"So, when we got to the stage door, there were probably about 15-20 people waiting, although it became clear that several of those groups were friends/family members of various cast members and left with them when they emerged. I brought rainbow-colored Sharpies with me for the cast to sign, as I had visions of getting the whole cast to sign and having a rainbow playbill because that just felt right to me. However, we were up in the balcony for the first night, and it was rather difficult to recognize faces. Also, nobody else was asking them to sign anything, and they were moving rather quickly, so we felt awkward stopping them and trying to figure out who they were in the show. In the end, it was just me and @crossroadscastiel, two women who seemed to know Randy (when he came out he went right toward them, gave them hugs, and I heard him thanking them for “the tickets,”), another couple where the woman already seemed to have a program signed by multiple people, and then a guy by himself.

When he came over to me, I was awkwardly wrestling with all the items I was holding (I had a bag of souvenirs, an umbrella, the playbill, and my Sharpies) and apologized for being so awkward, and he assured me it was all right. He looked down at all my Sharpies and kind of went “wow” and I said that I just really liked office supplies, that the group outside had a whole conversation about it while we were waiting (which was true! If people weren’t into Papermate Inkjoys before that evening, they were by the time they left!), and he could choose his favorite color to sign with. He chose turquoise.

Then I told him I loved all of what he had said about HB2, and that I thought the I’ll Go With You program was so important and that I know that especially when I was younger, and struggling with my sexual identity and afraid to even consider I was anything but straight, that it would have meant a lot to me to see someone I respected using their position of visibility to take a stand for others and I wanted to say thank you. He listened to me ramble awkward (I was nowhere near as eloquent as I had hoped) and kept eye contact with me the entire time, and said thank you, that it was the least he could do, and people really seemed to like it.

At that point I realized I had never even introduced myself (wow, way to go, Em, nice job failing Social Etiquette 101), so I finally did that, and Randy shook my hand and said “Hi, I’m Randy,” and everybody laughed and it was super cute.

Finally, I awkwardly asked for a photo, and he said of course, and it turned out pretty well and I’m so pleased. Randy is TINY. For context, I’m just under 5′6″ and was wearing heels that are about 2.5″, and I think I was slightly taller than him. He’s also small in stature, and has definitely lost weight since starting the show. He’s just a tiny, precious, sweet, gracious adorable man, and so kind even though I was unbelievably awkward.

I was so nervous though I realized after we said goodbye that not only did I forget to introduce myself till midway through, I forgot to say anything about the show! And I am KICKING myself because it was INCREDIBLE. We went in completely unspoiled (well, I had seen the movie a few years ago, but once I knew Randy was in it and that I’d be seeing it, I very intentionally avoided videos and in-depth reviews because I didn’t want to know, and honestly, that was the BEST decision. If you’re planning on seeing it and don’t know how it ends or what happens, do NOT look it up, no matter how tempting it may be. The first night the audience was so stunned by the ending there was dead silence for a long moment at the end of the final scene, and it gave me actual chills. Do NOT miss out on that experience! Although the second time Holly and I knew what was happening and we both agreed we were MORE devastated the second time around – I spent most of the second act teary-eyed and was outright crying for the last 15-20 minutes – so what do I know?) But seriously, being completely objective, the show was FANTASTIC. Holly and I only planned on seeing it Friday night, and as soon as we got back to the hotel we were booking tickets for the next day. The entire cast is brilliant and SO talented (seriously, even the “background” characters have to be able to sing, dance, act, AND play an instrument WELL…plus they’re all GORGEOUS), but Randy and Andrea Goss were truly spectacular. So I’m really bummed about that, but don’t worry – I have a plan. (And Holly was much more collected than me and actually DID tell Randy it was a great show and he said “Thank you, I’m Randy” again as he shook her hand, hahaha.)

But yes, that’s basically it. I got overwhelmed by the show and by Randy and started rambling on about how much I love office supplies, but Randy was as sweet as could be. Also, while I knew it before, actually meeting Randy in person REALLY emphasized for me that Randy is NOT Justin Taylor, and vice versa. There was literally not one moment when we were talking that I thought of him as Justin, or thought “oh wow, this is Justin’s voice that is talking to me.” Pure Randy. It didn’t even occur to me until we were back at the hotel that I had just chatted with the man who played one of my favorite characters. And I can still think about QAF and not worry that the “Justin Taylor mystique” has been altered in any way. Justin is still Justin, and Randy is Randy, and that’s just lovely."

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