Saturday, July 25, 2015

The end of an era

Bergen Performing Arts Center, Englewood, NJ

Multiple shots from Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA

A rainy day at Manassas with my parents

Me, shortly after my trip to the ER, where I was told my wrist was broken

Colin presented me with this plaque shortly before the Saturday night show

David and I with our plaques; the only two members of the company to be on board for all 4 years

A post sound check meet and greet with one of our huge fans, Mason!!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the final blog for my time on the Million Dollar Quartet 1st National Tour.  It's hard to believe that 4 years have flown by this quickly, and that I have been writing about our adventures this whole time.  Of course my feelings were certainly starting to become pretty bittersweet; though the road had become a bit exhausting, I certainly wasn't ready to say goodbye to the show, or to my MDQ family.  On top of that, with our recent accident a lot of things about me future were very much up in the air.  And, rather than bore you with much of the minute details of my every move on our 3 days off in Englewood, I will sum up those days.  So, here goes my last foray into my tour blogging.  

I woke up on Monday morning in a lot of pain, and dreading the flight to New Jersey.  I had decided pretty quickly that I NEEDED to go to the ER once I was settled.  My wrists were almost completely useless; it took me nearly 15 minutes just to put on my socks that morning.  I needed help packing and moving my suitcases.  Luckily, once I was downstairs with my bags I had a lot of time before our bus left for the airport.  I had decided at that point that I should probably have some wrist braces to support my injuries while I was on the flight, and Corey and Mary were nice enough to drive me to a pharmacy to get me a few things.  We made it back in more than enough time to get on the bus, and everyone was very kind and thoughtful asking about the night before.  The flight itself was pretty awful.  The pressure in the cabin caused my already bruised and swollen hands to get even worse.  And, I couldn't sleep as I usually do on the plane because of it.  Once we finally got in after landing at LaGuardia and making the nearly 2 hour drive to Jersey (again, my favorite state), I was pretty miserable.  After having help moving in from Meghan and Johnny, I decided it was time to get food and go to the ER.  I waited for quite a while, and once I was finally seen, I was in a room for even longer.  In the 5 hours I was there, they did x-rays on both of my wrists, chastised the Austin paramedics, and did a CT scan due to the bruises on my stomach to make sure I didn't have any internal injuries.  Once I was finally cleared, I was left with a clear blood test, a clean CT scan and the knowledge that I would have to go to a specialist to be fitted for a cast for two broken bones in one of my wrists.  4-6 weeks in a cast would mean my tour was effectively over, and put into question my next contract as well as much of my professional near future.  It was a hard night to say the least.  Thankfully, I had the support of my amazing crew.  The following day was spent laying low and resting, icing and trying to do as little as possible.  The one thing I did do was head to the mall to replace my iPhone.  It was damaged during the accident, and I knew it wouldn't make it the next few months until I was eligible for an upgrade.  Wednesday was much the same, except I fielded a few phone calls from insurance adjustors, and I had my appointment with the specialist.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be picking out a color for my cast, and that I just needed to deal with the fact that I had broken bones and would need a lot of recovery time.  After a short wait, I went in to see the specialist.  The first thing he told me to do was take off my right wrist splint (above).  He then proceeded to tell me that my wrist wasn't broken at all; that they both in fact had been sprained, but I did not in any way need a cast.  I was shocked to say the least, but I cannot even explain to you the amount of relief I felt.  I was given a wrist brace to use sparingly, and that I needed to ice my wrists each night....and then I was cleared to go back to work.  Given the pain I was still experiencing, I wasn't sure that it was even still a possibility.  I arrived back at the hotel, and gave the great news to a bunch of the crew and called my parents.  I still needed to spend the rest of the day resting, so I was hold up in my room for quite a while.  I was looking forward to the possibility of going back to work, but I really wasn't sure that my wrists would be up to it.  Johnny was kind enough to offer me his guitar to try things out on Thursday before the show.  I woke up that day and was pretty concerned that it just wasn't going to happen.  But, I was getting kind words and support from the entire crew, management, the cast, and even the creative team and producers.  That certainly lifted my spirits.  I tried out the guitar and found that though my wrists were in pain, I was more than able to play and hold the guitar as I always did with a little help and support from an Ace bandage.  It was really the little mundane things in my day and that I would have to do on stage that proved a challenge.  Things like turning door handles, shaking hands, buttoning my fly, putting on my socks and shoes.  But, I was confident that I would be able to do it.  That evening I reunited with the boys, and we made our way nearly 20 minutes away to the Bergen PAC (above); it was actually quite close to where I had seen the specialist the day before.  I had quite a few friends at the show that night, and though I didn't want to have let them down, I knew that THAT couldn't be my deciding factor as to whether or not I would do the show.  The cast was very understanding as to the small changes I needed to make to do my show close to as usual, and sound check went off without a hitch.  It was hard to believe that it was our next to last sound check, and that we were only a few days from the end of tour.  Following our sound check, we were able to meet and talk to a big fan of ours (above); Mason and a lot of his family were there, so it was really nice to talk to all of them and pose for a few pictures before heading backstage.  After catching people up on my prognosis and the events of the last few days, it was time to do a show.  I was pretty nervous going into it, knowing that I wasn't fully sure how my wrists would hold up.  The show went very well considering, and though the audience was a bit quiet (the specialist's assistant and her husband were also in the audience), I was just glad to have made it through without a problem.  That night I laid low after the show at the hotel, icing my wrists and resting for our travel day to our final venue the next day.  

