Peter surprised Frace in Norfolk!
The Coronado Theatre, Rockford, IL
Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield, IL
The Clay Center, Charleston, WV
The view from my hotel room in Norfolk, VA
Chrysler Hall, Norfolk, VA
Hello everyone! Seems that my long overdue blogs are becoming commonplace, and I am not a fan; the hotel wifi in the majority of the places we have been during this busy time has been kinda atrocious. To let you in on how I construct my blogs, I always upload my pictures first, and then write my blog based around them. So, if I don't have a strong enough connection, it takes me a while to get started. That said, here is my latest installment. I apologize in advance for it not being the longest or most action packed, but I assure you the week was a busy one.
We left Toledo bound for Rockford, IL on Monday morning. It was a relatively lengthy drive, and when we moved into our hotel, it was a bit hectic. I had opted to rent a car to drive myself from city to city for the first 3 days of the week, to break up the monotony of bus life, and to allow me to see some friends along the way. Though I had reserved the car nearly 2 months before, I had a hell of a time trying to get the rental car people to get me at our hotel so that I could go pick up my car. We also had company cars there, which made things a little bit difficult; so, I left the company car with Lee and Tyler and just barely got my car with enough time to cruise to the gorgeous Coronado Theatre (above) with time to spare before our company meeting. The theatre was quite breathtaking, and the audience that night was just great. Following the show, I headed back to my room to put my bags in my rental car, bound for the Windy City; or, well, the burbs. I was pretty glad to leave, in that the stench coming from spoiled leftovers that had been left behind in my room was excruciating. I made the short drive and met up with some new and very dear friends at a clubby sort of bowling alley...thing..... It was pretty loud, but pretty fun!
Tuesday brought the short and relatively uneventful drive in my car to Springfield, IL. I had thought I that I wouldn't be driving anywhere near my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, but it turned out that it was very much on the way. Had I realized it, I would have left earlier to have enough time to actually get out and walk around. Sadly, I only had enough time to drive around a bit. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The campus looks much the same as the last time I was able to stop in in 2005. I hope to go back very soon, but for now, this was just a quick scenic tour. Cruising into Springfield with little time to spare, we headed to work and were greeted by the Presneys! For those that have been tuning in for a while, John Michael Presney was our Carl Perkins understudy for the first 2 years, and Springfield is is home town. So his parents not only got tickets to see the show, but stopped by the stage door to hand me a giant platter of home made cookies!!!! They are just the sweetest people! I actually had quite a few people there that evening, for what turned out to be an amazing show. There was very little around our hotel, as we were out by the highway as opposed to near campus, where the theatre was. A small group of us headed to a bar/pool hall to unwind a bit with some burned pizza. Ok, mine was actually quite good. But still.
Wednesday's drive was a bit longer to Evansville, IN, and it became a stressful day. I grossly underestimated the length of the drive, stops, etc after our leave time....so I was kinda freaking out upon my arrival in Indiana. Again, a relatively long drive to work, so I had to drop off my rental car and zoom to work. Ironically, after having to visit 2 return locations and finding the closest one to the theatre so I could be dropped off, I made it to the theatre well before the rest of the cast. Another great show, but not a whole lot around, so we settled for the delicacies at.......Denny's. An early call and a LONG drive the next morning meant a very early night.
I rejoined the folks on the bus on Thursday morning as we headed to Charleston, WV. We got in with little time to spare, but thankfully the theatre was within walking distance; and, the Clay Center (above) was gorgeous to boot! What an amazing jewel of a brand new theatre in an unexpected place. Another great show, and we were joined by a few of the Marshall University students that we had met weeks and weeks prior when we played Huntington, WV. I took a stroll and met a few of the boys at Sam's Uptown Cafe for a little nosh. And then Tyler and I headed to a sports bar for a night cap.
Norfolk, VA and one of our longest drives yet was on the menus for Friday. However, we were certainly glad to be moving further and further south to warmer weather. We arrived at our hotel, which was quite nice. However, there was some sort of...well...dog convention going on (as I write this, I know my mother will be laughing out loud as she reads this). Though I heard very little barking, there were SO many dogs and owners running around in our two days there. And, I have to say, most of the owners were really unpleasant people. Not a fan. Anyway, we were a short drive to the theatre, and the boys and I were lucky enough to get a luxurious Buick Lacrosse for our rental car. Parking in a giant garage that housed parking for not only the theatre but the minor league hockey team AND convention center was a NIGHTMARE. Hard to get in, hard to get out, hard to find spaces with hundreds and hundreds of people parking and leaving at any given moment. But, we got in safely, and made our way to the theatre. Another great show was followed by a long wait to leave the garage, and then me getting a bite to eat at one of my least favorite, but most convenient eating establishment near the hotel....Hooters.....blech.
Saturday was pretty busy, as we had two shows, and we would be flying for the first time in a while the next day...so I had to out a few things in my trunk to ensure my bags were underweight. Frace was on as Sam for both shows, and the day also marked our last day of a 12 day stretch of shows and travel without a day off. It also meant a much needed break for our amazing crew who had done 5 load ins that week. Following the day, the boys and I headed to....you guessed it.....Hooters. We were joined by Frace's friend Peter who had driven out on a whim to see him perform. I have met him a few times now, and he has officially become my 2nd favorite Australian (no offense, Peter. And no, Hugh Jackman is NOT #1 ;)))) We then headed to the Norfolk Tap Room and met up with a few more of the cast as well most of the crew. It was nice to let loose a bit and celebrate the fact that we had almost 2 full days off coming up.
Well, that is all for our busy week! Much more to come from our full week sit down in Fort Myers, and much much more!!!! Thanks for reading!!!!!