Finishing the Tour

Its been a whirlwind few weeks and I am so behind on posting here, so this is likely to be a long entry. I am home in New York now, finally getting settled after closing “Rock of Ages” a week ago.

After the last lay-off, we played one week in Atlanta at the Fox Theater. It was really hot and humid in Atlanta, so there wasn’t a whole lot of venturing outside. Eric and I mostly stayed put in our hotel. We did go out one day, though, to the aquarium. Atlanta has a great aquarium, and Eric had never been – so we braved the heat and spent an afternoon there.

At the Georgia Aquarium

On Friday of that week, I was completely surprised and blown away by a baby shower thrown for us at a bar across the street from the hotel. Eric was in on the whole thing, so he lured me over there, telling me we were having lunch with a friend of his from college. Even when the bartender totally blew the cover by asking us if we were there for the baby shower, I still didn’t catch on. It was such a nice afternoon and I am so grateful to all my coworkers for celebrating with us and being so generous with presents – my gosh! A number of the big items on our baby registry were purchased for us – the carseat, stroller, high chair. I couldn’t believe it! We also got some very cute clothes – our little rocker baby is going to be decked out in style!

Me and Eric at our baby shower

Putting on my "new mom" tiara

Rockin' baby duds

New mom tiara

On Saturday morning before the matinee, I met up with Carrie, one of my crafty friends who I “met” online through Flickr and Ravelry a couple of years ago. When I came to Atlanta with “Spamalot” in 2009, I met up with Carrie and her twin sister Cathy in person for the first time – they came to the show and we went out to lunch. In the past two years a lot has happened – Carrie and Cathy have both had babies, and now I am expecting my own!  I was so excited to meet Carrie’s little boy, Charlie, when we met for breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. It was so nice spending time with them both and getting to bend Carrie’s ear about babies and being a mom. Charlie is such a cutie, and he was enamored of all the neighborhood dogs walking by the restaurant 🙂

Carrie and Charlie

I finished the weekend off in Atlanta taking some photos of our two gorgeous Sherrie understudies, Holly and Angela. Elicia, who normally plays Sherrie, was out sick with strep throat, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the girls getting ready for their respective shows, as it would likely be their last time going on in that role.

Holly getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

Angela getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

For being such a huge house (it seats almost 5000), we actually had a great week at the Fox…but it was time to move on to our final stop of the tour – Washington, DC!

I had hoped for some respite from the heat in DC, but no such luck. I think it was actually even hotter and more humid there, than in Atlanta, if you can believe it. The crew came back from load-in at the National on Monday night with horror stories of the air conditioning being out all day. We came in on Tuesday morning to a terribly hot theater. It turns out that the a/c hadn’t yet been set to “summer mode”. It took all day for the building to cool down – in the meantime, our props department thankfully went out and bought fans for all the rooms, including our office. Being hot and pregnant is no fun.

The weather stayed hot the whole two weeks we were in town. It was very hard to be outside. Luckily DC has a lot of indoor things to do, with all their amazing museums. Eric and I went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and another day we went to the Newseum, which I loved. The Newseum is dedicated to the history of the press in this country, and there were so many amazing exhibits, from Photo of the Year, to the Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery, to exhibits about Katrina and 9-11. It actually took Eric and I two days to get through the whole museum (luckily tickets are good for two consecutive days). I definitely recommend going if you are ever in DC.

We picked the mildest day we could to walk around the National Mall and take photos of all the monuments (and by mild, it was maybe 92 instead of 102 degrees!).

At the Vietnam Memorial

The National Mall (with under construction reflecting pool)

At the base of the Washington monument

Our last week in DC was all about gearing up for “the end”. I spent hours working on a slideshow for everyone of all the photos I have taken over this past year on the road. I set it to music, and then Eric helped me convert it to DVD format, and then we spent a few days making copies for everyone in the company as a goodbye present.

Judi, our company manager, asked me to take photos of everyone in the company “waving goodbye”. She got prints made of all of them and then pinned them all to the callboard midway through our last week. It was nice seeing everyone’s faces up there, and a little sad, too. Eric also worked on a project for Judi – he made a collage of photos of everyone in the cast, which she had printed and framed for each of us.

