I had so promised a more interesting blog post about Boston than my last post about Norfolk, and then what did I do all week – work! And work doesn’t make for a very interesting post.
We arrived to a freezing cold Boston. I spent Monday afternoon at Windsor Button picking out buttons for my 28thirty sweater (which I still have not photographed – this getting dark at 4:30p thing is really making things difficult!), and also taking the train to Brookline to pick up a wide angle lens (the Tokina 12-24mm for you camera nerds) which I was renting for the week. After that I stopped by the Colonial to say hi, see how the load-in was going, and to take some photos.
The return to the Colonial was sort of a bittersweet one. On the one hand, it is where the Spamalot tour began. There are many memories in the theater. The stagehands in this town love working on our show. For all those reasons it was great to be back. On the other hand, the show has grown since its first stop at the Colonial – there are so many road boxes and hampers and gondolas now. The theater is small and there is not much storage space. Only one truck fits into the loading alley at a time. Then everything has to go on an elevator to get to stage level. There is no elevator inside the building so costumes have to be carried up the stairs to the dressing rooms. Nice as it was to be back, it was also a giant pain in the ass. Load-in was very, very long and arduous. We ended up having to cut some scenic elements in order to fit everything on stage. It was not an easy load-in.
While I was in the building on Monday I took advantage of my new rental lens and took some photos of the theater and lobby. It is a majestic space, totally over-the-top and beautiful.
On Tuesday I joined the load-in. It wasn’t bad on my end – the building was easy to navigate and despite the lack of storage space in the building, everything fit backstage okay. The only negative point to my day was finding out that there was no room in the building for our trunks. They were sent away on the prop truck, not to be seen again until Pittsburgh. I wouldn’t have minded so much had it not been FREEZING cold, since my winter coat was in my trunk. Bugger! I had a down vest with me, so I ended up going to REI on Wednesday and buying a fleece to go underneath it. The temperatures were hovering in the 20’s and 30’s all week. I was really missing my coat.
The opening night performance went fine. It was a bit of a challenge to re-train some of the stagehands who had been in production with “Spamalot” as the show has changed so much in two years and a few of them sort of thought they already “knew it all”. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks! But in the end, all was fine and the show went well. As is usual, when in Boston, the “Spamalot” company hangs at the Intermission Tavern, across the street from the stage door. It’s a pub owned by the head prop guy at the Colonial. Tuesday night was no exception – we all gathered there after the show to celebrate Mitchell’s (our hair supervisor) birthday.
On Wednesday, I made the trek to REI with Ryan to buy the fleece. It was too cold otherwise to really leave the hotel.
On Thursday, I met up for lunch with Kimberly Mark Webb, one of the stage managers who I used to work with at ACT in San Francisco. He is in town doing a show at the Huntington. It was great to see him! We were able to catch up on who was doing what, and all things ACT. It was so nice to spend the afternoon together. I’m looking forward to all our weeks in San Francisco next summer so that I can see all of my old cohorts again and of course, visit ACT again. I loved the years I spent there, and truly am so grateful for all that I learned while working there, much of which was from Kimberly!
On my way back to downtown, I snuck in a few shots with the wide angle. Of course it was dark already.
Thursday night at the show, everyone was on pins and needles, as Mike Nichols was in attendance to see the show, with our associate director, BT, and our general manager, Wendy. Mike hadn’t seen our company perform the show in about a year and a half so we were all interested in what he would think. We had a note session with him following the show, and it was not an easy one. Overall Mike is happy with our company, but he definitely kicked us in the butt for getting lazy and slipping into auto-pilot and relying on tricks and schtick. Some of his notes were downright brutal. “That was bad. Don’t do that.” On the other hand, he is not Mike Nichols for nothing. Many of the notes were absolutely true and some were downright brilliant. It was a very interesting session to be a part of. I’m very glad that I was not on the receiving end of those notes though. Mike is a very frank and candid and truthful man – and some of the notes were pretty harsh.
On Friday I had to babysit rehearsal for Alexa – one of our newest female ensemble members. Alexa is taking over Jenn Rias’s track at the end of Pittsburgh. She seems like a really sweet girl – and I’m sure will be a nice addition to the company. In other casting news, Richard Chamberlain is joining the tour in the new year as King Arthur, and Jeff Dumas, who was our original Patsy, is returning to that role. It will be great to have him back. Jeff is wonderful onstage, and quite a character in life too – I’ve missed having him around.
The weekend was the four usual shows, followed by load-out. I wish I had more exciting news to share from the week, but things were so busy at work that I didn’t have a chance to do anything fun and exciting in Boston, unfortunately, except for my lunch with Kimberly. Mostly I spent the week trying to stay warm. Maybe one day I will actually visit Boston when it is warm. This was my third trip to the city – and every time I have been there, it has been butt cold.
We arrived in Pittsburgh this afternoon. Snow is expected all week. And so The Long Winter begins.
Sending love and good mojo to my BFF Michele whose twins may be arriving in the world this week!