We had a moderate call on Friday to head to Vienna, and the travel day that followed was not exactly the greatest; pretty fitting for the final group day of travel.  We ended up leaving late, and after also leaving late after our lunch stop at a mall we had barely any time at the hotel before we had to leave.  My parents arrived at the hotel just before we did, so I was able to say a quick hello to them before the boys and I made the long drive to the venue.  We had been looking to Wolf Trap (above) for a while, as it is a famous and very large outdoor venue.  The crew had a smooth load in (their last), and we had so much room back stage, the set would fit 3 or 4 times over.  The sound check was a bit weird, as the audience had already started to assemble in the seats before we had even started.  We were glad that there was a bit of cover for the audience, as the only other outdoor venue I had ever played was the Starlight in Kansas City.  The rain there certainly affected the audience, so we were looking forward to clear skies for our weekend in Virginia.  The curtain went up on opening night, and that was a bit weird as well.  Because of the time of year, it was still light for almost the first hour of the show, making the audience totally visible and taking away from our lighting affects a bit.  The audience was great though, and I was very glad to have my parents in the audience.  My wrists were still bothering me, but they were certainly getting better.  I was also supposed to meet up with some friends of Bill Miller (owner of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, and operator of the Johnny Cash podcast and 24/7 radio station), but that ended up falling through.  I had set up a backstage tour for their group, but security wouldn't let them close to the stage door.  Oh well.  I found my parents after the show and we made our way back to the hotel to chill for the evening.  