The Rock of Ages crew, taken the last week of the tour

On the Thursday night before closing, we had our closing party. It was a fun night of drinks and italian food, and we put my slideshow on the flat screen over the bar. Some of our crazy “Rock of Ages” fans were there, too. We couldn’t finish out the run without Goldi-roxx, our crazy blonde-wig, hot-pants wearing fan, who came to almost every performance in San Francisco, Denver, and now DC.

Joey and Holly at the closing party

Keith and Patrick at the closing party

Jamie and Amy at the closing party

Goldi-roxx and Patrick at the closing party

The closing night performance was pretty awesome. We had small houses the last two weeks in DC, so to have the final night filled with screaming fans was great. There were a few minor shenanigans onstage, but mostly everyone behaved and just really enjoyed the last show. The whole cast and crew came out onstage at the end – it was a lovely ending to the run. After the show we all congregated at a bar near our hotel in Georgetown for one last round (or rounds) of drinks before saying goodbye and heading our separate ways.

It has definitely been a challenging ten months with this show – there were lots of ups and also lots of downs. But for the most part, the people that I traveled with, were a fun-loving, generous, hilarious, awesome bunch, and I will miss them.

Some pics from closing night:

Joey, Lauralyn, Holly and Patrick at "places"

Rashad blowing me a kiss

Jon and Erika hugging at "places"

Getting ready to melt some faces for the last time

Watching the show from backstage

The end of Act One

Constantine taking in the roar of the audience (this was a standing ovation DURING Act 1)

Curtain Call

Teresa and Chris during the curtain call

 

Constantine thanking the fans at the end of the show

Skibic rocking out

So now I am back in New York and starting to try and get things ready for the baby. We are still in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to moving, but at least we can start buying things and making things now 🙂 I have a couple of knitting projects underway and am planning a quilt, and Eric is designing a dresser that he is going to build for the nursery. Slowly but surely, we are getting it together.

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since closing the show. Its been such a busy week of unpacking and checking things off the “to do” list. I even went and worked two shows at “Rock of Ages” Broadway, where I’m going to be subbing for a little bit (until I am too large to fit backstage!).

My parents and brother come tomorrow for a five-day visit, then next week Eric and I are going to his family’s house upstate for a few days. The week after that I am at “Rock of Ages” Broadway for a week covering someone’s vacation. The time is going to speed by until the baby’s born, I just know it.

I leave you with a few baby-related photos.

Baby's first sweater - knit by me

Cradle made by Eric's dad

Crib used by Eric as a baby, now to be used for our baby!

Me, at 23 weeks pregnant, getting ready for the closing party.

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Atlanta: Take 2.

Wow. Crazy long travel day from Austin to Atlanta. As much as I have loved touring, the one thing I will not miss one little bit when this is all over, is travel day. Especially when it involves the airport. I was up at 3:30am in order to be at the airport by 5am. There was a long-ish line at the Delta counter, and I was shuffled around twice to accommodate people who had shown up at the last minute for international flights (my total pet peeve – why should I have to pay by having to wait in line longer so that the irresponsible people can cut ahead??). The guy working at the Delta counter was a jerk, too, to make matters worse. When I was finally ticketed, the security line was a mile long. I made it just in time for our boarding call, and then they delayed the flight a half an hour. We finally boarded, and then after sitting on the tarmac for another half an hour, pulled back into the gate because we were being delayed another hour and a half. It was all such a nightmare – and all because it was a bit foggy in Atlanta. We finally made it, and after doing some grocery shopping and getting lunch, I was totally exhausted and had a bad headache. And that is what they call a “day off”. Ha!

The crew had an overnight load-in because of the long travel distance to Atlanta – the trucks needed all the time they could get to complete the drive between the two cities. I was up bright and early on Tuesday and headed over to the theater to join the load-in.

Early morning in Atlanta

Walking to work

Walking to work

For this engagement, the show was playing the Cobb Energy Center. We first played Atlanta two years ago – for that engagement, we played the Fabulous Fox Theater near downtown. The Fox is an old glorious theater, with an amazing history (“Gone with the Wind” premiered there). The Fox is also within walking distance of all kinds of attractions – the High Art Museum, the Aquarium, the Margaret Mitchell House, to name a few. The Cobb, is a brand new facility north of Atlanta. It is very spacious and very pristine. It is also in the middle of nowhere. We were surrounded by office parks and an old mall. Lots of chain restaurants. If I hadn’t been told we were in Atlanta, I would never have guessed. The area looked like any other American suburban city. Nothing unique about it at all. Fortunately, after the busy week in Austin, I wasn’t all that interested in doing much in Atlanta anyway. I did a lot of sightseeing the first time we were in town, and so this week I just wanted to relax a bit and take it easy.

