Wednesday, June 3, 2015

OhhhhhhhhKlahoma....tornados, strange little bugs and all......

Civic Center Music Hall, Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum 

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home of the OKC Dodgers

My friend Nancy came to visit!  Hadn't seen her in almost a decade! 

Hey everyone!  It's me, your often tardy but always diligent tour blogger!  We had a whirlwind (no pun intended) week in Oklahoma City amidst some bad weather and a whole slew of other things.  So, here's what happened!!

We had a bit of a long day on Monday, as we made the drive to St. Louis to fly out.  We had a moderate layover in Dallas before making the rest of the way to Oklahoma City in the late evening.  It was a short drive from the airport, but we got in a bit later in the evening.  After settling in, I took the short yet somewhat treacherous walk to an oyster house nearby (yes, I know, why would I eat seafood in a land locked area....) for a great meal and a cocktail before heading back to my room to lay low for the rest of the evening.  Thankfully, the weather had been pretty good up until that point.  But it was all about to change....

The weather Tuesday started to turn a bit, but it was actually quite nice for much of the day.  I opted to stay close to the hotel for much of the day, only venturing out for a bite to eat in the late afternoon, and a quick trip to the mall for a couple of things.  That's when the rain started, and didn't seem like it was ever going to let up.  The boys and I made our way to the Civic Center (above) for opening night that night, and made our way through the wet weather.  But, the people of OKC braved the weather and gave us an amazingly warm welcome that night.  It also happened to be the 100th show of this leg of tour, so that was reason to celebrate in and of itself!  The crowd and theatre were great, and we were very much looking forward to our week there.  We braved the pouring rain to make it to our car, and promptly headed back to the hotel to stay dry.  Some people had had plans to go out for Cinco De Mayo, but the rain put a damper on those plans.  Most people opted to stay in and chill at the hotel bar for a bit.  My friend Nancy arrived that night, and after she got in we braved the weather and went to Edna's, a little dive bar close by to catch up.  

Scott Weinstein was in town and had caught the show on opening night, so the cast all gathered at the theatre on Wednesday afternoon to go through his moderate notes, and to clean a few things on stage. We expected to be there for much of the day, and instead found we were released early, and the Thunderstudies were able to move their run to the late afternoon as opposed to the following day.  Which meant though a few of us thought we would have to be at the theatre during the day on Thursday, we now had it off!  Jake and I had been eyeing a record store on the way to the theatre called Trolley Stop Record Shop; and because we got out early, we opted to stop in for a bit before heading home.  Boy howdy.  I'm glad/not glad we did.  We were in there for quite a while, and in the process we both ended up spending quite a bit of money for some pretty amazing stuff.  A lot of it was unorganized, but the stuff that was was in fantastic condition.  I bought quite a few original Sun 45's, as well as a few Johnny Cash LP's, and a slew of other things.  Our pockets nearly empty, we headed back to the hotel.  Not long after we got there, we started getting alerts on our phones that there were major tornado watches and a lot of rain and lightning headed our way.  The worst part of the storm was supposed to hit as we would be driving to the theatre, so a few of us opted to head to the theatre a couple of hours early to just chill and wait out the weather.  All of our dressing rooms had tv's in them, so we were all glued to the Weather Channel for much of the early evening.  As the show approached, we got word that there would be an automatic hold for the audience, meaning our show would start about 20 minutes late.  There were definitely a few holes in the audience, but who can blame people for not leaving home in the middle of a tornado warning?  The show went pretty well, but it was easy to see that the audience was quite distracted with what the weather was doing outside, and the fact that you could hear thunder and hale inside the theatre.  All was well until we started I Walk The Line; I got about 2 verses in, and BJ came over the microphone announcing that we were pausing the show, and that we needed to leave stage immediately.  The cast and crew made our way downstairs to the reinforced and tornado safe basement.  We were only there for a short time before we were told that we had been cleared to head back to the stage, and we would be raising the curtain to start at the top of the song again.  The crowd roared as the curtain rose, and you could tell they were right there with us as we continued the show.  Aside from the audience being quiet for a bit, the show went quite well overall.  We made our way out of the theatre through flooded streets and torrential downpour to crawl our way back to the hotel.  Once there, no one had any plans to leave again.  A few of us gathered at the hotel bar for a bit, before heading our separate ways.  

