Columbus

Sometimes there are weeks on the road where you just don’t do a thing besides the show. You hole up in your hotel room and hibernate. This was one of those weeks. It didn’t help that it was colder than 20 degrees outside most days, with a killer wind to boot. Or that we go on Christmas layoff starting next week, so my mind is on other things – repacking for air travel, shopping for Christmas presents, that sort of thing. I’m also realizing that since I have already been to most of the cities on our tour itinerary and explored the crap out of them the first time around, I have less motivation to get out and do stuff the second (or even third or fourth in some cases) time around. Which is kind of a bummer. I think I need to try and kick that bad habit when I come back to the show after Christmas. I guess I miss the excitement of being in a new city for the first time. We don’t hit a city that I haven’t been to until October 2011. Not sure I’ll even still be on the show then…

I drove to Columbus with Travis, who plays Franz in the show. You might remember him from our hiking adventure in Cincinnati. He was good company – he slept some, chatted with me some, bought me lunch 🙂 The seven hour drive actually went by very quickly, even though we had to drive through some pretty heavy snow in the mountains of West Virginia (yay! another state crossed off the list!). We actually arrived just minutes after the cast did, who had traveled by airplane from Baltimore to Columbus.

Tallulah, pooped after the travel day.

Of course the first thing I had to do after getting settled was go to Tip Top for dinner. Tip Top is my favorite Columbus bar, a real gem  that I found the last time I played the city. You see Columbus is one of those downtowns that really closes up shop after about 5pm and on the weekends, so when I found Tip Top – which not only is a fun little bar, but also has a kickass menu, I was so excited because they are not only open everyday – but they serve food until 2am! They are also the place where I began my love affair with the sweet potato fry. They really get their chipotle dipping sauce right. I ran into a couple of the guys from the show at the bar, but didn’t stay and hang because I wanted to go and check out the theater.

I don’t normally go to the theater on Monday nights because a) I’m not getting paid to be there and b) I generally feel like I’m in the way. The trucks are just getting unloaded and nothing is in place yet. Its pretty much chaos. Add to this load-in that it was 11 degrees out and snowing.  But I had been hearing about The Palace for weeks – about how tiny it was, how we may not have a crossover on stage. Last time I played Columbus, we were at the Ohio, which although is not huge, it accommodated “Spamalot” just fine. The Palace on the other hand, is wee. It was a vaudeville house back in the day, so while the house is enormous (almost 3000 seats), the stage is really shallow.

In the end we were able to squeeze our set onto the stage with the tiniest of crossovers – just enough space for one person to get by upstage of the drummer. I spent much of the day Tuesday mapping out whose backstage crosses were the fastest and thus, who should be given right of way in the crossover. Our vocal booths and quick change booths were in various rooms and loading docks this week, rather than our usual spacious areas. It was fine. We definitely dealt with worse crossover situations on “Spamalot” – but on that show, it was easier to modify entrances and exits. We’re sort of locked down to the way the choreography is on this show, as well as all the quick change locations. Changing someone’s exit or entrance could really screw up wardrobe.

Opening night actually went a lot more smoothly than I anticipated considering the cramped space. There was a party afterward but it was a bus ride away and a cash bar, so I opted to go back to Tip Top, which was a whole lot closer.

Wednesday was seriously the laziest of days. Its so hard to motivate when it is so cold outside. I stayed in all day. And it was really nice.

Thursday I drove up to the North Market for lunch (the North Market is an indoor market with food vendors and other various merchants). I had some Indian food and then, of course, some ice cream from Jeni’s – the best ice cream on the planet! Seriously, the salty caramel will set you free. I walked around the Short North neighborhood for a little while, but it was so cold and I’m trying not to spend money this close to Christmas so I didn’t stay long.

North Market

North Market

Jeni's ice cream

The counter at Jeni's

Jeni's salty caramel!

Friday was another lazy day – well, lazy in the sense that I stayed inside all day, but actually I got a lot of online Christmas shopping accomplished. Between shows on Saturday I drove Mike and Ken over to Short North for dinner at Haiku, where we all had yummy asian noodles. After the show on Saturday, there was a viewing of the second movie made by Josh and Erika, two of our swings, called “Secret Santa’d” – if you are friends with me on Facebook, its posted on my page and you can watch it there.

Sunday I woke up to snow. Quite a lot of it. Which was not good news for our poor crew who not only had to load the show out that night, but who had an early box call that morning. (A box call is when all the empty road cases are unloaded off the trucks in preparation to be filled at the load out). All the boxes were stacked in the alley and soon covered in snow.

Deck carts in the snowy alley

Road cases covered in snow

Local stagehands during the snowy box call

The snow pretty much continued throughout the day, and as I write this now on Tuesday evening, I can tell you that the show did get loaded out – it took a bit longer than usual, but not horribly so. We are currently on a two-week lay-off for Christmas, so unfortunately on Monday, the snow was still falling, and the airport was a mess. A lot of flights were canceled. I know the cast flight to NYC was delayed until evening and that the folks going to Chicago had to actually stay in Columbus an extra night because their flight was canceled. I drove through a lot of snow to North Carolina, but made it safely to Winston-Salem, where I stayed the night with my old friend Ryan Hill. I am currently headed down to Fort Lauderdale, where I’ll park my car at the airport on Thursday and fly to California for the holidays. The show reconvenes in Fort Lauderdale the week after Christmas.

I’m not sure if I’ll blog at all during my two weeks off, so if I don’t, here’s wishing everyone the happiest of holidays!

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