Poo City, Iowa

I only call it that because there are four things in Sioux City which lead to the unfortunate smell of poo in the air at all times – 2 slaughter houses, a dog food factory and a gelatin factory. Ahhhh. Luckily it has been beyond freezing this week, so the smell has not been as bad as it is in the summer, so the locals say.

I rented a car in Pittsburgh and spent two days driving to Sioux City. We were opening on Wednesday night so it gave me a bit of extra time to get there. The drive was nice – so much less hassle than the airport. I had stocked up my iPhone with some audio books (Chelsea Handler’s “Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea” is hilarious!) and music and podcasts and the time passed quickly as I listened to different things. The weather was a bit sketchy around South Bend, Indiana – some very heavy snow – but once I hit Chicago it all cleared up. I spent Monday night at a really nice Residence Inn in Davenport, Iowa, and set off again (with Tallulah in tow) on Tuesday morning. Tuesday was an easy day of driving – about five hours to Sioux City, and the weather was gorgeous. The sky in the midwest is so pretty – so blue and the clouds are wispy, and the contrast to the yellow flat prairie makes for great photos!

Iowa prairie

Iowa prairie

At a rest stop

At a rest stop

I also enjoyed long phone chats with Tiffany and Tanya while I was driving, both of whom I am going to see next week on our layoff! It was nice spending the time catching up with them.

Once I reached Sioux City and checked into the hotel, I trekked over to Target and picked up some snacks for the hotel room. I was really tired, so I picked up some dinner and spent the night in the room watching TV and chilling out.

I heard a bit about the theater from Ryan when he got home on Tuesday night. We had all been anticipating this load-in for weeks – because our show does not fit into the Orpheum Sioux City. Our set is 33 feet deep. The stage depth at the Orpheum is 29 feet. When I arrived at the theater on Wednesday morning, I could see what a rough week it was going to be . We had to cut four feet out of our show deck downstage, which meant also losing four feet in the air, so a number of hanging pieces of scenery had to be cut as well. As we lost four feet of deck downstage, we lost the downstage automation track (which isn’t used for automated scenery anymore, but scenery still rides in it manually) – so all the scenery that usually rides in that track had to be cut. The wings were also incredibly tight, making storage difficult. Stage left was not big enough to accommodate our big castle riding off for the “Lady of the Lake” number, so that move had to be cut. Essentially our show in Sioux City is being performed mostly on an empty stage.

The dressing rooms strangely enough are some of the nicest ones we have had in a while though!

Wednesday went slowly up on deck as the crew worked to squeeze the show in. It wasn’t until an hour before sound check that everything that was going to fit was in the building. We spent that hour brainstorming and figuring out what staging would need to be modified. We used our sound check hour more as a spacing rehearsal than a sound check, and ran through numbers that could be problematic. Miraculously, the show went quite smoothly, and the audience, small as it was, loved every second of it – which made all the hassle worthwhile. The audiences have been tiny all week, but everyone seems to love the show.

On Thursday, Ryan and I took advantage of having the rental car (I am keeping it throughout our layoff next week) and went back to Target to do some more shopping. We also hit the Lowe’s for some hardware to hang our bikes in the truck, and then went to Golden Corral for dinner. A regular suburban day! On Friday I spent the morning in Bank of America depositing all the money we raised for Broadway Cares – over $17,000! I had to wait while it was all recounted, which took almost an hour and a half. Ryan and I ran some more errands in the afternoon. We are all gearing up for Christmas, stocking up on gifts for our Secret Santas, and also for a couple of families that we have adopted in Des Moines for the holidays – as well as gifts for our own families and friends. I was happy to be able to accomplish some of that this week – and really, there’s not much sightseeing to be done in Sioux City anyway!  

One creepy thing that happened this week, was that a man shot himself in the parking lot of the downtown arena, right next to where Gary, our lead truck driver’s cab was parked. Gary saw the whole thing. It’s been all over the news this week. I guess it was all over some domestic dispute. Very scary. I’m glad Gary wasn’t hurt.

Counting the Broadway Cares money

Counting the Broadway Cares money

The main drag in Sioux City is Historic Fourth Street – which is where our hotel, the Clarion, is located. Historic Fourth Street sounds more exciting than it is. In reality, there is a movie theater, a few restaurants and a few bars. I wouldn’t want to spend a whole lot of time in Sioux City, but a week has been fine. We ate at a nice Mexican place on Friday, and hung out at one of the local bars one night. It has been a pretty low-key week. Strangely, but wonderfully enough, of all things downtown, there is a nice yarn store across the street from the Orpheum stage door called Susan’s Yarn Garden! I bought a few skeins to make my Secret Santa something.

Now we are winding down the stay here. I am looking very forward to next week – we have a week off before our next stop – so I am driving to Denver to stay the night with Tiffany and her daughter, Ava, on Monday, and then on Tuesday, continuing on to Albuquerque to spend the week with Tanya. It will be so nice to spend the week relaxing with friends! Our next stop after that is Fayetteville, Arkansas, the hometown of Esther, our Lady of the Lake. And after that, Des Moines for Christmas. I can’t believe how fast the time flies!


2 thoughts on “Poo City, Iowa

  1. slaughterhouses?? Gelatin factory???
    sounds like a whole lot of death in Poo City.

    We are playing the Warner in DC. We don’t fit in there either. Don’t these people do surveys anymore????

    miss you

  2. Hi Fran
    I misplaced the URL to your site and haven’t visited for quite some time. Just love your newlook site – ultra ultra pro!
    Tickled to see you were recently in South Bend where I passed myself off so successfully as Robin Leach that I was introduced to the city dignatories, treated to a free breakfast and a limo to the airport. And good ole Peoria where my hotel looked just like a Spamalot set. (Did you buy yourself a souvenir tractor?).
    Give my love to Chicago – THE place to be on inauguration day 2009. And on that note be aware of all the good sentiment, hope and best wishes that are abounding here in the UK for your new President, his immediate family and his racial family – may America feel proud of itself today.
    Lots of love.

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