We arrived in Columbus, Ohio last Monday and loaded the show in without incident. Our possible involvement in the strike had been hanging over our heads, but luckily no news came through from New York, so we all kept on working.
At first glance, Columbus seemed like a very dead town – downtown everything shuts down at 5pm and on the weekends, so finding somewhere to get dinner proves challenging. As the week went on I did manage to find some cool areas of town, though.
The theater here – the Ohio – is beautiful. It is an old movie house and like the Fox in Atlanta, and other old movie houses, it’s interior is grand and elaborate. It is also a gigantic house – the balcony seems to stretch back for miles. I haven’t had a chance to snap any photos of the inside of the theater yet, but will make a point to do so before I leave. The backstage is a bit cramped, but the show squeezed in and has been running smoothly.
When I got into town on Monday, I went for a long walk to see what was around. By the time I discovered German Village, just south of downtown, it was getting dark, so I didn’t have much of a chance to explore. I did, however, discover a super cool bookstore called The Book Loft, which has 32 rooms of books! I spent quite a while in there, as you can imagine, and came away with a couple of treasures. If you ever find yourself in Columbus, be sure to check this place out!
We opened on Tuesday, and afterwards the presenters thew us a party at Mitchell’s Steakhouse. It was one of the only opening night parties that was just for us, and not overrun with patrons, so we were able to eat and hang out calmly, without having to fight to get to the food tables. It was very nice and mellow, and the food was great.
On Wednesday, Ryan and I headed uptown to eat lunch at the North Market. The North Market is sort of like a mini version of the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. It is filled with vendors selling food and other goods. We ate some lunch and then had some amazing ice cream from Jeni’s – a local Columbus ice cream shop. They have all kinds of crazy, eclectic flavors at Jeni’s – I had a scoop of the Butternut Squash with Pecans and a scoop of the Butterscotch with Cocoa Nibs. Ryan had Pistachio Honey and Five Spice Pumpkin. Yum!
After lunch, we continued uptown to the Short North neighborhood, which spans from downtown to Ohio State. It is filled with boutiques and restaurants and record shops, and we had a great time walking around and browsing in all the shops.
On Thursday I had understudy rehearsal, but on Friday I went back to Short North to try and find a top to wear for Thanksgiving (the company is having dinner at a local restaurant). I rode my bike all the way up to Ohio State and then made my way down High Street through Short North. I ran into Elaine and Roy along the way, walking Taza the chihuahua. I found a super cute blouse in a shop called “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
After my shopping was complete, I rode through the park behind the North Market. As much as I love the west coast in the summer and warm months, nothing beats being east for fall and winter. The trees in the park were amazing.
The weekend brought the usual four shows. Ryan and I were happy to discover a very cool bar called Tip Top two blocks from the hotel. Not only do they have a great beer menu, but they also have a great food menu (the sweet potato fries are awesome!). And they are open late and on the weekends! So we spent a couple of evenings there, happy to have found a cool spot nearby to hang out.
On Saturday night we had drinks and pizza at the hotel bar with Suzanne, Tony, Michael, Graham, Darryl, Ben, and his wife, Annie. It was a really nice time. Piper came down shortly after midnight to tell us that Nigel (one of our swings) had just woken up Mitchell (our hair supervisor) and sang happy birthday to him…in the nude. Hilarious.
The next day, being Mitchell’s birthday proper, we celebrated with Taco Bell between acts of the first show. Usually we stick to the traditional cake, but Mitch wanted Taco Bell, so the local sound guy went out and got a whole mess of cheese quesadillas and caramel apple empanadas, which we all devoured at intermission (p.s. the empanadas were awesome! next time you make a run for the border, be sure to try one!).
After the show, the birthday celebration continued at Claddagh’s, an Irish pub in the Brewery District, just south of downtown. The bar was a bit understaffed, but they did a great job in keeping the food and drinks coming. It was a really charming pub, and I was extremely happy with my bangers and mash. Mitchell was once again wearing his kilt, and once again flashing all those who cared (didn’t we go through this last New Year’s?).
Yesterday, Monday, was unfortunately not a day off, as we have Thursday off for Thanksgiving. Ryan and I went for a bike ride in the afternoon, though, stopping at an amazing deli – Katzinger’s – in German Village, for lunch. After fortifying ourselves, we went back to The Book Loft to get out of the rain that had started falling. We spent an hour browsing through all the rooms and then when it seemed dry enough outside, we continued biking through German Village and Schiller Park. It is such a charming neighborhood with cobblestone sidewalks and brick houses.
On the way back downtown, we stopped at Deaf Park, which is a plot of land next to the old School for the Deaf, that has an amazing topiary garden modeled after the painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte” by Seurat.
The building that housed the Deaf School (it closed in the 1950’s) was pretty cool, too – and also a bit scary-looking.
As for the strike update, sadly talks broke down again in New York on Sunday, so the strike goes on. We are getting more anxious about it reaching us – the latest rumor is that it may happen this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t.
We are however, going to start collecting or Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS this weekend – in an attempt to help in a place where the effects of the strike are being sorely felt. In New York, this is the time of year when all the shows collect for BC/EFA for six weeks, culminating with the Gypsy of Year competition. Because of the strike, BC/EFA is losing approximately $350,000 in donations a week that they would normally be collecting during this period. If you are looking for an end-of-the-year charitable donation to make – please check out Broadway Cares – they help the theatrical community in so many ways with health care and other support. You can make a donation online here.
In knitting news, I finished the Peek-a-boo Cloche this week for Fran. She loved it! The pattern is from the book Lace Style. It was hard, but I think it turned out great! Here’s me modeling it before I gifted it:
Last, but definitely not least…Jaki is back! You probably remember Jaki from her terrible accident in Dallas, where she fell and broke both of her legs. Well, the wee Scot is all better and back with us as a sub while Wayne (our wardrobe supervisor) is vacation. It is SO great to see her, and especially good to see her standing on her own two legs again. We missed you, Jak!