It has been really nice coming back to Philadelphia – not only because it is a great city, but because it is so familiar. It has been a really easy couple of weeks, living in the center of the city and near everything, and already knowing where everything is! It has also been nice because it has been a productive couple of weeks. Being that I did a lot of sightseeing the last time we were here, I haven’t felt the need to rush out everyday and see something. Instead I’ve been able to get some housekeeping things done – like reorganizing my trunk and shopping for Ryan’s birthday – without feeling like I should be out seeing the sights. But that’s not to say that I haven’t seen anything.
Last Monday Ryan and I ventured over to the Eastern State Penitentiary, an old prison that I had heard about the last time we were here, but didn’t get a chance to see. It is very close to downtown, and was open until 1971 – I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live in one of the houses across the street from it – creepy!! The prison itself looks like an old fortress. It is very dark and dank, but really fascinating. Al Capone was imprisoned there for a while! We had fun walking around taking arty photos.
The following day we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is enormous! I was exhausted after four plus hours of wandering around the galleries, but we did see some cool stuff – including a exhibit of jewelry by Calder, who is known for his mobiles. On the way there we snapped some photos at Logan Circle. The last time we were in Philadelphia, it was winter, so none of the city’s fountains were on – since it is summer this time, the fountains are all on, and they look amazing!
On Thursday there was a going-away party for Keith Martin, our automation guy. Keith has been with the show since it opened, and he will be missed. Ryan organized the going-away party as he and Keith have grown pretty close in the last year. Ryan is taking over the automation job now that Keith is gone. The party was a lot of fun, but Ryan got a tad drunk and did not have a very good time of it the next day!!
This past Monday, Ryan and I set out for another day in New York. I had a dentist appointment, and I also needed to go to my storage unit to drop off some boxes, but other than that we had a nice day walking around the city, even if there were a few too many tourist out and about. We went to B&H, the giant camera shop in midtown, which was extremely overwhelming! I will have to go back though when I am in town in October and spend some more time looking around. I have never seen so much camera equipment in one place! We had some yummy street meat for lunch at Columbus Circle after a short walk through the park. We also headed downtown so that Ryan could see Ground Zero and take a peek at the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. For dinner we went to the Village and ate at Tea and Sympathy. Yum! It was a nice way to end the day!
Back in Philly, on Tuesday we ventured down to South Street to see The Magic Garden – a project by the mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. I had walked by the Magic Garden the last time we were in town, but it was really cool to go inside. The mosaic work is amazing! Zagar has been working on it since 1991.
The going-away parties are now in full swing. Last night was Vera’s party – Vera is our prop head and has also been here since the beginning of the tour. We went bowling at Lucky Strike – it was really fun. Tonight is Gary Beach’s going-away party. This week we are rehearsing our new King Arthur, Jonathan Hadary, who played the role on Broadway. In the next six weeks we are also putting in three new ensemble members and a new Lancelot. Plus our associate conductor, Adam, is leaving. Whew.
So, a few more days here in Philly until we move on to Hartford. Unfortunately our first two shows in Hartford have been cancelled, so the guys are loading out the show in Philly on Tuesday so that everyone can have Labor Day off. I’ll travel with the crew to Hartford on Tuesday afternoon. There are worse things than having two more days in Philly!