Monday, February 3, 2014

Cold, colder, coldest, meeting Mr. Harmony and an unfortunate backstage

The Warner Theatre in Erie, PA

Inside the State Theatre, Easton, PA

Me and the Man In Black backstage 

The Roanoke Performing Arts Center

The historic Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, TN

The Keith Albee Theatre in Huntington, WV

This is the excitement of travel days

We helped Matt celebrate his birthday in Erie with his family!

Tyler, John and I with almost the entire Marshall University theatre department in Huntngton, WV

I hope everyone is doing their best to escape the cold! It was pretty hard for us to do in my latest blog installment, but we did our best! The whirlwind schedule of our tour continues, as we make our way across the frigid United States! Here's what happened this week:

On Monday we started on our long travel day from Lowell, MA to Erie, PA. We took a bus to Boston's Logan Airport, flew into Buffalo, NY and then took another bus to Erie. Sometimes a travel day without a show can take just as much out us as performing. I often joke that "I don't talk on travel days"; though it's not entirely true, I do usually keep to myself. You can see a glimpse of what our travel days are like above. We arrived in Erie, and the temperature was well below zero with the wind chill. Thankfully, we didn't have a far walk to the theatre the next day, and though our meal and entertainment options were limited, what Erie had to offer was close by. The following day was our company manager Matt's birthday, and his family was nice enough to invite us across the street for birthday festivities (pictured above). Along with cake and singing for Matt's birthday, his family was gracious enough to offer as a great, hot meal, beverages and great company. I spoke to Matt's sister, her husband and their two daughters at length. They are both interested in pursuing theatre as a career, so we talked a lot about my training and how I got started when I was younger. We had a great night as a cast and crew, and I ended up calling it a relatively early night. 

I woke up on Tuesday and was greeted by even colder temperatures. I decided to stay in my room for the majority of the day, only venturing out to go around the corner to the Rite Aid to get a few things, including some microwaveable food for lunch. I hibernated most of the day, and bundled up like the Nanook of the North to head to work that night. As had become all too familiar a trend, our crew had a pretty rough load in, given that the only door to load everything in was the size of a conventional door. Added to that, the Warner Theatre, though historic and gorgeous (see above) had had some flooding and water damage. The basement (home to company and stage management as well as wardrobe) had extensive damage and mold and mildew. That said, the theatre itself was quite lovely, and the show went extremely well. A few of us headed to Jekyll and Hyde's on the way back home for a little food....that EVENTUALLY got to us after some pretty terrible service. We headed home following that to prepare for the trip across PA to Easton the following morning. 

It was a full day of riding on the bus on Wednesday, and we had very little time once we arrived to settle in before having to head to work. We were staying a few miles from the theatre, so shortly after we arrived and threw our bags down, me and the boys made our way to the theatre. It was bitterly cold again, so we were actually glad to not have to walk to work. Yet another beautiful historic theatre (pictured above), the State Theatre had all sorts of Martin guitar memorabilia adorning the walls; we were technically staying in Bethlehem, and the Martin factory is close by in Nazareth. Another great crowd in a pretty little theatre, and following the show we made our way back to the hotel. The other three quartet boys and I ended up at Ruby Tuesday for a bite to eat, and following that, I hung out in the lobby of our hotel with Robby, Frace, and his girlfriend Haley. 

Thursday arrived, and it meant another long day on the bus, this time to Roanoke, VA. Again, we didn't have a whole lot of down time before heading to work. This time we were sorta close, but it was terribly cold, windy, and we had to walk underneath a highway overpass to get to work. Despite the cold, I was very much looking forward to that night's show at the Roanoke Performing Arts Center (above) because my friend Holly who I hadn't seen in years, was going to be there with her boyfriend Tommy. We had another great show with an audience to match, and after the show, Tommy and Holly were nice enough to not only drive me home, but stop at Sheetz for food on the way. MMMM. Sheetz. They sat in the hotel lobby with me, and we ate, caught up, and really had a nice time. That really has been one of the best things about tour; being able to catch up with so many friends around the country that I haven't seen in so long.

Friday brought a very short (by comparison) bus ride to Knoxville, TN. This time we were again a few miles from the theatre, so it was rental car time. It was a little confusing getting to theatre and parking garage, but the boys and I made it with a few minutes to spare. Yet ANOTHER gorgeous, historic theatre, the Tennessee Theatre (pictured above) was in the heart of downtown. This theatre had been beautifully renovated and modernized, and unlike a few of the other older theatres we have played, our crew had a smooth load in. And, to make it even more special, I was put in the Johnny Cash dressing room!! (Pictured above). The crowd went pretty crazy for us that night, and after the show the quartet boys and I headed to a small room near the lobby to do a meet and greet with a number of VIP's. It was really nice to meet so many people that loved our show, and on top of that, the theatre had made some amazing posters with our new publicity shots! Look ma! I'm on a poster!! Back at our cozy hotel, I hung out with Tyler for a bit before calling it a night. 

Saturday was a two show day, but anything but routine. Brad was swung on as Carl that afternoon, so the boys and I got to work extra early to give Susan more time for wig prep, and so we could run a few things in sound check. That afternoon, Curtis "Mr. Harmony" Young was at the show. Mr. Harmony was a long time member of the Jordanaires, and sang on records with George Straitt, Garth Brooks, and countless others. An idol of Tyler's, he came back to the dressing rooms and sang a couple of tunes with Tyler and Bradley (see video below). A really amazing man with a voice like velvet. The show that evening was another great one, and we were a little sad to leave the great theatre and audiences in Knoxville. 

The drive on Sunday to Huntington, WV wasn't too too bad. We got in with plenty of time to settle in and get food. And it was a lot warmer than I expected. I walked around a bit not far from the hotel, got a bite to eat and headed to work. And what greeted me was....well, pretty appalling. The back stage, loading area, dressing rooms were all in complete shambles. Water damage, dirt, rubble and mold everywhere. And this was AFTER they had a cleaning crew come in. It was so bad when the crew arrived to load in that morning, that the show was almost cancelled. The theatre itself (above) was not too bad. You could see the beauty of it's former glory. And the lobby was quite nice. But, the backstage area was completely unacceptable. We made the most of it as best we could, and the audience was great! After the show, we all met the majority of the Marshall University theatre department (pictures above), which was pretty awesome. They were very appreciative, and it was the least we could do to stand and talk for a while and take pictures. Following that, we walked across the street for a lovely reception. Some of us adjourned to Buffalo Wild Wings afterward, and then off to bed to prepare for another travel/performance Monday. 

So, the whirlwind tour schedule continues! It was a busy, but good week, and we are all looking forward to the schedule calming down a bit. Thanks for tuning in, sorry this blog is a bit overdue, and look out for the next very soon!!!

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