Monday, June 9, 2014

"Miss Montana! 'A beaut from Butte'...Miss North Carolina! 'Nothin' could be finer'....Miss Delaware! 'uhhhh......good for her' "

Two little peregrine falcons over looking the park near our hotel

A statue of patriot Caesar Rodney across from our theatre 

The lobby of the Hotel DuPont 

The DuPont Theatre 

The side of the Queen Theatre 

Right on the heels of my Madison blog comes my "exciting" blog from the metropolis of Wilmington, DE.  The title of this blog is a line from one of my favorite Simpsons episodes, where Homer is watching a beauty pageant and commenting on what the commentator is saying.  No offense to the 1st State, but Delaware isn't exactly known for being exciting.  Wilmington, however, has a reputation for being a bit...shall we say...dodgy.  So, here we go!!

With very few hiccups, I flew from Portland, ME to Philadelphia on Monday afternoon.  Once I arrived, I waited for the prepaid shuttle that would take me on the short 40 minute drive to my Wilmington hotel, where I was joined by Brian, our sound man.  After checking into our modest hotel in the heart of downtown, I walked around a bit, trying to find some sights and/or meal spots for the week; the area had very little to offer.  However, I did find a great sushi restaurant, Mikimoto, near the hotel for some expensive but fantastic sushi.  I spent the majority of the evening at my hotel before heading to the Washington Street Ale House (what would become a popular hang for the week) by myself for a late night snack and a craft beer.  

I walked around town trying to find some things to do and running quite a few errands on Tuesday morning and afternoon, before heading to Presto for a nice sandwich for lunch.  Ironically, the three places I frequented this week were all connected and on the same block.  Go figure.  After chilling in my room for the rest of the day and eating a wrap I had bought earlier for dinner, I made the short walk to the DuPont Theater (above) for our opening night.  A beautiful, historic and intimate little theatre, it was a great fit for our show.  The audience was quite good that night, and following the show I went to the Ale House for a little goodbye party.  Domenica Boscardin, our master electrician was leaving us.  She had been with us from the very first load in nearly 3 years ago in Cleveland, and if you recall the hellish trip I made from Minneapolis to Peoria in the middle of the night during the Polar Vortex portion of our winter, you will recall I made it with my "special friend" Nica.  When you make a do or die drive like that in the middle of the night with someone, you kinda have a bond for life.  Though it was under some terrible circumstances, I will always look back fondly on that drive with Nica, and I was quite sad to see her go.  But, as is often the case on this or any tour, people come and go.  We welcomed Emily Stamm back into our midst for the remainder of the tour, and also Nicole from her recent hiatus to continue hiking the Appalachian Trail.  

The boys and I were supposed to play a promo at a farmer's market on Wednesday morning, but it was cancelled due to rain.  Which just meant that I had more time to sit it my room before our odd two show day.  I say it's odd, but it really isn't.  It's a pretty standard Broadway schedule, but we don't often have week day matinees.  So, it was a bit different for us.  Both shows went swimmingly though, and in between I ventured to nearby Presto to grab a sandwich with Kelly.  I had a bit of time to chill before heading back for another great show, and that evening I ended up joining Tyler and some "fan boys" of our show at the E and S Taproom (a bar in an old bank) for a bite to eat and some conversation.  

I did very little on Thursday, save heading to Brew Ha Ha for some coffee and a chicken salad sandwich in the afternoon.  The show went well that night (despite my frustration over a box that went missing that was supposed to be delivered that day) and a few of us met at the Ale House afterward; their garlic soy flank steak salad had me hooked.  

Sadly, Friday was a tin type of Thursday, adding only my frantic search for my box; thus continuing my need to call UPS Unwanted Parcel Search.......but at least we had a kick ass show that night.  I had a delightful chicken quesadilla at the hotel bar that night, and then turned in.  

Saturday was another busy two show day, and in between we took part in a little project.  W.S. "Fluke" Holland (who I have brought up several times in past blogs, so shame on you if you don't remember who he is ;) ) is celebrating his 60th year in the record business, and a friend of his, Tim Forrest contacted me about having some of our cast film "shout outs" to Fluke in celebration of his milestone.  After setting it up with our marketing folks, I took it upon myself to gather the troops and film all of us.  Tim is planning on making a documentary about Fluke's career, so hopefully we make the cut!  Both shows went quite well, and the Ale House became our home for the night again.  

