It is heaven to be in shorts and a tank top in February. 

There’s not much else to be said about last week in Jacksonville, Florida beyond that, though, since we had rehearsal every day, and therefore not much free time. But there were a few notable happenings…

For one, it was lovely to see Keith Reese again – Keith was our original head carpenter, who left the tour in Salt Lake City last September. Keith lives in Jacksonville, and is the local IATSE business agent there, as well as the technical director for the Jacksonville Symphony. The Jacksonville Symphony share the performing arts center where we played last week, so Keith was around a lot. I miss having his calm and knowledge and smile at work everyday.

Ben, our conductor, began a three month leave last week, so Adam, our associate conductor, assumed the baton. To celebrate his new position as head honcho, he dressed up like Ben for sound check on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Gary Beach, who will become our new king next week in Miami, joined us. Gary seems very nice and all reports say that he will be hilarious in the role (I haven’t been in rehearsal with him yet).

On Wednesday, I did have a free afternoon, so Ryan and I headed out to see the ocean at Jacksonville Beach. It was breezy and not really warm enough to lay out, but we did walk down the pier and see all the fisherman, and then walked for a while down by the water. It’s so nice to be back near the beach.

On Thursday we had a full company rehearsal to implement some changes in the “Runaway” number – Scotty (the dance supervisor) and BT (associate director) were in town for the rehearsal and to see the show. That night the cast and crew went out for drinks to say goodbye to Sabra (one of our female ensemble)at a salsa bar at the Jacksonville Landing (a bunch of shops and restaurants on the water near the theater). 

Friday was the put-in rehearsal for Cara Cooper, Graham Bowen’s wife (our dance captain), who succeeds Sabra starting today in Fort Myers. We finished in record time – a testament to what a quick study Cara is – and she’s nice too! What a combo!

A few miscellaneous tidbits about our week in Jacksonville:

A crime scene van showed up outside the theater one day – we have no idea why, but it provided a good photo op:

Just to prove that Jacksonville is more “the South” than “Florida”, you can see what was hanging on the wall in the loading dock at the theater:

And finally, Wayne made a trip to St. Augustine to visit the “Fountain of Youth” and returned with this strange coconut man for us … I have no explanation.

My favorite part of the week was Saturday night. Keith got me a ticket to see The Blind Boys of Alabama, who were playing next door with the Jacksonville Symphony. I have loved the music of the Blind Boys since college, when I discovered them in the musical “The Gospel of Colonus”, a gospel version of Oedipus of Colonus. I even interviewed to stage manage the 20th anniversary tour of the show a couple of years ago (which never happened, except for a short run at the Apollo). I have a number of their CDs and just love them – they are a group of seventy-something year-old gospel/blues singers who as their name states, are all blind, and who are just fantastic musicians with amazing spirit. The show with the Symphony was no exception – I was so happy to see the band and had such a great time. 

So, the Florida leg continues with Fort Myers this week. Ryan and I lucked out big time and rented a really beautiful house a couple of miles from the theater, with our very own boat dock! There are more rehearsals this week, so not much free time, but hopefully we will find some time to use the grill and watch a movie on one of our FOUR flat screen TVs!


One thought on “Aaaahhhh…Florida

  1. Oh I am so jealous of your florida dates. As I hack and cough here in Milwaukee, contemplating next weeks load in in Rochester. ughhhhhh.Miss you Francesca

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