Sunday, March 31, 2013

3/28/13-3/30/13: Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls is far away. 


It took 2 days, 3 bus trips and 2 plane rides for us to get there - and we arrived just in time to look around a tiny bit before our first show.  And it also surprised me (that's been happening a lot - apparently my inner view of what the country is like is all askew - but hey they say travel broadens the mind).  The city itself has a very hipster feel to it - lots of trendy looking shops and not one chain restaurant in site - all trendy locally owned ones (including one of the best burgers I've ever had in my life at JL Beers - which also give out free 'Beergrams' aka postcards that they will post for you free of charge).  There are statues done by local artists all up and down the main strip of town as well - lots to see.

I took a mini trip to Falls Park to see Sioux Falls (had to - its right in the name of the town).  And while they are not the largest falls I've ever seen by far - it was cool none the less.  The park itself is very pretty too - and was only a 15 minute walk from the hotel.  Sadly the Viewing Tower and visitor center was only open Saturday and Sunday so I couldn't see them from above, but I got the gist of it from the ground level.

The venue we were performing in was in the Washington Pavilion  - which seems to be the all purpose entertainment center for the town.  It houses: an art museum, a science museum, an African American history museum, a museum that showcases the building's original use as a high school, 2 performing spaces and a movie theatre.  That's a lot for one building (lol). We arrived on the opening of a new exhibit that they called Seuss Falls - dedicated to the artwork of Dr. Seuss - so of course, being one of his characters, I had to check it out.  Very cool - if it comes to your area (probably under a different name...) you should go.  A lot of his art and story work was more risque than I realized - pushing the boundaries of political correctness and subconsciously teaching against racism and fascism.  He also had a fun Addamsy dark side to him too...

Next we start another series of one night-ers leading up to our 2 week sit down in FL.  Send strength our way - we'll need it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3/25/13-3/27/13: Syracuse, NY

I wasn't sure what to expect out of Syracuse.

I have never been personally but for some reason in my mind it was going to be very drab and boring - but I was wrong.  Syracuse is a thriving college town actually.  Up on 'The Hill' near the college area, there were tons of restaurants and shops.  I ended up trying out one called Funk N Waffles - which sounds like it should have been scary - but was uber cool.  It had a very 70s disco feel to place and served up both savory and sweet homemade waffle dishes.  The one I tried, the All Shook Up, featured a bacon infused waffle topped with bananas and honey with a side of organic peanut butter. (What?! I know!)  So good!  Also ended up having lunch one day with my fellow cast mate, Liz, at an Indian place that had a to die for Lunch buffet for $9.  Gotta love college towns.  Syracuse also boasts the originally Dinosaur BBQ, which is worth a gander as well.

Though were were only here for 3 days, lots transpired - its never dull in Addams land.  First off, we arrived on the day of Jewish Seder.  Both of our Pugsleys come from Jewish homes - and one of their mom's is actually a Rabbi.  She planned a big Seder for anyone who wanted to attend and I heard it went off very well.  Sadly I was not feeling up to it that night and didn't make it.  We also had our superstudy, Lexie Dorsett, go on for her other cover as Alice when Blair came down with a horrible stomach virus.  I am truly in awe of Lexie and all or our superstudies - to be able to go on at a moments notice like that with a fully developed character that you've never gotten to perform as until that moment is a talent that I just don't know if I could pull off.  She was brilliant to say the least.  Happily, Ms. Blair is feeling better and will be rejoining us in Sioux Falls.  And if you're keeping track, that's 3 roles for Ms. Dorsett within a 3 week span...the theatre world is a crazy place ya'll.

Monday, March 25, 2013

3/18/13-3/24/13: Philadelphia, PA

I love this city.  I really do.  It is on my short list of places I could possibly live one day.  There is just such a great feel to it - a sense of real history mixed with exciting new trendiness (but different than NYC).  I've spent 2 vacations in Philly already, seeing the sights and whatnot - and was here once for a full week with another tour, so I know my way around pretty well.

Sadly, we were not able to stay in the city this time, so I didn't have as much access to it as I'd have liked - but we did have one day where the tour bus took us over there in the morning so we could have a full day to explore before the show - which I took full advantage of. 

