Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A less than stellar stay in Indiana, New Philly (Ohio??), New Hampshire, and my home state!!!

Dani and I celebrated our 1/2 birthdays together, thanks to Anna!  

The Emens Auditorium, Muncie, IN

The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas, New Philadelphia, OH

The Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH

I forgot I had played here in 2006 with A Christmas Carol!  I remembered when I saw the record store to the right of the marquee, Turn It Up

Our meeting before soundcheck

Ah, it's good to be home.  The Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME

The Cross Insurance Center (formerly the Bangor Auditorium), Bangor, ME

This is what travel days look like on a tiny plane (photo credit: Justin Gleiberman) 

Backstage at the Colonial in Keene

A shot from stage at the Merrill in Portland, ME

Me and my high school friend Jadine! 

A mish mosh of MDQ alums and current folks doing a press event this week in Key Largo! 

Outside of the Cross Insurance Center, thanks to Patrick Morrow 

Hello everyone!  Another eventful week out here on the road, filled with 5 cities, a trip to my home state, and a whole lot more!  Here's what we were up to:

The week started off with a bang on Monday morning.  We took the drive from Long Island to LaGuardia to fly into Indianapolis.  Thankfully, this time none of our brethren were left behind.  After quite a bit of time in the air an on busses, we landed at our hotel in the mid evening.  Let's just say, it wasn't the greatest hotel I have ever stayed in.  After settling in a bit, I headed with Gabe to a Mexican restaurant for a bit of food before heading back to the hotel to hang with much of the cast and crew.  It was nice to not have travel the next day, so quite a few of us stayed up pretty late.  Then, it was time to get some rest.  

I tried to be productive on Tuesday, and headed to the closest FedEx Office to take care of some tax preparation.  I always like to be way ahead of the game as far as taxes go, so I was glad to get that taken care of.  After some lunch, coffee and laying low for much of the day, the boys and I headed to our one and only show at the Emens Auditorium (above).  The show went quite well, and afterward Gabe, Jimmy and I opted to grab a bite to eat at the IHOP nearby, driving in the snow to get there.  After that, it was time to get some shut eye, as Jimmy got ready to fly to Mexico City for a promotion for MDQ.  And as we were all settling in, our tireless crew was loading out our set for the umpteenth time in the last few weeks.  Corey made a really nice short film of the Muncie load out (below), that really shows what it is like for them on a daily basis.  I found it very touching.  

A moderate drive to New Philadelphia, OH came our way on Wednesday and once we arrived, I had the 2nd of 3 interviews for news papers in Maine.  I rested for most of the day before me and the boys drove to the The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas (above) amidst yet another snow storm.  It was a beautiful theatre, and the audience was SPECTACULAR.  After fighting the bad weather and terrible roads, the boys and I headed to Buffalo Wild Wings, where Jake, Gabe and I had a really great conversation about music, theatre and a lot of our musical influences.  Then it was time to rest up for yet another travel day.  

We had a very long travel day on Thursday as we made our way to my home turf in the northeast.  We landed in Keene, NH that evening, and after a run in with a less than reputable fellow who may or may have not been on crystal meth, the cast had a meeting to discuss a few things.  Afterward, I headed to Chili's with Gabe, Colte and Jake for a bite and to hang out with the crew.  Following that, a big group of us headed back to the hotel to hang out in Gabe's room.  It was a late night, but a great time hanging out.  

I was glad to have the time to sleep in on Friday morning, and not long after I woke up I did an interview for my "hometown" newspaper, the Sun Journal out of Lewiston, ME.  I then headed to Longhorn with Jake for a late lunch, and to Target for a few essentials.  After chilling in my room for the late afternoon, the boys and I made our way to downtown Keene to the Colonial Theatre (above). As we parked and I made my way to take some pictures of the theatre's marquee, I realized I had played the theatre before on my A Christmas Carol tour years before.  I just couldn't remember how long it had been exactly.  After speaking to one of the ushers, it turns out in had been just about 9 years; our tour had come through in 2006 and she remembered it vividly.  I remembered in part because of the record store nearby, Turn It Up! that I had visited the last time.  Now, the theatre was easily the smallest we have played with MDQ, and because of that Briggs had been working hard for weeks to alter the lighting plot, as they were unable to hang our moving lights.  Though it certainly looked different, it looked pretty amazing from our vantage point, and I am sure the audience would have had no idea.  Kudos, Briggs.  The show went extremely well that night considering the theatre's technical limitations, and following that I headed out with Colte, Skye, Aly and Frace for a bit in Keene's adorable downtown.  

