It’s been ages since I wrote. Many Mondays have passed wherein I arrive at yet another hotel and step out of the cold embrace of an elevator to wander the carpetry in search of a door that awaits my keycard. Nashville, Minneapolis, Spokane, Seattle, Portland, and Tempe, you each cradled my head at night (in variously pillowed hands) and welcomed our show to your stages. Thank you.
I’ve walked to work in every type of weather: sweaty, shivering, yearning for a coat, layered like a fava bean, dry and half naked. Regardless of the climate outside, when we enter the dimly lit atmosphere of backstage I always zip into a little sweatshirt to explore the new moonscape. Theatres and hotels are tuned to the same setting as the abandoned crisper drawer in your refrigerator. I’m well preserved.
For the last two weeks we’ve been parked on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. Accompanying the sun and sand was a swarm of Spring Break Zombies, roving packs of girls in alarming swim wear and pillaging squadrons of boys, shirtless, beer in hand. I count myself fortunate that I witnessed only two of these fine specimens mid-vomit.
Note to self: Do not allow future children such leisure.
Note to self: You are becoming a draconian parent. Get a boyfriend first.
For the first time on this tour we stayed in one city for two weeks. This afforded us the luxury of a proper day off (normally we travel every Monday, our only day off per week). The middle Monday was entirely open, an adventure in waiting.
A castmate invited a few of us on her father’s boat for the day, then to a relaxing evening back at his villa. I will admit to some trepidation at a day spent floating. I imagined coming back to the hotel in a shade of red heretofore undiscovered. I wore my sunscreen like a second skin and warded off any hint of color. A day floating at sea was exactly what I needed to revive. The gentle bobbing soothed my frayed nerves and brought a sense of calm to this frantic hotel-to-hotel life.
Our time in Tampa whizzed by too quickly. The sun graces us with heat and a squinting smile every day and we returned the favor with exposed limbs and excessive lounging at the pool. I had not a single remarkable meal in that fair city, but left with sweaty memories of an evening spent spiraling down the rabbit-hole that is Ybor City.
Ybor is the old Cuban part of town, if you’re unfamiliar, take a stroll. It’s charming, filled with shops, and a bit touristy. On a day-trip to find a woven straw hat (success!) a castmate and I noted all the clubs lined up along the strip. We vowed to come back after a show, we needed to dance.
Our adventure began at a cat-themed, thumping, industrial club, whose clientele were mostly under 21 and dressed like tramps. We wore wrist bands demarcating our age, flashing them like neon scars to scare off the jittery youth.
We left that silly club within the hour and fled a few blocks north to a partially hidden stone building called Castle. What awaited us within we could never have guessed. Larry and I approached the door, paid our paltry $5 entrance fee (NYC, take heed), then ascended paisley patterned stairs surrounded by chess-board wall paper. When we crested the staircase, we stood at the mouth of a glowing dance floor, lit partially by three overhead screens looping a sepia-toned silent horror film.
The day I’ve dreaded since the beginning of this tour has finally arrived: I forgot my home address. I was filling out some paperwork for the show and when it came time to write down my zip code I looked in every dark corner of my mind only to find cobwebs and cakecrumbs. This life on the road has finally caught up with me and left me neatly unhinged from reality. I had to google my apartment to figure out the final bit of my address, in time I suppose I might forget all of it at once!
From injurious Wilmington we took flight to Atlanta, looking forward to warm(er) weather and a new theatre. We played the Fox and stayed directly across the street at the charming Georgian Terrace. When we checked into our rooms we were all blissed to find full kitchens (with dishwashers natch) and, tucked behind accordion doors in the bathroom, our own washer and dryer! My excitement at these luxuries paints me as a true homebody, and though we were destined to leave Atlanta at week’s end, I intended to make every use of those machines. Continue Reading →
We’re two weeks deeper into this adventure, Grand Rapids and Wilmington updates ahead (as well as a new batch of press photos…). But first: BREAKFAST. When I was little (let’s be honest, I was never terribly little, when I was young) our family had a tradition of making pancakes on Saturday mornings. I would scurry downstairs as soon I could break free from sleep’s 8-hour hold and turn on the television. My sister would join soon-thereafter and commandeer the remote. We watched her favorites (which, in a Stockholm syndrome case quickly became my favorites), Garfield and Friends taking the crown for best in show.
At some point our parents would walk down the blue, carpeted stairs to insist that we eat something, something. Pancakes were clamored for, not to be served without a heavy infection of chocolate chips. We held white plates piled with two or three pock-marked cakes each, drizzled syrup on top (I was never interested in too much maple with my chocolate) and then ate ravenously, as children are genetically inclined to do. Continue Reading →
Soup. All I want is soup right now. This drafty bus is igniting my hunger, my craving for a hot meal. Soon. I hope.
Will we reach Grand Rapids? Is this bus destined to be sidelined by endless snow? We’re currently headed into whiteout conditions, complicating an already tedious 8 hour bus ride from Louisville, KY to Michigan. But, before I get ahead of myself, I’ll catch you up on my last few cities.
The Gateway to the West was trumpeted by nearly our entire cast as a wonderful place to tour, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Though I could regale you with food memories from a number of restaurants I will leave you with but one suggestion: Bridge Tap House. Impeccably designed, you’ll enter through glass doors and stand under a chandelier of birch branches, looking at the wide, high backed bar. The setting is matched by the menu, a collection of delectable small bites, locally sourced and well seasoned. Eat there if you only have one night in town.
We played to withered audiences for most of the run, the marketing of our show is left in the hands of local agencies and St. Louis had a hard time selling seats. On the upside, we’re now settling into a great rhythm upon reaching new cities and have smoothed out those Tuesday night bumps that soured our early moves.
The highlight of our week in Missouri was a late night visit to City Museum. Do you know this glorious institution? A rambling collection of repurposed shoe-factory chutes, vaulted rebar tunnels, spiraling mazes, a human sized hamster wheel and two jets balanced on castles, it’s a DIY Disney, a grown-up playground. We hurried to the space immediately after our Friday night performance, determined to make the most of the 2 hours left before closing. If you travel to/through St. Louis, do not miss this adventure.
Two cities down and we’re onto the third. St. Louis, look for a gaggle of actors parading your streets bedecked in leg warmers this coming week. Here’s our promo reel and a recap of my adventures:
Dear, snowy Utica-
You are the proud owner of a gorgeous Mexican-Baroque theatre, thank you for letting us finish our rehearsal process in the depths of the Stanley. We worked nearly nonstop to get the show up and running, taking a small break on Christmas day for a celebration. Our company management planned a dinner for us at the oldest country club in the United States. The club is normally closed in the winter, it’s a charming little wooden lodge, thoroughly uninsulated and underprepared for a troupe of nearly 75 to dine at the end of December. We were greeted with cubed, out-of-season fruit, a geometry of cheese, an open bar and two lapping fires.