Michael James Scott and Jessica Rush go back… like, way back. The Book of Mormon’s resident doc and the Jersey Boys’ main squeeze have numerous Broadway credits to their name, but the two companions met during their freshman year of high school. Now they’re both starring on Broadway, just three blocks away from each other! The duo celebrated their friendship with a picnic in Central Park, and our photographer Jenny Anderson caught all the intimate (but strictly platonic) moments!
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of Michael and Jessica!
How and when did you meet your BFF?
Jessica: First day of high school, Miss Frink’s class, September 1995. (17 years this month!)
Michael: We officially met in homeroom of our freshman year of high school on the first day of school at our performing arts high school in Orlando, FL, where her father was my first theater teacher.
What was your first impression of each other?
Jessica: That he was outgoing and personable and open to making lots of friends.
Michael: My first impression of Jessica was who is this preppy girl sitting in the front with her Keds shoes on looking like a young Julia Roberts with all that hair? I thought she was a very pretty girl who was quiet.
When was the moment you knew it was BFF material?
Jessica: I think when you’re doing a pas de deux in your swimming pool to Kenny G, it pretty much seals the deal.
Michael: She hates me telling this story, but the moment I knew it was BFF was when we were sitting on a stage during a break of a senior-directed piece (by Tony Yazbeck) of Song and Dance, and Jess and I were sitting in a second position. Jessica was wearing bright yellow sweatpants that were her dad’s and as we were stretching she let one rip, and we just laughed and laughed forever after that, and it was so unexpected from such a preppy little lady that I thought this is gonna be my BFF for sure. It was a brilliant moment and I’ll never forget it and we were like 14 years old… amazing.
Name three adjectives to describe your BFF.
Jessica: Joyful, gregarious, FIERCE!
Michael: Loyal, compassionate and stunning.
What do you call each other?
Jessica: Just Michael.
Michael: BFF or Bestie (we actually do, it’s hilarious).
If you formed a band together, what would its name be?
Jessica: B2: Bald & Blonde Duo.
Michael: For sure, Ebony and Ivory.
What’s the best gift your BFF ever got you?
Jessica: The book he gave me on my wedding day detailing the year leading to the big day… and his friendship.
Michael: When she asked me to be her man of honor for her wedding and at that point, it had been over 15 years of BFFness.
What should the title of your BFF’s memoir be?
Jessica: Fierce, Boo: The Story of the Always Working Michael James Scott
Michael: The Adventures of a Rush: The Little Girl Who Was On Stage Before She Was Born.
If you could be in any show together, what would it be?
Jessica: Well, I love some Ragtime… maybe Side Show. Just so long as we don’t have to play love interests… that would not work; we’d never stop laughing!
Michael: Well, we got to be in Mamma Mia! together, which was brilliant because we had to both understudy the leads and rehearse the make-out scenes together and we could never do it. It was a disaster and so funny, so it would be awesome for us to get to do as how where we get to be friends onstage and be fierce. I don’t think it’s been written yet. Maybe we could be in the revival of Side Show! Actually, we could do Miss Saigon together. That would be fun!
What annoying habits do you find adorable in your BFF?
Jessica: I’m sorry… what? :)
Michael: How much she worries. It’s adorable because it’s about everything, and I have to sometimes get on her to stop and just let it be, but it’s my Jess so I love her for it.
What trait do you admire most about each other?
Jessica: The fact that he pretty much always has a smile on his face… I’d die to be that positive all the time.
Michael: I admire her compassion. She is unbelievably compassionate and I admire that the most. She has the most incredible heart and is always looking out for her people in her life and I just admire that genuine trait about her. It’s a pretty phenomenal blessing to have that presence of someone in your life and I’m truly grateful.
Who is your friend’s celebrity equivalent and why?
Jessica: Oprah, who?
Michael: I think Julia Roberts. I’ve always thought about this. She looks like her to me, but Julia Roberts has this classic beauty about her and beautiful spark about her that has made her the big celebrity we know of today, and Jessica has that about her. I also think Jessica is a big ol’ SUPERSTAR and has the goods to be just as big!
What about your BFF makes you jealous?
Jessica: His wardrobe!
Michael: How ridiculously beautiful she is and she doesn’t even know it. It’s insane. Literally to walk down the street with her and see the heads turn is so brilliant and I love it and of course love being jealous of it!
I can always count on my BFF to…
Jessica: Be there to lean on and pick me up and be there with diet Pepsi and tater tots to make things better.
Michael: Be there for me at any time, day or night, to be real and honest in every way, to be fair and loyal and compassionate about everything, to make me laugh like a crazy person when she tells a story or just being sassy, to letting me be my crazy self and loving me for me (I’m one blessed boy).