Saturday was unfortunately quite rainy, but thankfully I also had some time off with my parents. Months earlier, Frace had asked if he could be swung on so that his family in the DC area could see him as Cash, and I was more than happy to oblige.  I had the matinee off to see some sights with my parents, though the rain cramped our style a bit.  We headed to Manassas, where 2 important Civil War battles took place.  It poured most of the time we were there, but we were still able to enjoy the museum and take a driving tour of the grounds (above), including the Stone House that was used as a hospital and headquarters and various points.  I was more than glad that we had the day to spend together, as my wrists seemed to be reacting pretty badly to the rain.  Following our trip to the battlefield, we made our way through the pouring rain to get some Pho nearby our hotel.  I was pretty tired after our sight seeing, so I wanted to get a bit of rest before the show that evening.  I also knew I needed to head in early to pack up my trunk, as time was getting very short.  I needed a bit of help putting a box together (thanks, Justin!!), but I got everything sorted in more than enough time to be ready for the show.  Lane and Colin greeted me at the theatre that night, and presented me with the amazing plaque pictured above.  I was pretty overcome with emotion, as it meant a lot to me that they took the time recognize David and I for our time with the show.  They were also quite concerned about the boys and I having been in an accident, proving once again that the MDQ family is always there for you.  We had an amazing show that night with Lane, Colin, Erica from Broadway Across America, and a slew of other people in the audience.  Due to the load out the following night, the company opted to throw us our closing night party on Saturday.  So once we all got back from the theatre, we went our separate ways to change before heading to the nearby restaurant.  I picked up my parents, clad in black (in the most appropriate attire I could muster), and headed to meet up with everyone.  It was a really great spread, and it was so nice for everyone to be in the same place at the same time.  I was able to introduce my parents to everyone in the cast and crew that they hadn't met yet, as well as Colin and his wife.  They had some amazing food for us, and my parents sat and talked with various people while grazing on sliders, fish tacos and flat breads.  They left shortly after midnight, and I spent the rest of the evening hanging with everyone who was left before making my way home.  The rain had stopped, so I decided to take the short walk home by myself.  Then, it was time to rest for the big day that followed.  

It was very strange to wake up on Sunday morning, knowing full well that we would be closing the show for good that night.  I met up with my parents briefly before the boys and I headed out for food and coffee, and for one of our last trips to the theatre.  They had prepared me for how odd the matinee would be, as we would be in sunlight the entire time.  The sunlight notwithstanding, we all had a great show.  It was hard to believe that there was only one show left.  The boys and I made our way back toward the hotel and ran a few errands before I met up with my parents for dinner.  I was pretty tired, but I think because I was so wired and full of adrenaline and nerves for the final show, I really didn't notice.  My parents and I headed to Firehouse Subs, a family favorite for a few years.  We had a nice quick dinner, and then headed back to the hotel for a bit to get ready for the last show.  I knew that it would be pretty emotional, as it had been the better part of my life for the last 4 years.  But, all good things must come to an end.  I grabbed coffee for the boys (and a banana for Jake), and we took our last trip to the theatre.  I got ready early, as Meghan and I needed to start wig prep early in anticipation for our final company meeting.  It was a bit surreal to have Meghan put my wig on for the final time.  We shared a bit of a tear together before we made our way out the green room for the meeting.  Most of us were pretty emotional, and it was a lot to take in.  Chuck Mead arrived from Helena, MT that evening to join us, and we had decided that he would sit in with us and do one of his favorite covers Red Hot.  We talked through it a bit with him as company management handed out our final tour gift: portable MDQ coolers.  A functional and extremely appropriate gift considering our group.  Once we had said a few words and wished each other well, we all went our separate ways to get ready for our final performance as a group.  The closing audience didn't disappoint; and though I honestly had a really hard time making it through the "breakup scene" and much of the end of the show, in the end I was just glad to have given it my all with an amazing cast that had all become my family.  The added bonus of letting loose with Chuck onstage was pretty amazing.  Following the show, we all met up with Colin, Chuck, my parents and a few other friends and family before leaving the venue.  Emotionally and physically exhausted, we all made the long drive back to our hotel.  I spent some time with my parents before heading to the lobby for an informal hang with the rest of the cast and crew once they had completed load out.  We were all pretty drained from the day and the rest of the week, and likewise most of us had an early morning as well all made our way to our respective homes.  I split a bit early in favor of getting some rest before my trip home the following day.  After a bit of shuttle trouble, I was well on my way back to Maine on Monday morning.  And thus, tour is over.  

In the following days and weeks, I spent some time at home in Maine with my family, clearing out a bunch of stuff and getting a storage unit to hold it.  I have "moved" my things back into the room I grew up in, after not having slept in my bed for nearly a decade.  I've been in the city for much of the month seeing friends, catching some live music and doing my best to lay low and enjoy my "vacation".  In that time, I accepted and signed my contract to reprise my role from tour in the regional theatre premier of the show at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine under the direction of Broadway star (and original Broadway Sam Phillips) Hunter Foster.  There will be a few familiar faces in the cast to MDQ fans, and I am really looking forward to this new opportunity.  