Sunday was another odd day with only a matinee, leaving the evening free do with as we pleased.  It was really nice to not have a show that night (though, don't get me wrong, I LOVE this show), which gave us time to get dinner, lay low, and regroup at the Ale House for the last time before heading out in the morning.  

Sorry for the quick blog, but in all seriousness, there wasn't a whole lot going on during our time in Wilmington.  Time is growing short on tour, as we have two split-weeks coming up, followed by a week in Dayton, OH; and then, well....a lot of things change.  So, thank you for tuning in yet again, and keep your eyes peeled for yet another story from the road soon!!

The land of beer, cheese and beer cheese

The largest state capitol building in the country

MMMM.  Fried cheese curds....

The Overture Center for the Performing Arts 

Hello kids!  Guess what??  It's another LONG overdue blog from yours truly!  I do have to say, it was much easier to write these blogs "on time" in the last two years of tour.  But, not having much time means me being on stage and being I wouldn't trade that for the world.  We had a busy week in Nashville before heading to Madison, so we dialed the busy factor down a bit for our last week before our week layoff.  Here are some highlights!!

We were a bit reluctant to leave Nashville on Monday morning, but I think we all needed a bit of downtime after the crazy, yet amazing week.  We arrived in Madison, WI in the early afternoon, and got settled at our hotel.  We were a couple of miles from downtown, so we were provided (as always when we are far from theatre) with rental cars.  I was feeling pretty hungry that evening, and Robby had gotten in touch with me to see if I had a hankering to get some dinner.  I did for sure.  So, we looked up a few places and settled on The Old Fashioned in downtown Madison.  The menu was quite interesting and varied, and everything was assigned a number.  I opted for a Wisconsin staple, beer battered cheese curds as well as an amazing smoked pork shoulder sandwich (above).  And what kind of fool would I be to pass up adding a fried egg to the sandwich?  Mamma didn't raise no fool.  It was a delicious dinner, and Robby and I had a good time hanging out and talking, despite the rain outside.  We parked across the street (not a far walk in the rain, thankfully) next to the state house (above).  After getting a little drenched, we made our way back home.  I was pretty tired, and suffering from a bit of a food coma, so I ended up napping for a bit.  After that, I laid low in my room, and opted to rest up for the next day.

I ran a few errands (like getting makeup....ya ya do when you are an actor) with Robby and Tyler for much of the day.  Tyler joined us again that day, after having been delayed the night before due to the weather we narrowly missed flying in.  So the three of us drove around getting some supplies before heading back to the hotel to regroup before opening that night.  James, Tyler and I made our way to the beautiful new Overture Center for the Arts (above) that night, and had a wonderful opening night with a warm welcome from the Madison audience.  Following that, I went to the hotel restaurant with Tyler and Brad to grab some food, and shortly thereafter headed to my room with Brad and James to watch one of my many Johnny Cash documentaries.  

We had press on Wednesday morning in the gorgeous and natural light-filled lobby of the Overture Center.  Quite a few of our latest press events have been at the theatre with multiple news crews/interviewers joining us, with ends up being very beneficial for us all; we reach a few media outlets at once, and we don't have to drive all over town to do so.  We did our acoustic medley, Blue Suede Shoes, and did a few personal interviews before heading back to the hotel.  Not long after arriving back home, James and I headed to a barbershop downtown for a little trim.  It was a nice little place with only the owner chopping locks, so we sat and talked for a bit before alternately getting our hairs cut.  We headed back to the hotel, and I opted to chill for a bit before heading out early to take some pictures of the capitol building and the surrounding area.  I went into Quiznos for dinner, only to meet seemingly the only person in human existence to not know who Johnny Cash was.  She thought the name on my hat was my own.  Well, in a manner of speaking, I am him "by night", but no.  I could never BE him.  And she had no clue who he was....even after naming songs, and recent popular Academy Award winning movies about him.  I digress.  I headed to the theatre, and we had another great show that night, despite me feeling as though I had a migraine (uncharacteristic for me) coming on the whole show.  The boys and I were asked to do a meet and greet following the show at a nearby restaurant called Icon with some donors and VIP's.  I didn't stay all that long, but the food I sampled while I was there was exquisite.  

