Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11/26/2013-11/27/2013: Folsom, CA

Whew - that was a drive ya'll.  A beautiful drive as we were throughout the mountains for a lot of it - but a DRIVE!  We made 2 stops along the way - in Rawlins, WY and Elko, NV.  Rawlins definitely left something to be desired - and the hotel we were at reminded me of Eerie's older grosser brother.  Just skip that town all together if you can (lets just say that I had to hit the bar and self medicate before I could force myself to sleep in that place….and I'm not one to hit the bar…)  Elko looked nice - our hotel definitely was.  But as we were only in both places for the night and there was nothing around the hotels to walk to I really didn't get to see much/any of the town itself.

We did get another bit of Level 7 in before we left Elko though - I think we may hit our goal of playing through before Dan has to go.  Which is looking like it will be Thousand Oaks now.

In fact, we'll be losing 3 of our cast members and a band member in Thousand Oaks: our Lurch (Dan), our Flapper/Grandma Understudy (Liz) and our Caveman/Fester Understudy (Aaron) are all moving on to other things - and our Reed Player (Will) will be staying in Thousand Oaks since its close to where he lives.  Sad for us to lose so many of the family at once (I knew it would happen though - once the seal is broken then slowly the cast starts to replace itself.  Happens in every show…) but at the same time, since it has to happen, I'm excited to meet our new castmates and welcome them to the Fam.

We spent (technically) one full day in Folsom - got in for our evening show on the Tuesday, spent the night at the hotel and then stayed at the theatre between our 2 shows on Wednesday so we could just drive to Reno that night.  The hotel was very nice - it was at a little mountain resort kind of place.  Very quaint  The shows went well.  And the drive to Reno wasn't that bad - though we did get in very late.  Though I'm happy we did since now we have a FULL day off tomorrow for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/24/2013: Greeley, CO

Wow.  This one doesn't even qualify as a one-nighter technically.

We got up and drove over to Greeley in the morning - which took a whole 45 minutes.  The nice people at the theatre had put together a breakfast for us, which was great.  You never turn down free food on tour - mostly because theres such uncertainty when it comes to having refrigerators or microwaves that you end up eating out more that you intend which can be Cha-Ching.

Afterwards we did the show - which was HARD due to the altitude.  I had some major issues getting dizzy and whatnot during the show, but prevailed in the end. (Thank Goodness lol).  After we were done - it was a quick walk to the Carl Jr.'s to grab some diner and then on the bus to drive 1/3 of the way to Folsom.  The dive will take about 2 1/2 days drive, so technically we have a few days off but they're gonna be totally on the bus the entire time - which I don't count as a day off really.  But it will be nice to have a break from the show - we've done like 100 in a row or something like that (more like 16 or so but it feels like 100).

See you in Cali!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11/22/2013-11/23/2013: Cheyenne, WY

We've had some long travel days - and there are some longer ones on the way…

We made it over to Cheyenne last night after a long long trek.  No show that night luckily.  A bunch of us took advantage of the evening off and headed over to the local movie theatre to catch the opening of the newest Hunger Games movie: Catching Fire.  The taxi service was a little slow - but hey we're in Cheyenne…I'm glad there was taxi service at night.

The movie was great.  I loved the book series and book two was my favorite of the 3.  I thought they did an awesome job of adapting it and thought they made some really good casting choices for the Tributes from the past. All in all a great night.

I think the coolest part of Cheyenne was our hotel.  Not necessarily the hotel itself as it was very old and only somewhat kept up.  BUT it was haunted.  Apparently back in the 1890s there was a young newly married couple that checked in for their honeymoon.  While they were there, the husband started messing around with a local prostitute.  The wife found them in bed together and shot them both then went to her honeymoon suite and shot herself.  Since then, there have been sightings of all there - and they say you can hear the bride crying at night outside her honeymoon suite.  The cool part is that the woman's name was Rosie - and OUR ghostly bride in the show had adopted the name Rose way back in rehearsals.  It was like we were paying homage to her or something.  Very cool - even if she didn't really show herself while we were there….

Cheyenne itself (at least downtown) seemed like a ghost town to me.  I didn't' see many people walking around the whole time I was there - but they defiantly came to the show in droves.  The town itself was charming - just what you'd think an old west town of today would look like - including huge Cowboy boots in their town square park.   But now we're off to CO - and boy oh boy am I concerned about the elevation of our next few places.  I remember when I came this way with Gilligan's Island that I had a hard time with it before.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/19/2013-11/21/2013: Wichita, KS

Back in Kansas once again -- Back in Wichita once again.