I would be remiss in my blogging duties if I didn't take the time to remember all those that have been on tour with us in various capacities over the last few years.  If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me...and message me so I can fix it.  Following that, there are some numbers for the final tally of cities, venues and performances.  

Sam: Chris Grant, Vince Nappo, Bryan Langlitz
Carl: Lee Ferris, Rob Lyons, James Barry, Gabe Bowling
Jerry Lee: Martin Kaye, Levi Kreiss, Ben Goddard, John Countryman, Colte Julian
Cash: Derek Keeling, David Elkins, Scott Moreau 
Elvis: Cody Slaughter, Tyler Hunter, Eddie Clendening, Jake Rowley 
Dyanne: Kelly Lamont, Stephanie Lynn Mason, Laura Obenauf
Jay: Chuck Zayas, Corey Kaiser 
Fluke: Billy Bob Schaeffer, Dan Leali, Patrick Morrow

Sam: Scott Moreau, Andrew Frace, Johnny Kinnaird
Carl: John Michael Presney, Dan Mills, Brad Waters
Jerry Lee: Austin Cook, Sean McGibbon, Jimmy Scheider
Cash: Scott Moreau, Andrew Frace, Billy Woodward
Elvis: Billy Woodward, Steve Benoit, Brandon Cody Wise, Robby Kipferl, Michael             
         Goodman, Skye Scott
Dyanne: Lisa Marie, Katie Barton, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Aly Bloom
Fluke and Jay: David Sonnenborn, Chris Johnson
Promos: Randy Redd, Matt Aronoff

That's 48 different cast members that joined us out on the road; some for only a short time, and some for multiple years.  Now for the crew: 

Crew: Jason "Dog" McGrath, Domenica Boscardin, Brian Kallaher, Phil Mathers, Josh Kozmicki, Ben Eels, Andy Iverson, Susan Malone, Dani Taylor, Henry Talarowski, Michael Krug, David Lober, Peter Van Dyke, Rachael Koss, Mary Anderson, Anthony Jones, Eric Briggs, Corey Kloos, Lou Riquelme, BJ Forman, Andrew Bacigalupo, Johnny Moore, Meghan Moore, Rob Virzera, Lauren Daisy, Nicole Laeger, Em Stam, Jason Carroll, Mitch Hodges, Dan Krohne 

And, 31 members of the crew coming and going at various times. 

Company management: Maia Sutton, Matt Sherr, Jillian Krohne, Melonie Harrison, Jeff Mensch, Justin Gleiberman

Now for some numbers about the tour.  In 4 years we did 984 performances including previews and invited performances (495 for me, 466 of them as Cash), in 200 cities and 3 countries at 191 different venues.  

And finally, I would just like to thank our general manager Lane Marsh, our creatives (Eric Schaeffer, Chuck Mead, Colin Escott, Floyd Mutrux, Scott Weinstein, August Eriksmoen, Ethan Deppe and David Ruttura), our producers (Ted Rollins, Gigi Pritzker, Erica Rotstein) and the amazing folks at Type A Marketing (Robin Steinthal, Melissa Cohen, John McCoy and Erica Jacobson) for all of their hard work and never-ending support.  We never could have done this tour without you.  

And with that, I will leave you with the knowledge that though the 1st National Tour of MDQ has closed and will be going out non union in the fall, this will not be the last you hear of me, or of any of our adventures with this show.  I hope you will continue to check back for updates on my new production in Ogunquit, and that all of you out there in cyberspace are well.  As always, thanks for reading.  