Let me give you the highlights of my collected times in Philly, though, so if you choose to visit, you'll know what you're in for.  First off, I always tell people that the best way to see Philly (especially if you only have 1 or 2 days to be out and about) is to buy a ticket on one of those touristy On-Off Trolleys.  Its under $30 and they take you around to 21 different sites all over the city and give you great trivia knowledge as you go - you can get off at any stop and hop back on when you are done looking around in that area to continue the tour - and the tickets are good for 24 hours, so if you start mid-day then you can come back in the morning the next day.  Its also cheaper than cabbing all over the place so - even though I've taken it before, I jumped on the trolley this time just to get around lol.

What To See in Philadelphia

  • The Liberty Bell - Philly houses this iconic symbol of freedom, crack and all.  Its on display and free to see up close all day - but even when the building closes, you can still go see if through a window just as well a night.
  • Independence Hall - You know, the setting of 1776 (or for you nonTheatre buffs, where the Constitution was debated and signed).  It gets VERY busy though and they hand out timestamp tickets (like fast passes) so get yours early or you will miss out.
  • Betsy Ross' House - She sewed the first American flag, and her house is right in the middle of Old towne for you to visit.
  • The Constitution Center - Museum dedicated to everything about the Constitution - from its development and signing to all the rights it protects.  Features a dramatic performance called We The People (which sounds cheesy but is actually REALLY good), Interactive exhibits where you can be a judge, be sworn in as president, walk around a recreation of the signing room in Independence Hall with life size statues of all the Representatives that signed and other cool stuff.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary - Labeled one of the most haunted buildings in the US, it has a self guided tour that is every photographers dream.  Its kept up but remains in a beautiful state of Gothic decay. Very cool.
  • The Franklin Institute - A science museum (ala MOSI) dedicated to the cities most acclaimed scientist.  This time through I made it here finally - and saw the traveling Titanic Exhibit.
  • Pats vs Ginos Cheesesteaks - You can probably get better cheesesteaks throughout town (locals say to goto John's) but these 2 shops made the Cheesesteak a Philly staple because they are directly across from each other and have both been featured on the Food Network - always a line - always good.  Get a Sandwich Wit'.  (You'll see).
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka The Rocky Stairs) - The museum itself is great and HUGE (you could probably spend all day walking around it) - but the big TOURISTY thing to do is run down the stairs where Rocky did and yell "Adrienne!". Then take a photo with the Rocky statue at the bottom of the stairs
  • Love Park - Featuring the infamous LOVE statue.
There are a ton of other great museums (a Rodin, a Jewish American one, an African American one, etc), attractions (the Philly Zoo, the site of Ben Franklin's house, The Quaker house, etc), restaurants (a TON at Redding Station and some really trendy ones down by South St.) and other things to see as well. This time around, I ended up walking through Philly's Magic Garden - which was a 4D art installation made up of thrown out or broken items.  It was literally a whole building (floor to ceiling) made of art mosaics.  Very cool. 

Philadelphia has a big theatre scene as well - they house many regional theatres and put on some great works with almost all Philly based actors.  They also have a great touring scene - we played The Academy of Music at the Kimmel Center, which is one of the most gorgeous houses I've ever been in.  The audiences here were great and I feel so happy to have finally played this iconic city.  Its definitely a highlight of the tour for me - PLUS, Mama Who (Tara Tag) from HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS was in town and got to see the show! 

All in all, another wonderful Philly experience.

Monday, March 18, 2013

3/15/13-3/17/13: Lexington, KY

After our 'exciting' trip from upstate NY with the unplanned stop in OH for a few hours, I was pretty worn out and didn't know what to expect from Lexington, KY.  I've not been here before, though I have been to portions of KY - more rural sections though.

After spending a few days here, I kinda wish we had more time - since we didn't have a lot of free time while we were here.  But the time I did have, I used to the best of my ability!  I started out my Friday by taking a tour of the local Bourbon distillery.  I'd been to a beer distillery at Busch Gardens in Tampa many years ago (when Busch Gardens was still owned by Anheuser Busch) - but had never seen how they make any of the harder spirits - so that was kinda cool  There was a tasting at the end of the tour - and even though I despise the taste of Bourbon, I went ahead and tasted (couldn't be rude) - and no vomiting - so I guess that means it was pretty top shelf (lol). 