This is my 3rd trip to Wichita actually.

I was first here with Gilligan's Island the Musical several years ago - and we stayed in this same hotel!  But we played a different venue- The Orpheum Theatre just down the way.  Then I was here with Curious George but we stayed just outside of town actually and played an Arena that was just about to close.  In fact, we were the last thing to play there before it was bulldozed (lol).

This time around we got to spend a few days here and I got to see a little more of the city, which was nice for a change.

First off, the hotel we stayed at was great - not only did they offer a free breakfast but also a free 'afternoon meal' - which became my dinner every day.  Nothing out of this world but free - and filling.  It was pretty chilly and dreary most of the time we were here but I did do some walking around.  One morning Mark and I walked over to the Keeper Of The Plains - which is a huge statue erected in dedication to the Plains Indians that used to live in the area and took a stroll throughout the surrounding parks.  Its very pretty.  Wichita has a very artsy side to it - and whenever a tree dies in the parks, a chainsaw artist comes out and turns the stump into art - mostly tree stump people.  They are spread all about the parks so its fun to walk along and try to find them.  There is also supposed to be a troll (art) that is handcuffed to a water pipe over by the old water plant - I read about him in and was very excited to see him.  I mean how many times do you come across a troll in the park - sadly though, he is gone for repairs til March.  BUT walking around the downtown area that we stayed in was fun too.  No trolls - but there are these cool/somewhat creepy statues of people doing everyday things scattered all around the streets of downtown - as if someone had walked down the street turning people into statues as they went.  Weird but fun too.

Another day, Aaron and I went downy to Old Town and walked around the Museum of World Treasures.  Had a lot of 'typical' museum things with some special pieces like Shrunken Heads thrown in.  Was worth a quick tour.  While we were down there we stopped in Heroes Bar and Grill for lunch - and had a great burger.  Their signature ingredient is a candied pepper bacon - which is to die for.  And you can get it on almost anything.  If you're in town - I suggest hitting it up.

Other than that, everything was pretty standard - shows went very well.  It got MEGA cold by the end of our time here though and I was very sad that I hadn't packed my WINTER WINTER clothes and coat - but Cali is not far off so I'm holding onto that thought to keep me warm!

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/2013: Conway, AR

One Nighter yet again (sigh)

But this time we stopped in Memphis for lunch on the way to Conway - which was awesome.  Memphis is a great little place and I actually wish we had more time to spend there.  The spot I randomly picked for lunch actually kinda sucked.  Pig on Beale or something - not very good at all despite the 100s of trophies in their window for their cooking (Don't be fooled).  But next door was this great general store called Schwabs.  We stopped in and chatted with the folks and Blair and I overdosed on sugar - had a HOMEMADE ice cream float - and by homemade I mean the SODA was home made. Unbelievably good!  Should have just popped in there front eh get go.  We were also randomly in town at the same time that Justin Timberlake was for some homecoming show.  I didn't see him but we saw a crowd of people outside one joint and figured he was there (lol).

The hotel we ended up at in Conway sort of overshadowed the show - which I honestly don't remember because I was so excited to get back to the hotel (lol).  We stayed at a Candlewood Suites - which are my FAVORITE places to stay for a number of reasons - all the rooms are suites with half kitchens (AH!) and the laundry is free.  They also have a mini convenience store which is totally under the honor system .  You can bet I ran over to the Walmart and bought the fixings for some delicious roast veggies and spent the night snacking on my home cooking while I did laundry.  Was awesome -but sadly, as I said…I don't remember a thing about the show...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

11/15/2013-11/17/2013: Birmingham, AL

Well, I called it.  Didn't get to see much - actually ANY - of Birmingham.  Was at the theatre the entire time with shows - but thats ok.  I remember coming through before and seeing a bit of it at least.

The theatre that we were at -the BJCC was great.  Beautiful dressing rooms. Large stage where all of our set pieces fit (thats getting to be a luxury.  You know your tour has gone form B to C level when…).  Huge green room.  Lovely.

The thing that struck me most about our time in Bham though were the people.  They are really one of a kind in the best way.  Everyone is incredibly personable - they all want to chat for bit and are very sweet.  Now, granted, most of the people I met were Lexie Doresett's family and friends. I think she had a good 300 or more come through during the weekend.  And all I can say is that we should always play for Lexie's crowds - they were awesome audiences. And her father brought in some of the families Blackberry cobbler for the cast and crew.  Let me tell you - if I could eat nothing else but that blackberry cobbler for the rest of my life, I'd die happy.