Your loyal yet sometimes overdue blogger, 

Scott Moreau

Friday, July 17, 2015

Some old stomping grounds, another trip to Texas and a catastrophic event

The American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA

A few sights on our road trip to Jefferson, TX

The Texarkana Municipal Building, home of the first performance of Johnny Cash in support of his 1st Sun single, Hey Porter!/Cry Cry Cry

The Perot Theatre, Texarkana, TX

The 1894 Grand Opera House, Galveston, TX

The Long Center, Austin, TX 

The Hamburger Store, Jefferson, TX

A couple of new shots from sound check

A great shot, thanks to Megan Moore

We ended up having the day off on Monday in New Haven, so I spent much of the afternoon with my parents before they headed home to Maine.  After a missed attempt to get a burger at Louis' Lunch, home of the hamburger, I took my parents to get a couple of great hot dogs at Jake's hot dogs around the corner from the Shubert.  After they left, I ran a few errands and went to a local diner with Jake before spending much of the day off in my room at the hotel.  

On Tuesday, we made the moderately long drive to Lancaster, PA.  We were staying relatively far from the area of Lancaster that I was so used to, but within walking distance from our venue.  I was a little irked that I was so close to an area I had spent so much time in without time to hang out, but it was at least nice to be in familiar surroundings.  Colte and I had quite a few people from the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre coming to see us that night, so we were both very much looking forward to that.  We didn't have a whole lot of time at the hotel before the show, so I grabbed some quick food and headed to the theatre.  The American Music Theatre (above) is one of the few theatres I hadn't been to in town, but I was looking forward to playing there that night.  I had had quite a few friends work at AMT over the years, so I was glad to be able to check it out.  The show went really well that night, and it was great to be able to catch up with all of the DA people.  Once I got back from the show, I opted to grab some terrible yet awesome food at Waffle House, and then headed back to hang out with some of the boys.  We had a long day of travel all the way back down to Texas the next day, so I made it a pretty early night.  

Our travel took much of the day on Wednesday, as we headed to the Philadelphia airport, and took a couple of flights into Shreveport, LA.  We got into our hotel in Texarkana in the early evening, and shortly after that we all decided to head out and get some dinner.  I took Colte, Patrick and Jake to Olive Garden where we met up with Chuck for a great dinner.  We were there for quite a while before heading back to the hotel for the evening.  I didn't do a whole lot that night, which was probably good considering the crazy week we had ahead.  

Jake had spoken highly of a tiny little town about an hour away from Texarkana, so Colte, Patrick and I decided to join him on a little journey there.  Jefferson was a quaint little town, with a lot of antique stores and little shops along the way.  We looked around for a vintage record player shop that Jake had found years ago when his family retreated to the the area during one of the threatening hurricanes.  We also stopped in for lunch at the Hamburger Store (above), where Jake had taken his family almost a decade before.  It was more than worth the stop.  We wandered around for quite a while taking in the sights (above) before we headed back to Texarkana.  I wanted to check out (or, at least see) the Texarkana Municipal Building, where a few of the guys actually played, and Cash did his first performance with the Tennessee Two there in support of their first Sun single, Hey Porter!/Cry Cry Cry.  We couldn't get inside, as it is now all town offices and such, but at least we got to see it.  We fought through the rain to get back to the car, and saw where Texas and Arkansas meet at the post office in town (above).  After that, we headed home to chill a while before opening the show in town that night.  Our one show at the Perot Theatre (above) was great that night, and the boys and I headed to Buffalo Wild Wings (again) for a little food and convo that night.  We were joined by Justin and Jeffrey a bit later, and we all rejoiced in the TERRIBLE service that we received.  And by rejoiced, I mean gritted our teeth and shook our fists.  Once we FINALLY got our food and our checks, we headed home in preparation for the early morning the next day.  

