Monday, March 26, 2012

Planes, vans and a funky theatre.....

Greetings from Minneapolis!  We just flew into a much chillier temperature here today, from Kansas City.  It was a very eventful, and very interesting week.....

Things started off on a very weird note, as we ATTEMPTED to depart from Dallas en route to KC.  After a bit of a delay, our plane took off from Love Field, and we experienced the WORST turbulence I've ever had the misfortune to be in.  After a strange announcement from the pilot that "one of the engines cut out", we turned around and headed back to Dallas for repairs; our plane and flight's futures uncertain. 

The bumpy ride promted most of the cast to decide that flying was not in their best interest, so they left the plane, and decided to rent a van to drive the 9 hours to KC.  4 actors, the crew, stage and company management all stayed in the airport awaiting news of our NEW flight.  We waited for about an hour, and then were given a new gate, a new plane, and were finally on our way.  While all of this was going on, Rachael was side-swiped by a truck in Florida, and her car sustained $4,700 worth of damage.  She, thankfully, was unhurt.  Not only was I very worried, but that was the icing on the cake of a univerally terrible day for travel. 

On Tuesday the boys did a promo at the 75th Street Brewery, (see the two videos below) where they had just unveiled a beer that was renamed in our honor (see the picture of the tap above), the Million Dollar Brewski.  It was pretty darn good.  The promo went well, and word had come down to us that we were nearly sold out in KC, which is always good news. 

Now for the drama of the theatre.  From the outside, the Kauffman Center is stunning.  The best way I can describe it (again, see the picture above) is that it kinda looks like the Sydney Opera House with a crack down the middle.  It's a brand new complex, and we were the first tour of this size to be in here's where the adventure starts:

We got detailed directions on how to get into the theatre.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Mind you, it was also pouring rain opening night. 

First, we had to park in a large, confusing, poorly thought out parking garage.  Once parked, we needed to take an elevator to the P1 level.  From there, we had to walk through a herd of patrons and ticket takers to an escalator.  This escalator brought us to the main lobby.  From there, it was either hoof it up a few flights of stairs, or take a second elevator to the upper level.  Then, exit the building (what?  really?), walk between the two, or in the "crack" if you will, and go in the stage door.  Ah....but the adventure isn't over yet.....
Once inside the stage door, we had to flash our badge to the security guard and then take the 3rd and final elevator (or stairs) down a level to get to the stage/dressing rooms/green rooms, etc.  After walking down a series of winding hallways, we were greeted by a sign that said "Mazel Tov.  You have found the call board".  How appropriate. 

Now, that's just getting to the the REAL fun starts. 

During sound check, the building was experiencing quite a few power outages and blown breakers.  I would try to explain it all, but honestly, I don't fully understand it myself.  The long and the short of it is, our lights and sound weren't fully operational for the length of the show due to the building's shortcomings, and it "not being ready for a show of our size".  Have fun when La Cage gets there.....
Oh, and there was a problem with the septic system, so the toilets backed up and left the theatre smelling like a sewar for the duration of the show.  Lovely. 

After all of that excitement, we had Thunderstudy rehearsal with a new face on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, Martin had hurt his elbow in Dallas, so Austin had been on for him for a few shows, and they needed to bring in someone to u/s Jerry Lee in Martin's abscence (I'm pleased to report he is doing just dandy, and is back in the show!).  So, James Scheider (who has done the show numerous times in Chicago) joined us for the week in KC.  It was very cool to work with someone completely new, and with a totally different vibe.  He has left us and headed back to NYC.  You never know, he may be back. 

Billy, The Jam and I all woke up at 4 AM on Thursday to fly to St. Louis for a promo at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.  Though we weren't excited to be up so early, we, as always, were stoked to perform and to promote the show.  I had performed at the Fox (gulp) 11 years ago with my first tour of A Christmas Carol for the Nebraska Theatre Caravan.  So, it was great to perform on a stage like that again.  Just an imense, gorgeous, historic theatre.  And, the promo went extremely well!  I think the show will do very well there in 2013. 
Again, we were joined by a couple new faces.  Randy Redd, the current Jerry Lee u/s off-Broadway, stepped in as JLL....and MAN was he fierce.  Matt Aronoff joined us on bass (he played in our promo at the Miami Heat home opener), and our very own David Sonneborn played kit. 
Along with a great promo, we had the pleasure of watching a few members of the upcoming Warhorse tour work with the horse, Joey, onstage.  After having seen the show in NY, it was so amazing to be that close to the "puppet", and watch the detailed manipulation that his "handlers" are able to do.  Breathtaking (see a picture with me and Joey above). 
We stayed a swanky, but kinda strange hotel.  The picture of the random hand above is from that room (also, check out the video below)....and I had to search for a half hour to find that my tv was hidden behind a mirror.....wicked weird, dude. 

We headed back to KC on Friday, and that evening we had a little soiree at the 75th Street Brewery, which was a nice way to welcome yet another new face, Katie Barton.  Katie is joining us this week to cover Alyssa's vacation, and will be joining us permanently later in the tour. 

On Saturday, a bunch of us ventured to Stroud's famous fried chicken restaurant....WOW.  The chicken was great, but let me tell you, the cinnamon rolls that must've had a stick of butter in each of them were to die for. 

Well, that's about it from KC.  This week is our last before our well-deserved two week vacation.  Tomorrow I'll be heading out to the Mall Of America to do a smidge of shopping and watch the boys and m'am do a promo.  So, I'll be back with more news from Minneapolis!!!!!!!

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