In between shows one day I did get a chance to sit down with Dan and Bryan and play through a Scenario of LEVEL 7- we're trying to get through all of the new expansion scenarios before Dan leaves us - which is in about 2 weeks I should think.  Doable.  And I love this new expansion - it really adds some twists to the already established game.  Lots of fun.

The schedule is definitely starting to take its toll on us though - and sadly its not letting up anytime soon - in fact the worst is still to come (lol).  We had 2 understudies have to go in during our 5 shows - and 2 others that were on standby.  Which is always fun for us onstage since it makes the show seem new again - but so many all at once means that we really need a day off -- and one thats not on the bus.  Which won't happen til we have our 3 weeks off in December though so - Mucinex and Advil it is...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

11/14/2013: Valdosta, GA

Another one nighter come and gone.

The sad thing - at least blogging wise - about them is that I don't really have time to accumulate much to say when we're in a city for less than 24 hours. BUT….

Mark's husband, David, was able to come up and see him here (since they live in Jacksonville - and we're practically on the GA/FL borderline right now).  That's great for two reasons - A) Obviously he gets to see him and B) I get my own room for the night, which is never a bad thing.  Except for the fact that I get overly worried about oversleeping and spend the night in a very light sleep where I wake up almost every 20 mins or so (lol).

The venue itself…well lets just say that the people were ver nice.  The venue would have looked very nice if it had been properly taken care of I think - but it was incredibly dirty and sort of run down - roaches in the corners and all the water looked like urine.  Also - it was one of the smaller venues, so a great deal was cut from the show. BUT, we did get to mingle with the season ticket holders after the show (as is their tradition) in the lobby.  They were very enthusiastic and a lot of fun to chat with. There was even young guy who 'mock' proposed to Jen (our Wednesday) using a keychain ring that apparently his (less than pleased) girlfriend had given him.

So tomorrow - we head to another of our cast member's hometown.  Birmingham, AL where Lexie Dorsett grew up.  AND we're there the entire weekend which will be nice - even though we have 5 shows in those 3 days and I probably won't get to see much of Birmingham.  It will be nice to not get on that bus for at least 2 days!

11/13/13: Panama City, FL

Here we are in Panama City - out last day in FL for a long while - and its freezing cold.  Though I kept trying to tell people that the panhandle isn't like REAL FL when it comes to weather at least.  I saw a post on Facebook from my mother this morning (who is in Tampa) who was complaining about the freezing 60 degree weather.  Now that's the FL I know in the fall....

Anyway - My time in Panama City was comprised of a much needed walk to Target.  A few weeks back I had bought a new camera at a lunch stop (at a Target) because I thought I had (woefully) lost mine.  Of course I found it 2 days later - but by then i had fallen in love with the new better (at the time on sale) camera - and decided to keep both.  Then - of course - 3 days later it stops working (sigh).   I knew I shouldn't have bought it at a Target as we are NEVER by a Target but ALWAYS by a Walmart - but I did.  So I've been waiting every stop/city to see if we'd be near enough to one so I could return it/exchange it before my time ran out.  And finally today it happened!  Hurrah!  AND they had it in stock! Double Hurrah!

So sadly - I can't tell you much about Panama City, save for the helpful people at the Target by our hotel...

Next we are off for our last one nighter (this week) in Valdosta, GA - where the fun will come from Mark (my roommate) having his husband come to visit so A) he gets to see him and B) I get my own room for the night - so Bonus!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

11/12/13: Niceville, FL

Happy 11/12/13!! There will only be one more of these in my lifetime (next year on 12/13/14) - so that's pretty cool.

Anyway - We got up today and drove down to FL!!  Whoo Hoo - feels nice to be back in my 'home' state - and in shorts.  Though it did get cold as the evening went one.

Again - one nighter so we didn't get to see much of the actual town but our hotel was nice - lots of room and they had a "Manager's Social" in the evening with Pizza and sodas (and wine and beer which we couldn't partake in because of the show - but it was still very nice).  The show was also really fun here - a nice college crowd - very enthused.

After the show, Dan and Bryan and I settled into a game of Level 7.  Its a Scifi/Horror game where your characters wake up in this facility 7 levels underground that is run by Aliens doing experiments on humans with help from the US government.  During your escape the Aliens go crazy and the soldiers running the facility become engaged not only with stopping you but destroying them as well. We had played through all of the Scenarios last leg of the tour, so on the break I bought the newly released expansion set - which plays as if you didn't escape before the facility was locked down and so you have to try to find another way out.  The first level was awesome -they've added a lot of cool mechanics to it and ramped up the adrenaline factor.  Took us 3 1/2 hours to play but it was successful just by the skin of (one of our) teeth... Awesome night.

