Some beautiful architecture in downtown Wheeling, WV
The Capitol Theatre, Wheeling, WV
An abandoned building near the casino on Wheeling Island, Wheeling, WV
A view of the bridge from our stage door, Wheeling, WV
The Capitol Theatre
EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, KY
Our hotel, Hotel Morgan, Morgantown, WV
WVU Creative Arts Center, Morgantown, WV
Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, Scranton, PA
Some wonderful buildings in downtown Scranton, just after the snowfall
We did indeed have that Wheelin' Feelin'....at least somewhat....
A little room hang
Another great new press photo!
Our first wall tag! Scranton, PA
Hello everyone! I hope these last couple of weeks have been great for y'all! Our cast and crew have been pretty busy, transversing this country spreading rock n' roll wherever we go. Here are the highlights!
First and foremost, I would love to introduce you to our amazing and tireless crew. Almost all of them are new to MDQ, save Dani Taylor (who was our Advance Carpenter last year and takes over as Head Carp this year) and good old Corey Kloos (Props, and keeps our guitars looking and sounding good). We welcome BJ Foreman (Production Stage Manager), Andrew Bacigalupo (Assistant Stage Manager), Jeffrey Mensch (Company Manager), Justin Gleiberman (Assistant Company Manager), Eric Briggs (Master Electrician), Mary Anderson (Electrics/spot op), Anthony Jones (Head sound), Rachael Koss (Assistant sound), Megan Moore (Wardrobe), John Panicello (Electrics/sound swing), and Louis Riquelme (Advance carpenter). They are an amazing group of people; their schedule is hellish, but they have been doing a fantastic job each and every day. Though we haven't been able to hang out much because of their long hours, we look forward to the times when we can.
We arrived in Wheeling on Sunday evening, and found that there was very little open near our hotel. Thankfully, there was a hotel bar, and they were playing the final two playoff games of the NFL season before the Super Bowl. So, after getting settled and laying low a bit, I ordered a pizza from Papa John's and joined almost the entire cast and crew downstairs to watch my Patriots win the AFC title game! We had a great night hanging out, talking, playing music on the juke box and just letting loose a bit. One of the few but memorable times we got to spend some quality time with the crew.
We had most of the day on Monday to wander a bit, as we didn't have a show that evening and our crew didn't have to load in. I woke up a little late and wandered around the town taking pictures of some of the wonderful (above), yet crumbling architecture. After a coffee and a leisurely walk along the river, I headed toward our theatre and walked across the bridge (above) over the Ohio River, to Wheeling Island. There were some beautiful historic houses along the river there, and after taking some pictures I headed to the Wheeling Island Casino and Racetrack to play some slots. After losing a bit of money (don't worry mom and dad...not THAT much) and grabbing some food, I made the chilly walk back across the river (and one of the first suspension bridges of it's kind, the archetype for the Brooklyn Bridge) to our hotel. After a bit of time there, I met a few of the cast at the Bridge Tavern, a stone's throw from the bridge and our theatre.
Tuesday brought a pretty rough load in for the crew, meanwhile much of the cast laid low. I had a phone interview for an upcoming market, and then wandered a bit taking some more pictures and stopping for a quick lunch. As the day progressed, we all met at the Capitol Theatre (above) for our only show in town. We were pretty blown away by the crowd in Wheeling, but there was ONE little catch; we had a "friend" on stage with us the entire night. A bat had apparently been trapped in the theatre, and it flew all over the stage and audience for the entirety of the show. I wish I could say this was the first time I have experienced such a thing, but on my Christmas Carol tour (2003, I think?) we had a bat on stage with us on the campus of Mizzou. That time, the bat was dive bombing actors onstage, so thankfully that is where my bat experiences differ. I digress. After the show we stopped back at the Bridge Tavern for a bite and a drink. Some of the audience were there, and were nice enough to invite Gabe, Bradley and I to their private Moose Lodge club for a night cap after the Tavern. All in all it was a great night. It's always so nice to meet kind, giving people when were are in a town. It always makes the experience that much more memorable and pleasant.
We made the early drive to Richmond, KY the next morning, and once we got there I moved in and laid low at the hotel. We were a bit isolated, so there wasn't much to do around anyway. The boys and I drove to the EKU Center for the Arts that evening for yet another one nighter. Yet again, we were met with cheers and standing ovations from another great crowd. Our AEA rep was there, and after a couple of stops for groceries on the way home, much of our group convened in the pool area to talk shop with her, and just hang out in the balmy chlorine filled air.
Another early bus call greeted us on Thursday morning, as we headed back to West Virginia to Morgantown, home of West Virginia University. We were sad to not have more time there, as the downtown was quaint and college influenced. We made our way through some terrible traffic to the other side of town for our one show in Morgantown that evening at the WVU Creative Arts Center (above). Another great show followed, and following that we headed to a local bar, the Boston Beanery for a bit afterward; all the while watching college kids in clothing a bit skimpy for tropical temperatures head from bar to bar and club to club. Ah, to be young and foolish again.
Friday brought a mid morning drive to the Electric City, Scranton, PA and a much awaited multiple show city. It was quite chilly there, and most of us laid low before our first show. The downtown was quite lovely, and I looked forward to taking pictures in town during the weekend. Because it was our first long weekend in a place after some hectic weeks, most people had their significant others in town, lifting everyones' spirits after a rough couple of days. The Scranton Cultural Arts Center (above) is housed in a beautiful and historic Masonic Temple; not the usual venue for our show, though it brought back thoughts of Indianapolis and our stay there in our first year. Following another great opening show with David on as Brother Jay, most of us met in the hotel lobby for a bite to eat. The snow began to fall, and quite a few of us headed to the Backyard Ale House for a bit. By the time we left, there was a sizable amount of snow on the ground. We slipped and slid the whole walk home and bundled up for the night.
With about a foot of snow on the ground the next morning, I walked around taking pictures of the buildings and monuments close by (above) before grabbing a coffee, a hoagie and heading to the theatre for the first of two shows. We taped a quick video shout out for our upcoming repeat stop at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, before welcoming Aly to the stage to make her debut as Dyanne! She did a fantastic job as expected, and following the show we both greeted our friend Jess and her husband; the three of us had done The Unsinkable Molly Brown together, shortly before I was cast in MDQ. In between shows I tried to get some rest, and then headed back for another great show and a meet and greet next to the theatre with members of the board, audience and other VIP's.
Sunday brought but one show, and before heading to the theatre, I got my usual coffee and bite to eat. The closing show went extremely well, as we welcomed Skye to make his debut as Elvis! He had just gotten word that morning that he would be on, and despite the last minute news he killed it. His professionalism and vast stage experience spoke for themselves. Following that, Skye, Gabe, Laura and I did a talkback with some high school drama students from Lancaster, PA. After some amazing questions, group pictures and signatures, we headed back to the hotel and went our separate ways. It had been a long week, indeed. I personally took a lengthy nap that evening before grabbing some food at the hotel restaurant, and prepared for the early morning to come. Little did we know at the time that we were in for quite an adventure.....but that, my friends is for next week's blog.
Well, that's it for this week on the road! I hope you enjoyed it, and please stay tuned for my next installment from the great state of Texas!