Jake and I had a bit of early radio press on Thursday morning, and thankfully the rain had held off for it.  We made our way around one building, doing interviews for a few different DJ's and radio formats.  Once we were done, I opted to head back to my room and grab a nap before doing anything else that day.  Jake ended up joining Nancy and I for a bite to eat at Cheesecake Factory nearby, and then we headed downtown to visit the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum (above).  I really didn't know what to expect, but the memorial was quite breathtaking and stirring.  It's hard to believe that that happened so long ago.  The thing that affected me the most was a statue across the street from the memorial with the phrase printed below, "And Jesus Wept" (above).  We walked around the grounds for quite a while before heading to Bricktown, a popular area nearby with a lot of shops, restaurants, and the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (above).  I took a bunch of pictures of all of the above, including quite a few of everything to do with Mickey Mantle for my mother.  After a stop in the team shop and a coffee, we made our way back to the hotel just as the rain began to fall again.  The boys and I headed to the show that evening, and thanks to the lack of tornados in the area, we had another great show like opening night.  The crew had organized a trip to Dave and Busters afterward, and thankfully the rain had stopped enough for us to make our way there without incident.  We all had a great time hanging out and playing arcade games that night, and then it was time to head back home for the evening.  

I had been noticing some very strange and bothersome bites all over my arms, chest and hands while in OKC, and on Friday morning it all came to a head.  I noticed a bunch of dead bugs in the bathroom and on the air conditioning unit, and my bites were getting worse.  So, I asked to have my room changed, and after doing so I headed to urgent care nearby to get checked out.  I was there for what seemed like hours, waiting to be seen and finally get something to take care of it.  Apparently there had been a lot of that type of thing lately, and I was given a prescription for a steroid and a cream to take care of it.  How annoying.  The rain started, of course, as I was waiting to fill my prescription.  After a bit of downtime, I brought Jake to Walmart, got my medicine, and we headed through the awful rain to the show.  Yet another amazing crowd braved the weather, and showed us what OKC crowds were made of.  I headed back to Edna's with Nancy that evening before heading to bed.  

Saturday brought a typical busy two show day, but before all of it, Jake and I headed to FedEx to ship out the ridiculous amount of records we had bought in two trips to Trolley Stop that week.  We narrowly made it back to pick up Gabe for the matinee, but we did make it in time.  Between shows we headed to the mall so that Jake could get a few things, and I could get some insight into some computer/tablet/phone communication problems I was having.  After it was cleared up, it was time to head back home for a bit before the evening show.  The bad weather continued, as did the amazing crowds in OKC.  After the show we hung out at the hotel again, and ended up grabbing a bit of food at IHOP afterward.  

Sunday was another busy double day, but thankfully the weather held up.  Both shows went amazingly well, particularly the evening show, and in between I took Jake to Freebird World Burrito nearby for a late lunch.  And then....we made the decision to head back to Trolley Stop one last time.  That man must have thought we were crazy.  I would bet that the money Jake, Patrick and I spent in their will keep him in business for a month.  Following the evening show, the cast met at Republic nearby for a bit of a celebration and going away party.....but that can wait until the official news in my next blog.  

Because of all the bad weather that week in OKC, flight situations were a mess.  Nancy had trouble getting out a few days before, and the majority of the cast and crew awoke to find that their flights were either rebooked, cancelled or delayed.  My second flight ended up being rebooked automatically, and once I made it through the madhouse at check in, I was all set.  I got to NYC quite a bit later than I planned, and without one of my bags to boot.  I had been looking for a place to stay in the city for layoff, and our first stage manager, David Lober, who is now the Production Stage Manager for Matilda on Broadway was nice enough to offer his place, as he was going to be in New Haven for the week.  The week was a bit of whirlwind; I didn't sleep a whole lot due to the stress of my missing bag; it was finally returned, but missing a wheel.  I got to see Billy, The Jam, Corey, Gabe and Michelle and even Levi when I went to catch Billy's gig at the 11th Street Bar and Grill on Tuesday.  I also stopped in to say hello to the Prather folks who were there doing auditions for the upcoming non Equity national tour of our show.  It was fun catching up with them, having some amazing food, and even seeing a couple of shows!  I decided to catch the hilarious Something Rotten with Prather alum Marisha Wallace, as well as the stunningly beautiful An American In Paris.  The week truly went by too fast, and before I knew it I was on my way home to Maine to spend the day with my parents before heading back to tour the next day.  I almost needed a break from my break.  

Well kids, that's all for this week's blog.  Stay tuned for news from Florida and Kansas City, as well as some breaking news within the cast.  I hope this finds you well, and that you are enjoying the lovely weather wherever you are!!

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