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 busy....so 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 know....like 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!