York for the first time again.

At 3 in the morning on my first night, a garbage truck rumbled down the narrow street outside and rattled the whole building. I leapt from a deep slumber on the couch and ran into the kitchen. After some reassurance, the girls tucked me back in, but I couldn’t sleep another wink.

My mission for the week was to see as many Broadway shows as possible. My first New York theater experience was a preview of “Shrek the Musical,” and boy, did all the families from the Midwest and I love it! I also saw “Gypsy,” with Patti LuPone; “Hairspray,” with Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur; “Mary Poppins”; “Avenue Q”; and “Spring Awakening” three times. But nothing compared with the musical number in “Shrek” when Sutton Foster tap danced with the rats. It just tickled me.

Jenna was still in “Spring Awakening” during my visit, so I spent a lot of time backstage at the Eugene O’Neill Theater with her fellow cast members. Playing it cool and pretending I didn’t know every detail about their personal lives and theater credits was my best performance to date. When I wasn’t being a creepy groupie, Jenna would kindly walk me to the theater of my selected performance before her call time, drop me off and then pick me up after our shows. It was the closest thing to adult day care I hope to ever experience.

The night I saw “Hairspray,” however, disaster struck! When the show was over, Jenna texted me and asked if I could catch a cab and meet her back at the apartment. My palms became clammy at the very thought of hailing a taxi on my own. The task was nearly impossible as all the shows in the theater district were letting out at that exact same time. I finally managed to snag a cab, but it was swiped by a stealth family in foam Lady Liberty crowns.

Just as I worried I’d be stranded in Times Square forever, I was hit by what I thought was a stroke of total genius. I sneaked inside a hotel lobby, hid in the bathroom for 45 minutes, pretended to be a guest as I re-emerged, and had the doorman hail me a cab. I was so relieved, I tipped him 15 bucks.

As I rode back to Lea and Jenna’s apartment that night, I was beaming with more pride than I had ever felt. Apparently the cruel streets of New York City were no match for the cunning farm boy from Clovis.

“Well, how was New York?” my mom asked later as she sprayed my shoes and luggage with Lysol.

I told her how the Bone Collector had driven me into the city, how I was awakened by a deafening garbage truck, how I had braved the crowded theaters on Broadway, and how I had conned my way into a cab after a taxi was taken from me at knife point. Admittedly, I may have exaggerated a few things.

“Oh my,” she said. “I guess you won’t be going back to New York City anytime soon.”

“What are you talking about?” I said. “It was amazing!”

Source: nytimes.com

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Stranger Than Fanfiction
Written by Chris Colfer
Release: February 28, 2017

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime–but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he’s been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.
Julie's Greenroom
Chris as himself (episode 2)
Release: March 17, 2017 on Netflix

Ms. Julie and her assistant Gus (Giullian Yao Gioiello) will bring the performing arts to a new generation of kids known as the “Greenies,” played by original puppet characters built by the renowned Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Trollbella Throws a Party:
A Tale from the Land of Stories

Written by Chris Colfer
Release: July 11, 2017

It's Queen Trollbella's birthday and she's throwing herself an epic celebration. She has everything a troll girl would want: musicians, magical creatures, carnival rides, a gigantic cake, and more. So why isn't she having any fun? Trollbella knows something is missing, until she meets a goblin boy sneaking into her party. It's his birthday too! When Trollbella decides to share her party, she knows she's finally figured out what is missing. A happy kingdom and learning to give back is the best gift she could've ever received.
The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide
Written by Chris Colfer
Release: July 11, 2017

In the highly anticipated conclusion to the Land of Stories series, Conner and Alex must brave the impossible. All of the Land of Stories fairy tale characters--heroes and villains--are no longer confined within their world! With mayhem brewing in the Big Apple, Conner and Alex will have to win their biggest battle yet. Can the twins restore order between the human and fairy tale world?
Since My Life Began
Chris as Noel Coward
Release: tba

A story focused on the early life of flamboyant playwright Noel Coward.
Oct 16 - 'The Land of Stories: The Ultimate Book Hugger's Guide' Release
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