Load-in was a cinch. Like I said, the space was so big and new that everything fit perfectly with room to spare. The crew was done by noon. I had time to cruise around the mall in the afternoon and pick up some new jeans. I’ve been working on getting in shape and have lost 13 pounds – which definitely warrants new jeans!

The opening night performance was seamless. We had some of the crew that we had last time at the Fox – a lot of the dressers were the same, and my skinny little hippie prop guy, Bill, was with us at the Fox, too. Its always easier when we have locals who have done the show before.

Clay Aiken drove down from North Carolina (where he lives) to see the show that night – he is friends with Merle, who plays the Lady of the Lake – they did “Spamalot” together on Broadway. It was very surreal to see him backstage after the show with Richard Chamberlain – sometimes this business just makes me smile. Who would have ever imagined that combo?

I had completely forgotten, with all the rush of travel and load-in, that Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day. Ryan and I set out after the show to find an Irish pub. We ended up finding a dive bar that had some shamrock streamers up outside – not quite what we had imagined, but Ryan was able to get some corned beef and cabbage, so it did the job.

In the morning, I woke up feeling out of sorts – just run-down and feverish. Ryan went out to run errands in the afternoon, but I decided to spend the day inside, napping and watching movies on the couch. I felt kind of crappy for the next two days – I think it was a combination of just being over-tired, and also allergies. Spring has most definitely sprung in Georgia, and everyone was having trouble with all the pollen in the air.

Blossoms

Blossoms

On Thursday we had an understudy rehearsal and a show. I was still feeling kind of bad, so I didn’t do anything else. On Friday, though, I felt much better, so after a workout and lunch, I decided to go for a hike. I had read online about Sweetwater Creek State Park – there was a fairly easy hike there that went past the ruins of an old textile mill. It sounded like a cool place to take some photos, so I decided to head out there.

It was a beautiful day, perfect weather for a hike. The trail was pretty easy, and I had a lovely afternoon, walking and taking pictures. Unfortunately the ruins were fenced off, so I couldn’t walk amidst them and take photos, but I did get some from the overlook. It felt so nice to just be outside. It was a really great afternoon.

Textile mill ruins at Sweetwater Creek Park

Textile mill ruins at Sweetwater Creek Park

The creek

The creek

Leaves

Leaves

Nothing is sacred

Nothing is sacred

At the show on Friday night, Sarah Lin, who is our “tall girl” swing, was on in Paula’s track. Paula is one of the “short girls” and Sarah doesn’t often get a chance to go on for her, so she asked me to take some photos. I got a few good ones.

Sarah as a showgirl

Sarah as a showgirl

Jen Mathie backstage

Jen Mathie backstage

Ben Davis doing his make-up for Black Knight

Ben Davis doing his make-up for Black Knight

The Tap Cross Girls

The Tap Cross Girls

Sarah as the Minstrel

Sarah as the Minstrel

Sarah in the Wedding

Sarah in the Wedding

On Saturday, Cathy and Carrie, two friends who I met through Flickr, came to the matinee and then we had lunch afterwards at PF Changs. It was the first time we had met in person although we “see” each other everyday through our daily photo posts online. It was so great to finally meet the two sisters – they are just as nice and bubbly and friendly as I had imagined they would be. It has been one of my favorite things about the tour this year to have had the opportunity to meet in person some of the people that I have met online doing the 365 project. And I have been following Carrie’s knitting blog forever, so it was really nice to finally meet her. It’s a shame we couldn’t have hung out for longer – we had such a great time, the three of us!

Carrie and Cathy

Carrie and Cathy

On Sunday we had two shows, with dinner at a Thai restaurant in between, and then it was back to the hotel to pack. On Monday we flew to Philadelphia and then took a bus to our next stop – Wilmington, Delaware.

Until we meet again, Atlanta!

