Monday, October 30, 2006

Phone rings, door chimes...

Just a quick post because I can't hold it in. Got a ticket today for the 1st preview performance of the new revival of Company. I'm just a little bit beside myself. Next update should have all the details. I wish I were as good a reviewer as Matty.

A Wand'ring Minstrel, I

I write this update from a beautiful and spacious apartment on the 11th floor of a 53 story high rise in downtown Manhattan with a lovely view of the locker room on the 3rd floor of the fire station across the street. More on that later...

So where did we leave off? From Evansville to Bloomington, IN and Indiana University. A beautiful theatre, a great town, and an expensive "tropical resort" (in Indiana) 15 miles outside of town with an odd mix of themes. I wanted to stay in Mickey's Aloha Suite with a view of the zebras. It was quite beautiful though, situated on a huge lake with an indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, hot tub and...

Bloomington, Indiana
The Windjammer Lounge (hotel bar), which actually was okay, considering they stayed open until 3am one night for us with a DJ who probably works a lot of weddings.

After Bloomington came a loooong drive to Erie, PA. Cold. F'ing cold. But an amazing theatre, the Warner. The Warner Theatre is named after the famous Brothers who commissioned the theatre to be built in 1929. The enormous lobby has all the glitz and glamour of any Hollywood movie house.

The only weird thing about the theatre is that the "pit" is really on the house floor level, so we were quite visible to the audience. I personally sort of love that though, because I love being able to see the audience react to the show.

Another nice thing about Erie was that the Avalon Hotel (big rooms!) was only a block and a half away. It's always wonderful when the hotel and theatre are within walking distance of each other.

Erie, Pennsylvania
Papermoon Restaurant Gallery and Jazz Club
Actually, we probably spent more time in Benjamin's, the hotel bar, but this is a special shout out to the owner of Papermoon who hosted us on opening night in Erie, with live music and a free round of drinks. Then we all left because the drinks were too expensive.

As soon as the last show ended in Erie, I hopped in the car and drove HOME home to see the 'rents. Stayed overnight, had an early dinner with Mom, Grandma and Sister and then cut and run like a Bush nightmare.

Next on to Easton, PA, home of the Crayola factory, my cogitative roommate Colin and the smallest house we'll be playing on tour. So small that the bassist and I played the show remote from a hallway in the basement. Naked. Just kidding. Only about the naked part. Both in Erie and Easton, the show was cut down considerably due to venue limitations. For instance, we use a lot of drops and fly units in the show, some of which take up the space of 2 or more standard size drops. A number of theatres do not have the fly space necessary for every piece. Our show is very big, travelling in 5 trucks. Load ins and strikes are quite an accomplishment.

Now, we're getting close to Halloween, so where would you go for a good costume party?

Easton, (actually Allentown) Pennsylvania
Gay Bar: The Stonewall
Yes, that's the name, but a great place and a big Halloween party. and PlanetOut were actually there photographing for their websites.

Which brings me to my New York apartment...Today, Sunday, was a 3:00 matinee in Easton, followed by strike and load out. Monday is a golden day (completely off). We are TOO close to New York City. So I drove into Newark after the show and took the train in to Manhattan where I'm staying with a director friend, Stephen. Tomorrow will be a free day in the City, catching up, and seeing a show tomorrow night. Fingers are crossed for the FIRST PREVIEW performance of the new revival of Company. Tomorrow night, after basking in the glow of Broadway, I'll head back to Ma 'n' Pa's to spend the night and then Tuesday we're in Morgantown, WV. Big weekend coming up at Penn State University.

I already know where I'm eating every meal.

Here's some new fun: our brand spanking new TV commercial, filmed live in Charleston, South Carolina. If you hear the string section, that's me.

The Producers National Tour Commercial

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bring on the Allies to hear the news...

Welcome back loyal readers. I've gotten a lot of flak for not updating this blog in a while. It is sometimes difficult to get online for a decent amount of time. I will zoom through this entry as there are many cities to recap. Please excuse any grammatical errors due to hastiness.

When last we left our hero...

