It has been unbelievably cold this week. So, so cold. The temperatures this week have been the coldest I have ever experienced. On Thursday when I walked to rehearsal it was -15 outside with a wind chill of -29. Wow. Because of the cold, and because of rehearsals this week, I really didn’t venture much past the path between the hotel and the stage door.
We bussed to Peoria from South Bend, a snowy ride through flat farmlands. We arrived in Peoria in the afternoon, and I was thankful that Jovon still had a rental car from his ride into town that morning with Ken, because I was able to grab a ride to the grocery store with he and Ken and David. I don’t know what I would have done this week without that grocery store run, because downtown Peoria is rather barren when it comes to restaurants and shops, and with the weather being what is was, I didn’t really want to venture too far.
Load-in was pretty easy. The Civic Center is actually quite big. It has strange creepy staircases and a second floor that is abandoned and dark and filled with junk (the stage is on the ground floor and the dressing rooms are on the third floor) – but other than that, it’s just fine. Backstage is plenty big, and our offices and dressing rooms were quite nice. The auditorium is sort of ugly, in a Bavarian beer hall kind of way, but all in all, a decent place to play. The locals were on the strange side, especially the motley crew on the fly rail, but no one was too terrible.
The theater was freezing cold on Tuesday, as the doors had been open all day for load-in. The call desk was by the loading dock, where it is drafty, and so it stayed cold all week. We all spent the week calling the show bundled up in our parkas.
I rented an 85mm lens this week to play with. I still have some gift certificates leftover from Christmas, and before I use them to buy a new lens, I figured I’d rent a couple to try them out first. The 85mm is pretty awesome – I think I may have my decision made already. Here’s a couple of snaps from sound check:
On Wednesday I left the hotel for only about ten minutes (other than going to work). I wanted to play with my camera lenses outside and take some photos. For the ten minutes I spent outside in the cold without gloves, I spent the next twenty in intense pain as my fingers were just frozen to the bone. The most painful photos I have ever taken!
On Thursday and Friday I was in rehearsal with Richard Chamberlain, who opens as the King next week in Chicago. He’s a lovely man, and I think he will be a great addition to the show. I snapped a few more photos during the show on Thursday:
On Thursday night a bunch of the cast and crew gathered after the show at Big Al’s, a legendary Peoria strip club. I didn’t partake in the festivities, but I hear a good time was had by all.
Friday night was Jonathan Hadary’s going away party at the bar at the Pere Marquette Hotel. It was a nice low-key event, with open bar and food. I’m really going to miss Jonathan. He’s such a pleasant, down-to-earth guy, who thinks nothing of hanging out with the crew at the hotel bar, or can sit next to Gary, our truck driver, and have a great time chatting with him for a whole evening. Jonathan is also a knitter, which has been my bond with him. I’m really going to miss having him around.
On Saturday, Ben Davis, who plays Galahad, had a personal day, so David Havasi who understudies him, made his debut in the role. He did a great job and I was able to get some shots of him during the evening show:
With only one show on Sunday, we all packed our belongings onto the bus in the morning before the matinee so as to make a quick escape to Chicago after the show came down. After a few weeks of playing small towns, we were all SO ready to get back to a big city! Being that we were leaving right after the afternoon show, that meant one thing – bring your pet to work day! So, Tallulah enjoyed an afternoon in our office and all the dogs hung out in another room. We’re just a regular circus!
So now, its off to Chicago for two whole weeks! We have two Mondays off there, which is amazing after going for quite a stretch without any days off, and Tanya will be there (she starts rehearsals for “Mary Poppins” this week) – so I’ll get to hang out with her a little bit, too, which will be great! Wishing everyone a lovely week!