Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Polar Vortex continues, more Division 1 campuses...oh...and Flint

The Embassy Theatre in Ft. Wayne, IN

A jaunty piano player on the campus of Indiana University

The IU Auditorium in Bloomington, IN

Elliot Hall on the campus of Purdue, West Layafette, IN

The view from the back of this massive house

The Whiting in Flint, MI

Hello everyone!  Welcome to another delightfully busy blog about our whirlwind tour of the United States!  The craziness continues, as does the cold weather and busyness.  Here we go!!

Monday brought an all to familiar long travel day coupled with an uncharacteristic (though, commonplace lately) Monday night show.  The temperatures were just insane; well below zero with the windchill when we arrived in Ft. Wayne.  It may be bad for us, and for people who are out and about a bit during the day, but man....our poor crew had to load in all day in that weather, and had even colder temperatures to look forward to for their load out after the show.  And people wonder why I appreciate their hard work so much....
Once we got in, I really didn't want to go anywhere.  I was hungry, but the cold was deterring me from leaving for even a few minutes.  I warmed myself up in the room for a while, and finally ventured out bundled up to my eyebrows to walk a few short blocks to get linner (lunch/dinner) at Jimmy John's.  After warming up for a few and getting some necessary sustenance, I headed back to the hotel to warm up yet again before making the short yet frigid trek to work.  The Embassy Theatre (above) was a gorgeous little space.  After a pretty great show and wishing the crew well on their long and cold night, Frace, Tyler and I headed next door to a place called Champions for some food before adjourning to the warmth of our hotel.  

A relatively short drive on Tuesday brought us to Bloomington, IN, home of Indiana University.  A bit of a different experience this time around, as we pulled straight onto campus among the thousands of students going to and from class, and unloaded the bus into the student union, where we would be staying for our days there.  The rooms were much more akin to dorm housing, but it certainly was nice to have a Starbucks and a few food options in the same building as our accommodations.  After unpacking and settling a bit, I ventured into the union to get a Hoosiers tshirt at the bookstore and got some food and a necessary coffee before heading to work.  It was pretty exciting night; not only was I blown away by the beauty of the IU Auditorium (above), but our old friend Lee Ferris was scheduled to rejoin tour that day, AND my dear friend from IWU, Karyn McNay works PR for the theatre!  So, it was like old home week!  I got to say hello to Karyn prior to sound check, and had a big hug with Lee before we headed back stage.  The crowd was pretty amazing that night, and after the show Karyn and her fiance Brad picked me up and took me to one of their favorite spots, The Rail.  We ordered some great appetizers, including a warm goat cheese dip with hand made chips, and I sampled a one of a kind cocktail (fitting for my heritage), the Remember The Maine.  We sat and talked for hours, catching up on life, their meeting and engagement, work, etc.  It was a great night, and long overdue.  

The next day I wasn't feeling the greatest.  Sickness has started to run rampant through the cast and crew, so I was trying to do my best to combat that.  However, we did have rehearsal to put Lee back into the show, as well as another Riverside recording session to add Lee's velvet voice back into the fold.  So, after grabbing some lunch and again, necessary coffee, I headed to work.  Though it had been since Orlando (October of 2013) since Lee had done the full show, and even then, the show was quite different, it was like he had never left.  Everything went very smoothly, and following the rehearsal I did a bit of laundry before heading back home for some rest.  Another great show that evening, but rather than hang out with Karyn and Brad again, I opted to stay in.  Not what I wanted to do, but I wanted to make sure my health was my priority.  

We loaded out of the student union on Thursday morning, and took the short drive to West Lafayette, where we would be performing on the campus of yet another university, Purdue.  We had quite a bit of time at the hotel this time, and so the Countryman's, Tyler and I drove to Logan's Steakhouse for some much needed sustenance.  James was starting to really not feel well, having called out the night before in Bloomington.  He had gotten some medicine, and was hell bent on doing the show that night in West Lafayette.  The theatre was easily the largest venue we have played (pictured above) with nearly 6,000 seats.  Pretty crazy.  Though we didn't completely sell out or anything, we had a great crowd that night.  After getting James back so he could rest, Tyler and I hung out in my room and started watching something I had talked about and he insisted on watching; Elaine Stritch Live At Liberty.  It just goes to show that she is appealing and funny to EVERYONE.  

Friday started off pretty awkwardly; we had a relatively short bus ride to Flint, MI, but our bus driver didn't seem to care that we needed to make a couple of stops for...ya know, going to the bathroom and eating...or, ya know...because it is an EQUITY RULE. For all intents and purposes, he held us hostage on the bus after one short break, and when we got to Flint, we were all ready to be anywhere but that bus.  However, the roads were a mess, and the snow began to fall.  We were technically in walking distance to the theatre, but there were no clean sidewalks to walk on, so we were provided with a couple of rental cars to get us to and from work, as well as get food; there was nothing to eat within walking distance.  However, there were only a few cars between us, so it became a bit complicated.  Tensions were running high, not the least because this marked our 11th straight day without a day off.  It was time.  Unfortunately, James hadn't been able to get his voice back, so he called out that night.  Brad went on and did a great show; but that would've marked James' last with us for about 9 weeks.  We wished him well, and let him knew that he would be sorely missed.  Following the show, we made our way very carefully back to the hotel over feet of snow, unplowed and unsanded roads.  

Ah, Saturday.  Our final day of shows before a day off.  The roads were even worse when we headed to work for the matinee, but that didn't stop of from doing a hell of a show, and welcoming Lee back to the stage.  It was great to be back up there with him, and the audience certainly showed their appreciation.  The snow continued to fall between shows, and after shuttling people to and from work as well as for food, it was time to do our final show in Flint.  A show that also marked the last for Tyler for quite a while, as Cody would be joining us the next week in Athens.  As tired as we all were, we cranked out another great show, and finished the week with a bang.  We caravaned back to the hotel, and settled in for the night; breathing a collective sigh of relief at our nearly 60 ours off before the next show.  

Sorry this one is a little late, but as I've said, we've been pretty busy!  My next installment should be on it's way in the next couple of days, and pretty soon we will have a week sit down in Omaha!  I hope everyone is staying warm and safe, and keep tuning in for more updates!

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