Our time in Lexington coincided with the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention - which was being held at the Convention Center that was attached to our hotel.  I had a few hours on Saturday before our double shows that day so I decided to drop in.  I'd never really been to a Con like that before - I have a good friend that goes to them a lot and keeps talking about me going with her to Dragon Con in Atlanta someday - I'm just not ever free when its happening..,.so I was excited to see what they are all about.  I didn't have time to go to any of the talk backs or lectures or anything like that sadly - which pretty much just left the vendors section and people watching.  It was pretty cool actually - I saw a lot of really elaborate costumes and the vendors had some very rare (mostly Star Wars) things mixed in with the mundane.  That night the local movie theatre was hosting a Larger Than Life presentation of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - which I always like to see.  A couple cast mates had never seen it before so I took it upon myself to de-virginize them (so to speak).  It was a lot of fun :)

Show-wise, Lexington was a great place to play.  The venue was pretty intimate so the crowds really got a good experience - and we had a great time playing for them.  The highlight came opening night - Felix Scilla, the original Cousin Itt from the 1960s TV version of The Addams Family, and Carel Struygen, Lurch from the 1990s movies, were in town for the Con - and came to see the show.  Afterwards, the cast and Felix and Carel held a talk back with the audience and took some pictures of the 3 generations of the Addams together.  Very cool!!!  The other big moment for us was the return of Keleen in the role of Morticia.  She finally got the go ahead to dance in the show again - so our full company is back at last! Its nice to have the whole family together again - and just in time for one of my favorite cities ever...tomorrow we head off to Philadelphia, PA.

Friday, March 15, 2013

3/12/13-3/14/13: Elmira, NY

So it's come at last - the day I knew would come at last has come at last.... (random Bye Bye Birdie quote)

I'm referring to my Birthday of course - Just turned 34 on a 16 hour bus ride from Elmira, NY to Lexington, KY.  And it actually went fairly well, as birthdays on the road go.  We rolled into Elmira on Tuesday and had a show (all our shows went smoothly here - and nothing much really happened other than my birthday so...). 

On Wednesday I planned part one of what I entitled my Birthday Fiasco (because A) I wanted to play a game of Fiasco for my birthday and B) My actual day was the travel day).  4 cast members and I played Fiasco - this one took place on a plane where, as all the passengers were being tested with an experimental drug that made you appear as if dead, the corpse of an actually dead baby accidentally made its way into the engines and started the plane of fire.  It was wonderfully deranged and a good time was had by all!

On Thursday I had planned part two which was to go to a Japanese/French fusion restaurant in Lexington around 9PM.  We were scheduled to get into town about 6 so that left plenty of time to get ready, etc.  Sadly, though, a real life fiasco hit (one of the stumbling blocks of tour life) and our bus broke down in Akron, OH - and by the time it was fixed and we were on our way, we had lost about 3 hours - making diner a no go.  But all was not lost - due to an amazingly stocked game store in the mall I seemed to make out like a bandit.  I added Call of Cthulhu the card game to my collection of traveling games - and was giving the Dunwhich Horror expansion for Arkham Horror, Stoner Fluxx and Cthulhu Gloom as well.  So we ended the night with a nice game of Arkham/Dunwhich Horror where we just beat Abhoth before he devoured first us then the world.  All in all not a bad day...

Birthday Tiramisu from PF Chang's

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3/11/13: Erie, PA

Thus begins my 3 city/split/Birthday week.

I'm not gonna lie...when we first got to Erie and I looked around - my reaction was this:

Statue located outside the Erie Art Museum
The area we were in was scary, the hotel was dirty and scary (though I believe it was the best Erie had to offer), I saw a man snuff paint thinner outside a Starbucks that contained more homless people than the run down McDonalds a block away, reviews about our hotel said to watch out for the Meth-Heads....Basically I was relieved it was a one night only gig.

But the audience really surprised me.  They were incredible!  Got every joke - and enjoyed the show in spades.  I really do believe it was one of our best shows yet.  Part of that credit goes to our Gomez, Jesse Sharp, who saved the tail end of the show from what could have been disaster.  Morticia's dress had a tiny mishap (its supposed to open up and pin in the back so she can dance the tango - but got stuck together somehow) - and he took the moment and ran with it.  Turned it into some great Improv lines that the audience will never forget - even making a mention to how "erie" it was...brilliant.  Just goes to show that sometimes the best things come in scary, paint-thinner scented packages...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

3/4/13-3/10/13: Dayton, OH

Our week in Dayton was fun but fairly uneventful...