Best part about tomorrow is our ride is only 60 miles to Panama City - so whoo hop!  I'll have time to stop in Target and exchange out this camera I bought a few weeks ago that stopped working 4 days in...

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/10/13-11/11/13: Baton Rouge, LA

Finally a day off....well, mostly-kind-of.  We spent 85% of it on the bus driving from IL to LA (lol).  But on the offside - we didn't' have to go into work today.  On the other hand, I was bored out of my mind most of the evening trying to figure out something to do - since I missed out on going to the local club with some of the other cast members, who then went off to NOLA for the evening.  Not bitter or anything...(lol)

But our day 2 in Baton Rouge was nice at least.  I took a walk around the little highway area we were staying in and did some shopping for our Secret Moses.  This year, since the show will be on hiatus during the Christmas weeks - and since Chanukah falls on Thanksgiving, we decided to have Secret Moses instead of Secret Santa - same deal...except instead of using non-playing 'elves', we send out non-playing MacAbees.  I also picked up some decorations for my bus window - so I can be in the spirit cross country :)

Our show went very well - the audience was just superb - makes doing this kind of thing that much better and easier when we have houses like that.  

Afterwards, in lieu of dinner, I walked over to the local Daiquiri bar and picked up a hugemongous Hurricane to take back to my room and drink while watching Friends reruns.  Thats one of the perks of LA - a little tape over the straw makes it a 'closed container' in the eyes of the law. LOL.

Well - tomorrow we head down to FL - not quite my hometown area - we'll be in the Panhandle - but still pretty close.  Will be nice to see a palm tree again ;)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

11/9/2013: Carbondale, IL

Today was a first.

We hit a theatre that A) Couldn't fit our show completely - but B) Also had no fly systems we could really use.  If you're not in the 'theatre-know' - a Fly System is a series of metal bars that hang over the stage where shows hang set pieces, background drops, curtains and lights - its how scene changes happen by 'Flying' the things hung from them out of view from the audience or 'Flying' them down onto the stage.

So basically we had one uniform set - Our NYC skyline and one black curtain hung center stage that COULD fly out.  It was different - lol - but it worked for what it needed to be.  We were the last touring show to come through the theatre at Carbondale (probably for that reason) - but the crowd was enthusiastic - though small.  We were at a college and competing with a local game (which included a marching band that literally almost ran me over on the way into the theatre) and (I heard) a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - so I get it...

My favorite part of the night, however, was when the Wig local put my toupee on me in the wings and asked if she should pin it my scalp.  To which I replied "Please don't" and promptly ran away.

But all in all the show was enjoyed - which is really the whole point anyway.  Next off to Baton Rouge for a (sort of) day off (on the bus) and a show!

11/8/2013: Henderson, KY

Whew ya'll.  That was a LONG travel day.  Mostly because I couldn't get to sleep on the bus for the life of me.  So instead of sleeping til it was almost lunch - I was up the whole time. OY!  And I saw a stretch of fields and houses covered in snow.  I might have been the only one that saw that since I think everyone else was asleep - so I hope I didn't hallucinate it.  We also hit some crazy traffic and ended up about an hour late to our lunch stop.

Our lunch stop - btw - was in Bloomington, IN!  Love that place - spent 2 weeks there with Grinch last year.  They are such a beautiful and fun little college town -with SO many food options.  I decided to go to my favorite Indian place there - Taste of India.  An amazing buffet for like $9.  So good.  Was nice to be back and know where I was going for once (lol).

The ride continued on to Evansville, IN - where we were staying but included a time change.  So we gained an hour - which was great until I realized that it meant that our 8PM show was going to feel like it actually started at 9PM - and I'd been up since 6AM.  Plus, we were actually playing in Henderson, KY - which was like a 25/30 min ride away. Rough.

The show itself went smoothly - the crowds in this part of the country are interesting.  They are usually quiet(isn) throughout the show and then go crazy at then and - and true to form... By curtain call they were definitely having a great time.  It was a pretty fun show from our side too.

AND the best part is that we're only a 2 hour drive to our next stop - so we don't even leave til noon tomorrow! So happy for that.  The interesting part will be the next show - the theatre doesn't have a fly system - so we won't be using 98% of our set...We'll see how that goes (lol)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

11/7/13: Toledo, OH

Well the laws of tour traffic state that if you are driving into a show and are only supposed to be on the road for about 2 hour - your bound to in an accident or construction that will stretch it out to 4 hours or so.  So it goes and so it must be.  The only difference between a regular 4 hour stretch and the unexpected one is that most of us plan ahead and sleep as soon as we get on the bus so it seems so much shorter.  This time was a loooooong 4 hour stretch on pure consciousness.  And man can those get tedious.