Exploring Atlanta

I finally was able to pry myself out of my lovely hotel room and begin exploring Atlanta a little bit.

Last Friday I walked over to Piedmont Park, which is a few blocks away and wandered around for an hour or so. It is a great park, a bit dried up from the winter, but with glimpses of spring growth appearing here and there. There is a fantastic dog park section which everyone has been taking their furry friends to, but I mostly walked around the south end.

  

After checking out the park, I went for a tour at the Margaret Mitchell house. Margaret Mitchell wrote “Gone With the Wind” – it was her only novel! She was also a reporter for one of the Atlanta newspapers in the 20’s. She and her husband lived in an apartment in the basement of what is now the Margaret Mitchell house. The tour consists of a docent-led walk through the apartment (which was so cute and cozy I wanted to move right in!), a few galleries of letters she wrote, and a small museum dedicated to the movie “Gone With the Wind”. It was really interesting to hear all about Margaret Mitchell and her life – and all the politics surrounding her book and subsequent film. The premiere of the movie was in Atlanta and many of the cast stayed at the Georgian Terrace, which is the hotel next door to  us. However, the hotel would not allow the African-American members of the cast to stay there, nor were they allowed to walk the red carpet at the premiere, so many of them chose not to attend. And this was only sixty years ago!

I thought this was kind of cool – it’s a call sheet from one of the days of shooting on the movie…but that’s just the nerd stage manager in me coming out!

The weekend was filled with four shows – we had a fantastic shot night on Sunday, hosted by the sound guys. The shot was a “vanilla latte” – made with coffee flavored Patron tequila and Vanilla Stoli. Delicious but lethal. Everyone was drunk after two shots.

I managed to stay sober enough not to make a fool of myself at Christopher Gurr’s mother’s house that evening (Sunday) after the show. He had invited myself, Jeff, Robert, Elaine and Jaki over for supper. His mother and aunt were so lovely and charming and SOUTHERN – we had the best time. They had made Coronation chicken with rice, which was delicious, and made Jaki very happy. I missed watching the Oscars but got the rundown online and watched Miss Jennifer Hudson win her award on youtube the next day – I also watched the Dreamgirls best song medley on youtube – how one of those songs didn’t win is beyond me.

On Monday I walked over to Atlantic Center (an outdoor mall) about a mile and a half away to do some shameless retail therapy, and then met up with Ryan in the afternoon to go to the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium is brand new and is apparently the largest in the world. It is nicely laid out but I do wish they had had some more of the larger species like whales and sharks for us to see. There were plenty of cool animals to check out though – 

  

After that we had a sick craving for sushi for dinner so we went to MF Sushi on Ponce de Leon, which was amazing.

Tuesday was spent at the High Museum, which is Atlanta’s art museum – they have an exhibit going on right now of works from the Louvre, which were really awesome to see in person. Maybe one day I’ll make it to Paris, but for now I’ll have to make do with seeing some of the paintings here in Atlanta.

And finally, today we had our monthly girls’ brunch – myself, Jaki, Fran, Elaine, Suzanne and Penny all had a scrumptious meal at the Flying Biscuit – an amazing breakfast place near Piedmont Park. I had a scramble with collard greens, mushrooms and turkey bacon – yum! Plus all our dishes came with the signature flying biscuit and apple-cranberry jam – it was almost like a scone. Delicious.

After breakfast, Fran and I went over to the neighborhood Little Five Points, which is kind of like the Haight-Ashbury of Atlanta. We browsed some shops, and bought some fun things – (like a coloring book of lady parts for Jaki – found at a feminist book store – hee hee). There were lots of vintage clothing stores and jewelry shops. We ended the afternoon with a beer at the Vortex. Perfect.

Funky pic of Euclid St. in Little Five Points

Funky pic of Euclid St. in Little Five Points

Cool mural in the same neighbohood

Cool mural in the same neighbohood

The rest of the week, unfortunately, will be consumed with rehearsals as Jonathan Brody goes into the show starting on Tuesday. Oh well. I feel like I got a really good taste of this city – at first I wasn’t sure about it, but after the last couple of days of exploring, I’ve found that it does have a funky, interesting side to it. A lot of it actually reminds me a lot of Berkeley.