Saturday was a day I had been looking forward to for quite some time.  I hadn't performed in my home state of Maine for just about 11 years.  And I was going to have a slew of family, friends, family friends, and a lot of people I hadn't seen in years at the two shows in Portland.  We made the drive from Keene that morning and arrived in the late morning at our hotel in South Portland.  The whirlwind had just begun.  After settling in for a bit, I brought Gabe and Colte to one of my favorite places, The Sea Dog, for a bite to eat before our matinee and sound check.  They were quite pleased with the food, and after a stop at Starbucks, we made our way downtown.  The snow had begun to fall as we parked at the Merrill Auditorium (above), and I could already feel the pressure of the busy day.  I had only been an audience member at the Merrill on a few occasions; for the Nutcracker when I was younger, and 2 years ago with my parents for the Magic Of Christmas.  So, I was very much looking forward to performing in front of the closest thing I will ever have to a home town crowd.  We were pretty blown away by the audience's reaction!  I had a HUGE group of people out there; extended family, my brother and my parents, their friends, high school friends (Jadine and I above), and even my dentist!  It was so great to have everyone there, even if the short amount of time proved to be a bit stressful.  Along with all the visitors, in between shows was also the time for the crew to make a big announcement.  For much of the week prior, the cast and I had been working hard to fill out a "How Well Do You Know Your Crew" questionnaire; all sorts of random questions about their backgrounds, tattoos, etc.  The winner would have the opportunity to ride on the crew bus with them into Wabash, IN the following week.  I thought I had a relatively good chance, but also thought I probably wouldn't win.  In the end, Colte was the lucky one.  Congrats, brother!  More on that experience next week.  So, in between shows in Portland with the snow coming down in sheets, I opted to stay at the theatre in order to get a few things out of my trunk to give to my parents.  The break went quickly, and before I knew it I was on stage in front of another huge group of friends and family.  Another great show followed, and I met with my group after the show in the lobby.  With the roads being so bad, I opted to meet some of the cast with my brother, my friend from my days of Broadway World Reviewing, Audra, and my high school friend Erin.  Gabe had played Portland years ago, and had raved about an oyster house, J's Oyster Bar.  So, we made our way through the snow drifts to join them.  It was certainly a mish mosh of people, but we had a really great time.  I was beat, so Rick and I headed back to the hotel for some brotherly time, just talking about all that had been going on with us.  

Thankfully we had a pretty late call on Sunday for our drive to Bangor, so I was able to sleep in a bit. We made our way right past the exit to my house, and past the FBI (Freeport Big Indian), all the way up to Bangor.  It was great to arrive with more than enough time to chill, eat and enjoy some quiet time.  I ordered Chinese take out, and just as it arrived, so did my parents!  So, we sat and talked while I ate, and looked forward to sharing the evening together.  The boys and I made our way to the Cross Insurance Center (above), formerly the Bangor Auditorium that night for the show.  I had been to the BA quite a few times to watch basketball tournaments, so it was very interesting to be playing there.  It was a pretty full crowd, and the show went extremely well!  Afterward I met up with my parents as well as the artistic director of the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor; we had been in touch quite a bit about a slew of things, so it was nice to finally put a face to a name.  And pretty soon I may even have some good news to announce.....My parents and I headed back to the hotel to take a load off and watch the Oscars.  Then, it was time to rest for yet another long week ahead.  

Well, that's it for the week!  It was a long one, but great in the end.  Quite a few more cities and stories to follow in my next couple of blogs, leading us into our first break of tour!  So, keep your eyes peeled for more news from the road!  

An AMAZING video of the behind the scenes life of the crew, thanks to the gifted filmmaker/props man extraordinaire, Corey Kloos 

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