Good news is that I'm make lots of headway on my Scarf!

I didn't get to see much of or really, any of, Toledo outside of the block between the hotel and the theatre -BUT the theater was very nice and the locals were so great that I wished we'd had more time there.  But again - that's tour.  So it goes and so it must be.

Tomorrow's a long drive out to KY - but we're supposed to stop in Bloomington, IN for lunch - which is great...I love that town.  Its where we teched How the Grinch Stole Christmas last year - so I got to spend 2 weeks there and really got to know the area.  So it'll be cool to be back (for a 3rd time actually - we played there with Thomas and Friends Live! too) - if even for an hour or so.

11/4/3-11/6/13: New Philadelphia, OH

We have been to some confusing places lately LOL - but New Philadelphia takes the cake.

Oh - its not a bad thing - I just would have sworn that I was in PA for the past few days.  The town just had a very PA feel - and there were PA things there - like Sheetz and Amish people.  I'm not sure exactly how Amish the Amish people were though - as we saw most of them in the Walmart and the Wendy's, which (I may be wrong) seems a little anti-Amish...

But we did take a mini lunch trip over to the Dutch Valley Restaurant and resort - which was setup to look like a little Amish Village.  I don't think there were any actual Amish people here at all though.  We were going to try and see the craftsman - usually there are doll makers and soap makers and quilters and whatnot making homemade goods to sell.  Well, they had dolls and soap and quilts but they were all very mass produced.  It was actually more like walking around a Pottery Barn than an Amish village.  But the food at the restaurant was good - though that was also a chain (with a location in Sarasota, FL - lol). But Amish or no - it was a nice outing.

Other than that, there really wasn't a lot to do in New Philadelphia, besides the show.  The shows went well - the audiences seemed to like it, which is always nice.  We were at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State.   I love being at the colleges, theres always a fun vibe there - and the locals are usually students.  They also have a tendency to provide some sort of catering, which is nice.  We had the BEST chili both nights laid out in the Green Room - really really good.

I did have some free time to try out a new Improv game that I downloaded called A Penny For Your Thoughts.  It was kind of cool - takes a long time investment but it was very interesting.  The idea is that you are all 'patients' who have lost your memories - but have been given a drug that helps you connect with others on the drug.  Basically your friends remember the vital choices in your memories and help you regain your past - and how you came to lose it in the first place.  Intricate but cool - I'll have to try it again sometime...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

10/29/13 - 11/3/13: Wilmington, DE

Halloween has come and gone.  It being my favorite holiday, thats always a sad thing.  But at least we had a good season for it. I finished my Halloween movies (hurrah!) and we even had a little Halloween party after our show.

Show-wise, the crowds in Wilmington were a lot of fun.  The theatre itself was great. We were at the DuPont Theatre - formerly known as the historic Playhouse Theatre.  And there really was something about playing there that gave you a sense of the history of the place.  One thing that we weren't expecting though, was our first cast member to leave the show.  Katie - who plays the Saloon Girl (Ruby Addams) ancestor has decided to move on to other shows, and since we had a whole week in one place - Phoenix brought out Maggie to learn the show.  It was really quite amazing watching her go through the process. She literally learned 80% of the show in 2 days and was performing full out by the weekend.  Every show we added her into another number or sequence.  It took us about 2 1/2 weeks to fully learn the show - so I know that she was taking on a major undertaking.  But watching her, you wouldn't know that she hadn't been with us all 250 something shows.  All my best wishes go with Katie on her journey - and all a bright welcome goes out to Maggie.  This being my 5th tour though, I know that once the 'seal cracks' there usually aren't others too far behind who decide to move on.  I'm definitely in for the long haul - but it will be interesting in the coming months to see how things play out.

Wilmington itself had a few fun places to check out - some great food over at the Washington Street Alehouse (with some great prices too).  And we got a chance to see a collection of Christopher Durang, my favorite absurdist playwright, shorts in the last night of the Wilmington Fringe Festival.  Kinda cool - I love a well done Durang piece, and they handled themselves very nicely.  

With this week coming to an end, we start a series of One Nighters mostly for the next two weeks - but our actual schedule isn't all that bad this coming week - only 5 shows and no doubles.  So that will be a nice way to ease into them.