And finally, my cute cat picture of the day:

 

Hot-lanta

Well, true to my word I have been laying low since arriving in Atlanta. After a week of doing so many things in Memphis, I really want to just take it easy here in Atlanta. We travelled on Monday and I think the week in Memphis had also caught up with Tallulah. She was a bit more fussy at the airport (which for her just means crying a bit in her bag in the waiting area and trying more than usual to get out of the bag when I unzipped it to pet her). The flight was short and sweet though and so we were checked into the hotel in Atlanta by 1:30pm or so.

The hotel here is great. A lot of people have complained that the rooms are too small or girly, but I love my room. It feels so much like a bedroom – and much less like a hotel room. In fact, the color scheme is much like my bedroom in New York, which is maybe why I feel so comfortable in it!

My bedroom in New York

My bedroom in New York

My hotel room in Atlanta

My hotel room in Atlanta

The hotel is the Hotel Indigo, and it is right across the street from the theater, which is another major plus. The room here just feels very calming. It’s clean, cute, and besides having the most comfortable bed I’ve had yet on the tour, it has a CD player that plays your choice of ocean, brook, wind or  forest while you sleep. How cool is that? (I choose ocean).

The lobby is also very cute and has a restaurant/bar that serves really good food and cocktails, and also Starbucks coffee. Oh yeah!

So as you can imagine, I haven’t had much want to leave the room yet.

Tuesday, as usual, was all day load-in. The Fox Theater here is beautiful. It has a Moroccan theme inside and feels like the Moroccan restaurant at Epcot, or the Venetian hotel in Vegas. Here are a couple of pictures:

  

The theater is enormous – its seats almost 4500 people. The challenge of it, though, is that it used to be a movie house, so although the stage is very wide, it is also very shallow, which does not allow us to have a crossover upstage of the set. I spent a lot of the day Tuesday, putting my head together with the wardrobe crew and Callie, our dance captain, figuring out when actors and crew would be able to cross upstage of the set (when the castle was downstage and doors shut), and when they would have to go down to the basement and cross over. As you can imagine, having to go down to the basement and cross over takes a lot longer than crossing onstage up of the set, so it does affect some people’s costume changes. My brain was hurting by the time we hit sound check, but the show went amazingly smoothly and I felt pretty good about our strategizing at the end of the day!

Yesterday I did venture out and walk around a bit. Atlanta seems to be a bit of a strange town in that it is spread out and because much of it was burned down during the Civil War, it is a town with a lot of history, but not many old buildings. I walked to the downtown area which was your typical urban center, but not particularly upscale (i.e. not really any good shopping!). I also walked by the Margaret Mitchell house and Gone with the Wind museum, which I think I will hit on Friday. I did finally manage to track down a subway map – they are hard to come by! So, I think next week I will try and visit the High Museum, which is an art museum, Piedmont Park, Martin Luther King’s birthplace, and maybe check out the neighborhoods of Buckhead and Virginia Highland.

Here’s a couple of pictures from my walk yesterday:

Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles

Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles

An arch downtown

An arch downtown

The Georgian Terrace hotel

The Georgian Terrace hotel

The exterior of the Fox

The exterior of the Fox

I also had a serious moment of enlightenment yesterday when I finally read the instruction manual of my digital camera after owning it for over a year. I had been so frustrated lately with  all the pictures I had been taking in low light situations that I was seriously considering getting a new camera. Finally I pulled out my camera’s manual to see if there was any way to adjust the white balance and lo and behold, there is! I still have some more reading to do, but already the photos I took last night have more vivid color and are brighter than any of the others I have taken previously. Yay! I do still want to get a new camera eventually (one that is not necessarily pocket-sized and is more professional in nature – I want to learn more about photography), but for now, my little Powershot will be okay.

Finally, I just wanted to share a picture of the mighty Wurlitzer at the Fox. It is played before the show every night for about 45 minutes while the audience is being seated. It is very cool.

And of course, a new city would not be complete without new outfits for Kitty and Baby – they are Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara!

Now I am off to rehearsal. Jonathan Brody, who is taking over for Justin Patterson (weep weep) at the end of Atlanta (Justin is one of our original male ensemble who is heading back to NYC and getting married) started with us this week, so we are rehearsing him every day to get him up to speed.

More soon though from ATL…