Since James Scheider had just joined tour as our new Jerry Lee understudy, we had a full put in for him on Thursday.  He was slated to be on all weekend, so it was important to have a full rehearsal for him.  He did quite well, and following the rehearsal we did our obligatory Riverside recording session that we have to do anytime we add a new member of the company.  Brad, James (Jimmy from here on out), Robby and Tyler headed back to The Old Fashioned for a great dinner between our rehearsal and the show that night.  We all loaded up on some amazing eats, and then headed back to work.  I was actually being swung out that night (not an everyday occurrence), so I had the "night off", though I had to be there to effectively become the understudy.  I certainly didn't mind having a night off, so I used that time to sleep on the giant bean bag chair in my dressing room while Frace was on stage.  He did an amazing job, as always.  

Friday brought yet another rehearsal, this time for a promo event we were doing in Washington, D.C. the following week.  We had been asked to do an abbreviated and really completely different presentation of our show for a business convention in DC, so we had to rework and reorder songs, go through different dialogue and get a feel for the "new" show.  Following that I did a bit of laundry, sent a box home, and got ready to do the show that night.  Though it's always nice to have a night off, I would much rather perform, so it was great to be back on stage.  Another great show in Madison was followed by quite a few of us heading to the hotel bar to chill for a bit.  

Saturday was it's usual busy self with two shows.  Jimmy went on for both shows and did a really fantastic job.  Robby joined us for the evening show, and the two Thunderstudy boys really nailed it; they probably did the best shows I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of with them.  That night we all adjourned to the hotel bar again, and Jimmy's girlfriend Tyler made her way out with us for the first time.  We all had a grand time hanging out that night.  

Sunday was even busier with less time in between both shows, and Robby and Jimmy joined us onstage again.  Robby and I went for a bit to eat at Nick's Diner near the theatre in between, and of course I picked the restaurant that Johnny Cash was known to frequent when playing in town.  I had a great little Reuben sandwich before wandering the streets among graduates and their parents, while doing one of the most awkward interviews I have ever been a part of.  I got some local ice cream after that, and made my way to work to close the show for another great crowd in Madison.  Again, we all met up in the hotel's restaurant for a bit after the show, before adjourning to make our separate ways to our week layoff the next morning.  

I had a very early flight that Monday morning, but I arrived to find my parents waiting at the airport in Portland just after noon that day.  It was going to be a very quick turn around; I would be driving back to the airport the next morning to fly to DC for the promo event a mere 12 hours after landing.  I had a nice quiet night at home, and really only had enough time to have some home cookin', kiss the cat and repack for the following day.  

I flew into DC on Tuesday afternoon, with enough time to get my bearings before having rehearsal in the Washington Hilton's ballroom (the hotel is famous for being the place where John Hinckley shot President Reagan) for much of the evening.  I headed to the bar there that night that was inundated by billionaires in 3-piece suits....not really my scene.  

After a day to walk around the DuPont Circle area taking some pictures, a late lunch, and a phone interview, we had the event for over 1,200 people that night.  Despite breaking a string during Fever (and for the first time onstage, CHANGING it successfully before the song ended....) the show went off without a hitch.  A small group of us made our way through the more than tipsy business mean throwing drinks at us (as in, offering, not throwing them in our faces) to go to a little place called the Boardroom nearby for a few cocktails.  

Following the busy couple of days, we all made our separate ways home.  And I spent the rest of the week in Maine with my family, which brings me to a very important point and/or statement.  Sometimes I get people asking about the ins and outs of personal life on tour, whether it be mine, or my castmates.  As we all live under a bit of a microscope while at work, I try to keep my private life (and my friends') just that.  Private.  I do share a lot of my everyday life on tour with my readers, and for anyone who follows me on social media.  But I have found it is nice to have a modicum of privacy to preserve all of our sanity on the road.  There are "dramatic" moments, and moments that NO ONE would want me to share in my writings, regardless of how many "fans" may want to know the happenings in our lives.  I am merely writing this to explain that really (though, there are obviously some glaring contradictions in some early blogs) my blog and what I do online is to service my time with the 1st National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet; to promote the show, to get people interested in it, and to give my friends and family a slice of what life is like out here.  And so, a lot of the personal goings on for all of us are left out.  I certainly hope that doesn't rub anyone the wrong way, but it is simply the best way to keep our lives out of "the know".  Thank you for understanding, for reading, and for following me!  Stay tuned for another new blog shortly!