The staff at the hotel we stayed at was superb (the Crowne Plaza in dt Dayton).  Very nice and super accommodating.  The ones from the rooftop restaurant and bar even scheduled their daily drink specials around what we liked to drink and stayed open late a few nights so we could unwind after the shows.  I highly recommend them if you are in town.

When not performing, I mostly hung out around the hotel or at the theatre.  We did venture out one day to a fun little place called Scene 75.  It was a whole entertainment complex and had video games, 4D rides, Go Carts, Laser Tag, Black light Mini Golf, Bumper Cars and some other fun ways to pass the time.  A whole group of us headed over mid day and pretty much had the run of the place.  My favorite part was the Laser Tag - haven't played that since I was about 15 - so it was a blast.  After a few hours the old folks were worn out and headed back for a nap before the show.  During the week, I also got together a new group to have a Fiasco - and it went very well. I think we're really getting the hang of it - this one was centered around a wedding and ended up with several people hopped up on diet pills, lots of x-rated behind closed doors action to the soundtrack of 30 Rock and some transgender surgery at a horse farm. 

The shows went very well - the venue was nice and the locals were great.  Lots of cast family was around to see shows this week, which was nice.  Our Morticia understudy (who is still on for another week) had her parents in to see the show and our Dance Captain had her sister and nephews over.  Its always fun when a cast member's family is there for a performance or too - adds some extra excitement on the stage. 

Well, our week sit downs are over for now - back to a 3 city split week starting tomorrow...wish us luck.  Good bye Ohio!

Monday, March 4, 2013

2/25/13-3/3/13: Appleton, WI

One might think that after spending a full week in February...that having to be in Wisconsin for a week would have been a major disappointment.  But you'd be WRONG! Our week in Appleton, WI was both fun and exciting - and full of surprises both good and double sided.

The town of Appleton, to start with, (at least the downtown area where we were) was very cute and well put together.  There were lots of little shops and plenty of restaurants up and down College Ave (the main strip). I took a little sight seeing excursion with Julio to go see the Houdini Exhibit at the History Museum At The Castle - which was right up the road from where we were staying.  It was pretty cool - I have to say.  Modest, but very interactive with a lot of fun tidbits not only about his life but about his act and how it was done.  As I mentioned, there were a bunch of cool restaurants in our area as well, and on our last day in town I got to try out the Cozzy Corner - a Soul Food place.  Lots of character here - and great food...some of the best Fried Chicken this side of the Mason they have a wall of how can you go wrong... Right next to Cozzy was an amazing little coffee shop called Acoca - which had some pretty darn good milk shakes (I had an English Toffee Malt...I know right...)

The venue itself was HUGE - and fairly new, so it was very nice to perform in.  And the locals - both part of the show and in the town in general... - were incredibly nice.  They brought in some local fare one day and made us lunch on another - all from local meat markets and dairys.  The audiences seemed to really love the show as well - in fact we were visited by an audience member who saw us twice and brought us a gift basket.  To which we are all very thankful by the way (a very thoughtful gift basket - btw- which included a copy of the game Gloom! (one of my favorites - and very Addams Family appropriate)

On the down side -- the area was a bit icy from the snow they had before we arrived...and poor Keleen (our Morticia) took a spill and tore/strained some ligaments around her knee.  This means that she needs to stay off it for about 3 weeks (sadly).  The good news is that she will still be traveling with us instead of being sent home to heal...AND our superstudy, Lexie Dorset gets to go on as Morticia for a while.  I call her a superstudy because Keleen's accident happened about and hour and a half before curtain - giving Lexie about 40 minutes to have a put-in rehearsal before going on as one of the largest roles in the show (she sings 2 solos and dances 3 big dances). She went on without batting an eye - and you'd never know that she hadn't been going on since we started. 

Another fun thing I got to try out in Appleton was an Improv/RPG game I've been hankering to try called Fiasco.  Basically, the game helps the 3-5 players create and flush out a story that you might see in a Coen Brothers know where everyone has low morals, high aspirations and no impulse control.  Basically our game (Myself, Jesse, Amanda and Dan) followed 4 characters in a small town who were power and/or money hungry - and who mostly ended up getting killed by a bunch of runaway poisonous snakes.  It was hilarious and definitely a game I want to try again soon...

Well, our time in WI has come to an end sadly - now we are off to lovely city of Dayton - where, hopefully, they won't be offended by all the OH jokes we make...