There is so much to catch up on. Chicago was a whirlwind of rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals. I left New York immediately after our last “Rock of Ages” studio rehearsal and began the long drive. I arrived the next evening and then it was straight into tech. The process went very quickly – much more so than I expected, especially with the bajillion moving lights and the band and all the costume pieces. We were in really good shape though going into our first preview – we had run the show at least three times before a paying audience was in front of us.
That’s not to say that everything was smooth as can be. One of our principal actors came down with laryngitis the weekend before our first performance, so we had to fly in one of the actors from the Broadway show to cover him, since our understudies had not rehearsed yet. It was a bit of a scramble, but opening night went really well. We had a really fun party at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Most of our time in Chicago was spent in the theater. Even after the official opening of the show, we still had rehearsals, as the creative team was still in town. We also began working with the understudies. It was a jam-packed three and a half weeks!
I did manage to catch up with a few friends. Ken and I had dinner with Matt and Paula, two friends from “Spamalot”, on an evening off. Matt is in the Chicago company of “Billy Elliott” and Paula was in town visiting him. It was wonderful to see them both, and it turned out that it was Paula’s birthday (even though the sneak didn’t tell us until a dessert with a candle in it showed up at the dinner table). There were a number of “Spamalot” friends who dropped by the theater – Tony Pittsley and Jeff Brewer, both on the crew of “Billy Elliott”, and also Jody Durham, who subbed on our electrics team a few times on “Spamalot” and who works in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theater.
There was also a fun night of Whirlyball (the first for most of the “Rock of Ages” company), put together by Jeff Brewer, with our company and the companies of “The Lion King” and “Billy Elliott”. I was able to hang with Jeff, Tony and his wife, and Matt that night, too.
I also met up with Carolyn, one of my Flickr buddies, for drinks the night before I left town at an Irish pub near the hotel. It was so nice to see her. I wish we lived closer to each other so that we could hang out more often!
Finally, Ryan made it into town for the one day that I had off during our Chicago stay. I was exhausted, but it was really nice to see him, and we went on a Chicago architecture tour along the river, which I have always wanted to do. We also ate at Flaco’s Tacos (my favorite fish tacos in Chicago!) and walked all over the downtown area, including a visit to the Bean (a trip to Chicago is not complete without a trip to the Bean!) and a walk around the planetarium and also Navy Pier.
“Rock of Ages” was a hit in Chicago and I am crossing fingers we get to go back. After two weeks in Chicago though, we packed up shop, and are now currently in Boston. I started calling the show the last weekend in Chicago and so with that element under my belt, things are gradually starting to routine themselves, and settle down. I am looking forward to the show hitting its stride from here on out and for the fun to start to outweigh the work 🙂
I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite shots of the cast in costume during tech – these were actually taken on the first day with costumes.