We had an early call for a long travel day on Friday, as we made our way south to Galveston, TX.  I had been looking forward to this stop for quite a while, as I had heard a lot of great things about the 1894 Grand Opera House (above).  We had a bit of a random lunch stop that day, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  Gabe and I headed to one of the only options for some not so great Chinese buffet, before jumping on the bus for the rest of our journey.  We got in with a smidgen of time to spare and chill before having to make the extremely long drive that night.  We made a stop at Starbucks before our meeting, and barely made it to the theatre in time for it, but we made it nonetheless.  The venue certainly did not disappoint, and neither did the audience.  It was definitely one of the best audiences we had had in a while.  Following that, we were a bit mobbed by fans at the stage door (that rarely happens) who were mostly Jake's friends and family.  Even with Johnny Cash printed on my forehead and a CASH t-shirt, I somehow always seem to avoid the crowd.  I made my way back to the hotel on my own that night, as the other boys went out with friends.  Jake had been trying to figure out a night to play poker, so we picked that night (ironically, Jake didn't end up playing).  I set up the chips and cards in a meeting room at our hotel, and we had a nice little group doing a bit of gambling that night.  Briggs, Lou, Skye, Frace and Colte all came down to play, with assorted other people stopping in to hang out.  I ended up going out on what seemed to be a great hand; a straight....but Skye had a full house.  He ended up winning that night, and after a long night of talking and cards, I was ready for bed.  

Saturday brought the usual busy double show day, and with the long drive we opted to stay at the theatre in between shows.  The matinee went extremely well (though, there were some septic problems in the theatre, causing a bit of a flood in our dressing room....gross), and following that I did some packing and unpacking with my trunk before heading in search of food.  I walked around a bit in the blistering heat before taking an invitation for Meghan and Johnny to join them for lunch at a nearby gumbo place.  It was a great little dinner, filled with some tasty catfish and raw oysters.  I then headed to a nearby vintage store to check out there records.  Not having the time to look through hundreds of unsorted LP's (my pet peeve), I opted to grab some coffee on my way back to the theatre, and then sat around for a bit before doing another great show that evening.  The fans at the stage door were a bit unruly that evening (there was a lot of pushing and pulling and demanding; not exactly what we look for in gracious fans....), so I was glad to get safely to the car and be on our way home.  We had another travel day on Sunday, so I decided to lay low that night.  

It was a bit of a later call that day, as the drive to Austin wasn't all that long.  We did get a bit delayed however, so we didn't have much time to sit at the hotel before we needed to leave for the show.  This time we were a bit closer to downtown, which we were all looking forward to.  We made our way to the massive and gorgeous Long Center (above) that evening for regrettably our one and only show there.  We had played Austin nearly two years before, and I got to go on for a few shows while we were playing on campus.  Though our week there had been great, the audiences were no match for the powerhouse of enthusiasm we got that night.  It might have been helped by the fact that there were a slew of theatre arts students there, and we would be meeting them later for a talkback organized by the theatre.  The show done, and all of us feeling great about the audience that night, the Quartet, Bryan and Frace headed to a nearby space to talk to a large group of students.  We were there for quite a while, talking about our careers thus far, the show, our training, and answering all sorts of great questions.  We all left the theatre, and headed our separate ways.  Our plan was to drop Jake off at the Continental Club to catch a show, while Gabe, Colte and I planned to head to the Mean Eyed Cat, a restaurant named for a Johnny Cash song.  I had wanted to go there the last time we were in town, but didn't find out about it until it was too late.  The boys and I were on our way there, when the unthinkable happened; we were in a head on collision.  It was a very scary experience, and aside from us being very shaken up, the car being totalled and not really sure of what happened due to how fast it happened, I was in pretty rough shape.  The EMT's and police released us, though in hindsight they should have sent us to the hospital.  Still in shock, we headed back to the hotel.  I was sore and still reeling from what happened, and I had a feeling that a doctor's visit would be in my near future.  The crew met us at the hotel when we arrived, and showered us with well wishes and hugs.  All I wanted to do was ice my wrists and sleep.  Though, that would prove a challenge.  I had a long travel day to look forward to the following day, and at that point I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through.  It also looked as though my plans to go to NYC for our days off in New Jersey would be foiled.  But, that's a story for my next and final installment of my blog.  

Thanks for tuning in, I'll be in WAY overdue.  I realize that the end of this blog is a bit heavy, and honestly I needed to be a bit removed from the events of it before I could write it.  Not to worry, dear friends; it all turns out well in the end.  Again, thanks for your continued patience and for reading.  The last blog will be on it's way soon.