Opening night in Columbia, South Carolina went extremely well. There were a number of technical glitches that were worked out and the audiences went through the roof. Unfortunately, the backstage screwiness was part of a trend of lack of leadership. Upon arriving in Sarasota, our next stop, the technical director, Larry, was let go. The assistant TD, Pizzi, was promoted and a new girl, Kate, was brought in to be the flyman. As Larry was my roommate, I am now sharing with Bevan, 2nd audio. It's been a fantastic deal however since the crew leaves every city the night before to load into the next theatre. Therefore, I have the hotel room to myself on the last night at no extra charge. It's the little things...

Sarasota went very well. I got to see some familiar faces from the production of "Putting It Together" I did recently at the Players Theatre. My steadfast roommate, Colin B., also got to see the show twice, once from the pit. Ask him what that's like. I actually stayed in my apartment in Orlando and commuted to Sarasota the whole weekend which was lovely. I had alot of errands to run and loose ends to tie up as I had not been in town since last May. The highlight truly had to be a trip to the Hamptons (IHOP) with Matt S., Colin B., Kevin K. and "cabaret host extraordinaire" Luerne.

I've had my car so far on the tour and was planning to drop it off in Orlando and then travel with the company. The Monday following the Sarasota weekend was a travel day to North Charleston, our next city. I decided to stay in Orlando to finish up some more errands and then rent a car back to South Carolina to join the company. The rental car situation was a mess to say the least. So I said F*** it and kept my car. We would be crossing Pennsylvania in a few weeks and I could drop it off at my parents house. More on that later...

Charleston was fine. More great audiences. Our hotel wasn't very close to alot of things to do, but it had a lounge. Which brings me to the newest feature on this blog:

North Charleston, South Carolina
Ramada Inn Lounge

Next on to Greensboro, North Carolina. Again, not in the heart of the entertainment district by any means, but more great houses and great performances. Eat your heart out PBS. One of the most exciting things that happened here would be Jason A., our violinist, falling in the pit and spraining his ankle. He was taken to the hospital, missing the matinee, and returned with crutches and a knee the size of a coconut. But he was back pizzicato-ing full force for the evening show. Because of the lack of comfort on our bus, he also started riding with me in the car between cities.

Greensboro, North Carolina
Strip Club: Chester's (that's right)
Gay Bar: Warehouse 301

The next stop was in Zanesville, OH, but only for a stopover. No show.

On to Fort Wayne, IN. Staying in a beautiful Hilton Hotel that is connected to the theatre, a beautiful old vaudeville house. Found out here that my roommate, Bevan, is leaving as well, but not for a little while. I am the curs-ed one. (That's two syllables: curs-ed)
We wouldn't have thought it possible, but the audiences here are outrageous, getting every little fast-paced joke.

Fort Wayne, Indiana
Gay Bar: After Dark (in honor of National Coming Out Day) not as sketchy as the name implies.

Next stop South Bend, Indiana. Home of the Fighting Irish, the College Football Hall of Fame and the South Bend Chocolate Company's Chocolate Cafe. Luerne, where are you?!! The homemade hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream....where was I?
So where do you go out when you're in the home of the Fighting Irish?...

South Bend, Indiana
Fiddler's Hearth: A fantastic, traditional Irish pub with great drafts, and an absolutely amazing Irish band.

We then head to Lima, OH. That's Lie-ma, not Lee-ma. Lee-ma is in Peru. Lima was our first one-nighter. We load in, we show, we load-out. Ugh. But it went well and yet again the audience is on their feet. I did not spend the night in Lima, but drove to Indianapolis to visit with close friend from my Hoosier days, Eric S. We spent some quality time in Indy and it's always great to see him. If you're reading, love ya. If you're not reading, then screw you.

Indy was conveniently on the way to Evansville, IN, home of the Aztar Casino. **Danger Will Robinson**. Fun, but not fun. There is something truly unholy about gambling, smoking, and drinking inside a beautifully lit riverboat.

Evansville, IN
Gay Bar: Someplace Else (pretty hopping for a weeknight, but some karaoke as unholy as the casino)

Whew! Hopefully that will appease your appetites for a bit. Only two more cities to catch up on but I will return with those shortly!